The Strange Tree Group Presents the World Premiere of THE HALF-BROTHERS MENDELSSOHN June 18 – July 20, 2013

EA38D8C9-00E6-4043-A3D8-EBB98B5264DCThe Strange Tree Group presents the world premiere of the elaborate time travel comedy THE HALF-BROTHERS MENDELSSOHN by Elizabeth Bagby, directed by Thrisa Hodits, playing June 18 – July 20, 2013 at Signal Ensemble Theatre, 1802 W. Berenice Ave. in Chicago.  The production features Strange Tree Ensemble members Cory AielloKate NawrockiStuart Ritter and Jenifer Starewich with Audrey FlagelAndy HagerBrandon Ruiter and Joe Stearns.  Tickets for THE HALF-BROTHERS MENDELSSOHN are currently on sale at  

Change the past. Alter the future. Find true love. Bring back the dead. Theo Mendelssohn believes he can achieve all of these by building a working time machine to blast twenty years into the past and stop his mother from abandoning the family in 1908. But, by doing so will he also prevent his father’s second marriage and the birth of his doubly doomed half-brother, Nicholas? Not if Nicholas has anything to say about it! Join The Strange Tree Group as we tumble back through time to set right what once went wrong, fall in love with other people's mothers, cause calamitous train accidents and try desperately to get the piano tuned in Elizabeth Bagby’s, THE HALF-BROTHER’S MENDELSSOHN.

Lively, inventive, and completely original, for the past 9 years Chicago’s Strange Tree Group has playfully toyed with the entire notion of storytelling, featuring a hand-made “twigs and twine” aesthetic replete with bright bursts of magical realism in highly detailed, audience-interactive environments.

The production team for THE HALF-BROTHERS MENDELSSOHN includes: Emily Schwartz and Kate Nawrocki (scenic design), Delia Baseman (costume design), Becca Jeffords (lighting design), Michael Huey (sound design), Wes Clark (violence choreography), Ben Dawson (technical director), John Kelly (master electrician) and Becky Bishop (stage manager).

Benefit performance: Wednesday, July 17 at 8 pm. $50 per person includes ticket, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, set tour, costume contest (where would you time travel?) and exclusive Strange Tree memorabilia.

About the Playwright:

Elizabeth Bagby has been writing and performing in Chicago for over a decade. Before joining Strange Tree, she co-founded Sansculottes, with whom she co-wrote the comedies Patriot Act III: Rise of the Machines and Screw Love. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies, and Press 53 published her novella The Crazy Garden in 2007. Her work has been shortlisted for the James Jones First Novel Award, the William Faulkner/William Wisdom Creative Writing Awards and the Reva Shiner Comedy Award. As a performer, Bagby has appeared in Strange Tree's productions of Goodbye, Cruel World, The Spirit Play, The War Plays, Shakespeare's King Phycus, Hey! Mr. Spaceman! and The Mysterious Elephant, as well as in shows with Signal Ensemble Theatre, the side project, The Ruckus, Right Brain Project, Trap Door, Raven, Actor's Gymnasium, and many others. Bagby has also composed and arranged music for many productions, including Strange Tree's Three Faces of Dr. Crippen and her own musical Practical Anatomy.

About the Director

Thrisa Hodits is thrilled to be making her debut with Strange Tree. Thrisa's most recent directing projects include Down & Derby, The Tempest and her 7th Gilbert & Sullivan operetta, The Pirates of Penzance.  The past three winters Thrisa has worked with The Hypocrites as the assistant director to Sean Graney on his adaptations of Pirates of Penzance and The Mikado.  In the spring, she will go to Boston with The Hypocrites' Pirates to close out American Repertory's season.  Later this summer, she will direct The Magic Flute with American Chamber Opera.  In addition to The Hypocrites, Thrisa has worked with Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, 2nd Story, Chicago Children's Theatre, Jackalope Theatre Company, Theatre-Hikes, The Inconvenience, The Gilbert & Sullivan Opera Company and The New Colony, where she is a company member.   

About The Strange Tree Group:
A collective of multifaceted individuals dedicated to creating intricate, intimate theatrical experiences that extend beyond the boundaries of a traditional stage. We produce works that inspire creativity not only in our actors but also in our audience. We Trees embrace the theatricality inherent in live performance and are committed to producing pieces that celebrate the strange and the magical; the dangerous and the fantastical; and the surprisingly usual nature of unusual behavior. The world is full of adventure…let us embark on this one together! For more information, please visit