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Jackalope Theatre Company Announces Details for 2020/2021 Digital Season



Jackalope Theatre Company Announces Details for 2020/2021 Digital Season

Jackalope Theatre Company, under the artistic direction of Kaiser Ahmed, announces the production details for the New Frontier Series of commissioned and developing plays - the flagship series of the entirely digital 2020/21 season.

The New Frontier Series follows four playwrights and their creative teams as they embark on new commissions. The series line-up includes CROPT by Daria Miyeko Marinelli, directed by Mikael Burke; Being Julia Roberts by Omer Abbas Salem, directed by Sophiyaa Nayar; Michael Jackson and The Devil's Book by Terry Guest, directed by Wardell Julius Clark; and P A N G E A by Calamity West, directed by Regina Victor. Each play's progress will be chronicled online through interactive media, community panels, and workshop readings and presentations.

The Annual Living Newspaper Series will also go digital for Season 13, with regular installments of short filmed works inspired by current events. The first LNS installment is a piece entitled I Can't Ride Trains Anymore written by August Forman, directed by Catherine Miller, and featuring Eli Sulkowski, which will premiere on Monday, September 28th at 7:30pm. All digital programming, including the New Frontier Series development blog, can be accessed free of charge at For additional content and behind-the-scenes access, patrons can join Jackalope's monthly giving club, The Pioneers. Membership is $10/per month, and the proceeds go directly towards developing new work.

In addition to the launch of Season 13, Artistic Director Kaiser Ahmed and Board President Michael Schutte announce the appointment of Jackalope's new Managing Director, Tina El Gamal. El Gamal succeeds Nora Leahy, who has served in the role since 2017.

Tina El Gamal is an Arts Administrator, Educator, Actor, and Director from the South Side of Chicago. She comes to Jackalope from Steppenwolf Theatre Company where she currently works as the Prospect Development Analyst, and is a member of the teaching artist cohort. Tina is a founding member of MENASAMidwest, and has worked with arts organizations across Chicago including Silk Road Rising, Interrobang Theatre Project, Steep Theatre, Lookingglass, and more.

"I am thrilled to have Tina join the company in this capacity," says Leahy of the appointment. "We have found in her a leader that makes this transition feel effortless, and I am confident that she will be an agent of positive change and forward momentum for the company. I'm looking forward to watching what amazing things await Jackalope in this next chapter."

"I am humbled and excited to be entrusted with this work," says El Gamal. "Jackalope Theatre exemplifies daring artistry and an ongoing commitment to expand what it means to be an American. This continued questioning will help transform Chicago theatre into a more equitable space for all artists, especially those whose voices have gone unheard. I intend to continue grappling with the reality of this moment in history while securing a sustainable future for Jackalope, and every artist who has yet to make a home here."

The company also welcomes new company members into the fold: Stefani Azores-Gococo, Jared Bellot, Ryan Emens, Eric Gerard, Helen Joo Lee, and Liz Sharpe.



Written by Daria Miyeko Marinelli | Directed by Michael Burke | Dramaturgy by Hannah Hopkins


Rough Cut Reading: December 8th, 2020 |

Papers' Edge Presentation: April 16th & 17th, 2021 |


It's like the new avocado toast. But BETTER.

Moving from the fig orchards of United Farm Workers to the brunch tables of Instagram It Girls to the data server farms of Instagram itself, CROPT is a connective triptych that investigates the systematic violence inherent in the millennial bourgeois life that some of us have grown into/aspire towards to ask: What is the price of that perfect brunch photo?

Being Julia Roberts

Written by Omer Abbas Salem | Directed by Sophiyaa Nayar | Dramaturgy by Nadya Naumaan


Rough Cut Reading: December 10th, 2020 |

Papers' Edge Presentation: April 30th & May 1st, 2021 |


Having moved to the US from Iraq weeks before 9/11, the Kazem family are already targeted for their accents and names and it only gets worse. What happens when their 25 year old son wakes up one morning, truly believing he's Julia Roberts and greets the world with a voice that sounds like her American one and can only speak in her colloquial dialogue? Can they use his Americanized voice to their advantage and what does it mean to not fight for the old one's return?

Michael Jackson and The Devil's Book

Written by Terry Guest | Directed by Wardell Julius Clark | Dramaturgy by Jared Bellot*


Rough Cut Reading: December 15th, 2020 |

Papers' Edge Presentation: May 14th & 15th, 2021 |


Would you sign over your life for immortality? Michael Jackson and The Devil's Book is a macabre fantasia that uses the myth of The King of Pop to explore Black Celebrity, madness, greed, murder and The American Dream. A multitude of Black superstars (Including Bill Cosby, Beyonce, OJ Simpson, The Obamas, Michael Jordan, Oprah, etc) appear out of the shadows to tell the story of what happens to a person who becomes a God.


Written by Calamity West* | Directed by Regina Victor | Dramaturgy by Will Kiley


Rough Cut Reading: December 17th, 2020 |

Papers' Edge Presentation: May 28th & 29th, 2021 |


It's 2020 and Calamity West is thinking about a new play - a fantasia. While the trees in her courtyard building are being axed down, and the gates of Graceland Cemetery are falling, Calamity begins receiving texts from unknown numbers in Missouri that demand answers. Contact tracing her own loss of innocence, our playwright must explore the continental divide of the present and past in this Metamodern saga: P A N G E A.

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