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Sideshow Theatre Announces 2019 'The Freshness Initiative' Playwrights And New Artistic Associates

Sideshow Theatre Announces 2019 'The Freshness Initiative' Playwrights And New Artistic Associates

Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to welcome three new artistic associates to the company, and to announce the newest playwrights selected for its annual "The Freshness Initiative," the company's commissioning and new play development program, now in its fifth year.

The 2019 Freshness Initiative will feature The Pride Before by Aurora Real de Asua, directed by artistic associate Gabrielle Randle; Solemn Mass for a Full Summer Moon, by Michel Tremblay, newly translated and adapted by artistic associate Philip Dawkins and directed by artistic director Jonathan L. Green; and Christmas at Home by artistic associate Calamity West, directed by Wardell Julius Clark; Free readings of the productions will be presented in June and July 2019.

Sideshow premieres developed through "The Freshness Initiative" include Kristiana Rae Colón's Tilikum, Philip Dawkins' The Happiest Place on Earth, Calamity West's Give It All Back, J. Nicole Brooks' HeLa and Selina Fillinger's Something Clean

Sideshow is also pleased to welcome three new artistic associates: Melissa DuPrey, Helen Joo Lee and Regina Victor.

For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company's 2018-19 season, please visit

Aurora Real de Asua is an actor, director and playwright based in Chicago. As a playwright, her ten-minute play Women, 1 AM debuted as a part of Victory Gardens' College Night. As an actor, she has worked with Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Victory Gardens, Rivendell Theatre and the Hypocrites. Aurora graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in theatre and playwriting.

Philip Dawkins is a playwright and educator whose plays have been performed all over the world. His plays include Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens Theater), Le Switch (About Face Theatre, The Jungle), The Homosexuals (About Face Theatre), The Burn (Steppenwolf for Young Audiences), Dr.Seuss's The Sneetches, the Musical with composer David Mallamud (Children's Theater Company, Minneapolis), The Gentleman Caller (Raven Theatre, Chicago; Abingdon Theatre, NY), Charm (Northlight Theatre; MCC), Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre), and his solo play, The Happiest Place on Earth (Sideshow Theatre, Greenhouse Theater Center). Philip has won some awards and not won some others. He's been a fellow at the Hawthornden Castle International Retreat for Writers in Scotland and the MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire, and has taught playwriting at his alma mater, Loyola University Chicago, Northwestern University and for the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis. Many of Philip's plays, including his scripts for young performers, are available through Dramatists Play Service, Playscripts, Inc. and Dramatic Publishing. He is currently working on a commission from Children's Theater Company and an American English translation of Michel Tremblay's Messe Solennelle Pour Une Pleine Lune D'été for Sideshow Theatre.

Calamity West is a Chicago-based, award-winning, Kilroys-cited playwright. In 2018, Calamity had two world premieres including In the Canyon at Jackalope Theatre Company and Hinter at Steep Theatre Company. In January 2018, her play Engines and Instruments of Flight: A Fantasia in Three Acts, originally commissioned by Goodman Theatre, had its first New York reading at Roundabout Theatre Company. Another of her plays, Greetings from Moscow! A Love Story, is currently in development at TimeLine Theatre Company's Playwrights Collective. Additional plays by Calamity West include: Give It All Back (2016, Kilroys-cited), Rolling (2016), Ibsen is Dead (2014), The Peacock (2013, Kilroys honorable mention), The Gacy Play (2012), and Common Hatred (2012). In 2014, Calamity was recipient of the 3Arts Award. She teaches playwriting at the University of Chicago and Webster University and is a company member of Jackalope Theatre and an artistic associate of Sideshow Theatre Company. She is represented by ICM.

Melissa DuPrey is an actor, comic, playwright, producer and activist from Humboldt Park, Chicago. After earning double Bachelor degrees from the University of Houston, she returned to join the all-Latina theatre company, Teatro Luna. Her one-woman show, SEXomedy, received a Chicago Reader Recommendation, a Member's Pick and had a successful debut Off-Broadway in New York. Other critically acclaimed solo works include SUSHI-frito, SEXomedy 2.0 which is scheduled for a Steppenwolf debut in April 2019, and Good Grief, which was recently awarded funding from the prestigious NALAC foundation and will make its world premiere at Free Street in December 2019. She was selected as a new talent for the 2014 ABC Diversity Showcase in New York City. She has performed stand-up comedy in Chicago, New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Los Angeles. She is a featured actor in the Emmy-nominated web-series Brown Girls. Theatrical credits include work with Court Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Free Street Theater and more. She has been seen on Chicago PD (NBC), and The Chi (Showtime), and is featured in the independent film Two in the Bush that is currently being screened in film festivals across the nation. She is an ensemble member at UrbanTheater Company and the director of production and community relations at Free Street Theater. As a musician and active member of her community, she is dedicated to the preservation of Puerto Rican culture by way of the folkloric music, Bomba y Plena, with Africaribe and Las BomPleneras.

Helen Joo Lee, a SoCal native, began acting in the expat community theatre scene in Seoul, South Korea and moved to Chicago to begin her professional acting career. Theatre credits include In the Canyon (Jackalope Theatre), You for Me for You (Sideshow Theatre), as a permanent replacement in Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno (Second City's e.t.c. Stage) and American Hwangap (A-Squared/Halcyon Theatre). TV and film credits include The Chi, Empire, Chicago Med, Teacher and Canal Street. She is a proud member of the all-Asian comedy group Stir Friday Night.

Regina Victor (they/them/theirs) is a producer, director, dramaturg, arts journalist and performer. Currently the associate producer at Halcyon Theatre, they have produced shows and events for the Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Steppenwolf Theatre, Pegasus Theatre, and more. Their writing can be found in Howlround, American Theatre Magazine, Windy City Times and of course on Rescripted, the arts journalism platform they founded in 2017. As an artist, Victor has secured a number of prestigious appointments and fellowships including the SDCF Observership 17/18 class, the Victory Gardens Director's Inclusion Initiative, and most recently was the Artistic Apprentice and Multicultural Fellow at Steppenwolf Theatre. Recent credits include The Roommate and Familiar at Steppenwolf Theatre, and Pipeline at Indiana Repertory Theater. Victor has developed HeLa (dramaturg) and Pro-Am (director) through the Sideshow Freshness Initiative and are thrilled to join the Sideshow Ensemble as an artistic associate.

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