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About Face Theatre Announces Cast of THE GULF

About Face Theatre Announces Cast of THE GULF

About Face Theatre continues its 2019-2020 season with the Chicago premiere of Audrey Cefaly's award-winning drama THE GULF, running January 9 through February 15, 2020, at Theater Wit. THE GULF is a riveting look at how partners in a long-term relationship change over time, and what it takes to keep love alive. Directed by About Face Artistic Director Megan Carney, the production will feature AFT Artistic Associate Kelli Simpkins and Deanna Myers. Press opening is Friday, January 17 at 7:30 pm.

The National New Play Network recently announced that the Rolling World Premiere of Cefaly's latest play, ALABASTER, will break the NNPN record for most number of theatres premiering a new work. ALABASTER will appear at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn during About Face Theatre's production of THE GULF, marking two local premieres by the playwright in January 2020.

Theater, film and television actor Kelli Simpkins is an artistic associate of About Face Theatre and has been a company member of NYC's Tectonic Theater Project since 1999. She is one of the original creators/dramaturges/performers of THE LARAMIE PROJECT and appeared in HBO's film version of THE LARAMIE PROJECT. Deanna Myers most recently appeared in THE GREAT LEAP at Steppenwolf Theatre and also been seen in SMART PEOPLE (Writers Theatre) and KING OF THE YEES (Goodman Theatre).

Scenic Design by Joe Schermoly, Lighting Design by Rachel Levy, Sound Design by Robert Hornbostel, Costume & Properties Design by Caitlin McCarthy, Associate Directing & Dramaturgy by Lanise A. Shelley, Stage Managed by Logan Boyd Jones, Production Managed by Jenna Meyers.


By Audrey Cefaly
Directed by Megan Carney
January 9 - February 15, 2020
Performing at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont Ave, Chicago


Previews: Thursday, January 9 - Wednesday, January 15
Press Opening: Friday, January 17 at 7:30 pm
Performance Run: Thursday, January 16 - Saturday, February 15
Thursday through Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 3:00pm


Tickets are on sale now online at, by calling 773.975.8150, or in-person at the Theater Wit box office. Tickets are $10-15 for previews and $32 for regular run performances. Discounted tickets available for students, seniors, and veterans.


In the middle of a river and long past the middle of their relationship, Kendra and Betty are questioning where their life together will go next. On a muggy summer evening somewhere down in the Alabama Delta, the two women troll the flats looking for redfish. As passions and tensions flare over past infidelities, life-choices, and job struggles, the couple must confront what it takes to overcome the space between them. THE GULF won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ Drama, the David Calicchio American Playwright Prize, and the Samuel French Off Off Broadway Festival.

For this production, About Face will reimagine Theater Wit's proscenium space into a theatre-in-the-round configuration. This limited-seating design will put audiences close to the action for a uniquely intimate staging.

"THE GULF is both funny and deeply vulnerable as it explores connecting across differences and what gets shaken up in the pursuit of the life we imagine for ourselves," says director Megan Carney. "There's something irresistible and even scary about those moments when we find the courage to speak the truth, especially when it puts everything we know and love at risk. These two women, both lovers and fighters, are doing just that. And the results are breathtaking."


Kelli Simpkins as Kendra
Deanna Myers as Betty


Megan Carney (Director) is a director, playwright, and teaching artist, and the Artistic Director of About Face Theatre. Recent Chicago directing credits include 20/20 and TIME IS ON OUR SIDE (About Face), WINTER, GRIZZLY MAMA, Danielle Pinnock's BODY/COURAGE, AMERICAN WEE PIE, and THE WALLS (Rivendell). Megan has written several plays based on true stories, including WOMEN AT WAR, based on 75 interviews with women in the military (Rivendell); OPEN SYSTEMS, about the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (Goodman Theatre); LET THEM EAT CAKE, about marriage equality (Dixon Place, NYC); and multiple large ensemble plays with About Face Youth Theatre, which she co-founded. Megan's work in theatre and community building has been recognized with multiple After Dark Awards, the GLSEN Pathfinder Award, an APA Presidential Citation, induction into Chicago's LGBT Hall of Fame, and a Rockefeller Foundation MAP Grant. Megan served as the Director of the Gender and Sexuality Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where she developed public arts-based programs and led interactive workshops. She is a certified mediator with the Center for Conflict Resolution, earned an MFA in Theatre with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue from Virginia Tech as well as a BA from Kalamazoo College, where her ideas about art as a tool for social justice and activism began to take shape.

Audrey Cefaly (Playwright) is a southern writer and Alabama native based in the DC region. Her plays include THE GULF, ALABASTER, MAYTAG VIRGIN, THE LAST WIDE OPEN; THE STORY OF WALTER (adapted from her podcast of the same name), and LOVE IS A BLUE TICK HOUND (a collection of award-winning one-acts). She has developed plays with the National New Play Network, Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, Signature Theatre, Serenbe Playhouse (New Territories), Aurora Theatre, Florida Rep, Theater Alliance, Quotidian Theatre Company, University of Alabama - Birmingham, and Contemporary American Theater Festival. Cefaly is a member of the 2019 Playwrights' Arena cohort at Arena Stage and was recently named a Traveling Master by the Dramatist Guild Foundation. She is an outspoken proponent of silence in storytelling and has authored numerous articles on the topic of playwriting for HowlRound and Samuel French's BREAKING CHARACTER Magazine.

Kelli Simpkins (Kendra) is a theater, film and television actor. She has been a company member of NYC's Tectonic Theater Project since 1999. She is one of the original creators/dramaturges/performers of THE LARAMIE PROJECT and appeared in HBO's THE LARAMIE PROJECT, for which she and fellow company members share a Humanitas Prize and an Emmy nomination. She is a Tectonic Moment Work teaching artist and has led training labs throughout the country. She co-wrote, directed and devised an original play with students at Western Michigan University called GOOD DEATH, which was subsequently performed at the Kennedy Center's Region III American College Theatre Festival. Simpkins is a contributing writer to the book MOMENT WORK-Tectonic Theater Project'S PROCESS OF DEVISING THEATER. After living in New York for fifteen years, Simpkins relocated to Chicago, where she has worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, The Goodman, American Theater Company, Timeline, Victory Gardens, and About Face Theater, where she is also an artistic associate. She returns to NYC frequently to perform and to devise and develop work with longtime artistic collaborators. Simpkins is represented by NYC manager Jodi Schoenbrun Carter at 1022m Management. She is a proud recipient of the 2013 3ARTS award.

Deanna Myers (Betty) Chicago credits include: THE GREAT LEAP (Steppenwolf Theatre), WHITE SNAKE (u/s) and The New Stages Production of KING OF THE YEES (Goodman Theatre), YOU ON THE MOORS NOW (The Hypocrites), TWO MILE HOLLOW (First Floor Theatre), THE SCENE and SMART PEOPLE (Writers Theatre), Regional: MISS BENNET: CHRISTMAS AT PEMBERLEY (Milwaukee Rep). TV credits: HOT DATE, CHICAGO MED, and CHICAGO FIRE. Deanna is a Company Member with Barrel of Monkeys and a perpetual student at Actors Gymnasium.

About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous theatre and educational programming that advances the national dialogue on sexual and gender identity, and challenges and entertains audiences in Chicago and beyond.

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