Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC), a program of Northwestern Settlement (the Settlement), proudly opens their 14th season with a production of “Akeelah and the Bee”on Saturday October 28, 2017 at the Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St. After discovering her special talent, Akeelah dreams of winning the national spelling bee. With the support of her teacher and her friends, she fights to overcome every obstacle and make it to the top. Adapted to the stage and set in Chicago, “Akeelah and the Bee” is a testament to community and determination in the face of social, cultural, and economic hardship. Tickets range from $7 to $17 and are available at or by calling 773.342.4141.

“We are thrilled to open our season with ‘Akeelah and the Bee,’” said Tom Arvetis, Producing Artistic Director of ASC. “It’s connects to our season theme of literacy in ways that go well beyond the obvious. This is a story about learning how to deal with grief and loss as well as how to navigate social and economic disparity,”
“Akeelah and the Bee” is based on the screenplay by Doug Atchison, adapted for the stage by Cheryl L. West, and directed by Daryl Brooks, who recently helmed the acclaimed world premiere of “Black Pearl: The Story of Josephine Baker” at Black Ensemble Theater. “Akeelah and the Bee” features a cast of Gaby FeBland, Eric Gerard, Arvin Jalandoon, Kyra Jones, La Shone Kelly, Brandi Lee, Gabrielle Lott-Rogers, Glenn Obrero, Michael Rawlins, Brandon Rivera, and Yahdina U-Deen, with Colleen Layton (Production Manager), Megan Gray (Stage Manager), Aaron Quick (Projection Design), Michael Huey (Original Music and Sound Design), Jessica Kuehnau Wardell (Costume Design), John Kelly (Lighting Design), Mealah Heidenreich (Props Design) and Simon Lashford (Scenic Design).
“As part of the Northwestern Settlement, we are using the arts to inspire Chicago youth and families and disrupt generational poverty,” Arvetis said. “ ‘Akeelah and the Bee’ showcases the strength and resolve found in Chicago youth, proving that no odds are insurmountable to achieving a good education and one’s dreams.”
As a participatory arts company, ASC productions feature multiple options for audience engagement. For “Akeelah and the Bee” a different notable Chicagoan will be given the opportunity to walk on as a bee pronouncer during the family performances. Each performance is framed by a Curtain Conversation, asking audiences to keep a question in mind as they watch the play and return to it after the show; our lobby transforms into an interactive installation; and Learning Guides are available for teachers and parents, including show context and arts-integrated activities.
All Chicago performances take place at Northwestern Settlement’s Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St. Tickets are $17 for adults and $12 for youth aged 14 years and younger. Memberships are available for $36. Group tickets are $10 for ten or more guests. Student matinee tickets are $7 for CPS and $8 for non-CPS groups. Tickets may be purchased at or by calling 773.342.4141.