Sideshow Theatre Company Announces 2018-19 Season

Sideshow Theatre Company Announces 2018-19 SeasonSideshow Theatre Company is pleased to announce its 2018-19 Season, launching this fall with the world premiere of J. Nicole Brooks' dazzling new play HeLa, directed by artistic director Jonathan L. Green and presented in partnership with the Greenhouse Theater Center. The season continues next spring with the Midwest premiere of Wolfram Lotz' stunning and disturbing comedy THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS, translated by Daniel Brunet and directed by artistic associate Ian Damont Martin. Sideshow's twelfth season concludes next summer with the Midwest premiere of Selina Fillinger's breathtaking new drama SOMETHING CLEAN, directed by Lauren Shouse and presented in partnership with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Both HeLa and SOMETHING CLEAN were commissioned and developed through Sideshow's Freshness Initiative.

HeLa will be presented at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. THE RIDICULOUS DARKNESS and SOMETHING CLEAN will be presented at Sideshow's resident home, Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets will go on sale at a later date. For additional information, visit

"This season we will present three hugely engaging new works that are epic, intimate, and which force us to take a close look at our present, and how our past has gotten us to this point," said artistic director Jonathan L. Green. "These fearless works will push Sideshow to our limits as we explore our shared history with our audiences."

Sideshow's 2018-19 Season will also include "The Freshness Initiative," the company's commissioning and new play development program, now in its fifth year (dates to be announced) and the wildly-popular event CLLAW (Chicago League of Lady Arms Wrestlers). The next CLLAW match will be held Friday, October 12, 2018 at Logan Square Auditorium. For more information, visit

Sideshow Theatre Company's 2018-19 Season:

November 18 - December 23, 2018

HeLa - World Premiere!

Co-Produced with Greenhouse Productions

By J. Nicole Brooks

Directed by artistic director Jonathan L. Green

at The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago

Press opening: Friday, November 23, 2018

1951: A mother of five visits the "colored" gynecology ward of Johns Hopkins, knowing something unusual is happening in her body. 1981: A child watches Carl Sagan's Cosmos on a basement television in Chicago as her auntie plays bid whist upstairs with the neighbors. The Distant Future: A gold-plated flying saucer hovers over the Earth, its pilot watching and waiting patiently as stars gently twinkle in her hair. All three stories connect, collide and expand, blending Afrofuturism with the true story of Henrietta Lacks and one little girl's love of science. This winter, journey from East Baltimore to Chicago's West Side to outer space, as J. Nicole Brooks' new play explores who has the power over the stuff we are made of.

HeLa was commissioned and developed by Sideshow Theatre Company.

March 24 - April 28, 2019


Adapted from a radio text by Wolfram Lotz

Translated by Daniel Brunet

Directed by artistic associate Ian Damont Martin

at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

Press opening: Thursday, March 28, 2019

The horror! The horror! Sergeant Oliver Pellner has clear orders: to travel into the savage wilderness, to find a Colonel who has gone rogue, and to kill him. The man's gone native, as they say: has killed his comrades and disappeared into darkness. Pellner and his pilot embark with confidence, but soon nothing makes sense anymore, as the river turns to mountains turns to jungle turns to black. In another time and place, Ultimo Pussi, a Somali fisherman-turned-pirate seeks justice and understanding before an increasingly hostile central European justice system. Fear turns to paranoia and civilization dissolves in Wolfram Lotz' stunning and disturbing comedy: a fractured spin on Heart of Darkness, Apocalypse Now and our shared history of barbaric colonialism.

June 16 - July 21, 2019

SOMETHING CLEAN - Midwest Premiere!

Co-Produced with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble

By Selina Fillinger

Directed by Lauren Shouse

at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. Chicago

Press opening: Thursday, June 20, 2019

Charlotte has been a mother for nineteen years, a wife for three decades and a respectable community member her entire life. But when her son is incarcerated for sexual assault, Charlotte is forced to reckon with a brand new identity, both public and private. Desperate to find a way back to who she was, she seeks out work at a sexual assault crisis center and meets Joey, a volunteer coordinator and a survivor of assault himself, who allows her a glimpse of who she might be able to become. Can she find a new understanding of who she is? Or has someone else's crime defined her forever? Inspired by today's headlines, Selina Fillinger's breathtaking new drama follows one woman's struggle to make sense of her own grief, intimacy, culpability and consent.

SOMETHING CLEAN was commissioned and developed by Sideshow Theatre Company and will open at Sideshow following its upcoming world premiere at Roundabout Theatre Company, New York City, in spring 2019.

About the Artists:

J. Nicole Brooks (Playwright, HeLa) is an actor, author and director born on the West Side and raised on the South Side. HeLa marks her debut collaboration with Sideshow Theatre Company. Selected playwright credits include Black Diamond: The Years Have Eaten, Fedra: Queen of Haiti, Shotgun Harriet, The Adventures Of Yuri Kochiyama and Her Honor Jane Byrne. As a director, she's staged acclaimed productions of Thaddeus & Slocum, Black Diamond and Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting. Acting credits include productions at Lookingglass Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Mark Taper Forum and Court Theatre. Brooks has recurring roles on The Chi (Showtime) and South Side (Comedy Central). She is an award-winning artist creating original work in the US, China and Hungary. This play is dedicated to the memory of Henrietta Lacks, Olivia Brooks Banks, Samuel O. Lewis and all those who bravely battle cancer.

Jonathan L. Green (Director, HeLa) has been the artistic director of Sideshow Theatre since its founding in 2007. He has directed and assisted for Sideshow, Greenhouse Theater Center, Lookingglass, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Diversionary Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, Theatre Seven of Chicago, Pavement Group and the Earl Hamner, Jr. Theatre. Recent projects include truth and reconciliation (Jeff Award nomination for direction), The Happiest Place on Earth, Antigonick, Stupid F##king Bird, and Idomeneus (Jeff Award for ensemble). Recent dramaturgy credits include Blind Date, Objects in the Mirror, Gloria, War Paint, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window and Disgraced, all at Goodman Theatre. Jonathan is a graduate of the University of Virginia, currently serves on the board of directors of the League of Chicago Theatres, and is the literary manager for Goodman Theatre.

Wolfram Lotz (Author, The Ridiculous Darkness), born 1981 in Hamburg, grew up in the Black Forest region. He studied literature, art and media science in Konstanz and creative writing at the Deutsches Literaturinstitut in Leipzig. He writes plays, audio plays, lyric and prose and received several awards, including the Kleist Award for his play The Big March. His radio play The Ridiculous Darkness has been adapted and produced around the world and received the Nestroy Theatre Prize from the Association for Viennese Theatre.

Ian Damont Martin (Director, The Ridiculous Darkness) is a theatre/filmmaker who is pleased to join Sideshow Theatre Company as an artistic associate. Chicago theatre credits include: Twelfth Night for Midsommer Flight (director), The America Play (reading) for Goodman Theatre (director), The Toilet for Haven Theatre (director), Hang Man for the Gift Theatre (assistant director to Jess McLeod), Insurrection: Holding History for Stage Left Theatre (TJ) and truth and reconciliation for Sideshow Theatre Company (Zimbabwean Husband). He is the community engagement coordinator at Goodman Theatre, where he recently completed an artistic producing apprenticeship, and the outreach director of Middle Coast Film Festival. He is also the incoming associate artistic director of Haven Theatre. He received his BA in theatre and drama from Indiana University and his diploma in drama from the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Cincinnati, OH.

Selina Fillinger (Playwright, Something Clean) is an LA-based actress and writer. She is a recent graduate of Northwestern University, where she studied playwriting under the instruction of Laura Schellhardt. Something Clean was commissioned for Sideshow Theatre's Freshness Initiative and workshopped in Roundabout's Underground Reading Series. Other work includes Faceless (Northlight Theatre premiere, Joseph Jeff Award-nominated, regional productions at Zeitgeist Theatre, St. Louis Repertory Theatre and Park Theatre in London) and The Armor Plays: Cinched/Strapped (Available Light's Next Stage Initiative, Alley All New, upcoming production at Theatre Three.) Selina is a 2018 recipient of South Coast Repertory's Elizabeth George Commission and Manhattan Theatre Club's Sloan Commission.

Lauren Shouse (Director, Something Clean) is a director, dramaturg and teacher. She is currently the associate artistic director at Chicago's Northlight Theatre. Her recent directing credits include: The Cake at Rivendell Theatre; The Legend of Georgia McBride at Northlight Theatre; Nice Girl and Betrayal at Raven Theatre; Avenue Q, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts and A Christmas Story at Nashville Repertory Theatre; the world premiere of Long Way Down with 3Ps productions (nominated for American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award 2011); the world premiere of Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in concert with Street Theatre Company; the world premiere of Rear Widow at Chaffin's Barn Theatre and Sylvia Plath's 3 Women. As artistic associate at Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival, which developed new works by John Patrick Shanley, David Auburn, Steven Dietz and Victoria Stewart. Lauren also co-founded Ten Minute Playhouse, a company that produces short plays by local playwrights. Before moving to Nashville, Lauren lived in London, UK and worked with producer/director Hugh Wooldridge. Her work abroad includes: production executive for The Night of 1000 Voices (celebrating John Kander and Fred Ebb and starring Joel Grey with Avenue Q) at The Royal Albert Hall; production executive of An Evening with Michael Parkinson at The Theatre Royal - Windsor, children's director/assistant to the director of A Gift of Music and assistant director of The Night of 1000 Voices at The Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland. Lauren holds an MA in performance studies from the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill and an MFA in theatre directing from Northwestern University. In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, Route 66, The Gift Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Stage Left Theatre.

About Sideshow Theatre Company:

Sideshow Theatre Company: Theatre for the Curious. It is the mission of Sideshow Theatre Company to mine The Collective Unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audiences together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration.

Over its 10+ year history, Sideshow is proud to have distinguished itself as a vital member of the Chicago theatre community. Sideshow was awarded the 2016 Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theatre Award by the League of Chicago Theatres. Sideshow is a multiple Jeff Award-winning theatre and has been listed on the "Best of" lists in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times. Sideshow continues its multi-year residency at Victory Gardens in the historic Biograph Theater in the 2018/19 season.

Sideshow is also the producer of Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLLAW), a wildly popular fundraiser held in benefit of Sideshow Theatre Company and other local community organizations. CLLAW has been featured in local and national press, including The Washington Post, Reuters and the Chicago Sun-Times and on WGN Morning News, ABC 7's Windy City Live and CBS 2. The next CLLAW match will be held Friday, October 12, 2018. For more information about CLLAW, visit

For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company, visit

PHOTO CREDIT: Sideshow Theatre Company's 2018-19 season playwrights and directors include (top, l to r) J. Nicole Brooks, Wolfram Lotz and Selina Fillinger with (bottom, l to r) Jonathan L. Green, Ian Damont Martin and Lauren Shouse.

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