July 27 – September 2, 2017


By Thomas Heywood

Directed and Adapted by Kevin Theis

Before the Princess Bride…

Before the Wizard of OZ…

Thomas Heywood put pen to paper and gave us The Fair Maid of the West. This swashbuckling, award-winning, rip-roaring comedy tells the adventures of lowborn tavern girl, Bess Bridges, and her true love, Spencer. Through a series of misadventures, the ardent lovers are separated. Bess, seeking to rescue her true love, inspires a rag-tag group of friends to sail across the seas on a fantastical adventure to bring him home. Accompanied by the brave Goodlack, the braggart Roughman, and the comic innkeeper Clem, Bess faces many a challenge, including roaring battles, mistaken identities and storm-tossed seas!  (Spoiler alert- love conquers all.)

In 1994 Kevin Theis Adapted and Directed The Fair Maid of the West to immense critical acclaim. The proud recipient of eight Joseph Jefferson nominations, the production had both audiences and critics raving. Now in 2017, Theis and OPFT once again bring that merry mayhem, romance and epic adventure back to Chicagoland!

“This production, revels in swashbuckling spectacle…a romantic, larger-than-life fantasy.” – Chicago Reader, 1994

“Kevin Theis’ rollicking staging is as exciting as theatre can get.” – Windy City Times, 1994


JULY 27 – SEPTEMBER 2, 2017

Thurs-Sat at 8pm  |  Sun at 7pm  | PLUS Wed August 30th at 8pm

1st PREVIEW July 27th at 8pm | 2nd PREVIEW July 28th at 8pm (Community Appreciation night, free admission)
OPENING NIGHT Saturday, July 29th at 8pm


General admission $30 | Seniors $25 | Students $15 | Children under 12 & dogs free
Preview: General admission | Students $10

Questions: Call our Box office 708-445-4440


167 Forest Avenue
Oak Park IL 60301

Only 25 minutes from downtown Chicago!

“Tongue-in-cheek comic zest and thrilling fight sequences”

Chicago Tribune – Recommended
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“ “The Fair Maid of the West” should entertain and delight audiences throughout the Chicago area. Its every detail is full of joy and innovation. Look no further for a lovely summer treat.”

Theatre by the Numbers
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“The outdoor festival setting is ideal for this cheerful, rapier-twirling spectacle.”

Chicago Reader- Highly Recommended
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“Director Theis and Stunt Choreographer Geoff Coates…keep the thrilling spectacle forthcoming at dizzying velocity”

Windy City Times- Highly Recommended
Read Full Review


Amanda Forman (Bess Bridges) is thrilled to be back at OPFT. She interned for the company in 2015 and returned as intern coordinator in 2016. Amanda is an actor and playwright originally from Iowa City, IA. She received her BFA in Acting from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Since moving to Chicago Amanda has performed with several companies including Metropolis Performing Arts Centre (The 39 Steps), The Side Project Theatre (Lysistrata), Oak Park Festival Theatre (To Kill a Mockingbird), Clock Theatre (Irrational Tales; Women Politics and Murder) and is an artistic associate with 20% Theatre Company where she made her Chicago stage debut in Target Behavior. Amanda’s newest play Why Are Graham Crackers Hard? premiered in February 2017 with 20% Theatre Company.
Zach Livingston (Spencer) is honored to make his debut with Oak Park Festival Theatre. An actor, martial artist and fight choreographer, Zach is proud to call Chicago home. Local credits include Venus in Fur (Circle Theatre), Romeo & Juliet (First Folio Theatre), Midnight Cowboy, The Killer Angels (Lifeline Theatre), Soul Samurai, Fight Girl Battle World (Infusion Theatre), Zero (Oracle Productions), Heat Wave, She Kills Monsters (Cold Basement Dramatics, Buzz22 at Steppenwolf Garage Rep), The Beecher Sisters (Awkward Pause Theatre), A Klingon Christmas Carol, Bard Fiction (Commedia Beauregard), and Vacation (Area IV Theatre). Zach has also appeared in local indie features and shorts, including his own short CHARGER, a 6-minute long action film created with a single, unedited tracking shot. Zach holds two black belts, a B.A. in Theatre from James Madison University, and is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent. Special thanks to Kevin for believing.
Aaron Christensen (Roughman) happily returns to Festival’s fold, having appeared in Henry IV, Henry V, Inherit the Wind, and To Kill a Mockingbird. Chicago stage credits include Remy Bumppo, Goodman, Next, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, First Folio, Bailiwick, and Timeline. Regional: Nebraska Rep, Milwaukee Rep, Greenbrier Valley Theatre, and Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. In his darker hours, Aaron (aka “Dr. AC”) is a Rondo Award-winning film journalist, editor of the genre guidebooks HORROR 101 and HIDDEN HORROR, and can be seen onscreen in Shout! Factory’s reality series Horror Hunters and the critically acclaimed survival flick, Dead Weight. Love to Shel.
DEBO BALOGUN (Goodlack) This is Debo’s first time working with OPFT as well as his first professional show in the Chicago area! This past May he graduated from Augustana College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and Theatre Arts. He owes everything to the Augustana theatre faculty, his loving family, and steadfast friends for all of their unwavering support of his dreams. Special thanks to OPFT for this stellar opportunity! Enjoy the show!
Bobby Brown (Clem) Bobby is thrilled to come to the OPFT stage for the first time. Previous Chicago projects include Shakespeare in Love (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Hand to God (Victory Gardens), Richard III (The Gift) and A Loss of Roses (Raven). Regional work includes King Lear and Death of a Salesman (American Players Theatre), three glorious tours with Montana Shakespeare in the Parks and two season with the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Oklahoma City University and would like to thank his Mom for everything.
MELISSA CARLSON (Tota/Chorus) Is thrilled to be cavorting with the folks at OPFT!  Her credits include: Othello, The School for Lies, Short Shakespeare! Romeo and Juliet, and Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); The Winter’s Tale, Tea at Five, Much Ado About Nothing, Antigone (First Folio Theatre); Berlin ’45, Pyretown, The Action Against Sol Schumann (Victory Gardens Theater); The Real Thing, How I Learned to Drive, All My Sons (Illinois Theatre Center); Dylan (Seanachaí Theatre Company); Titus Andronicus (Shakespeare’s Motley Crew); Six Degrees of Separation (Raven Theatre);  Tattoo (Trap Door Theatre); A Yard of Sun (Famous Door Theatre); Edward II (Red Hen Theatre); Richard III, Macbeth and Romeo and Juliet (Shakespeare on the Green) as well as productions with Court Theatre, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Collaboraction’s Sketchbook series in Phlegm and Room 21. As is the former Director of Education for The Shakespeare Project of Chicago, she has taught classical text in numerous schools in and around the Chicago area. Television credits include Early Edition (CBS), Underemployed (MTV) and currently, three seasons as Meredith Olinsky on Chicago PD (NBC).
Jack Hickey (Mullisheg King of Fez) Jack was just seen here as King Duncan and the Porter. Last year Jack played Col. Pickering in Pygmalion and Gremio in The Taming of the Shrew. The Fair Maid of the West is his 24th production with the company and this season marks his 15th year as Artistic Director. Acting roles with the Festival include Sheriff Heck Tate in our acclaimed production of 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, other roles have been 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 is company member of ShawChicago and appeared there last season as John Tarleton in Missaliance, Sir Rupert Watlington Pipps in Jeeves Intervenes, and Alfred Mangan in Heartbreak House. In other seasons he appeared as William the Waiter in You Never Can Tell and the Russian Commissar in Geneva. Andrew Undershaft in the critically acclaimed, Major Barbara, The Devil in Don Juan in Hell, Alfred Doolittle in Pygmalion, Lickcheese in Widower’s Houses, as well as roles in 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. He played Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor with The Shakespeare Project. Prospero in The Tempest with The Backroom Shakespeare Project and Claude in Heroes with the Illinois Theatre Center. TV credits: Chicago Med and Unsolved Mysteries.
DREW MIERZEJEWSKI (Joffer/Ensemble) Drew is thrilled to be a part of this, his first outing with Oak Park Theatre Festival. Drew is an Actor, Writer and Stage Combatant in Chicago since arriving in 2013 after completing his MFA in Acting. His most recent credit includes A Klingon Christmas Carol with EDGE Theatre. His other Chicago credits include Otherworld Theatre, Renaissance Entertainment Productions, Along the Way Productions and Skyline Production.  He is also a founding member of the To the Point Combat Troupe.
Nelson Rodriguez (Spanish Captain/Ensemble) Nelson makes his OPFT debut! Nelson is Artistic Director of Pride Films and Plays where he appeared in Men on the Verge of a His-Panic Breakdown for which he received a Joseph Jefferson Award nomination in Solo Performance. Additional Chicago credits include Steppenwolf for Young Audiences, 16th Street Theatre, and Adventure Stage Chicago where he is an Associate Artist.  He stars in the upcoming feature film En Algun Lugar. He received Windy City Times’ 30 Under 30 Award and is a member of The Alliance of Latinx Theatre Artists’ playwrights circle. Mr. Rodriguez is represented by Gray Talent Group.
Kate Booth (Fight Ensemble) Kate first appeared on the OPFT stage in 2011, when she was but an intern playing the part of Peto in both The History of Henry IV and Henry V. Now, she triumphantly returns to swash some buckles and swing some steel!  In 2013-2015, Kate directed and performed with By the Sword at the Bristol Renaissance Faire.You can hear her in various podcasts episodes from Locked Into Vacancy Entertainment .She is an ensemble member with Imaginez Ensemblez and can be seen around the Midwest (and beyond) in the role of Fink with their show Take Flight: An Adventure in Cirque.
Mark Lancaster (Alcade/Carroll) moved to Chicago in 2007 from Dallas, TX. He completed an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University in 2012, and has since been working as an actor, burlesque emcee/performer, creature effects model, and is currently pursuing a path up the ranks of the Society of American Fight Directors. Favorite credits include performing in Commedia Beauregard’s A Klingon Christmas Carol in 2012 (and returning as performer and fight director for the 2013 production), and as hapless Sam Lowell in Bo Thomas and the Case of the Sky Pirates with Babes with Blades.
Bill Gordon (Fight Ensemble) was born and raised in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. After acquiring his BA in Theatre from Ohio State, studying at the Moscow Art Theatre, and obtaining his MFA in Acting from NIU, he could not be happier in returning to the Oak Park Festival Theatre Stage. Chicago credits include Messina 3004 with Otherworld Theatre Company, La Bete with Trap Door Theatre, Henry IV and Henry V at Oak Park Festival Theatre, Caligula  and Diviners with The Organic Theatre Company, The Binding with Theatre Y and Messina 3004 with Otherworld Theatre Company. Bill is also a stage combatant and choreographer. He can be seen  putting these skills into action at The Bristol Renaissance Faire with the group By the Sword or with Imaginez in Steele for Hyre.
Ken Miller (Fighting Ensemble) Ken returns to OPF after having previously understudied for Importance of Being Earnest and Amadeus. He has been working at various Chicago companies including the Plagiarists, Dead Writers, Promethean, and Stone Soup Shakespeare. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Acting at Northern Illinois University.
Bryan Wakefield (Fight Ensemble)  is thrilled to be returning to Oak Park for his fourth season. An actor and director in Chicago, Bryan also teaches at Elmhurst College and is the Development Director for the Organic Theater Company. Recent credits include Love’s Labours Lost, Twelfth Night, Cyrano de Bergerac (Oak Park Festival Theater), Picasso at the Lapin Agile, Bartleby the Scrivener, Macbeth, and Theophilus North (Organic Theater Company), Mine and Yours (Chicago Dramatists), You Can’t Take it With You (Village Players), The Devil’s Arithmetic – TYA (Apple Tree Theatre); Character Sheet (Chicago ScriptWorks). Bryan is an actor/combatant with the Society of the American Fight Directors and an exotic bird handler from the California-based Carvalho’s Friends of a Feather. He holds an MFA in Acting from Northern Illinois University and a Certificate of Acting from the Moscow Art Theater School.​​

Matty Robinson (Understudy/ Fight Swing) is back for more after appearing last year in OPTF’s production of The Taming of the Shrew as Grumio. Matty is a proud Illinois State University alumni holding a Bachelor of Science degree in theatre. You can find him Friday nights during Pimprov as Prince Midas, doing shows around Chicago with The Moonsharks, or performing stand-up around the city.

Josh Carroll (Understudy) Josh is returning to OPFT for his second season. Previously he appeared as Boo Radley in Too Kill a Mockingbird. Chicago credits include: The Gravedigger with First Folio Theatre, Dead Man Walking at Piven Theater Workshop, Alice In Wonderland at Theatre Polonia, Home Before Dark with The Ruckus, Steampunk Christmas Carol at E.D.G.E. Theatre, and Countess Bathory with We Three Plays. Regional work includes: Thom Pain (based on nothing) with No Exit Productions, Measure for Measure  with Mustard Seed Theatre, and multiple productions with The Black Hills Playhouse, Shawnee Summer Theatre, and Louisville Championship Arm Wrestling.
Jhenai Mootz (Understudy) is been honored to have been working with OPFT since 2006 as an actor, and joined the staff in 2016 as OPFT’s Managing Director. Other performances at OPFT: Kate in The Taming of the Shrew, Osric in Hamlet, Olivia in Twelfth Night, Lady Anne in Richard III, Raina in Arms and the Man, Chrissie in Dancing at Lughnasa, Margaret in Much Ado About Nothing, Christine in Murder by the Book and Madge in Picnic. Other credits around town: Saint Joan, Man & Superman, Pygmalion, The Widowers’ Houses, The Millionairess, Mrs. Warren’s Profession, Arms and the Man (ShawChicago), Sparky!, Jane Eyre, The Moonstone (Lifeline Theatre), The Mystery of Edgar Allen Poe (First Folio Shakespeare Company), The Women and The Philadelphia Story (Circle Theatre). Jhenai holds a B.F.A. from the University of Utah’s Actor Training Program. Also a visual artist, Jhenai’s artwork can currently be found in the lobby of the Lifeline Theater & Andersonville Galleria, O’hare Airport and on her website at




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


125 N Marion, Suite 301
Oak Park, IL 60301




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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