Black Ensemble Theater, Closet Play, Run the Beast Down — September 27, 2020

Below is a lightly edited transcript of Playtime’s Chicago Theater Report for September 27, 2020:

(Due to the Patrick Lives On Radio-thon charity event, this theater report was not included in this week’s on-air show. You can listen to the audio recording of the theater report here.)

[Main Photo by Tyler Callahan on Unsplash]


Black Ensemble Theater Benefit Gala

Starting off this week with news of the Black Ensemble Theater’s benefit gala, The Legacy Continues: Together We Are the Change, A Musical Celebration Eradicating Racism. This virtual event takes place on October 16th at 7pm, streaming on Facebook Live, VON-TV on Apple TV, and ROKU. This year’s gala will include a special message from Dionne Warwick in support of Black Ensemble Theater’s mission. Get more information and register for the event at

Upcoming Show Reminders

Closet Play at PrideArts

CLOSET PLAY: A BENEFIT CONCERT for PrideArts will stream this Wednesday, September 30th, at 7pm Central on Facebook Live and YouTube. There is no charge to view the event, though donations are accepted. Visit for more information.

Run the Beast Down at Strawdog

Strawdog Theatre Company’s virtual production of Run the Beast Down premiers this Friday, October 2nd, and runs through October 25th.  Tickets are pay-what-you-can with a $5 minimum donation. Visit to purchase tickets

Night, Mother at Invictus Theatre Company

Invictus Theatre Company’s virtual production of “Night, Mother” premiers on October 22nd and runs through November 8th. Tickets are $20 for all performances and 10% of ticket proceeds will be donated to Sista Afya, a non-profit organization that provides mental health and wellness services for black women in Chicago. Visit to purchase tickets and to request more information.

Bottle of wine alongside a glass of that wine.
Bruna Pigato “Majé” ’18

Lainie’s Comments and Wine Report:  Bruna Pigato “Majé” 2018

My inbox is filling up with reports of streaming performances that are about to premier: This is an exciting and challenging time for theater companies and audiences. For the companies, producing virtual and often socially distanced shows requires new skills and a new way of practicing the craft of live theater. For audiences, getting used to seeing plays at home is also an adjustment, but one that can make theater more accessible.

This is why my reports include wine, and sometimes dining, recommendations. Before the pandemic, the theater industry in Chicago had an economic impact of 1 billion dollars annually. This figure wasn’t just made up of ticket sales: Theatergoers stay in hotels, park their cars, take cabs, eat at local restaurants, and enjoy after-show drinks. All industries have been hit hard and all need to work together to keep our communities functioning and businesses afloat. 

This week’s wine is from Perman Wine Selections and imported by Kestral Wine and SpiritsBruna Pigato “Majé” 2018 is one of the loveliest white wines I’ve ever tried. My first sip was a bit of a jolt: The wine is crisp and acidic but I didn’t pick up much fruit. After a bit of time, however, I noted some lovely green herbs and lemon emerging.

As I said on social media:

“Sometimes, austerity is a cover for inner emptiness. Sometimes, it is a veneer that shields amazing depths. This wine falls into the latter category.”

Bruna Pigato “Majé” 2018 sells for $23.99 and would be a perfect accompaniment to a green salad or simply prepared green vegetables, chicken or fish. This is one wine that deserves to take center stage during a meal. Visit to order for pickup or delivery.

Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall can be heard every Sunday from 1-3pm Central time. The show streams live on and Facebook. An archive recording of each show is also made available for streaming at any time. In the Chicago area?  Tune in to WCGO at 1590 AM throughout the city and suburbs.  95.9 FM on the North side.