Good intentions collide with absurd assumptions in MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship recipient Larissa FastHorse’s wickedly funny satire, as a troupe of terminally “woke” teaching artists scrambles to create a pageant that somehow manages to celebrate both Turkey Day and Native American Heritage Month. Featuring an all-star cast of American Blues artists, including two-time Tony Award nominee Lindsay Jones.


Join us for a powerful, live reading via Zoom. The reading run 90 minutes with no 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, November 5 @ 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 the waitlist, contact us at

Partners & Additional Resources

American Indian Center – is the oldest urban American Indian center in the United States. It provides social services, youth and senior programs, cultural learning, and meeting opportunities for Native American peoples.

Chicago American Indian Community Collaborative (CAICC) – convenes organizational leaders and members of the Chicago American Indian community for dialogue, advocacy, and planning with the goal of empowering CAICC to better address the issues and needs of the American Indian community

Chicago Public Schools (CPS) – their mission is to provide a high-quality public education for every child, in every neighborhood, that prepares each for success in college, career, and civic life.

Creative Team

LARISSA FASTHORSE she/her (playwright) (Sicangu Lakota Nation) is an award-winning writer and 2020-2025 MacArthur Fellow. Her satirical comedy, The Thanksgiving Play (Playwrights Horizons/Geffen Playhouse), was one of the top ten most produced plays in America. She is the first Native American playwright in the history of American theater on that list. Selected additional produced plays include What Would Crazy Horse Do? (KCRep), Landless and Cow Pie Bingo (AlterTheater), Average Family (Children’s Theater Company of Minneapolis), Teaching Disco Squaredancing to Our Elders: a Class Presentation (Native Voices at the Autry), Vanishing Point (Eagle Project), and Cherokee Family Reunion (Mountainside Theater). Her newest play is being written for a co-production with Second Stage and Center Theatre Group. In 2019 Larissa re-entered film and television by co-creating a series at Freeform. Since, she has set up projects with Disney Channel, NBC, Dreamworks, and is writing on a series for Apple+. She is also in development on projects with Taylor Made Productions, Mountain A, Muse, and Concord Theatricals. Film and TV feel like coming home to Larissa who began her writer training as a Sundance Native Feature Fellow, Fox Diversity Fellow, ABC Native American Fellow, and as the creator for shows at Fox and Teen Nick. Over the past several years Larissa has created a nationally recognized trilogy of community engaged theatrical experiences with Cornerstone Theater Company and her collaborative partner, Michael John Garcés. The first was Urban Rez in Los Angeles. The second project, Native Nation, was the largest Indigenous theater production in the history of American theater with over 400 Native artists involved in the productions in association with ASU Gammage. Their current project, The L/D/Nakota Project is set in Larissa’s homelands of South Dakota. Their radical inclusion process with Indigenous tribes has been honored with the most prestigious national arts funding from Creative Capital, MAP Fund, NEFA, First People’s Fund, the NEA Our Town Grant, Mellon Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, Native Arts and Cultures, and others. Some additional theaters that have commissioned or developed plays with Larissa include The Public, Yale Rep, Guthrie, Geffen Playhouse, History Theater, Kennedy Center TYA, Baltimore’s Center Stage, Arizona Theater Company, Mixed Blood, Perseverance Theater Company, The Lark Playwrights Week, the Center Theatre Group Writer’s Workshop and Berkeley Rep’s Ground Floor. Larissa’s additional awards include the PEN/Laura Pels Theater Award for an American Playwright, NEA Distinguished New Play Development Grant, Joe Dowling Annamaghkerrig Fellowship, AATE Distinguished Play Award, Inge Residency, Sundance/Ford Foundation Fellowship, Aurand Harris Fellowship, and the UCLA Native American Program Woman of the Year. Larissa’s company, Indigenous Direction, is a consulting company currently working with national clients including Western Arts Alliance, Guthrie Theater, Roundabout Theater Company, Macy’s, and Brown University. She is co-vice chair of the board of directors of Playwrights Horizons and represented by Jonathan Mills at Paradigm NY and Liza Montesano of Schreck Rose Dapello Adams Berlin & Dunham LLP. She lives in Santa Monica with her husband, the sculptor Edd Hogan.  

ELYSE DOLAN she/her (director) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater where she is also the Associate Producer. Here at Blues she has directed several short plays in past editions of The Ripped Festival; directed staged readings in the annual Blue Ink Festival; has been Assistant Director on a handful shows including Six Corners and Little Shop of Horrors;and is the Set Dressing/Properties Designer for the annual production It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!. Recent directing credits include the Zoom reading of Other Rockpools at The New Coordinates, the Chicago premiere of If/Then at Brown Paper Box Co., and she was two weeks away from opening Nine at Blank Theatre Company at the time of the pandemic shut-down. Her directing work has been seen across Chicago at The New Coordinates, Broken Nose Theatre, Prop Thtr, Commission Theatre, Babes with Blades, 20% Theatre Company, and more. Elyse holds a B.A. from Denison University.

AUDREY BILLINGS she/her (Alicia) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She was last seen as Mary Bailey (and others) in It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!, here at Blues. Previous credits include: Christmas Eve in the long-running production of Avenue Q at the Mercury Theater, Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ Superstar, Antonia in Man of la Mancha, and Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof. She has worked at the Paramount Theatre, Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire, Drury Lane Oakbrook, Theatre at the Center, Lookingglass Theatre Company and is a proud member of Actor’s Equity. Much love to Nick, and thanks for joining us in our Zoom Room!

LINDSAY JONES he/him (Caden) has been an Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater since 1998, and will be making his first appearance as an actor since 1994 in this production. Although he received a BFA in Acting from the North Carolina School of the Arts, he has since become a successful composer and sound designer for theatre and film, most recently receiving two Tony Award nominations for his sound design and original score for Slave Play. He is currently in the process of creating his new solo show Get Hot or Get Out with director Meredith McDonough, and his previous solo show Audio Blues: Following Son House premiered at Geva Theatre in 2015. Previous acting roles include Joseph in No Exit, Jacques in As You Like It, Marco in A View from The Bridge, and his final acting role was understudying all of the male roles of All in The Timing at Northlight Theatre.

ZACH KENNEY he/him (Jaxton) is a proud Artistic Affiliate at American Blues Theater, where credits include It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago! and Waiting for Lefty. Zach has also worked with Indiana Rep, A.C.T., Asolo Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Victory Gardens, TimeLine, The Inconvenience, Steppenwolf, Goodman, and others. Television credits include Chicago Fire (NBC), The Young and the Restless (CBS), and Perry Mason (HBO).


J.G. SMITH she/her (Logan) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She is an actor, model, filmmaker, and performance artist. She made her feature film debut in Jennifer Reeder’s acclaimed teen thriller Knives and Skin, and has performed onstage with American Blues, Lookingglass, Northlight, Vision Productions, and the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. J.G. co-devised and produced the dark comedy variety hour MARYSHELLEYSHOW with Barbara Begley, which toured nationally and won an Audience Award at Chicago Fringe. She also wrote and produced the short film Hire Me Spielberg (Official Selection, NOLA’S Hell Yes Film Festival). Her performance art has shown at Chicago’s Salonathon, NYC’s Undiscovered Countries, and TransVisions’ virtual SOFT PALETTE festival. In Fall 2021, J.G. can be seen in ads for Cannabist and Andre Champagnes. She is proudly repped by Paonessa Talent. Artistic Affiliate, American Blues; Associate Artist, Undiscovered Countries. AEA, SAG-AFTRAe.

SHANDEE VAUGHAN she/her (stage manager) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater and happy as always to be back with her Blues family!Blues credits: Roan @ the GatesFive PresidentsThe Spitfire Grill, The Absolute Brightness of Leonard PelkeyOn Clover RoadIt’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago (2016 & 2018-2020), Flyin’ WestThe Buddy Holly StoryThe Columnist, and Little Shop of Horrors. Other recent Chicago credits include: Time Is On Our Side (About Face Theatre), Deathscribe X (WildClaw Theatre), Night in Alachua County (WildClaw Theatre), and The Woman in Black (WildClaw Theatre). Shandee 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.

Playwrights Horizons, Inc., New York City, produced the World Premiere of THE THANKSGIVING PLAY in 2018. THE THANKSGIVING PLAY was originally commissioned and produced by Artists Repertory Theatre – Damaso Rodriguez, Artistic Director, Sarah Horton, Managing Director, Portland, Oregon.

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