Strawdog Theatre Presents World Premiere Musical TAKE ME

Strawdog Theatre Presents World Premiere Musical TAKE ME

Strawdog Theatre Company is pleased to conclude its 31st season with the world premiere of TAKE ME, a musical comic fantasia written by Mark Guarino, with original music and lyrics by Jon Langford (The Mekons, The Waco Brothers). Based on real events, ensemble member Anderson Lawfer* directs this new musical about a woman struggling with trauma who finds solace in the world of alien conspiracy theories. TAKE ME will play May 10 - June 22, 2019 at Strawdog's new home at 1802 W. Berenice Ave. in Chicago's Northcenter neighborhood. Tickets are currently available at The press opening is Monday, May 20 at 7:30 pm.

TAKE ME features ensemble members Nicole Bloomsmith*, Kamille Dawkins*, Carmine Grisolia*, and Michael Reyes* withKristen Alesia, Megan DeLay, David Gordon-Johnson, Loretta Rezos and Matt Rosin.

Inspired by true events, TAKE ME is the story of Shelly, a woman trapped by the trauma of a husband in a coma and the chaos that followed. Looking for solace, she finds herself pulled in to the realm of wild alien conspiracy theories. Voices from the sky tell her the answer to all her problems is to build an alien themed amusement park in Roswell, New Mexico. TAKE ME is a comic fantasia, a story about having faith in a world where there are more questions than answers. It's the second collaboration between Guarino and Langford since their hit play All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, produced by The House Theatre of Chicago.

The production team for TAKE ME includes: John Ross Wilson (scenic design), Rachel M. Sypniewski (costume design), John Kelly*(lighting design), Heath Hays* (sound design), Lacie Hexom (props design), Tony Churchill (projections design), Jenn Thompson(stage manager), Emily Ioppolo (assistant stage manager),

*Denotes Strawdog ensemble member

About the Artists

Mark Guarino's (Original Book) plays have been produced by The House Theatre of Chicago, Walkabout Theater, the Curious Theater Branch, Chicago Dramatists, Zebra Crossing, among other companies. This is his second collaboration with Jon Langford following All the Fame of Lofty Deeds, produced by the House. He is a recipient of fellowships from the Byrdcliffe Arts Colony in Woodstock, NY, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Sewanee Writers Conference at the University of the South. He has an MFA from Bennington College in Vermont and is under contract for his first book for the University of Chicago Press. Also a journalist, he covers news/culture for the Washington Post and he was the Midwest Bureau Chief for The Christian Science Monitor for six years. Visit

Jon Langford (Original Music and Lyrics) Welsh-born Jon Langford, the original drummer for the punk band the Mekons, stands as a leader in the movement to incorporate folk and country music into punk rock. Langford has released numerous recordings as a solo artist and with other bands, most notably the Waco Brothers, Skull Orchard, Four Lost Souls, The Three Johns, Men of Gwent and The Pine Valley Cosmonauts. Since moving to Chicago, Langford has been active in the music scene nurturing label mates on Bloodshot Records, lending his services as a musician, producer or visual artist, or collaborating with like-minded artists (Dave Alvin, The Sadies, Otis Clay, Bonnie Prince Billy, Steve Earle, Andre Williams, Neko Case). Langford is also a prolific and respected visual artist best known for his striking portraits of country music icons. In 2015, Jon was the artist in residence at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, TN. Nashville Radio a book of Jon's artwork and writings was published by Verse Chorus Press in 2006 and was followed in 2011 by Skull Orchard Revisited, a book and CD about his roots in South Wales. The Executioner's Last Songs, a multimedia music/spoken word/video performance has been performed across the United States, Europe and Australia and two of his solo albums Gold Brick and All the Fame of Lofty Deeds were adapted for theatrical productions in 2009. Langford also illustrated the comic strip Great Pop Thingsunder the pseudonym Chuck Death. From 2005 to 2013, Langford was a host of a weekly radio program, "The Eclectic Company," on Chicago's WXRT 93.1 FM and has been a contributor to NPR's This American Life. This year, Jon will be touring Europe and America with the Mekons, taking a musical train ride through Alaska with Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Dave Alvin, working with Marty Stuart on his new museum in Philadelphia Mississippi and lurking backstage at performances of Strawdog's Take Me, which he wrote a bunch of songs for.

Anabelle Revak (Orchestrations/Arrangements) is a composer, music director and pianist currently based in Chicago. Her original musical Notes and Letters will receive a workshop at Underscore Theatre Company in July 2019. MD credits include: The Incredible 6,000 Foot Ladder (Best Music Director, CMTF 2019), Something Blue, The Bone Harp (CMTF 2019), The Last Five Years (JPAC). Orchestrations/Arrangements: Make Me Bad (Drew Gasparini), Abduction! The Musical (Becky Toth), Wife Material (Jamie Shriner). Annabelle is the literary manager at Underscore Theatre Company.

Anderson Lawfer (Director) also worked with Guarino and Langford on the House Theatre's All The Fame of Lofty Deeds. Lawfer served as Artistic Director in Strawdog's Hugen Hall from 2012-16, focusing on new works and adaptations. Lawfer served as Co-Artistic Director of Strawdog from 2016-19. He was a creator and director of Masque Macabre, the immersive Halloween experience at Strawdog last fall.

PHOTO CREDIT: (pictured) Nicole Bloomsmith in a publicity image for Strawdog Theatre Company's world premiere musical TAKE ME. Photo by Jon Cole with art by Jon Langford.

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