Gift Theatre’s Chicago Premiere of KENTUCKY Will Close Out 2019 Season

The Gift Theatre is pleased to announce the final play of its 2019 Season: the Chicago premiere of Leah Nanako Winkler’s dark comedy KENTUCKY, directed by ensemble member Chika Ike, playing October 17 – November 17, 2019 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago.

The Gift has also announced new dates for its world premiere of Hansol Jung’s messy, funny and disturbing theatrical experience WOLF PLAY, now slated forJuly 11 – August 18, 2019. Directed by guest artist Jess McLeodWOLF PLAY will be presented at The Gift’s home at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Jefferson Park neighborhood.

The Gift Theatre’s 2019 season opened with an all-ensemble production John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning drama DOUBT: A PARABLE, directed by ensemble member John GawlikDOUBT played February 27 – March 31, 2019 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre.

Two-show subscriptions are currently available at or by calling (773) 283-7071.


Two Sisters, Eccentric Parents, A Chatty Cat, And A Born-Again Wedding…What Could Go Wrong?

Hiro is a self-made single, almost 30 woman making it in New York while estranged from her dysfunctional family who lives in Kentucky. When her sister, a born-again Christian, decides to marry at 22, Hiro decides to do whatever she can to stop the wedding and salvage her sister’s future. The themes of identity, religion and love collide in this unique coming-of-age story. 

About the Artists

Leah Nanako Winkler (Playwright) is an award-winning playwright from Kamakura, Japan and Lexington, Kentucky. Her plays include God Said This (Winner: 2018 Yale Drama Series, World Premiere: Humana Festival, Off Broadway Premiere: Primary Stages/Cherry Lane), Kentucky (2015 Kilroys List/World premiere: Ensemble Studio Theatre in coproduction with Page 73 and the Radio Drama Network. West Coast Premiere: East West Players) Two Mile Hollow (2017 Kilroys List, simultaneous world premiere with Artists At Play in La, Mixed Blood/Theater Mu in Minneapolis, First Floor Theater in Chicago and Ferocious Lotus in SF), Death For Sydney Black (terraNova Collective, Thinking Cap Theater, 2014 Kilroys Honorable Mention) Diversity Awareness Picnic(Clubbed Thumb/Playwrights Horizons Superlab, 2014 Kilroys Honorable Mention), Double Suicide At Ueno Park (EST/Marathon 2015), Linus and Murray(EST/Marathon 2017) and more.

Chika Ike (Director) is an ensemble member with the Gift Theatre Company, where she is also the Director of the 4802 Residency. She has worked with Public Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Victory Gardens, About Face Theatre Company, Chicago Inclusion Initiative, Chicago Dramatists, and Prologue Theatre Company. Fellowships: Gielgud Directing Fellowship, the Bret C. Harte Directing Fellowship and Victory Garden’s Directors Initiative. Recent productions: A Swell in the Ground (The Gift Theatre), In the Blood (Red Tape Theatre), No Child (Definition Theatre Company), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (First Floor Theatre) and Franklinland (Jackalope Theatre Company).  

About The Gift Theatre

Since 2001 and over 70 productions, The Gift Theatre has pioneered the frontiers of the American theatre via the most intimate professional Equity theatre in the country, leading to national acclaim and a cultural revolution on Chicago’s northwest side.

The Gift’s 18th season includes a revival of John Patrick Shanley’s Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning drama Doubt: A Parable, directed by Ensemble MemberJohn Gawlik at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre (February 27 – March 31); the world premiere of Hansol Jung’s Wolf Play, directed by guest artist Jess McLeod at The Gift Theatre (July 11 – August 18) and Leah Nanako Winkler’s Chicago Premiere KENTUCKY directed by Ensemble Member Chika Ike at Theater Wit (October 17 – November 17). Season subscriptions are available for as little as $75. The Gift subscribers (“Gifters”) receive admission to three shows, free parking at Gale Street Inn, free admission to all Wednesday night “Natural Gas” improv shows and invitations to special subscriber-only special events. Subscribe at or by calling (773) 283-7071.