SYNOPSIS: Jules saw something in the Idaho hospital the night her mom died, but she’ll never say what it was. Not to her ex, Olivia, and especially not to her brother, Jake, who keeps trying to convince her to go with him to the Greenbelt to spread their mom’s ashes with their father, Alan. But try as she might, Jules can’t shake the memories of the past that haunt her like a gin-soaked hangover as the day unravels the past events surrounding her mother’s death come to light. A serio-comic play that jumps between past and present, On the Greenbelt, explores family, love, memory, and the question of “how do we process grief?”. Content warning: physical violence, murder, substance abuse.
FRIDAY, APRIL 30 @ 7:00 PM Central
Join us for a powerful, live reading via Zoom. The reading runs about 2 hours and a 10 minute intermission. Following the reading, stay in our virtual space for a group discussion and share actions you can take. For more information, read our Backstage Guide in your browser or download pdf.
Buy tickets HERE or call (773) 654-3103 until Friday, April 30 @ 3:00 PM Central. Suggested donation is $10 or pay-what-you-can. Your Zoom link will be sent the day before the reading and again 1 hour before the reading starts. For any questions or to get on a waitlist, contact us at BoxOffice@AmericanBluesTheater.com.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – their mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.
Chicago DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC HEALTH – MENTAL HEALTH and substance abuse resource – extensive collection of Chicago-area resources compiled by the Chicago Department of Public Health, including local support groups, recovery groups, therapy, and more.
COVID GRIEF NETWORK – a volunteer-run mutual aid network that aims to undo isolation for young adults grieving the illness or death of someone close to COVID-19. COVID Grief Network connects individuals in their 20s or 30s to free one-on-one and/or group support from a volunteer grief worker.
Human Rights Campaign (HRC) – they envision a world where every member of the LGBTQ community has the freedom to live their truth without fear, and with equality under the law.
Self-Help Addiction Recovery Training (SMART) – a global community of mutual-support groups where participants help one another resolve problems with any addiction. Participants find and develop the power within themselves to change and lead fulfilling and balanced lives guided through a 4-point program.
Creative Team’s Biographies
KARISSA MURRELL MYERS she/her (Playwright) is a hapa Filipiano American theatre artist originally from Boise, Idaho and is currently based in Chicago, where she works professionally as an actor, playwright, casting director, and producer. She has a MFA in Performance from University of Hawaii at Manoa, a BA in Theatre Arts from Boise State University, and is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf. As a performer, Karissa has worked at a number of regional theatres including Goodman Theatre, Remy Bumppo, The House Theatre of Chicago, Court Theatre, and Renaissance Theaterworks. Television work includes Chicago Med, Chicago PD, Electric Dreams, and The Exorcist. Her autobiographical play FRAGMENTED was filmed and released through Our Perspective: Asian American Plays in November 2020. Her most recent play, HOW DO WE NAVIGATE SPACE?, was filmed and released through Strawdog Theatre Company, where she is the current Casting Director and ensemble member. She also does freelance casting work for theatres around the country. Proud member of SAG-AFTRA. Represented by Gray Talent Group. www.kmurrellmyers.com
ANDREW COOPMAN they/he (Director) is a Seattle-based director, choreographer, teaching artist, devised theater artist, and playwright who is finishing up their Masters of Fine Arts in Directing from the University of Washington School of Drama, graduating June 2021. They are super proud to make their Chicago directorial debut with American Blues Theater. Previous highlight credits include RE: Social/Divide (Cooperative Performance, Milwaukee), FROZEN: A Play (Cabaret Theater, Seattle), I & You (Burien Actor’s Theater), Into the Woods (Studio East, Seattle), Body Awareness (Jones Playhouse, Seattle), Disney’s Beauty & The Beast (EDP, Seattle), and The Convent of Pleasure (Ghostlight Ensemble Theater, Chicago). They have also directed the world premieres of The Sunflower Sisters by John Ruoff (Eclectic Theater), The Sorry Play by Chelsea Hackett (NYU), and ran a new play development for young artists as a part of The Scratch Workshop Series in Seattle. Andrew would like to thank Karissa for their collaboration and creativity on this journey, and much love to his husband, Jamey Cheek. AndrewCoopman.com
ISA ARCINIEGAS she/her (Olivia) Chicago: How to Defend Yourself (Victory Gardens Theatre); Wolf Play (The Gift Theatre); First Love is the Revolution (Steep Theatre); Fantastic Mr. Fox (Emerald City Theatre); The Wolves (Goodman Theatre, Jeff Award—Best Ensemble), Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theater); Buried Child (Writers Theatre); We’re Gonna Die (Haven Theatre Company, ALTA Award—Outstanding Actor in a Principal Role in a Musical); good friday (Oracle Productions); You On The Moors Now and American Idiot (The Hypocrites); Romeo and Juliet (Teatro Vista); and Adventures With Aladdin (Lookingglass Theatre Company with Chicago Symphony Orchestra). Regional: Such Things as Vampires (People’s Light Theatre); Stinky Cheese Man and Letters Home (Griffin Theatre National Tour). Isa is an ensemble member with Griffin Theatre Company and is represented by Gray Talent.
JAZMIN CORONA she/her (Lydia) Chicago credits include: Roe (Goodman Theatre); Shrew’d and MacBeth (First Folio Theatre); I’m Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter and The Compass (u/s, Steppenwolf Theatre); 1776 (Porchlight Music Theatre); Women of 4G (Babes With Blades Theatre Company); Two Mile Hollow (First Floor Theater); Gender Breakdown (Collaboraction); Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose (Raven Theatre). TV credits: Chicago Fire.
JESSICA ERVIN she/her (Mallory) is an ensemble member at Rivendell Theatre where she has worked on many projects, and received an equity Jeff nomination for her portrayal of Ester in Dry Land. She’s also an artistic associate with Bramble Theatre. Other theatre work includes roles with A Red Orchid Theatre, Walkabout Theatre, Route 66, The Public House, and Blue Goose. You can see her in an episode of NBC’s Chicago Fire as well as the films Princess Cyd, Teacher, Provo, New Normal, and Stalled. Jessica is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and Ball State University, and is proud to be represented by Actor’s Talent Group.
PHILIP EARL JOHNSON he/him (Alan) is a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater. Other Chicago theater credits include work atGoodman Theater, Paramount Theatre, Writers Theatre, Court Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, TimeLine Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Bailiwick Chicago and American Theater Company (Jeff Award – The Big Meal). National tour work includes Angels in America: Parts 1 & 2. Recent television credits include Proven Innocent, Empire, Chicago Med, Chicago Fire and Mind Games. One man comedy show: MooNiE: Juggler, Ropewalker, Foolish Mortal!
PETER SIPLA he/him (Jake) is thrilled to debut with American Blues Theater’s The Room Reading Series! He was most recently seen on stage playing the drums as the character Rom in Lauren Yee’s Cambodian Rock Band in a three-city co-production (Victory Gardens Theatre, City Theatre, and Merrimack Repertory Theatre). Peter facilitates a play-reading Facebook group comprised of 650 actors and playwrights from the US, UK, and Hong Kong, which has read over 150 plays in the last year. Other credits include Phra Alack in The King and I (Lyric Opera of Chicago), Henry in South Pacific (Drury Lane Theatre), Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing (Oak Park Festival Theatre), Short Shakes!: Romeo and Juliet and Passion (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), Newsies and City of Angels (Marriott Theatre), Wizard of Oz and Miss Saigon (Paramount Theatre), and work with TimeLine Theatre, Writers’ Theatre, First Folio Theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre, Skylight Music Theatre, Brightside Theatre, Red Tape Theatre, Steel Beam Theatre, and Disney Cruise Line. Television credits include neXt (Fox), and Chicago Fire (NBC). In Voiceover, Peter has recorded hundreds of commercials and industrials and has an upcoming short story podcast. He is a proud member of Actor’s Equity, SAG-AFTRA, and AGMA, and a proud North Central College alum. Represented by Gray Talent Group. www.petersipla.com
GRACE SMITH she/her (Stage Directions) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. Film/TV: Knives and Skin, Dreaming Grand Avenue, The World’s Astonishing News!, Hire Me Spielberg, and The Art of Sisters (upcoming). Stage: American Blues, Northlight, Lookingglass, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Goodman, Vision Productions, Chicago Fringe, Live Source Theatre Group, The Tank NYC, The GYM at Judson, The Theatre Project (Brunswick, ME). As an Associate Artist with Undiscovered Countries, Grace has debuted numerous original pieces at their semimonthly Infinite Festivals; co-devised/produced all workshops, stagings, and the national tour of MARYSHELLEYSHOW; and successfully emceed a matching fundraiser for Chicago Freedom School entirely on social media. She is a proud AEA member and repped by Paonessa Talent. Learn more at GraceSmithActor.com or @graysmiff on Instagram.
KARIN TERRY she/they (Jules) is a Seattle based actor, singer, and teaching artist. Karin was seen most recently as Caroline in I and You with Burien Actors Theatre. Other recent credits include Toby in Sweeney Todd (Reboot), Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice and Sibella in A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Driftwood Players), Max in Cabaret (Seattle G&S). Over the last year she has been performing virtually with the Memphis Belles, and 1940s style vocal trio.
CARA PARRISH she/her (Stage Manager) is a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater where she is also the Office & HR Manager. Chicago credits: Gem of the Ocean, Electra, Hard Problem, Photograph 51, Five Guys Named Moe, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, Lady From the Sea (Court Theatre); WITCH, Port Authority, Yellow Moon, The Letters, The Caretaker, Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf, & The Blond, The Brunette, and the Vengeful Redhead (Writers Theatre); Too Heavy for Your Pocket & The Vibrator Play (TimeLine Theatre Company); James and the Giant Peach (Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook); Jabari Dreams of Freedom (Chicago Children’s Theatre); Romeo and Juliet & Emma (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Beauty’s Daughter & Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story (American Blues Theater). Cara is a proud member of Actors’ Equity Association.
We wish to express our gratitude to the Performers’ Unions (Actors’ Equity Association, American Guild of Musical Artists, American Guild of Variety Artists, SAG-AFTRA) through Theatre Authority, Inc. for their cooperation in permitting the artists to appear on this program.