Northlight Theatre announces casting for The Commons of Pensacola, White Guy on the Bus and The Mousetrap

northlightNorthlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, announces casting for the first three productions of the 40th Anniversary Season.  The Commons of Pensacola will include Erik Hellman (Gabe), Leah Karpel (Lizzy), Barbara Kingsley(Judith), Lily Mojekwu (Lorena), Lori Myers (Ali), and Lucia Strus (Becca).  The cast of The Mousetrap is Greg Matthew Anderson (Det. Sgt. Trotter), Patrick Clear (Major Metcalf), Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren), Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravincini), Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle),Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston), Lindsey Pearlman (Miss Casewell) and Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston).  White Guy on the Bus features Jordan Brown (Christopher), Amanda Drinkall(Molly), Mary Beth Fisher (Roz), Patrese D. McClain (Shatique) and Francis Guinan (Ray).

Casting for Outside Mullingar and Shining Lives: A Musical will be announced at a later date.

The Midwest Premiere of

The Commons of Pensacola

by Amanda Peet

directed by Robin Witt

featuring Erik Hellman, Leah Karpel, Barbara Kingsley, Lily Mojekwu, Lori Myers and Lucia Strus

September 12 – October 19, 2014

Opening: Friday, September 19, 2014

Judith is a woman in exile, relegated to a Florida condo after her husband’s Madoff-like crimes have expelled her from a luxurious life.  Family ties are tested when her daughter Becca comes to visit for Thanksgiving, joined by Becca’s filmmaker boyfriend and rebellious niece.   Guilt by association, lost wealth, and questionable motives make trying to love your family an uncommonly difficult challenge in this funny, incisive and timely new drama. 

Erik Hellman (Gabe) returns to Northlight after Lost in Yonkers. Chicago credits include Luna Gale at Goodman; Tartuffe, The Misanthrope, Proof, The Comedy of Errors, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Titus Andronicus, and Arcadia (Court); Eastland (Lookingglass); Hesperia (Writers); The Madness of  King George III, The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, and Edward II (Chicago Shakespeare); Honest, The Elephant Man, and Huck Finn (Steppenwolf); All My Sons (TimeLine); as well as shows at Next, Chicago Dramatists, Remy Bumppo, The House Theatre of Chicago, and as a company member of Strawdog. Outside of Chicago, Erik has appeared at Milwaukee Repertory, Geva, Syracuse Stage, Indianapolis Repertory, Shakespeare Santa Cruz, Houston’s Stages Repertory, and Off-Broadway at Mirror Repertory.  Film/TV work includes The Dark KnightThe Chicago Code, Boss, Betrayal, and as Dr. Alec Willhite on Chicago Fire and Chicago PD.

Leah Karpel (Lizzy) Chicago credits include Next Up and understudy in Hot L Baltimore (Steppenwolf),We Are Proud to Present…(Victory Gardens Theater), Punk Rock (Griffin Theatre Company), and Feet of Clay (Last Match Theatre). Regional credits include Ten Chimneys (Milwaukee Repertory Theater), Half and Half (Penguin Rep Theatre), The Play about My Dad (Collaboration Town), and Evanston: A Rare Comedy (HERE Arts Center/PS 122). Leah received her BFA from Boston University and is a proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf.


Barbara Kingsley (Judith) Broadway/national tour: August: Osage County. Regional credits include Uncle Vanya, Tales from Hollywood, Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet, The Night of the Iguana, Once in a Lifetime, Death of a Salesman, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Front Page, Great Expectations (Guthrie); and appearances at CenterStage, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Berkeley Rep, Alley Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Company, Theatre de la Jeune Lune, Jungle Theater, Ten Thousand Things, Park Square, and Illusion. Film: Best Man Down, Ticket Out, Deer Hill Road, Older than America, A Simple Plan, The Straight Story, Sweet Land. Writing: Living in the Blue Zone, I Am Proof of Me, Under This Roof. Awards: 1983 Twin Cities Kudos Award, 2011 MSAB/NEA -playwriting; 2013 MRAC Next Step – playwriting.

Lily Mojekwu (Lorena) Chicago credits include Luck of the Irish, The ExoneratedWelcome Home, Jenny Sutter, The Overwhelming and Well (Next); How Carson McCullers Saved My LifeThe Elephant ManThe Brother Sister Plays (performing u/s), Intimate Apparel (performing u/s)(Steppenwolf); This (Theatre Wit); Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare); A Twist of Water (Route 66 Theatre Co); Greensboro: A Requiem (Steep Theatre, Non-Equity Jeff Nomination – Best Supporting Actress); and In Arabia We’d All be Kings (Steep Theatre, Non-Equity Jeff Award – Best Ensemble).

Lori Myers (Ali) Credits include Maggie in Men Should Weep (Griffin Theatre), Man Eats Lion (Helen Mills Theatre), and David Cromer’s Obie Award-winning production of Our Town in Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles. She has worked with Steppenwolf, Upright Citizens Brigade, Bailiwick Rep, Theatre Wit, Shattered Globe, Vitalist Theatre, Redmoon Theater, Next Theatre, Plasticene, and countless others. Lori has worked continuously in film and commercial projects throughout her career. She has an M.A. in Performance Studies summa cum laude from the University of  London, Goldsmith’s College and a B.A. in Acting from Illinois State University.

Lucia Strus (Becca) Chicago appearances include Big Love and Mary Reade in A Pirate’s Lullaby(Goodman); Hysteria, Whispering City and Our Town (Steppenwolf); No One as Nasty (Victory Gardens); SLAVS! (European Repertory); Atomic Bombers (Northlight); Indiscretions (Organic Touchstone); and Henry IV (Chicago Shakespeare). Regional credits include Quake and Chad Curtiss: Lost Again at Actors Theatre of Louisville’s 2001 Humana Festival. A member of the Neo-Futurists, Lusia has been writing and performing in Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind since 1993. She’s performed Too Much Light in Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Romania and at the HBO sponsored US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen. This year Ms. Strus performed her solo show, Too Busy to Be Famous, at Donny’s Skybox Theatre at The Second City and at PSNBC in New York. Television credits include Cupid (CBS) and Early Edition (NBC). Films include Stir of Echoes and Soul Survivors (Artisan Entertainment) and independents The Secret, Design, Danny’s Wish, No Sleep ‘Til Madison, The Opera Lover and Hole in the Wall.

The Mousetrap

by Agatha Christie

directed by Jonathan Berry

featuring Greg Matthew Anderson, Patrick Clear, Joey deBettencourt, Joe Dempsey, Laura T. Fisher, Keith Neagle, Lindsey Pearlman and Cora Vander Broek

November 7 – December 14, 2014

Opening: Friday, November 21, 2014

On a snowy night at Monkswell Manor, newlyweds Mollie and Giles welcome a group of strangers to their guest house, only to discover news of a murderer in their midst! A police investigation reveals the sordid details of each guest’s mysterious past, but not soon enough to stop the killer from striking again. Agatha Christie’s masterful whodunit weaves an intricate plot filled with nerve-rattling suspense, all leading up to the ultimate final twist!

Renowned mystery writer Agatha Christie is not only the best-selling author of all time, but The Mousetrap is the world’s longest-running play, now at 62 years on London’s West End.

Greg Matthew Anderson (Det. Sgt. Trotter) is an Artistic Associate at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company where credits include Power, The Best Man, The Philadelphia Story, Bronte, On the Verge, The Marriage of Figaro, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Night and Day and The Importance of Being Earnest.  Other credits include Rock ‘N Roll (Goodman); Arcadia (Court); Oklahoma! (American Theatre Company); A Moment Alone (10 Theatre); as well as Next, Noble Fool, and Actors Revolution Theatre.  Television: The Chicago Code (Fox), Detroit 187 (ABC), and the pilot Matadors (ABC/Sony).  Greg is a graduate of Duke University’s Department of Theater Studies.

Patrick Clear (Major Metcalf) has appeared in more than sixty Chicago-area productions, includingPride & Prejudice and Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde (Northlight Theatre); The Madness of George IIIAs You Like It,  Troilus and CressidaMeasure for MeasureAs You Like ItKing LearAll’s Well That Ends WellHenry VTimon of Athens and The Merry Wives of Windsor (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Port Authority (Writers Theatre); Meet Vera Stark, Teddy Ferrara, Race (Goodman Theatre); The March(Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Seascape (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company). Broadway: Hollywood Arms and Noises Off. Regional credits include appearances with Asolo Repertory Theatre, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage, Guthrie Theater, American Shakespeare Theatre, Center Stage, Folger Shakespeare, Huntington Theatre and Cincinnati Playhouse. 

Joey deBettencourt (Christopher Wren) is an artistic associate at the Griffin Theatre and a proud Chicagoan and Northwestern graduate. Chicago credits include Punk Rock – Jeff Award, Port Flare PathNo More Dead Dogs, and Stage Door (Griffin Theatre Company); The Thirteen Clocks (Lifeline Theatre); Lovers (City Lit Theater); Cherrywood (Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.); and South of Settling(Steppenwolf). National tour: Peter and the Starcatcher. Film: At Any Price. 

Joe Dempsey (Mr. Paravincini) last appeared at Northlight in Inherit the Wind. Chicago credits includeGypsy at Ravinia with Patti Lupone; Half and Half at Victory Gardens; Jolly and The Disappearance of the Jews at Goodman as part of the David Mamet Festival; and in The Second City’s Disgruntled Employee HandbookSex and The Second City and All in the Timing. Joe has also acted at Apple Tree, Lookingglass, Remy Bumppo, About Face and the Goodman. Regionally, he performed in Ms. Zimmerman’s Metamorphoses at St. Louis Repertory and Cincinnati Playhouse as well as other productions at Milwaukee Repertory, Madison Repertory and City Theatre. Film: Vows and The Third Rail. Television: E.R.Early Edition and What About Joan?

Laura T. Fisher (Mrs. Boyle). Chicago credits include The SeagullThe ShawlHomeFinishing the Picture and The Trojan Women (Goodman); End DaysDefianceFrozenHelen and Julius Caesar (Next Theatre Company); Cymbeline and Kabuki Lady Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Half and HalfRelatively Close and Big Blue Nail (Victory Gardens); Cyrano (Court Theatre and Redmoon Theater at Museum of Contemporary Art); Cider House Rules Parts I and IIThe LivingHellcabEarly and Often (Jeff Award), Remembrance and Hushabye Mountain (Famous Door Theatre); The Secret Rapture (Remy Bumppo); SIC and Season’s Greetings to our Friends and Family (Roadworks Productions); What Once We Felt (About Face); The Intelligent Design of Jenny Chow (Collaboraction). Ms. Fisher has collaborated on devised works with Plasticene and Cardiff Giant Theatre Company, performed as part of Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s Beyond the Score series and at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Keith Neagle (Giles Ralston) has appeared in theatres throughout the Chicago area including The Rogue Theatre Company, Steppenwolf, Sideshow Theatre Company, The Gift Theatre, Theatre Seven of Chicago, Pavement Group, and Haven Theatre Company. Shows include Seminar (Haven), Harry and the Thief (Pavement Group), Orange Flower Water (Raven), and Breaks and Bikes (Pavement).

Lindsey Pearlman (Miss Casewell) Previous Chicago credits include Trevor (A Red Orchid Theatre);Never the Bridesmaid (Jeff Award – Polarity Ensemble Theatre); The Eight Reindeer Monologues (Stage Left Theatre); Cherrywood and The Rant (Mary Arrchie Theatre Company); The Last Days of Judas Iscariot (The Gift Theatre); and Expecting Isabel, Self Defense or the Death of Some Salesman(Rivendell).

Cora Vander Broek (Mollie Ralston) was previously seen at Northlight in Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Other credits include Sister James in Doubt (Indiana Repertory Theatre); The Seagull, Dancing at LughnasaBook of Days (Raven Theatre); Dead End (Griffin Theatre); Being 11 (Serendipity Theatre).  She’s also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Lifeline Theatre and The Hypocrites.  Her writing has been featured at Serendipity Theatre’s 2nd Story series.  Regional credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor and Heartbreak House with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks.  Cora has received a Joseph Jefferson nomination and an After Dark Award for her work as an actor in Chicago.  She is a proud graduate of The School at Steppenwolf. 

The World Premiere of
White Guy on the Bus
by Bruce Graham

directed by Artistic Director BJ Jones

January 23– March 1, 2015

Opening: January 30, 2015

Ray, a successful white business executive, rides the bus every Saturday.  On his weekly ride hebefriends Shatique, a young black woman putting herself through school and struggling to raise a son on her own.  The threads that tie these disparate individuals together gradually unravel in a complex web of class, revenge and racial biases from a candid and unexpected perspective.

Bruce Graham, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter behind Northlight’s highly The Outgoing Tide and Stella & Lou, has never been sharper than in this fresh, surprising, and gutsy world premiere.

Jordan Brown (Christopher) Chicago credits include Sense and Sensibility (Northlight), A Christmas Carol (Goodman), In the Company of Men (Profiles Theatre), The Pitmen Painters (Timeline Theatre), and Tony in West Side Story (Ravinia). Off –BroadwayMuch Ado About Nothing and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Regional: The Light in the Piazza (River Valley Rep), A Skull In Connemara (Centerstage Theatre). Television: Sirens (USA), As the World Turns (CBS), and Crisis (NBC). Jordan studied acting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Amanda Drinkall (Molly) is an ensemble member of Red Tape Theatre, where her credits includeHamlet is Dead, No Gravity, Lear, The Skriker, Brand, The Love of the Nightingale, The Making of a Modern Folk Hero at CFANN 2011 and Pullman, WA. Other Chicago credits include Measure for Measure(Goodman); Great Expectations (Strawdog Theatre); Pride and Prejudice (Lifeline Theatre); Failure: A Love Story (u/s, Victory Gardens); Pony (u/s, About Face); and OthelloRomeo and Juliet, A Winter’s Tale, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (The Back Room Shakespeare Project).  Regional credits includeThe Comedy of Errors and Romeo and Juliet (Michigan Shakespeare Festival) and King Lear and Much Ado About Nothing (North Carolina Shakespeare Festival). Ms. Drinkall holds a BFA in acting performance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Mary Beth Fisher (Roz) Chicago credits include Luna Gale, God of Carnage  Night of the IguanaLight Up the SkyDesign for LivingSpinning Into ButterBoy Gets GirlThe GuysThe Rose TattooHeartbreak HouseDinner with FriendsThe Clean HouseFrank’s HomeRock ‘n’ Roll and The Seagull (Goodman); Dead Man’s Cell PhoneThe Dresser and The Memory of Water (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Three Tall WomenThe Year of Magical Thinking (Jeff Award), The Wild DuckWhat the Butler SawArcadiaTravesties

and The Importance of Being Earnest (Court Theatre); The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Laramie ProjectThe Little Dog Laughed and Theatre District (About Face Theatre); The Marriage of Figaro (Remy Bummpo Theatre Company); My Own Stranger (Writers’ Theatre) and Away (Northlight Theatre). She has worked in regional theatres all over the country, most recently in the world premiere of Sarah Ruhl’s Dear Elizabeth at Yale and Berkeley Repertory Theatre. New York credits include Frank’s Home (Playwrights’ Horizons); Boy Gets Girl (Drama League Honoree, Drama Desk and Lucille Lortel nominations), The Radical Mystique and By the Sea, by the Sea, by the Beautiful Sea (Manhattan Theatre Club); The Night of the Iguana (Roundabout Theatre Company); Extremities (Westside Theatre); Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?

(Promenade Theatre). Television and film credits include Chicago FireThe Chicago CodeState of RomanceWithout a TraceNumb3rsPrison BreakNYPD BlueProfilerEarly EditionFormosa BetrayedDragonfly and Trauma. Ms. Fisher received the 2010 Chicago’s Leading Lady Award from the Sarah Siddons Society and was named Best Actress in Chicago magazine’s “Best of Chicago” issue (August, 2010). She was an inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellow at the Ten Chimneys Foundation representing the Goodman Theatre and was a Beinecke Fellow at Yale University.

Patrese D. McClain (Shatique) Originally from Chicago, Patrice has worked with many local theaters, including Goodman, Lookingglass, Court and Chicago Shakespeare.  Recent credits include: Tartuffe and Spunk  (Court); A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Pericles, R & J, Ruined and all 16 characters in the solo performance of No Child (The Black Rep); Crime Scene: A Chicago Anthology (Collaboraction);Two Trains Running (Geva Theatre); Crumbs from the Table of Joy (Mustard Seed).  Awards include: Jeff nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in Spunk, St. Louis Theatre Circle Award’s Best Actress for No Child, Kevin Kline nomination for Best Supporting Actress for Crumbs.  Television:Chicago Fire and Detroit 1-8-7.  In addition, Patrese is the Executive Director of Pure ART, a not-for-profit dedicated to facilitating arts education outreach programs in under-served communities.  She received her BFA from Howard University and her MFA from Penn State.

Francis Guinan (Ray) returns to Northlight where he previously appeared in the world premiere Stella & Lou (also Galway Arts Festival), Season’s Greetings and Inherit the Wind.  He has been a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble since 1979 where he has appeared in over 30 productions includingThe Birthday Party, Time Stands Still, The Book Thief, American Buffalo, August: Osage County, Balm in Gilead and Say Goodnight, Gracie. He has also appeared in A Guide for the Perplexed (Victory Gardens), Seagull (Goodman) and Rantoul and Die (American Blues).  Television appearances includeBoss in the role of Gov. Cullen, filmed here in Chicago; Eerie, IndianaERFrasier and several Star Trek franchise episodes.  Film roles include appearances in The Last AirbenderTypingLow Tide, andConstantine.

Northlight offers the following Engagement Events for each production:

Northlight artistic staff lead a conversation about the play and the artistic process immediately following select performances.


This behind-the-scenes discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones and other special guests is offered for each show while still in rehearsal.  2014-2015 dates are to be announced and will be available online at


Northlight partners with community organizations to offer enrichment opportunities ranging from panel discussions with local experts to scene selections and conversations with the cast and/or director.  Frequent locations include the Skokie Public Library and Wilmette Public Library, among others.  2014-2015 dates are to be announced, and will be posted in the theatre lobby for each production, as well as online at


Northlight’s Interplay Reading Series gives audiences the opportunity to witness the early stages of play development, as a new play evolves from first draft to full theatrical production.  Since its inception in spring 2006, Interplay has staged readings of 29 new plays, 25 of which have gone on to full productions at Northlight, in Chicago, and around the country.  Readings are open to the public and include a post-show discussion with the playwright.

Interplay readings will be posted in the lobby and online as they are scheduled.  For more information and upcoming dates, visit

Curtain times are: Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m.; Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays at7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8:00 p.m.; Saturdays at 2:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.; Sundays at 2:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Subscriptions to the 2014-15 Northlight Season are now available through the box office, 9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, by phone at 847.673.6300 or online at  Tickets to individual productions will be available beginning in August 2014.  With its wide range of ticket prices, discounted subscription packages and complimentary parking, Northlight remains of one of the best theatrical values in Chicagoland.

5-Play Subscriptions range in price from $105-$240.  A limited number of season subscriptions for the Opening Night performances (also includes a reception with the cast) are available for $320, subject to availability.  Northlight subscribers will have the first chance to purchase additional tickets before they go on sale to the general public. For more information, visit

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now entering its 40th season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including more than 40 world premieres.  Northlight has earned 151 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 28 Awards.  As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from BMO Harris Bank; Cramer Krasselt; Draft FCB; the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; First Bank and Trust; The Homestead Hotel; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Foundation; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Plante Moran; Pioneer Press; Quince at the Homestead; Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; Room & Board; Sage Products; Sanborn Family Foundation; Shubert Foundation; Skokie Fine Arts Council; Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; Sullivan Family Foundation; Tom Stringer Design Partners; and the Venturous Theater Fund.