MUSE 2017

Femmes Noires de la Resistance

Rounding out its 2017 season, Pegasus Theatre celebrates new works, new artists and new voices with its annual series of theatrical readings, panels and performances featuring female artists intersecting ideas, visions, and artistic excellence.

This year’s MUSE,  Femmes Noires de la Resistance, focuses on black women holding their own power.  MUSE 2017 will feature storytelling duo In The Spirit, spoken word artists collectives Surviving The Mic and HerStory, 3Arts Winner Candace Hunter, as well as musicians L11, Khala Elizabeth, and theatrical performances by Quenna Barrett, Tasia Jones, and excerpts from the plays of Marsha Estell, Loy Webb and Kendeda Winner Tsehaye Hébert. Pegasus will also present a Sneak Peak from the upcoming 2018 Season!

July 13-23, 2017 | Tickets: $10 per performance; Patrons can also purchase Festival passes!

All Performances at:
Chicago Dramatists
773 N. Aberdeen (Theatre Entrance)


Nikki Patin
Featured in The Guardian, Chicago Tribune, HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and on international television and radio, Peabody Award-winning poet Nikki Patin has been writing, performing and educating for almost 15 years. She has taught hundreds of workshops on spoken word, body image and interpersonal violence. Recently, she addressed the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland on behalf of Black women survivors of sexual violence. Nikki Patin holds an MFA in Creative Non-Fiction from the University of Southern Maine. Her work can be found at
Nikki will be hosting many of the nights and will also be doing Surviving the Mic Friday July 14 and 21!
Tasia A. Jones
A professional director, actor and theater educator hailing from Boston, MA. Her recent directing credits include No Child (Northwestern University), For Colored Girls (Boston University), The Archives (Fort Point Theatre Channel), Hidden Faces of Courage
(On With Living and Learning), Oleanna
(Can’t Wait Productions) and the world premiere production of Margaret in Search of Herself
(ARRT/New African Company). She has appeared in such works as Good Television (Zeitgeist Stage Company), The Embryos (Fresh Ink), and The Bluest Eye (Company One). Most recently she performed in the critically acclaimed production of Saturday Night/Sunday Morning at The Lyric Stage Company in Boston. She holds a BFA in theatre arts from Boston University and is currently in the MFA Directing Program at Northwestern University.
On Thursday July 13, Tasia will be performing The Inside adapted from a work by Lydia Diamond.

Marsha Estell

MARSHA ESTELL is a Resident playwright alumna at Chicago Dramatists and a 3Arts Ragdale fellow. Her first play Heat received its world premiere at Chicago
Dramatists, and was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for new work, productions followed at Bloomington Playwrights Project, ETA Creative Arts, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, and Etta Grace theatre. Mama said there’ll be days like this – The History of the Girl Groups was commissioned and produced by the Black Ensemble Theatre, other plays include Edge, Before I Wake (Multi Voices Finalist “In search of a love Supreme… a play with Jazz was a semi-finalist in Polarity Theatre – 2015 Dionysus Cup Festival of New Plays and a finalist in Downtown Urban Theatre festival. Third Rail was commissioned and produced by Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. 10 minute plays Black Girl in Bathtub and The Crooner were featured in the “Black Lives, Black Words festival, she performed her solo show Big butt girls and other fantasies…the remix at Fleetwood Jourdain Theatre, Live Bait, Detroit Historical Museum, MPAACT Solo Jams, Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival and the Chicago Women Funny festival. In August, Dandelions (10 minute play) will be featured in Collaboraction Theatre Peacebook festival. She is the recipient of an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Playwriting.
An excerpt from Marsha’s play The Crooner will be performed on Thursday July 13.

Loy Webb

Loy A. Webb is a Chicago born theatre journalist and playwright, who is an inaugural Tutterow Fellow at Chicago Dramatists. Her work has been featured at Black Ensemble Theatre as a part of their Black Playwrights Initiative, American Theater Company (Big Shoulders Festival 2014), 20 Percent Theatre Company Chicago (Snapshots Festival 2014 and 2015), University of North Dakota, GI60 International One Minute Play Festival (2015), Modern-Day Griot Theatre Company New York and the Black Lives, Black Words International Project, in which she is an associate artist. As a theatre journalist, she is a member of the Association of Women of Journalist-Chicago, a mentor with the AWJ-Chicago/Goodman Theatre’s Cindy Bandle Young Critics Program, and a contributing theater critic for Newcity, an independent Chicago arts paper. Her short play, I AM a Woman is featured in the hip-hop anthology Wish to Live: The Hip-hop Feminism Pedagogy Reader, and her play Saving Inge is featured in the anthology One Minute Plays: A Practical Guide To Tiny Theatre. Loy holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and J.D. from The John Marshall Law School. 

An excerpt from Loy’s play Ode to Young Royalty will be performed on Thursday July 13.

Tsehaye Hebert

The bonafide gumbo girrrl grew up deep down where a curve of the mighty Mississippi  paused, leaving an afterthought before it went on to meet the Gulf of Mexico.  In that silt and beguiled by story, she finds her voice.   She asks, “With Mardi Gras as a baseline, how can anyone define hyperbole?”  Hébert returns to the stage with her signature take on the world and its events. (Alliance-Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Award; Cultural DC SourceFest Top Twenty; SAIC RhinoFest Award; Native Voices and Visions Award; New Works/New Vision Midwest Playwrights Project.) 

An excerpt from Tsehaye’s play Holtzclaw 263 will be performed on Thursday July 13.

In the Spirit

Over twenty years ago, storyteller, Emily Lansana and vocalist, Zahra Glenda Baker came together to form Performance Duo: In the Spirit. Based in Chicago, they have developed an extensive repertoire of stories that carry their audiences on enthralling journeys. Each performance celebrates the power of the word to connect, uplift and transform. They have been recognized for their commitment to community and their vision for change. They have worked with people of all ages, faiths, and cultures from homeless shelters to universities. In each place they remain focused on the belief that creative expression can be an important vehicle for transformation.

In the Spirit celebrates the triumphs of the Black experience using pieces that highlight significant moments in our history. These may include: traditional African music and
stories, folktales and songs from the period of captivity, the Great Migration,
the Civil Rights Movement and dramatizations of individual heroes and heroines.

Their extensive repertoire includes: African and African American Folktales (The Cow-Tail Switch, Those Who Ride the Wind, Anansi the Oldest, Brother Tiger and the Big Wind ) Stories from History (The Selma March, Civil Rights Sit-In, Henry Box Brown)
Inspirational Stories (Waangari Maathai, Open Hand Open Heart ), Original Tales (Miss Maebelle, One is Many), Personal Stories (Family memories, Love Stories, Honoring our Fathers)

Emily and Zahra have performed and led workshops throughout this country and are available in a variety of venues: schools, museums, hospitals, community centers & festivals. Performance & Workshop highlights include: National Association of Black Storytellers Festival-PA, MN, NC, VA, Rhode Island Black Storyteller’s FUNDA Fest, Illinois Storytelling Festival, National Storytelling Festival, Amherst College Storytelling Festival, Mohegan County Storytelling Festival, NY, Minneapolis Black Storytellers Festival-MN, Detroit Storytelling Festival, The Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum, FL,  Iowa State University, Chicago Navy Pier, Chicago Historical Society, The Art Institute, Chicago Children’s Museum, Chicago Humanities Festival, The Field
Museum, DuSable Museum of African American History, Chicago State University,
Northwestern University, DePaul University, Chicago Public schools, parks & libraries.


In the Spirit will be performing on Saturday July 15 .

Deja Harrell and Caitlyn Johnson


Deja Harrell is a writer/actor who just recently received a B.A. in Creative Writing from University of Illinois- Champaign. She began acting in elementary school participating in plays and performing for her family. She’s studied at Second City and Act One Studios. Her interest for screenwriting began at the age of 13 when all of her favorite shows on Disney Channel starring kids who looked like her went off air. She took matters into her own hands and decided to create a show about a brown girl with multiple personalities. However, it wasn’t until college that she would later discover that the writing done in middle school was her passion. Now at 22, she’s written, produced and starred in her first web series, Seeds.



Caitlyn Johnson is a film student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Growing up, Caitlyn has always held a strong interest in cinema and has been making short films from a very young age. Since beginning her film studies, Caitlyn has become active in the local film community in Champaign, IL and has worked on several projects as intern with Shatterglass Studios. Additionally, Caitlyn has done videography work for the Regional Dance Development Initiative, Brown Theater Collective, as well as committee director and now representative of Illinifest Student Film Festival. Starting this Fall, Caitlyn will be continuing her film studies in Prague, Czech Republic at the Film and TV Academy of Performing Arts. Once completed with her time at the University of Illinois, Caitlyn hopes to continue creating films and furthering her skillset as a cinematographer.


The Seeds webseries trailer will play on Sunday July 16.


L11 is a singer/songwriter from Minneapolis, MN. Moving to Chicago in 2013, L11 has emerged herself in the Chicago music scene by collaborating with Columbia College as a music management major, AEMMP Records, Culturati Artist Development, and the Smartmouf Entertainment collective.

L11 will be performing on Sunday July 16.

Candace Hunter

Candace Hunter, a native of Chicago, studied the plastic arts /performance arts at Barat College of the Sacred Heart.  A child of formally educated parents – a mother with wanderlust, a COBOL speaking father – Candace traveled throughout Europe and northern Africa before the age of ten. Seeing the wee small girl in the enormous “Watchman” at the Louvre, the foot of the pyramids at Giza, and the ceiling of the Basilica in Rome at such an early age, cemented the idea of beauty, grandeur and of service.Hunter’s active practice, creates worlds in which she honors family, sacred text, justice and, water scarcity through a variety of media. Often working in fully realized series, “Prayer Circles: Sacred Text and Abstract Thought” invited disparate communities to examine art together, “Dust in Their Veins” continues to enlighten audiences on water scarcity and its dire effects on women and children globally, “Hooded Truths” places the ubiquitous modern hoodie on many unspoken American truths, “So Be It. See To It” visually translates eight of Octavia E. Butler’s books, and lately, “Loss/Scape” – an attempt to create a visual understanding of loss, specifically the loss of human capital from the western shores of Africa from the early 1500’s through to 1860.

Ms. Hunter has been recognized by Diasporal Rhythms as one of their Honorees for the 2014-16 Cycle and most recently honored to be a 3Arts Award Recipient (2016).

Candace will be performing on Thursday July 20.

Shanta Nurrullah

Shanta Nurullah is a storyteller, musician, writer, and teacher. She has been performing since 1972, presenting concerts and workshops in educational and cultural institutions across the country and abroad. Shanta’s performances of stories and songs of African people have graced the stages of ethnic arts festivals, performing arts series, museums, churches, and virtually any place where people gather for enjoyment, information, community-building, and/or inspiration. Drawing from a large repertoire of stories, her performances evoke, surprise, and sometimes even tears. The art of storytelling is not reserved for young audiences alone. Shanta is a storyteller and musician who has found large and enthusiastic among college students, senior citizens, and families in her travels from Chicago to various parts of the country.

Combining original and world music with the spoken word, Shanta has been featured at the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough, Tennessee, and in China, India, Canada and The Yukon. She has also appeared at the National Festival of Black Storytelling, the National Geographic auditorium, Columbia University, The Chicago Jazz Festival, and the Chicago Humanities Festival. She has released several recordings and has won numerous awards. With other members of the AACM (Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians) she co-founded Sojourner and Samana, two all-woman groups in which she played percussion, bass and sitar.

Kahala will be performing on Sunday July 16.

K’Hala Elizabeth

K’hala Elizabeth is a singer songwriter born in Dallas and raised on the Chicago south and west side. She began writing and singing at the age of three and got her first guitar at seven and since then has continued to pursue music.

K’Hala will be performing Thursday July 20.