JUNE 14-JULY 22, 2018

JUNE 14 – JULY 22



JUNE 16 – JULY 22


By Kauffman and Hart

Directed by Jason Gerace

Welcome to the Sycamore household, a merry mélange of free-thinkers, eccentrics, odd-balls, and lovable others. Come in. Sit down. Don’t mind the snakes, the fireworks, the less than Bolshoi ballet performances, the typewriter, the general absence of any orthodoxy. And meet Alice, the sweet natured and sanest of this family who has fallen in love with the son of her oh-so-conventional boss. Stay for the hilarity when the prospective in-laws arrive for to dinner to give their blessing to the marriage – on the wrong night – and encounter Alice’s peculiar extended family in all their glory. Can these two polar opposite families find common ground?  It is madcap 1930’s comedy at its very best – but with eternal and urgently timeless message of accepting and embracing life – your own and everyone else’s.


JUNE 14 – JULY 22, 2018    Thurs-Sat at 8pm  |  Sun at 7pm

1st PREVIEW June 14th at 8pm | 2nd PREVIEW June 15th at 8pm (Community Appreciation night, free admission)
OPENING NIGHT Saturday, June 16th at 8pm


General admission $32 | Seniors $27 | Students $15
Children under 12 & dogs free
Preview: $10

Questions: Call our Box office (708) 300-9396


167 Forest Avenue, Oak Park IL 60301
Only 25 minutes from downtown Chicago!


Jason Gerace is a freelance director in Chicago, and is so thrilled to be directing in Oak Park again with OPFT. He was the recipient of the 2014 Non-Equity Jeff Award in Outstanding Direction for Great Expectations with Strawdog Theatre Company, which broke box office records, was twice remounted, and led to the adaptation’s first publication. His production of Last Train to Nibroc for Haven Theatre
was hailed as “an exquisitely acted and generally gorgeous little show” by the Chicago Tribune. Regional directing credits include the World Premiere of Gabe McKinley’s The Source (Route 66 Theatre), the Chicago Premiere of Yussef El Guindi’s Threesome (Other Theatre), Wrecks (with John Judd; Chicago), Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and Opus (RedTwist Theatre, Chicago). This season you can see Jason’s work at Open Door Rep (The Pavilion), Griffin Theatre (Ghosts of War), and Raven Theatre (Suddenly Last Summer) of Jason originally hails from Anchorage, Alaska and holds an MFA in Directing from The University of Oklahoma. When not directing plays he is happy to be a husband to Amy and a daddy to Ruby and Brooks. He is an associate member of SDC, and has been Artistic Associate of American Theater Company since 2008.


Tyler Meredith (Alice Sycamore) is thrilled to be making her Oak Park Festival Theatre debut. Other Chicago credits include: The Tempest, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Mystery of Love and Sex (Writers Theatre); Spinning (Irish Theatre of Chicago); Goldfish (Route 66 Theatre Company); Mai Dang Lao (Sideshow Theatre Company); Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista); Celebration (A Red Orchid Theatre); Letters Home (Griffin Theatre Company); It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play (American Theatre Company); Twelfth Night, Top Girls, As You Like It (The Arc Theatre) Two Gentlemen of Verona (Muse of Fire Theatre Company); Titus Andronicus, Macbeth, King John, As You Like It, Romeo and Juliet (Backroom Shakespeare Project); and has worked regionally with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks. She is a graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy, The School at Steppenwolf, and holds a BFA from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Tyler is an Artistic Associate of Route 66 Theatre Company and is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent.

Debo Balogun (Tony Kirby) is thrilled to be back for his 2nd show with Oak Park Festival Theatre! You may have seen him at Austin Gardens last summer as Goodlack in THE FAIR MAID OF THE WEST. Past Chicago theatre credits include Nothing Without a Company, Definition Theatre Company, and First Folio Theatre. All the love in the world to the wonderful folk at OPFT, his friends, family, and mentors. He is represented by Gray Talent.

Barbara Zahora (Penny Sycamore) joined the OPFT Artistic Associates in 2017, after directing their critically acclaimed Macbeth.  As an actor she has appeared as Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa and several benefit performances of Belinda Bremner’s Mrs. Coney and Midwinter’s Tales.  Additional acting credits include All My Sons and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (American Players Theatre); Hamlet, Heartbreak House, A Little Night Music, and Misalliance (Writers’ Theatre); The Country Girl (Illinois Theatre Center); Marionette Macbeth, The Moliere Comedies, The Taming of the Shrew, As You Like It, Richard II, The School for Scandal, and All’s Well That Ends Well (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Lady Windermere’s Fan(Northlight Theatre); A Christmas Carol, Wit (Goodman Theatre); Hard Times (Lookingglass Theatre); The Devil’s Disciple, Major Barbara, Coward in Two Keys, and What Every Woman Knows (ShawChicago); and many appearances with the Shakespeare Project of Chicago, where she is the current Associate Artistic Director.

Directing credits include Shrewish (Artemisia Theatre); Misalliance, Private Lives (ShawChicago); and Something Shawand Spoon River: Coming Home for the Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.  TV and film credits include Chicago Fire and Operator.

Barbara is a visiting assistant professor at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College for the Performing Arts, and she previously taught at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music and North Central College.  She is represented by Paonessa Talent and is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.  Love to George, always.

Jack Hickey (“Grandpa” Vanderhof ) is blessed to return to the Festival Stage, and is very happy to be working with Jason Gerace again. Later this season he will return to the stage, playing Stephen Price in The African Company Presents Richard lll.. Last season Jack was seen as King Duncan and the Porter in Macbeth, and The King of Fez, in The Fair Maid of the West. With the Festival over the years Jack has been privileged to play roles such as  Col. Pickering in Pygmalion, Gremio in The Taming of the Shrew, Sheriff Heck Tate in To Kill A Mockingbird, King Claudius in Hamlet, Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Charlie in Seascape. He was nominated for an Equity Jeff Award playing Michael in Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me. Additionally, he played Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind, Falstaff in The History of King Henry the Fourth, Fluellen in Henry V, Teddy in Faith Healer, Friar Lawrence in Romeo and Juliet, Bottom in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and the title role in Cyrano de Bergerac.

Jack has served as Artistic Director of the Company for the past 15 years, where he has acted in or directed over 25 productions, Jack will now serve as Artistic Director Emeritus of Oak Park Festival Theatre where he hopes to help continue the growth of this extraordinary company.

Jack is also a company member of ShawChicago, where he has been seen in Jeeves in Bloom, The Devil’s DiscipleMisalliance, Jeeves Intervenes, Heartbreak House, Don Juan in Hell,You Never Can Tell, Geneva, Major Barbara,  Pygmalion, Widower’s Houses, Mrs. Warren’s Profession,  Man and Superman, St. Joan, Androcles and the Lion, Candida, The Philanderer, The Doctor’s Dilemma, The Apple Cart, and John Bull’s Other Island. Jack is a founding member of The Chicago Shakespeare Project now celebrating its 23 Season where he has been seen in Coriolanus, Love’s Labour’s Lost, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Julius Caesar. He has been seen with The Backroom Shakespeare Project playing in The Tempest, Cymbeline, Titus Andronicus. TV credits include Chicago Med and Unsolved Mysteries. He was in two commercials with Michael Jordan and appeared briefly (uncredited) in Continental Divide with John Belushi. Thanks to his wife Torry Hickey for her unfailing support.


Jonah Winston (Mr. Kirby)

Erica Bittner (Essie Carmichael) Erica Bittner returns to OPFT where she’s appeared in A Dickens Carol, Pygmalion and Love’s Labours Lost.  Favorite credits include: King Charles III (Cardinal Stage Company); Bad Jews (Theatre Wit); The Madness of Edgar Allen Poe (First Folio Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Drury Lane); Richard III: No Beast So Fierce (Oracle Theatre); and work with Piven Theatre, Music Theatre Works, Redmoon, One Year Chekhov, GreatWorks, Chicago Dramatists, Victory Gardens, and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. International: The Two Noble Kinsmen (RADA) and Momentary Opera (Redmoon).  Television: Chicago Fire, American Greed.  Erica holds a BFA from the Chicago College of Performing Arts and a certificate from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Represented by Gray Talent Group.

Gage Wallace (Ed Carmichael) is thrilled to be working with Oak Park Festival Theatre for the first time! Gage is a proud Founding and Company Member with Red Theater Chicago. Recent Chicago Credits include: Pillars of the CommunityCymbeline (Strawdog Theatre); The White Road (Jeff Award Nomination – Ensemble), In a Little World of Our Own (Irish Theatre of Chicago); Ghosts (Mary Arrchie Theatre Co.); Cookie Play (Trap Door Theatre); Taste (Jeff Award – Principal Actor), Year of the RoosterDylan, and Red Hamlet (Red Theater Chicago). www.gagewallace.com

Chase McCurdy (Donald DePinna)Chase recently resettled in Oak Park and is thrilled make his debut at OPFT . He is a proud University of Oklahoma graduate and recently returned to Chicagoland after 2 years in the Houston area.  Most recently Chase was seen at Stages Repertory Theater in Houston as Karl in Big Fish and Oma in Panto Snow Queen: Unfrozen.  Other roles: Chicago: Metropolis PAC: Route 66 (Chase); Porchlight Music Theater: Miracle on 34th Street (Alfred/Bailiff); Circle Theater: Urinetown (Barrell); Ouroboros Theater: The Bible…Abridged (Chase), 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (William Barfée); Chicago Kids Company: Goldilocks…(Papa Bear) Pinocchio(Geppetto) Mrs. Claus (Mayor Giddy/Santa). Regional: Great Plains Theater (KS): Of Mice and Men (Lennie); McLeod Playhouse (IL): Producers (Franz Liebkind); Oklahoma Summer Shakespeare Chautauqua: Hamlet (Player King/Gravedigger/Ghost). Love to Joanna, Benjamin, and my family. A huge thank you to my new/old community of friends and neighbors here in Oak Park.

Scott Westerman (Paul Sycamore) is a freelance theatre director, actor, teacher, and new works facilitator based in Chicago. Acting credits include work with Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Ford’s, Everyman, the Warehouse, the Barter, Northlight Theatre, The Artistic Home, Chicago Dramatists, Strawdog, Lifeline, Stage Left, Apple Tree, A Crew of Patches, Mary Arrchie, Festival Theatre of Oak Park, and Reverie. Film credits include Machine Gun Preacher and Prison Break. Scott has an MFA in Classical Acting from The Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting at The George Washington University. Love to Abby and Milo.  ScottWesterman.org

Jeri Marshall (Mrs. Kirby) is thrilled to be returning the Chicago area, making her Oak Park Theatre debut. Her Chicago credits include Good Person of Szechwan (Cor Theatre). She understudied A Wonder in My Soul (Victory Gardens Theatre) and Short Shakes: Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Regional Credits include The Tin Woman (Theatre at the Center), A Christmas Carol and To The Promised Land (Children’s Theatre of Madison). TV Credits: Chicago Med (NBC). She holds an M.F.A. in acting from the DePaul Theatre School and is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Kent Joseph (Boris Kolenkhov) Kent loves playing “big” characters with heart. His favorite roles include Chief Bromden (One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Gift Theatre) as well as Horton the Elephant (Seussical the Musical, Footlighters Theatre Co.) Santa/Father Christmas (various shows/venues.), and even God (Children of Eden, Stahl Family Theatre). He is also tickled pink to return to OPFT where he played the robust Captain Carbon in Cyrano and the dimwitted Gravend in Robin Hood. Kent would like to dedicate this performance in the memory of his mentor Patrick O’Gara (former Artistic Director of OPFT). For more info: kentjoseph.weebly.com

Lizzie Bourne (Rheba) Lizzie Bourne makes her debut not only with OPFT, but in Chicago. An immigrant from London, she is using her American citizenship to see how you guys do it over here, because she reckons she CAN take it with her.  Theatre credits include: Dough! (Creative Scene); The Picture of Dorian Gray (White Bear); The Glorious Damnation of Eddie Small (Union Theatre/Bedlam); Much Ado About Nothing (Blenheim Palace).  R&D includes: everything that rises must dance (Complicite), I AM BEAST (Sparkle and Dark).  Radio: Home Front (BBC Radio 4).  Film: The Falling (BBC, Carol Morley), Ramanujan.  Lizzie trained in Acting at the Oxford School of Drama, holds a BA(Hons) from The University of Nottingham, and an MSc from The University of Edinburgh. She’d like to thank the Wilson/Reynolds and the Muellers, without whom she would not be having this much fun.

Sarafina Vecchio (Grand Duchess Olga Katrina/ Gay Wellington) returns to OPFT where she was last seen in The Taming of the Shrew. She is a teaching artist in Chicago and a new Oak Park resident. She has most recently worked with Metropolis, The Other Theatre Co., Speaking Ring and Janus Theatre, where she has been an ensemble member and educator since 2003. Film Credits: Flat Chested, Finding Hope. She holds a PGA in Teaching Shakespeare from the University of Warwick and a Bachelor’s from Roosevelt University. She is represented by Paonessa Talent. Visit www.SarafinaVecchio.com

JERRY BLOOM  (Henderson, IRS)  is a friend, colleague and patron of OPFT, having appeared in Cyrano De Bergerac, Inherit the Wind, Death Trap, and several holiday programs.  A partial list of previous credits inclues Carlisle (The Goodman), Puff: Believe It or Not (Remy Bumppo), Incident At Vichy (Red Twist), Golden Boy (Griffin), Ah, Wilderness (Eclipse), Death of a Salesman (Raven), Henry V (Promethean), Peyton Place (City Lit).  Jerry has the honor to have been in the original Chicago cast of Noises Off, and the world premieres of Never the Sinner and Hauptmann.  He currently does character voices for commercials and video games.  Further info at www.jerrybloomtheactor.com.

CHRISTOPHER W. JONES (u/s Tony/Mr. Kirby) is thrilled to be back at OPFT where he was seen last year as MacDuff in Macbeth. Other Chicago credits include Captain Blood! (First Folio Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (Teatro Vista), and Miss Holmes (Lifeline Theatre). In 2016 he received an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University where he appeared in The Translation of Likes, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, The Day John Henry Came to School, Elemeno Pea, and In The Heights. Regional credits include: Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Spotlighters Theatre); Superior Donuts and Stop Kiss (Fells Point Corner Theatre); Much Ado About Nothing, Comedy of Errors, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, (Baltimore Shakespeare Factory). TV credits include: APB (FOX).

Errol McLendon (Grandpa u/s) was in a production of You Can’t Take It With You at Village Players in Oak Park back in 2009 playing the role of the father, Paul Sycamore. Nine years later, he’s matured into the grandfather role and is ecstatic to share the summer with OPFT and many old friends. As a member and education director for Forks & Hope Ensemble, his acting credits there include Hunting of the Snark, Just So Stories and A Hero’s Journey. Errol has worked with Red Tape Theatre (Endgame, Enemy of the People), Citadel Theatre (The Birds), Lifeline Theatre (One Came Home), Profiles Theatre (u/s In God’s Hat), Walkabout Theatre (All Rise) plus 9 months portraying Gary Busey portraying Pappas in Point Break Live. Recent Film credits include Main Street Meats and Rotary Redemption.

Takesha Mishe Kizart (u/s Mrs. Kirby/Gay Wellington/Olga) Is her excited to have her debut season with Oak Park Festival Theatre. Select theatre credits include Intimate Apparel (Lincoln Center Theater), Stellaluna (Northbrook Theatre), Kingdom (Broken Nose Theatre), Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (Pegasus Theatre), Sister Africa (Athenaeum Theatre), The Faculty Lounge (Oil Lamp Theatre), Alegrías y Lágrimas (Gorilla Tango Theatre), and The Armadillo/Iguana Bacterial Unification (Arc Theatre). A versatile Classical, Jazz, Soul, and Pop Vocal Soloist, she has also appeared to critical acclaim with The Metropolitan Opera of NY, Sydney Opera House, Deutsche Oper Berlin, Frankfurt Opera, National Theatre Tokyo, Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Kimmel Center, Winspear Opera House, Aspen Music Festival, Palais des Festivals Cannes, and many more. www.TakeshaMesheKizart.com




Oak Park Festival Theatre is a 501(c)3 nonprofit, charitable organization. Donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

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