Chicago Writers Bloc 2024 Festival of New Plays

Chris Serratos, Fran Zell playwright and Renny Milano
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Chicago Writers Bloc 2024 New Play Festival offers exciting line-up at Theater Wit

The Chicago Writers Bloc 2024 New Play Festival runs through May 19 at Theater Wit, 1229 W.
Belmont. It offers staged readings of ten new works by 14 Chicago playwrights, lyricists and
composers. They include John S. Green (Jeff winner and Pulitzer nominated, THE LIQUID
MOON), Chloe Bolan (O’Neill semi-finalist, LOVE IN THE TIME OF DEMENTIA), Joanne
Koch (National Nantucket Short Play Competition winner, STARDUST), and Fran Zell (Henley
Rose Playwright Competition finalist, READING ANNA K and former Chicago Tribune feature

2024 new play festival

Among the upcoming shows is an evening of documentary theater on Monday May 13, featuring one-act plays by Splash Mags arts writer Fran Zell. HOW I LEARNED TO STOP
WORRYING AND LOVE THE VENEZUELANS presents veteran Chicago actor Marian
Kaderbek in a one-person performance of poignant stories drawn from Zell’s recent experiences
volunteering with asylum seekers living at a Chicago police station. MY NAME IS RENNY
EDWARD MILANO SALGADO features Chris Serratos and Renny Milano. It depicts Milano’s
recent journey from Venezuela to the U.S., a story of loss, grief, mortal danger and always hope.
Both plays are directed by Joan Mazzonelli, who has produced, directed and designed for theater
in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City.

Chris Serratos and Renny Milano seal a deal in rehearsal of My Name is Renny Edward Milano Salgado. (photo by Fran Zell)

Other upcoming shows in this year’s festival are:
May 12: DRIVING THE DREAM, a musical by Chloe Bolan and Gerald Bailey, a bioplay about Bertha Benz, who helped her husband produce the world’s first internal combustion
automobile and defied police orders not to drive it, forever changing the landscape of
transportation .

No Kind of Hero May14

May 14: NO KIND OF HERO by Nic Hamel. Amidst the growing threat of fascism in the 1930’s,
the young French philosophy professor Simone Weil struggles against the oppression she
witnesses all around her. Caught between practical limitations and an unrelenting idealism,
Simone’s choices are both absurd and inspiring as she seeks to embody hope and heroism in an
increasingly chaotic world.
May 19: MERRY WIDOWS, a musical by Joanne Koch, Diane Dorsey, Francesca Peppiatt and Ilya
Levinson With humor, music and mutual support seven grief stricken widows and widowers find
their bearings navigating life on their own.

May 19” DECONSTRUCTION OF A HONKY by Blake Levinson, a riveting two-character drama
in which a white playwright and a Black director grapple with the issue of hidden racism.
For tickets ($20) and a complete schedule of plays and dates go to

Photos were provided by Fran Zell


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