BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary Season

BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary Season

16th Street Theater announces their 10th Anniversary Season 2017: The Journey featuring three exceptional plays about journeys by writers Jon Steinhagen, Karen Zacarías and Minita Gandhi as well as a return to nine plays by past playwrights-in-residence. The public is welcome to enjoy excerpts from 16th Street's 10th Anniversary Season in a FREE Season Ten Debut on Saturday, December 3 from 4:00 - 5:30 PM at WIRE, 6815 Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, Illinois.

To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Chicago blizzard, 16th Street opens their anniversary season with a fated carpool in Jon Steinhagen's Blizzard '67 (Jan 12 - Feb 18, 2017) directed by Ann Filmer as an homage to the late Russ Tutterow who directed the premiere for Chicago Dramatists in 2012. The National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of Karen Zacarias' adaptation of Luis Alberto Urrea's epic border crossing adventure Into the Beautiful North, co-directed by Filmer and Artistic Associate Miguel Nunez, lands at 16th Street Apr 13 - May 20, 2017, and Muthaland, Minita Gandhi's true story of her retreat to her homeland of India, plays Aug 31 - Oct 7, 2017. Nine one-night only Pop Up Performances of past "Best-of" plays are scheduled to take place in various locations around Berwyn throughout the year 2017, including plays by Tanya Saracho, Rohina Malik and Steven Simoncic.

"When 16th Street first began in 2007," states Artistic Director Ann Filmer, "starting a professional theater in Berwyn focusing on diverse new plays seemed a radical idea. As we embark upon our 10th anniversary season we are proud to have produced 48 new plays that have explored the times we live in right now and inspired much-needed dialogue across our community."

Led by Artistic Director Ann Filmer, who twice has been on NewCity's List of 50 The Players recognizing Chicago's top performing arts leaders, along with new Managing Director MaEli Goren, 16th Street is one of just five theaters across the country to receive, for a second time, American Theatre Wing's National Theater Grant honoring "cutting edge theatre companies recognized for outstanding new play development, education and community engagement." 16th Street Theater also has been honored with Broadway in Chicago's Best Emerging Theater Award (2013) and was named Best Emerging Theater by Chicago Magazine (2013).


BLIZZARD '67 BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary Season
by Jon Steinhagen, 2017 playwright-in-residence
Directed by Ann Filmer
Jan 12 - Feb 18, 2017

Four businessmen in 1967 Chicago carpool to work navigating the twists and turns of corporate politics, the tensions of which play out when they foolishly attempt to drive home in the record-breaking blizzard. When one man is abandoned, the others face their choice and how it will affect their lives thereafter. 50th anniversary of the blizzard that rocked Chicago.

BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary Season Adapted by Karen Zacarías from the novel by Luis Alberto Urrea
Directed by Ann Filmer and Miguel Nunez
April 13 - May 20, 2017

Inspired by the classic film The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli, a young woman living in a small Mexican town, and her companions venture across the border determined to bring back seven good men to protect their village from the invasion of narco-traficantes and the risk of extinction. Playwright Karen Zacarías (author of The Book Club Play) has crafted Luis Alberto Urrea's bestselling novel into a fast-paced comical tale full of colorful characters that surprise and delight. A funny and heartwarming look at the dreams shared on both sides of the border. A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere with Milagro, Central Works and San Diego Rep.

MUTHALAND BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary Season
written and performed by Minita Gandhi
Directed by Heidi Stillman
Aug 31 - Oct 7, 2017

The life of a young Indian-American woman is forever changed when, on a retreat to her homeland, she unearths family secrets, encounters a prophet, and ultimately discovers her own voice within a culture of silence. The familiar and the foreign swap roles in this true story of a quest for love, the fight for truth, the grace of Bhagavan, and what happens when your mom finds your vibrator.

The world premiere of Minita Gandhi's powerful story.


Staged readings of "best of" plays by our playwrights-in-residence from 16th Street's history. To be performed in various venues in and around Berwyn throughout the year 2017. Dates and venues TBD.

The playwrights and plays are: Will Dunne's The Ascension of Carlotta; Arlene Maliknowski's Aiming for Sainthood; Tanya Saracho's Kita y Fernanda; Robert Koon's Menorca; Steven Simoncic's Broken Fences; Laura Jacqmin's Do-Gooder; Shayne Kennedy's Agreed Upon Fictions; Aline Lathrop's Merchild; and Rohina Malik's Yasmina's Necklace.


BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary SeasonJon Steinhagen is a Chicago-based freelance author, playwright, musician/musical director, actor, Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and member of the Dramatists Guild. He has received four Joseph Jefferson Awards and ten nominations for his work in Chicago theater, as well as the Julie Harris Playwriting Award and a Clubbed Thumb biennial commission. Among his plays and musicals are Blizzard '67, Successors, ACES, Dating Walter Dante, The Analytical Engine, Devil's Day Off, Inferno Beach, The Next Thing, and The Teapot Scandals. He recently appeared in Raven Theatre's production of John Guare's The House of Blue Leaves and will appear in the Chicago Premiereof End of the Rainbow at Porchlight this fall; other stage work includes roles in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, The Price, The Odd Couple, Plainsong, Plaza Suite, 1776, and many others. A collection of his stories, The Big Book of Sounds, was recently published by Black Lawrence Press.

BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary Season16th Street is thrilled to welcome back Karen Zacarias (author of The Book Club Play) who was recently hailed by the National Endowment for the Arts as the most-produced Latina playwright in the country and will have three major productions in Chicago in 2017: at Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens and 16th Street. She had five world premieres in the 2016 season: Destiny of Desire at Arena Stage (coming to Goodman spring 2017); Native Gardens at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park (coming to Victory Gardens summer 2017); Oliverio: A Brazilian Twist at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts; Ella Enchanted: The Musical at First Stage and Into the Beautiful North in a rolling world premiere with Milagro Theatre, Central Works, San Diego Rep and 16th Street. Her other award-winning plays including The Book Club Play, Legacy of Light, Mariela in the Desert, The Sins of Sor Juana, the adaptations of Helen Thorpe's Just Like Us and Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and many more. She collaborated on the libretto for Sleepy Hollow and Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises for The Washington Ballet and wrote ten theatre for young audiences musicals with composer Deborah Wicks La Puma. She is one of the inaugural resident playwrights at Arena Stage and is a core founder of the Latino Theatre Commons. She is the founder of Young Playwrights' Theater; an award-winning theatre company that teaches playwriting in local public schools in Washington, D.C. She has BA with distinction from Stanford University and a Masters in Creative Writing from Boston University. Born in Mexico, Karen lives in Washington D.C. with her husband and three children.

BLIZZARD '67, MUTHALAND and More Set for 16th Street's 10th Anniversary SeasonMinita Gandhi returns to 16th Street where she originated the role of Deepti in the world premiere of A. Zell Williams' Carroll Gardens. Minita is a Chicago-based playwright/storyteller/actress who was born in Mumbai, India. Raised in the Bay Area, she is proud to call Chicago her artistic home for over 8 years. Her solo play Muthaland was an official selection of The CAATA (Consortium of Asian American Theatre Artists Festival) hosted by Oregon Shakespeare Festival and was part of the Ignition Festival of New Plays at Victory Gardens Theatre 2015. The piece was also selected to be performed at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts by the Statera Foundation for women at their annual conference. Muthaland was workshopped and developed at Silk Road Rising for their Solo Festival, was invited to the Raven Theater for a special performance sponsored by the Indo-American Heritage Museum and was a part of Filet of Solo in 2016 hosted by Lifeline Theatre. The documentary My Muthaland, that follows Minita and her family's journey with her play, was an official selection of The Chicago South Asian Film Festival this fall. Some of Minita's regional theatre credits include Lookingglass Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Indiana Repertory Theatre and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Minita originated the role of Priya, in the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's The Lake Effect. She recently wrapped the web series Brown Girls, can be seen in the recurring role of Dr. Prospere on NBC's Chicago Fire and has appeared on Fox's hit show Empire, Exorcist, NBC's Crisis, ABC's Betrayal, Fox's The Chicago Code and was The Onion News Network's anchor Nina Shankar. Minita is a Master Instructor for Pinnacle Performance Company.


Ann Filmer (Director Blizzard '67, Co-Director Into the Beautiful North) is founder and Artistic Director of 16th Street where shehas developed and produced 48 new plays in nine seasons including the Jeff Nominated Yasmina's Necklace by Rohina Malik and A. Zell Williams' Carroll Gardens. Filmer also directs around Chicago, most notably The Clean House (Remy Bumppo), Disconnect (Victory Gardens), Chicago Boys (Goodman Theatre), Eric LaRue (A Red Orchid), Botanic Garden (Citadel), House of Blue Leaves (Shattered Globe) and the upcoming A Charlie Brown Christmas (Emerald City at Broadway in Chicago). Her adaptation and direction of Tony Fitzpatrick's American tetralogy gained critical acclaim for all four of its productions at Steppenwolf Garage including Stations Lost which also played The Boiler in Brooklyn and Brown University.

Miguel Nunez (Co-Director Into the Beautiful North) is an Artistic Associate at 16th Street Theater. He was last seen there as Imam Rafi in the world premier of Yasmina's Necklace. Other selected Chicago credits include Bobby Clearly (Steep Theatre), The Play About my Dad (Raven Theatre), El Pasado Nunca Se Termina (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Romulus (Oracle Theatre), Death and the Maiden, Oedipus El Rey (Victory Gardens); PINKOLANDIA (16th Street Theater); The Three Musketeers, The Blue Shadow (Lifeline Theatre); I Put the Fear of Mexico In 'em (Teatro Vista); The Ghost is Here (Vitalist Theatre). He has also worked at the Goodman Theatre, ATC, Gift Theatre and many more. His work can be seen in numerous films and national commercials. Miguel has trained at Black Box in Chicago and at the National Theater University in Caracas, Venezuela.

Heidi Stillman (Director Muthaland) is a writer, director, actor and the Artistic Director at Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago. For Lookingglass she has both directed and written: Cascabel (with Tony Hernandez and Rick Bayless), The North China Lover, The Brothers Karamazov, Hard Times (also produced at The Arden in Philadelphia), and The Master and Margarita among others. Directing credits include: Death Tax by Lucas Hnath, Trust by David Schwimmer and Andy Bellin, Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo by Rajiv Joseph. Outside Lookingglass her adaptation of The Book Thief premiered at Steppenwolf Theatre, and she is in process of adapting (with Caroline Macon) and directing The Year I Didn't go to School: A Homemade Circus for the Chicago Children's Theatre.

Reserve tickets by calling (708) 795-6704 x107 or emailing Walk-ins welcome if not sold out. SUBSCRIPTION PRICES: $50 - $150 Purchase Subscriptions at Season Debut event or online at

16TH STREET THEATER is a proud program of North Berwyn Park District led by Ann Filmer Artistic Director and MaEli Goren Managing Director. The 16th Street Theater, NFP is supported in part by Alphawood Foundation Chicago, MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, American Theatre Wing, National New Play Network, Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council Agency, Oak Park Area Arts Council, and numerous local businesses and individuals.

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