Spotlight: Virtual readings, podcasts resume at Steppenwolf

  • Arti Ishak, left, directed Steppenwolf Theatre's virtual reading of playwright Omer Abbas Salem's in-development work "Mosque4Mosque."

    Arti Ishak, left, directed Steppenwolf Theatre's virtual reading of playwright Omer Abbas Salem's in-development work "Mosque4Mosque."

Posted3/26/2021 6:00 AM

Reading at Steppenwolf

Steppenwolf Theatre hosts a virtual reading of a new work "Mosque4Mosque" by Omer Abbas Salem as part of SCOUT, the theater's new play development initiative. Also developed through SCOUT were Isaac Gómez's "La Ruta," which premiered in 2019, and Vichet Chum's "Bald Sisters," whose premiere was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Mosque4Mosque" is about a 30-something queer Arab American whose mother is determined to find him the ideal husband. Arti Ishak directs.


Virtual reading at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 28. Free, but reservations required. (312) 335-1650 or

Insight in 30 minutes

Steppenwolf Theatre's half-hour podcasts comprised of conversations with ensemble members, designers and administrators returns for its second season with hosts Cliff Chamberlain, Audrey Francis, James Vincent Meredith, Caroline Neff and Karen Rodriguez. The new season features interviews with Amy Morton, Rajiv Joseph and Tina Landau, as well as Tony Award winners Leslie Odom Jr. and Clint Ramos among others.

"Half Hour is about connecting. And the wonderful thing about making it is knowing that all you really need to make a connection are curious humans, open hearts and 30 minutes," said Chamberlain in a prepared statement.

New podcasts are released every other week beginning Tuesday, March 30, at

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Irish tales

First Folio Theatre artistic associate Heather Chrisler shares her thoughts on St. Patrick's Day, poet William Butler Yeats and leprechauns as part of the theater's ongoing online storytelling series. Additionally, Alison Reeger Cook reads William Wordsworth's "Daffodils."

Streaming online through July on First Folio's YouTube channel.

In other news

• American Blues Theater continues its monthly play reading series with a live reading of "Sanctuary City" at 7 p.m. Friday, March 26. Created and directed by ensemble member Ian Paul Custer and written by Shannon Pritchard, it's about the last American city that opens its gates to immigrants. But while it's easy to enter, it's almost impossible to leave. The production marks the debut of an in-development, noir-inspired podcast. Tickets are pay-what-you-can with a suggested $10 donation. (773) 654-3101 or

Dixie Longate hosts a streaming benefit for Season of Concern.
Dixie Longate hosts a streaming benefit for Season of Concern.

• Dixie Longate, star of "Dixie's Tupperware Party," hosts the streaming fundraiser "Dixie's Happy Hour" through Sunday, March 28, at The performances benefit Season of Concern, an organization that provides financial assistance to theater artists in need. Tickets are $35 per household with 80% of sales donated to Season of Concern.


• The Public Theater's bilingual audio play production of "Romeo y Julieta," featuring Lupita Nyong'o and Juan Castano as Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers, streams free at

• The California-based Simpson Literary Project has produced "Shakespeare and the Plague," a film mashup consisting of performances of William Shakespeare's plague-related monologues. The performances are paired with commentary by literary historian Stephen Greenblatt. The film can be viewed at

• Victory Gardens Theater recently named actor/director and Goodman Theatre associate producer Ken-Matt Martin as its new artistic director. "I cannot wait to bring more ambitious and innovative new plays to the Biograph that will feature our brilliant Chicago artists and playwrights and find continued opportunities for theater makers from across the country to develop their work here with us," said Martin in a prepared statement. "At a time where there has been so much loss and pain for our industry and the world, I am excited to chart a course for the future that positions Victory Gardens as an institution inspiring meaningful civic change within our city and nation."

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