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Chicago Premiere of YOGA PLAY & More Announced for Strawdog Theatre Company 2022-2023 Season

The 2022-23 season kicks off this winter with the return of the annual holiday family favorite Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins.

Chicago Premiere of YOGA PLAY & More Announced for Strawdog Theatre Company 2022-2023 Season

Strawdog Theatre Company, under the leadership of Artistic Director Kamille Dawkins*, is welcoming back audiences for its 35th season, "Propellant," featuring a Chicago premiere, a new twist on a comedy classic and the return of a holiday favorite. Strawdog offers free admission to all of its productions, guided by the company's mission toward equity, anti-racism and inclusion.

The 2022-23 season kicks off this winter with the return of the annual holiday family favorite Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, returning for its fifth year. Based on the award-winning book by Eric Kimmel, Hershel is adapted by ensemble member Michael Dailey*, with music and lyrics by Jacob Combs and direction by Hannah Todd. Hershel will be performed at The Edge Theater Off-Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave. in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood.

The season continues next spring with the Chicago premiere of Dipika Guha's Yoga Play, an uproarious exploration of cultural appropriation, exploitation, consumerism, fat shaming and yoga pants, performed at the new Bramble Arts Loft, 5545 N. Clark St. in Chicago's Andersonville's neighborhood.

Strawdog's 35th season concludes next spring/summer with a queer retelling of Oscar Wilde's classic comedy The Importance of Being Earnest, directed by Elizabeth, also playing at the Bramble Arts Loft.

Throughout the month of June 2022, Strawdog also hosts its "A Chance to Blossom" Fundraiser. All month long, the company's artists will give you the inside scoop about new staff, upcoming shows and a new play program. Help Strawdog flourish by making a donation at www.strawdog.org.

Comments Artistic Director Kamille Dawkins, "We are energized by the support we've received during our first season back with live performances. Now we're using that momentum to launch ahead into our next season themed, Propellant. Enjoy inspiring, innovative comedies and new work headed by brilliant artists as we continue to offer free tickets to our shows. Show your support for these works and our efforts by donating to Strawdog this month."

Tickets for Strawdog Theatre's 2022-23 season will go on sale at a later date.

*Denotes Strawdog ensemble/company members.

December 2022/January 2023

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins

Based on book by Erik Kimmel

Adapted by Michael Dailey*

Music & Lyrics by Jacob Combs

Directed by Hannah Todd

at The Edge Theater Off-Broadway, 1133 W. Catalpa Ave., Chicago

In this adaptation of the Caldecott Honor-winning book, a traveling troupe of actors comes to town to find no one celebrating Hanukkah. They must put on a show to save the holiday! Will they bring back the spirit of Hanukkah to the town? Will Hershel of Ostropol outsmart the goblins who haunt the old synagogue?

April/May 2023

Yoga Play

Written by Dipika Guha

at Bramble Arts Loft, 5545 N. Clark St., Chicago

Joan has been hired to stabilize Jojomon, a yoga apparel giant, after its CEO is brought down by a fat-shaming scandal. But just as she finds her stride, more trouble surfaces and sales plummet. Joan comes up with a plan so risky that it could make or break the company and her career - and what it requires from her CFO, Raj, is far beyond the call of duty. This sharp comedy asks what it takes to find your own authenticity in a world determined to sell enlightenment.

May/June 2023

The Importance of Being Earnest

Written by Oscar Wilde

Directed by Elizabeth Swanson

Bramble Arts Loft, 5545 N. Clark St., Chicago

John Worthing, a carefree young gentleman, is the inventor of a fictitious brother, "Ernest," whose wicked ways afford John an excuse to leave his country home from time to time and journey to London, where he stays with his close friend and confidant, Algernon Moncrieff. Algernon has a cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax, with whom John is deeply in love. During his London sojourns, John, under the name Ernest, has won Gwendolen's love, for she strongly desires to marry someone with the confidence-inspiring name of Ernest. But when he asks for Gwendolen's hand from the formidable Lady Bracknell, John finds he must reveal he is a foundling who was left in a handbag at Victoria Station. Algernon falls madly in love with the beautiful Cecily, who has long been enamored of the mysterious, fascinating brother Ernest. With the arrival of Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen, chaos erupts.

About the Artists:

Eric Kimmel (Book, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) is the author of over 130 books for children, including Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock and the classic Hanukkah tale, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. He is a five-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement.

Michael Dailey (Adapter, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) has been a Strawdog company member since 1997. He has appeared as an actor in 24 Strawdog productions. Writing credits include three radio plays presented as part of Radio Theatre 7, co-writer on the late-night series The Adventures of Picklebot and Lawfer and script editor for Strawdog's productions of 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, Julius Caesar and Measure for Measure.

Jacob Combs (Music & Lyrics, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) is a writer, composer and director based in Los Angeles. Jacob wrote the music and lyrics for Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins (based on the beloved children's book by Eric Kimmel), which has been produced annually since 2018 by Chicago's Strawdog Theatre. Previous theater projects include Selling Out (Strawdog Theatre), Legends & Lore (New York Theatre Barn, Musical Theatre Workshop) and Palin! The Musical. A lifelong film nerd, Jacob recently worked in the writers' rooms of two top-secret projects at Pixar, and wrote several episodes of the Disney+ documentary series Inside Pixar. Jacob also wrote the short film Messrs. which is beginning its festival run, and his first short film as writer/director, Without, showed at several festivals in 2019 and 2020.

Hannah Todd (Director, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) is a director based in Chicago by way of Washington, D.C. Directing work includes Thrones! A Musical Parody at the Apollo Theater, Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens/Merrimack Repertory Theater (Associate Director) and work at Theater Alliance, Lean & Hungry Theatre and We Happy Few (co-founder) in D.C. Assistant directing includes Northlight, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Folger Theater, Studio Theater and Shakespeare Theater Company. Hannah received her MFA in Directing from Northwestern University.

Dipika Guha (Playwright, Yoga Play) was born in Calcutta and raised in India, Russia and the United Kingdom. She is the inaugural recipient of the Shakespeare's Sister Playwriting Fellowship, a Hodder Fellow at the Lewis Center for the Arts at Princeton and a Venturous Fellow with the Lark Play Development Center. Her plays include Yoga Play (South Coast Repertory Theatre, SF Playhouse, Gateway Theatre, amongst others), I Enter the Valley (Theatreworks New Play Festival, Finalist for the Ruby Prize '15). The Art of Gaman (Theatre 503 London, Berkeley Rep Ground Floor) and Unreliable (Kansas City Rep). She is currently under commission from ACT and Z Space, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Berkeley Rep, South Coast Rep and MTC/Sloan.

Elizabeth Swanson (Director, The Importance of Being Earnest) is a Chicago-based director who develops new plays and musicals with innovative playwrights and composers who challenge the form and expand our idea of what theater can be. Elizabeth often tells queer stories that explore our desires and imagine new possibilities for relationships and institutions. Recent credits include Lungs (Granary Theatre, Cork), Restore (Three Brothers Theatre) and Where All The White Sneakers At?: A Sketch Review (Second City). Recent assistant directing credits include Vardo for the 2014 Dublin Theatre Festival (Anu Productions, dir. Louise Lowe), A Work Of Art (Chicago Dramatist, dir. Henry Godinez), and Love's Labor's Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, dir. Marti Maraden). Other projects include Artist's Lab 2016 (Stage 773) as well as staged readings for Chicago Dramatists, Irish Theatre of Chicago, The Jades and Chicago Theatre Marathon. Elizabeth earned her M.F.A from the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at Trinity College, Dublin. Two-time winner of Chicago DCASE Individual Artist grants and recipient of Princeton University's Francis LeMoyne Page Award.

About Strawdog Theatre Company

Since its founding in 1988, Strawdog Theatre Company has offered Chicagoland the premiere storefront theatre experience and garnered numerous Non-Equity Jeff Awards with its commitment to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. The celebrated Company develops new work, re-imagines the classics, melds music with theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers their audience the unexpected.

Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.



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