Spotlight: First Folio ensemble member channels Henry V

  • Diana Coates, who starred in First Folio Theatre's 2019 production of "Henry V," delivers the titular character's famed St. Crispin's Day speech as part of the theater's online storytellers series.

    Diana Coates, who starred in First Folio Theatre's 2019 production of "Henry V," delivers the titular character's famed St. Crispin's Day speech as part of the theater's online storytellers series. Courtesy of Tom McGrath

Posted6/4/2021 6:00 AM

Bill Bellamy live

Comedian/actor Bill Bellamy, who came to prominence on HBO's "Def Comedy Jam" and on MTV, headlines the Chicago Improv this weekend. A veteran of TV's "Fastlane" and "Mr. Box Office," Bellamy also hosted two seasons of "Last Comic Standing."


7 and 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 4-5, at 5 Woodfield Road, Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg. $60-$180. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, tickets are sold by table for two. Temperature checks and face coverings required. Limited capacity. (847) 240-2001 or

First Folio storytellers

First Folio Theatre artistic associate Diana Coates, who played the titular role in the Oak Brook theater's 2019 production of William Shakespeare's "Henry V," recites the character's well-loved St. Crispin's Day speech as part of First Folio's online storytellers series.

Streaming free online through July 15. See

In other news

• Porchlight Music Theatre Movie Musical Monday series continues Monday, June 7, with special guest writer/comedian Bruce Vilanch discussing the 1968 film "Funny Girl" starring Barbra Streisand as comedian Fanny Brice. The hourlong Zoom discussion with Vilanch and host Rhona Frazin begins at 7 p.m. See

• The Zoom opera "On Call: COVID-19," described as a "love letter to health care workers," streams online beginning Tuesday, June 8, at Commissioned and produced by Working in Concert/Bellissima Opera, "On Call" is comprised of three scenes of Zoom calls in which medics from Chicago, Seoul, Rio de Janeiro, Lombardy, New York City and a Syrian refugee camp near Beirut struggle with the pandemic unfolding in their midst. The preshow begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 8, followed by a 7:30 p.m. performance. The production will stream online through June 15.

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• Streaming performances continue for Sideshow Theatre's "Once in a Bleu Moon," Mallory Raven-Ellen Backstrom's play about a woman named Bleu who casts a spell on the eve of her 33rd birthday in an attempt to overcome damage caused by ancestral demons. See

• The premiere of "Circus Days and Nights," a new opera by composer Philip Glass, streams online through June 13 at Based on poems by Robert Lax, the opera "will take audiences on a spectacular adventure into the world of the circus and the performers who dedicate their lives to this art, capturing a day in their lives as a spiritual ceremony, one which honors the cycle of life and death." Malmö Opera performs the new work whose libretto is by David Henry Hwang and Tilde Björfors.

• Aurora's Paramount Theatre recently announced the addition of three new members to its artistic team. Joseph Jefferson Award-winner Paul-Jordan Jansen has been named associate artistic producer responsible, among other duties, for serving as lead producer for The Inception Project, Paramount's new play development initiative. New Work Development Director Amber Mak is taking on the role of artistic producer and new works director. Lastly, former artistic associate and casting director Trent Stork has been promoted to associate artistic producer and casting director.

• Black Ensemble Theater is a founding member of the new National Association of Black Theatre Building Owners established to ensure the "sustainability, longevity and growth of the black theater movement in the U.S." The NABTBO will share knowledge and resources in an effort to increase awareness of the importance of African American theater. Other participating ensembles include Chicago's ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Westcoast Black Theater Troupe, The Arena Players in Baltimore, the Ensemble Theatre in Houston, Hattillo Theatre in Memphis and New York City's National Black Theatre.

• Court Theatre announced it will resume live, in-person productions Oct. 7 with William Shakespeare's tragedy "Othello," directed by artistic director Charles Newell and Gabrielle Randle-Brant and featuring Kelvin Roston Jr. in the title role. That's followed by a remount of Henrik Ibsen's "The Lady From the Sea," a production shuttered in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shana Cooper directs Richard Nelson's translation of the play about a married lighthouse keeper's daughter forced to choose between her marriage and the lure of the sea. The season concludes with a revival of August Wilson's 1960s drama "Two Trains Running" (May 12-June 12, 2022), about the regulars at a restaurant that's been targeted for demolition as part of urban renewal. Performances take place at 5535 S. Ellis Ave., Chicago. Subscriptions available at (773) 753-4472 or

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