Skip to main content Skip to footer site map
TimeLine Theatre Adds Performances of TROUBLE IN MIND

TimeLine Theatre Adds Performances of TROUBLE IN MIND

Trouble in Mind will close on Sunday, December 18.

TimeLine Theatre Company has announced he addition of two matinees to the current run of the company's critically acclaimed revival of Trouble in Mind on Thursday, December 8, and Thursday, December 15, at 2 p.m.

Trouble in Mind, the 1955 classic by Alice Childress-the first Black woman to have a play professionally produced in New York City-is a cutting yet humorous behind-the-curtain drama that examines racial dynamics within American theatre and the tolls of superficial representation on stage.

Step into TimeLine, and you're inside a Broadway theater in New York City in the mid-1950s, where a group of actors has gathered for their first day rehearsing a new play called Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching Southern drama. But as the cast rehearses, tensions flare between Wiletta, the Black actress in the starring role, and her white director, Al Manners, about his interpretation of the play. Under Ron OJ Parson's direction, what emerges is an explosive investigation of interracial politics and the need for a cultural shift in theatre and America.

Trouble in Mind must close on Sunday, December 18. Starting Friday, December 2, the updated performance schedule is Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Single tickets are $42 (Wednesday through Friday), $49 (Saturday evenings) and $57 (Saturday and Sunday matinees). Student discount is 35% off regular price with valid ID. TimeLine is also a member of TCG's Blue Star Theatre Program and is offering $25 tickets to U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family. For tickets and information, visit or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.

TimeLine Theatre is located at 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago's Lakeview East neighborhood, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway, inside the former Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building, now Chabad East Lakeview. TimeLine is served by multiple CTA trains and buses. There are multiple paid parking options nearby, plus limited free and metered street parking. Visit for details and available discounts.

In 1949, Alice Childress, a founding member of the American Negro Theatre, wrote her first play, Florence, in one night on a dare from her close friend, actor Sidney Poitier, who had told her he didn't think a great play could be written overnight. She proved him wrong, and Florence was produced Off-Broadway in 1950. In 1952, Childress became the first African American woman to see her play, Gold Through the Trees, professionally produced in New York.

Three years later, Trouble in Mind opened Off-Broadway in 1955 at the Greenwich Mews Theatre. The production was a critical and popular success and immediately drew interest from producers for a Broadway transfer. In an ironic twist echoing the tribulations of the characters in the play itself, the producers wanted changes to the script to make it more palatable to a commercial audience. Childress refused to compromise, and the play never opened on Broadway, ending her chance of being the first African American woman playwright to have a play on Broadway. It took 66 years for Trouble in Mind to finally receive its Broadway premiere, in a Tony Award-nominated production at Roundabout Theatre in 2021.

"TimeLine is thrilled to finally bring Trouble in Mind to our stage," said TimeLine Artistic Director PJ Powers. "This production may have been delayed nearly two years due to the pandemic, but some things are worth the wait, including this remarkable play by Alice Childress. Never given its proper due nearly 70 years ago, this funny and searing play by a trailblazing writer is now deservedly regarded as one of the great plays of the 20th century. We can't wait to see the play shine under the direction of TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson, one of our city's indispensable artistic voices."

TimeLine's cast for Trouble in Mind features Shariba Rivers (she/her) as Wiletta Mayer, Tim Decker (he/him) as Al Manners, Charles Stransky (he/him) as Henry, Guy Van Swearingen (he/him) as Bill O'Wray, Tarina J. Bradshaw (she/her) as Millie Davis, Kenneth D. Johnson (he/him) as Sheldon Forrester, Jordan Ashley Grier (she/her) as Judy Sears, Vincent Jordan (he/him) as John Nevins, and Adam Shalzi (he/him) as Eddie Fenton.

The production team includes Caitlin McLeod (Scenic Designer, she/her), Christine Pascual (Costume Designer, she/her), Brandon Wardell (Lighting Designer, he/him), Christopher Kriz (Original Music and Sound Designer, he/him), Jennifer Wernau (Properties Designer, she/her), Megan E. Pirtle (Wig and Hair Designer, she/her), Martine Kei Green-Rogers (Dramaturg, she/her), DeRon S. Williams (Associate Director, Assistant Dramaturg, he/him), Dina Spoerl (Dramaturgical Display Designer, she/her) and Miranda Anderson (Stage Manager, she/her).


Post-Show Discussions: A brief, informal post-show discussion hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the dramaturg and members of the production team on Thursday, December 1, and Wednesday, December 7.

Pre-Show Discussion: Starting one hour before the performance, a 25-minute introductory conversation hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and the dramaturg on Thursday, December 8.

Company Member Discussion: A post-show discussion with the collaborative team of artists who choose TimeLine's programming and guide the company's mission on Sunday, December 4.

Sunday Scholars Panel Discussion: A one-hour panel discussion featuring experts on the themes and issues of the play alongside a member of the production team in a moderated discussion, following the performance on Sunday, December 11.

All discussions are free and open to the public. For details, visit


Distanced Performances: The performance on Friday, December 2 will have a capacity cap and seating chart so that patrons can sit with additional space allocated between parties.

Captioned Performances: Open-captioned performances with a text display of words and sounds heard during performances are Friday, December 9, and Saturday, December 10 at 4 p.m.

Audio-Described Performance: On Friday, December 16, the performance will feature narration about visual elements of the production around the dialogue, available for individual patrons via headphones.

TimeLine Theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. Two wheelchair lifts provide access from street level to the theatre space and to lower-level restrooms. Audience members using wheelchairs
or who need to avoid stairs, and others with special seating or accessibility needs, should contact the TimeLine Box Office in advance to confirm arrangements.


As the COVID-19 pandemic evolves, TimeLine continues to work to ensure the safety of artists, audiences, and staff through safety protocols at its performances. For Trouble in Mind, the theatre will require mask-wearing in order to attend. These protocols are subject to change as the pandemic evolves. For current information about TimeLine's COVID-19 safety protocols, visit

Review: LADY DAY AT EMERSONS BAR AND GRILL at Mercury Theater Chicago Photo
What did our critic think of LADY DAY AT EMERSON’S BAR AND GRILL at Mercury Theater Chicago? To say Alexis J. Roston's performance as Billie Holiday in LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR AND GRILL is a masterclass in acting and singing is no exaggeration. Roston gives the kind of lived-in, seamless performance that only comes from knowing the material intimately well, and indeed, it's a role she's played many times before.

VIDEO: Eric Einhorn Discussing the Production of HANSEL & GRETEL Photo
Based on the beloved fairy tale by the Brothers Grimm, HANSEL AND GRETEL gets a whimsical makeover in this popular production. Watch director Eric Einhorn bringing this production to life on stage.

VODE: Get A First Look At Marriott Theatres With BIG FISH, The Musical Photo
The Marriott Theatre's 2023 season launches with the family-friendly musical adventure, BIG FISH, now on stage through March 19, 2023. Get a first look at the production.

Photos: Go Inside Rehearsals for CHLORINE SKY at Steppenwolf Theatre Photo
Get a first look at the Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ world premiere adaptation of Chlorine Sky, by Mahogany L. Browne.

More Hot Stories For You

Raven Theatre Renames East Stage in Honor of Longtime Board Member Stephen JohnsonRaven Theatre Renames East Stage in Honor of Longtime Board Member Stephen Johnson
February 6, 2023

Raven Theatre has renamed its 85-seat East Stage “The Johnson Stage,” in honor of longtime Board Member and supporter Stephen Johnson.

Chicago Will Offer $11 Million in Grants to Nonprofit Arts OrganizationsChicago Will Offer $11 Million in Grants to Nonprofit Arts Organizations
February 6, 2023

$11 million in grants will be distributed to nonprofit arts organizations in Chicago. Grants are expected to range from $10,000 to $250,000.

Photos: Go Inside Rehearsals for CHLORINE SKY at Steppenwolf TheatrePhotos: Go Inside Rehearsals for CHLORINE SKY at Steppenwolf Theatre
February 3, 2023

Get a first look at the Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ world premiere adaptation of Chlorine Sky, by Mahogany L. Browne.

The Den Presents THE DEN'S BEST on The Heath Mainstage This MonthThe Den Presents THE DEN'S BEST on The Heath Mainstage This Month
February 3, 2023

The Den Theatre is pleased to present The Den’s Best, a showcase of Chicago’s most talented comedians, musicians, improvisors and more on Thursday, February 9 and Thursday, February 19 at 7:15 pm on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood.

Northlight Theatre Extends ANDY WARHOL IN IRANNorthlight Theatre Extends ANDY WARHOL IN IRAN
February 3, 2023

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, has announced the extension of Andy Warhol in Iran by Brent Askari, directed by BJ Jones. Five performances have been added, now running through February 26, 2023, at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie.