Chuck Smith Directs STICK FLY For Windy City Playhouse May 27-July 5
Windy City Playhouse, Chicago’s newest Equity theater, announces the cast for its sophomore production, Lydia R. Diamond’s award-winning Stick Fly. This wisecracking family drama is directed by Chuck Smith, director of the play’s 2006 world premiere production in Chicago, fresh off his successful run of Two Trains Running at the Goodman. Smith directs a stellar cast featuring Tyrone Phillips, Celeste Cooper, Paige Collins, Michael Pogue, Kristen Magee and Phillip Edward Van Lear, reprising his role of the patriarch from the original production. Stick Fly runs May 27-July 5 at Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park.
“It is always nice to visit family,” says director Smith. “To me the characters in Lydia Diamond’s Stick Fly are in that category. I directed the world premiere nine years ago here in Chicago with the Congo Square Theatre Company. I liked the play then, but after seeing it in the hands of others I have grown to miss and love it. These Stick Fly characters are my children, and they have come home for proper nourishment which I plan to give them.
Originally developed as part of The August Wilson New Play Initiative at Congo Square where it premiered in 2006, Stick Fly is the story of an affluent black family over a three-day summer weekend on Martha’s Vineyard. Young writer Taylor (Celeste Cooper), the daughter of a late African-American academic, accompanies her entomologist fiancé Kent (Tyrone Phillips) to meet his family at their vacation home on the Vineyard. On hand for the weekend is powerful patriarch neurosurgeon Joe (Phillip Edward Van Lear), Kent’s plastic surgeon brother Flip (Michael Pogue), Flip’s new white girlfriend Kimber (Kristen Magee) and black housekeeper Cheryl (Paige Collins).
After winning the Black Theatre Alliance Award for Best New Play in 2006, Stick Fly ran on Broadway in 2012 with an all-star cast – Tracie Thoms, Mekhi Phifer, Dulé Hill – under the direction of Kenny Leon and produced by Alicia Keys. The Windy City Playhouse production marks Stick Fly’s triumphant return to Chicago.
Stick Fly’s design team includes Jackie Penrod (set), Jared Gooding (lights), Kristy Leigh Hall (costumes), Ray Nardelli (sound), Cassy Schillo (props) and Majel Cuza(production manager).
The new Windy City Playhouse is designed by renowned theater architect John Morris, celebrated for his designs of Steppenwolf, Black Ensemble Theater, Lookingglass, Raven Theatre, the Beverly Arts Center theater and Old Town School of Folk Music’s performance space. Morris’ unique design includes a massive wall-to-wall lighting grid that allows for infinite setups inside the flexible Windy City Playhouse theater space. And for the comfort of audiences, the interior designer has incorporated the option of preferred movie theater style seating or swivel armchair seating. Amy Rubenstein is the theater’s Artistic Director and Evelyn Jacoby is Managing Director.
The 2015 Season and beyond
Windy City Playhouse’s inaugural season opens March 19 with Deborah Zoe Laufer’s comedy End Days, directed by Henry Godinez. After Stick Fly, the 2015 season continues with: Peter Ackerman’s Things You Shouldn’t Say Past Midnight, directed by William Brown, Aug. 12-Sept. 20; and Neil Simon’s Chapter Two, directed by Jessica Thebus, Oct. 28-Dec. 6. Four-show subscription packages – $75-$140 – are available for the entire 2015 season. Windy City Playhouse is also ramping up for its 2016 season and has secured directors Ron O.J. Parson, Joanie Schultz, Carl Menninger and two more exciting names to be announced soon.
About Windy City Playhouse
Windy City Playhouse is a new theater at 3014 West Irving Park Road. Opened in March 2015, the Playhouse is a professional theater meant to entertain through exceptional contemporary, relevant and approachable art. Combining relatable material with high quality artistry, Windy City Playhouse seeks to create work accessible by audiences of all kinds. With a full service bar, light food and post-show performances, the Playhouse is not a traditional theater, rather a fun, relaxing and entertaining environment. With amenities such as optional armchair seating, the Playhouse is designed as a space for audiences to linger before and after the performance—a place to decompress with art.