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16th Street Theater announces the Midwest premiere of SMALL JOKES ABOUT MONSTERS by Steven Strafford directed by Kristina Valada-Viars January 10 - February 16, 2018 at North Berwyn Park District's 16th Street Theater, 6420 16th Street in Berwyn with a press opening of Thursday, January 17 at 7:30 PM.

This is the last show in 16th Street's 6420 location where the theater first began in 2008 in a building once occupied by Berwyn's library. 16th Street will simultaneously be overseeing the creation of their new permanent home in former VFW Post 2378 at 1529 S. Harlem.

There are three different kinds of funny people: Godzillas, Mothras and Gameras. Three brothers arrive in a rented beach house after their estranged father's funeral. Their father has left them an envelope to open after his death. When their mother arrives, truths are revealed and tempers flare. SMALL JOKES is about how we choose to deal with trauma, and how we use humor to cover it up.

"When we did the reading of Steven's SMALL JOKES," states Artistic Director Ann Filmer, "I could not remember the last time I laughed so hard. Audiences will certainly see their own family dynamics played out before their eyes. Which in my family was often simultaneously both hilarious and horrifying."

SMALL JOKES ABOUT MONSTERS will be the first offering in 16th Street's 2019 Season Twelve: Shadows / Light. Playwright Steven Strafford is the author of his one-man show Methtacular! (TimeOut NY #1 pick of show to see, Jeff Nomination solo performance) and is a much-loved musical theater performer seen most recently at Marriott and Drury Lane.

"There's something special that happens when actors write for each other," states director Kristina Valada-Viars, "and the actors we have assembled are the kind of cast that directors dream of bringing together. This play asks the big questions about forgiveness love, and living with the truth of our own (and other's) failures. I can't wait for the 16th Street audience to join our conversation."
Featuring Esteban Andres Cruz, Eric Slater, Christopher Wayland Jones and Shariba Rivers.

Steven Strafford is a playwright and actor living in Chicago. His one man show, Methtacular! has been seen across the country. Its NYC production was picked by TimeOut NY as the number one show to see in NYC. Its Chicago production received a Jeff nomination for solo performance. It will be released soon as part of an anthology from Opus Books. His short play, The Breakup Play, had a Chicago production this past year. His plays, Mona Q: Age 38 and Steven Strafford is Steven Strafford as Ann Jillian in the Ann Jillian Story Starring Ann Jillian as Ann Jillian are in development. Small Jokes About Monsters received workshops and readings in Houston at The Landing Theatre Company and at Portland Stage Company in Portland, Maine, as well as here in Chicago. As an actor, Steven has performed around the country and around the world, on stage, TV, and film. He was Prince Herbert (and other roles) in the original Las Vegas company of Spamalot. In Chicago, he has been seen in roles at Goodman Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre, First Folio, and Windy City Playhouse.

Kristina Valada-Viars' work as an actor and director has been primarily devoted to new work development and first and second productions of new American plays. She was the recipient of the 2017 Princess Grace Award and Fellowship (Acting/Directing) with Steppenwolf Theatre Company for the 2017-2018 season. Last season, she was seen in Northlight Theatre's Cry It Out and Steppenwolf for Young Audiences' production of The Crucible, served as Assistant Director on the world premieres of Doppelgänger and BLKS (both at Steppenwolf). She directed the world premiere of Connor McNamara's Scapegoat: Or Why The Devil Always Loved Us for the New Colony. Acting credits include: Steppenwolf, Goodman, New Dramatists, The New Group, 13P, Writers Theatre, Theater Wit, Route 66, About Face. In 2012 she received a Jeff Nomination for Supporting Actress for her work in the Chicago premiere of Time Stands Still (Steppenwolf). She received the Best Actress in a Feature award at the Iris International Film Festival for her work in the independent feature Molly's Girl. She is an activist, freelance writer, teacher and a member of the Chicago Green Theatre Alliance. She is working to foster artist-led exchange with performer based communities outside of traditional commercial theatre circuit cities and actively works to expand casting boundaries within traditional narrative forms

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