Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble Presents A PIECE OF MY HEART, Opening May 6

Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble (CDE) concludes its 15th season dedicated to the woman's voice, and its ongoing mission of "performance with a purpose," with Shirley Lauro's A Piece of My Heart, directed by CDE fellow Victoria Alvarez-Chacon, and described by the Association of Vietnam Veterans of America as "the most enduring play on Vietnam in the nation." A Piece of My Heart follows tells the true experiences of six women working in Vietnam during wartime. The powerful accounts of these women - five nurses and one country western singer - take place before, during and after Vietnam, and each story concludes with a personal token left at the memorial wall in Washington.

A Piece of My Heart originally premiered in New York's Manhattan Theatre Club and has been performed over 2,000 times worldwide. In accordance to the original playwright's intention, as well as the multiple dispensary nature that defines CDE's work, the May production of A Piece of My Heart will be choreographed, directed and designed with all five senses in mind, creating a fully immersive experience to showcase the contemporary parallels of these woman's stories through movement and live music within the organic architecture of Ebenezer Lutheran Church.

The show runs about two hours with one 15-minute intermission. Each performance is free to veterans. On Mother's Day, all mothers can see the show for free and will receive a flower.

Public Opening: Friday, May 6, 2016, at 8 p.m. (reception following)

Preview Opening: Thursday, May 5 at 8 p.m.

Runs Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m., through May 15

Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster, Chicago, IL 60640Free street parking on Foster and neighboring streets; CTA Bus Stops #9, #50, #92

TICKETS: 773-486-8261 and $15 | advance$20 | the door$10 | College students and seniors (with ID) FREE for students through high school, plus veterans and mothers on Mother's Day

CAST: Zoe Agapinan, Nathan Dunn, Jyreika Guest, Whitney Masters, Taylor Molandro, Erick Rivera, Maren Rosenberg, and Ivory Stahly.

STAFF: Victoria Alvarez-Chacon (Director), Ashley Bowman (Production Manager), Mike Goebel (Lighting Design, Bread and Roses Productions), Warren Levon (Sound Design), Sara Maslanka (Artistic Director), and Ellyzabeth Adler (Executive Director).

BIOS: Victoria Alvarez-Chacon (CDE fellow) is an actor, writer, stage manager and arts lover from Sacramento's American River College. After nine months attending Actors Theatre of Louisville's acting apprentice program, she relocated to Chicago.

Shirley Lauro's best-known work, A Piece of My Heart, has had over 2,000 productions around the world. The Radiant world premiered in March 2011, at New Theatre, Miami, starring Angelica Torn as Marie Curie, and performed off-Broadway in winter 2013. All Through the Night premiered in Chicago, receiving a Jeff Nomination as "Best New Play," with subsequent productions at Red Fern Theater (off-Broadway), The Living Theater and Infinite Variety Productions (NYC), ArtsWest (Seattle), and in Calgary, Arizona, and Georgia. Clarence Darrow's Last Trial premiered at New Theatre in Miami (Carbonell nomination, NEA Enhancement Grant, New American Play Prize honoree). Other works include Open Admissions (Broadway, Tony nomination, two Drama Desk nominations, Theatre World Award, Dramatists Guild's Hull-Warriner Award); The Contest (directed by Jerry Zaks at Philadelphia's Annenberg Center, National Foundation for Jewish Culture Award); The Coal Diamond, Nothing Immediate (4th Annual Samuel French Off Off-Broadway Festival winner); Railing it Uptown; Sunday Go to Meetin'; Pearls on the Moon (Stamford Theatre Works). Lauro's novel, The Edge, published in the US and Great Britain, was a Literary Guild Choice. Major Fellowships include the Guggenheim, NEA grants, NY Foundation for the Arts. She is a director of The Dramatists Guild Fund; Playwrights/ Directors Unit, The Actors Studio; League of Professional Theatre Women/ NY; Ensemble Studio Theatre; PEN; Writer's Guild East; and Author's Guild.

FUNDERS: The Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelly Foundation; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; the Department of Cultural Affairs; plus Aramark, Farney Wurlitzer Foundation, Mardi Gras Fund, and the annual support of individual donors.

NEXT: CDE will host a free, one-week workshop at the end of June, based on an original screenplay by Paul Pasulka. The play La Maestra juxtaposes the sexual assault stories of baroque painter, Artemisia Gentileschi, and a college theatre student to demonstrate the perpetuated prevalence of sexual violence in society. Dancers and actors will learn how to devise original work using dance and physical theatre techniques, then perform scenes. More information at

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