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BoHo Theatre has announced the appointment of Elizabeth Swanson (they/she) as the new Artistic Director, succeeding Stephen Schellhardt, who announced his intentions of leaving in September 2021 after six years with the company.
Swanson is a freelance director and graduate of the Lir National Academy of Dramatic Arts at Trinity College, Dublin where they earned an MFA in Theatre Directing. Some of Swanson’s recent Chicago directing projects include the Jeff Award-winning HEAD OVER HEELS for Kokandy Productions, which also earned Swanson a nomination for direction; the Jeff-nominated I KNOW MY OWN HEART for PrideArts, and WHERE ALL THE WHITE SNEAKERS AT? for Second City. Swanson has also worked with About Face Theatre, Underscore Theatre, American Theater Company, Victory Gardens Theater, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Princeton University’s Lewis Center for the Arts.
The company, board members, and Stephen are thrilled to welcome Elizabeth into the BoHo family!Swanson is excited to see BoHo continuing to tell compelling stories in line with the legacy Stephen Schellhardt has left with producing shows like BRIGHT STAR and BIG FISH.
Swanson says, “I was first introduced to BoHo through Eli Katz, an outgoing BoHo member. She and I worked together on a PrideArts play in 2018/2019, and Eli spent half of the rehearsal process trying to set me up with BoHo. Eli was absolutely determined that the company and I should meet each other. Stephen Schellhardt then attended a performance of that show and we met for the first time. He just had this wonderfully warm energy that enveloped you in a hug, and that warm welcome was my first impression of BoHo.”
Speaking about their experience of becoming part of the BoHo family, Swanson said, “Everyone in the company since I started applying for this position has been so excited to tell me what a strong family this is. And, that has held true with all of the company and board members I have had the pleasure of meeting and beginning to work with. I am excited to continue the company’s ingrained mission of working together as a family: of spreading love, kindness, and thoughtfulness through every production and story we take on.”
“Once you meet Elizabeth, you are sure to fall in love with their welcoming demeanor, insightfulness, and mission to make BoHo's work accessible for everyone,” says BoHo’s Executive Director Sana Selemon. “While producing theater looks different these days, I am reassured knowing we have Elizabeth as our new Artistic Director to help further Stephen Schellhardt’s vision of inclusivity, while bringing their own ideas of how we can continue to grow and hold onto what makes us special.”
Swanson’s first production for BoHo as Artistic Director will be its first commissioned production: NATIONAL MERIT, by Valen-Marie Santos, to be produced later this year at a venue to be announced. The company produced a virtual reading of the play in May 2021 and is thrilled that Santos will be continuing to develop her work in partnership with BoHo and with mentorship from BoHo’s Literary Manager, Dillion Chitto.
“It’s very exciting to me that we have commissioned our first playwright, the extremely talented Valen-Marie Santos,” said Swanson. “NATIONAL MERIT is a story of the moment. Santos has perfectly captured the later high school experience of applying to college in terms of the pressure placed on this generation, and she has spoken truth about the anguish we create for students throughout the grueling college admission process. To see a playwright reflecting and refracting the current moment with her voice, and telling this story alongside BoHo, is really wonderful. I want to see the company continuing to herald new voices in the future.”
Elizabeth is eager to start the process of choosing the second show for BoHo’s 2022 season with a selection committee of BoHo company members. Elizabeth is dedicated to growing and prioritizing accessibility in the company’s performance venues. “I want to expand our accessibility mission and better communicate what we can offer to guests who come into our space as patrons, season subscribers, and as artists: technicians, performers, and designers,” said Elizabeth Swanson. “We will be offering at least two ASL interpreted performances of each production and incorporating touch tours, as well as thinking more expansively about how we can improve accessibility in every possible way. We are excited to make The Edge Theater our new artistic home with our second production (following NATIONAL MERIT) and to start broadening to more multidisciplinary performance, such as clowning, physical theatre, music, and improvisation. I am also excited to continue the anti-racist work the company has already been approaching thoughtfully: working alongside Sana Selemon to examine pay equity in our budgeting, our casting practices, and how we determine which stories we choose to tell.”
About Boho Theatre
BoHo Theatre tells stories examining and celebrating human relationships — focusing on the Bohemian pillars of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love — using bold, intimate theatrical stagings. Our vision is to create a shared community of artists and patrons in which all members are moved through art to make thoughtful, well-examined, caring relationships the highest priority in their lives.
Americans love to say cheese! Whether it's an artisanal cheese board, an old-fashioned grilled cheese, or a gooey, chewy slice of pizza. But when it comes to which part of the country has the best on offer, some cities are cheesier than others.
What are 2022’s Best Cities for Cheese Lovers?
To mark National Cheese Lover’s Day on Jan. 20, LawnStarter compared over 180 of the biggest U.S. cities based on cheese access, quality, and affordability, as well as local cheese-focused events. Is your city on these lists?
Say Cheese! It Doesn’t Get Any Cheddar Than Here
1 Chicago, IL
2 Modesto, CA
3 San Francisco, CA
4 Jersey City, NJ
5 New York, NY
6 Boston, MA
7 Madison, WI
8 Los Angeles, CA
9 Washington, DC
10 Milwaukee, WI
Cheese It! You’re Cheddar Off Elsewhere Than Here
172 Honolulu, HI
173 El Paso, TX
174 Vancouver, WA
175 Kansas City, KS
176 Jackson, MS
177 Lincoln, NE
178 Oxnard, CA
179 Amarillo, TX
180 Anchorage, AK
181 Salinas, CA
Highlights and Lowlights
- Chicago: The Windy Cheesy City: Sing the praises of Chicago’s deep-dish pizza all you want, but once you’ve sampled local Chi-Town cheese outside the pie, you’ll be chanting “Cheeses, Take the Wheel” instead. That’s because The Windy City has earned a new nickname as The Cheesiest City in America. Oozing with high-quality queso and melting locals’ hearts with an abundance of cheesy events, Chicago is a true cheese lover’s paradise.
- California Cheesin’ or Meltin’?: Three Golden State cities managed to find their way to our top 10: Modesto at No. 2, followed by San Francisco in third place and Los Angeles in eighth. Zoom out, and you’ll find four other California cities in our top 20. This "grate" performance is no surprise when considering California is the second biggest producer of cheese among the states. But not everything that glitters is gold in the Golden State. Salinas finished last in our ranking, with Oxnard not far behind at No. 178. While these two cities offer plenty of cheesy events to entertain locals, regular access to high-quality cheese is lacking.
- Gouda News for Wisconsin: No ranking of cheese heavens passes a “good taste” test without at least one city from America’s Dairyland in the top 10. And we’re happy to report that both Wisconsin cities in our ranking form part of that elite group: Madison finished seventh, while Milwaukee placed 10th, thanks to high marks across the (charcuterie) board. Green Bay didn’t make our cut because of its size, but if you’re a true Cheesehead, you know the city and state are packed with fans of the dairy products. Wisconsin is by far the largest manufacturer of cheese, producing more than a quarter of all of America’s cheese. It even beats out much larger states like California and Texas.
- Not-So-Modest Queso in Modesto: Wisconsin might produce the most cheese of any state, but one Central California city’s winning strategy is quality over quantity. Modesto, located 92 miles east of San Francisco, took the top spot in our Quality category, helping the city rise to second place overall. In fact, Modesto’s local cheese producers bagged more U.S. Championship Cheese Contest awards in 2019 — the most recent competition — than those of the other 180 cities in our ranking.
The full ranking and analysis can be found here.
The City of Chicago's Mayor Lori Lightfoot has announced that she tested positive for COVID-19. She says "she's feeling fine" and is experiencing cold-like symptoms.
She said she will be working from home during her isolation period after experiencing mild symptoms.Mayor Lightfoot is the highest profile Illinois lawmaker to test positive until now.
Earlier today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am experiencing cold-like symptoms but otherwise feel fine which I credit to being vaccinated and boosted. I will continue to work from home while following the CDC guidelines for isolation.— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot (@Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot) 1641933655
The mayor's breakthrough case comes one day after she struck a deal with the Chicago Teachers' Union (CTU), which kept schools closed for four days as they demanded better COVID-19 safety policies amid the surge in the pandemic caused by the highly-contagious Omicron variant.
As late as Monday night, Lightfoot spoke at a press conference with CPS CEO Pedro Martinez and Chicago Department of Health commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. But they all wore masks when not speaking.
Mayor Lightfoot used the news of her Covid case to remind folks "to get vaccinated and boosted as it's the only way to beat this pandemic."
Lightfoot said she will follow CDC protocols on isolation and quarantining and has tweeted reminding families to get vaccinated including chidren aged 5 years and up.
The legendary synthpop British music duo were headed to the US, including a stop in Chicago!
ERASURE (Andy Bell and Vince Clarke) announced details of a surprise EP celebrating the kickoff of their UK tour...and they were to be headed stateside, too.
The UK tour kicked off in Glasgow before a series of dates that included a long awaited show at The O2 in London on October 17 with additional special guest Blancmange.
Erasure’s North American tour was to launch on January 14 in Miami before wrapping up in late February at The Venetian in Las Vegas. However, the band has since announced the tour has been postponed.
But while we wait for new tour dates to be announced, give the new record a listen.
Out on CD, limited edition purple cassette(!), and digital platforms, Ne:EP is a five-track companion piece to their latest album, The Neon, with four new tracks sitting alongside “Secrets,” which originally appeared on The Neon Remixed.
The duo, whose first big US hit was "A Little Respect," recently released their eighteenth studio album, The Neon, which went into the UK Official Albums Chart at #4, their highest chart position since I Say I Say I Say, which in turn gets a deluxe 2CD expanded hardback book release on November 5.Out of the pair, keyboardist Vince Clarke is the straight dude, but Andy Bell, the group's upbeat frontman has been openly gay since Erasure began. "We were playing Pride (events) in the late '80s, '86 and '87, and before that I was going to Pride on my own in London," he told press.
That and their enduring electropop sound, following in the footsteps of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and Depeche Mode (of which Clarke was a founding member), have made them a solid favorite with the LGBTQ community for decades.
See the touring itinerary updates at Erasure’s website.