Margaret is working two jobs to pay down her debt. During the day, she’s wading through office triviality at The Services Corporation, and by night, she’s working the drive-through of The Burg, a 24/7 fast food restaurant. Overtired, ungrounded, and abandoned by her parents at birth, Margaret’s existential crisis begins to turn around as connections are found in the most unsuspecting of places. Funny and heartfelt, this is a contemporary look at the quarter-life crisis and connecting in an impersonal world.


Join us for a powerful, live reading via Zoom. The reading runs 100 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 view the downloadable pdf.

Buy tickets here or call (773) 654-3103 until Friday, February 25 @ 3:00 PM Central. Suggested donation is $10 or pay-what-you-can. Your Zoom link will be send 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

NAMI Chicago – Since 1979, NAMI Chicago has fought for families and individuals impacted by mental health conditions. We promote community wellness, break down barriers to mental health care and provide support and expertise for families, professionals and individuals in Chicago and beyond.

SAMHSA – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. SAMHSA’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

Chicago Diversity Virtual Career Fair – The Virtual Career Fair easily connects you – from wherever you are – with employers seeking to hire diverse candidates. It is designed to bring employers and job seekers together virtually, for jobs that can be done remote or on-site.

Creative Team

NATHAN ALAN DAVIS he/him (playwright) is an award-winning playwright. His plays include: The High Ground (upcoming at Arena Stage), Nat Turner in Jerusalem (New York Theatre Workshop; Stavis Playwright Award), Dontrell Who Kissed the Sea (NNPN Rolling World Premiere; Steinberg/ATCA New Play Citation), and The Wind and the Breeze (Cygnet Theatre; American Blues Theater Blue Ink Award, Lorraine Hansberry Award). He received a Windham-Campbell Prize in 2021. Other recent honors include: The Lark Venturous Fellow (2021-22), Steinberg Playwright Award (2020), Sundance at Ucross Fellow (2019), and Whiting Award (2018). Nathan is a Lecturer in Theater and Berlind Playwright-in-Residence at Princeton University. He is an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Indiana University Bloomington, and The Juilliard School.

MANNY BUCKLEY he/him (director) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. He is a Chicago-based director, actor, playwright and teaching artist. Blues credits include It’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!Six CornersLooking Over the President’s Shoulder (Jeff Award Nomination-Best Solo Performance), and Dutchman/TRANSit (Black Theatre Alliance Award Nomination). Manny toured nationally as “Satchel Paige” in the original production of The Satchel Paige Story, and appeared in The Father (Helen Hayes Award Nomination) at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. He originated the role of “Carson” in Hit the Wall, which sold out extensions in Steppenwolf’s Garage Rep. Select Chicago credits include The Brothers Size1984, and Of Mice and Men (Steppenwolf); Dorian (House Theater); and Love’s Labor’s Lost (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre). Mr. Buckley is the recipient of a Black Theatre Alliance, and Black Excellence Award. He most recently directed Kingdom, an audio drama, with Broken Nose Theatre.

BRIAN BRADFORD he/him (Dex) is delighted to be working with American Blues Theater again, where he understudied & performed in Five Presidents and performed in The Ripped Festival. Chicago theatre credits include Titus Andronicus (Haven); Hamlet (Gift Theatre); Fuente Ovejuna, The Bloodhound Law (City Lit Theater); Force Continuum (Eclipse Theatre Company); Romeo and Juliet (Muse of Fire Theatre Company); Estrella Cruz, In Love and Warcraft, From Every Mountainside/or does it explode, Emperor of the Moon (Halcyon Theatre); Macbeth (Accidental Shakespeare Company); and Today We Escape (Tympanic Theatre Company).

GRANT CARRIKER he/him (Bobby) is an actor/writer from Iowa. He is a graduate of Roosevelt University with a BFA in Acting. Acting credits include: Newsies (Paramount Theatre), A Chorus Line (Porchlight Music Theatre), Dutchman/TRANSit (American Blues Theater), Rock N Roll and The School For Lies (The Artistic Home). Directing credits include: Newsies, Cinderella, and The Light In The Piazza (American Gothic Performing Arts Festival). He is appearing next month in Creating ARThur with Last Nerve Live at Theatre Wit.


MINITA GANDHI she/they (Anita) is a Los Angeles based actor/writer/director/producer who was born in Mumbai, India. Raised in the Bay Area, Minita cultivated an artistic home for herself in Chicago for over a decade before moving to LA.  Minita can be seen on Chicago Fire and PD as Dr. Prospere, on Brown Girls as Mussarat, The Onion News Network as anchor Nina Shankar, and their voice can be heard on Disney’s Mickey’s Mixed-up Adventures, and a variety of audiobooks. Film credits include Death Wish, Ephemera, and Signature Move. Some of her regional theatre credits include Lookingglass Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Arena Stage and Milwaukee Repertory Theatre. Her solo-show Muthaland, was Jeff Recommended (best new work and solo-performance) and closed a sold-out run of its World Premiere at 16th Street Theater in the Chicagoland area (2017). It has been featured by NBC News, The Takeaway with John Hockenberry on NPR, and The Atlantic in a twenty minute Emmy award winning documentary about the making of the play. Her play The Sun and all it’s Sighs was part of the 2020 Ripped Festival at American Blues Theater in 2020. She has been a dramaturg for PCPA Theaterfest’s production of Much Ado about Nothing and Book-It Theater’s World Premiere production of Behold the Dreamers.  They are the director/producer for a 5-episode Documentary Series: History is Now . Other directing/writing credits include the digital production of Hindsight is 2020 or how Raisin Rainbows survived a pandemic starring Tony Award nominee Cora Vanderbroek, and new work development and readings at CAATA, and Stage Left Theater. As an activist and speaker, Minita was the keynote speaker for Commit2Change in 2018, a former PBS Pledge Host, and has been a professional host and MC for many fundraisers and events. She teaches workshops on artivism and does work to support survivors. Gandhi is the Founder of IGNITE, a mentorship program for BIPOC women and non-binary theater artists that connects emerging artists to national theater leaders, and the co-founder for Pathways, a new 2-year program being developed in partnership with AGE and ART in Portland.  In 2021, she focused on working with BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) in her work with AGE (Advance Gender Equity in the Arts), as their National Program Director.  Upcoming: Muthaland at Renaissance Theaterworks May 13-June. Gandhi is currently working on a new libretto, and developing a new play called Nerve.

CARLY JO GEER she/her (Val) received her BA in Acting from Columbia College Chicago and since graduating, has dipped her toes in a variety of theatrical experiences. In order to fill her creative needs, Carly began writing and performing her own solo show, I Come From Hoarders which premiered in 2017 and was published in 2021 in “At The Intersection of Disability and Drama: A Critical Anthology of New Plays”. Carly Jo can also be heard as the voice of several Revlon hair product videos on Amazon. Besides acting, she also hosts a Degrassi recap podcast with her cousin Jessie Mack called “A Social Disease” which is available to stream on all major podcast apps. Carly Jo would like to thank Manny Buckley for the opportunity to perform in her first virtual reading. 

JOSLYN JONES she/her (Roxanne) Credits include – Flyin’ West (American Blues Theater) Steel Magnolias (Theatre at the Center); Intimate Apparel (Theatre Squared); ANDROMEDA (Theatre Squared); The Project(s) (American Theater Company) Jeff Nomination, Best Production; The Delany Sisters: Having Our Say – The First Hundred Years (Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre); Once On This Island (Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre); 12 Ophelias (Trap Door Theatre); Weekend (TimeLine Theatre), Bourbon At The Border (Eclipse Theatre) BTAA Nomination, Featured Actress; Escape (Live Bait Theatre); Flyin’ West and RAISIN (Court Theatre), Bee-Luther-Hatchee (The University Of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign); Fabulation: Or, The Re-Education of Undine (Next Theatre); Relevant Hearsay (MPACCT: Theater on the Lake); Bee-Luther-Hatchee and Smokey Joe’s Café (Open Door Theater); Meshuggah Nuns! (Chicago Jewish Theatre); The Kurt Weil Revue: Songs of Darkness and Light (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) Jeff Nomination, Best Musical Production; To Kill A Mockingbird (Metropolis Performing Arts Centre); 2002 Class of The School at Steppenwolf. She has understudied: Having Our Say and Crumbs From The Table of Joy (Goodman Theatre);  Film: Cherry, directed by the Russo Brothers with Tom Holland as her scene partner; Television: South Side-Mrs. Odom (HBO Max); Chicago PD (NBC). Joslyn is a proud member of Actors Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA.

STEVE KEY he/him (Gary) is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater and member of Actor’s Equity. He’s thrilled to return, albeit virtually, to perform with this brilliant group of artists in Origin Story.  Most recently he performed in Steppenwolf’s BUG, and his last performance with American Blues Theater was The Rainmaker.  In Chicago he’s worked with; Steppenwolf, Goodman, A Red Orchid, Remy Bumppo, Northlight, Victory Gardens, and Shattered Globe Theatre (where he’s a former Artistic Director). Beyond Chicago, Steve’s performed in Broadway’s Sweat, and it’s following tour, in the Broadway tour of August: Osage County and he has worked at The Town Hall in Galway IRL, The Public in NY, The Ahmanson in LA and The Kennedy Center in DC.  Steve has received 6 Jeff Awards and 4 nominations for Principal and Supporting Actor and Ensemble (equity and non-equity). Film: Hayseed, 1,000 Acres, At Any Price, Blackmail, Public Enemies, Salvaging, Three Days. TV: FBI: most Wanted, The Good Fight, Elementary, Chicago Fire , Law & Order – SVU, Family Practice, Chicago Code, Boss, and Mob Doctor.

SANA SELEMON she/her (Margaret) is an actor, dialect coach, teaching artist, and arts administrator at Marriott Theatre and BoHo Theatre. She proudly hails Columbus, OH and from two loving Ethiopian parents. Sana attended Ohio University for her BFA in acting and also received a minor in Sociolinguistics which has fueled her passion for accents and the world of languages. Based in Chicago, Sana has worked with BoHo Theatre, Pegasus Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Definition Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, Pride Films and Plays, First Floor Theater, and is a proud member of SAG-AFTRA.

SHANDEE VAUGHAN she/her (Stage Manager) is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. After spending her winter back in theater for It’s a Wonderful Life, Shandee is excited to be back at Blues for Origin Story.Blues credits: Roan @ the GatesFive PresidentsThe Spitfire Grill,The Absolute Brightness of Leonard PelkeyOn Clover RoadIt’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago (2016 & 2018-2021), Flyin’ West, The Buddy Holly Story, The Columnist, and Little Shop of Horrors. Other recent Chicago credits include: In Every Generation (Victory Gardens) 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 artist to appear on this program.

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