Monday, October 10, 2011

Photographs from The Spirit Play!

That dashing Chicago photographer, Tyler Core, took some beautiful press photographs for our run of The Spirit Play at the DCA. Enjoy a sampling below!

Check out more of Tyler's work here or check out more photos of the spirit play on our flickr page here. And don't forget to grab your tickets for the short (but magical) run of The Spirit Play here!

The Spirit Play is Jeff Recommended!

Whabam! The Spirit Play is Jeff Recommended. How exciting! Click the image to go on a magical journey to the Jeff Awards website and view the entire list of recommended shows in Chicago.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Spirit Play Poster by Phineas X. Jones

Behold its majesty! Phineas, is up to his eyeballs in being a creative juggernaut yet again. These hand screened babies will be for sale at the DCA during the run of the show...and guess what? They glow in the dark. That's right.

Help to support the company and get a piece of original signed and numbered art. Do you recognize that little medium? It's our very own Kate Nawrocki. (She plays a similar part in the full production.) So, what are you waiting for? Get some tickets and come see this crazy thing!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Spirit Play! Strange Tree teams up with the DCA Theater for Fall 2011.

Aaaand we're back! Surprise friends. We hope this summer has treated you kindly. STG is back on the scene with The Spirit Play coming to the DCA storefront this fall. What started as a month-long incubator workshop last fall is going to be a full-fledged Halloween production opening October 7th in downtown Chicago. Click the link for more information and to buy tickets in advance. It's going to be delightfully devilish.

Strange Tree Group Wins 3 Non-Equity Jeff Awards!

Friends, we are thrilled to announce that Strange Tree picked up Awards for Best Ensemble (Shakespeare's King Phycus) Best New Work (The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen) and Best Director (The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen) at the Joseph Jefferson Awards. Such fond thanks to the Jeff Committee. We felt like the prettiest girl at the prom and we can't wait to get back to making more theater. Huge congratulations to the other winners and nominees!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Strange Tree receives FIVE Joseph Jefferson Nominations

Oh man, hey friends. We're really excited over today because the company has been honored to receive Five Joseph Jefferson nominations this year. Congratulations to playwrights Emily Schwartz & Tom Willmorth for their nomination in the category of Best New Work, Director Jimmy McDermott for his nod for The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen and both of the brilliant ensemble casts of King Phycus and Doctor Crippen. We're really happy with the news and very proud of all the work we've done in our 2010/11 season. It feels as though we've barely had a chance to breath but we can't wait to get started on our next round of productions, starting with next season's THE SPIRIT PLAY written by Emily Schwartz, Directed by Jimmy McDermott and featuring the friendly trees.

Read all about it here!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Doctor Crippen is The Best of the Season!

Well, at least according to the Chicago Tribune!

Chis Jones writes:

Crippen - Kate Nawrocki and Matt Holzfeind If your tastes run to edgier fare, you should open yourself up to “The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen,” the deliciously sardonic Victorian-style melodrama about the famous murderous doctor. Part of the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Garage Rep, this is actually the work of the feverish creative minds at the Strange Tree Group. As with all three of the plays above, it's the work of a very promising new theatrical voice — in this case the exciting young Chicago writer Emily Schwartz. It's also a return to form for director Jimmy McDermott, whose early storefront work was hugely promising but who (to my mind) hasn't always been working on the right projects of late. He does here. And the result is thrilling.

We are also thrilled. Each night that we go to the theater we have to pinch ourselves. It's just, well, it's fun. We've built a family together and families have been built from our family. Just this spring we'll be welcoming four, count 'em, FOUR Strange Tree Saplings into the world. To build something from scratch with a group of kindly folks you've latched yourself to is something wonderful and we're so happy to share this home grown world premiere with the city of Chicago.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Trailer for The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen by Emily Schwartz

Our awesome artistic assocaite, Allan Roysdon, of put together this wonderful little trailer for The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen. You may remember Allan as The Devil from Crucible the musible or that weird french theramin player from Hey! Mr. Spaceman! I know we do. Thanks to him for this wonderful work!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen is Strange Tree's Newest Hit!

The show, she is open and the reviews are out. Doctor Crippen is a SMASH HIT!

"This superbly visualized little show is the heir to the distinguished Chicago tradition of the sardonic tale of the lovable murderer....a rather splendid little gothic thriller" - Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune

"Of the trio works on display, it is “The Three Faces of Doctor Crippin,” the Strange Tree Group’s immensely clever, darkly funny, playfully musical, visually sophisticated English music hall-style crime-of-passion parody that gets top prize here." - Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun Times

"If crime could become its own cartoon, it would be this wickedly charming homicidal romp." - Lawrence Bommer, Chicago Stage Style

"You’ll laugh and groan and you’ll wonder what will happen next in this expertly produced and well-acted comic tale of love, murder and mutilation" - Tom Williams,

"Schwartz’s pleasantly off-kilter aesthetic remains as strong as ever" - Kris Vire, TimeOUT Chicago

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Strange Tree Presents: Doctor Crippen Snowpocalypse!



Snowpocalypse 11 is (as of this blog post) the 3rd largest snowstorm in the recorded history of Chicago. We were supposed to be Teching Doctor Crippen last know figuring out the body parts, racing the rolling clawfoot tub around the stage, trying on fake mustaches. Etc....but instead Steppenwolf closed its doors at 2pm and we were forced to take an evening off from rehearsal. What do we do? Well, we went out in the snow to help our neighbors and promote the show, of course!

Enjoy the madness,


Monday, January 10, 2011

The Faces of Doctor Crippen Poster Design

Artistic Associate and fellow devious black heart Phineas X. Jones has designed both the poster and postcard for our upcoming production of The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen at the Steppenwolf Garage Rep. To be frank about it, they totally kick ass. Phineas is a master of his craft. Look at how deftly he handles the skull topper?

Check out some more of his work at
You can buy directly from the web and own some amazing original art for your tree house.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen: In Rehearsal!

Hello friendly friends and blog followers.

We're spending the next month rehearsing The Three Faces of Doctor Crippen for the Steppenwolf GARAGE REP. It's going to be a guaranteed slam-bang, utterly ridiculous, curiously creepy, funny, scary, deep dark and beware-y kind of time. If you loved Mr. Spacky, The Mysterious Elephant and The Dastardly Ficus. This show is for you. (Kiss blown.)

Written by Emily Schwartz, Directed by Jimmy McDermott and featuring: Cory Aiello, Delia Baseman, Scott Cupper, Weston Davis, Carol Enoch, Jenifer Henry, Matt Holzfeind, Bob Kruse, Jennifer Marschand, Kate Nawrocki & Stuart Ritter.

That's right, the gang's all here. (Well, almost Liz Bagby is working behind the scenes on music and scenic design as she'll be acting in Signal Ensemble's upcoming show, and me (Emily) who is writing the play.)

Let's take some questions from the peanut gallery:
How is it going?
Are you super stressed?
Yes. This is a big one for us! We've been beating the storefront path for six years and we're ready to spread our wings in 2011.
So there's a murder in this, correct?
A pretty horrific murder but there is also singing and acrobatic frippery.
And it's based on a true story?
Yes, it is. The story of Doctor H. H. Crippen who was accused of murdering his wife and running off with his typist (who was dressed as a boy) in 1910.
So it's funny?
Very much so. There are moments of the show where the comedy shines through. It's hard to have a team like ours and not try and pull all that you can from the hilarious absurdity of this poor man's situation, however there are also sections of the play that revolve around the love story or very sudden and extreme violence. So hopefully the show will touch on many different emotional levels. Keep in mind that this one is probably not for anyone under the age of 15 due to the graphic nature of the crime and the gory story we're telling. We don't want to be the cause of anyone's neurotic reoccurring nightmares.
How do you like working with Jimmy McDermott?
Jimmy just came off of directing the wildly successful Boojum! at the DCA storefront theater and has been very hands on with the entire team. It's a joy having him around and his humor and thoughtfulness concerning the text will really take this show to the next level. It's exciting to watch the piece come together and take in rehearsal in process.