Open House at the Chicago Performance Lab


Join us this summer for a sneak peek at new work being developed at The House! We are thrilled to host and support 17 original works of theatre in the Chicago area this summer!


On July 23rd, you have the opportunity to experience a few of these exciting new shows in one afternoon!


The event will take place at 4pm at:

Chicago Performance Lab

University of Chicago

915 E. 60th St

Chicago, IL 60637


Check out some of the projects that are in process with us this summer!


Music and Lyrics by Jason Narducy

Book by Brett Neveu

Directed by Nathan Allen

1983. Chicago. It’s do-or-die for Verböten—a band made up of outsider teens with seriously complex home lives. As they gear up for a show at The Cubby Bear that is sure to change their lives forever, can they keep their parents from destroying the fabric of their self-made punk rock family? With lyrics and music by Verböten’s original guitarist Jason Narducy (Split Single, Superchunk, Bob Mould) and book by Brett Neveu (Odradek, Pilgrim's Progress, Traitor), Verböten is inspired by the true story of Chicago's own young punks.


Ellen Bond, Union Spy

By Jenni Lamb

Directed by Jess McLeod

Mary Bowser is unsure of what place she can make in the world, given her limited opportunities as a recently freed slave. Her former owner, Elizabeth Van Lew makes her a proposition: would she like to work for the Union and use her intelligence to steal the Confederacy’s secrets by working as a maid in the Confederate White House?


A Comedical Tragedy for Mister Punch

By Kara Davidson

Directed by Shade Murray

Charlotte, a young orphan, struggles to survive on the streets of London until she falls into employment as the assistant to an eccentric Italian puppeteer. Charlotte’s vivid imagination calls the puppets to life, aiding her in finding lightness in a dark reality of imperfect adults, corrupt authority, class discrepancy, and violence. 


Diamond Dogs

By Alastair Reynolds

Adapted by Althos Low

Directed by Nathan Allen

A world premiere adaptation of award-winning British author Alastair Reynolds' ferocious sci-fi horror story.  A classic deadly-maze set in Reynolds's "Revelation Space Universe," Diamond Dogs follows a future team of humans and trans-humans as they investigate a mysterious, alien tower. These mercenaries battle the sentient tower, who’s bent on brutally punishing all intruders. Blood will spill.


The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz

By Phillip Klapperich 

Adapted from L. Frank Baum 

Directed by Tommy Rapley

This is our modern retelling of the classic American fairy tale. Lost in a land of magic and danger, young Dorothy Gale, called "Witchslayer" by the Munchkins, must rally friends and save the world from a wicked Witch and a humbug Wizard. All the characters you know and love emerge in new and exciting ways as we delve into the beloved story and find the meaning of home.


Vamonde Project

Commissioned by Lou Raizin

Nathan Allen and Sandor Weisz will experiment with technology, performance, game, and social applications on the Vamonde urban storytelling platform.



Created by Carolyn Defrin with Video Design by Brock Alter
(and performances by Abi Boucher, Shawn Pfautsch, Kevin Stangler, and Paige Hoffman)​

An obituary in the morning paper provokes a storm of memory for a long time married couple.
As they enter the landscape of their past, the couple remember the complexity of an old friendship wrought with love, grief, and the ultimate revelation of long-kept secrets that will ask them to confront their present relationship.
Video projections layer with live performance to create an exciting interactivity between the past and the present.


The Screens

By Jean Genet

Adapted and directed by Dexter Bullard

Genet’s rhapsody on race, religion, class and colonialism.


Hatfield and McCoy

By Shawn Pfautsch

Directed by Matt Hawkins

Shawn Pfautsch’s love letter to R and J in a philosophically polarized America was originally produced in Season 4. Inspired by the true story of the famous families at war.



Based on the works of Carlo Collodi

Adapted for the stage by Joey Steakley and Ben Lobpries

In this new adaptation, Pinocchio’s struggle to become a “real boy” has very contemporary implications.  Despite his best efforts, Pinocchio cannot overcome his physical nature (he is, after all, only “a bundle of sticks”), and his inability to change has potentially grave consequences for both the little puppet and his father, Geppetto.



By Ben Lobpries and Tommy Rapley

A street-poet prophet, a hedonistic prince, a self-obsessed matriarch, and a slew of feuding diplomats set the stage for Salome’s greatest act — an act that will have dire consequences for those unfortunate souls who find themselves on the wrong side of history.



By Alex Lubischer

Directed by Monty Cole

A fictional Nebraska town, Ogalala, sits atop its namesake: America’s largest underground aquifer. An irrigation pivot factory keeps this dying community afloat. But when a spree of houses are mysteriously burned to the ground, an estranged journalist returns to her hometown to Nancy Drew this sh*t. She recruits a former classmate-turned-pot dealer plus an old flame from high school to help her catch the arsonist and rediscover home.


The Winter Farm

By William Glick

Directed by Jesse Roth

Twenty years after an apocalyptic event, cryogenics has become central to American life.  In a sleepy Midwestern town, Joe Plowman runs Mammoth Cryogenics where he and his staff spend their days listening to radio broadcasts and planning Christmas parties.  However, when Joe's childhood companion Wendy and her daughter Alice arrive on a train, they disrupt the order of his nostalgic life and force him to find a new one.


Nova to Lodestar

By Nathan Allen, Lee Keenan, Sandor Weisz

Nova to Lodestar is a live, asymmetric, cooperative game played by two teams in two separate rooms. Players take on the roles of submariners in a science fiction 19th Century.


Kitty Hawk

Commissioned by The Arsht Center for the Performing Arts

A 60 minute musical for young audiences on the brothers Wright to premier in Miami Oct 2017.



Show Dates: Jul 16 2016 to Jul 23 2016 Location:

Chicago Performance Lab

University of Chicago

915 E. 60th St

Chicago, IL 60637