The House Theatre of Chicago will launch its 20th Anniversary Season with an all-new wintertime tradition, a boldly reimagined staging of Hans Christian Anderson’s beloved fable, The Snow Queen, November 17-January 2 at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St., Chicago. Press opening is Sunday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. For tickets and information, visit thehousetheatre.com.
Poster design for The House Theatre of Chicago's new production of The Snow Queen is by Delicious Design League.
Adapted by new House Theatre Artistic Director Lanise Antoine Shelley, and directed by AmBer D. Montgomery, with magic by Dennis Watkins and puppets by Jesse Mooney-Bullock, holiday audiences will warm right up to this heartfelt winter fantasy adventure.
The story begins when the Snow Queen shares her magical mirror with cousins Kai and Quin. Her world is thrown into chaos, triggering a wintry race against time to conquer mankind's heartache that is ravaging the earth. Along the way, audiences meet an unforgettable host of vivid characters, heroes, and animals as the Snow Queen attempts to undo the pain that she herself has woven.
The cast for The House’s new adaptation of The Snow Queen features (from left) Molly Brennan (Womoon/Grandmother), Vero Maynez (Chione), Christine Mayland Perkins (River), Jackie Seijo (Quin), Thomas Tong (Harpier) and Vincent Williams (Kai).
The House has formed a stellar company to tell Hans Christian Anderson’s classic tale, infused with the company’s hallmarks of magic, puppetry and music, with a fresh focus on the Snow Queen’s seasonal relationships with the earth, and the magical power she is learning to wield. The cast features Molly Brennan (Womoon/Grandmother), Vero Maynez (Chione), Christine Mayland Perkins (River), Jackie Seijo (Quin), Thomas Tong (Harpier) and Vincent Williams (Kai).
The production team is Lanise Antoine Shelley, adaptor; AmBer Montgomery, director; Sully Ratke, scenic and costume design; Trey Brazeal, lighting design; Olanrewaju Adewole and Kevin O’Donnell, sound design and composition; Liviu Pasare, video design; Dennis Watkins, magic design; Jesse Mooney-Bullock, puppet design; Caitlin McCarthy, properties design; Hallie Gordon, creative producer; Derek Matson, dramaturg; Molly Brennan, accessibility coordinator; Matthew Yee, animation; and, Ben F. Locke, casting consultant.
The Snow Queen, a classic winter tale of redemption and hope, and ultimately, a celebration of all seasons, is ideal for ages 8 and up. Tickets, $20-$50, are on sale now at thehousetheatre.com. Groups of 10 or more can save up to 20 percent. Email email@example.com to organize a group visit to The House.
The Snow Queen is presented in the Chopin Theatre Upstairs Mainstage, 1543 W. Division St., in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Previews start November 12, 2021. Press opening is Sunday, November 21 at 7:30 p.m. Performances run through January 2, 2022. Regular show times are Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 3 p.m. Runtime is 85 minutes, no intermission.
SPECIAL PERFORMANCE TIMES: Additional performances are Sunday November 28 at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 22 at 3 and 7:30 p.m., Sunday, December 26 at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, December 29 at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday, December 30 at 3 p.m. No performances on Thursday, November 25 (Thanksgiving), Friday, December 24 (Christmas Eve), Saturday, December 25 (Christmas Day), or Friday, December 31 (New Year’s Eve).
ACCESS SERVICES: Open Captioning will be offered on Sunday, November 28 at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 11 at 3 p.m. Relaxed/Sensory-Friendly performances are Saturday, December 4 at 3 p.m. and Saturday, December 18 at 3 p.m. A Touch Tour and Audio Description will be offered Wednesday, December 15 at 7:30 p.m.
COVID SAFETY POLICY: The House has joined a coalition of more than 60 performing arts venues and producers across Chicagoland that have agreed upon Covid-19 Vaccination and Mask Requirements for audiences through the end of 2021. This unified COVID-19 protection protocol requires audience members to provide proof of vaccination or negative test certification upon entry and to wear masks, regardless of vaccination status. The House and its performers, backstage crew and staff will comply with vaccination requirements and testing protocols to further ensure the safety of all guests and company members. The House will make accommodations for children under 12 and people with a medical condition or closely held religious belief that prevents vaccination. Please visit thehousetheatre.com/health-and-safety for more information, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The Snow Queen production sponsors are Scott Hughes, David Shapiro and Timothy Sherck.
Podcasts and Prologues: Explore The Snow Queen online
The House is producing a new podcast series titled Preset: The Snow Queen, which takes audiences behind the scenes of this exciting new production. as host Lanise Antoine Shelley talks with members of The Snow Queen creative team. Listen to episode one, a conversation with animator Matthew Yee and creative producer Hallie Gordon.
In addition, as part of The House's initiative to diversify programming and create engagement opportunities for those at home, the company is creating three animated shorts that focus on the life of the live production's puppets: the Arctic Fox, Polar Bear and White Raven. This allows audiences an opportunity to get to know these magnificent peripheral characters, who in the live production are puppets built by Jesse Mooney-Bullock. Each short is three minutes long, directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley, with animation by Mathew Yee, illustrations by Sully Ratke, and sound design by Kevin O'Donnell and Olanrewaju Adewole. Drop dates are: Prologue I - Arctic Fox, Tuesday, November 2; Prologue II - Polar Bear, Tuesday, November 9; and Prologue III - White Raven, Friday November 12.
To access The House’s 2021-22 free digital programming tied to its live production of The Snow Queen, visit thehousetheatre.com/rumpus-room.
The House Theatre’s 20th Anniversary Season: What’s Next?
In spring 2022, The House Theatre of Chicago’s 20th Anniversary Season of innovation, imagination, magic, courage, and heart continues with The Tragedy of King Christophe, by West Indian playwright and poet, Aimé Césaire, translated from French by Paul Breslin and Rachel Ney, and directed by Lanise Antoine Shelley. Set in a period of uncertainty after the Haitian Revolution of 1804, the play follows the true story of Henri Christophe, a general in Jean-Jacques Dessalines’ army who declared himself king in 1811. The Tragedy of King Christophe plays at The Chopin Upstairs Mainstage April 22-May 29, 2022. Press opening is Sunday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.
In addition to in-person productions, The House has launched The Rumpus Room, an online portal with three initial offerings planned in 2021: Preset (The House’s behind-the-scenes podcast), Dracula (An audioplay, dropping October 1), and The Snow Queen Animated Prologues. Log on to thehousetheatre.com/rumpus-room to submit work and join The House Theatre's digital adventure.
The House Theatre of Chicago 20th anniversary season sponsors include ComEd (lighting sponsor), Greg and Mary Ann Jordan (accessibility program sponsors), and The Arts Work Fund, The Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Grainger, The Illinois Humanities Council, Latham & Watkins LLP, The MacArthur Fund for Culture, Equity, and the Arts at Prince, The Poetry Foundation, The Shubert Foundation, and SLOAN. The House Theatre of Chicago is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.
Members and donors enjoy early access and discounted tickets all season long. To donate or for more information, please visit thehousetheatre.com or call the box office at 773.769.3832.
About The House Theatre of Chicago
The House Theatre of Chicago is Chicago's premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded in 2001, The House is driven by a curiosity for innovative storytellers, and aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular artform.
The House was started by a group of friends to explore connections between Community and Storytelling through a unique theatrical experience. Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has won 24 Joseph Jefferson Awards, became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The 18th season of original work concluded in March 2020 with the world premiere punk rock musical Verböten, which was awarded the 2021 ATCA/Steinberg New Play Citation.
AmBer D. Montgomery (director, she/her) is thrilled to join The House Theater this season. Montgomery is a director, educator, and multi-disciplinary artist from Detroit, MI. Originally trained as an actor, her transition to directing in Chicago has included her associate and assistant directing credits for many major productions including School Girls or the African Mean Girls Play (Goodman); Sheepdog (Shattered Globe); LINDIWE (Steppenwolf); Too Heavy for Your Pocket (Timeline); Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom (Writers); Measure for Measure (American Players Theater); First Love is the Revolution (Steep). Her other director's credits include Countess Dracula (Otherworld Theater) and Hippolyolytos (Story Theater New Play Festival). She was awarded the 2020 FAIR Assistantship at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, 2018 Fellowship at Steppenwolf Theater in their department Education/SYA, and at Penumbra Theater's Summer Institute: Pedagogies for Social Change. She has attended training programs at the Globe Theater in London and LISPA (Now Arthaus Berlin). Montogomery holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Minnesota/Guthrie Theater BFA Actor Training Program.
Lanise Antoine Shelley (playwright, she/her) is an actress, director, playwright and Artistic Director for The House Theatre of Chicago. Most recently she directed her play, Pretended, developed by Paramount Theatre. As an actress, she is known for Chicago Fire, Empire, Chicago Med, Discovery World, Macbeth HD, and most recently, Goodman Theatre’s School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play. Selected directing credits include Une Tempete (Red Bull Theatre), Blue Man Manakin (Rising Sun Theatre Company), Rastus and Hattie, Black and Blue, and movement consultant for Muthaland (16th Street Theater), Hear Me See Me (Silent Theatre), The Luck of the Irish (virtual reading), Identity Lab (Lookingglass Theatre), The Tenant (Akvavit Theatre), RefuSHE Project (Voices & Faces Project), Rumors (DePaul University), a staged reading of The Convert (Stratford Shakespeare Festival), and she assisted David Schwimmer on Plantation at Lookinglass. She holds a BFA in Directing, Acting and Playwriting from Cornish College of the Arts, an MFA from ART/MXAT at Harvard University, and a certificate in Classical Theatre from both BADA in Oxford, England, and Birmingham Conservatory in Canada. Awards/ Fellowships include Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s Chicago Fellow 2016, Victory Gardens Theater’s Directing Fellow 2019, and the Drama League Classical Directing Fellow 2021. She also hosts the podcast When They Were Young: Amplifying Voices of Adoptees available on all major platforms including her website. For more, visit laniseantoineshelley.com.
Dennis Watkins (magic designer, he/him) is a third-generation magician, actor and entertainer based in Chicago. His critically-acclaimed show, Dennis Watkins’ The Magic Parlour, is now in its 10th straight year at the legendary Palmer House Hilton Hotel in the heart of downtown Chicago. Watkins is an Ensemble Member Emeritus with The House Theater of Chicago, where he played Harry Houdini in all of its productions of Death and Harry Houdini. He won a Joseph Jefferson Award for his work on the show in 2012. Watkins also wrote and performed in three productions of his play, The Magnificents, which was inspired by his relationship with his grandfather, Ed Watkins. Watkins’ work as a magician has been seen on Fox, WGN, ABC, the A&E Network, and he was recently a featured performer on the CW’s Penn & Teller: Fool Us. denniswatkins.net
Jesse Mooney-Bullock (puppet designer, he/him) is grateful for the opportunity to create more artistic puppets with The House, where his work was also featured in The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz, A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch and The Hammer Trinity. Other Chicago-area projects include Sea Change and Tabletop Tragedies (Cabinet of Curiosity), Disney's The Little Mermaid and The Wizard of Oz (Paramount Theatre), The Selfish Giant (Chicago Children's Theater), The Feast and Salao (Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Redmoon Theater) garnering Jeff Awards and nominations along the way. He lives and works in Cincinnati. MoonBullStudio.com.