About the Critics

 Kelly KleimanKelly Kleiman is a freelance writer on the arts, feminism, travel and social justice. Her reportage and essays have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the Christian Science Monitor, among other dailies; in magazines including In These Times and Dance; in the alternative press; and on Chicago Public Radio.  She reviews theater in Chicago on the Huffington Post and as one of the Dueling Critics.  She is also editor and publisher of The Nonprofiteer, a blog about charity, philanthropy and nonprofit management. She holds undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Chicago.

Jonathan Abarbanel Jonathan Abarbanel is Chair of the American Theatre Critics Association, the only nationwide organization for professional theatre critics. He reviews for the weekly Windy City Times newspaper and for TheaterMania.com, and is senior writer for Chicago Footlights, the widely-distributed monthly program magazine. His reviews and reportage have been published nationally in American Theatre, Back Stage, Show Music and Variety among many others. His own plays, libretti, lyrics and revue sketches have been performed in Chicago at the Center for New Music, Court Theatre, Bailiwick Repertory, Theatre BAM! and The Second City. His work also has been produced at the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Westside Theatre (Off-Broadway), at London’s Royal Festival Hall, and broadcast on WFMT. He teaches theatre at the School of Theatre & Music at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

2 thoughts on “About the Critics

  1. Elyse Dawson

    Good afternoon Jonathan and Kelly!

    My name is Elyse Dawson and I’m the Director of Development for a brand new theater company in Chicago: The Rum & Coke Collective, and we are dedicated to producing irreverently aggressive theater. Our first show, Apples & Roofies, opens August 30th at City Lit Theater. Below, I’ve pasted our press release for this tale of trauma and recovery. I also wanted to invite you (or someone from your publication) to see and review it during our first weekend. As a budding theater company it’s important to us to see where we stand in the scene! We will gladly give you a comp ticket during the first weekend of our two week run. If you’re available, please reply with your selected showtime and whether or not you will each be bringing a guest (also at no charge) Dates and times for that first weekend are as follows: Friday Aug 30th at 8pm, Saturday Aug 31st at 3pm and 8pm, and Sunday Sept 1st at 3pm. Even if you cannot attend at these times, we’d love to comp you for any other performance during the run to introduce ourselves. Thank you so much and I hope to hear from you soon!

    Elyse Dawson


    CONTACT: Elyse Dawson (Director of Development for The Rum & Coke Collective)

    Production Company: The Rum & Coke Collective

    The Rum & Coke Collective launches with traumatic drama “Apples & Roofies”

    Chicago, IL, August 21, 2013 – Rachel awakens in a jail cell after a vicious assault, finding herself a victim of her tormentors continued attacks. Finding solace in her only cell mate, a developmentally delayed fifteen year old, she searches for recovery in a world of trauma. Both lovingly hopeful and powerfully devastating, “Apples & Roofies” is a powerful reminder of both the good and the bad that lives within the human heart.

    The Rum & Coke Collective begins its premiere season of irreverently aggressive theater with “Apples & Roofies” by Artistic Director J.W. Brewer. The show runs August 30th – September 8th, 2013 atCity Lit Theater (1020 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.) Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the door or atbrownpapertickets.com.

    Individual dates and times: Friday Aug 30th at 8pm, Saturday Aug 31st at 3pm and 8pm, Sunday Sept 1st at 3pm, Friday Sept 6th at 8pm, Saturday Sept 7th at 3pm and 8pm, and Sunday Sept 8th at 3pm.

    Written and Directed by J.W. Brewer
    Elyse Dawson as Angel
    Jeff Newman as Ben
    Hannah Wegmann as Rachel
    Eli Kurtz as Richard

    ABOUT The Rum & Coke Collective – The Rum and Coke Collective is a group of theater artists devoted to the creation and development of new works and re-imaginings of theater classics. By using a dedicated group of artists, we aim to build unique, memorable, and devastatingly powerful new plays.

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