Spotlight: Lookingglass, WBEZ premiere audio version of 'Her Honor Jane Byrne'

  • J. Nicole Brooks' play "Her Honor Jane Byrne" gets its audio premiere courtesy of Lookingglass Theatre and WBEZ.

    J. Nicole Brooks' play "Her Honor Jane Byrne" gets its audio premiere courtesy of Lookingglass Theatre and WBEZ.

Posted11/24/2020 6:00 AM

Audio premiere

Lookingglass Theatre Company and WBEZ premiere the audio version of "Her Honor Jane Byrne," Lookingglass ensemble member J. Nicole Brooks' drama based on the late Mayor Jane Byrne's decision to move into the Cabrini-Green Homes for several weeks in 1981. The show's premiere last March was cut short in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.


"It was devastating to close 'Her Honor Jane Byrne' last spring just after it opened. A play takes years of work to get it to the point of production, and this play was speaking directly to our city about our city. So we are thrilled and grateful to WBEZ for giving us a new platform to share J. Nicole Brooks' timely and brilliant play in its new audio form," said artistic director Heidi Stillman in a prepared statement.

2-4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 28, at 91.5 FM or

'Trevor' reunion

Writers Theatre hosts a reunion of the original cast of "Trevor" over weekly installments on Writers' Facebook page and its YouTube channel. Earlier this year, the Glencoe theater hosted a Zoom reunion for the original company for the first time since the musical's 2017 premiere. Writers subsequently created a four-part series chronicling the event. Participants include: writer/lyricist Dan Collins, composer Julianne Wick Davis along with Eli Tokash (Trevor), Declan Desmond (Pinky), Matthew Uzarraga (Walter) and Tori Whaples (Cathy) among others.

7 p.m. Wednesdays through Dec. 9 on Writers Theatre's Facebook page and YouTube channel.

'Decomposed Theatre'

Trap Door Theatre presents "Decomposed Theatre" adapted from Romanian playwright Matei Visniec's "Decomposed Theatre or the Human Trashcan." The work consists of separate monologues expressing alienation, loneliness or solitude -- each directed by a different director -- which may be assembled in any order.

Performed live on Zoom at 8 p.m. Thursdays from Dec. 3 to Feb. 4. $15 per episode or $100 for all eight episodes. See

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In other news

• Northwestern University's Imagine U Storytime series consisting of 15-minute videos of family-friendly stories performed by NU faculty, alumni and students continues Sunday, Nov. 29, with "To the Moon and Back" by Northwestern theater professor David Catlin. That's followed by "90 degree North," about an ice creature's discovery of how rising temperatures are altering its world, on Dec. 6. The Dec. 13 installment is an "Imagine U Storytime Music Encore" consisting of favorite music episodes from past performances including "Frozen," "James and the Giant Peach" and others. Free performances stream at 6 p.m. Sundays. Search the Wirtz Center on

• "What Will She Do Next?" is a free, family-friendly musical theater podcast whose "bite-size biographies" use Broadway-style songs to celebrate great women of history. The series continues Monday, Nov. 30, with a salute to U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress. Podcasts stream for free at Past podcasts available for streaming include those about "Frankenstein" author Mary Shelley, journalist/inventor Nellie Bly, first Black female astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison and socialite/philanthropist The "Unsinkable" Margaret "Molly" Brown among others. See

• Broadway in Chicago invites teens to participate virtually in the 10th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrating excellence in high school theater. Student applications are due Jan. 15. Eligible applicants must reside in the state and be enrolled in grades 9-12 in a public or private Illinois high school. Applicants must audition with a qualifying song from a qualifying musical listed on The Jimmy Awards website. The categories for the 2021 program include best actor and best actress. Twelve actors and 12 actresses will be selected to compete in a virtual ceremony held on Monday, May 3, in front of Chicago casting agents and theater professionals. Two Illinois student recipients will be named best actor and best actress and will represent the state at the annual Jimmy Awards ceremony next spring. For details, see

• Goodman Theatre's new play development series Future Labs seeks play submissions from Chicago-based Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian American, Pacific Islanders and other people of color who have not previously collaborated with the Goodman. Set to begin in 2021, Future Labs will include up to nine workshops and presentations. Projects selected receive rehearsal time, artistic, dramaturgical and casting support and an optional free public reading. For information on how to submit a project for consideration, see


• The Chicago Children's Theatre will partner with the Lurie Center for Childhood Resilience at the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago to help children coping with poverty and violence within their homes or neighborhoods and have developed a classroom curriculum to that end. The Lurie Center focuses on four objectives: creating a safe environment, building relationships and connectedness, supporting and teaching emotional regulation and self care for teaching providers. To address those goals, CCT will use children's author Matt de La Peña's new book "Love" as source material for exercises they are creating with Lurie.

"Trauma-informed arts education is gaining traction in schools of late, for good reason, but it's happening predominantly in middle and high schools," said Jacqueline Russell, CCT artistic director in a prepared statement. "What we're saying is that if you're not already addressing trauma and its toll on mental health among very young children, including pre-K, you're starting too late."

• Strawdog Theatre Company welcomed new ensemble members performer/director Paul Cook, costume designer Leah Hummel, set and projections designer Yeaji Kim, stage manager Alyssa Maldonado, casting director Karissa Murrell Myers, designer and photographer Manuel Ortiz and actor Johnard Washington.

• Steppenwolf Theatre's Broadway transfer of "The Minutes," which began previews weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered theaters in March, will reopen (pending cast and theater availability) on March 15, 2022, two years after it's original opening.

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