Season 34

Press Room

Welcome to the Press Room!

•Click for a PDF version of the MUTT release- Release_Mutt

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•For High-Resolution photos from Season 34 – Click Here

For Immediate Release
Stage Left Theatre Company ● 1541 W Belmont, Chicago, IL 60657
773.883.8830 ●
Press Contact: Vance Smith, 773-883-8830,

Stage Left Theatre and Red Tape Theatre
present the Midwest premiere of
by Christopher Chen
January 9– February 14, 2016


Chicago, November 13, 2015 – Red Tape Theatre and Stage Left Theatre announce the upcoming Midwest premiere of Mutt, written by Christopher Chen and directed by Vanessa Stalling. Mutt is the second production of Stage Left’s 34th season and the first production of Red Tape’s 12th season. Press opening is Wednesday, January 13th at 8:00 PM at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont.  The show runs through February 14th.


The Republican Party finally realizes it has a problem with race. So it decides its best chance for success in the 2016 presidential election is to back a candidate who’s of “mixed race,” white and Asian descent.. They think they’ve found their man in Len, a multiracial war hero who can check off every single box — and maybe a couple more boxes no one knows about. A blisteringly funny satire that skewers not only the elephants in the room but the donkeys too, Mutt burns down the entire house of racial cards.

Mutt saw its world premiere at Impact Theatre with Ferocious Lotus in San Francisco in 2014.


In line with their mission to raise social and political debate, Stage Left offers patrons a Symposium Series for every production. Immediately following each Sunday matinee, they invite the audience to stay for a discussion centered on a particular question raised by the performance. Admission to the Symposium Series is free, but it is recommended that attendees have seen the production in order to fully appreciate and participate in the discussion. Through outrageous satire, Mutt asks questions about our country’s ability to have an honest conversation about racial issues, and to explore how identity is shaped by cultural perceptions of race. 


Mutt runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm through 2/14/2016. Tickets are $15-30 and will be available through the Theater Wit box office either online at or by calling 773-975-8150. Press Opening is Wednesday, January 13th at 8:00pm. Previews are Saturday, January 9th at 8:00pm; Sunday, January 10th at 3:00pm; and Tuesday, January 12th at 8:00pm. Preview tickets are $20. Mutt will be performed at Theater Wit at 1229 W. Belmont in Chicago. The theater is handicapped and CTA accessible via the Belmont El (Red & Brown).

Media comps, photos, videos and interviews are available by contacting Vance Smith at 773.883.8830 (office) or Hi-res photos, this release and archived releases and photos are available at


Christopher Chen’s full-length works have been produced and developed across the United States and abroad, at companies such as the American Conservatory Theater, Asian American Theater Company, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Beijing Fringe, Central Works, Crowded Fire, Cutting Ball, Edinburgh Fringe, hotINK Festival, Impact Theatre, InterAct, Just Theatre, The Lark, Magic Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, San Francisco Playhouse, Silk Road Rising, Sundance Theatre Lab, Theatre Mu and The Vineyard. Honors: Glickman Award; Rella Lossy Award; shortlist for the James Tait Black Award, nomination for the Steinberg Award; 2nd Place in the Belarus Free Theater International Playwriting Competition; PONY finalist; Jerome Finalist; the 2013 Paula Vogel Playwriting Award, through which he was playwright-in-residence at The Vineyard Theatre. Current commission: San Francisco Playhouse. In Chicago, his play The Hundred Flowers Project received its Midwest premiere at Silk Road Rising in 2014 and his play Caught (first produced at InterAct in Philadelphia) will be produced by Sideshow Theatre Company in 2016. Chris is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley, and holds an M.F.A. in playwriting from S.F. State.

Vanessa Stalling is a Chicago freelance director and instructor. Most recently, she directed The America Play at Oracle Productions and Circuscope for the Actors Gymnasium. This spring she’ll be directing United Flight 232, her adaptation of Laurence Gonzales’ book Flight, for The House Theatre. Vanessa is most known for her work with Redmoon, where she served as Associate Artistic Director. Redmoon directing credits include Last of My SpeciesWinter Pageant, the remount of The Cabinet, and Princess Club. Vanessa is also an instructor at Columbia College and University of Chicago. 

The cast features Stage Left Ensemble Member Ian McLaren (Zach, et al.), Stage Left Artistic Associate Michael Reyes (Nick, et al.), and guest artists Aurora Adachi-Winter (Hannah), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Witnesses, et al.), Daniel Smith (Len, et al.), Alejandra Vivanco (Quinn, et al.), and Mary Williamson (Miriam, et al.).

The staff includes Red Tape Company Member  Izumi Inaba (costume design), Stage Left Company Members Kathy Arfken (scenic design), Jason Crutchfield (stage manager), Emmaline Keddy-Hector (production management), and Zev Valancy (dramaturgy), with guest artists Emily Breyer (properties design), Lesley Fisher Chapman (assistant director) Paul Deziel (projections design), Lisa Giebler (technical direction), John Kelly (lighting design), and Steve Labedz (sound design).


Now in their 12th season, Red Tape Theatre is committed to the creation of new and experimental work through collaborations with their ensemble, playwrights, musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Red Tape’s plays invite audiences to re-imagine their world and serve a vital purpose in our community: to arrest attention and create empathy. This work is supported by Red Tape’s Fresh Eyes Playwrights Workshop which is produced annually.


Founded in 1982, Stage Left Theatre is committed to developing and producing plays that raise debate and challenge perspectives on political and social issues. Through a full subscription season and our new play development program Downstage Left, Stage Left strives to ask provocative social and political questions by producing a mix of new works, regional premieres and timeless classics. 

Mutt is supported by generous grants from The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; the Mac Arthur Fund for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; and the Rothman Family Foundation. 


For questions or info, please contact:

Vance Smith, Artistic Director, Stage Left Theatre at 773-883-8830