Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE

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Victory Gardens Theater continues its 43rd season with the World Premiere of Lettie, written by Boo Killebrew and directed by Artistic Director Chay Yew. Lettie runs April 6 - May 6, 2018, with the press performance on Friday, April 13, 2018 at 7:30pm at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue.

After serving seven years in prison, Lettie is released and struggles to make a fresh start. Her children, who have been cared for by her half-sister, want little to do with her. Her re-entry job is anything but gentle as she takes on the dark, harsh world of welding. Trying again and again to create a non-criminal life, Lettie is confronted by her past and must make impossible choices to protect her future. Lettie, directed by Artistic Director Chay Yew (A Wonder In My Soul, The House That Will Not Stand) marks playwright Boo Killebrew's Victory Gardens Theater debut.

?"I'm thrilled to be collaborating with playwright Boo Killebrew on this new work," said Artistic Director Chay Yew. "Lettie is a moving and profound play that accurately captures the portraits of working-class women dealing with issues of recidivism and challenges in re-entry employment from incarceration, gender and race in the work place, poverty, and motherhood. One of most unique voices in the American Theatre, Boo possesses a remarkable ability to address relevant and difficult social issues through the prism of recognizable and deeply resonant personal relationships."

The cast of Lettie includes Charin Alvarez (Minny), Matt Farabee (River), Kirsten Fitzgerald (Carla), Ryan Kitley (Frank), Caroline Neff (Lettie) and Krystal Ortiz (Layla).

The creative team includes Andrew Boyce (scenic design), Melissa Ng (costume design), Lee Fiskness (lighting design), Mikhail Fiksel (composition and sound design) and Jesse Gaffney (props design). Jerrell L. Henderson is the assistant director, Cassie Calderone is the production stage manager and Skyler Gray is the dramaturg.

About the Artists

Chay Yew (Director) Chay Yew is the Artistic Director at Victory Gardens Theater. Victory Gardens Theater: A Wonder in My Soul, Roz and Ray, The House That Will Not Stand, Hillary and Clinton, Death and the Maiden, An Issue of Blood, The Gospel of Lovingkindness, Mojada, Oedipus el Rey, Universes' Ameriville. Chicago: Dartmoor Prison, Black N Blue Boys/Broken Men (Goodman Theatre); Where Did We Sit On The Bus? (Teatro Vista/Victory Gardens, Boise Contemporary Theatre); Po Boy Tango (Northlight Theatre). Productions at The Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, The Playwrights Realm, New York Theatre Workshop, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Rattlestick, National Asian American Theatre Company, Ma-Yi Theatre Company. Regional: Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Mark Taper Forum, American Conservatory Theater, South Coast Rep, Long Wharf Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, Huntington Theatre Company, Denver Center Theatre, Playmakers Rep, Empty Space Theatre, Mosaic Theatre Company, Curious Theatre Company, Cincinnati Playhouse, Round House Theater, Portland Center Stage, Southern Rep, Geva Theatre Company, Pillsbury Theatre, Gala Hispanic Theatre, Cornerstone Theatre Company, Singapore Repertory Theatre, Theatre at Boston Court, East West Players amongst others. His opera credits include world premieres of Osvaldo Golijov and David Henry Hwang's Ainadamar (co-production with the Tanglewood Music Center, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic); and Rob Zuidam's Rage d'Amors (Tanglewood Music Center). Chay is a recipient of the OBIE Award and DramaLogue Award for Direction. As a playwright, his plays include Porcelain, A Language of Their Own, Red, A Beautiful Country, Wonderland, Question 27 Question 28, A Distant Shore, 17, and Visible Cities.His other work includes adaptations of A Winter People (based on Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard), Lorca's The House of Bernarda Alba, and a musical Long Season. His performance works include Vivian and Her Shadows and Home: Places between Asia and America. His plays have been produced at The Public Theater, Mark Taper Forum, Manhattan Theatre Club, Long Wharf Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, Wilma Theatre, Dallas Theatre Center, Portland Center Stage, amongst many others. Overseas, his plays have been produced by The Royal Court Theatre (London), Fattore K and Napoli Teatro Festival (Naples, Italy), La Mama (Melbourne, Australia), Four Arts (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia), Singapore Repertory Theatre, Toy Factory, Checkpoint Theatre, Theatre-Works (Singapore), amongst others. He is also the recipient of the London Fringe Award for Best Playwright and Best Play, George and Elisabeth Marton Playwriting Award, GLAAD Media Award, Made in America Award, AEA/SAG/ AFTRA Diversity Honor, and Robert Chesley Award. His plays Porcelain and A Language of Their Own, and The Hyphenated American Plays are published by Grove Press. He recently edited Version 3.0: An Anthology of Contemporary Asian American Plays for TCG Publications. He was the founding director of the Taper's Asian Theatre Workshop and producer of Taper, Too. Chay is also an alumnus of New Dramatists and serves on Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events' Cultural Advisory Council and League of Chicago Theatres.

Boo Killebrew (Playwright) Boo Killebrew is a playwright, actress, and co-founder of CollaborationTown Theatre Company. Boo was a Lila Acheson Playwriting Fellow at The Juilliard School and the recipient of The Paula Vogel Award at The Vineyard Theater. She is a resident of The SPACE Working Farm, an alumni of the Emerging Writers Group at The Public Theater, a recipient of a NYFA Fellowship, an alumni of TerraNova's Groundbreakers, an Affiliated Artist and Kitchen Cabinet Member with New Georges, and a Usual Suspect with New Theater Workshop. Her plays include MILLER, MISSISSIPPI (The Leah Ryan Prize 2015, Dallas Theater Center 2017); ROMANCE NOVELS FOR DUMMIES (Williamstown Theater Festival, 2016), DAYS LIKE DIAMONDS, THE PLAY ABOUT MY DAD (59e59 Theatres), THE d LIFE, CAVEAT EMPTOR and THE MOMENTUM (NYC Fringe Festival Excellence Award for Overall Production of a Play; GLAAD Media Award Nominee). Her work has been presented at The Roundabout Theatre, The Public Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival, The Atlantic, New York Theater Workshop, New York Stage and Film, Perry Mansfield, Portland Center Stage, New Georges, Clubbed Thumb, The Huntington Theatre Co., 59e59 Theatres, The New Ohio, The Labyrinth, The Alley Theatre, and Boston Playwright's Theatre. Boo was an Edward F. Albee Foundation Fellow, an Artist in Residence at NYFA, Robert Wilson's Watermill Center, New York Theater Workshop, The MacDowell Colony, Williamstown Theater Festival, and the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council. Boo has received two New York Innovative Theater Awards, two Fringe Excellence Awards, and The Bette Davis Foundation Award. She is currently commissioned by Victory Gardens, The Dallas Theatre Center, and Manhattan Theatre Club. Boo is a writer for Longmire on Netflix and created the television pilot Aim High, which is currently in development at AMC.

Charin Alvarez (Minnie) Theatre credits include: The Scene (Writer's Theatre); 2666, Pedro Paramo, El Nogalar, Dollhouse, Electricidad (The Goodman Theatre); Mojada, Oedipus El Rey, Anna in the Tropics, A Park in the House (Victory Gardens Theater); In the time of the Butterflies, Our Lady of the Underpass, I put the fear of Mexico in 'em, Dreamlandia, Another Part of the House (Teatro Vista); Water by the Spoonful (Court Theatre); Work of Art (Chicago Dramatists); The Clean House (Remy Bumppo); What We Once Felt (About Face Theatre); Kita & Fernanda (16th Street theatre); Esperanza Rising (Chicago Children's Theatre); Two Sisters and a Piano (Apple Tree Theatre); Generic Latina (Teatro Luna); La Casa de Bernarda Alba (Aguijon Theatre). Film/TV credits include: Easy; Shameless; Chicago Fire; Mob Doctor; Boss; Chicago Code; Approach Alone; Rooftop Wars; Arc of a Bird; Were the World Mine; Chicago Overcoat; First and Only Lesson; Eric's Haircut; Dogwalker; Rogers Park; Olympia: Manual on how to live your life, Signature Move; En Algun Lugar; Princess Cyd; Single File; Teacher; Hala.

Matt Farabee (River) Rest (Victory Gardens). Chicago credits include: Dry Land (Rivendell Theatre), The Burials (Steppenwolf), The Skin of Our Teeth (Remy Bumppo), Bruise Easy (American Theater Company), Mud Blue Sky (A Red Orchid Theatre), punkplay (Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Skylight (Court Theater), Milk Milk Lemonade (Pavement Group), Elizabeth Rex (Chicago Shakespeare), Tigers Be Still (Theater Wit), Abraham Lincoln was a F*gg*t (AboutFace Theatre), The Sweeter Option (Strawdog), and The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek (Eclipse Theatre Company). Off-Broadway: A Bright New Boise (Partial Comfort). Regional: Lord of the Flies, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Round House Theatre).

Kirsten Fitzgerald (Carla) Victory Gardens: Appropriate (world premiere). A Red Orchid Theatre: Traitor (world premiere), Evening at the Talk House, Pilgrim's Progress (world premiere), Abigail's Party, Mud Blue Sky, The Sea Horse (Jeff Award), etc. Steppenwolf: Mary Page Marlowe (world premiere), The Qualms (world premiere), Clybourne Park, A Streetcar Named Desire. Other theatres: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Goodman, Shattered Globe, Remy Bumppo, Plasticene, Prop, Next, Famous Door, Defiant Theatre and more. Television: The Exorcist, Sirens, Chicago Med, Chicago Justice, Chicago Fire, Underemployed, ER. Kirsten is the Artistic Director and a member of the Ensemble at A Red Orchid Theatre.

Ryan Kitley (Frank) Recent credits: Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare), Objects in the Mirror (Goodman Theatre), Support Group for Men (Goodman Theatre) Assassination Theater (MBC), Burn This (Shattered Globe) A Few Good Men (Theatre at the Center), Travels With My Aunt (Writers Theatre) Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (Shattered Globe) The Big Funk (Clock Productions) Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Meadowbrook Theatre) Amy's View, Things We Do For Love, King O' the Moon (Organic Theatre) Dig Two Graves, Guidance, Barbershop II, Hunter, Soul Survivors, Miss March, Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Empire, BOSS, Detroit 187, Early Edition, Turks, Jimmy Kimmel Live, Other People's Children, Embeds.

Caroline Neff (Lettie) Broadway: Airline Highway. Steppenwolf: You Got Older, Linda Vista,The Fundamentals, The Flick, Airline Highway, The Way West, Three Sisters. Goodman: Uncle Vanya. Steep: Wastwater, The Knowledge, Harper Regan, A Brief History of Helen of Troy, In Arabia We'd All Be Kings, Pornography. Northlight: 4000 Miles. Route 66: The Downpour. Griffin: Port. Next: The Metal Children. Yale Rep: Peerless. Film and TV: Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Public Housing Unit, Open Tables, Older Children.

KRYSTAL ORTIZ (Layla) Chicago credits: La Havana Madrid (Teatro Vista, Goodman Theatre), Thumbelina (Lifeline Theatre), In Love and Warcraft (Halcyon Theatre), Failure: A Love Story, In the Heights (The Theatre School at DePaul University). New York credits: Kid Prince and Pablo (NYSAF, Ars Nova). Film & TV: Manifest Destiny, The Exorcist. Krystal is represented by Stewart Talent Chicago.

Full Performance Schedule

Previews for Lettie are April 6-12, 2018. Previews are $15-$45. The Press opening is Friday, April 13 at 7:30pm. Regular performances run April 14 - May 6, 2018: Tuesday - Friday at 7:30pm; Saturday at 3pm and 7:30pm; Sunday at 3pm. Regular performances are $15-$60.

Victory Gardens has partnered with mobile theater ticketing app TodayTix to offer free tickets for the first

preview of Lettie. Free Tickets will be available via TodayTix mobile lottery, launching one week before the first preview on Friday, March 30, 2018. Winners will be notified by email and push notification between 12:00pm and 3:00pm on the day of the first preview, Friday, April 6, 2018. To enter, download the TodayTix app on your iOS or Android device.

Accessible Performance Schedule

Word for Word (open captioning): Friday, April 20 at 7:30pm, Saturday, April 21 at 3:00pm, and Wednesday, April 25 at 2:00pm

ASL Interpreted Performance: Friday, April 20 at 7:30pm

Audio Description/Touch Tour: Friday, April 20 at 7:30pm (Touch tour at 6:00pm), Sunday, April 29 at 3:00pm (Touch tour at 1:30pm)

Performances are at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. For tickets and information, call the Victory Gardens Box Office, 773.871.3000, email, or visit Ask the Box Office about student tickets ($15), senior, and Access. For group discounts, call 872.817.9087.

Photos by Liz Lauren

high res photos

Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE
Kirsten Fitzgerald, Ryan Kitley

Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE
Charina L. Varez, Caroline Neff

Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE
Caroline Neff, Matt Farabee

Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE
Kirstin Fitsgerald, Ryan Kitle, Caroline Neff, Krysta Loritz, Matt Farabee

Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE
Charina L. Varez, Caroline Neff

Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE
Caroline Neff, Krysta Loritz, Matt Farabee, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Ryan Kitley

Photo Flash: Victory Gardens Theater Presents the World Premiere of LETTIE
Matt Farabee, Krysta Loritz, Caroline Neffm Charina L. Varez

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