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Chicago Dramatists Announces 2015-2016 Season

Chicago, IL – WEBWIRE

From an Autistic young man attempting to make friends in Wrigleyville bars to a single mother’s desperate venture to realize the American Dream, Chicago Dramatists’ 2015-2016 season features the world premieres of plays that aren’t afraid to tackle complex, intense issues with bold story lines, sharp wit and emotional depth. Stocked with characters that challenge perceptions of people with developmental disabilities and uncover simple, poignant truths about family, BEAUTIFUL AUTISTIC by Scott Woldman will kick off the new season in February followed by AMERICAN BEAUTY SHOP by Dana Lynn Formby in May.
“Scott and Dana are writing from places of intense personal experience, crafting stories and characters that leave indelible impressions,” said Meghan Beals, Artistic Director for Chicago Dramatists. “Scott’s wickedly funny play provides a unique insight into the world of Autism, sparking conversation about how we can better support affected individuals and their families. Dana’s heartfelt, brutally honest play illuminates the cycle of poverty and the limited choices many women have in this nation. I have no doubt their stories will resonate with many people.” 
As part of its 37-year-old mission to develop playwrights and plays and provide a stage for new work, Chicago Dramatists is announcing The Grafting Project, a new program that provides five weeks of rent-free theatre space once a year. Each fall, they will accept applications from theatre organizations interested in producing a world-premiere play written by one of Chicago Dramatists’ Resident Playwrights. The winning company will operate independently while in residence, yet leverage Chicago Dramatists as an associate producer and promoter of the play. This inaugural year will feature Pegasus Theatre’s production of FOR HER AS A PIANO by Chicago Dramatists’ Resident Playwright Nambi E. Kelley, opening September 30, 2015. For more information about the program, visit or call 312-633-0630.
“This is an exciting and pivotal season for us,” said Cindy Jo Savitski-Lantz, Managing Director of Chicago Dramatists. “It speaks to the progressive moves Chicago Dramatists is making to grow our organization while giving a nod to the wonderful building blocks our dear departed Russ Tutterow provided.”
BEAUTIFUL AUTISTIC by Resident Playwright Scott Woldman
Directed by Rachel Edwards Harvith, Associate Artistic Director at Chicago Dramatists
Running February 4 to March 14
It’s the early 90s in Chicago, and 24-year-old Jimmy has a terrible time making friends. Despite his uncommonly good looks, casual banter in bars comes screeching to a halt when he begins to rattle off facts about ­­­­­­­­­­­­­nanotechnology or dark matter, topics about which he is deeply obsessed…due to his autism. Comedy ensues when Eric – a young man whose social graces are just as awkward – takes Jimmy on as his wingman and attempts to tutor him in the art of the pick-up. As each attempt to meet women goes more drastically awry, Eric’s frustration mounts and Jimmy grows increasingly desperate to please him. The humor in the play takes a dark turn when Eric pushes Jimmy too far and Jimmy pushes back.
AMERICAN BEAUTY SHOP by Resident Playwright Dana Lynn Formby
Directed by Megan Shuchman
Running April 28 to June 5
It’s hard to pull yourself up by your bootstraps in this economy—Sue should know. It’s harder when you’ve got kids, even whip-smart, talented ones like Judy. Sue has big dreams for both her basement beauty shop and her daughter, who’s anxiously waiting for a letter from Berkeley that could change her life. Armed with tough love, combative humor and an uncompromising work ethic, Sue is struggling to balance her own livelihood and Judy’s future. A heartfelt play about the true cost of dreams.
About the Playwrights
Scott Woldman
Scott Woldman is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists, Redtwist Theatre and Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. He is a veteran comedian, improviser, storyteller and performance poet. He is a former member of the famed Free Associates improv ensemble and half of the comedic storytelling duo, Bikerman and The Jewish Avenger. With his unique brand of comedic poetry, Scott has represented Chicago at the National Poetry Slam and has performed at poetry venues, readings and slams across the nation, including the Chicago Poetry Centre’s No Love for Love Anti-Valentine show, which was hosted by Ira Glass. Woldman’s work has been produced by Redtwist Theatre, The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre, The Artistic Home, Under The Gun Theatre, Stangeloop Theatre, Stage Left Theatre, The Playground Theatre, Ouribos Theatre and The Second City. His plays are featured in Metropolis’ After Dark comedy series, and Redtwist’s Dark Red comedy series. Three of his screenplays have been optioned, including the film adaptation of one of his late-night comedies, Drunk and Ready, which is scheduled for 2015 production.
Dana Lynn Formby
Dana Lynn Formby is a Resident Playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Dana’s play American Beauty Shop has received readings at Florida Studio Theatre, the Illinois Shakespeare Theatre, Steep Theatre and Steppenwolf. Other plays include If you Split a Second (premiered at Pegasus Theatre Chicago); Corazón de Manzana (co-produced by The DCA and Mortar Theatre Company); The Small of Her Back (2009 Kendeda Finalist, readings at The Alliance and New York Theatre Workshop); Inherit the Whole (readings at Premiere Stages, Victory Gardens and produced by Mortar Theatre); Loaded Gavel (Houston Urban Reading Series); Armed with Peanut Butter (2009 Kennedy Center National 10-Minute Playwriting Award, premiered in The Source Festival); and Frequency 98.6 (University of Wyoming and ACTF 2006). Ms. Formby has won numerous awards and scholarships including the 2005 Playwright’s Intensive at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. (for Monday After Work), the 2008 Scott McPherson Playwriting Award, and has been a finalist for the 2012 P73 residency and the 2011 Wendy Wasserstein prize. She holds an M.F.A. in Playwriting from Ohio University. She is a self-ascribed “blue-collar playwright whose attitude has been carved by the relentless Wyoming wind—lips tight, eyes squinted, legs crossed because God knows what could blow in.”
About Chicago Dramatists
Established in 1979, Chicago Dramatists is a non-profit theatre dedicated to nurturing playwrights, developing new plays, and enriching the national theatre repertory. Chicago Dramatists is home to 32 Resident Playwrights and a creative source to over 150 Network Playwrights.
Through workshops, readings, classes, full productions and special programs, Chicago Dramatists provides opportunities for beginning and established dramatists to develop their work, expand their professional affiliations, showcase their plays to the theatre marketplace and collaborate with actors, directors and audiences during the creative process. The organization offers theatres and audiences a central resource to discover the plays and playwrights that will shape the theatre of the 21st century.
Every year, plays developed at Chicago Dramatists earn hundreds of professional accomplishments, including productions, awards, commissions and readings at theatres in Chicago and worldwide. Distinguished alumni of Chicago Dramatists include Tina Fey (30 Rock, Saturday Night Live), Rick Cleveland (writer and producer of The West Wing, Six Feet Under and Mad Men), and Rebecca Gilman (Pulitzer nominee and Dramatists Guild Council member) among others.
Chicago Dramatists is proud of the important role it has played in transforming Chicago from a town nearly void of new work in the 1970s to a national center for playwrights and new plays today. For more information, go to


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