Tag: Megan Carney

AFT 2017-18 Playwrights Directors

Wednesday, July 26, 8:25 PM written by AFT Theatre

Announcing About Face Theatre’s 2017–2018 Season!

AFT 2017-18 Playwrights Directors
About Face Theatre’s 2017-18 Season playwrights (top, l to r) Joshua Harmon, R. Eric Thomas and Bryna Turner and director (bottom, l to r) Keira Fromm and Megan Carney

Midwest Premiere!
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm
A Co-Production with Theater Wit

Midwest Premiere!
By R. Eric Thomas
Directed by Megan Carney

Midwest Premiere!
By Bryna Turner
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm

 About Face Theatre is pleased to announce its 2017-18 Season, featuring three Midwest premieres! The season kicks off this fall/winter with the romantic comedy SIGNIFICANT OTHER by Joshua Harmon, playwright of the hit comedy Bad Jews. Co-produced with Theater Wit, the Midwest premiere is directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm and features AFT Artistic Associate Alex Weisman.

The 22nd season continues next winter with the Midwest premiere of R. Eric Thomas’ gleeful mystery TIME IS ON OUR SIDE. Megan Carney directs this hilarious and heartfelt story of two podcasters and LGBTQ history buffs who may have uncovered more than they bargained for.

Next spring, About Face presents the Midwest premiere of Bryna Turner’s comedy BULL IN A CHINA SHOP, based on the true story of revolutionary academics and lovers Mary Woolley and Jeanette Marks. Directed by Keira Fromm, the all-female cast includes AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins.

About Face Theatre’s 2017-18 Season concludes next summer with a yet-to-be-titled production by the About Face Youth Theatre Ensemble.

About Face Theatre is in residence at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. AFT’s On Demand Memberships – a flexible, year-round membership ticket are currently available at aboutfacetheatre.com. Single tickets for additional programming will go on sale at a later date.

About Face Theatre’s 2017-18 Season:
November 3 – December 9, 2017
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm
Featuring AFT Artistic Associate Alex Weisman. Additional casting to be announced.

Jordan Berman is a single gay man in New York City. Mr. Right is nowhere on his horizons. As he’s nearing his 30s, his close group of girlfriends begin getting married en masse. What happens when you feel like life is leaving you behind but you’re still expected to be at the forefront cheering on your friends on their perfect wedding day? Significant Other is a bittersweet comedy about friendship, single-hood and hoping you’re not the one choking on car exhaust as the “Just Married” sign disappears from view.

In 2015, Joshua Harmon’s play Bad Jews hit Theater Wit and performed to capacity crowds for over five months. A breakaway playwright of his generation, Harmon’s work offered a unique and searingly funny look at a new generation of American Jews. Now, with Significant Other he turns his compassion and considerable wit to marriage.

“I am very excited to join About Face Theatre in presenting the Midwest premiere of Joshua Harmon’s newest work,” comments Theater Wit Artistic Director Jeremy Wechsler. “I think Josh is a remarkably original writer with a gift for showing us the utterly real and utterly unexpected. His plays are always about deeply human characters with a writerly perspective we’ve not seen previously dramatized, and Significant Other is no exception. Bad Jews was a legitimate theatrical event of 2015 – and Significant Other promises, in its writing and casting, to be another for 2017.”

March 1 – April 8, 2018
TIME IS ON OUR SIDE Midwest Premiere!
By R. Eric Thomas
Directed by Megan Carney

Annie loves the past. Curtis lives for the future. Together they host a wildly unpopular podcast from Annie’s living room in which they “queer” history, reinterpreting Philadelphia’s lore through a modern, intersectional lens. When Annie finds a family heirloom that reveals a buried connection to the early LGBT rights movement, the political suddenly gets explosively personal. Time is on Our Side’s shape-shifting plot bounds gleefully from the Underground Railroad to pop culture futurity, as Annie and Curtis search for answers to the questions “How do we let go of the past? And when will it let go of us?”

“R. Eric Thomas has written this magnificent play that absolutely fizzles with life – I fell in love with it on first read,” comments director Megan Carney. “Time Is On Our Side introduces rich characters – meeting across generations and identities – and forging ahead together. The play is intimate and grand – diving deep to offer a clearer understanding of our shared past and courage for the challenges of the moment – all whipped together with big doses of queer magic. Eric has such a fresh voice and I can’t wait to share this play with Chicago audiences.”

May 24 – July 1, 2018
BULL IN A CHINA SHOP Midwest Premiere!
By Bryna Turner
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Keira Fromm
Featuring AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins. Additional casting to be announced.

Bull in a China Shop is a play about Mary Woolley and her partner, Jeanette Marks, two brilliant women who reimagined and revolutionized women’s education at the turn of the twentieth century. This fast-moving feminist comedy chronicles the growth of the women’s suffrage movement, as well as Mary and Jeanette’s romantic relationship. It examines the strength it takes to find your voice, be brave and feel less at odds with the world.

“As a queer female director, I’m always excited by plays that represent gay narratives,” comments Keira Fromm. “Plays that deal specifically with gay female stories aren’t terribly common, so when I came across Bryna Turner’s radical play, I was immediately taken with it. Bryna is an incredibly smart and savvy playwright. She has a way of writing words and characters who live in both the past and the present concurrently. Mary and Jeanette’s struggle to reform women’s education and advocate for the suffrage movement echoes of the fights that women still wage today – whether that fight be for equal pay, fair representation or women’s health initiatives. Ultimately the play is a unique meditation on bravery.”

About the Playwrights

Joshua Harmon’s (Significant Other) play Bad Jews received its world premiere at Roundabout Underground and was the first production to transfer to the Roundabout’s Laura Pels Theatre (Outer Critics Circle and Lucille Lortel Award nominations, Best Play). It has since become the third most-produced play in the U.S. this season and transferred to London’s West End after sell-out runs at Theatre Royal Bath and the St. James Theatre. His newest play, Significant Other, opened at Roundabout this summer. His work has been produced and developed by Manhattan Theatre Club, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Hangar Theatre, Ars Nova, and Actor’s Express, where he was the 2010-2011 National New Play Network Playwright-in-Residence. He has received fellowships from MacDowell, Atlantic Center for the Arts, SPACE at Ryder Farm, and the Eudora Welty Foundation. Joshua is a recent graduate of Juilliard and at work on commissions for Roundabout Theatre Company and Lincoln Center Theater.

Eric Thomas (Time Is On Our Side) is an award-winning playwright, humorist and the long-running host of The Moth in Philadelphia. His play Time is on Our Side was the recipient of two Barrymore Awards including Best New Play and was named a finalist for the Harold and Mimi Steinberg American Theatre Critics Association New Play Award. Forthcoming productions include Mrs. Harrison at Azuka Theatre. He writes a daily humor column for Elle.com in which he “reads” the news. In addition to Elle.com and ELLE magazine, his writing has appeared in the New York Times, W Magazine, Man Repeller, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Magazine and more. www.rericthomas.com

Bryna Turner (Bull in a China Shop) is a Brooklyn-based playwright originally from Northern California. Her play Bull in a China Shop recently premiered at LCT3 (directed by Lee Sunday Evans). Her work has been developed with Abingdon Theatre Company, Clubbed Thumb, Colt Coeur, Ensemble Studio Theatre, LCT3, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers University and Rainbow Theatre Project. Other plays include: Carlo at the Wedding, Lights Over Philo, The Stand-In and How to Separate Your Soul from Your Body (in ten easy steps!). She is an alum of Clubbed Thumb’s Early Career Writer’s Group and holds an MFA in Playwriting from Rutgers University. www.brynaturner.com


About The Directors

Keira Fromm (Significant Other & Bull in a China Shop) is a Jeff Award nominated director, a casting director and a teacher based out of Chicago. Favorite recent directing credits include: Bright Half Life (About Face Theatre) The Columnist (American Blues Theater), How the World Began (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), A Kid Like Jake (About Face Theatre), Luce (Next Theatre), Charles Ives Take Me Home (Strawdog), The How and the Why (TimeLine Theatre), Broadsword (Gift Theatre) and Fallow (Steep Theatre). Keira is a proud Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre. She received her MFA from DePaul University and her BFA from Boston University. She is a member of SDC, as well as the Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab. Keira is a frequent guest director at DePaul, as well as Roosevelt University. Next up, she will be directing the Chicago premiere of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Hospital of New York City by Halley Feiffer with Route 66 Theatre Company this summer.

Megan Carney (Time Is On Our Side) is a director, playwright, educator and Honorary Board member of About Face Theatre. Recent Chicago directing credits include Julie Jenson’s Winter, George Brandt’s Grizzly Mama, Danielle Pinnock’s Body/Courage and Lisa Dillman’s American Wee Pie and The Walls with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She was lead interviewer and playwright for Women at War, a multi-year performance and civic dialogue project about women in the military that continues to tour. Megan was a founding director of About Face Youth Theatre and served as Associate Artistic Director for several years while she created original ensemble plays. Carney’s work has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, an APA Presidential Citation, induction in Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant and a GLAAD Media Award nomination. Currently the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, Megan investigates and reveals diverse LGBTQIA+ identities and histories using oral history collection, participatory workshops and a variety of public programs. She has a MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue.

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Saturday, August 1, 4:51 PM written by About Face Theatre

AFT Looks Back: FIRST BREATH (1999)

In honor of our 20th anniversary, we are reflecting on some of our most popular and pivotal shows from the last two decades. This week, we sat down with Megan Carney as she shared her memories of helping to start the About Face Youth Theatre and stage their very first show, FIRST BREATH. Read on to learn more and stay tuned as we share AFT history every week throughout our 20th Anniversary campaign!
Help us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by August 31st in support of our 20th season!

“There is a sense of urgency from the first moment the About Face Youth Theatre ensemble steps on stage. A barely contained energy that, if not freed, threatens to splatter a rainbow of glitter, piercings, combat boots and those damn baggy pants all over the stage.”

– NewCity Chicago

That quote, taken from a review of FIRST BREATH printed in NewCity Chicago, is Megan Carney’s favorite. It speaks not only to the time and the age of the first participants of About Face Youth Theatre, but to the unbridled energy they brought to the project; an energy that was just waiting for an outlet to express itself.

“The year prior to the start of About Face Youth Theatre, Matthew Shephard was murdered and we all took the streets then. He certainly wasn’t the first, but that was such a high-profile hate crime case that it really galvanized the conversation in a different way about queer youth and bullying and school climate,” recalls Carney. The team of artists that started AFYT recognized the need for a safe space for LGBT youth to tell their stories and build community.

“The commitment was around the fact that the stories of these youth haven’t really been heard and it was a moment of bringing them into the light, turning on the mic and saying okay, what’s going on? It was electrifying. – Megan Carney

Through connections with Horizons (now the Center on Halsted) and Howard Brown as well as fliers on the street and word of mouth, 50 young people showed up to their first workshop. “It was unexpected, ” says Carney. “I remember standing in the middle of that room like ‘Oh my God! We’re really doing this, people are here.’”

FirstBreathFIRST BREATH was devised in a true sense. It started with the workshop exercises around oral history and improvisation. After that, it moved to rehearsals where the stories that would translate best to a stage were roughed out, improved and eventually put into a script. While Megan describes the process as “making it up at they went along,” this team of artists really built a foundation and an authentic way of working with the youth ensemble that is still used today.

And now, just two weeks ago, the About Face Youth Theatre ensemble opened their 15th anniversary show aptly titled 15 BREATHS. Written entirely by the youth theatre, the show’s rawness and vitality still rings true to that very first moment AFYT took to the stage. The energy that buzzed when those first 50 young people showed up to the AFT space in 1999 is still stirring in this next generation and it’s an incredible thing to see how it has evolved. “When I think back on that show and the beginning of it and then all these years since, it’s really gratifying to have been a part of it,” says Carney. “And I’m glad it’s going so strong! 15 BREATHS, how cool is that?!”

Now is a great time to support the kind of work that About Face and the About Face Youth Theatre is known for. Join us this fall and help us to continue bringing you this groundbreaking work by helping us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by August 31st in support of our 20th season!


Help us reach our goal of raising $25,000 by August 31st in support of our 20th season!

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