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Raven Theatre Presents the World Premiere of COLD TOWN/HOTLINE: A Chicago Holiday Story

Raven Theatre Presents the World Premiere of  COLD TOWN/HOTLINE: A Chicago Holiday Story

Raven Theatre is pleased to present the world premiere of the heartwarming, family-friendly comedy COLD TOWN/HOTLINE: A Chicago Holiday Story, written and directed by Eli Newell, playing November 30 - December 22, 2019 on Raven's 85-seat East Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville) in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 338-2177. The press opening is Friday, December 6 at 7:30 pm.

The cast includes Jeanne T. Arrigo, Caroline Chu, Dennis Garcia, Jonah Kaufman, Sam Linda and Robin Margolis.

December, 1983. Five volunteers have come together to answer calls for a hotline created to help fellow Chicagoans cope with the holiday blues. But with a record-breaking cold front sweeping across Chicago, these good samaritans are forced to hunker down for a long night together. When an unexpected visitor bursts through the doors, everyone must work to embody the season's most valuable lessons and transform their humble hotline into a home for the holidays. Recommended for ages 7+.

Comments writer/director Eli Newell, "Culturally speaking, the holidays are a time of joy. But, for many, they can be really difficult. For me, this reality of contrasting holiday experiences has inspired conversation, humor and complication around the idea that 'it's better to give than to receive.' It takes a lot of courage to ask for help, especially during a season of giving. I'm excited to present this little world of a hotline in 1983 Chicago, which is very much a character unto itself, and to expand that world into something broader, funnier and more adventurous than it might seem on first glance. And I'm thrilled to partner with Raven Theatre to bring a different sort of holiday play to the Edgewater community."

The production team includes Milo Bue (scenic design), Gianna Charron (costume design), Seth Torres (lighting design), Eric Backus (sound design), Larkin Sackett (dramaturg), Lynn Baber (casting director), Cole von Glahn (artistic producer), Harley Kirchhoff (assistant director), Nick Peebles (technical director), Liz Gomez (master electrician), Megan Gray (stage manager) and Michelle Housh (assistant stage manager).


Title: COLD TOWN/HOTLINE: A Chicago Holiday Story

Playwright/Director: Eli Newell

Cast: Jeanne T. Arrigo (Betty), Caroline Chu (Annie), Dennis Garcia (Larry), Jonah Kaufman (Sherman), Sam Linda (Bruce) and Robin Margolis (Sheila).

Location: Raven Theatre East Stage, 6157 N. Clark St. (at Granville), Chicago

Dates: Previews: Saturday, November 30 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, December 1 at 3 pm, Wednesday, December 4 at 7:30 pm and Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Saturday, December 7 - Sunday, December 22, 2019

Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.

Tickets: Previews $25. Regular run $30. 18 and under, active military and veterans $20. Groups of 10 or more $25. Tickets are currently available at or by calling (773) 338-2177.

Touch Tour/Open Captioned performance: Sunday, December 8. Touch tour begins at 1:45 pm.

Free parking is provided in a lot adjacent to the theatre - additional street parking is available. Nearest El station: Granville Red Line. Buses: #22 (Clark), #36 (Broadway), #151 (Sheridan), #155 (Devon), #84 (Peterson).

About the Playwright/Director:

Eli Newell is a Chicago-based director and playwright from Saint Paul, Minnesota. He returns to Raven Theatre after directing several readings, and assistant directing productions of The Gentleman Caller and The Undeniable Sound of Right Now. Last fall, Newell co-directed the world premiere Masque Macabre at Strawdog Theatre Company. He has been grateful to assist on Chicago productions at Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Northlight Theatre, Windy City Playhouse, Emerald City Theatre, Haven Theatre and Strawdog Theatre Company. His Minneapolis credits include: Ordway Center for the Performing Arts, Children's Theatre Company and the Playwrights' Center. Newell has served as the assistant to Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Doug Wright, as well as an artistic intern for the Guthrie Theater. He holds a B.A. from Northwestern University.

Raven Theatre tells stories of today and the past that connect us to our cultural landscape. Through its plays as well as its educational programming, Raven is committed to serving our communities' needs through the arts.

Raven Theatre Company is funded in part by the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, Polk Bros Foundation, S&C Electric Company Fund, The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency.

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