Season 34

Principal Principle

a world premiere
by Joe Zarrow♦
directed by Scott Bishop* 
a co-production with Theatre Seven of Chicago

July 17-August 17, 2014
Return Engagement!
Five weeks only! 

Runs:Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8pm 
Sundays at 3pm 

Buy Tickets 

Two Chicago police officers give a ride home to a young, drunk twenty-something. Several hours later, the young woman emerges from her apartment screaming rape. Influenced by the film Rashomon, Warped presents the contradictory stories from each character’s perspective and asks the question: Is the truth constant, or is it as malleable as our own perceptions? – See more at:

Armed with her dreams of changing the world and six weeks of training, Kay quits her corporate job to teach English in a Chicago public high school. She arrives to find that the copy machine, the system, and the spirits of her fellow teachers are all broken. Or are they? A dark comedy of academic intrigue, Principal Principle is a world premiere by playwright and former CPS teacher Joe Zarrow that takes a peek at the politics behind the closed doors of the teachers’ lounge.


Kay: Cassy Sanders♠
Shelly: McKenzie Chinn
Elana Elyce
Barbara Roeder Harris
Ms. Banerjee: Arya Daire




Production Team:

Stage Manager: Jason Crutchfield
Production Manager: Emmaline Keddy-Hector
Scenic Designer: Joe Schermoly
Lighting Designer: John Kohn III*
Costume Designer: Brenda Winstead♠
Props Designer:  Cassy Schillo
Sound Designer: Adam Smith*
Graphic Design: Nick Escobar
Dramaturg: Zev Valancy*
Photographer: Emily Schwartz
Technical Director: Gordon Granger 

*Stage Left Ensemble Member    ♠Theater Seven Ensemble Member
♦Theater Seven Associate Artist     †Stage Left Artistic Associate

The designation of “Jeff Recommended” is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the opening night judges of The Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee. The entire production is then eligible for nomination for awards at the end of the season.


An interview with playwright Joe Zarrow in DNAinfo

“one of the best new plays of the year…a searingly satirical yet very knowing behind-the-classroom look at the modus operandi at a fictional outpost of the Chicago Public Schools. There are very few excellent plays about public education. This is one — a brand new one, by, for, about, and penned in Chicago. If you are part of the sacred profession that educates young minds, I think you’ll see a little you know, plenty worth thinking about, and much about which you deeply feel. THREE AND A HALF STARS.” —Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

“nails the issues with an ideal mix of stinging satire and abiding sadness… Under Scott Bishop’s crisp, fast-moving direction (on Joe Schermoly’s picture-perfect set complete with old metal desks), the ideally cast actors give vivid portrayals. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” —Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times

“Joe Zarrow’s bracing new comedy respects the system and the audience… The intraoffice debates over educational philosophy get fiery (and provoked some amens in the audience at the preview performance I attended), but to the great credit of the playwright, director Scott Bishop and a first-class cast, the arguments always feel rooted in character, and Zarrow coats them thick with gallows humor… this clear-eyed glimpse into the teachers’ lounge makes hearty laughs part of an all too relevant lesson plan. FOURS STARS [out of five].” —Kris Vire, Time Out Chicago

Chicago playwright and former public school teacher Joe Zarrow achieves something remarkable in his dark comedy, about a Teach for America-like teacher adrift in a fictional CPS high school. He has succeeded in crafting an entertaining play about education that re-creates all the quirks and craziness of modern education without lapsing into either cynical hopelessness or Hollywood-style superteacher fantasies. His dialogue feels authentic, and his characters are flawed but likable human beings, not mouthpieces for this or that ideology. Director Scott Bishop’s fine cast brings out the best in Zarrow’s material. McKenzie Chinn blazes as a fiery radical determined to teach no matter what faddish obstacles the administration throws in her way. And Arya Daire is chilling as the narcissistic, oblivious principal. —Jack Helbig, Chicago Reader

“Zarrow’s zeal to educate his audience on the true nature of teaching – the exceedingly long hours, the inevitable over-extension, the bureaucratic haze, the egos and confrontations, the exhaustive multi-tasking – does not overwhelm his dramatic structure or his characters, who are all finely drawn and brought to wonderful life by an exceptional cast. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” —Peter Thomas Ricci, Chicago Theater Review

“The tight little ensemble shines under director Scott Bishop. Harris’ comic timing and throw-away delivery spice up Ms. Cory while Sanders’ eager energy underscores Ms. Josephs’ fervor. Elana Elyce is rock-solid as the teacher who observes rather than comments, while McKenzie Chinn delivers the most varied performance as the warm but cagey Ms. Wood trying to play both sides. As Principal Banerjee, a semi-comic role, Arya Daire avoids nastiness as she drily projects uncomprehending authority. Joe Schermoly’s cluttered setting of the shared teachers’ office looks just like the adjuncts’ office I share at UIC, only better! It’s spot-on.” —Jonathan Abarbanel, Windy City Times

“Chicago theatre at its best, with strong acting and direction, timely subject matter, and satirical wit… Stage Left and Theatre Seven have brought a true gem to Chicago theatre audiences and with it not only an evening of entertainment, but a platform on which ideas and information can be brought out for discussion and, hopefully, action.” —Colleen Cottet, Edge Chicago