Project 891 Theatre Company

This was the website for the Project 891 Theatre Company. When the site's domain expired disappeared from the web. The new owner of the domain has chosen to honor this wonderful theater group with a nostalgic tribute to the company's 3rd season using content from the site's 2010-2012 archived pages.

Project 891 Theatre Company is a theatre company in Chicago that focuses on lesser-known and "undiscovered" plays.  Project 891 was the name given to the Federal Theatre Project's New York unit which saw the production of some of the most groundbreaking and innovative theatrical events of the 1930's including the "Voodoo" Macbeth, Dr Faustus and The Cradle Will Rock.

It is in this same spirit that we "throw our hat into the ring" with a new theatrical endeavor.

Richard Fields is a lighting and scenic designer based out of Chicago, IL. A Texas expat, he received his BFA in Stage Design from Baylor University and is currently seeking his MFA in Lighting Design from Northern Illinois University. He has lit productions in a variety of venues around the nation from the Southwest to the East Coast and has been displayed internationally at the Prague Quadrennial ScenoFest in the Czech Republic. Recent works include Not About Nightingales at NIU, as well as Tartuffe and These Shining Lives as a visiting artist at Aurora University. Upcoming credits include The Mikado and Trojan Women as well as anything else the other 891ers can dream up!

 Liz Hoffman: (Managing Director) Liz is an actor and writer with a BA in theater and a BA in English from Loyola University. Liz has worked with various Chicago theater companies over the last few years, including Tire Swing, Player’s Ring, Speaking Ring, A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Co, Ground Up, Rubicon, Loop Players, and the Bailiwick Directors’ Fest. In addition, Liz has written short pieces for all of ARFTCo’s Christmas Spectaculars and was the winner of the Women’s Theater Alliance’s short play-off competition in 2007. Though she mainly calls Project 891Theatre home, Liz is also an ensemble member of A Reasonable Facsimile Theatre Co.  And she makes kick-ass chocolate chip cookies.

Kiri Palm, company member wandered onto the Chicago theatre scene in 2010, when Project 891 lovingly welcomed her into their rehearsals and their hearts.  A stage manager, playwright, and actor, she holds BAs in Theatre and German Studies from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and can indeed tell you what the hell a Saluki is.  Her plays have been produced by Strangeloop Theatre, CoreProject Chicago, and Southern Illinois University.  Her short play, Unser Zuverlaessiges Haus, was featured in the 2011 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Regional III festival in East Lansing, Michigan.  She was a junior presenter at the 2010 Mid-America Theatre Conference in Cleveland, OH and continues to feel very fancy about it.  In her spare time she enjoys quoting Simon Pegg films and color-coding her Sharpie collection.

 Ron Popp (Artistic Director)  has been seen as Nathan Leopold in Never the Sinner: The Leopold and Loeb Story, Virgin Mary/James in the midwestern premiere of Terrence McNally's Corpus Christi, Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Guildenstern in Hamlet, Much in Robin Hood, Bud Frump in H2$ and Swift in All in the Timing and various roles in ARFTCO's Christmas Spectacular.  Directing credits include. the midwest premeire of Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead for Rubicon Theatre Project,  The Laramie Project, The Heidi Chronicles, Ron obtained his BA in Theatre with a focus on playwrighting from the University of Indianapolis and is the recipient of a Certificate of Merit in playwriting from the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival for his full length play Coming Home.  

 Michael Rashid is a company member with Project 891, and directed its first production, Never the Sinner.  He has acted, written, and/or directed for many Chicago companies, including Emerald City, NewTown Writers, Breadline, and Imagination Theater.  Michael holds a BA from Western Michigan University and and MFA from West Virginia University.  He is the co-founder and former  artistic director of Black Elephant Theatre. 


2011-2012 Season

WTC View by Brian Sloan
directed by Michael Rashid

Michael Rashid directs the Chicago premiere of WTC View for Project 891 Theatre Company to great affect.  With an engaging cast, lead by Ron Popp as Eric, it comes to pass that the story has less to do with jet planes crashing into buildings then it has to do with the more universal story of how those left behind deal with death. 
Showbiz Chicago

There is a real danger for a play on this subject to degrade into cheap melodrama, but WTC View never does. It offers a balanced perspective on serious emotional issues and even some good laughs, making this Project 891production definitely worth a view.
Chicago Theater Beat

A good cry is not director Michael Rashid's goal. Sloan's characters serve to illustrate the steps leading to recovery from sudden loss, the actors portraying our damaged survivor's rescuers likewise emphasize the roll-up-your-sleeves-and-deal-with-it kind of resiliency 
Windy City Times

Our Leading Lady  by Charles Busch
directed by Michael Rashid

This is an unusual and unexpectedly funny play, light-hearted and yet historically provocative, pulled off with a wry smile and a wink. 
Chicago Theatre Beat

 Like Keene 154 years before, director Michael Rashid has inspired the best and the most (Hoffman almost turns into a Wagnerian harridan as the cracked belle Verbena) from a crackerjack cast. Highly Reccomended."
Chicago Stage Style

Under Michael Rashid's nimble direction for the Project 891 Theatre Company, an ensemble led by the stately Mary Anne Bowman in full diva mode as Laura Keene... retain their dignity with never a giggle or wink, even when engaging in cat-spats and chases (rendered even more uproarious by the combatants' voluminous hoopskirts). 
Windy City Times

2010/2011 Season

Entertaining Mr. Sloane by Joe Orton
Directed by Ron Popp


directed by Ron Popp 

It’s the swinging 60’s in London but in a nearby town we are introduced to Kath, her father and her brother Ed, three lost and lonely souls.  Enter Mr. Sloane, a young, good-looking con man who is about to turn the family's entire world upside down. Joe Orton's dark comedy  shocked audiences when it was first staged and has lost none of it's power.

Entertaining Mr Sloane will be performed March 4-March 27 2011 at the City Lit Theatre.  Fridays and Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 2:00.  

Tickets on sale soon!!

"As refreshing as it is dangerous" Chicago Theatre Blog

"8 out of 10.  Solid and entertaining" Chicago Theatre Addict

"Highly Reccomended"  New City Stage


The Last Night of Ballyhoo by Alfred Uhry
Directed by Jason W. Rost

One of the Top 25 Shows of 2010

“Should a Jewish Christmas tree be topped with a star? That argument launches The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Alfred Uhry’s  delectable examination of Southern Jewish culture in the mid-20th century, now playing in anearly perfect site-specific production at Edgewater’s historic, 1914 Gunder Mansion”
Chicago Theater Blog


“ Compelling. . Rost’s site-specific staging in Edgewater’s former Gunder Mansion feels perfectly old-society and makes remarkably clever use of depth and sightlines. 
Time Out Chicago




Epic Proportions by Larry Coen and David Crane
Directed by Ron Popp

"Project 891’s slapstick ode to the biblical movie epic is intentionally short on production values but long on charm. Its “hey kids, let’s put on a show” aesthetic rivals the glorious cheesiness of the original productions themselves."
New City Stage

"...the nine actors who play the movie’s “cast of thousands” commit completely to the ridiculousness—with infectious energy. Every moment is dialed up to 11."
Time Out Chicago

"Project 891, a newer Chicago theatre company who focuses on lesser known and undiscovered plays, tackles the gladiatorial task of staging PROPORTIONS in Chemically Imbalanced Theatre's teeny tiny space. With swords, spears, and one-liners flying, it's a space which highlights the skilled cast's comedic slapstick timing as a story unfolds about the greatest Hollywood epic never completed."

This was such a super performance. I simply couldn't get over it. My one downfall when I go to the theater, whether its a huge venue or a tiny venue like this, I inevitably get into my professional mode as a manager of teams who do commercial cleaning services for all sorts of situations- businesses, pre/post special events, and even post construction cleaning. I just automatically do a mental check list of what would need to be done, in this case, after the performance concludes. It sounds crazy, but doing my mental exercise never diminishes from my enjoyment of the show. However there are times when I am thankful that am not cleaning up after the show!

Never The Sinner by John Logan
Directed by Michael Rashid

"Ron Popp and Matt Hays are engrossing as Leopold and Loeb--simultaneously creepy and sympathetic as they chart the lovers' shifting dynamics of dominance and submission"
Chicago Reader

"An evening of first rate theatre. It’s Rashid’s design team......with stunning, gray-scale costumes from Liz Hoffman and eerily opulent filmic backdrops by Jim Vendiola—whose stark vision unites the evening into a gorgeous, coherent whole."
Time Out Chicago

"The performances are the greatest power of the production. Matt Hays (Richard Loeb), Ron Popp (Nathan Leopold), Gary Murphy(Clarence Darrow), and Robert Kaercher (Robert Crowe) are its four pillars. Each actor has been cast with precision."
Chicago Theater Blog
 Welcome to Project 891 Theatre Company

Coming Soon, the Intergalactic Premiere of 
Jim and Dave ('s Blood Meets Jupiter)  



Project 891 Theatre Proudly Presents

The intergalactic premiere of a new musical by Kalena Victoria Dickerson, Steve Clark and Ed Plough.

Jim and Dave('s Blood Meets Jupiter)
directed by company member Michael Rashid

Special Sneak Peak!!

Project 891 Theatre Company will be performing selections from Jim and Dave('s Blood )Meets Jupiter .

Enjoy a Pan Galactic Gargleblaster as you explore a brand new sky show, Cosmic Wonder, listen to the beats of DJ Lani Love and check out programs about the “wonders” of our universe.