Theatre Conference to highlight city’s Cultural Plan

Jerry Wechsler, Theatre Wit artistic director

THEATER WIT goes back to the future this weekend with the third annual Chicago Theater Conference. The brainchild of Theater Wit’s artistic director, Jeremy Wechsler, the conference runs through Sunday and focuses on the subject of how local theaters are adapting to change, artistically and administratively.

Julie Burros, the director of cultural planning for the city’s Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) will deliver a presentation entitled “What the Heck is the Chicago Cultural Plan?!?” for those who have been wondering just that ever since the plan was released earlier this year.

Other topics include “Building a Successful Reading Series,” presented by BJ Jones, artistic director of Northlight Theatre; “Managing Transitions,” presented by Kristin Larsen, managing director of Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, which had a bumpy time this past season adjusting to new – and now-departed – artistic director Timothy Douglas; and Wechsler himself speaking on “Alternative Ticketing Strategies.” (Theater Wit offers a “Netflix”-type ticketing membership where, for $29 a month, a patron can see as many shows at in the three-venue facility as they wish, as often as they wish.)

Chazz PalminteriThe conference runs from Friday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. through Sunday afternoon.  You can register for a festival pass online in advance for $45 or pay $75 at the door.

STAGE READING BY CHAZZ PALMITERI, who won an Oscar nomination for his role in Bullets Over Broadway, pops up at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater on Monday, August 6, 7:30 p.m. in a reading of Kenny D’Aquila’s new play, Unorganized Crime. (A title that seems right in Palminteri’s wheelhouse.)

Edward Torres directs the reading of D’Aquila’s tale of the misadventures of the youngest son in a Mob household who is banished for his squeamishness about the family business.

Playwright D’Aquila (who appears in the reading) is a vet of Les Miserables and has a 25-year career on Los Angeles and New York stages. The reading is free, but reservations must be made in advance at For more info about the play itself, visit

THE NEW YORK INTERNATIONAL FRINGE FESTIVAL runs August 10-26 at various locations in downtown Manhattan, and several Chicago-based artists will be on hand. The New Colony reprises its hit comedy, 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood, at the NY Fringe.

Scene from “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche”They also put the story of the repressed-and-egg-loving ladies of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein (circa 1956) back on its goofy feet for a short pre-New York run at the Center on Halsted through this Sunday.

OTHER CHICAGO-BORN PIECES include An Interrogation Primer, written by former U.S. military interrogator Mike Nowacki and performed by Sean Bolger under the direction of Eric Ziegenhagen. Nowacki’s show had a run last fall at the Side Project in Rogers Park.

And Mark Chrisler, a vet of Prop Thtr and Curious Theatre Branch who is currently earning his MFA in playwriting at Ohio University, gets a Fringe outing for The Art of Painting, his look at art forgery, Nazis, and child molestation (among other things), presented by his own Found Objects Theatre Group under Tim Racine’s direction.

Send notes from the fringe and the center to