Chimera Ensemble to Stage Chicago Premiere of SISTER CITIES

Artistic Director Rainee Denham and Chimera Ensemble are proud to present the Chicago premiere of Colette Freedman's Sister Cities, directed by Ashley Neal, August 20 - September 18 at The Den, 1333 N. Milwaukee. Previews are Saturday, Aug. 20 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 21 at 3 p.m. (with talk back following the show) and Wednesday, Aug. 24 at 7:30 p.m. Opening night and reception is Thursday, Aug. 25 at 7:30 p.m. Sister Cities runs Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $14-16 for previews and $22 - $26 during the run. Based on availability, industry tickets are $10 with a headshot and resume presented to the box office for all performances. Tickets may be purchased at The Den parking lot is at Division and Paulina, a parking pass is available at The Den Box Office.

Four estranged sisters, as different as the cities they are named after, face their mother's recent and sudden death in Sister Cities. Freedman's Sister Citieswas the hit of the 2008 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and has earned strong critical acclaim around the world, including productions in Paris (Une Ville, Une Soeur), Rome (Le Quattro Sorelle) and recently in Melbourne, Australia. A film version is currently in post-production and stars Jacki Weaver, Alfred Molina, Jess Weixler, Stana Katic, Michelle Trachtenberg, Amy Smart, Troian Bellisario, Tom Everett Scott and Kathy Baker.

The cast of Sister Cities includes Chimera Ensemble members Norma Chacon, "Baltimore;" Rainee Denham, "Mary," Anna Donnell, "Dallas;" Nicole Fabbri, "Austin" and Katlynn Yost, "Carolina."

Sister Cities production team includes Catherine Allen, production manager; Gwendolyn Wiegold, costume designer; Meghan Erxleben, light designer; Steve Labedz, sound designer and Abbie Welsch, prop designer.


Colette Freedman is an internationally produced playwright, screenwriter and novelist who was named one of the Dramatist Guild's "50 to Watch." She has authored fifteen produced plays including Serial Killer Barbie, First to the Egg (Grand Prize Shorts, urban shorts festival), Bridesmaid # 3 (Louisville finalist 2008) and Ellipses... (Dezart Festival winner 2010), as well as a modern adaptation of Iphigenia in Aulis written in iambic pentameter. She was commissioned to write a modern adaptation of Uncle Vanya that is in preproduction and has co-written, with international bestselling novelist Jackie Collins, the play Jackie Collins Hollywood Lies, which is currently being launched for National Tour. And, in collaboration with The New York Times best selling author Michael Scott, she co-wrote the thriller The Thirteen Hallows. Her novel The Affair and its sequel The Consequences earned both critical and commercial success. Freedman also co-wrote the film And Then There Was Eve is currently in pre-production and begins principal photography this May.


Ashley Neal is thrilled to be working with Chimera Ensemble on their inaugural production, Sister Cities. She is a proud member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble where she has appeared in many productions, including: Wrens, 26 Miles, The Walls, Be Aggressive and others. Other credits include: London Wall, Men Should Weep, and Stage Door with Griffin Theatre, Red Handed Otter with A Red Orchid Theatre, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle with Steep Theatre, Reverb with Redtwist Theatre, 25 Saints with Pine Box, Holidaze with Step Up Productions, Scenes from the Big Picture with Seanachi as well as work with Chicago Dramatists, Jackalope Theatre, Victory Gardens, Strawdog, The Greenhouse Theatre and others. Neal is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago, The School at Steppenwolf and the Black Box Studio program. She is also a teacher at Columbia College, the School at Steppenwolf and Black Box Acting Studio.


Norma Chacon was born in Zacatecus, Mexico and moved to Chicago as a child. She has worked as a principal and supporting actress in several television shows and commercials, including Caso Cerrado, Chicago PD and the upcoming show Chop Chop on WCIU. She holds a BFA from The Illinois Institute of Art.


Rainee Denham is the artistic director of Chimera Ensemble and returned to theatre after decades in the business world. She's worked with Promethean Theatre, LezPlays, Reutan Collective, WTA, and has mounted two one-woman musical shows, The Promise of Spring and Dream. She has appeared in six indie films, including a feature Mercy's Girl, a web series "The Photographer" and had a co-starring role on Chicago PD.

Anna Donnell has worked with The Ruckus and The Whiskey Rebellion Theatre in Chicago, and The Oxford Shakespeare Festival, The Oxford Film Festival and Deer Run Media in Oxford, Mississippi. Donnell is also a singer and performs with her folk duo "Chauncey and The Beast" all around Chicago. She holds a BFA from The University of Mississippi.

Nicole Fabbri recently returned to Chicago from Los Angeles and joined The Academy at Black Box for a five-month intensive training. Some of her favorite roles include Mae Pollit from Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, Agnes from Bug, Marks from Talking With..., Second Witch from Macbeth, Urania from Dax Dixon vs. The Moth Sluts from the Fifth Dimension, Jane from Death and The Kings Horseman, Beatrice from Serial Killer Barbie (The Musical), and Liesl from Schmutzigen Deutsche Kabarett.


Katlynn Yost is from Omaha, and has worked with Nebraska Shakespeare, Blue Barn Theatre, Brigit Saint Brigit Theatre and The Omaha Community Playhouse. She holds a BA in Acting from The University of Nebraska. She has spent two years spreading awareness about bullying and mental health issues to kids with RESPECT, a touring educational theater group.


Chimera donates 10% of profits from this production to the ALS Foundation. ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that destroys motor neurons. The ALS Foundation for Life are optimistic for the day when a cure or prevention for ALS is discovered, but are equally aware that we cannot sit back idly waiting for scientific research and FDA approvals. It is their goal to do whatever they can to ease the physical, emotional and financial burdens that accompany this diagnosis for the men and women in the community who are forced to battle this disease on a daily basis.


Chimera Ensemble, will host post show discussions throughout the run focusing on the production and, in conjunction with the ALS Foundation, the impact of ALS within the home and the community.

Sunday, Aug. 21, immediately following 3 p.m. performance - Playwright Colette Freedman

Additional post show discussions, TBA.

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