Writers Theatre to Open 2022/23 Season With TIGER STYLE! by Mike Lew in September

Tiger Style! is a hilarious comedy about Chinese American heritage and belonging that will leave you howling with laughter.

By: Aug. 31, 2022
Writers Theatre to Open 2022/23 Season With TIGER STYLE! by Mike Lew in September

Writers Theatre will debut its 2022/23 Season with Tiger Style! by Mike Lew, directed by Brian Balcom. The production runs September 29, 2022 - October 30, 2022 in the in the Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. The Press Opening is Friday, October 7, 2022 at 7:30pm.

Squabbling siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen reached the pinnacle of academic achievement when they were kids. But as adults, they can't seem to get things right: he's just been passed up for promotion and she's been dumped by her less-than-ideal boyfriend. To fix the sorry states of their lives, they turn to the one thing they know they can blame: their parents. Or America. Or maybe China? It's someone else's fault, that's for sure.

Award-winning playwright Mike Lew (Teenage Dick) pens this hilarious comedy about Chinese American heritage and belonging that will leave you howling with laughter. Travelling the globe from California to Shenzen, Tiger Style! uproariously tackles the immigrant experience, cultural stereotypes and what it really means to feel successful-and at home.

Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy [he/him] comments, "I'm thrilled to finally bring Mike Lew's Tiger Style! to Chicago audiences. This smart and irreverent comedy has been delighting theatergoers around the country since its premiere in 2015. Lew has continued to refine the script, and our production will feature the latest updates to the satirical adventures of Jennifer and Albert Chen. These third-generation Chinese Americans, like other children of immigrants, have grown up under the pressures of racial stereotypes and cultural assumptions. 'How do I identify' and 'where do I feel at home' are such important questions right now. Anyone looking to ponder the answers - and have an uproariously good time while doing so - will feel right at home with Tiger Style!"

The cast includes: Aurora Adachi-Winter (Jennifer), Rammel Chan (Dad/Tzi Chuan/Melvin/General Tso), Garrett Lutz (Russ/Reggie/Customs Guy), Deanna Myers (Mom/Therapist/Cousin Chen/Matchmaker), and Christopher Thomas Pow (Albert). The understudies are Adam Benjamin, Chad Bay, Peter Sipla and Harmony Zhang.

The creative team includes: Lauren M. Nichols (Scenic Designer), Christine Pascual (Costume Designer), Lee Fiskness (Lighting Designer), Forrest Gregor (Sound Designer), and Michelle N. Huang (Cultural Consultant). The assistant director is Michaela Parangalan. The stage manager is Katie Klemme and the assistant stage manager is Olivia Sullam,


Brian Balcom (Director) is a disabled, Asian-American Director based in Chicago who specializes in contemporary, muscular, relationship-driven plays. He enjoys working with playwrights and thinks that entertainment is underrated. He has directed 12 world premieres, 6 of which were personally commissioned, and has helped develop work at The Playwrights Center, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Dramatists, and La Jolla Rep. He currently serves as Access Project Coordinator at Victory Gardens where he works to enhance access services for patrons and develop the next generation of disabled stories and artists. Recent credits include: A Great Migration at B Street Theatre, Marisol at Northwestern University, Teenage Dick at Theater Wit, Fast Company at Theater Mu, Vietgone at American Stage, and Samuel J &K at Gremlin Theatre. Brian has sat on artistic advisory committees for Park Square Theater, Writers Theatre, National New Play Network, and American Theater Magazine and served as panel speaker on disability and theater for TCG conference sessions, American Theater Magazine, Shakespeare Theater Association, The Voice and Speech Trainers Association, 3Arts, The Lark, and for Victory Gardens Theater. Brian has his BFA from Carnegie-Mellon and MFA from DePaul, was a Multi-cultural Fellow at Steppenwolf Theatre, and was a recipient of a 3Arts residency at The University of Chicago's Department of Disability and Human Development.

Mike Lew's plays include Teenage Dick (Donmar Warehouse, Wooly Mammoth, Ma-Yi at the Public, and Artists Rep productions; Public Studio, O'Neill, OSF workshops), Tiger Style! (Olney, Huntington, La Jolla Playhouse, and Alliance productions; O'Neill and CTG workshops), Bike America (Ma-Yi and Alliance productions), microcrisis (Ma-Yi, InterAct, and Next ACT Productions), Moustache Guys, and the book to the musical Bhangin' It (Richard Rodgers Award; La Jolla Playhouse, Jerome Robbins Project Springboard and Rhinebeck Writers Retreat "Triple R" workshops). He is a Tony voter, Dramatists Guild Council member, and resident of New Dramatists. He is a Mellon Foundation Playwright in Residence at Ma-Yi and former La Jolla Playhouse Artist-in-Residence (both with Rehana Lew Mirza). Honors include Lark Venturous and NYFA fellowships and the Kleban, PEN Emerging Playwright, Lanford Wilson, Helen Merrill, Heideman, and Kendeda awards. He is former co-director of Ma-Yi Writers Lab, the largest collective of Asian-American Playwrights in the country. He is married to fellow playwright Rehana Lew Mirza, who he met in Ma-Yi Lab (read the story here). Training: Juilliard (2013), Yale (2003).

Aurora Adachi-Winter (Jennifer) returns to Writers after appearing as Tong in Vietgone. Other credits include: Lottery Day, Nightwatch (Goodman); Red Rex (Steep Theatre); Put Your House In Order (The Roustabouts); Bull In A China Shop (About Face Theatre); The Burials (Steppenwolf); peerless, Edith Can Shoot Things and Hit Them (First Floor Theater, company member); good friday (Oracle Productions); Mutt (Stage Left Theatre); and Ghost Bike (Buzz22 Chicago). Aurora has also performed in The Fly Honey Show (The Inconvenience) with the drum group Adachi Taiko. She holds a BFA from the UIUC and is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Rammel Chan (Dad, Tzi Chuan, Melvin, General Tso) is a Chicago-based actor, writer and comedian. Theatre credits include Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens, King of the Yees at Goodman Theatre and Kirk Douglas Theatre, Vietgone at Writers Theatre, A Red Line Runs Through It (u/s) at Second City's e.t.c., Oblivion at Steppenwolf Theatre, and Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992 at Next Act Theatre - Milwaukee. Film & TV credits include I Used To Go Here, Cold War, Blackbox, End of the Tour, The Red Line (CBS); Crisis, Chicago Justice (NBC); The Big Leap (FOX); Patriot, Utopia and The Jamz (Amazon). He is an alumnus of the Second City Bob Curry Fellowship and has performed with the sketch groups Robot vs. Dinosaur and Stir Friday Night! Rammel is also a fiction writer with speculative fiction pieces appearing in Asimov's Science Fiction, Riksha, The Tiger Moth Review and Solstice Literary Magazine.

Adam Benjamin (Russ, Reggie, Customs Guy us), making his Writers Theatre debut, has been seen at The Adventures of Augie March at Court Theatre, Her Honor Jane Byrne at Lookingglass, Hatfield & McCoy at The House Theatre, Arms and the Man at City Lit, A Map of Virtue and Christina The Girl King at Cor Theatre, Merry Wives Of Windsor at The Arc. He has appeared on Chicago Fire, in more than 30 commercials, and multiple roles in film and television.

Garrett Lutz (Russ/Reggie/Customs Guy) is making his Writers Theatre debut. Chicago credits include The Music Man (Goodman Theatre); Cabaret (Paramount Theatre); Three Sisters (Steppenwolf Theater Co.); Macbeth, Twelfth Night, Madagascar (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Spring Awakening, Newsies, Grease, Shrek (Marriott Theatre); Big River, Ghost (Theatre at the Center); James and the Giant Peach (Drury Lane Theatre). Film and web credits include Divergent (Summit Entertainment); The Munch on Oregon (The Onion). Storefront credits Urinetown, Dogfight (Boho Theatre Ensemble); Heathers, The Full Monty (Kokandy Productions, Non-Equity Jeff Award Nominee).

Deanna Myers (Mom/Therapist/Cousin Chen/Matchmaker) Selected Chicago credits: The Scene, Smart People (Writers), The Great Leap (Steppenwolf), Midsummer Dream: Shakespeare in the Parks (Chicago Shakespeare), Two Mile Hollow (First Floor Theatre), You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), The Gulf (About Face), SideShow (Porchlight Music Theatre), The New Stages Production of King of the Yees, The White Snake (Goodman Theatre), The Golden Dragon (Sideshow Theatre). TV/Film Credits: Hot Date, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, Empire, The Drunk. Deanna is a proud company member and board president of Playmakers Lab (formerly Barrel of Monkeys) where she finds her favorite young playwrights among the students in CPS classrooms.

Christopher Thomas Pow (Albert) is making his Writers Theater debut. Credits include Ted/Leng/Guitar in Cambodian Rock Band, (co-productions at Victory Gardens Theater/City Theatre Company/Merrimack Repertory Theatre and at Theater Mu/Jungle Theater) Pip in Great Expectations, Ferdinand in The Tempest (Great River Shakespeare Festival), Ensemble/Musician in Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, and Ensemble in Mlima's Tale (Griffin Theatre Company). Christopher also voiced Ross in the GRSF's audio production of Macbeth, and Jeff Balasco in Evil Kitten Production's audio drama The Continuing Adventures of John Blade: Super Spy by Kyle Encinas. A songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Christopher is currently working on his debut music album, hoping to release it in 2023.

Peter Sipla (Dad/Melvin/General Tso/Tzi Chuan us) Theatre credits include Passage (Remy Bumppo); Cambodian Rock Band (Victory Gardens Theater, City Theatre, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre); The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago); ShortShakes!: Romeo and Juliet and Passion (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); South Pacific (Drury Lane Theatre); Newsies and City of Angels (The Marriott Theatre); The Wizard of Oz and Miss Saigon (Paramount Theatre); The Jigsaw Bride and MacBeth (First Folio Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing (Oak Park Festival Theatre); and work with TimeLine Theatre, Red Tape Theatre, and Disney Cruise Line. Television credits: Station Eleven (HBOMax), neXt (Fox) and Chicago Fire (NBC).

Chad Bay (Albert us) is working with Writers Theatre for the first time. Recent Chicago credits include In the Next Room, or The Vibrator Play (Idle Muse), The Tempest (Commission Theatre), Love's Labor's Lost (Invictus Theatre), How to Live on Earth (Chimera Ensemble), and Two Gentlemen of Verona (Midsommer Flight - ensemble member). Regionally, he has worked behind the scenes at American Players Theatre (Spring Green, WI) and on stage with Riverside Theatre (Iowa City, IA).


The Writers Theatre season starts with Tiger Style!, written by Mike Lew, directed by Brian Balcom, followed by Once, written by Enda Walsh, Glen Hansard, and Markéta Irglová, directed by Katie Spelman. The season concludes with the Midwest premier of A Distinct Society, by Kareem Fahmy. Manual Cinema's Christmas Carol also runs from November 29-December 24.

The 2022/23 Season will see the company now firmly at home in its award-winning building at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects. Productions will be presented in two spaces in the theater complex including the 255-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre as well as the Gillian Theatre, a 50 to 99-seat flexible theatre space. The theatre, along with over 60 other Chicago performing arts organizations, will require patrons to be fully vaccinated and masked when attending performances. Please visit https://cloud.broadwayworld.com/rec/ticketclick.cfm?fromlink=2194174®id=23&articlelink=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.writerstheatre.org?utm_source=BWW2022&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=article&utm_content=bottombuybutton1/covid-safety for full details.


Writers is offering a variety of Classic Subscriptions, which include a ticket to each production throughout the season and includes renewal into fixed seats on set dates once each run is announced.

Subscriptions include three familiar package types that all offer fixed seats to see all four WT productions this season, one ticket to each production. Subscriptions are made for those who are looking to set their schedule in advance and gain access to seating at the top of the Season.

For the 2021/22 Season, Writers will continue the Membership Program, which includes 4 tickets to be used throughout the season as the Member chooses.

There are two types of Memberships: The most flexible option to "Pay As You Go" after an up-front Membership fee, or the option to pay in full for 4 tickets to be used throughout the season ("Up Front Flex"). Memberships are designed for those who want the freedom and flexibility of a more adaptable package.

Classic Subscriptions range in price from $160 to $240. Customizable payment plans are available. A "Pay As You Go" Membership is $35 per ticket after a one-time $60 Membership fee, or patrons may opt for the "Up Front Flex" Membership for $200 up-front

Season package subscribers receive exclusive benefits including complimentary ticket exchanges by phone and mail (upgrade fees may apply), access to special play readings and lectures, special "subscriber-rate" prices on additional tickets, a year subscription to The Brief Chronicle digital newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit writerstheatre.org/join.

Season Packages are available online at www.writerstheatre.org, and at the Box Office by calling 847-242-6000.

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the distinguished 2021/22 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank's ninth consecutive year as season sponsor.


WT also offers Access Performances, including ASL-interpretation and Open Captioning on select dates for each production. Please visit writerstheatre.org/accessibility for more information.

Writers Theatre is also working with Erika Walker and Maylene Peña of the Walker Thomas Group on workplace culture and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional information about this important and ongoing work can be found at writerstheatre.org/working-at-wt.


Writers Theatre boldly looks to the future as it begins its 30th season. Having captivated audiences for years with its dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible, the theatre is now a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called "America's finest regional theater company" by The Wall Street Journal.

Since 1992, Writers Theatre has stayed true to its core values: valuing the power of the written word and uplifting the artists who bring that word to life. The company has produced over 120 productions-everything from inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work. In 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility designed by the internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to accommodate its growing audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy.

Writers Theatre now welcomes more than 60,000 patrons each season and has helped establish the North Shore of Chicago as a premier cultural destination. Through its Literary Development Initiative, which has been responsible for the nurturing and premiering of over two dozen world premieres, the theatre has established itself as a major originator of new theatrical works. Serving as an extension of the Writers Theatre mission, WT Education programs engage an average 10,000 students each year with active learning opportunities centered around the written word.

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