Acclaimed Playwright to Star in his Autobiographical Work as Part of Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!” Series, running 9/17-10/23.
CHICAGO –Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave ) and Sideshow Theatre Company present the world premiere of “The Happiest Place on Earth,” written and starring Joseph Jefferson Award-winning playwright and Sideshow Artistic Associate Philip Dawkins and directed by Sideshow Artistic Director Jonathan L. Green. The show runs Sept. 17 – Oct. 23 with the press opening on Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m.
Once upon a time in an Anaheim, California orange grove, a magical kingdom was built and dedicated to America’s history, dreams and wildest hopes. Eight years later, one family’s American prince died on live television while delivering the Albuquerque sports scores, leaving his four daughters and their mother behind. Left reeling from the loss of their patriarch, the family underwent a quest to reach the magical kingdom and seek solace and recovery. Now, more than fifty years after their journey, acclaimed playwright Philip Dawkins retraces and illustrates the true story of the women in his family, exploring their history and asking if there really is a place where the dream that we wish can come true. “Philip Dawkins is one of Chicago’s most fascinating and intriguing theatrical voices,” said Jacob Harvey, artistic director of the Greenhouse Theater Center. “His work is unapologetic, witty and vibrant, exploring themes and perspectives others often avoid. This play is no exception, as he deftly navigates his own family’s history to show us all something about our own.”
The performance schedule for “The Happiest Place on Earth” is as follows: Wednesdays – Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Previews begin Sept. 17 and the opening night is Thursday, Sept. 22 at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through Oct. 23. Flex passes to the Solo Celebration! series, which offers admissions to three plays for $99 or five plays for $164, are now on sale. Preview tickets are priced at $34. Single tickets, which range in price from $42 – 48 are also on sale. Flex passes and tickets can be purchased by contacting the box office at 773-404-7336 or by visiting greenhousetheater.org.
Philip Dawkins is a Chicago playwright whose plays have been produced all over the country and the world. His critically acclaimed works include “Charm” (Northlight Theatre) and “Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Effect of Living” (Strawdog Theatre), which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work, as well as “The Homosexuals” (About Face Theater) and “Failure: A Love Story” (Victory Gardens Theater), both of which received Joseph Jefferson Nominations for New Work. Dawkins’ play, “Le Switch,” just concluded a sold-out run with About Face Theatre, where he is an Artistic Associate. He is also an Ensemble Playwright at Victory Gardens. Dawkins teaches playwriting at Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, his alma mater, and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program for writers with disabilities. Most of his plays, including his plays for young performers, are available through Playscripts, Inc. and Dramatic Publishing.
Jonathan L. Green has been the Artistic Director of Sideshow Theatre since its founding in 2007. He has directed and assisted for Sideshow, Lookingglass, Steppenwolf, Goodman, Chicago Dramatists, Theatre Seven of Chicago, Pavement Group, Live Arts and the Earl Hamner, Jr. Theatre. Recent projects include “Antigonick,” “Stupid Fucking Bird,” “The Golden Dragon (co-direction with Marti Lyons),” “Idomeneus” (Jeff Award for best ensemble), “The Gacy Play,” “Midway Liquors, “Heddatron” and others. Recent dramaturgy credits include “Rapture,” “Blister,” “Burn,” “Feathers and Teeth” (New Stages), “Disgraced,” “Mother Road” (New Stages), “The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window,” and “War Paint,” all at Goodman Theatre. Green currently serves on the board of directors of the League of Chicago Theatres, and is the literary management associate for Goodman Theatre.
About Sideshow Theatre Company It is the mission of Sideshow Theatre Company to mine the collective unconscious of the world we live in with limitless curiosity, drawing inspiration from the familiar stories, memories and images we all share to spark new conversation and bring our audiences together as adventurers in a communal experience of exploration. From its first production, 2008’s Dante Dies!! (and then things get weird) to its Jeff Award-winning productions of Roland Schimmelpfennig’s “Idomeneus” (named one of the best plays of 2012 by Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Sun-Times) and Elizabeth Meriwether’s runaway robotic hit “Heddatron” at Steppenwolf Theatre, to the recent remount of its smash hit “Stupid F##king Bird,” Sideshow has consistently produced engaging, transcendent works across Chicago. Sideshow continues its multi-year residency at Victory Gardens in the historic Biograph Theater in the 2016/17 season. Sideshow also produces the “Chicago League of Lady Arm Wrestlers” (CLLAW), a wildly popular interactive fundraising event that benefits Sideshow Theatre Company and other local charities. CLLAW has been featured in local and national press, including The Washington Post, Reuters, Penthouse Magazine and the Chicago SunTimes and on WGN Morning News, ABC 7’s Windy City Live and CBS 2. For more information about CLLAW, visit cllaw.org. For additional information on Sideshow Theatre Company, visit sideshowtheatre.org.
About Solo Celebration! “The Happiest Place on Earth” is one of 12 plays featured in Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!,” which includes ten full productions, two limited engagements and other special events running June 2016 through February 2017. Among the other directors connected to solo series are Goodman Theatre Producer and Artistic Collective Member Steve Scott, Writer’s Theatre Resident Director Kimberly Senior, Directors Lab Chicago Artistic Director Elizabeth Margolius and Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Linda Gillum. Some of the performers confirmed to star in solo works include Jeff Award-winners Kate Buddeke, Gene Weygandt, Linda Reiter acclaimed British actor Simon Slater, Will Allan and Carin Silkaitis. Most productions will be produced in their entirety by Greenhouse, while other plays will be stated with co-producers including Sideshow Theatre Company and The Other Theatre Company. Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!” is co-produced by Forum Productions and underwritten by the Wendy and William Spatz Charitable Foundation.
About the Greenhouse Theater Center. The Greenhouse Theater Center is a nonprofit performance venue located at 2257 N Lincoln Ave, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, an in-house rehearsal room, and Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre book store. Our mission at the Greenhouse is first and foremost to grow local theatre. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, to develop and produce their work. In 2014 alone, The Greenhouse Theater Center provided space for almost 1,000 ticketed performances, serving more than 54,000 patrons. Among these events were at least 30 productions by our resident companies, including the celebrated American Blues Theater and Remy Bumpo Theatre Company. Through our Trellis Program, we offer the community affordable access to our work by housing Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex, as well as offering a free reading series each Tuesday night where local artists workshop their latest scripts. Additionally, we also continue to play an active role in cultivating and nurturing our community through continued partnerships with the League of Chicago Theaters and local Chambers of Commerce. As of 2016, the Greenhouse Theater Center embraced the true spirit of growth and launched its producing entity. With the announcement of our 8 month long Solo Celebration Series, helmed by Artistic Director Jacob Harvey, we will produce 12 solo plays from June 2016 to February 2017. Through this inaugural effort, we hope to expand the solo play cannon while also cultivating a larger conversation about the possibilities of the one-person play. With new ideas always incubating, the Greenhouse Theater Center is flourishing. Come grow with us!