The Gift Theatre Announces 2019 Season

The Gift Theatre Announces 2019 SeasonDuring last night's Season Release Bash at Filament Theater, Artistic Director and Co-Founder Michael Patrick Thornton proudly announced The Gift Theatre's 2019 Season will include: a revival of John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning drama DOUBT: A PARABLE directed by Ensemble Member John Gawlik and featuring Ensemble Members Jennifer Glasse, MaryAnn Thebus and Michael Patrick Thornton (February 27 - March 31) and the Chicago premiere of Hansol Jung's WOLF PLAY, directed by guest artist Jess McLeod (October 18 - November 24). The Gift's 17th season will also include a soon-to-be-announced third production (July 12 - August 18).

Comments Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton, "Our 18th season is balanced between faith and doubt, between belonging and isolation. We explore the idea of family, the palliative power of imagination, the invention of monsters, and the cost of not having a conversation. And at the center of our stories is the future, the people with the most to gain and everything to lose; in short, the children."

The Gift also announced that ensemble member Chika Ike has been named Director of 4802, The Gift's new play support engine, which exists to nurture the creation of vital works of theater which pioneer what is possible in a storefront space.

Additionally, Casting Director Emjoy Gavino has been promoted to Associate Artistic Director, joining ensemble member Paul D'Addario.

Finally, The Gift has commissioned a play from Jennifer Rumberger (Night In Alachua County) to be workshopped in 2019 with The Gift and make its world premiere in 2020. The play is a currently untitled Mary Shelley-based project.

DOUBT: A PARABLE, presented as part of Steppenwolf's LookOut Series, will be performed at Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. WOLF PLAY will be presented at The Gift's home at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago's Jefferson Park neighborhood.

As always, The Gift's year begins in January with TEN (January 10 - 20), the theater's annual roundup of world premiere ten-minute pieces by The Gift and guests, curated by Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton and Associate Artistic Director Paul D'Addario.

Season subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 283-7071.

The 2018 Gift Gala will take place Wednesday, November 14, 2018 at the American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan Ave. in Chicago. For tickets and information, please visit

The Gift Theatre's 2019 Season includes:

February 27 - March 31, 2019

DOUBT: A PARABLE - Presented as a part of Steppenwolf's LookOut Series

By John Patrick Shanley

Directed by Ensemble Member John Gawlik
Featuring Ensemble Members Jennifer Glasse, MaryAnn Thebus and Michael Patrick Thornton

at Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago

In this brilliant and powerful drama, Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal, takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with one of the male students.

Winner of the 2005 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play.

July 12 - August 18, 2019

Production to be announced shortly.

October 18 - November 24, 2019

WOLF PLAY - Chicago Premiere!

By Hansol Jung

Directed by Guest Artist Jess McLeod

at The Gift, Theatre 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago

A Korean boy is ushered into a new house by his adopted American father. This new house belongs to an American boxer and her wife. American father un-adopts boy by a single signature on a piece of paper. But just before he leaves the new house, ex-father finds out that the new couple to whom he has "re-homed" his ex-son to, is a lesbian couple. American Ex-father spends the rest of the play trying to get the boy back. In his corner is Ryan, the Boxer's coach, and Wife's brother. Ryan doesn't like the new Korean boy who is a bit weird.

The boy is actually not a real boy. He is a puppet. The puppeteer is the Emcee of the evening, and spinner of the night's tale: a lone wolf who slips in and out of the story as is needed. Wolf Play is a messy funny disturbing theatrical experience grappling with a wolf, a puppet and a very prickly problem of "what is a family, and what do we need from them, today? Is it very different from the things humans have needed from families before?"

Artist Biographies

John Patrick Shanley (Playwright, Doubt: A Parable) is the author of numerous plays, including Danny and the Deep Blue Sea, Dirty Story, Four Dogs and a Bone, Psychopathia Sexualis, Sailor's Song, Savage in Limbo and Where's My Money?. He has written extensively for TV and film, and his credits include the teleplay for Live from Baghdad and screenplays for Congo, Alive, Five Corners, Joe Versus the Volcano (which he also directed) and Moonstruck, for which he won an Academy Award for original screenplay.

John Gawlik (Director, Doubt: A Parable) is an AEA/SAG actor and director. Favorite acting credits include: the world premiere of David Rabe's Good For Otto and Broadsword with The Gift Theatre, Bill Sykes in Oliver at Drury Lane, Blizzard '67 with Chicago Dramatist, The Lonesome West and Beauty Queen of Lennane with the Gift Theatr, and A Skull in Connemara at Northlight. Favorite directing projects include Thinner Than Water and The Royal Society of Antarctica for The Gift Theatre and the Chicago Premiere of When the Rain Stops Falling at Circle Theater (Jeff Award for Director and Production). He is an ensemble member of The Gift Theater.

Hansol Jung (Playwright, Wolf Play) is a playwright and director from South Korea. Productions include Cardboard Piano (Humana Festival at Actors Theater of Louisville), Among the Dead (Ma-Yi Theatre Company), No More Sad Things (co-world premiere at Sideshow Theatre and Boise Contemporary Theatre), Wolf Play and Wild Goose Dreams (which will premiere at La Jolla Playhouse in 2017). Commissions from Artists Repertory Theater, Playwrights Horizons, Seattle Repertory Theatre, the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation grant with Ma-Yi Theatre and a translation of Romeo and Juliet for Play On! at Oregon Shakespeare Festival. She has translated over thirty English musicals into Korean, including Evita, Dracula, Spamalot and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spellling Bee, while working on several award winning musical theatre productions as director, lyricist and translator in Seoul, South Korea. Jung holds a Playwriting MFA from Yale School of Drama, and is a proud member of the Ma-Yi Theatre Writers Lab.

Jess McLeod (Director, Wolf Play) is the Resident Director of Hamilton (Broadway in Chicago), a Resident Director at Victory Gardens Theater and The Goodman Theatre's 2017 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow. Chicago credits include 2 1/2 seasons with Chicago Voices (Lyric Opera of Chicago), a revamped Marry Me A Little (Porchlight Music Theatre), Idris Goodwin's How We Got On (Haven Theatre), Lauren Yee's in a word (Strawdog Theatre Company), Shawn Pfautch's Season on the Line (The House Theatre of Chicago, Jeff Nomination); poet Kevin Coval's one-man show L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens); Venus (Steppenwolf's Next Up!); Bathsheba Doran's Kin (Griffin Theatre); Jenni Lamb's Suicide Kills (American Theater Company); Babes In Arms (Porchlight Revisits); and Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen's Fugitive Songs, Zanna, Don't, and The Pajama Game (The Music Theatre Company). From 2005-2008, McLeod served as Director of Programming for The New York Musical Theatre Festival, where she oversaw all curating and directed pop/musical theatre fusion concerts such as The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds. New York directing credits include Joyce Carol Oates' The Corn Maiden, Harrison David Rivers' Fell, Rachel Axler's Kitchen Sink (Cherry Lane Studio), Joe Keenan and Brad Ross' The Times (Sonnet Repertory Theatre) and The Last Five Years (Arthur Seelen Theatre). An avid teaching artist and believer in youth and community engagement, McLeod also recently served as Festival Coordinator for Young Chicago Authors' Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festival (the world's largest youth poetry festival), worked as a Teaching Artist for Storycatchers Theatre and recently directed Short Shakes! A Midsummer Night's Dream for Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Anerican Theater Company's educational touring production of PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger's The Project(s). McLeod holds an MFA in Directing from Northwestern University and a BA from Williams College, and has taught or lectured at both, as well as at NYU, Yale University, NSLC, and The Calhoun School in New York.

About The Gift Theatre

The Gift's 17th season includes a revival of John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning drama Doubt: A Parable directed by Ensemble Member John Gawlik (February 27 - March 31); the world premiere of Hansol Jung's Wolf Play, directed by guest artist Jess McLeod (October 18 - November 24); as well as a soon-to-be announced third production (July 12 - August 18). Season subscriptions are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers ("Gifters") receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night "Natural Gas" improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at at or by calling (773) 283-7071.

About Steppenwolf's LookOut Series

Housed primarily in the 1700 Theatre, LookOut is Steppenwolf's performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form: emerging artists and performance legends, quintessential Chicago companies and young aspiring ensembles, familiar Steppenwolf faces and new friends. Greta Honold and Patrick Zakem are the producers for LookOut, which is presented year-round and announced on an ongoing basis. For more information, visit

PHOTO CREDIT: The Gift Theatre's 2019 season opener DOUBT: A PARABLE will feature (left to right) Ensemble Members Jennifer Glasse, MaryAnn Thebus and Michael Patrick Thornton.

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