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Victory Gardens Announces 2020-2021 Season Including Four Premieres

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Victory Gardens Announces 2020-2021 Season Including Four Premieres

Victory Gardens Theater, under the leadership of Artistic Director Chay Yew and Executive Director Erica Daniels, announces the lineup for its 2020-2021 Season.

Victory Gardens' 46th Season will include the Chicago premiere of Poor Yella Rednecks by Qui Nguyen; the world premiere of In Every Generation by Ali Viterbi; the acclaimed Chicago play Exit Strategy by Ike Holter; the Chicago premiere of cullud wattah by Erika Dickerson-Despenza, and the Chicago premiere of Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery.

Note: Victory Gardens has canceled its productions of Dhaba on Devon Avenue and Right To Be Forgotten due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020-2021 season is set to begin in September 2020 and subscriptions are currently available at or by phone at 773.871.3000.

"Despite the need for physical distancing to combat the pandemic, we remain optimistic about the future of our industry and our art. It is with this outlook on the future that Victory Gardens announces the 2020-2021 season," said Executive Director Erica Daniels. "We're incredibly hopeful about the future of Victory Gardens and the arts and cultural scene in Chicago and our nation. We look forward to a time when we can all come together to experience our shared stories with one another-on stage and off."

"It's only a matter of time until our indomitable human spirit will overcome this moment in global history. As a diverse city and country, we will rise by standing together, by supporting and raising each other up in these uncertain times. These are the same values we hold dear at Victory Gardens," said Artistic Director Chay Yew. "Looking to artists who give us hope and inspiration, we've specifically chosen plays for our 46th season that continue our passionate commitment of reflecting the world in which we live. With powerful new plays addressing the Flint water crisis, the closing of Chicago's Public Schools, immigration, and the immense divide between the conservative and liberal Americans, we are giving a home to brave playwrights who are writing to the pulse of our country, providing dialogue towards meaningful civic change and a more socially just nation."

Victory Gardens Theater's 46th Season up close:

Chicago Premiere
Poor Yella Rednecks

By Qui Nguyen
Directed by Jess McLeod
September 18-October 18, 2020
Press Opening: September 25, 2020

Far away in the exotic land of Arkansas, the story of Tong and Quang continues, six years after the end of the critically acclaimed Vietgone. But this isn't a sequel: it's a whole new story. Falling in love was easy-but life in a new country, with a different language, low wages, and a young child is a lot harder. And that's before Quang's first wife reappears. Playwright Qui Nguyen digs deep into personal history to continue the hilarious, heartbreaking, intensely human saga of his family's life in '70s rural America, in his characteristic subversive style, set to a hip-hop beat. Poor Yella Rednecks will be staged by Victory Gardens Resident Director Jess McLeod (Resident Director, Hamilton Chicago).

World Premiere
In Every Generation

By Ali Viterbi
Directed by Devon de Mayo
November 13-December 13, 2020
Press Opening: November 20, 2020

Each Passover, for four millenia, we ask: why is this night different from all other nights? And each year, the Levi-Katz clan has answered, while struggling with questions of race and religion that never seem to get resolved. The family finds strength in tradition (vegan brisket or no); but each year of celebration brings more pressing questions about the future: if trauma is generational, then must we be defined by it? Will we ever be free? Written by Ali Viterbi, In Every Generation was the 2019 winner of the National Jewish Playwriting Contest, and will have its world premiere at Victory Gardens, staged by Devon de Mayo (If I Forget, Victory Gardens).

The acclaimed Chicago play
Exit Strategy

By Ike Holter
Directed by Wardell Julius Clark
January 29-February 28, 2021
Press Opening: February 5, 2021

Tumbldn High School is your typical Chicago Public School: underfunded, understaffed, and underperforming. And at the end of the year, it will close. But it's home for its teachers and students, who decide to fight back to save their school. The vice principal leads the charge, but with tensions at a breaking point, his efforts may be too little-or too futile-to change Tumbldn's fate. The second story in Ike Holter's Rightlynd Saga, Exit Strategy is loaded with humor and overflowing with fury, asking what we owe to our communities. This critically acclaimed play will be staged by Wardell Julius Clark (Sheepdog, Shattered Globe; Kill Move Paradise, TimeLine Theatre).

Chicago Premiere
cullud wattah

By Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Lili-Anne Brown
April 9-May 16, 2021
Press Opening: April 16, 2021

Thanksgiving, 2016: Flint, Michigan has been without clean water for 936 days. Marion, a third-generation General Motors assembly line worker, worries over impending layoffs while struggling to fight the poison that floods her home-and her family's bodies. When her sister, Ainee, seeks restitution for lead poisoning, secrets bubble to the surface, threatening to capsize not only their family, but all of Vehicle City. Penned by award-winning playwright Erika Dickerson-Despenza, cullud wattah will be staged by Victory Gardens Resident Director Lili-Anne Brown (Lottery Day; School Girls: Or The African Mean Girls Play, Goodman Theatre).

Chicago Premiere
Heroes of the Fourth Turning

By Will Arbery
Directed by Jonathan Berry
June 11-July 11, 2021
Press Opening: June 18, 2021

At a backyard after-party in rural Wyoming, four young conservatives gather to celebrate their mentor's induction as president of their tiny Catholic alma mater. What starts as a celebration devolves into a vicious fight for understanding, as generations clash and the search for spiritual clarity descends into chaos. Playwright Will Arbery confronts a country at war with itself over its future in one of the best plays of 2019, as recognized by The New York Times, Time Out New York, and more. Heroes of the Fourth Turning will be staged by Jonathan Berry (The Children, Steppenwolf) in its Chicago Premiere, bringing the acclaimed play home to the heartland after its stunning New York debut.

Subscriptions start at $105 and are on sale now at, or call the Victory Gardens Box Office at 773.871.3000. Victory Gardens Theater is located at 2433 N. Lincoln Avenue, in the heart of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood.

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