CHICAGO – Emerald City Theatre (ECT) will open the Chicago premiere of Fantastic Mr. Fox, adapted for the stage by David Wood from the book by Roald Dahl and directed by ECT Artistic Director Jacqueline Stone, at Victory Gardens Začek-McVay Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Ave, on December 14, 2018.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is the first production presented by Emerald City Theatre on the mainstage at Victory Gardens Theater. The two theater companies worked together last year on Play Pals, a collaboration that provided a theater experience for the whole family – ECT teaching artists offered workshops for children while their parents attended a Victory Gardens Theater performance.
“We are delighted to continue growing our relationship with Victory Gardens Theater as we prepare for Fantastic Mr. Fox,” says Stone. “This opportunity will allow us to move forward artistically as we expand our reach, particularly with older age groups, and the scope of what we are able to bring to life onstage.”
The production will feature Mario Aivazian (Mr. Fox), Brianna Buckley (Badger), Tia Pinson (Mrs. Fox), Aaron Lawson (Boggis), Isa Arciniegas (Bunce), Jeffrey Hoge (Bean), Jeanne T. Arrigo (Mabel/Ensemble), Rebecca Keeshin (Fox Child), Isis Elizabeth (Fox Child), Haley Bolithon (Badger Child), Diego Colón (Mr. Fox Understudy), Tim Lueke (Boggis/Bean Understudy), Emma Sheikh (Badger/Mrs. Fox Understudy), and Elleon Dobias (Mabel/Fox Child/Badger Child Understudy).
About the Show:
Fantastic Mr. Fox
December 14, 2018 – January 12, 2019
Previews begin December 9
At Victory Gardens Theater in Lincoln Park
2433 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Adapted for the stage by David Wood
From the book by Roald Dahl
Directed by ECT Artistic Director Jacqueline Stone
“You’re invited to a fox’s feast!”
Journey deep underground with the badgers, weasels, rabbits – and yes, foxes – for a celebration of courage, family, and community. Mr. Fox knows he must be clever to save his family from a trio of spiteful farmers, but in a twist of tunnels, he becomes the hero of the forest! David Wood’s exuberant adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book, accompanied by live music, is a Chicago premiere.
Fantastic Mr. Fox is presented in two acts, with a 75-minute run time. Both daytime and evening performances are available. Tickets start at $20 and are available online or through the Victory Gardens Theater box office at 773.871.3000.
About Emerald City Theatre:
Emerald City Theatre (ECT) is Chicago’s largest theater for young audiences, reaching children 0 – 15-years-old through its three pillars of work: artistic, education, and outreach. Serving an average of over 60,000 children and their grown-ups annually, the company has created over 100 productions in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, and Downtown Chicago.
ECT also builds skills in children through its yearly camps, classes, and residencies – the largest theater arts education program in Chicago, serving over 64,000 students to date and an average of 200 schools annually.
ECT’s signature outreach program, One Fund supports increased literacy among Chicago’s children by providing a free play and free companion book to low-resourced Chicago Public Schools students. In 2018, ECT provided 95,000 free books to CPS students in Kindergarten – 3rd grade as part of a partnership with Mary Pope Osborne, author of the Magic Tree House book series.
ECT’s lead supporters include iHeartMedia Chicago, AMITA Health, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, KPMG, Illinois Arts Council, and the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. For more information, please visit EmeraldCityTheatre.com.
MARIO AIVAZIAN (Mr. Fox)
BRIANNA BUCKLEY (Badger) is excited to be debuting her first children’s show in Chicago. She currently works as a teaching artist for Lifeline Theatre. Some of her recent works include Crumbs at the Table of Joy (Raven Theatre), The Light Fantastic (Jackalope Theatre) and Dontrell, Who Kissed the Sea (Shea).
TIA PINSON (Mrs. Fox) is excited to be making her Emerald City Theatre debut! She is grateful to be a part of this adventure. Thanks to those who offer love, inspiration, joy and support!
AARON LAWSON (Boggis) is proud to be a part of his fourth production with Emerald City. He has worked with companies such as the Neo-Futurists, City Lit, and Adventure Stage. Aaron can also be seen on stage in I Saw You with Bruised Orange Theatre.
ISA ARCINIEGAS (Bunce) is an actor and drummer originally from Caracas, Venezuela and is proud to call Chicago her artistic home. Theatre credits include; Such Things as Vampires (People’s Light Theatre, in PA), Buried Child (Writers Theatre), The Wolves (Goodman Theatre), Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theatre), We’re Gonna Die (Haven Theatre Company), good friday (Oracle Productions, Jeff Award nomination for Best Ensemble), You On The Moors Now and American Idiot (The Hypocrites), Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista), Adventures With Aladdin (Lookingglass Theatre Company with Chicago Symphony Orchestra), Stinky Cheese Man and Letters Home (Griffin Theatre National Tour). She received her BFA in acting from the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University. Isa is an ensemble member with Griffin Theatre and is represented by Gray Talent.
JEFFREY HOGE (Bean) is excited to be part of this production by ECT. In addition to acting in theatre, film and television, Jeffrey presents entertaining assembly programs to K-8 schools. Topics of these assemblies include Climate Change and other aspects of science. He also tutors ESL.
JEANNE T. ARIGO (Mabel/Ensemble) is tickled to make her Emerald City Theatre debut! Previous credits include Once (Paramount Theatre and Theatre Squared); Eastland (Lookingglass Theatre); Iphigenia in Aulis (Court Theatre and The Getty); The Revel (House Theatre); and understudying the last three world premiere Tracy Letts plays at Steppenwolf (Mary Page Marlowe, Linda Vista, and The Minutes). Television work includes Chicago Med and Chicago PD. She holds B.A.s in Theatre and Psychology from Coe College, and an M.Ed. in School Psychology from Loyola University. Exclusively represented by Gray Talent. As always, so much love to Brett!
REBECCA KEESHIN (Fox Child) Becky returns to ECT after performing in Mother Goose’s Garden. Chicago credits include work with First Folio, Red Orchid, Writers Theatre, Citadel, Lifeline, and ATC. Regional: Mockingbird and Tuck Everlasting at Nashville Children’s Theatre. Proud graduate from The Theatre School at DePaul and represented by Grossman and Jack Talent.
ISIS ELIZABETH (Fox Child) is thrilled to be working with Emerald City Theater for a second time! Her most recent theater credits include Chicago (June) at Big Noise, The Wiz (Dorothy) at The Emerald City Theater and In The Heights (Daniela) at Chi Arts Theater.
HALEY BOLITHON (Badger Child) was most recently seen as Wendla in Spring Awakening with Blank Theatre Company. Other Chicago credits include: Hatfield & McCoy at House Theatre of Chicago, Pinocchio at Chicago Children’s Theatre, The Haven Place at A Red Orchid Theatre, and A Christmas Carol at the Goodman Theatre. She is a supporting role in the upcoming feature film As With Knives and Skin.
DIEGO COLÓN (Mr. Fox Understudy)
TIM LEUKE (Boggis/Bean Understudy) A recent transplant from NYC, Tim has been seen in Chicago working with TUTA in their translation of DON JUAN RETURNS FROM THE WAR, and with Waltzing Mechanics in COSMIC EVENTS ARE UPON US. Thankful to add Emerald City to that list!
EMMA SHEIKH (Badger/Mrs. Fox Understudy) is a recent graduate of Columbia College Chicago. Previous credits include Dog Act (Columbia), A Little Night Music (Phillip Lynch Theatre), and Abduction: A New Musical (Locked Door Productions). Emma is multi-instrument musician and solo performance writer.
ELLEON DOBIAS (Mabel/Fox Child/Badger Child Understudy) After moving to the city from her home state of Colorado, Elleon is grateful to be part of Chicago’s creative and diverse theatre community. She would like to thank her family, mentors, and green snap peas for keeping her going, always, and she hopes you enjoy this wonderful story!
CAROLYN PLURAD (Bunce/Fox Child Understudy) is ecstatic to be a part of this production! She is an experienced performer in theatre for young audiences. Some of her favorite roles include Hen, Giggle Giggle Quack Quack (Lifeline), Mouse, The Tortoise and the Hare (Chicago Kids Company), Little Red, Little Red Riding Hood (Improv Playhouse).
JACQUELINE STONE is proud to serve as ECT’s Artistic Director, after serving as Education Director for ten years. At ECT, she most recently directed the original production of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, The Snowy Day & Other Stories by Ezra Jack Keats, and Mother Goose’s Garden. In addition to her role at ECT, Stone currently serves as Artistic Director for TUTA Theatre Chicago, where she is co-founder and has acted or directed in over 16 productions. Most recently Jackie directed the Off-Broadway premiere of Adam Rapp’s The Edge of Our Bodies at 59E59 Theaters in NY. For the past 20 years she has acted, directed, and taught across the United States including Chicago Dramatists, The Second City and Columbia College Chicago. KEN LUDWIG’S ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, INC.
KEITH PARHAM (Lighting Design) BROADWAY: Therese Raquin (Roundabout Theatre Company). OFF-BROADWAY: Man from Nebraska (2econd Stage Theatre); The Purple Lights of Joppa Illinois, Between Riverside and Crazy (Atlantic Theater Company); Tribes, Red Light Winter (Barrow Street Theatre); Stop the Virgens (Karen O at St. Ann’s Warehouse/Sydney Opera House); Ivanov, Three Sisters (CSC); A Minister’s Wife (Lincoln Center Theatre); Adding Machine A Musical (Minetta Lane). REGIONAL: Father Comes Home From the Wars, The Wolves, Uncle Vanya (Goodman Theatre); All My Sons, The Hard Problem, Blues for an Alabama Sky, Man in the Ring (Court Theatre); The Way the Mountain Moved (Oregon Shakespeare Festival); Wild Goose Dreams (La Jolla Playhouse); Carousel (Arena Stage); TUTA Company Member: The Edge of Our Bodies, Gentle, Music Hall, The Anyway Cabaret, The Jewels, The Silent Language. EMERALD CITY THEATRE: Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells, Ramona Quimby, Ken Ludwig’s `Twas the Night Before ChristmasAWARDS: Obie, Lortel.
JOSH SCHMIDT (Composer/Co-Author) OFF BROADWAY: A Minister’s Wife (Lincoln Center), ADD1NG MACH1N3 (Minetta Lane), Whida Peru (59E59); Midwestern Gothic (Signature, VA – premiering March 2017); Gift of the Magi (American Players Theatre, WI) Incidental Scores: When the Rain Stops Falling (Lincoln Center) Fifty Words (MCC Theater). REGIONAL: Midwestern Gothic (Signature DC), Gift of the Magi (American Players Theatre. (Composer/Sound Designer) BROADWAY: Therese Raquin (Roundabout/Studio 54) House of Blue Leaves (Walter Kerr), Brighton Beach Memoirs (Nederlander); OFF BROADWAY: Dinner With Friends (Roundabout) Model Apartment (Primary Stages), 3 Kinds of Exile (Atlantic), Water By The Spoonful (Second Stage), Crime and Punishment (59E59), many others. CHICAGO: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Goodman Theater, Writers’ Theatre (Associate Artist), Northlight Theatre, Next Theatre Company, Seanachai Theatre Company, many others. REGIONAL: Over 200 productions at venues across the country including 3 seasons Stratford Shakespeare Festival (Ontario, Canada), Bay Street Theatre (Sag Harbor, NY), Philadelphia Theatre Company (PA), The Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre (Washington DC); Seattle Repertory Theatre (WA), Alley Theatre (Resident Artist – Houston, TX); Arizona Theater Company (AZ); Cleveland Playhouse (OH), Kansas City Rep (MO); South Coast Repertory (CA); Delaware Theatre Company (DE); 16 Seasons at American Players Theatre (Spring Green, WI); Milwaukee Repertory Theater, many others. (Milwaukee, WI), Hope Summer Repertory Theatre (Holland, MI). COMMISSIONS: Metropolitan Opera, RKO, Groundswell, Playwrights Horizons. RECORDINGS: ADD1NG MACH1N3, A Minister’s Wife – both released on PS Classics and available on ITunes, Amazon, etc. ASSOCIATE ARTIST: Alley Theatre in Houston, Writers Theatre in Glencoe. TEACHING: UNLV Associate Artist, Lectures at Harvard, Suffolk, Mississippi-Oxford, Illinois-Urbana/Champaign, Wisconsin-Madison, Wisconsin-Milwaukee. MEMBER: ASCAP. AWARDS/RECOGNITION: Lortel, Outer Critics, Jeff, ASCAP, NEA/TCG, Prague Quadrennial 2007, Sundance Theatre Lab UCross 2012.