Route 66 Theatre Company Announces Complete 2015-2016 Season

Route 66 Theatre Company Announces Complete 2015-2016 Season 1 Route 66 Theatre Company announces an exciting 2015-2016 Season. In their seventh year as a company and third year as a resident company at Greenhouse Theater Center, Route 66 Theatre Company will present two Chicago premiere plays, a world premiere, the second year of its new play development workshop, Test Drive, and its continued Monthly Reading Series,The Driver’s Seat at Murphy’s Irish Bistro.

images (5)Route 66 Theatre Company announces an exciting 2015-2016 Season. In their seventh year as a company and third year as a resident company at Greenhouse Theater Center, Route 66 Theatre Company will present two Chicago premiere plays, a world premiere, the second year of its new play development workshop, Test Drive, and its continued Monthly Reading Series,The Driver’s Seat at Murphy’s Irish Bistro.


“It’s a huge step forward for us as a company. We’re moving to the downstairs main stage at Greenhouse and I wanted give our audiences three completely different, exciting evenings of theatre,”Artistic Director Stef Tovar says. “Our season is really in tune with our commitment to new plays and embracing risk.”


After the previously announced Goldfish by John Kolvenbach, which plays in June (directed by Damon Kiely and featuring Francis Guinan, Shannon Cochran, Alex Stage and Tyler Meredith), Route 66 Theatre Company will move to a fall, winter, spring schedule of performances. Goldfish is a story of a young man who raises his father, then leaves home. He meets a young woman who undoes him, but the young woman has her own story: a mother who is a force of nature. It’s a play about legacy and leaving home. We raise our children to leave us, to walk out into the world. But then they do. Performances begin June 11, 2015.


The fall show will be the Chicago premiere of Cops and Friends of Cops by Ron Klier. A man walks into a bar on that bar’s busiest night — Cops and Friends of Cops — an evening set aside for St. Louis City and County police officers and their friends. He’s neither. What follows is a dangerous, suspense-fueled ride, part morality play, part neo-Western, a meditation on masculinity, regret, loss, and race relations in contemporary urban law enforcement. Set in Ferguson, Missouri, and written before the riots, Cops and Friends of Cops has proved sadly prescient. Casting and creative team to be announced soon. Performances begins October 8, 2015.

In January 2016, Route 66 Theatre Company will present the Chicago premiere of No Wake, by William Donnelly, directed by Kimberly Senior. In No Wake, Edward and Rebecca have moved on since their divorce-she to a new husband and he to a series of failed relationships. However, when an unexpected tragedy brings them back together, they’re forced to navigate a web of grief and guilt that leads to tears, laughter and ultimately, hope. At once deeply touching and filled with humor, No Wake takes an honest look at the grieving process and the unexpected consequences it can bring. No Wake features Lia Mortensen, Raymond Fox and Artistic Director Stef Tovar.

The final play of Route 66’s 2015-2016 is Quiver by Jenni Lamb, the winner of their inaugural new play development workshop Test Drive. Quiver will be directed by Frances Limoncelli. Quiver is the story of twin siblings Adam and Diane’s annual bow hunting trip, which is interrupted when Cassie, Adam’s wife, arrives with their daughter, Pearl, who has been suspended from school for drinking. Cassie leaves it to Adam to watch over Pearl for the week and keep her out of trouble. She also leaves Adam with the task of telling Pearl that their marriage is ending. The play explores our relationship to our surroundings and habitat. It also delves into the way we experience the end of relationships, childhood, and life itself. Performances begin in Spring 2016. Casting to be announced soon.

Tovar also announces that Frances Limoncelli will become Route 66 Theatre Company’s New Play Development Director. Limoncelli curated the inaugural new play workshop Test Drive, which had a public reading on March 16. “Frances’ new play development process is exactly what I’ve been looking for—a process completely focused on the playwright to put them in the best possible position to succeed. I’m thrilled she has made the commitment to Route 66 to make it truly “Where the Road Begins” for new work.”

After receiving over 330 submissions in its first year, Route 66 will begin taking submissions in November 2015 for a March 2016 Test Drive workshop, curated by Limoncelli.

Since its inception, Route 66 Theatre Company has always involved its patrons in the season selection process with its Monthly Reading Series, The Driver’s Seat. “We’ve always chosen plays to produce that were given a public reading first because in the end, we are doing the work for our patrons who come to see us. I’ve always believed that involving them in our season selection is crucial to choosing important work that is topical and meaningful for our audience, while creating a sense of family. Beth Murphy and Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro established a beautiful venue to continue the monthly tradition of reading new plays” says Tovar.

2015 Season DETAILS

Inaugural Route 66 New Play Test Drive

Curated by Frances Limoncelli

Submission Deadline: January 20, 2015

Winning Play: Quiver by Jenni Lamb

Public Reading: Monday, March 16, 2015

Featuring Kirsten Fitzgerald, Brad Akin, Gail Rastorfer, Emily Woods, Lawrence Grimm and Michael Holding


Written by John Kolvenbach

Directed by Damon Kiely

Assistant Director:  Stef Tovar

Featuring Francis Guinan, Shannon Cochran, Alex Stage and Tyler Meredith.

Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago

Previews June 11 – 14, 2015.

Press opening Tuesday June 16, 2015 at 7:30 pm

Regular run June 18 – July 12, 2015


Monthly Reading Series: The Driver’s Seat

On a flex schedule upstairs at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro

Check for monthly dates

2015-2016 New Season DETAILS

Cops and Friends of Cops

Written by Ron Klier

Cast and Creative Team to be announced

Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago

Previews October 8 – 14, 2015.

Press opening October 13, 2015

Regular run October 15 – November 8, 2015


No Wake

Written by William Donnelly

Directed by Kimberly Senior

Featuring Lia Mortensen, Raymond Fox and Artistic Director Stef Tovar

Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago

Previews January 7 – 10, 2016.

Press opening Wednesday January 14, 2016 at 7:30 pm

Regular run January 15 – February 21, 2016


Written by Jenni Lamb

Directed by Frances Limoncelli

Assistant Director:  Stef Tovar

Cast and Creative Team to be announced

Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln Avenue, Chicago

Spring of 2016. Specific dates to be announced

Route 66 New Play Test Drive

Curated by Frances Limoncelli

Submission Deadline: November 1, 2015

Winning Play Announced: January 2016

Workshop: March 2016

Public Reading: March 2016

Monthly Reading Series: The Driver’s Seat

On a flex schedule upstairs at Mrs. Murphy and Sons Irish Bistro

Check for monthly dates


About our Creative Team:

Frances Limoncelli (New Play Development Director; Director, Quiver; Curator, Test Drive) has been working in the Chicago theatre community for over 20 years, and has been a member of Lifeline Theatre’s artistic ensemble since 1995. As an adaptor she created Mrs. Caliban (Jeff Award nomination: New Adaptation), as well as the popular Dorothy L. Sayers series: Whose Body?,Strong Poison (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), Gaudy Night (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), and Busman’s Honeymoon (Non-Equity Jeff Award: New Adaptation), all for Lifeline’s Mainstage. For Lifeline’s KidSeries she created The Emperor’s New Threads; Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch; and Arnie the Doughnut with composer/lyricist George Howe, which was a Next Link Selection in the 2012 NY Musical Theatre Festival. Her plays have been seen in such regional theatres as the Cleveland Playhouse in Ohio, the PTC Performance Space in New York, Taproot Theatre in Seattle, and the Manitoba Theatre Center in Winnipeg. Frances teaches adaptation at Chicago Dramatists and as a guest lecturer at DePaul. She is a script evaluator for Steppenwolf Theatre and served as dramaturg for The Lord Of The Flies with Steppenwolf for Young Adults.


Damon Kiely (Director, Goldfish) is a professional director and writer, as well as a full time professor of directing and acting for DePaul’s Theatre School. He is currently writing a book for Routledge called How to Read a Play: Text Analysis for Directors due out fall 2015. He was recently nominated for a 2014 Jeff Award for Best director of a musical for his production of Hank Williams: Lost Highway for American Blues Theatre. In Chicago, he has directed regional premieres of work by Lisa Kron, Kirsten Greenidge, and Jordan Harrison for Next Theatre, The Chicago premiere of Gore Vidal’s Weekend for TimeLine Theatre Company, the regional premiere of Gina Gionfriddo’s Becky Shaw for A Red Orchid Theatre, and the world premiere of McMeekin Finds Out for Route 66. He’s also worked at Eclipse Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, WildClaw and others. Damon’s world premiere adaptation of Thieves Like Us was produced by the House Theatre of Chicago and the Theatre School. He served as the Artistic Director of American Theater Company from 2002 to 2007. Directing credits at ATC include Oklahoma! (Nominated for 6 Jeff Awards including Best Musical and Best Direction of a Musical), The Dark at the Top of the Stairs, Orpheus Descending, A View from the Bridge, and The Hairy Ape. Prior to moving back to Chicago he produced, directed, and taught in New York City. In New York he directed for The Public Theatre, New York Theatre Workshop, the Ontological Theater,Adobe Theater Company, PS122, Ensemble Studio Theater and New Dramatists. Damon also served as the Artistic Director for Real Time Theater and was a Producing Director at the Ontological-Hysteric Theater as well as the Associate Artistic Director for the Children’s Theater of Maine. He is a winner of the 2000-02 NEA/TCG Career Directing Program, the 2000 Drama League Fall Directing Program and the 1997 Princess Grace Award.

Kimberly Senior (Director, No Wake) Kimberly Senior is a freelance director and the director of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning play Disgraced by Ayad Akhtar. Her New York and regional credits include: Disgraced (Broadway, Lincoln Center Theater 3), The Who and The What (La Jolla Playhouse, Lincoln Center Theater 3), Little Gem (City Theatre), Murder on the NileA Few Good Men (Peninsula Players), Mauritius (Theatre Squared, Fayetteville, AR). Her many Chicago credits include Rapture, Blister, Burn (The Goodman) The Diary of Anne FrankHedda GablerThe Letters (Writers Theatre, where she is a Resident Director), 4000 MilesThe Whipping Man (Northlight Theatre), WantThe North Plan (Steppenwolf), My Name is Asher LevAll My SonsDolly West’s Kitchen (TimeLine Theatre, where she is an Associate Artist), Disgraced (American Theater Company), The Great God PanAfter the RevolutionMadagascarThe Overwhelming and The Busy World is Hushed (Next), and Waiting for Lefty (American Blues), among others. Kimberly is adjunct faculty at Columbia College, and is a proud member of SDC.

Stef Tovar (Artistic Director, Assistant Director, Goldfish and Quiver) is the founder and Artistic Director of Route 66 Theatre Company, where he was most recently seen as Miller in the world premiere of The Downpour. Other Route 66 credits include Rob in the Chicago premiere of High Fidelity and Noah in the world premiere of A Twist of Water, which played a successful extension at the Mercury Theater and had a remount at 59E59 Theaters Off-Broadway in November of 2012. He was Peter Stossel in Mercury Theater’s production of The Christmas Schooner. Stef was nominated for a 2013 Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical as Luther Billis in South Pacific at the Marriott Theatre. Other recent roles include Franz in Appropriate at Victory Gardens, Bernard in Boeing Boeing at Drury Lane, Jeffrey Skilling in Enron for TimeLine and Harold Hill in the critically acclaimed Paramount Theatre production of The Music Man directed by Rachel Rockwell. Stef won a Jeff Award for Best Supporting Actor in a Play for Blade to the Heat, directed by Gary Griffin. TV and film credits include Boss, Chicago Fire and Contagion where he gives some very bad news to Matt Damon as Dr. Arrington. Stef will play Edward Bloom in Big Fish for Theatre at the Center in the spring of 2015 and is a professional acting coach.

About the Playwrights

Ron Klier (Cops and Friends of Cops) Ron’s play Cops and Friends of Cops premiered at the Vs. Theatre Company in Los Angeles, Spring 2013, where it ran for twelve weeks and was nominated for three LA Weekly Awards, including Best Playwriting. Ron’s second play in his planned “St. Louis Trilogy,” Gus’s Fashions & Shoes, is currently in rehearsals and is scheduled to open in April 2015, also at the Vs. Theatre. The third play in the series, North County, directly addresses the fallout from the Ferguson police shooting and subsequent riots and media spectacle on its residents and is scheduled for a workshop at the Vs. Theatre, Summer 2015. Ron is from the Florissant/Ferguson, Missouri, area, and his father, now retired, was a St. Louis City police officer for over forty years. Ron’s short plays have received productions in Chicago, San Diego, Kansas City, Norfolk, Virginia, and various small theaters in and around Los Angeles.  In addition to playwriting, Ron is a director and his favorite directing credits include: The Mercy Seat by Neil LaBute at the John Anson Ford Theatre (voted Reader’s Choice Production of the Year in Backstage), Blackbird by Adam Rapp for the Vs. Theatre (nominated for three Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle Awards and three LA Weekly Awards, and named one of LA Weekly’s Ten Best Productions of 2009), the West Coast Premiere of Chicago playwright Brett Neveu’s Eagle Hills, Eagle Ridge, Eagle Landing at the Hayworth Theatre, and John Kolvenbach’s On An Average Day (a joint production between the VS. Theatre and Route 66 Theatre Company, in Los Angeles and Chicago). Currently, Ron lives in Los Angeles with his wife and two young sons.

William Donnelly, (No Wake) William’s plays have been produced by Portland Stage Company, Merrimack Repertory Theatre, Berkshire Theatre Group, Active Theater Company, Act II Playhouse, The Public Theatre (Lewiston, ME), Unicorn Theatre, Sacred Fools and Mill 6 Collaborative among others. He has been the recipient of an Edgarton Foundation New American Play award and a Playwriting/New Theatre Works grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Magnetic North was awarded the Clauder Competition grand prize in 2006. Other plays include Homestead Crossing, Motel Stories, The Gas House and Painted Alice (music and lyrics by Michael Mahler)

Jenni Lamb, (Quiver): Jenni is a Chicago-based playwright and former improviser. Her plays include 12th and Clairmount, Candy Store, Memento Polonia, Period Piece (with Lisa LInke), Suicide Kills, Quiver, and Thou Proud Dream (with Damon Krometis). Jenni’s plays have had readings or productions with American Theater Company, Stage Left Theatre, Wordsmyth Theatre (Houston), Northwestern University, and Chicago Dramatists. Jenni is a two-time semi-finalist for the O’Neill Playwrights Conference and has received grants for her writing from the Illinois Arts Council. As an improviser, she performed on many Chicago stages as well as national comedy festivals in New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles. She is a proud member of Living Room Playmakers, a collective focused on creating theatre in unusual spaces. Jenni holds an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University.

About Route 66 Theatre Company

Route 66 Theatre Company introduces, develops, produces, and exports new work for the stage that embraces the American spirit of exploration and risk. The Road Begins with our new play development process and reaches west, where our World and Chicago Premiere shows are given an advocate for further regional productions along the road less traveled from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Since the company’s founding, Route 66 has produced eight productions, two in two cities including an Off-Broadway New York premiere, been nominated for five Jeff Awards and won two. 2015 is Route 66’s second full season of new work as a resident company of the Greenhouse Theater Center.

Route 66 is Stef Tovar, Founder and Artistic Director; Frances Limoncelli, New Play Development Director; Kelly Parker, Casting Director; Alana Parvey-Zalas, Business Manager; Matthew Bonaccorso, Company Manager and John Mohrlein, Consigliere.