The Gimmick

by Dael Orlandersmith
Chicago Premiere
February 11–March 28, 2010

Pulitzer Prize nominee and Obie Award-winning playwright Dael Orlandersmith’s THE GIMMICK is a journey through the childhood of Alexis and Jimmy, two outsiders from broken families who forge a friendship after discovering their shared passion for the arts.  theirs is a love more powerful than the ghetto gimmicks that devastate much of the Harlem of their youth.  When one falls, the bond that has kept them whole threatens to destroy them both.  Alexis’ love of literature and writing provides a literal escape from a future of abuse, neglect, drugs, and prostitution.

Jeff Recommended

“This show should be seen by teens, and by every teacher, librarian and parent whomight sometimes doubt the influence they can exert.”

“LaNisa Frederick brings such emotional heat, vibrant energy, and clarity to the stage
that Orlandersmith’s storytelling feels richer, and her characters more vivid and true.”

“[She] moves through this 80-minute piece with great confidence, polish and musicality.”

Chicago Sun-Times

“LaNisa Frederick, the promising young star… makes the piece her own. There is honesty.”
“[Director Ilesa] Duncan brings some provocative visual ideas.”
Chicago Tribune

“Frederick is dazzling in her mastery of Orlandersmith’s verbal illustrations.”
TimeOut Chicago

 “[The production] benefits considerably from LaNisa Frederick’s adroit, charismatic performance.”
Chicago Reader

THE GIMMICK, commissioned by McCarter Theatre, premiered on their Second Stage in 1998 and went on to great acclaim at Long Wharf Theatre and New York Theatre Workshop. Orlandersmith was a Pulitzer Prize Award Finalist and Drama Desk Award Nominee for Outstanding Play and Outstanding Actress in a Play for Yellowman at Manhattan Theatre Club in 2002. Ms. Orlandersmith’s newest work Stoop Stories was recently seen at The Goodman. After being first performed in 2008 at The Public Theater as part of the Under the Radar festival; the play was subsequently produced in 2009 at The Studio Theatre inWashington, D.C.


24th Young Playwrights Festival

Festival Director: Ilesa Duncan
January 7–31, 2010

An annual Chicago tradition and the oldest of its kind in the country, The Chicago Young Playwrights Festival receives 800+ submitted plays, each year, by teenagers throughout the city. Three winnning teen playwrights have been selected and their one-act works will be performed at Pegasus. YPF showcases the next generation of playwrights, allowing audiences a glimpse into the minds of today’s youth.

Pegasus Players’ received a record-breaking 803 scripts for the Young Playwrights Festival. After months of evaluating and choosing ten finalists and ten honorable mentions, on June 29, 2009 our panel of Judges selected the following winning plays for our 24th Annual Young Playwrights Festival:


The Winning playwrights will receive a full, professional production of their short plays in January 2010, a $500 cash award and a mentorship with a professional playwright during the production phase.

KAT BLACKBURN, deliver me from evil – Lincoln Park HS – Bart Hanson, Teacher

GABRIELLA BONAMICI, The Nowhere People– Whitney Young HS – Jim English, Teacher

GIXIANG LEE, Roller Coaster – Northside College Prep – Ebykepreye Porri, Teacher


The seven Finalists will receive a $100 cash prize. All the writers in the final round will receive a plaque commemorating their participation at the Opening Night Festivities on Monday, January 11, 2010

Zoe Stergiannis, Green Thumbs– Whitney Young HS – Charlene Floreani , Teacher

Cassandra Cooper, Infecting Suburbia – Taft HS – Jennifer Sutton, Teacher

Priscilla Pagan, Veiled Voice – Lane Tech HS – Molly Meacham, Teacher

Celia Hensey, Better Rich – Kenwood Academy- Jon Nemeth, Teacher

Alexandra Barnard, Contributions – Kenwood Academy – Jon Nemeth, Teacher

Alice H. Thatcher, Modern Conveniences – Northside College Prep – Ebykepreye Porri, Teacher

Angie Ortiz, Jolie Has A Secret – Lane Tech HS – Brian Telles, Teacher


The Honorable Mention award winners received certificates of recognition at the celebration on June 29, 2009.

Rachel Spaulding, Needs – Northside College Prep – John Hahm , Teacher

Eric Secviar. Crime Doesn’t – Mt. Carmel HS – John Haggerty, Teacher & Assistant Principal

Peter Weglarz, Operation Alice – Whitney Young HS – Heather Worley, Teacher

Iris De Los Santos , The Fire Alarm – Whitney Young HS – Jim English , Teacher

Susana Ramirez , Minnesota Nice – Taft HS – Jennifer Sutton, Teacher

Ashley Berry, Relate – Sullivan HS – Deborah Hogan, Teacher

Anna Rich, The Blessed Virgin or Not? – CICS Northtown Academy – Jeanette Thompson, Teacher

Nolan Chin, Block 9 – Lincoln Park HS – Bart Hanson, Teacher

Stephanie Perez, Reflections in Mali – Schurz HS – Michael Rychlewski, Teacher

Jessica Aguirre, The Secret Clandestine – John Hancock HS, Jason Safranek, Teacher

Ten Square

A co-production between MPAACT and Pegasus Players 

Winner of the Theodore Ward Prize for African-American Playwriting

by Shepsu Aaku; World Premiere
Directed by Mignon McPherson Nance
September 25-November 22

On the heels of the government’s apology to Afircan-Americans for slavery, the Reparations Movement was born.  The Movement was successful, checks were written to the descendants of slaves and the seeds of a new America were born.

Ten Square is one of the cities that emerged in “New America,” and the life of the African-American community has been forever altered. We watch Roosevelt, a soldier duty-bound to protect the new world order and a resident of Ten Square, negotiate his obligations to his lover, his family, and his government.