Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the World Premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne, written and directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks. Her Honor Jane Byrne runs February 26–April 12, 2020 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. The Press Performance will be held Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
The cast features Ensemble Members Christine Mary Dunford (Jane Byrne), Thomas J. Cox (Alderman Roti) and Tracy Walsh (Reporter) with Robert Cornelius (Black Che), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Tiger), Renee Lockett (Mabel Foley), Frank Nall (Jay McMullen), Josh Odor (Superintendent Brzczek), Taron Patton (Marion Stamps), Willie “Mudlife Roc” Round (Kid).
The creative team includes Yu Shibagaki (set), Mieka Van der Ploeg (costumes), Artistic Associate Christine A. Binder (lights), Christopher M. LaPorte (sound), Rasean Davonte Johnson (projections), Michael Huey (composition), Amanda Herrmann (props), Artistic Associate Wendy Mateo (associate director/dramaturg), Tess Golden (stage manager), Zavarie Z. Irons (assistant stage manager), R&D Choreography (violence designer), Samantha Kaufman (intimacy director), and Jason K. Martin (dialect coach).
Chicago is “The City That Works”—but does it work for everybody? It’s 1981, the city’s simmering pot of neglected problems boils over, and Chicago’s first woman mayor is moving into Cabrini-Green. Is this just a PR stunt, or will it bring the City together? For the next three weeks, residents, activists, media, the “Machine,” and the Mayor herself will collide as the City’s raw truths are exposed. Who will come out on top? Lookingglass Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks creates this boldnew work,Her Honor Jane Byrne.
“Our play joins history to myth. Some of it is dramatic interpretation, and some of it is real,” comments J. Nicole Brooks. “When you grow up in a city that’s hyper segregated, run amuck with corruption, and political stunts and discord, you have to work hard to love it. I love the city of Chicago. I love the history. I’m fascinated by ethnic clans. I’m curious about patronage, councils, aldermen, and committeemen. Who gets elected and how? Who gets to lead us, and will they actually listen to us? Though I was very little, I can remember when it was announced that Mayor Jane Byrne was moving into Cabrini-Green. Can she stop the violence? Well, no one person can. Here we are decades later, asking the same questions. I hope our audiences walk away with a bit of the past, so they may know how to shape our future.”
Lookingglass is partnering with a number of cultural institutions including Chicago History Museum, National Public Housing Museum, Rebuild Foundation, and others as part of the Community Engagement work around the production.
Her Honor Jane Byrne is recommended for ages 13+.
About the Artists
J. NICOLE BROOKS (Playwright/Director/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is an actor, playwright, and director. Recent theatrical credits include Lottery Day (Goodman Theatre), Beyond Caring (Lookingglass Theatre Company), and Immediate Family (Mark Taper Forum, Goodman Theatre). Directing credits at Lookingglass include: Thaddeus & Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure (co-directed with Krissy Vanderwarker), Mr. Rickey Calls A Meeting, and Black Diamond. J. Nicole is author of Fedra: Queen of Haiti, Black Diamond: The Years the Locusts Have Eaten, The Incredible Adventures of Yuri Kochiyama, HeLa, and Her Honor Jane Byrne.
ROBERT CORNELIUS (Black Che) is making his Lookingglass Theatre debut with the world premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne. Other Chicago credits include the world premiere of Lottery Day at Goodman Theatre; The Total Bent at Haven Theatre in association with About Face Theatre; Rightlynd, Spiele 36, On the Block and Whitley at Victory Gardens Theater; Picnic with American Theatre Company, W;t with The Hypocrites, Raisin with Court Theatre, Taming of the Shrew at First Folio Theatre, Hamlet at The Gift Theatre, and Aida at Drury Lane Theatre. Regionally, Robert has worked at Indiana Repertory Theatre, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Madison Repertory Theatre, Montana Repertory Theatre, and St. Louis Black Repertory Theatre. Film/TV credits include: Chicago PD, South Side, Shameless, Hoodlum, and The Chi.
THOMAS J. COX (Alderman Roti/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) most recently appeared at Lookingglass in 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas. A founding Ensemble Member, Thom has appeared in many productions since 1988, including: Cascabel, The Jungle, The Odyssey, West, The Arabian Nights, The Master and Margarita, The Great Fire, Nelson Algren: For Keeps and a Single Day, 1984, The Old Curiosity Shop, and Peter Pan (A Play). Regionally, he has appeared at Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Northlight Theatre, The House Theatre of Chicago, Court Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, and Milwaukee Repertory Theater. Most recently, Thom was seen in Bernhardt/Hamlet and A Christmas Carol (Goodman Theatre) and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Writers Theatre). TV/Film: Brotherhood (Showtime), Chicago Fire (NBC), Since You’ve Been Gone (Miramax).
CHRISTINE MARY DUNFORD (Jane Byrne/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) has appeared in nearly two dozen Lookingglass productions. Christine’s three most recent productions include Blood Wedding, Trust, and Our Town. For Lookingglass’ 25th Anniversary Season in 2013, she directed her own original adaptation (Jeff nominated) of Still Alice, based on the book by Lisa Genova, which has been translated into multiple languages and is being produced in small theatres across the world. Over the years Christine has served the company as managing director and director of development, and she co-founded and taught with Lookingglass’ Education and Community program. Christine is Director of the School of Theatre and Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago; and she co-founded and helps run the Memory Ensemble—a partnership between Lookingglass and Northwestern’s Alzheimer’s Disease Center (CNADC)—that uses improvisational performance activities to improve life for people with memory loss.
NICOLE MICHELLE HASKINS (Tiger) is making her Lookingglass debut! Acting credits include: The Color Purple (Drury Lane Theatre), U.S. Premiere of Hopelessly Devoted (Piven Theatre Workshop, Jeff nomination: Best Actor in a Play), Caroline, or Change (Firebrand Theatre, Black Theatre Alliance Award nomination: Best Supporting Actress in a Musical), Spitfire Grill (Refuge Theatre Project, Jeff Award Nomination: Best Supporting Actress in a Musical), World Premiere of HeLa (Sideshow Theatre Company); Music Man, Father Comes Home from the Wars Parts 1,2 & 3, and How to Catch Creation (Goodman Theatre), The Wiz (Kokandy Productions, Jeff Award nomination: Best Supporting Actress in a Musical), Parade (Writers Theatre), and RENT (Theo Ubique Caberet Theatre). Proudly represented by Shirley Hamilton. School at Steppenwolf Acting Fellow 2014, Associate Artist with Black Lives, Black Words, International Theatre Collective, and MOSAIC Youth Theatre of Detroit Alum.
RENEE LOCKETT (Mabel Foley) is making her Lookingglass debut. Last seen in First Floor Theater’s Jeff recommended Sugar in our Wounds. Other Chicago credits include: Familiar (Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Jeff nomination: Ensemble), Surely, Goodness and Mercy (Redtwist Theatre, Jeff nomination: Performer in a Drama, Black Theatre Alliance Award nomination: Best Actress), A Wonder in My Soul (Victory Gardens Theater), Crowns (Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Black Theatre Alliance Award nomination: Best Ensemble). Renee has also worked with Babes with Blades, Court Theatre, Northlight Theatre, MPAACT, Prologue Theatre, Collaboraction Theatre Company, Three Cat Productions, Black Ensemble Theater, ETA Creative Arts, and Black Lives, Black Words. Renee is an ensemble member of MPAACT and an Artistic Associate with Black Lives, Black Words. Most recent Film credits include: The Plow and Freelancers Anonymous, as well as TV roles on The Chi and a recurring guest star role on Comedy Central’s South Side. Renee is represented by DDO Artists Agency.
FRANK NALL (Jay McMullen) is making his Lookingglass debut in this powerful piece by J. Nicole Brooks. A member of the Artistic Home Ensemble, Frank was last seen in their production of Vanya on the Plains as Elijah. Other Chicago credits include: Frankenstein (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, Jeff Award winner) and Traitor as Howard (A Red Orchid Theatre, Jeff Award winner). Film and TV credits include: the CNN reporter from Spygame, Transplant surgeon on Empire, Carlisle on Boss, and assorted commercials. Frank has an MFA from the University of Illinois Urbana–Champaign.
JOSH ODOR (Superintendent Brzczek) is working with Lookingglass for the first time. Chicago credits include: To Catch a Fish and Blood and Gifts (TimeLine Theatre), El Grito del Bronx (Goodman Theatre/Collaboraction Theatre Company), Oorah! (Steppenwolf Theatre Company/LiveWire Chicago), Scientific Method and The Firebirds Take the Field (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), Welcome to Jesus (American Theater Company), Moment, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, and The Resistable Rise of Arturo Ui (Steep Theatre), You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Life On Paper (Jackalope Theatre), Hit the Wall (The Inconvenience), Winterset (Griffin Theatre), The Nutcracker (The House Theatre of Chicago) and Sweet Bird of Youth and The Time of Your Life (The Artistic Home). Regionally Josh has worked at the Long Wharf Theatre. TV/ Film credits: The Chi, Chicago Med/PD/Fire, Boss, Betrayal, Janie Jones, Empire, and The Express.
TARON PATTON (Marion Stamps) returns to the stage in Her Honor Jane Byrne. Producer credits includes: N (Greenhouse Theater Center) and Misty Tanner (Q&A Productions). Directing credits: N (Greenhouse Theater Center) Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Steppenwolf Garage Rep), Bulrusher and Nativity Tribute (Congo Square Theatre). Acting credits: Meet Vera Stark (Goodman Theatre), Hot L Baltimore (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); The Bluest Eye (Steppenwolf Theatre Company and New Victory Theater), King Hedley II (Congo Square Theatre), and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Goodman Theatre). Television credits: The Chi, Empire, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, A Different World.
WILLIE "MUDLIFE ROC" ROUND (Kid) is a songwriter, playwright, videographer, mentor, and hip-hop artist hailing from the West Side of Chicago, who has performed across the country and opened for Grammy Award-winning artist Lil Wayne as well as Gucci Mane. He does extensive outreach in the North Lawndale neighborhood in Chicago (also known as “The Holy City”) and has mentored inner city youth as part of the College Mentoring Experience, as well as his own youth movement called MUD LIFE (Motivating the Urban to be Determined). He holds a B.A. in Communications, Radio, and Television Broadcasting from Central State University. His play Broke Down Drone (also co-written with G. Riley Mills) played during the 2019 Peacebook.
TRACY WALSH (Reporter/Lookingglass Ensemble Member) is a Lookingglass Ensemble Member where she has performed in, choreographed, directed, and written many plays on the Main Stage and for the Lookingglass Young Ensemble. In recent seasons at Lookingglass, Tracy provided dances for The Steadfast Tin Soldier, wrote, directed, and choreographed Cassandra for the Young Ensemble, provided intimacy choreography for Beyond Caring, movement for Acts of God, and choreographed Blood Wedding. She appeared in and choreographed Iphigenia in Aulis (Court Theatre/Getty Villa in Los Angeles), choreographed Agamemnon (Court Theatre) and appeared in and choreographed Electra (Court Theatre). Other Chicago choreography credits include: Arcadia and All’s Well that Ends Well (The Goodman Theatre), The Jewel Box and Don Giovanni (Chicago Opera Theatre), Carmen (Court Theatre) and the Napoleonade (Eclipse Theatre Company). Tracy and her husband own and teach at Lighthouse Yoga in Evanston.
Dive even deeper into the world of the play with the Lookingglass REFLECT Series! This specially-curated series of post-show conversations and panels offers audiences an opportunity to think, hear, and talk about the performance they just experienced. Come hear in-the-field experts offer their insights and leading artists give a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Lookingglass creative process. REFLECT post-show discussions are free and open to the public, and take place directly following the 2:00 p.m. matinee on select Sundays at Lookingglass Theatre.
REFLECT post-show panel discussions for Her Honor Jane Byrne will take place directly following the 2:00 p.m. matinees on March 15, 22, 29 and April 5, 8, and 12 at Lookingglass Theatre. The discussions are free and open to the public. Currently scheduled REFLECT events are listed in the fact sheet below.
Subscriptions are still on sale for the remaining two shows of the 2019-2020 season. The World Premiere of Her Honor Jane Byrne, written and directed by Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks, takes a look back at Chicago’s first woman Mayor and how times are different—and exactly the same. Concluding the 2019-2020 season is the return of the signature Lookingglass production Lookingglass Alice, adapted and directed by Ensemble Member David Catlin, from the works of Lewis Carroll, and produced in association with The Actors Gymnasium.
Performances will be held at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.
New subscribers can still choose between a 2-play subscription or two flex pass options: the Gglasspass, or for those under 35, the Madhatter’s Club 2-play subscriptions range from $77–$113 and include Her Honor Jane Byrne and Lookingglass Alice.
The Gglasspass is a flex pass available to all ages. Gglasspass holders receive 3 tickets for $150 OR 4 tickets for $200 that can be used in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2019-2020 season.
The Madhatter’s Club flex pass is available to those 35 or younger. The Madhatter’s Club pass is 3 tickets for $75 OR 4 tickets for $100, and members can use tickets in any combination and denomination for any Lookingglass production in the 2019-2020 season, including Theatre Night Out events.
Subscription benefits include access to the best seats in the house, pre-sale opportunities and savings before single tickets go on sale to the general public, special perks at restaurant partners, unlimited ticket exchanges, discounted parking at 875 N. Michigan, Water Tower Place, and Olympia Centre Garage, reduced tuition for Lookingglass’ renowned classes and summer camps, and access to exclusive subscriber-only events. For season subscription and ticket information, call the Lookingglass Theatre box office at (312) 337-0665 or visit lookingglasstheatre.org.
FACT SHEET / Her Honor Jane Byrne
Title: Her Honor Jane Byrne
Written and Directed by: Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks
Ensemble Members Christine Mary Dunford (Jane Byrne), Thomas J. Cox (Alderman
Roti) and Tracy Walsh (Reporter) with Robert Cornelius (Black Che), Nicole Michelle Haskins (Tiger), Renee Lockett (Mabel Foley), Frank Nall (Jay McMullen), Josh Odor (Superintendent Brzczek), Taron Patton (Marion Stamps), Willie “Mudlife Roc” Round (Kid)
Yu Shibagaki (Scenic Designer), Mieka Van der Ploeg (Costume Designer), Artistic Associate Christine A. Binder (Lighting Designer), Christopher M. LaPorte (Sound Designer), Rasean Davonte Johnson (Projection Designer), Michael Huey (Composer), Amanda Herrmann (Properties Designer), Artistic Associate Wendy Mateo (Associate Director/Dramaturg), Tess Golden (Stage Manager), Zavarie Z. Irons (Assistant Stage Manager), R&D Choreography (Violence Designer),Samantha Kaufman (Intimacy Director), Jason K. Martin (Dialect Coach)
Previews: February 26, 2020 – March 6, 2020
Press Performance: Saturday, March 7, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
Gala opening: Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
Regular run: March 11, 2020 – April 12, 2020
Wednesdays: 7:30 p.m.
Thursdays: 2:00 p.m. (March 12 & 26 and April 9 only);
Fridays: 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 2:00 p.m. (except February 29 & March 7)
Sundays: 2:00 p.m. (except March 8)
7:30 p.m. (March 22 and April 5 only)
Audio Described/Touch Tour – Thursday, March 19, 2020
Touch tour starts at 6 p.m.
Open Captioning – Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 7:30 p.m.
REFLECT Post-Show Panel Series
Dive even deeper into the world of the play with the Lookingglass REFLECT Series! This specially-curated series of post-show conversations and panels offers audiences an opportunity to think, hear, and talk about the performance they just experienced. Come hear in-the-field experts offer their insights and leading artists give a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the Lookingglass creative process. REFLECT post-show discussions are free and open to the public, and take place directly following the 2:00 p.m. matinees on March 15, 22, 29, April 5 and 12 at Lookingglass Theatre.
March 15: How do we LIVE?: A Chicago Community Builder
Stories From Our City With Community Leaders, CHA Residents, and You!
March 22: How do we LIVE TOGETHER?: History, Housing, and a Divided City
How Chicago became so segregated, the impact on us now, and how to forge a different future.
March 29: How do we LIVE TOGETHER BETTER?: Other Cities, Other Choices, Other Lives
What alternative models for affordable housing exist and what can Chicago learn from them?
April 5: How do we LEAD?: Women Taking Charge and Making Change
How Chicago women, in City Hall and at the front of the protest line, have busted barriers and broken new ground – and continue to do so today.
Wednesday, April 8: How do we LIVE QUEER?: Breaking Open Queer Spaces in CHA
How sexual orientation and gender identity can be even more complex when facing economic and racial segregation.
April 12: How do we CREATE?: Artistic Response and Responsibility in a Divided City
An inter-generational conversation between artists who are reshaping Chicago.
REFLECT discussions will be held in location around Chicago, in conjunction with Lookingglass’ Community Partnerships. Additional off-site events to be announced.
March 27: How do we SEE OURSELVES?: Films from CHA Residents
at the Rebuild Foundation (6760 S Stony Island Ave.)
Date TBA: How do we CHANGE?: Towards a More Equitable Chicago
at the DuSable Museum of African-American History (740 E 56th Pl)
Theatre Night Out for Young Professionals – Wednesday, April 1, 2020
Under 35? Join members of the Lookingglass Associates Board and other young professionals for a pre-show reception at Ocean Prime (87 E. Wacker Dr.) at 5:30 p.m. followed by a performance of Her Honor Jane Byrne at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $40 for Young Professionals 35 and under. lookingglasstheatre.org/under35
Location: Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic
Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.
Prices: Previews are $35 - $55
Regular Run is $45 - $85
Student tickets are available the day of the show for $20 with a valid student ID. Based on availability.
Groups of 8 or more patrons save up to 20%. Call 773-477-9257 X 125 or email email@example.com for details.
Buy online at lookingglasstheatre.org
or by phone at (312) 337-0665
The Lookingglass box office is located at Water Tower Water Works,
821 N. Michigan Ave.
About Lookingglass Theatre Company
Inventive. Collaborative. Transformative. Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students. Now in its 32nd Season, Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. The Company, located in Chicago’s landmark Water Tower Water Works, has staged 69 world premieres, received 161 Joseph Jefferson Award Nominations, and produced work all across the United States. In 2016, Lookingglass received the MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and in 2017, was the recipient of the League of Chicago Theatres’ Artistic Achievement Award.
Lookingglass continues to expand its artistic, financial, and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Heidi Stillman, Executive Director Rachel L. Fink, Producing Director Philip R. Smith, Director of Community Engagement Andrew White, General Manager Michele Anderson, a 29-member artistic ensemble, 22 artistic associates, an administrative staff, and a dedicated board of directors led by Chair Nancy Timmers and President Richard Chapman. For more information, visit lookingglasstheatre.org.
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