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stage managed by Katie Klemme*
scenic design by Joe Schermoly
lighting design by Heather Gilbert
costume design by Mara Blumenfeld and Mieka van der Ploeg
property design by Jonathan Berg-Einhorn
sound design by Christopher Kriz
violence design by David Woolley, Jon Beal and Kai Young
"★★★½ A Significant Narrative and Emotional Achievement!"
— Chris Jones,
★★★½ Sublime! Whiplashes between mounting dread and inexorable silliness— Catey Sullivan,
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Fabulously inventive!
— Kerry Reid,
— Kris Vire,
"Simply electrifying! The cast is stellar!"
"A true work of art. Top-notch, brilliantly creative. Really entertaining."
"A delightfully postmodern tangle. Bold with unexpected emotional depth! Works both as entertainment and cultural commentary."
"Mind-bending, terrifying, hilarious, and moving! Go have your mind blown."
A post-electric play about Bart Simpson Kills in Chicago
"The best work of director Jeremy Wechsler's career."
"Washburn's script has a very distinct kind of thrill, the one that kicks in when you have absolutely no idea where a play is going, except that it is not likely to be any place you recall being before in a theater.
"This thrill is one of expansiveness of vision — an intellectual rush, a sense of unexplored theatrical possibility, a fearlessness of operation, an understanding of the complex relationship of cultural innovation and populist pulp. Oh, and one more thing: the massive pull of shared experience.
"But wherever you land on the "Simpsons" obsession scale, you should know that "Mr. Burns" is very funny. And that's most of what you need to know."
— Chris Jones,
★★★½ “Mr. Burns” sweeps you into its weirdly funny, dystopian world.
Wechsler’s ensemble maintains energy throughout the show’s wild ride. As Quincy/Bart, Leslie Ann Sheppard brings the gravity of Odysseus into the petulant bombast of the yellow-haired cartoon child. Bart’s an unlikely charismatic leader, but Sheppard makes him heroic, somehow without dimming his obnoxiousness.
As Sam/Mr. Burns, Andrew Jessop leans into the latter with the ferocity of a chainsaw on blast. He chews the scenery to sawdust. Then, he eats the sawdust. That’s not a read: The more preposterously monstrous Mr. Burns becomes, the more he sucks you into his wickedly charismatic orbit.
And keep an eye on Wil Wilhelm as Jenny/Marge/Mrs. Krabapel. Costumed like a battered, underwater Statue of Liberty, they are the humming coil that runs the length of the third act, sending out vocals that prove “falsetto belt” is not an necessarily an oxymoron.
In the end, “Mr. Burns” is both a story of creation and destruction. Love may win, as the angel chorus tells us, but hate leaves scars. It’s a brutal, compelling message.
— Catey Sullivan,
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. More timely than ever!
A dizzyingly smart contraption, and Wechsler’s direction and stellar ensemble keep it all on point, balancing the poignant with the ridiculous, the quotidian with the existential.
No matter how well you feel you’ve managed the dread (and anger, and confusion) of this time, Mr. Burns offers both wry smart laughs and a sense that finding our tribe with a common narrative is one way through the darkness.
— Kerry Reid,
Both extremely entertaining and illuminating, you'll find it hard to leave the theatre without buzzing with electricity.
The script is certainly a true work of art and it's clear that Wechsler and the team at Theater Wit recognize the worth of this play and are giving it everything they have.
With a top-notch set (that, really, is three different set designs in one show) by Joe Schermoly (along with Jesse Gaffney on props), lit with precision and skill by Mike Durst, and characters clad in often brilliantly creative costumes by Mara Blumenfeld, the physical look of the show is one of the most stunning and impressive I have ever seen in Chicago storefront theatre.
The cast is uniformly strong. The balance found between all of the actors in this ensemble piece is spot on, and it is a joy to watch.
The choreography couldn't be funnier or more effective.
Though the script is chock-full of intellectual stimulation, Theatre Wit's production of "Mr. Burns" is also, quite simply, really damn entertaining. It's funny, it's witty, it's interesting, and those three acts fly by.
— Elee Schrock,
"Under the deliberate yet freewheeling direction of Jeremy Wechsler, Theater Wit’s production of
— Alex Huntsberger,
Mind-bending, terrifying, hilarious, and moving!
"Each act opens on a different time and place, and things just get weirder each time the curtain rises. And by weird, I mean wonderful. I’m not going to spoil the story for you, but let it be known that the third act has to be seen to be believed."
"Seriously, this show has it all, and it’s using all of the tools of modern theatre to do it – not big technical splashes, but clever designs, good acting, the right mixture of stillness and explosions. Go have your mind blown with some damn fine theatre."
— Jackie Davies,
Jenny / Marge / Nelson
Recent Chicago credits include
Kelley Abell is thrilled to be making her Theater Wit debut with
Matt / Homer / Scratchy
Daniel Desmarais is making his Theater Wit debut. Some of his Chicago credits include:
Colleen / 1st FBI Agent / Lisa
Some of Hannah's Chicago credits include: Gaby in 16th Street Theater’s
Maria / 2nd FBI Agent / Itchy
Christina is making her Theater Wit debut. Other Chicago credits include
Sam / Mr. Burns
Andrew Jessop is returning to Theater Wit after last performing as Don/Franklin in
Quincy / Bart
Leslie Ann Sheppard is excited to join Team Burns! Chicago Theatre Credits: Northlight Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Classical Kids Live!, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Victory Gardens Biograph, TimeLine Theatre. Regional Credits: Theatre Squared (Fayettville, AR), Illinois Shakespeare Theatre, Chicago Fringe Festival, Bristol Renaissance Faire (Kenosha, WI). International Credits: Classical Kids Live! (Singapore). TV/Film: THE MOB DOCTOR (Fox/FX), POWERS (Pilot ep.) She’s also a musician, playwright and stage combatant, with a BA degree from Illinois State University and is the Artistic Director and a founding company member of the Suitcase Shakespeare Co.
Gibson / Sideshow Bob / Homer
Jeff is the co-creator (along with Lacy Katherine Campbell) of Gashlycrumb Orphanage and they recently performed in the Chicago Humanities Festival. Other acting credits include
See the trailer from our 2015 hit production
Inspired! As sublime as it is absurdChicago Sun Times
A significant narrative and emotional achievement! Chicago Tribune
A dizzingly smart contraption, and Wechsler's direction and stellar ensemble keep it all on pointChicago Reader
A post-apocalyptic tale of survival... passion... and the enduring power of Bart Simpson.
After life as we know it has ended, small bands of survivors band together to keep the pilot light of civilization burning. Their path to redemption is as unexpected as it is inevitable in the most original, vibrant and stunning piece of theater you'll see this year.
This unique and prescient theatrical experience is one of the most popular shows in Theater Wit's history. Don't miss it!
Current Community Risk Level is LOW. Mask use is optional.
Please note that individual productions may have seperate mask guidance. Refer to the show page and your confirmation emails for further information
Theater Wit follows the community masking guidelines recommended by Chicago Department of Public Health and CDC Community Risk Levels as outlined below (https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/covid-dashboard.html).
If you are feeling unwell, please do not attend :) Contact our box office on the day of performance and we will reschedule your ticket at no charge.
Our upgraded HVAC systems increase the number of air exchanges to remove aerosolized droplets and provide updated filtering to meet CDC and city standards.
On behalf of the producers, staff and performers, we issue a heartfelt thank you to our audiences who make these generous accomodations for the health of all. We also thank you for respecting the choices of others regarding mask use in our space.