Written by Philip Dawkins
Directed by Will Davis
Inspired by Miss Gloria Allen
Set Design by Arnulfo Maldonado
Costume Design by
Lighting Design by Ben Stanton
Sound Design by Palmer Hefferan
Production Stage Manager Erin Gioia Albrecht
Stage Manager Joseph Fernandez, Jr.
Casting TELSEY + COMPANY Adam Caldwell CSA, William Cantler CSA, Karyn Casl CSA
Philip Dawkins (Playwright) (he/him/his) is a Chicago playwright whose plays have been produced all over the country and the world. His critically acclaimed works include The Homosexuals (About Face Theatre), Le Switch (About Face Theater, The Jungle), and Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens Theater), all of which were nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work; and Miss Marx: Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living (Strawdog Theatre) and Charm (Northlight Theater), both of which won the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best New Work. This fall, he performed the world premiere of his solo play, The Happiest Place on Earth at the Greenhouse Theater Center (co-production with Sideshow Theatre Company). His musical adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s The Sneetches (with composer, David Mallamud) premiered this winter at Children’s Theater Company in Minneapolis. Philip is an ensemble playwright at Victory Gardens Theater, as well as an artistic associate at Sideshow Theatre and About Face Theatre. Philip teaches playwriting at Northwestern University, Loyola University Chicago, his alma mater, and through the Victory Gardens ACCESS Program for writers with disabilities. His plays, including his plays for young performers, are available through Playscripts, Inc. and Dramatic Publishing.
Will Davis (Director) is a a trans-identified director and choreographer focused on physically adventurous new work and old plays in new ways. He is also the newly appointed artistic director of American Theater Company (ATC). Recent projects include: a queer re-imagining of Picnic by William Inge for ATC; Evita, re-imagined for the Olney Theatre Center; Men on Boats by Jaclyn Backhaus for Clubbed Thumb's Summerworks and Playwrights Horizons, for which he received a Lucille Lortel Nomination for Best Direction; DUAT by Daniel Alexander Jones for Soho Rep; Orange Julius by Basil Kreimendahl; Mike Iveson’s Sorry Robot for PS122’s COIL Festival; and two productions of Colossal by Andrew Hinderaker for Mixed Blood Theater and the Olney Theatre Center, for which he won a Helen Hayes award for outstanding direction. Davis has developed, directed and performed his work with New York Theatre Workshop, Clubbed Thumb, the New Museum, the Olney Theatre Center, the Alliance Theatre, the Playwright's Realm, the Fusebox Festival, New Harmony Project, the Orchard Project, the Ground Floor Residency at Berkeley Rep, Performance Studies International at Stanford University, and the Kennedy Center. He is an alum of the Soho Rep Writer/Director Lab, the NYTW 2050 Directing Fellowship and the BAX (Brooklyn Art Exchange) artist in residence program. He holds a BFA in Theatre Studies from DePaul University and an MFA in Directing from UT Austin.
Miss Gloria Allen was born in 1945 on a farm in Bowling Green Kentucky. The family moved to Chicago in the early 50's and settled on the south side where Miss Allen attended Englewood High School (class of ’65) and received her Nursing LPN license from Southeast Jr. College. Her career as an LPN spanned 33 years, and she worked at The University of Chicago, Billings Hospital, and Michael Reese Hospital. When she was 19 years old, she began living as her true gender. Miss Allen says, “I knew who I was at an early age, and my entire family knew too. I thank God he blessed me with a wonderful family who supported me through life.” In 2011, Miss Allen came up with the idea for a Charm School at The Center on Halsted, Chicago’s LGBTQ community center, and began leading “charm classes” on a weekly, volunteer basis for a little over three years before issues of finance and health forced her to stop. Miss Allen remains active in the Chicago LGBTQ community as a motivational speaker, mentor, and community organizer. Last season, she was a production consultant on Tarell Alvin McCraney’s Wig Out! at DePaul University. She is currently studying Stand Up Comedy at Chicago’s Second City Training Center and has already performed at a number of Chicago comedy venues including The Second City and the Laugh Factory. Miss Allen is the proud recipient of the Living Legends Award. She says, “I’m so blessed to have people to come aboard to show the world that people do care and that TRANSLIVES matter. It doesn’t get any better than this.”
Michael David Baldwin (Donnie) was born in Birmingham, Alabama. After finding a love for theatre through school plays, Michael joined a touring youth theatre troupe whose target audience was inner city youths. After six years of touring, he attended The University of North Alabama where he received his Bachelor of Science in Communications/Theatre. Following graduation, Michael attended the Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD) receiving his MFA in performing arts. Michael's credits include an episode of “Law and Order: SVU” and the upcoming comedy film Coup d’Etat starring Michael Caine and Katie Holmes. Michael is thrilled to be back on stage telling such an important story with a tremendously talented group of people. He would like to thank his family, friends, agents, and all those who have continually supported him along the way. A very special loving thanks to Eugene and Linda Baldwin. Long Live Love.
Jojo Brown (Jonelle) is a Chicago raised actor, musician, and advocate for transgender people of color. She has most recently appeared in productions at A Red Orchid Theatre and American Theater Company. Jojo is represented by Gray Talent Group and is on Instagram as @jojobrwn.
Sandra Caldwell (Mama) The New York Times calls Sandra Caldwell a “true entertainer in every sense of the word.” Her acting career extends throughout the worlds of film, television, and theater. As a jazz singer, she has performed with top orchestras in some of the world’s finest venues, including the Montreal Jazz Festival, the Montreux Jazz Festival, and the Newport Jazz Festival. On television, Sandra was seen in “The Book of Negroes” (miniseries, guest lead); “19-“2 (recurring); “Soul Food” (recurring) “Little Men” (series regular) and guest starring roles in such shows as “Law & Order: SVU” and “Rookie Blue”. She was a featured performer in many TV movies, including Good Fences with Whoopie Goldberg, and Disney’s The Cheetah Girls. Film work includes Murder at 1600; Shall We Dance, and Maya Angelou’s directorial debut, Down in the Delta. In theater, Sandra has appeared in the musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (Shubert Theater); the Original Workshop for Ragtime (Live Ent. Productions); the drama Coming Through Slaughter (Necessary Angel Theater, Toronto); and was nominated for a Dora Award, the Canadian Tony, for her work in Sophisticated Ladies (Sterling Productions, Toronto).
Marky Irene Diven (Lady) is overjoyed to make her MCC Theater debut as Lady in Charm. She is a graduate of SUNY Fredonia’s Acting program, where she obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. Her favorite past credits include Dopey in Balm in Gilead, Crabtree in The School for Scandal and Leporello in Don Juan in Chicago. Marky has also directed various plays, including This Is Our Youth by Kenneth Lonergan and Four Dogs and A Bone by John Patrick Shanley. She is a founding member of Shellscrape Theatre, a new group of artists producing original work. She is currently working on insomnia by Cody Jones, which will be the group’s first main stage production. Marky would like to thank her family, Will Davis, Philip Dawkins, and everyone who thought she deserved this chance, from the bottom of her heart.
Michael Lorz (Logan) is overjoyed to be making his MCC debut. His television credits include: “Gotham”, “Difficult People”, and “Elementary”. His film and theatre credits include: Chateau Sauvignon: Terroir, Into the Woods (Northern Stage), and Rock of Ages (Gateway). BFA: NYU. @MichaelLorz13 www.MichaelLorz.com. “Loving people live in a loving world. Hostile people live in a hostile world. Same world.” - Wayne W. Dyer
Hailie Sahar (Ariela) an LA native, began performing as a SparKid, dancing for the WNBA Sparks. She made her film debut in, Leave It On The Floor and recently costarred alongside Jeffrey Tambor in season 3 of Amazon's “TRANSPARENT”. Sahar was featured in OUT Magazine as one of Hollywood’s New Rising Talents. During the 2016 TransNation Film Festival, Sahar performed a live duet with Miss America, Betty Cantrell. Sahar has become a highly respected Transgender woman working in Hollywood having been crowned Miss L.A. Pride and Queen U.S.A. She was also honored with an invitation to speak at The Ronald Reagan International Trade Center in D.Cfor the 57th Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS. Sahar's first music video, CALIFORNIA DREAMS, was released in Jan 2017. Her music showcases equality, empowerment, and overall positive messages.
Kelli Simpkins (D) is thrilled to be making her MCC debut. She is a company member of Tectonic Theater Project and is one of the original creator/performers of The Laramie Project (d/Moises Kaufman). Her theatre credits include: T. (d/Margot Bordelon) and Men on Boats (d/Will Davis)-ATC; The Secrataries (d/Bonnie Metzgar)-AFT; COCKED (d/Joanie Schultz)-Victory Gardens; Spill (d/Leigh Fondakowski)- EST/Timeline; Teddy Ferrara (d/Evan Cabnet)-Goodman; The Kid Thing (d/Joanie Schultz) (Jeff nomination) and Pony (d/Bonnie Metzgar)-AFT; In Darfur (d/ Nick Bowling)-Timeline; Late (d/Jessica Thebus)- Piven; Celebrity Row (d/David Cromer)- ATC; Fair Use (d/Meredith McDonough), Good Boys and True (d/Pam McKinnon) and One Arm (d/Moises Kaufman)- Steppenwolf Theatre; Execution of Justice (d/Gary Griffon)-AFT; The People’s Temple (d/Leigh Fondakowski)- Guthrie, Perseverance and Berkeley Rep. Her film and television credits include: Slice, “Chicago Fire”, “Patriot”, “Betrayal”, A League of Their Own, Chasing Amy, “Law and Order: C.I.” and The Laramie Project (Emmy nomination). Kelli is a proud recipient of the 2013 Chicago 3Arts Award.
Marquise Vilson (Beta) was born in Bronx, NY is excited to make his debut appearance Off-Broadway in the play Charm. A former advocate and activist for homeless youth and the LGBTQ community he’s currently been working in the transportation field for the last 3 years. Marquise would like to thank to his mother Andra Vilson and his mentor David Summers for their support as he embarks on his journey into professional acting.
Lauren F. Walker (Victoria) is thrilled to make her Off Broadway debut in Charm. Hailing from Washington, DC, Lauren attended the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, where her passion for theatre was ignited! A graduate of the BFA Conservatory of Theatre Arts at SUNY Purchase, Lauren's recent credits include The Public Theatre's Julius Caesar (ensemble), The Black Spectrum Theatre's A Tribute to Mae Jemison (Mae Jemison) and The Purchase Repertory Theatre's production of Romeo and Juliet (Friar Lawrence). She would like to give a special thanks to her first year acting teacher, the late Charels Tuthill, for inspiring her to run furiously toward her truth whilst embracing every obstacle with an open mind and an open heart.
Arnulfo Maldonado (Scenic Designer) is a New York City-based set and costume designer. Notable New York credits include: Bull In A China Shop (Lincoln Theater Center); Twelfth Night (The Public); Kingdom Come (Roundabout); Duat, generations (Soho Rep); Caught (Play Co); Men On Boats, Iowa (Playwrights Horizons); Iphigenia In Aulis (CSC). Regional: An Octoroon (Berkeley Rep); Where Storms Are Born (Williamstown Theater Festival); The Women of Padilla (Two River); Hillary and Clinton (Philadelphia Theatre Company); Macbeth (Old Globe); Evita (Olney); As You Like It (Center Stage). Tour: The Magnetic Fields: 50 Song Memoir (BAM Next Wave/International tour). Upcoming with MCC: Jocelyn Bioh's School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play, directed by Rebecca Taichman. Mr. Maldonado is a Clubbed Thumb Affiliated Artist, a recipient of a Princess Grace Fabergé Theater Award, and serves as a resident scenic designer at the National Playwrights Conference. MFA: NYU Tisch. www.arnulfomaldonado.com
Oana Botez (Costume Designer) is a Princess Grace, Barrymore, and Drammy Award recipient, and a NEA/TCG Career Development Program Recipient. New York: BAM Next Wave, Bard SummerScape, Baryshnikov Arts Center, The David H. Koch Theater/Lincoln Center, Soho Rep, LCT3, The Public Theater, Classic Stage Company, The Joyce Theater, Big Apple Circus, BRIC Arts Media, 59East59, La MaMa, and HERE Arts Center. Regional: The Wilma Theater, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Hartford Stage Company, Long Wharf Theater, Berkeley Rep, ArtsEmerson, Shakespeare Theatre Company, The Walker Arts Center, Peak Performances, ADI, Curtis Institute of Music. International: Bucharest National Theater, Arad National Theater, Bulandra Theater, Théâtre National de Chaillot, Les Subsistances, Budapest National Theater, Cluj Hungarian National Theater, Bucharest Operetta Theater, International Festival of Contemporary Theater, Le Quartz, La Filature, Centro Cultural Universidad del Pacífico, Palazzo Simoncelli, Edinburgh International Festival, Singapore Arts Festival. Ms. Botez is a graduate of Bucharest Art Academy and received an MFA in Design from NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. Ms. Botez teaches costume design at Colgate College, Brooklyn College, and MIT. She resides in Manhattan, New York.
Ben Stanton (Lighting Designer) For MCC: The End of Longing, Yen (Lortel Nom.), The Legend of Georgia McBride (Lortel Nom.), The Nether (Lortel Nom.), Reasons to be Happy, Coraline, In A Dark Dark House. Broadway: Six Degrees of Separation, Fully Committed, Deaf West’s Spring Awakening (Tony Nom.), Fun Home (Tony Nom.), An Enemy of the People, Seminar. Recent Off Bway: Incognito (MTC), Dot (Vineyard), The Christians, Marjorie Prime (Playwrights Horizons), I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard (Atlantic). Designs for Live Music: Beirut, Melanie Martinez, Other Lives, Regina Spektor, St. Vincent, Sufjan Stevens.
Palmer Hefferan (Sound Designer) Off-Broadway credits include: Rattlestick: Orange Julius; Signature Theatre: The Death of the Last Black Man In The Whole Entire World; Second Stage: Friend Art; Soho Rep: Samara and Revolt. She Said. Revolt Again (Henry Hewes nomination); MTC: Important Hats of the Twentieth Century; Playwrights Realm: A Delicate Ship; Keen Company: The Film Society; 59E59: I Am The Wind. Select regional credits: Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Henry IV, Part One; Huntington Theatre: Tiger Style!; Williamstown Theatre Festival: Romance Novels for Dummies; Alliance Theatre: Tiger Style!; Woolly Mammoth: Baby Screams Miracle, Guards at the Taj (Helen Hayes nomination), Women Laughing Alone With Salad, and Cherokee; Center Stage: Twelfth Night; Studio Theatre: Moment, Sorry, Regular Singing, Bad Jews, and Edgar & Annabel; Marin Theatre: peerless; Triad Stage: Arms and the Man; Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival: Twelfth Night and Pride and Prejudice. Palmer has her MFA from Yale School of Drama.