Roll Call: The Cast of Jeeves in Bloom!

Roll Call: The Cast of Jeeves in Bloom!

About Jeeves In Bloom:
Aunt Dahlia has summoned Bertie Wooster to the countryside to meet the lovely Madeline, a marriage prospect. Of course, Bertie has no wish to marry, but rather remain a bachelor to his last days. Which is perfect for Aunt Dahlia, for that’s all a ruse. To save her women’s periodical, Milady’s Boudoir, Aunt Dahlia conscripts Bertie into helping her with a small, charitable task: steal her own family diamonds and ransom money from her husband. No big deal. Fearing certain catastrophe, Bertie turns to his ever faithful manservant, Jeeves, for saving.

But there’s just one problem: Jeeves has quit the job.


GARY ALEXANDER (Augustus Fink-Nottle) is very pleased to be working again with ShawChicago on another P.G. Wodehouse adaptation.  He was seen earlier this season as Dick Dudgeon in The Devil’s Disciple and last season as Gunner in Misalliance and Eustace in Jeeves Intervenes.  Other recent SC shows include: Geneva, Major Barbara, The Importance of Being Earnest, Man and Superman, Saint Joan, James Barrie’s Quartets, Widowers’ Houses, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, and The Millionairess.  Last summer, Gary earned wide critical acclaim for his portrayal of Voltaire/Pangloss in Music Theater Works’ Candide. Other recent credits include: The Book Club Play at the 16th Street Theater, several productions for the Shakespeare Project of Chicago, and Drury Lane’s A Christmas Carol.  He has appeared with Goodman Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Light Opera Works, Rising Moon, Noble Fool, and Stage Left. Television and film credits include Dennis West in last season’s Chicago Fire and The Prince and Me, II.   For the Shakespeare Project, Gary also created and directed Spooky Shakes for the Chicago Cultural Mile Association as part of their inaugural event in Millennium Park in 2015.

ALLISON SELBY COOK (Madeline Basset) is a Chicago-based actor, singer, and multi-instrumentalist. Recent credits with ShawChicago include Ellie Dunn in Heartbreak House, Hypatia Tarleton in Misalliance and Dolly Clandon in You Never Can Tell. Other theatre credits include: Court Theatre, Remy Bumppo, Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Drury Lane Oakbrook, City Lit Theatre, The Greenhouse Theatre, Rude Mechanicals, Signal Ensemble Theatre, and CUBE Ensemble. As a singer, Allison performed in DuPage Opera’s La Traviata and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia. She is a founding member of two vocal ensembles, UNUM and The Strangers, as well as a 3rd year season artist with The Marion Consort and a graduate of Northwestern University.

CHRISTIAN GRAY (Bertie Wooster) happily returns to ShawChicago, where previous roles include Henry Higgins in Pygmalion, Jack Worthing in The Importance of Being Earnest, Bluntschli in Arms and the Man, Valentine in You Never Can Tell, and Bertie Wooster in Jeeves Intervenes.   He recently played Vershinin in Three Sisters (Clarence Brown Theatre, TN), and currently can be seen in the web series The Blackwood Prophecies (Joe and Joe Media, Norwich Gate Pictures) on  He is an Artistic Associate of First Folio Theatre, and has performed with over 20 Chicago area companies including Court Theatre, Remy Bumppo, and Writers’ Theatre.  Regional credits include Fort Worth Shakespeare (TX), Kentucky Repertory, and Pennsylvania Stage Company.  He had five films premiere last year:  Sometimes It Rains (136 Films), Day 1 (Skibo Films-several film festival awards, including 4 Best Feature Film Awards); Drifted (Boomstick Films); The Judas Run (Sigsaly Entertainment); and Machine Baby (Poor Yorick Productions: 3 Best Short Film Awards).  Other television/film/commercial credits: Chicago P.D. (NBC); Plastic (FPPI Films: Best Supporting Actor Award – Indie Horror Film Festival, Chicago Horror Film Festival Nomination), Reclamation (NTG Productions), Normal (Rule 42 Productions); a web series Classholes (Red City Productions); Horseshoe Casino, Stein Garden and Gifts, Sprint/Nextel (spec). Love to his wife, Lydia Berger Gray!

JACK HICKEY (Thomas Travers) appeared as Lawyer Hawkins in this season’s The Devil’s Disciple. Last season he was John Tarleton in Misalliance, Sir Rupert Watlington Pipps in Jeeves Intervenes, and Alfred Mangan in Heartbreak House. Previously he appeared in You Never Can Tell, Geneva, Major Barbara,  Pygmalion, Widowers’s Houses, as well as Mrs. Warren’s Profession,  Man and Superman, St. Joan, Androcles and the Lion, Candida, The Philanderer, The Doctor’s Dilemma, The Apple Cart, and John Bull’s Other Island.  Jack is the Artistic Director of Oak Park Festival Theatre and this summer play will play Grandpa in You Can’t Take It With You and Steven Price in The African Company Presents Richard lll. Recent roles at OPFT include King Duncan and the Porter in Macbeth, Col. Pickering in Pygmalion and Gremio in The Taming of the Shrew, Sheriff Heck Tate in To Kill A Mockingbird, King Claudius in Hamlet, Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Charlie in Seascape. He was nominated for an Equity Jeff Award playing Michael in Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me. Additionally, he played Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind, Falstaff in The History of King Henry the Fourth, Fluellen in Henry V, Teddy in Faith Healer, Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac. Jack is a founding member of The Shakespeare Project of Chicago where he was last seen as Thomas Hoghton in Shakeshafte and Holofernes in Love’s Labour’s Lost. Other Project roles include Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Brutus in Julius Caesar. With fhe Backroom Shakespeare Project he played Prospero in The Tempest, the title role in Cymbeline and Marcus Andronicus in Titus Andronicus. TV credits: Chicago Med and Unsolved Mysteries.

DOUG MACKECHNIE (Jeeves) returns to ShawChicago after appearing as Rev. Anthony Anderson in The Devil’s Disciple, Hector Hushabye in Heartbreak House, Jeeves in Jeeves Intervenes, Victor Prynne in Private Lives, Adolphus Cusins in Major Barbara, Jack Tanner in Man and Superman, the Earl of Warwick in Saint Joan, and in multiple roles in Androcles and the Lion.  Doug also has worked with the Shakespeare Project of Chicago. Other recent appearances include the world premieres of The Gravedigger (First Folio), Menorca (16th Street), Lucinda’s Bed (Chicago Dramatists), Slaphappy (Beat The Jester Productions), and Unnecessary Farce (BoarsHead Theater; Lansing, MI). Other Chicagoland credits include A Christmas Story (Theater Wit); That Championship Season and Pitz & Joe (Red Hen Productions); Polish Joke and Don’t Drink the Water (Noble Fool); Uncle Fred In the SpringtimeTaking Steps and She Stoops To Conquer (City Lit); Translations (Seanachaí); An American Daughter (Organic); Principia Scriptoriae (Circle); Artist Descending A StaircaseHow the Other Half Loves and Noises Off (Broutil & Frothingham Productions) as well as countless readings at Chicago Dramatists, where he is an Associate Artist. Doug earned an MFA degree from The Theatre School of DePaul University and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity.

MARY MICHELL (Dahlia Travers) has performed with ShawChicago since 1999, when she debuted as Mrs. Erlynne in Lady Windermere’s Fan. Favorite roles include Amanda in Private Lives, Lady Britomart in Major Barbara, Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest, and Mary Todd Lincoln in Look Away. Mary is an Artistic Associate at Oak Park Festival Theatre, where she has appeared in PygmalionSeascapeDancing at Lughnasa, and Faith Healer. Other Chicago credits include work with The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, Bailiwick Repertory, Chicago Dramatists, Drury Lane, The Harper Theater, Illinois Theatre Center, The Ivanhoe Theatre and The Academy Playhouse. Regional work includes What the Butler Saw at the Arena Stage in Washington D.C; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie and Play It Again, Sam at Actors Theatre of Louisville; A Man for All Seasons and Bedtime Story at Mummers Theatre in Oklahoma City; Butterflies are Free at Cherry County Playhouse. Mary narrated Mendelssohn’s Incidental Music to a Midsummer Night’s Dream with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association.

MATT PENN (Anatole) has performed with ShawChicago for over 17 years.  He most recently appeared as General Burgoyne in this season’s The Devil’s Disciple.  Favorite roles include:  Anthony Anderson, Issac Newton, Leonard Charteris, Captain Bluntschli, Finch McComas, Reverend Morrel, Sir Colenso Ridgeon, the Bishop of Beauvais, and John Tarleton to name a few.  And now for something of a different sort!

ShawChicago Gala: Shaw’s Speakeasy

ShawChicago Gala: Shaw’s Speakeasy

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Join us as we celebrate Shaw’s writing during a musical renaissance of Chicago: the Jazz Age. We’ll be pairing works of Shaw with the works of great Jazz artists and writers of the time like Jelly Roll Morton, Lovie Austin, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Zora Neale Hurston, Langson Huges, and more!











Call us at 321-587-7390 to RSVP! Tickets are $200 and a table of eight for $1,400.

ShawChicago Proudly Presents: The Belle of Amherst

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THE BELLE OF AMHERST, the Story of Emily Dickinson, to be presented at ShawChicago at the Ruth Page Theater, 1016 N. Dearborn, on June 2017, at 7 PM. Don’t miss this wonderful story of one of America’s most prolific poets, portrayed by Paddy Lynn, professional storyteller and actress. Paddy will be doing a 45-minute cutting of William Luce’s brilliant play, THE BELLE OF AMHERST, followed by a discussion of this beloved poet. Discover the complexities of Emily, the trials and tribulations of her short life, and the inspiration behind the over 1,700 poems she wrote. Whether you are a poet yourself, a fan of Emily’s, or just love a great story, don’t miss this opportunity to see Emily come to life at ShawChicago. Paddy Lynn started her love for acting at the age of six when she first stepped on to the stage in the school play. From that time on, she has been involved with over 100 productions, ranging from educational theatre, community theatre, and professional theatre. She attended Illinois State University in the late 70’s, and received her Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre. Since then, Paddy worked as a performer, and ran a variety of children’s programs for various theatre companies. Her love for literature and performing launched her storytelling career ten years ago. Paddy now has many different programs available from preschoolers all the way up to adults. Her programs include “Storyacting” for youngsters, a variety of storytelling and history programs for middle school and high school, and her current program, THE BELLE OF AMHERST, for adults. Paddy travels throughout the Midwest with her programs, but resides in Mundelein, IL, with her husband, Jon, daughter Valerie, and two cats. Paddy is the Artistic Director of The Kirk Players, a not-for-profit community theatre which her father-in-law began forty one years ago. Between telling stories and running a theatre, she stays pretty busy, but feels blessed for all the opportunities and challenges it brings. Paddy is a member of National Storytelling Association, Illinois Storytelling Inc., The Illinois Arts Council, and The Illinois Theatre Association. She has performed in many schools and libraries across Illinois, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Iowa. She loves sharing her love for theatre and storytelling with audiences of all ages and welcomes you to experience her upcoming program, THE BELLE OF AMHERST, on June 12, 2017 at 7 PM. To learn more about Paddy, visit her website at:


Fences: A Snapshot Review, by Luther Goins

Fences: A Snapshot Review, by Luther Goins

A Snapshot Review
by Luther Goins
January 16, 2017

Photo source:

Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson and Viola Davis plays Rose Maxson in Fences from Paramount Pictures. Directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson. Having seen the exquisite James Earl Jones and Mary Alice in the original Broadway production of Fences, and having thoroughly enjoyed numerous regional theatre productions, I was a bit leery of a film production of what stands out as August Wilson’s most celebrated stage play.

Thankfully, I understand, and accept, the power that follows admitting when you are wrong. Denzel Washington’s film production of FENCES gave me another opportunity to acknowledge this power. The film is nothing less than perfection.

His casting, direction, acting in a principle role; along with his extremely appropriate selection of outdoor and other locations for some scenes, presents a professional guide to excellent film making.


With Viola Davis…
you always take the journey. 


FENCES is the story of Troy Maxson, a mid-century Pittsburgh sanitation worker who once dreamed of a baseball career, but was too old when the major leagues began admitting black players. He tries to be a good husband and father, but his lost dream of glory eats at him, and causes him to make a decision that threatens to tear his family apart.

Troy’s older brother, Gabe Maxson, sustained a head injury in World War II that left him mentally impaired, for which he received a $3000 government payout that Troy (with much ongoing guilt) used to purchase a home for his family.

If his superb directing is not enough, Denzel Washington’s stunning (and hopefully) award-winning performance of Troy Maxson is not to be missed.  We have all become very familiar with Mr. Washington and his talents as an actor. So used to him…that we take him for granted.  It is a true honor to watch him work (as an actor) in this film.  His choices are dead on, his concentration and focus are flawless, and his determination to let us see and experience Troy Maxson is selfless and utterly amazing. Denzel Washington, the movie star and celebrity, quickly disappears and allows an absolutely amazing performance.

Viola Davis as always, defines acting and character development at its’ best.

Her portrayal of Rose Maxson, Troy’s wife, is not to be missed. She gloriously, and proudly, shows us the strength that women have. The strength that keeps the day-to-day emotional struggles from consuming her. She reminds us that women do this on a daily basis.


True, solid, and excellent story telling
is about the all of us…
and the human condition.


When we, the regular person, puts down $8.00 to $10.00 for a movie ticket, it’s nice to recognize that your money has been well spent. With Viola Davis, you quickly celebrate the fact that you are in talented and capable hands. With Viola Davis…you always take the journey.

If a wonderful script/screenplay and stunning performances by Denzel Washington and Viola Davis is not enough, stand by.  Mykelti Williamson’s performance of the troubled Gabriel Maxson (Uncle Gabe) is moment-to-moment, honest, refreshing, exciting, and brilliant all at once.  He will quietly break (and steal) your heart.  His portrayal of Uncle Gabe clearly stands out as one of the best performances of 2016.

The remainder of this highly appropriate, and extremely talented cast, is spectacular. Stephen McKinley Henderson as Jim Bono, Jovan Adepo as Cory Maxson, Russell Hornsby as Lyons Maxson, and Saniyya Sidney as Raynell Maxson.  They present a masterclass of superb acting.  All together, they remind us that a good play (and a good film) is about ensemble work; about breathing truth; about listening; and about reacting.  BRAVO!

Denzel Washington’s film production of this August Wilson’s masterpiece reminds us that true, solid, and excellent story telling is not about a certain type of person, not about a place, a time, a color, or a nationality.  True, solid, and excellent story telling is about the all of us…and the human condition. August Wilson would have loved this movie.


Don’t miss FENCES.



(Producer, Director, Playwright)
 After working extensively in Cincinnati as a producer, director, and acting instructor, Luther re-located to Chicago.  He worked as the Assistant to the Producer at the Skokie-based Northlight Theatre. While at Northlight, Luther also held the position of Resident Artistic Director at the African-American based Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre in Evanston, IL. In 1995, he accepted the Managing Director position for the Chicago Theatre Company (another African-American company) located on Chicago’s south side. After many exciting discussions about the opportunities to work directly with the minority membership, Luther accepted a Union Representative position in the Chicago office of Actors’ Equity Association. In 2001, LOVE CHILD, his first play, received a Jeff Citation for “Best New Work”; two Chicago After Dark Awards “Best New Work” and “Best Ensemble”. In 2002, another production of LOVE CHILD received the Chicago African-American Arts Alliance Award for “Best New Play”; and the Cincinnati Entertainment Award for “Best Local Premiere for 2002.” LOVE CHILD, which made its debut in January 2001 at Chicago’s Live Bait Theatre, has celebrated five productions across the country. Luther is happily married to Leon Schrauben, a Chicago Public Schools Teacher. Mr. Goins is currently working on BOY, a new play.

ShawChicago Presents: HEARTBREAK HOUSE

ShawChicago Presents: HEARTBREAK HOUSE


Bernard Shaw’s


CHICAGO—ShawChicago concludes its 2016/17 season, Dysfunctional Family Fun, with George Bernard Shaw’s World War I dramedy Heartbreak House. In a Chekovian Fantasia style, Shaw presents a caricature of the 1910s British upper class obsession with propriety. “[Essentially] The upper class who should be the ruling classes fiddle while the country falls apart,” says Artistic Director Robert Scogin. This production runs March 4 through March 27 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago, IL 60610.

Welcome to the Heartbreak House, where everyone is the least bit concerned that there is a war going on. Boss Mangan, a cold businessman, will marry Ellie Dunn, despite being her father’s age. Ellie Dunn concedes because she’s tired of being poor, but may (or may not) be in love with Hector Hushabye, who is married to Hesione. Hesione is more than happy to oblige Ellie, since her husband is such a liar. Lady Utterword, Hesione’s sister, has returned after 23 years; little does she know that her brother-in-law, Randall, is in romantic pursuit. Captain Shotover, Hesione’s and Lady Utterword’s father, just wants a bottle of rum. Just outside their window, a strange man breaks in, only to ask for charity.

At an unofficial house party, with so much unrequited love, desire is rampant and pettiness is guaranteed. But even with the whole world burning, only witty humor can forge any sort of happy ending for these lasting characters.

“It is relevant [today] because there are so many politicians in government but nothing’s getting done,” says Scogin. “It’s just the 1% who’s out for themselves…. You could say that it’s the 1% that’s running stuff in Heartbreak House and today.”

Cast Members Include: Lydia Berger Gray, Allison Cook, Christian Gray, Richard Henzel, Doug MacKechnie, Richard Marlatt, Mary Michell, Jonathan Nichols and Barbara Zahora.

WHO: ShawChicago Theater Company

WHAT: George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House

WHERE: 1016 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, IL 60610

WHEN: March 4, 3 PM
March 5, 3 PM
March 6, 2 PM
March 11, 3 PM
March 12, 3 PM
March 13, 10 AM
March 18, 3 PM
March 19, 3 PM
March 20, 7 PM
March 25, 3 PM
March 26, 3 PM
March 27, 7 PM

TICKETS: $35.00 General, $30.00 Senior Citizen, $20.00 Students. Group rates available. Tickets may be purchased at or over the phone at 312-587-7390. 


About Robert Scogin

Robert Scogin, ShawChicago’s Artistic Director, is celebrating his twenty-first season at ShawChicago, where he has directed more than fifty productions. He was awarded The Chicago Drama League’s 2008 Crystal Award, and has appeared on Broadway (Henry V, 1969) and Off-Broadway (Children of the Ladybug, 1967 and Where The Wolves Run, 1972.) He taught and directed Shakespeare and Shaw at the Turkish State Theater Conservatory in Ankara and Konya, Turkey. In March of 2009 he staged the world premiere of his new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Ghosts on World Theater Day in Konya, Turkey. Scogin made his Chicago debut at The Goodman Theatre in Much Ado About Nothing. He also starred as Bob Cratchit in the Goodman’s original production of A Christmas Carol, a role he repeated for thirteen years. Other credits with The Goodman include The Tempest and the world premieres of David Mamet’s translation of Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard and Mamet’s own play Lakeboat.


 About ShawChicago

ShawChicago is a professional non-profit theater company founded in 1994 with a mission to present the plays of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries as concert readings. Operating under an Actors’ Equity contract, ShawChicago celebrates its 23rd season, Dysfunctional Family Fun. The company presents special afternoon performances for senior citizens and morning performances for students throughout the Chicagoland area. ShawChicago also offers outreach performances across the city and its suburbs, providing theater to libraries, senior living communities and schools. ShawChicago is a theater company in residence at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts.

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