Other Theatre Announces Casting for the Hit Holiday Musical BARNEY THE ELF

Other Theatre is pleased to announce casting for the third revival of its holiday hit BARNEY THE ELF, a campy and irreverent musical comedy, written by Bryan Renaud with lyrics by Renaud and Emily Schmidt.

BARNEY THE ELF will feature Roy Samra as Barney, Chicago drag sensation Dixie Lynn Cartwright returning as Zooey, Maggie Cain as Mrs. Claus, Jaron Bellar as Junior and Courtney Dane Mize as Cookie/Ensemble with Emilie Rose DannoColleen DeRosaLiSean McElrathLance Spencer and Cody Talkie

After helming the 2016 production, Tommy Rivera-Vega returns to direct and choreograph, with music direction by Nik Kmiecik and arrangements by Jermaine HillBARNEY THE ELF will play November 17 – December 31, 2017 at Other Theatre’s resident home, The Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.  Tickets are available at www.theothertheatrecompany.com, in person at the Greenhouse Theater box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. Season subscriptions are currently available.

After Santa Claus retires, his wicked son begins a not-so-jolly reign as the new head of Christmas. The North Pole begins to crumble under his bigoted rule, and Barney the Elf is forced to leave his home for being different from the others. Soon he embarks on a fabulous journey of self-discovery (or is it elf-discovery?) that lands him in one of Chicago’s hottest drag bars. But can he truly leave Christmas behind for a new life in the big city? BARNEY THE ELF brings pop-infused musical numbers galore and plenty of queer holiday cheer to Lincoln Park for the third year in a row!

“Rather endearing [with] surprising emotional payoffs… Renaud and his collaborators may well have a fringe holiday repeat hit to call home for the holidays.”  –The Chicago Tribune

The production team for BARNEY THE ELF includes Michael Johannsen (scenic design), Olivia Crary (costume design), Matthew Carney (lighting design), Ashley Pettit (sound design, production manager), Bobby Taves (asst. music director) and Meghan Erxleben (asst. lighting designer).

The cast and creative team of Other Theatre’s BARNEY THE ELF includes (top, l to r) Roy Samra (Barney), Dixie Lynn Cartwright (Zooey), Maggie Cain (Mrs. Claus), Jaron Bellar (Junior) Courtney Dane Mize (Cookie/Ensemble) Emilie Rose Danno (Ensemble) and Colleen DeRosa (Ensemble) with (bottom, l to r) LiSean McElrath (Ensemble), Lance Spencer (Ensemble), Cody Talkie (Ensemble), Tommy Rivera-Vega (Director, Choreographer, Male Swing), Nik Kmiecik (Music Director), Bella DeBalle (Understudy) and Miranda Harris (Female Swing).

Creative Team Bios

Bryan Renaud (Book and Lyrics) is the Associate Artistic Director of Other Theatre, where he has premiered his plays Barney the Elf and Other Letters, the latter co-written with Carin Silkaitis. He is also a founding member of Random Acts, where he premiered Strangest Things! The MusicalAll Our Twilight and Ladies Night of the Living Dead. As a performer, Bryan has worked with American Theater Co., Pride Films & Plays, Provision Theater, Music Theatre Co., GreatWorks, Prologue Theatre, Shakespeare at the Centre, Oak Park Festival Theatre, NWaC and Two Pigs Productions. www.BryanRenaud.com 

Emily Schmidt (Lyrics) is a freelance playwright and grant writer based in Chicago. She earned her Masters in English from Loyola University. Other works include writing for Acid Reflux Comedy as well as the plays All Our Twilight, Awkward Family Gatherings and Strangest Things! The Musical. 

Tommy Rivera-Vega (Director) returns after directing the 2016 remount of Barney the Elf. He also directed the smash-hit world premiere Strangest Things! The Musical. Chicago Acting credits: Parachute MenBetween You Me and the LampshadeA View From the BridgeMomma’s Boyz – Teatro Vista; La Havana Madrid – Steppenwolf and Teatro Vista; Mother Road – Goodman Theatre; West Side Story – Drury Lane; In the Heights – Skylight Music Theatre; In the HeightsMy Fair Lady – Paramount Theatre; Three Sisters – Steppenwolf Theatre; Kiss of the Spiderwoman – BoHo Theatre; Augusta & Noble – Adventure Stage; Pippin – Music Theatre Company; CATS – Theo Ubique; Puerto Rico credits: Spring AwakeningFootloose – Black Box Theatre. Episodic: Chicago PD (Ep 411). He is a proud Teatro Vista, Other Theatre Ensemble member and an Artistic Associate of Random Acts. Tommy is represented by Paonessa Talent Agency.

Nik Kmiecik (Music Director) is thrilled to be back with Barney the Elf in his new role of music director. He has music directed youth productions with SELF theatre and musical productions at his alma mater, North Central College in Naperville. Nik was an elf/ensemble member for Barney last year and has performed with numerous theatres in Chicago including Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Filament Theatre, Haven Theatre, Silk Road Rising and Porchlight Theatre. Nik is an artistic associate of Other Theatre and is proudly represented by Stewart Talent.

About Other Theatre:

Other Theatre is dedicated to telling the stories of persons or groups who are othered by systems of oppression. Othering individuals or groups sustains power and privilege. Othering inherently implies hierarchy. Othering keeps the power in the hands of those who already have it.  Othering is an “us” vs. “them” mentality often centered around race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, identity, class, religion and ability. Other Theatre is committed to telling these stories in the hope that we can lessen the amount of discrimination and oppression in our world.

We are a collective of artist-activists who believe in the power of theatre to enact social change. We believe in equality for all human beings and we will fight for it. We believe theatre is an excellent conversation starter, and we hope you will come talk with us after the show. We believe radical social change is possible and we will continue to stand up, fight, and resist until it happens.

Other Theatre Artistic Staff:  

Carin Silkaitis, Founder and Artistic Director; Maddie DePorter, Managing Director; Bryan Renaud, Associate Artistic Director; Ashley Pettit, Production Manager; Savanna Rae, Company Manager; Stephen Kossak, Casting Director; Becca Sheehan, Audience Development/Intern Coordinator; Tommy Varela, Social Media Coordinator; Kelly Howe, Resident Dramaturg; Tommy Rivera-Vega, Artistic Associate; Hannah Toriumi, Artistic Associate; Gay Glenn, Artistic Associate; Nik Kmiecik , Artitic Associate.

Other Theatre Board of Directors:

Michele Thornton, President; Kelly Soprych, Vice President; Jermaine Hill, Secretary; Stephen Silkaitis, Treasurer; Lisa Wolfe, Diane Sheehan and Michael Johannsen.

Other Theatre’s 4th Season is presented by generous grants from MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and The Saints.