The Crusader Newspaper Group

The New 411

By Raymond Ward, Chicago Crusader

DINNER PARTY!: Windy City Playhouse has announced an expansion in programming with a world-premier immersive theatrical production, “Southern Gothic” which will open on February 7, 2018.

Written by Leslie Liautaud and directed by David H. Bell“Southern Gothic” will give audiences the opportunity to be a “fly on the wall” at a cocktail party in Ashford, Georgia in the 1960s where four couples gather together to celebrate a birthday. As the evening progresses, tensions rise and longtime relationships are tested as they soon realize that even the best of friends keep the darkest of secrets. Due to the intimate nature of the show, audience size for each performance is limited to 25 patrons, giving audiences freedom to roam every room of the home at will, exploring various spaces and eavesdropping on clandestine conversations, providing each audience member their own unique perspective on the evenings proceedings.

Unlike some immersive theater experiences, “Southern Gothic” is plot-driven, with each audience member experiencing various aspects of the party, yet still taking in the arc of the story line. The cast of “Southern Gothic” will not interact with the audience leaving patrons free to watch the scenes happening around them like an invisible guest, traveling from room to room and sampling period appropriate cocktails and canapés throughout the duration of the performance.

“Since the Playhouse’s debut in 2015, our goal has been to re-imagine the theater-going experience, always looking for ways to break down barriers between the audience and the performers. Immersive theater is something we’ve wanted to do for a long time, since it seems like such a natural extension of that mission, said Artistic Director and “Southern Gothic” co-creator Amy Rubenstein. “Immersive theater is just one way we are trying to deconstruct the formality of being at the theater.”

Four couples—who have known each other for decades—come together to celebrate Suzanne Wellington’s 40th birthday and as the evening progresses, celebration leads to disaster as relationships are heavily tested. The cast of “Southern Gothic” includes Brianna Borger as Suzanne Wellington, Paul Fagen as Jackson Wellington, Sarah Grant as Ellie Courtier, Brian McCaskill as Charles Lyon, Michael McKeogh as Tucker Alsworth, Mickey O’Sullivan as Beau Courtier, Christine Maryland Perkins as Laureen Lyon and Ariel Richardson as Cassie Smith.

The performance schedule of “Southern Gothic” is as follows: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM; Fridays at 8 PM; Saturdays at 4 PM and 8 PM; and Sundays at 2 PM and 6 PM.  Tickets are $65 to $85 dollars and are on-sale at the Windy City Playhouse Box Office which is located at 3014 West Irving Park Road. For more information please call 773-891-8985.


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