Strawdog Theatre Company Announces 32nd Season

Strawdog Theatre Company Announces 32nd Season

Strawdog Theatre, under the new artistic leadership of Leda Hoffmann, announces its 32nd season, "Truth."

This fall, ensemble member Elly Green* returns to direct Lucy Prebble's bold drama THE EFFECT, a dynamic play about the perception of truth within a drug trial. For the holidays, Strawdog brings back its popular musical adaptation of the family classic HERSHEL AND THE HANUKKAH GOBLINS, based on the book by Eric Kimmel, adapted by ensemble member Michael Dailey*, with music and lyrics by Jacob Combs and direction by Jacqueline Stone. The season concludes next spring as Artistic Director Leda Hoffmann makes her Strawdog directing debut with Brian James Polak's topical drama WELCOME TO KEENE, NEW HAMPSHIRE. A co-world premiere with Charleston, South Carolina's PURE Theatre, this brilliant play about community asks us to look at the truths of what it means to be American at this moment in time. Strawdog's 32nd season will also include a soon-to-be-announced fourth production, in the winter of 2020.

All performance will be staged at Strawdog Theatre Company, 1802 W Berenice Ave. in Chicago's North Center neighborhood. Season subscriptions and single tickets for THE EFFECT are currently available at

Comments Artistic Director Leda Hoffmann, "I'm excited to announce my first season as Artistic Director of Strawdog. This season showcases our ensemble members' exceptional talents as well as introduces Strawdog audiences to new voices and exemplifies Strawdog's core values of community, ensemble, challenge and genuine connection. These extraordinary new plays examine our truths. From wondering if you can really be in love when pharmaceuticals are changing your brain chemistry to discovering the truths that lie just underneath the surface of contemporary American towns, these plays invite you in to explore and find joy in what it means to be human."

*Denotes Strawdog ensemble/company members.

Strawdog Theatre's 32nd Season

October 13 - November 23, 2019

THE EFFECT - Chicago Premiere!

by Lucy Prebble

Directed by ensemble member Elly Green*

Featuring ensemble members Sam Hubbard, Daniella Pereira and Justine Turner

Press opening: Monday, October 21, 2019 at 7:30 pm

Hearts pounding, thoughts racing, and sleepless nights. Connie and Tristan are falling in love - or are they? Stuck in a clinical trial for an antidepressant, it's hard to know what is love and what is the drug. As the trial's supervising doctors untangle this relationship, everyone involved has to question what they know.

December 2019


Based on the book by Eric Kimmel

Adapted by Michael Dailey*

Music and Lyrics by Jacob Combs

Directed by Jacqueline Stone

Will Hershel of Ostropool outsmart the goblins who haunt the old synagogue so that villagers can celebrate Hanukkah? In this stage adaptation of the Caldecott Honor winning book by Eric Kimmel, the story comes to life with music and a little bit of magic for families of all ages to enjoy.

Winter 2020

A soon-to-be announced production by an up-and-coming American playwright

April 16 - May 30, 2020


by Brian James Polak

Directed by Artistic Director Leda Hoffmann*

A co-world premiere with Pure Theatre, South Carolina

Press opening: Monday, April 27, 2020 at 7:30 pm

Keene, New Hampshire shares a view of Mount Monadnock with Thornton Wilder's fictional Our Town. Modern day Keene shares many of America's challenges - guns, opioids, divergent political views. Brian James Polak's play explores the way we are today: in our growing up and in our marrying and in our living and in our dying.

Artist Biographies

Lucy Prebble (Playwright, The Effect) is a writer for film, television, games and theatre. She is Co-Executive Producer and writer on HBO's media mogul drama, Succession, for which she has been nominated for a WGA Award. The Effect, a study of love and neuroscience, was performed at the National Theatre and won the Critics' Circle Award for Best New Play. Previous to that, she wrote ENRON, a hugely successful piece about the infamous corporate fraud, which transferred to the West End and Broadway after sell-out runs at both the Royal Court and Chichester Festival Theatre. Her first play, The Sugar Syndrome (2003), won her the George Devine Award and was performed at the Royal Court. Her latest play, A Very Expensive Poison, will be on at the Old Vic Theatre in 2019. For television, she is the creator of the TV series Secret Diary of a Call Girl (ITV/Showtime), and has recently made a pilot for HBO starring Sarah Silverman. Lucy also writes for Frankie Boyle's New World Order (BBC) and appears on the TV show as a guest as well as appearing regularly on Have I Got News For You. She is currently working on a new TV series starring Billie Piper. Lucy is fascinated by new technology and where it meets the arts. She wrote a weekly Tech column for the Observer newspaper and was Head Scene Writer for Bungie's massive first-person shooter video game, Destiny.

Elly Green (Director, The Effect) is a Chicago-based director, originally from the UK. She recently directed Yen by Anna Jordan for Raven Theatre and In the Canyon by Calamity West for Jackalope Theatre. Other credits include: The Woyzeck Experiment (Goodman Playwrights Unit), You for Me for You, No More Sad Things (Sideshow), Pillars of the Community, The Night Season, After Miss Julie (Strawdog), The Woman in Black (Wildclaw), The Distance (Haven), The Woman Before (Trap Door), Happy (Redtwist), Rabbit (Stage Left), Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Theatre Seven) and The Tomkat Project (Playground & NY Fringe). Her Assistant Director credits include: Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Proof (Court Theatre), Oedipus, Mrs Affleck, Her Naked Skin (Royal National Theatre, London). She is an ensemble member with Strawdog Theatre and Sideshow Theatre, and an Associate Artist with Stage Left Theatre. Elly trained in the UK at Birkbeck College, LAMDA and the National Theatre Studio.

Eric Kimmel (Book, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) is the author of over 130 books for children, including Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock and the classic Hanukkah tale, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. He is a five-time winner of the National Jewish Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Award for Lifetime Achievement. Dr. Kimmel and his wife Doris live in Portland, Oregon.

Michael Dailey (Adapter, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) Currently one of the company's Co-Artistic Directors, Michael has appeared as an actor in 24 mainstage productions with the company since joining Strawdog in 1997. Writing credits include three radio plays presented as part of Radio Theatre 7, co-writer on the late night series The Adventures of Picklebot and Lawfer and script editor for Strawdog's productions of 1001 Afternoons in Chicago, Julius Caesar and Measure for Measure.

Jacob Combs (Music and Lyrics, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) is a writer, director and composer based in San Francisco. His previous musical theater projects include Palin! The Musical (music and lyrics), Unraveling (book, music and lyrics), Falling Apart, Coming Together (music and lyrics) and Legends & Lore (book). He is currently writing the book, music and lyrics for the musical Selling Out, which was workshopped at Chicago's Strawdog Theatre in June 2018. In addition to his theater endeavors, Jacob works in creative development at Pixar Animation Studios. He is also in post-production on the live action short film Without, which he wrote and directed.

Jacqueline Stone (Director, Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins) is the co-founder and Artistic Director of TUTA Theatre in Chicago, an experimental and process-based ensemble company established in 1996, most widely known for reimagining classic and contemporary works through an Eastern European lens. Most recently, Jackie directed the Off-Broadway premiere of Adam Rapp's The Edge of our Bodies at 59E59 Theaters in NY. Other recent TUTA directing credits include the Chicago premiere of The Edge of Our Bodies, the world premiere ofThe Anyway Cabaret and the U.S. premiere of The Silent Language. Her TUTA performance credits include Fulton Street Sessions, Baal, The Wedding, Uncle Vanya, A Still Life in Color, The Birds, The Little Prince, Alice and The Hour. Jacqueline also serves as the current Artistic Director of Emerald City Theatre, Chicago's largest professional theatre serving young audiences now entering its 24th season. Upcoming ECT directing credits include the world premiere of The Name Jar. Jacqueline is the co-founder of Sirens, the longest running all-female improv group in the United States. She has appeared in and created over 200 original shows with them. Stone taught acting and improvisation at The Second City for ten years and Columbia College Chicago for five years.

Brian James Polak (Playwright, Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire) was born and raised in New Hampshire, and currently resides in Chicago. His plays include The Patient (The Kennedy Center's Jean Kennedy Smith Award, O'Neil Playwright Conference Semi-Finalist), War Profits (The Kennedy Center's John Cauble Award, Semi-finalist Humanitas/CTG Playwriting Prize), Dance and Crawl and Sing and Fall(Workshops: Loyola Marymount University, Rogers State University, University of Southern CA), Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire, News for the Deaf Man, and several others. Three of his one acts have been published by Smith & Kraus in their annual "Best of" anthologies. Polak received his MFA from University of Southern California, School of Dramatic Arts. He is the producer and host of American Theatre Magazine's "The Subtext," a playwright-centered podcast.

Leda Hoffmann (Director, Welcome to Keene, New Hampshire) is the Artistic Director of Strawdog Theatre Company. Her directing credits include A Christmas Carol, Black Pearl Sings, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar and Grill, The Amish Project (Milwaukee Rep); Born Yesterday (Texas Shakespeare Festival); Bobbins and Threads (Mudlark Theater); A Lovely Sunday for Creve Coeur (Milwaukee Chamber Theater); Hamlet (Illinois Shakespeare Festival); Censored on Final Approach (Renaissance Theatreworks), Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play, The Penelopiad, A Second Sam (Luminous Theatre), Student Body (Marquette University), The Comedy of Errors, The Tempest, Romeo and Juliet (Door Shakespeare), The Chairs, King Lear (Alchemist Theatre), Jesus Christ Superstar (Greendale Theater), Phaedra's Love (World's Stage) and Birth Witches (Riverside Theater). Leda is a proud graduate of Grinnell College, a former Milwaukee Rep directing intern, an SDCF Observer, member of Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab, and is an Artistic Associate at Kokandy Productions.

PHOTO CREDIT: (left to right) Ensemble members Daniella Pereira and Sam Hubbard in a publicity image for the Chicago premiere of THE EFFECT, the first production of Strawdog Theatre Company's 32nd season. Photo by Jon Cole Media.

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