Northlight's Charm, About Transgender Woman Teaching Etiquette, Plays Steppenwolf

News   Northlight's Charm, About Transgender Woman Teaching Etiquette, Plays Steppenwolf
Northlight Theatre presents the world premiere of Philip Dawkins' Charm — which was developed through Northlight’s Interplay Series — Oct. 14-Nov. 8 at Steppenwolf’s Garage Theatre.

Directed by BJ Jones, the cast features Armand Fields (Jonelle), Elizabeth Ledo (D), Monica Lopez Orozco (Ariela), Julian Parker (Donnie), Awate Serequeberhan (Logan), Matt Sherbach (Lady/Emily Post), Namir Smallwood (Beta), Brittney Love Smith (Victoria) and Dexter Zollicoffer (Mama).

Charm, according to press notes, "depicts the colorful inner workings of an etiquette class taught by Mama Darleena Andrews, an African-American transgender woman, in an LGBTQ organization known as The Center. Mama attempts to share her rules of proper behavior with a youth group ranging in sexuality, race and gender identity from a Latina transwoman to a cisgendered straight black couple to a gay suburban teen. Though her students initially struggle to see how etiquette relates to their daily battles with identity, poverty and prejudice, Mama’s powerful love and unapologetic attitude eventually win them over."

The play was inspired by the true story of Miss Gloria Allen at Center on Halsted.

In an earlier statement Jones commented, "After three years of writing and development with Philip this feels like the exact time to bring this indigenous Chicago story to life. Charm is a compassionate, uplifting and ultimately human story, promoting inclusion and dignity.”

The artistic team also includes Alan E. Schwanke (set design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), JR Lederle (lighting design) and Lindsay Jones (sound design). The stage manager is Jonathan Nook. Steppenwolf Garage Theatre is located at 1624 N. Halsted, Chicago. For tickets call (312) 335-1650 or visit

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