Four World Premieres Slated for The New Colony's 2016 Season

The New Colony, dedicated to creating world premieres for the Chicago stage, is pleased to announce its first-ever four production season for 2016.

The season kicks off this winter with the racially charged family drama BYHALIA, MISSISSIPPI, by Co-Artistic Director Evan Linder, directed by Tyrone Phillips and co-produced with Definition Theatre Company. The production is part of a unique "World Premiere Conversation," making its debut in Chicago, Memphis, TN and Charleston, SC the same weekend, followed by staged readings in four additional U.S and Canadian cities and culminating in an online talkback with all seven cities.

The 2016 season continues next spring with the world premiere of the heartfelt drama EVEN LONGER AND FARTHER AWAY by Chelsea Marcantel and directed by Thrisa Hodits followed by the summer 2016 world premiere of KIN FOLK, a fantastical family drama by William Glick and directed by Linder. The season concludes next fall with a soon-to-be-announced world premiere.

The New Colony's full 2016 Season will take place at its resident home, The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets for all productions will go on sale at a later date at

The New Colony is also pleased to add three new ensemble members to its ranks: Monica M. Brown, Sarah Collogne and Chris Fowler.

"This year, we challenged ourselves to take our mission even further than any previous season," comments Co-Artistic Director Andrew Hobgood. "We see the National Conversation around Byhalia, Mississippi as a big step forward in our mission to cultivate a new generation of arts supporters. When you see a movie or television show, you are seeing it with everyone else who has seen it. Even if you didn't see it together, you can still talk about it as if you did. We want to use technology to make it possible for friends to go see theater together, even if they are not in the same location, giving theater the type of 'water cooler moment' that film and TV audiences have benefited from for decades. We now have about 15 shows under development at any time, and that number continues to grow each year. Adding a fourth production this season is an exciting leap for us -- even more so since it meant we could bring Chelsea Marcantel and William Glick back to Chicago."

The New Colony's 2016 Season includes:

January 8 - February 14, 2016


Written by Co-Artistic Director Evan Linder

Directed by Tyrone Phillips

A Co-Production with Definition Theatre Company

Jim and Laurel Parker are about to become new parents. They are broke. They are loud. They are "proud white trash." When Laurel finally gives birth to their overdue child, she and Jim are faced with the biggest challenge of their lives: their baby boy is black, the result of Laurel's affair the previous year. The lives of their families and friends are thrown into turmoil in Byhalia, Mississippi, a town with a racially-charged past that still affects its present.

The New Colony and Definition Theatre Company are proud to open their seasons with a "World Premiere Conversation," with BYHALIA, MISSISSIPPI simultaneously receiving three world premiere openings the weekend of January 8, 2016 in Chicago, Memphis, TN (Playhouse on the Square) and Charleston, SC (Village Rep Co.). The following week, the drama will also receive staged readings in Birmingham, AL (Theatre Downtown), Boulder, CO (square product theatre), Los Angeles, CA (Sixth Avenue) and Toronto, ON (Cue6 Productions). Audiences in all seven cities will come together for an online talkback on Monday, January 18 (Martin Luther King, Jr. Day) to discuss the play's impact on their local audiences. The Conversation will be curated by dramaturg Katherine Zukaitis and directed by Definition ensemble member Tyrone Phillips. BYHALIA, MISSISSIPPI is the winner of the 2014 New Works Competition at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis and was seen this summer in a workshop production at Stage Left Theatre's Leapfest XII in Chicago.

April 8 - May 15, 2016


Written by Chelsea Marcantel

Directed by Thrisa Hodits

In a tiny town in Appalachia, stories are told about a long-gone lady whose heart will never stop. As the keeper of these stories lies dying, she sends a messenger out into the greater world to bring the ever-youthful Nyada home. But Nyada has no desire to see the mountains again, and the messenger has a dark and simple purpose of his own. Even Longer and Farther Away is the story of two sisters, one town and a secret as vast as the whole wide world.

July 8 - August 14, 2016

KIN FOLK - World Premiere!

Written by William Glick

Directed by Co-Artistic Director Evan Linder

After being recently orphaned, Lucy must reimagine her life. She decides to come out of the closet and reveal her true identity to her family: a dragon named Kreeka. After the announcement, Lucy feels forced to choose between her family and a new community known as Otherkin. On her journey, she meets a young man claiming to be an elf, a giant gnome named Blubberwort and a werewolf from Montana who show her what it means to lead a life driven by a belief in the fantastic.


William Glick (Playwright, Kin Folk) William Glick was born and raised in South Florida and moved to Chicago to study politics and theater at the University of Chicago. His play The Winter Farm was a semi-finalist for the 2015 National Playwright's Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center, and his play Faggot Dolls received a workshop production at the Cohen New Works Festival in Austin last April. Kin Folk marks his Chicago playwriting debut. He is currently a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas.

Thrisa Hodits (Director, Even Longer and Farther Away) returns to The New Colony for her first production since Down & Derby. This summer, Thrisa was the 2nd Unit Director on The Hypocrites' 12-hour All Our Tragic, directed With Love and a Major Organ for Strawdog's Hugen Hall and assistant directed Second Nature, a new children's opera with the Lyric Opera, premiering at Lincoln Park Zoo. This fall, Thrisa will direct for The Inconvenience's Citizens Anthology, as well as co-direct alongside Sean Graney for The Hypocrites' Gilbert & Sullivan regional tour to Berkeley Rep (Pirates of Penzance), Actors Theatre of Louisville/American Repertory Theatre (HMS Pinafore, and The Olney Theatre (Pirates/Mikado rep). Thrisa has worked with The Strange Tree Group, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, 2nd Story, Jackalope Theatre Company, The Inconvenience, First Floor Theatre and is a proud member of The Hypocrites and The New Colony.

Evan Linder (Playwright, Byhalia, Mississippi; Director, Kin Folk) is a founding member and the Co-Artistic Director of The New Colony. He works as a playwright, actor and director. He also teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago. Evan's first play produced in Chicago, FRAT, was named as one of the Best of 2009 in the Chicago Tribune, Windy City Times and Newcity. Other works include 11:11, The Warriors, The Bear Suit of Happiness, B-Side Studio and 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which was named Best Overall Production at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival and is published by Samuel French. 5 Lesbians also enjoyed an Off-Broadway run as part of the Soho Playhouse's 2012-2013 season. In 2013, he was listed on Chicago Magazine's Power List of Theater Scene Stealers. In 2014, Evan originated the roles of Jonathan in The New Colony's reWILDing Genius for Steppenwolf's Garage Rep and Orville in Orville and Wilbur Did It! with The New Colony. 2014 also saw his play The Bear Suit of Happiness published by Chicago Dramaworks and his play Byhalia, Mississippi named the winner of the New Works Competition at Playhouse on the Square in Memphis, TN. Works in development include The Hunted, co-written with Paul Oakley Stovall and The Issue, which is in currently in workshops with The New Colony.

Chelsea Marcantel (Playwright, Even Longer and Farther Away) is a playwright originally from Louisiana, who lived for many years in Chicago, and is now a second-year Lila Acheson Wallace American Playwrights Fellow at The Juilliard School in New York City. Chelsea is an active self-producer of her own work, and has also collaborated with Victory Gardens, The Hypocrites, The Side Project, 20% Theatre, Collaboraction, The Inconvenience, Jackalope Theatre and Cabaret Vagabond, among others. Her work has been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Minneapolis, Virginia, Kentucky, Louisiana and North Carolina. She has taught in the English and Theatre departments at Virginia Intermont College and Emory & Henry College. She is a member of the Dramatists Guild of America and The Playwrights Center. Representation: ICM.

Tyrone Phillips (Director, Byhalia, Mississippi) currently serves as the founding artistic director of Chicago's Definition Theatre Company, where he recently played Torvald in A Doll's House. Tyrone holds a BFA from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign and is represented by Grossman and Jack Talent. Directing credits include Dutchman by the late Amiri Baraka, Evening News, A Taurian Tale, Just Suppose (Definition Theatre), Amuse Bosh (Pavement Group), Luck of the Irish and The Tempest (Niles North Theatre). Recent onstage credits include Stick Fly (Windy City Playhouse), Genesis (Definition Theatre), and Saturday Night/Sunday Morning (Prologue Theatre at Steppenwolf Garage Rep). Tyrone has also studied abroad at Shakespeare's Globe and was an artistic intern at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. At Milwaukee Rep he was seen in Assassins (Ensemble), A Christmas Carol (Ensemble, U/S Bob Cratchit), The Mountaintop (U/S MLK), Clybourne Park (U/S Kevin/Albert) and A Raisin in the Sun (Moving Man, U/S Walter Lee). Film and television credits include Boss, Divergent, Gimmick and Intersection.

The New Colony, the 2011 recipient of the Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award, strives to contribute original material to the American artistic canon and develop a new kind of theater going audience. Through collaboration with emerging artists of all disciplines, The New Colony continually develops new work and fresh perspectives. With the goal of exploring enticing subject matter and the common language of experience, The New Colony will cultivate the next generation of arts supporters.

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