Theatre Company

Citizens Play Festival – 2012

Citizens Play Festival



June 12 – July 1, 2012


Stage 773
1225 W Belmont Ave

Winner of the Fest

To Walk Alone, In The Dark – by Erik Gernand

10 new plays from 10 Chicago playwrights

The festival begins with ten new pieces from ten playwrights. The pieces are not short plays, but rather the seed of a full-length play. All ten pieces will be performed in the Cabaret theatre at Stage 773 on Tuesday, June 12 & Thursday, June 14, from 7:30-10:00pm. One hour shows consisting of five plays will begin at 7:30pm and at 9:00pm. Tickets are $10 per show, $15 per night, or $25 for a festival pass. Audiences will vote and four of the plays will be eliminated before week two.

In the second week, the six most popular plays from the week before—having undergone further development in the interim—will be performed Wednesday, June 20 & Thursday, June 21. Show times and ticket prices remain unchanged. Three plays will be performed each hour. Audiences will choose four plays to continue on to week three.

In the final week, four plays duke it out for the top spot. Performing Wednesday, June 27 & Thursday, June 28 – two plays per hour show. Audiences will choose one play – the winner will perform July 1st from 7:30-8:30pm with talkback and closing night party to follow.

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Erik Gernand

Erik Gernand

Erik Gernand is a writer and filmmaker. His films have screened at more than 100 film festivals around the world, including SXSW, Palm Springs International Shortfest, and Chicago International Film Festival, as well as been broadcast on IFC, PBS, and The Logo Channel (MTV Networks).

His plays have been produced at City Theatre of Miami, American Theater Company in Chicago, and Mercury Players Theatre Co. in Madison, WI, and his short play “It’s A Girl” was a Heideman Award finalist in 2008. He has an MFA in Writing for the Screen and Stage from Northwestern University where he is currently a lecturer in Radio-TV-Film.

Lynne McMahon

Lynne McMahon

Lynne McMahon, the recipient of an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, has received a Guggenheim Foundation Grant and an Ingram Merrill Award. Her play Half Irish was a finalist the Heideman Award (Actors Theatre of Louisville); her one-act play The Bird Sanctuary was a finalist for the Tennessee Williams One-Act Play Competition; her full-length plays Anonymity and Admit Impediment were semi-finalists for the Eugene O’Neill Playwrights Conference.

McMahon’s play The Party was produced by the Manhattan Theatre Source Estrogenius Festival. The Bird Sanctuary received staged readings in both Chicago and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and had a full production at the Side Project, Chicago, April-May, 2009, under the direction of Adam Webster. Grief won the first place prize at the Durango Arts Festival and received a full production at their festival in September, 2011.

Steven Peterson

Steven Peterson

Steven Peterson (TWO BALD GUYS) is a Chicago-based playwright whose recent productions include THE INVASION OF SKOKIE in 2010 at Chicago Dramatists, the 10-minute plays THREE BALLS, TWO STRIKES and THAT’S NOT WHAT YOU THINK in the past two season of The Second City Training Center’s “Best of the Tens” show, and the upcoming MOTHER’S HOUSE as a workshop production of Raven Theatre in August.

His new play PARIS TIME appeared at Cleveland Play House in May as part of their New Ground Theatre Festival and was the winner of the 2012 Dorothy Silver Playwriting Competition. Steve is a Resident Playwright alumnus at Chicago Dramatists and currently a Senior Network Playwright there. He is a member of The Dramatists Guild.

Joe Janes

Joe Janes

Joe Janes is a teacher, actor, director and playwright. His written works include Metaluna and the Amazing Science of the Mind Revue, Always Never, A Hard Day’s Journey Into Night, 365 Sketches and 50 Plays. He teaches at Columbia College and The Second City.

He is a founding member of The WNEP Theater Foundation, Robot vs. Dinosaur and Teatro Bastardo. He received an Emmy for his written work on Club 19, a children’s show in Cincinnati. You can find out more about him at

Pete Ficht

Pete Ficht

Pete Ficht is a musician and writer. He received an MFA in Directing from Tulane University in New Orleans. His first band, the House Levelers, recorded an album in Memphis, TN with the late, legendary producer Jim Dickinson (Big Star, The Replacements) in 1991. Good luck finding it.

He was last in Chicago in 1992, when the Levelers played the late, legendary Lounge Axe. A resident of Portland, Oregon since 1995, he has played in a series of bands you’ve never heard of, except perhaps King Black Acid and the State Flowers. His music has appeared in the films The Mothman Prophecies and Rabbit Hash. He currently plays with Wild Bells:

A.J. Miller

A.J. Miller

A.J. Miller is thrilled to be a part of The Citizens’ Play Festival! This experience is quite harrowing for A.J. being that it is his first attempt at creating a theatrical script on his own. As a former student of theater and communications at Central Michigan University A.J.has worked in almost every aspect of the theater world; from constructing sets, to directing, and most often acting. Last December he was a writer and actor for the Fine Print’s holiday musical sketch revue “Christmas in Chicago” which was lauded for its sharp and witty humor.

A.J. is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory, and has helped devise and perform in Brain Surgeon Theater’s “And He Flew Over the Forest.” Most recently A.J. performed at the Phoenix Improv Festival and played Guildenstern in (Re)Discover Theatre’s “The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke”. Thanks to Pat and Heather for all their support, and of course Shannon.

Chuck O'Connor

Chuck O’Connor

Chuck O’Connor is a Network Playwright with Chicago Dramatists Theater where he studies under the guidance of Resident Playwright Will Dunne. O’Connor’s recent writing credits; “High Hard Ones” (Playwright) – Official Selection Festival of One-Act Plays – Chicago Dramatists, Route 66, 2012 Heideman Award Finalist – National Ten-Minute Play Festival – Actor’s Theater of Louisville; “Date of Admission” (Playwright) Official Selection Fireside Festival of New Plays – Performance Network Theater, Ann Arbor, Michigan; “Miracles in the Fall” (Playwright) Official Selection Sceneshop Showcase – Chicago Dramatists Theater; “The Vanishing Point” (Screenwriter) – Official Festival Selection “Dances with Films” Mann’s Chinese Theatre Hollywood, California; HowlRound Theater Commons at Emerson College/Arena Stage (Essayist). Chuck’s past playwriting roles include Resident Playwright for Meadowbrook Theater and member of the Playwright’s Laboratory with Jeff Daniels’s Purple Rose Theater Company.

He has been an Artist-in-Residence with the Detroit and Flint Public Schools using theater as a literacy tool and was a founding Artistic Associate of the Internationally Recognized Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit. Chuck holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Liberal Arts from Michigan State University and a Master’s Degree from Loyola University-Chicago. He currently works as VP, Group Planning Director where he leads global communications strategy for the Diversified Agency Service division of Omnicom Communications. O’Connor would like to thank his wife the choreographer Jackie Brenner, for her support, love and inspiration and his son Griffin Patrick for keeping him alive with joy.

Mark Burns

Mark Burns

Mark is a Chicago-born playwright and musician. His full-length play Land of the Free was produced as part of the 2008-2009 season for the Babes with Blades Theatre Company. In addition, his play Quarters was selected as part of the staged reading series at the Citadel Theatre Company in Lake Forest, and his ten-minute play Kind of Blue was produced as part of the apprenticeship showcase at Actors Theatre of Louisville.

He is a member of Dramatists Guild and is a network playwright at Chicago Dramatists. Mark trained as an actor in the acting apprenticeship program at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and he has appeared onstage as an actor and improv performer in Chicago. He is a member of the local acoustic pop trio The Real Jane Martin. The band has produced two EPs, Simple Math in 2009 and North of Nowhere in 2011. He and his lovely wife Linda live in Berwyn.

David Finney

David Finney

David Finney left college and an unfinished degree in the theatre to become “Big Wild Dave”, a dj on WOCO country radio in northern Wisconsin. He moved on to television and took a job writing news and field producing at WBBM-TV in Chicago, and then joined WMAQ-TV writing and producing documentaries and a magazine show. He eventually became the creative director for an ad agency in the city knocking out ten years’ worth of copy for radio and television commercials.

He was awarded a Chicago Emmy for his teleplay Embrace The Stars: A Portrait of Loraine Hansberry, his radio play How Love Came To Louie Polanski has received a broadcast production and his short play The Gorilla King was recently performed at the Magnolia Arts Center in North Carolina.

David Himmel

David Himmel

David Himmel has written and produced several comedies, which have played at various stages throughout the city. He concurrently serves as the managing editor of Chicago Health magazine and principal of the creative firm Himmel, Ink.

His book, A Camp Story was published in May. Visit

MT Cozolla

MT Cozolla

MT is a Chicago-based writer and performer. Her plays include Boy Small (part of The Fine Print Theatre’s 2012 Citizens Play Festival) Infernal (part of the 2012 Women’s Theatre Alliance New Play Development Festival), the musical Earth to Margaret (premiered at the Acorn Theatre, Three Oaks, MI), and The Picture of Dorian Gray (an adaptation commissioned for Flying Leap Radio Theater).

You can find her first feature film Eye of the Sandman (Split Pillow Films) on Amazon, and read her story “Grey Seal” in the July 2012 issue of Hippocampus Magazine. She keeps a story blog at Midwestern Robot and is a member of Courier 12 Collective. Some things she loves are the color orange, a fully committed clash of context, and really, no kidding, the kindness of strangers.


Two Bald Guys
by Steven Peterson

To Walk Alone, In The Dark
by Erik Gernand

The Kiln
by AJ Miller

Miscarriage is Murder
by Chuck O’Connor

by Joe Janes and Pete Ficht

by Mark Burns

Boy Small
by MT Cozzola

by Lynne McMahon

My 6-Year-Old Therapist
by David Himmel

Risk Management
by David Finney


Democracy in Acting: Voting for the Citizen’s Play Festival at the Fine Print Theatre Company
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