33rd Young Playwrights Festival

January 8-24, 2020 | Pegasus at The Courtyard Theatre

The Young Playwrights Festival (YPF) celebrates the 33rd year of inspiring Chicago students to explore their histories, research their communities and mine their personal journeys to write dynamic one-act plays for the stage. YPF is the only event of its kind in Chicago and is the second largest in the country.

The winning playwrights’ productions are work-shopped and professional produced with full casts and production teams. The competition received over 500 submissions in 2019 with this year’s selections:

PUBLIC IN PRIVATE by Angelina Davila | Directed by Juan Ramirez
Lucie is struggling to get into an art college, but is sidetracked by her brother’s problems and her mother’s lack of support.

CLAUSE 42 by Henry Williams | directed by Jason A. Fleece
George dies and is wrongly sent to the afterlife of a weird cult-like religion and is faced with the prospect of being judged by their ridiculous rules.

 COBALT by Reba Brennan | directed by ILesa Duncan
Vee, a shy 18-year old, seeks solace and adventure on a friend’s couch as an escape from family dysfunction.

The production team includes Alyssa Mohn, scenic design; Josh Wroblewski, lighting design; Rebecca Holcomb, costume design; Steve Labedz, sound design; Dominique Zaragoza, props design; Manny Ortiz, technical director; Kevin Rolfs, scenic charge, Jess Minoque, stage manager, and Kelly Butler, production manager.

Be sure to witness the amazing results and enjoy an evening of theater from tomorrow’s theater stars.

Regular Performance Tickets: $18-30

Student Matinee Tickets: teachers and school administrators should contact ypf@pegasustheatrechicago.org.


About the Production Team

Jason A. Fleece is a theatre artist and educator, Fleece returns to the Young Playwrights Festival, having directed The Adventures of FeRb for YPF 30. Some other favorite directing credits include The Body of an American (Stage Left Theatre), Ordinary Days (BoHo Theatre), and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Oakton Performing Arts Center). Fleece was formerly co-artistic director at Stage Left Theatre, one of the oldest ensemble storefront theatres in Chicago.  He’s currently an Oakton Community College professor and holds an MFA in directing from the Theatre School at DePaul University.

Juan Ramírez returns after directing Fragile Limbs for the 32nd Young Playwrights Festival.  He is a director, filmmaker and actor, who has been active in Film, Theater, and Television for over 40 years and was Executive/Artistic Director of PanAmerica Performance Works (formerly Latino Chicago Theater Company at The Firehouse) for over 30 years. Mr. Ramirez has produced and/or directed over 30 stage productions and 2 full-length feature films. His film ISRAEL IN EXILE (which he also wrote) was a Slamdance Film Festival Competition Selection that received additional screenings at festivals in Cuba, France, England, Spain, Mexico and across the United States. As an actor, Juan has been featured in over 50 films, television shows and stage plays, including a co-starring role on the ABC series Missing Persons (22 episodes) with Daniel Travanti. Other film/tv roles include  “Chain Reaction,” “ER,” “Sleeper Cell,” “Criminal Minds” and “Weeds.”

ILesa Duncan is the executive/producing director at Pegasus Theatre Chicago. Her recent directing work at Pegasus includes Eclipsed (and Theatre on the Lake | Jeff Nominated), Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery (Jeff Nominated), the Green Book, Rutherford’s Travels (Jeff-Recommended) and For Her as a Piano.  Other recent credits include Neverwhereat Lifeline Theatre (Jeff-Recommended), Broken Fencesat 16th Street Theater, Jeff Award-nominated The Nativitywith Congo Square and the Jeff Award-winning Jar the Floorat ETA Creative Arts. Duncan has also worked with The Goodman, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Lifeline Theater, Stage Left and Chicago Dramatists, as well as Contemporary American Theatre Company (Ohio). The Alliance Theatre (Atlanta), Arena Stage (Washington DC) and Lincoln Center Theater (New York). Duncan’s creative nonfiction short stories have been published (Columbia College Chicago) and she’s written poems and screenplays.  For the stage, she co-adapted Rutherford’s Travelsfrom the National Book Award-winning novel Middle Passage, co-wrote and directed Blakk Love: Storeez of A Darker Hue and facilitated the devised project Do You See What I’m Saying for Chameleon. Duncan is the artistic director at Lifeline Theatre.

Production Staff
Scenic Design…………………………………. Alyssa Mohn
Lights/Projections Design……….… Josh Wroblewski
Sound Design……………………………..…. Steve Labedz
Costume Design…………………….. Rebecca Holcomb
Props Design……………………….Dominique Zaragoza
Production Manager…………………..…..    Kelly Butler
Technical Director……………………..……. Manny Ortiz
Stage Manager…………………………
Jessica Minogue


Tina El Gamal is a Chicago-based actor and theatre-artist. She is delighted to make her Pegasus Theatre debut in the 33rd Annual Young Playwrights Festival! Her recent credits include: the world premiere Twice, Thrice, Frice… (Silk Road Rising), Much Ado About Nothing (Oak Park Festival Theatre), the Chicago premiere of I Call My Brothers (Interrobang Theatre Project), the world premiere of Through the Elevated Line u/s (Silk Road Rising), and florissant and canfield (UIC Theatre). Tina received a BFA in Acting from University of Illinois at Chicago, and is represented by NV Talent.

Peter Gertas was most recently seen in Emma at Lifeline Theatre, In To America at Griffin Theatre, and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Citadel). Peter is a recent graduate of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts (CCPA) at Roosevelt University 2018. Represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent.

LiSean “Ling Ling” McElrath Previous theater credits include A Midsummer’s Night Dream (Oberon/Theseus), Wellesley Girl (Donna), as well as understudying the role of Ramon in Strange Heart Beating. Originally from the south side of Chicago, Ling Ling is a Junior at North Central College in Naperville.

Izis Mollinedo is a Latinx actor, singer, and musician from Chicago, a graduate of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and is excited to be working with Pegasus Theatre for the first time (especially because we are bringing young artists’ work to life). They are an ensemble member with Babes With Blades Theatre Company and have previously worked with Strawdog Theatre Company, The Unrehearsed Shakespeare Company, The Hypocrites, Pride Films and Plays, and Signal Ensemble Theatre.

Sarah Rachel Schol is thrilled to work with Pegasus on the 33rd Young Playwrights Festival! Chicago credits: The Doppelgänger (Steppenwolf Theatre), Machinal (Greenhouse Theater Center- Chris Jones’ Top Ten Shows of 2017), The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe (First Folio and OPFT), Fefu and Her Friends (Halcyon Theatre), Eden in Silence (Links Hall), and Miss Major Cushman (Water Street Studios). Regional credits include: Amadeus (Walnut Street Theatre); Great Expectations (Arden Theatre Company); Marat/Sade, Woyzeck, Not I, Spring Awakening (EgoPo Classic Theater); and Macbeth (Revolution Shakespeare).

Destiny Strothers is so excited to be a part of the 33rd Annual Young Playwrights Festival! Recent credits include Countess Dracula (Otherworld Theatre),  Small World (New Colony, u/s) and Swamp Baby (MPAACT). She is a proud graduate of The ACADEMY at Black Box Acting and The UIC School of Theatre and Music (BFA Theatre Performance).

Sebastian Summers is a Chicago based actor and writer. He was recently seen in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” at Drury Lane and the Chicago premiere of “Hands on a Hardbody: The Musical.” He has had featured writing in the New York Times and his first short play “The Move” was produced at the Young Actor’s Studio in Hollywood, CA.
He is thrilled to be bringing new works from inspiring talent to life and thanks Pegasus Theatre for the opportunity!

Austyn Williamson is thrilled to be performing with Pegasus Theatre Chicago and the Young Playwrights Festival! Chicago credits include William/Tenant in POE (Theatre Above The Law); Duke of Gloucester and John Bates in Henry V (First Folio Theatre); and Doctor/Trouble in In The Blood (Pulse Theatre). Austyn is a graduate of Tufts University.