Season 34

LeapFest 8

June 14 – July 3 2011

See what’s next in Chicago theatre – LeapFest’s first seven years have so far graduated twelve plays to world premiere productions in Chicago and beyond, with three of these receiving the Jeff Award for Best New Work. Join us for an 8th smash year, when five new plays “take the leap” in development in this three week festival of politically-minded new work. Each play will be presented in rotating repertory, and performances are followed by a discussion with the playwright and director.

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The Plays

Blessed Assurance: The Story of Boston Corbett, Slayer of Booth
by Randall Colburn
directed by Greg Werstler*

John Wilkes Booth’s death in a burning barn came courtesy of Boston Corbett, a mercury-addled, born-again Christian who claimed he was ordered by the Almighty to pull the trigger. But when a young lawyer suggests that Booth may be living in Texas, and that the victim was a stranger, Boston’s divine mandate is called into question. Blessed Assurance was developed through a Downstage Left residency in the Spring of 2011.

Make Sure It’s Me
by Kate Wenner
directed by Drew Martin*

As waves of vets return from Iraq, doctors confront a devastating new war injury – brain damage from the concussive force of repeated IED’s.  Scrambling to keep a lid on a what could be a very expensive problem, the military enlists Dr. Josephine Fitch to secretly study five injured vets.  Seeing their courage and profound losses, she questions how long she can keep quiet about Pentagon stonewalling.

The News all the Time
by Steve Spencer
directed Scott Bishop*

Leslie Gutierrez is Chicagoland’s #1 news reporter. She just found out she’s pregnant. Five minutes before the most important broadcast of her career. The News All The Time is comedy about the confluence of crises we face and finding a reason to continue the human experiment as things fall apart.

by Anita Chandwaney* and M.E.H. Lewis*
directed by Lavina Jadhwani

In an “Untouchable” Indian village crippled by drought, an intrepid young reporter investigates the corrupt water delivery system. But when her sister suddenly disappears, the investigation becomes personal. Thirst is an NYCWAM Honored Finalist and a 2011 O’Neill Conference semi-finalist.

Thirst is presented in partnership with

by Rob Smith
directed by Jason Fleece*

Macie survived cancer at an early age with the support of her new husband, but when it returns a few years later, she desires one final wish… a one-night stand with a former lover. Is it an act of betrayal or an act of love?

The Playwrights

Click picture for bio.

Anita Chandwaney

Randall Colburn

M. E. H. Lewis

Rob Smith

Steve Spencer

Kate Wenner

The Schedule

June/July 2011

NEWS= The News All The Time; MSIM=Make Sure it’s Me; UNDER=Underneath; BA=Blessed Assurance; TALK=Talkback techniques workshop


First Night: Festival Kick-off Event
Tuesday, June 14th @ 7pm

Cuna (1113 W.  Belmont Avenue)

Come mingle with the artists of LeapFest and enjoy previews of the five LeapFest shows!  A portion of all food and drink purchases will help support LeapFest 8.

Responding to the Production:
Talkback Techniques for Writers, Directors, Designers, Performers, Dramaturgs.
Saturday, June 25th @ 11am

While post-production/reading talkbacks are most often used to provide feedback to writers, there are many occasions when such responses are useful to other theater artists as well.  The workshop will look at ways to achieve the most effective post-production feedback in a variety of both professional and/or academic settings. Some theory, some discussion, some exercises and some games.  Participants should have a working knowledge of “Macbeth.” Lead by Emeritus ensemble member David Rush.  Registration is $10 or free with your LeapPass.  Space is limited.  Reserve your place by emailing

David Rush has recently retired from his position as Head of Playwriting at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.  He is a past writer-in-residence at Chicago Dramatists and an Emeritus Member of Stage Left.  In this capacity,  he has conducted, participated in, and/or observed numerous talkback sessions in all disciplines.  This workshop is based on his work on Talkbacks published in “The Dramatist,” “Theater Topics” and elsewhere.

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