Keys of the Kingdom opens January 2015 in Chicago IL

Stage Left Theatre, in association with Theater Wit, announces the upcoming world premiere of Keys of the Kingdom written by Penny Penniston and directed by ensemble member Greg Werstler. Keys of the Kingdom is the second production of Stage Left's 33rd season. Press opening is Friday, January 16, 2015 at 8 PM at Theater Wit, 1229 West Belmont / Chicago IL 60657. The show runs through February 15, 2015.

As assistant to the celebrity pastor of an evangelical mega church, Arthur obeys orders, attacks paperwork, and guards against sin. So Arthur is surprised when the church pastor commissions a mural from Irene Hoff, an atheist New York artist married to another woman. Arthur is even more surprised when the pastor explains that he believes Irene has been chosen by God. But the biggest surprise of all is what happens when Irene shows up and starts to paint.

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Keys of the Kingdom was developed at Stage Left though the Downstage Left Program LeapFest in 2012. In 2014, Portland Center Stage selected the Keys of the Kingdom for its JAW Festival, where it received a 2-week workshop and public reading.

In line with its mission to raise social and political debate, Stage Left offers patrons a Symposium Series for every production. Immediately following each Sunday matinee, Stage Left invites the audience to stay for a discussion centered on a particular question raised by the performance. Admission to the Symposium Series is free, but it is recommended that attendees have seen the production in order to fully appreciate and participate in the discussion. Keys of the Kingdom wrestles with questions of Christianity, faith, sacrifice, and tolerance. Ultimately, the play asks: What must we accept in others? What can we demand from others? Where is God in the midst of this struggle?

Keys of the Kingdom runs Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 PM, and Sundays at 3:00 PM from 1/10/15 through 2/15/15. Tickets are $20-32 and will be available through the Theater Wit box office either online at or by calling 773-975-8150. Press Opening is Friday, January 16 at 8:00 PM. Previews are Saturday, January 10 at 8:00pm; Sunday, January 11 at 3:00 PM; Wednesday, January 14 at 8 PM; and Thursday, January 15 at 8:00 PM. Preview tickets are $20. Keys of the Kingdom will be performed at Theater Wit at 1229 West Belmont in Chicago, IL. The theater is handicapped and CTA accessible via the Belmont El (Red & Brown).


Penny Penniston is the author of now then again, Spin, 7 Years at the Mayfair Mall, Miss Julie (an adaptation), and The Roaring Girl (co-adapted with Jeremy Wechsler). In Chicago, her work has been produced or developed with Theater Wit, Bailiwick Repertory, Shakespeare's Motley Crew, Collaboraction, Stage Left Theatre, and Lookingglass Theatre. Additional productions, workshops, or commissions include Portland Center Stage (OR), Gorilla Rep (NY), the Depot Theater (NY), Penfold Theater (TX), the Blank Theater (CA), The Old Globe (CA), Milwaukee Repertory Theater (WI), plus numerous others. She has received multiple Joseph Jefferson citations for excellence and was the winner of the Sloan Prize at the 2005 Tribeca Film Festival. Her book Talk the Talk: A Dialogue Workshop for Scriptwriters is published by MWP books. For more information, visit her website at

Greg Werstler's Stage Left directing credits include, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, the world premiere of Impenetrable (which he also directed in Leapfest 7 when it was titled The Face of a Ruined Woman), The Eight: Reindeer Monologues, After Ashley, Blue/Whitney (Leapfest 10), and Ruby Vector (LeapFest 6). Greg has worked as a theater administrator and director in Chicago for more than 15 years. He is the Director of Creative Sales and CFO of ComedySportz Chicago. Other directing credits include Rumors and Loveliest Afternoon for Eclipse Theatre Company, Voice of the Prairie and The Eight for Dolphinback Theatre (of which he was a founding member), A Midsummer Night's Dream for Equity Library Theatre and Angels in America at Lake Forest College.

The cast features Stage Left ensemble members Kate Black-Spence (Irene), McKenzie Chinn (Paige), and Brian Plocharczyk (Arthur), as well as guest artists Don Bender (Ed) and Kathrynne Wolf (Joann).

The staff includes Stage Left Theatre company members Emmaline Keddy-Hector (production management), John Kohn III (lighting design), Adam Smith (sound design), Brenda Winstead (costume design), and Zev Valancy (dramaturgy), with guest artists Rebecca Black (stage management), Andrew Hildner (scenic design), Cassy Schillo (properties design), and Gordon Granger (technical direction).

ABOUT STAGE LEFT - Founded in 1982, Stage Left Theatre is a non-equity company committed to developing and producing plays that raise debate and challenge perspectives on political and social issues. Through a full subscription season and our new play development program Downstage Left, Stage Left strives to ask provocative social and political questions by producing a mix of new works, regional premieres and timeless classics.

ABOUT THEATER WIT - Theater Wit is the premier smart art theater in Chicago, producing humorous, challenging, and intelligent plays that speak with a vibrant and contemporary theatrical voice. As an institution, Theater Wit seeks to be the hub of the Chicago neighborhood theater scene. In their three spaces, they bring together Chicago's best storefront theater companies.