Read 2024’s short works inspired and ripped from today’s headlines in our online script library.

Back by demand and in our 16th year, we’re thrilled to celebrate these writers and short plays by American Blues Theater’s Ensemble, Artistic Affiliates, and extended family. Read the short plays now, and watch these scripts go from page-to-screen in our @Home accessibility series on July 29.


“I’ve wanted to tell you this story for a while now, but the time never seemed right.”

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ERIC BERG has acted at Chicago’s Goodman Theater, studied improv under Del Close and at Second City, written a play produced at the Organic Theatre, founded a comedy troupe at Yale, and taught acting at Johns Hopkins University. His latest play, “Wayward,” was a recent winner in First Run Theatre’s New Play Contest. He is also a nationally ranked construction attorney, having authored and edited numerous publications on the topic

“I’m lost in a Ball-Pit of despair“

Article inspiration here

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LIZ CHIDESTER is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. She is a critically acclaimed and award winning singer/songwriter, actor, and teaching artist. Her original releases with her band LIZ AND THE LOVELIES include People Pumping Pedals (2014) Otter Hill (2015), Progress Into Simplicity (2017), otherside of the darkest timeline (2021), and Billy (2024). She won NPR’s New Song Songwriting Contest, a Chicago Music Award, the Leaf Songwriter Competition, an Independent Music Award, and is featured in the Great American Songbook. Her song “the great american chestnut tree” was featured on NPR’S All Songs Considered.  She is a member of the Recording Academy and the Folk Alliance International. Liz is a Jeff Award winning and critically acclaimed actor, called “one of the most truthful actors in this city” by Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune. She can bee seen at American Blues Theater (Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story, The Commons, @Home), and a Company Member of Firebrand Theatre (Lizzie). She has worked as an actor, collaborator, and composer with PigPen Theatre Co., Chicago Children’s Theatre, and Cabinet of Curiosity. Liz was a longtime teaching artist at the historic Old Town School of Folk Music, and now teaches with NYC’s Education Through Music. She is a proud graduate of James Madison University’s School of Music.

“What the hell is a TikTok?“

Article inspiration here

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HEATHER MEYERS has been a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater since 1996. Heather is a stage manager, director, writer and lifelong lover of reading. Thanks to family & friends for providing love and inspiration every day.

“Yeah, but…here? People wanna get out, not get in.“

Article inspiration here & here

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KATARZYNA MÜLLER is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She was born in Poland and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. English is her second language. As an emerging playwright, she writes and workshops plays in Chicago and New York. Most recently, she worked on the Polish adaptation of Audrey Cefaly’s The Last Wide Open, world premiere at American Blues this summer. Kathy also works in other media, including award-winning short films. Her screenplay “Again” (Znovu) began as a short play in the Ripped Festival and has been recognized internationally: Best First-Time Screenwriter, Košice International Film Festival (Slovakia); Runner-up, Best Short Screenplay, Polish International Film Festival (Poland); Finalist, Big Apple Film Festival (NYC); Official Selection, Pasadena International Film Festival; among others. BA, PhD, University of Chicago.

Article inspiration – the election

Script unavailable

TANIA RICHARD is a proud Artistic Affiliate of American Blues Theater. She is a published writer, award-winning actress, teacher, and antiracism educator. Her platform, Tania’s Take, showcases her podcast, essays, DEI educational content, and videos. She is the DEI Consultant for American Blues Theater. Her blog, Writing My Mind, was part of the Chicago Tribune’s blogging platform for ten years. She is active in the Chicago live-lit scene. She’s also an award-winning playwright. Her commentary can be heard on OUT Chicago, NPR’s The Story, All Things Considered, and WTTW’s Chicago Tonight. As an actress, she has appeared on CHICAGO FIRE, CHICAGO JUSTICE, CHICAGO PD, EMPIRE, and in national commercials for Lowes and BMO Harris, among others. She has performed on Broadway with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The Goodman Theatre, The Second City, and other theatres.

“I just wanna make sure we set boundaries, early on.“

Article inspiration here & here

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EDITHA ROSARIO-MOORE has been a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater since 2001, and currently serves as Co-Vice President of the Board of Directors. She works as an attorney supervisor with the Cook County Public Defender and adjunct clinical law professor at DePaul Law School. Previously, she worked as a theater artist and educator in Chicago, New York, and New Orleans. Her scholarship explores the relationship between criminal law education and community empowerment.

“I just found out…I…heard on the news this morning…“

Article inspiration here

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WANDACHRISTINE is a proud Ensemble member of American Blues Theater. She has starred on many stages throughout the country in such notable productions as FENCES, THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES, GEES BEND, THYESTES, OLD SETTLER, FAMILIAR and A WONDER IN MY SOUL. As a proud Ensemble Member of American Blues Theater, she was awarded the Ruby Dee/Black Theater Alliance Award for her solo performance in the American Blues Production of BEAUTY’S DAUGHTER. As an author her fiction novel, I LOVE YOU MORE…THAN SHOES!, about four actresses over 50 is available on Amazon. She recently Starred in the Court Theater Production of  STOKELY:  THE UNFINISHED REVOLUTION. In the Fall she will Star in the American Blues Theater’s production of Stephen King’s MISERY. Wandachristine would also like to thank American Blues for asking her to contribute to the RIPP Festival yearly.

Chicago’s original – Est. 2009

HISTORY – Our Ripped: The Living Newspaper Project began in 2009 with a series of staged readings of short plays based on the 1930s WPA era program “The Living Newspaper” and Federal Writers’ Project, enabling artists such as Ralph Ellison, Susan Glaspell, Zora Neale Hurston, Eugene O’Neill, Studs Terkel, and Richard Wright. Since our inaugural 2009 launch, we’ve presented 22 events and utilized 650+ artists that feature short plays ripped from today’s headlines.

In 2013, we expanded our staged readings into the sold-out, one-night-only, annual event – The Ripped Festival. All proceeds of these annual events benefit our free arts education program in Chicago Public Schools. In addition, we have showcased short plays from CPS students who’ve completed our course. Due to the 2020-2023 pandemic, industry shutdown of live events, and loss of our rental venue, we presented The Ripped Festival as an online library, featuring 30 short plays throughout the month of June. Selected scripts were used during a theater course at the University of California – Berkeley.

In 2024, we created an online library and will stage the short plays through our @Home accessibility series, taking them from stage to screen.

Our annual festival cultivates new material and allows audiences to discuss topical issues together. American Blues Theater provides community service and raises awareness through creative collaborations. The following organizations have been supported by Ripped events since its inception in 2009: AgrAbility, American Indian Chicago, Chicago Public Schools, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Farm Bureau, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, NAACP Legal Defense & Education Fund, No Kid Hungry, University of Chicago’s Urban Education Teachers Program, and more.

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