Side Series for The Happiest Place on Earth

Are we excited for our upcoming Side Series? Why yes we are!

What is our Side Series? (Well let me tell you…)

Side Series consists of three nights of fiery conversation with experts ranging from a Moth GrandSLAM champion to an LGBTQ Activist/Oral Historian. These post-show conversations are an opportunity for audience members to share their thoughts and feelings about the performance they have just experienced in a safe, active, and scintillating environment. Get ready to engage with your fellow audience members, peppered by the experiences and insight of our amazing experts!

Who are our experts? (More below. We’ll see you there!) 

September 30th: Lily Be from Stoop-Style Stories:


Lily Be is Chicago’s very own Chingona (bad ass).  An accidental artist living her life of purpose. Lily exists to bring people together to own and share their stories as host and producer of The Stoop at Rosa’s Lounge every last Thursday of the month. She has won some well known storytelling competitions and had been featured on podcasts and radio all over. Lily is also a Teacher at Second City where she teaches a discovering your story class. She is also an artist in residence at Free Street Theater where she is working on her one woman show that will be out in January.

In short, Lily Be is magic. Check her out @Queenlilybe on everything.

October 7th: Jonathan Mayo from Cleaning Closets:



Jonathan Mayo received a Bachelors in Theatre and French from Morehead State University and quickly moved up to Chicago after having done an exchange program at Northeastern Illinois University.  He has worked in an array of positions both onstage and backstage in some of the most renowned theatres including the Goodman Theatre, the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and the Chicago Children’s Theatre among many others.  Jonathan also has an extensive history with volunteering for organizations such as the Center On Halsted, the McGaw Y, and The Night Ministry where he serves as the LGBTQ Co-Chair on their Associate Board.  Jonathan combined his passions of producing the arts, community service, and LGBTQ advocacy by creating Cleaning Closets, an oral history project that collects and shares true coming out stories from both sides of the door.  Performances for this project have been seen at University of Illinois Chicago, Northwestern University, and Morehead State University to name a few.  Jonathan believes that the arts can not only entertain but also educate and heal.  

Find out more at  

October 21st: Jeremy Owens from You’re Being Ridiculous:


Jeremy Owens is the creator, producer, and host of You’re Being Ridiculous the long running live-lit show most recently featured as a part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut series in the new 1700 Theatre. His writing has appeared in The Daily Dot, Story Club Magazine, Oy!Chicago, Gapers Block, JUF News, and Thread Literary Magazine. He regularly performs his writing all over the city with such shows as Story Sessions, Story Club, Write Club, That’s All She Wrote, Essay Fiesta, and The Paper Machete.

Meet the Cast of CAUGHT

Sideshow Theatre works with some of the best talent in Chicago. Meet the cast of CAUGHT, by Christopher Chen and directed by Seth Bockley.  The show begins pay-what-you-can previews May 29 and June 1 at Victory Gardens, and runs through July 3.

Ann James is pleased to be back on stage in the Richard Christiansen, where she was last seen in Sideshow’s Antigonick. An artistic associate with Sideshow, she has performed in Idomeneus andMaria/Stuart. Other companies she has worked with include the 16th Street, Goodman, Jackalope, Lifeline, Organic, Profiles, Provision, Shattered Globe, Side Project, Stage Left, and Collaboraction.


ben-changBen Chang is making his Sideshow debut. Chicago credits include A Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre, The Consultant at Signal Ensemble Theatre, Pal Joey at Porchlight Music Theatre,Volpone at City Lit Theater, Iphigeneia at Aulis with Lights Out Theatre Company and The Blue Shadow at Lifeline Theatre. He has appeared on the television show Empire (FOX).


bob-headshotBob Kruse has had the pleasure to work with Vintage Theatre Collective, Strange Tree Group, Eclipse Theatre, Victory Gardens, WildClaw, Backroom Shakespeare Project, Gift Theatre, House Theatre, Griffin Theatre and A Red Orchid Theatre.


helen-youngHelen Young has been seen in Ha-Chi-Nook (Erasing the Distance), Hamlet, (Muse of Fire) King Lear, Andromache (Cave Painting), Macbeth (Polarity Ensemble). Helen’s love for storytelling has also more recently landed her work in directing and dramaturgy (Silk Road, Prologue, A Squared, TimeLine).


Get your tickets for CAUGHT by clicking here or by calling the Victory Garden box office at 773.871.3000.

Last Side Series for MAI DANG LAO

We’re so excited about our last Side Series conversation for MAI DANG LAO this Friday, April 8th after the show. It will feature some really exciting experts from CAASE (Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation), one of our community partners.

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Rachel Johnson is a staff attorney and pro bono coordinator for Chicago Alliance Against Sexual Exploitation (CAASE). Rachel seeks justice for survivors of sexual assault through a variety of laws, including Title IV, the Illinois Human Rights Act and the Illinois Victims of Economic Security and Safety Act. She also represents survivors in motions to vacate prostitution convictions, Civil No Contact Order litigation, and advocacy in the criminal justice system. Rachel provides trainings and guidance to pro bono attorneys on how to work with, litigate for, and protect the rights of survivors of sexual assault and trafficking. Rachel is also a member of the Coalition Against Workplace Sexual Violence, a group of labor rights and anti­rape activists collaborating to create a stronger, more inclusive strategy to fight sexual violence against low wage workers.

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Belen Ramos was born and raised in Quito, the capital city of Ecuador. She won a scholarship in Ecuador and moved to Sweden to study at the Uppsala Universitet. Belen holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Gender Studies, as well as a Master’s Degree in Sociology. She lived in Sweden for seven years and moved back to Ecuador in 2010. She worked for two years with victims of sexual violence, and with programs that pursue the empowerment of women in Quito. Belen started to work for an Ecuadorian human rights group called “Defensoria del Pueblo” in 2013, which is the Institution of the Ombudsman in Ecuador. She was designated to serve on a diplomatic mission, bringing her to Chicago to address the human rights of the Ecuadorian community here. She has been at the Consulate General of Ecuador since January of 2016.

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