Route 66 Presents World Premiere of Diana Lawrence's NEXT STOP, Now thru 6/26


Route 66 Theatre Company presents its newest world premiere collaboration, a one-of-a-kind original musical by local sensation Diana Lawrence (of Diana and the Dishes, and currently musical director of TICK, TICK, BOOM at Porchlight Music Theatre). NEXT STOP runs Monday and Tuesday nights at 7:30pm, tonight, June 18 through June 26, at Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont Ave, Chicago IL.

The book for NEXT STOP is written by ALICE AUSTEN (LA MUSICA, WATER, CHERRY ORCHARD MASSACRE), Aaron Carter (Steppenwolf Theatre COMPANY’S Literary Manager), IKE HOLTER (HIT THE WALL), ALEX LUBISCHER (THE XYLOPHONE WEST), BRETT NEVEU (MEGACOSM, OLD TOWN, THE EARL), and Caitlin Montanye Parrish (Route 66’s hit production of A TWIST OF WATER, which is headed Off-Broadway this fall).


NEXT STOP is a new musical created by six Chicago-affiliated playwrights and one sensational Chicago singer-songwriter. The show begins with a greyhound bus escape from a small town to Chicago, and then takes us on a journey around the city, each story taking place off a different El Stop. From a jog along Lakeshore Drive to a campaign office in the Loop, to a wedding celebration by Michigan Avenue, Route 66 continues our commitment to celebrating the Windy City through innovative storytelling.

Route 66 Artistic Director Stef Tovar says of NEXT STOP: “Diana has worked with Route 66 for years now and I absolutely love her music and lyrics. She’s a perfect fit to write a musical theatre piece. She’s got a flair for writing in character and clever lyrical turns of phrase in addition to writing beautiful, catchy melodies. The engine behind this collaboration comes from Erica’s idea of mutual inspiration: she would inspire six very different writers by exposing them to Diana Lawrence’s music, which in turn would inspire Diana to create new songs for their plays. I’d never heard of anyone creating a musical like this, and I saw a perfect opportunity with the talent and passion of Erica, these writers, performers, and fantastic composer.”

Diana Lawrence (Composer) is a Chicago songwriter, singer, pianist and music director. Diana's work has been performed by the musical theatre department at Roosevelt University, and later this summer, she will be writing for Music Theatre Company's 48 Hour Musicals festival. Her band, Diana & the Dishes, released their debut album in 2010, and she will be releasing and touring her second solo EP this summer. As a music director and pianist, Diana has worked for organizations such as The Second City, Porchlight Music Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. She first worked for Route 66 Theatre as assistant music director for HIGH FIDELITY, and she is thrilled that they have chosen to produce and co-create her first full-length musical theatre piece.

Alice Austen (Playwright) Alice's plays have been produced and performed at theatres around the country and in Europe, including Chicago Dramatists (Water, Jeff Award Nominee for Best New Work), Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Theatre 503 (London), Milwaukee Chamber Theatre, The Irish Theatre Company (Brussels), Famous Door Theatre, Stage Left Theatre, The New Plays Festival, and the Milwaukee Rep. Alice is a playwright in residence at Hangar Theatre for summer 2012, a recipient of a Residency from The Royal Court Theatre (London), a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, and a member of Shanghai Low Theatricals. Her translation of La Musica by Marguerite Duras had its critically acclaimed world premiere production in Chicago this spring (Salomee Speelt), Best of All Possible Worlds will be seen at Steep Theatre Company this summer, Plaza Hotel Ballroom will receive a staged reading at the Hangar Theatre in July. Alice has recently written two novels, The Geometry of Chance and 41, and is currently finishing her new film, Don't Let Go. Alice is a graduate of Harvard University and a member of the Dramatists Guild.

Aaron Carter (Playwright) is currently the literary manager at Steppenwolf Theater Company. Previously, he served as the Literary Manager at Victory Gardens Theater where he played a key role in the IGNITION Festival, and was involved in the?production of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity, Year Zero, Love Person and?Living Green, among others. As a new play developer and dramaturg, Aaron has?worked with many theaters and labs including WordBRIDGE, the Kennedy Center,?Timeline Theater, Route 66 and Chicago Dramatists. Aaron also teaches courses in?playwriting, dramaturgy and dramatic literature at Northwestern University, De?Paul University, Roosevelt University and Grinnell College. Aaron graduated from?Ohio University with an MFA in Dramatic Writing where he studied under Charles?Smith and Erik Ramsey. As a playwright, Aaron’s work focuses on race, faith and?obscure performance skills. His latest play is Start Fair in The Common Race.

Ike Holter (Playwright) Ike's work has been developed by The Playwrights Center, The Eugene O'Neil Theater Center, and The Kennedy Center. His plays have been produced at EP Theatre, The Mixed Blood, Jackalope, The Chopin, City Lit, and Nothing Without a Company, where he is the Associate Artistic Director. Ike has written 6 shows for The Inconvenience (where he is the Resident Writer); most recently Hit The Wall at The Steppenwolf Garage, which sold out two extensions in record time. This summer, Hit The Wall will be produced with Theater on The Lake.

Alex Lubisher (Playwright) Alex’s plays include The Xylophone West (The Fine Print Theatre Co.), Acts of Contrition (University of Southern California /Awarded Best Concurrent Play Lab Script 2008 at the Great Plains Theatre Conference), Brute (USC Independent Production Scholarship recipient), and Ike & Laurie. He cut his teeth writing six one-acts in six weeks at The National Theatre Institute, two summers ago. Scripts developed there include Back, The Parakeet Job, The Star of Ash Hollow, The Beggars, and Okinawa (Workshop: Oberlin College / Production: Playing In Progress). He is the literary manager for Route 66 Theatre Company and a freelance writer for Windy City Times and Chicago Health Magazine. BA: University of Southern California.

Brett Neveu (Playwright) Recent theatre productions include Megacosm with A Red Orchid Theatre, 4 Murders with SkyPilot Theatre and twentyone with The Side Project. Past work includes productions with The Royal Court Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, The House Theatre, The Inconvenience, The Goodman Theatre, The Royal Shakespeare Company, TimeLine Theatre Company, A Red Orchid Theatre and American Theatre Company. He is a 2012 Sundance Institute Ucross Fellow and the recipient of the Ofner Prize for New Work, the Emerging Artist Award from The League of Chicago Theatres, an After Dark Award for Outstanding Musical (Old Town with Strawdog Theatre Company) and has developed plays with companies including The New Group, The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Victory Gardens and is a resident-alum with Chicago Dramatists. He is also an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theatre, a member of The Playwrights’ Union and an alumni member of the Center Theatre Group’s Playwrights’ Workshop. Brett has been commissioned by The Royal Court Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Goodman Theatre, TimeLine Theatre Company, Writers’ Theatre, Strawdog Theatre and has several of his plays published through Broadway Play Publishing, Dramatic Publishing and Nick Hern Publishing. Brett Neveu’s recent film productions include the shorts Convo with Breakwall Pictures, Exit, Clowny with JonPon Films and the feature The Earl with Intermission Productions. Brett has taught writing at Northwestern University, DePaul University, Second City Training Center and currently lives in Los Angeles.

Caitlin Montanye Parrish (Playwright) made her Route 66 debut as the author of the hit play A Twist of Water, which was the latest in a long line of collaborations with director Erica Weiss. This year, A Twist of Water will have its Off-Broadway premiere a 59E59. Ms. Parrish will begin work as a staff writer on The CW’s television show, Emily Owens, MD.

Erica Weiss (Director) is the Associate Artistic Director of Route 66 Theatre Company. She is also a freelance director and New Play dramaturg in the Chicago area. She is the director and co-creator of the World Premiere production of A Twist of Water, and will also direct its New York Premiere. Along with playwright Caitlin Montanye Parrish, she was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson Award for “Best New Work” for A Twist of Water. Erica was the founding Artistic Director of Hypatia Theatre Company, where she produced four world premiere productions. Recently, she served as Assistant Director to Barbara Gaines on Elizabeth Rex and Timon of Athens at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. As a director, dramaturg, and assistant director, she has worked with many of Chicago’s biggest Equity houses and smaller storefront companies, including Victory Gardens Theater, where she was the Dramaturg for the workshop and world premiere of The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz (Pulitzer Prize finalist, Jeff Award winner), Northlight Theatre, American Theater Company, Chicago Dramatists, Stage Left Theatre, MPAACT, The Gift Theatre, and more. Erica is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University, where she earned her degree in Theatre Studies with an emphasis on directing and new play development.

Ample street parking is available as well as parking across the street for free after 7PM. Tickets are $25 per person and are available at, by calling the box office at (773) 975-8150 or at the door.

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