Spotlight: Next up at First Folio -- an online reading of 'The Little Match Girl'
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First Folio Theatre's online winter reading series continues with artistic associate Cassy Schillo reading Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl." Also streaming online is playwright Joseph Zettelmaier reading H.P. Lovecraft's seasonally sinister "Yule Horror," as well as an abridged version of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" featuring ensemble members Christian Gray, Joe Foust, Wendy Huber, Christopher Kriz, Heather Chrisler, Melanie Keller, Lydia Berger, Diane Coates, Angie Webb Miller, Michael Goldberg and David Rice.
Streaming online through Sunday, Jan. 3, at First Folio's YouTube channel.
Young playwrights fest
Pegasus Theatre Chicago will make its 34th annual Young Playwrights Festival showcasing works by Chicago high school writers a virtual affair. The three winning one-act plays for 2021 center on a mystery unearthed or realized. Written by students from Kenwood Academy, Lane Tech College Prep and The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools, the winning entries are produced in partnership with theater professionals.
Runs Thursday to Sunday, Jan. 7 through Jan. 31, at pegasustheatrechicago.org. Opening ceremony is at 2 p.m. Jan. 10. Tickets are $20 for adults, $12 for students.
In other news
• Hell in a Handbag Productions hosts its annual benefit "The Morning After" from 6 to 9:30 p.m. Friday, Jan. 1. The event includes the first livestream of "Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical." Tickets range from $22 to $30 and include a preshow discussion and previously unseen clips from past productions, raffle and silent auction. See handbagproductions.org.
• Paramount Theatre in Aurora will introduce its new play development initiative, The Inception Project, in January. The initiative is funded in part by a $40,000 Healing Illinois grant from the Illinois Department of Human Services in partnership with The Chicago Community Trust in an effort to "heal the harms caused by racism." As part of the new initiative, Paramount will develop "Pretended," Lanise Antoine Shelley's tale of a Haitian adoptee's pursuit of identity, and "Bull: a love story," Nancy Garcia Loza's tale about a Mexican American man's adjustment to life after prison. Each play will get a virtual staged reading with "Pretended" debuting online at 7 p.m. Jan. 14 and "Bull: a love story" debuting online at 7 p.m. Jan. 28. See paramountaurora.com/inception-project.