Stage Left Theatre and Theatre Seven of Chicago present the world premiere of “Principal Principle” April 12– May 18, 2014

SLT-LogoTheatre Seven of Chicago and Stage Left Theatre announce the upcoming world premiere of Principal Principle, written by Theatre Seven Associate Artist Joe Zarrow and directed by Stage Left ensemble member Scott Bishop. Principal Principle is the third production of Stage Left’s 32nd season and the second production of Theatre Seven’s eighth season. Press opening is Friday, April 18th at 8:00 PM at Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont. The production runs through May 18th.


Armed with her dreams of changing the world and eight weeks of training, Kay quits her corporate job to teach English in a Chicago public high school. She arrives to find that the copy machine, the system, and the spirits of her fellow teachers are all broken. Or are they? A dark comedy of academic intrigue, Principal Principle is a world premiere by playwright and former CPS teacher Joe Zarrow that takes a peek at the politics behind the closed doors of the teachers’ lounge.

Principal Principle is based on playwright Joe Zarrow’s personal experience as a Chicago Public School teacher. The script was developed in part at Brown/Trinity Playwrights Repertory Theatre under the artistic direction of Lowry Marshall and Ken Prestininzi in the summer of 2012. It also received a reading as part of Theatre Seven of Chicago’s Shikaakwa reading series.


Ultimately, Principal Principle explores the question: how does a teacher succeed within a broken system? Many of the specific issues the script raises are directly related to ongoing debates surrounding the state of Chicago Public Schools. Some of these issues lead to the strikes in the fall of 2012. By teaming together to present this timely and relevant story, Stage Left Theatre and Theatre Seven of Chicago hope to create not only a piece of entertainment, but a forum for this ongoing debate. To that end, after each performance, we will offer a post-show discussion with artists from the production, local education professionals or other Chicago residents with a distinctive perspective on the questions raised by the production.


Principal Principle runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm through 5/18/14. Tickets are $18-27 and will be available through the Theater Wit box office either online at or by calling 773-975-8150. Press Opening is Friday, April 18th at 8:00pm. Previews are Saturday, April 12th at 8:00pm; Sunday, April 13th at 3:00pm; Wednesday, April 16th at 8:00pm; and Thursday, April 17th at 8:00pm. Preview tickets are $20.Principal Principle will be performed at Theater Wit at 1229 W. Belmont in Chicago. The theater is handicapped and CTA accessible via the Belmont El (Red & Brown).

Media comps, photos, videos and interviews are available by contacting Vance Smith at 773.883.8830 (office) Hi-res photos, this release and archived releases and photos are available


Joe Zarrow is a playwright and actor. Stage Left workshopped his play The Pigeons before it was produced by Walkabout, and his short play Everythingaoke recently premiered in LiveWire’s VisionFest. Recent Chicago performances have included Unwilling and Hostile Instruments (Theatre Seven), Bulrusher (Congo Square), Arcadia(New Leaf), Amuse Bouche (Pavement Group), Bottom in Midsummer Night’s Dream (Sankofa), Walk Two Moons(Adventure Stage), and 200 Funny Things (Collaboraction). Joe is an Artistic Associate of both Theatre Seven of Chicago and Pavement Group and serves as Pavement Group’s Literary Director. Joe was a full-time English teacher for seven years, the last four of which were with Chicago Public Schools.

As a proud member of the Stage Left Ensemble, Scott Bishop has directed multiple productions including: Here Where It’s Safe, Open Book (LeapFest 10), Witches Vanish (LeapFest 9), The News All the Time (LeapFest 8), Safe(LeapFest 6)and the playwright residency of The Abacus. Additional directing credits include: How Gertrude Stormed the Philosophers Club at Bailiwick Theatre, The Deer and the Antelope Play at Riverfront Theatre (Rockford) and Arsenic and Old Lace at Summer Place Theatre (Naperville). Scott has worked as an assistant director on productions at Victory Gardens Theatre, Griffin Theatre and South Coast Repertory (Costa Mesa, CA). As a high school theater director, he has directed productions of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s NestA Raisin In The Sun, and The Odd Couple among many others. Scott holds an M.A. in Theatre from Northwestern University.

The cast features Theatre Seven Company Member Cassy Sanders (Kay) with guest artists McKenzie Chinn (Shelley), Arya Daire (Ms. Banerjee), Elana Elyce (Ola), and Barbara Harris (Denise).

The staff includes SLT company members John Kohn (lighting design), Adam Smith (sound design) and Zev Valancy (dramaturgy);Theater Seven Company Member Brenda Winstead (costume design); with guest artists Jason Crutchfield (stage manager), Emmaline Keddy-Hector (production management), Joe Schermoly (scenic design), and Cassy Schillo (properties master).


Founded in 2007, Theatre Seven of Chicago’s mission is to transform the way Chicagoans engage with their city and to become the premiere center for the creation, development and showcase of theatrically-based Chicago stories. The company has earned nominations for four Jeff Awards and won the 2012 League of Chicago Theatres’ Emerging Theatre Award. 


Founded in 1982, Stage Left Theatre is committed to developing and producing plays that raise debate and challenge perspectives on political and social issues. Through a full subscription season and our new play development program Downstage Left, Stage Left strives to ask provocative social and political questions by producing a mix of new works, regional premieres and timeless classics.