A Twist of Water

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A Twist of Water is remounting for a New York Premiere!

Posted by A Twist of Water on October 17, 2012

Chris Jones of The Chicago Tribune originally broke the news on 12/4/2011:

“A Twist of Water,” the new play about the history and soul of Chicago by Caitlin Parrish, is headed to New York.
Route 66 Theatre Company artistic director Stef Tovar said that the entire original cast of Erica Weiss’ production, a hit in Chicago earlier this year, would reprise their roles next fall, Off-Broadway at the 59E59 theater in New York. The non-profit 59E59 (located at 59 E. 59th St.) has a history of supporting Chicago work in New York.
Originally staged at Theater Wit and later at the Mercury Theater, “A Twist of Water” was buoyed in Chicago by the attendance of then Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel, who attended the show just after winning the February election. He has mentioned the play in several speeches since then.

Then, from Broadwayworld.com:

59E59 Theaters (Elysabeth Kleinhans, Artistic Director; Peter Tear, Executive Producer) is thrilled to host the NY premiere of the critically acclaimed Chicago production A TWIST OF WATER, written by Caitlin Parrish, story by Caitlin Parish and Erica Weiss, and directed by Erica Weiss.

Produced by Chicago-based Route 66 Theatre Company in association with Laura Ramos Wilson, A TWIST OF WATER begins performances on Thursday, November 1 for a limited engagement through Sunday, November 25. Press opening is Wednesday, November 7 at 7:15 PM. The performance schedule is Tuesday – Thursday at 7:15 PM; Friday at 8:15 PM; Saturday at 2:15 PM and 8:15 PM; and Sunday at 3:15 PM. Please note, there are added performances on Sunday, November 4 and Sunday, November 25 at 7:15 PM. There is no performance on Thanksgiving Day (Thursday, November 22). Performances are at 59E59 Theaters (59 East 59th Street, between Park and Madison Avenues). Tickets are $35 ($24.50 for 59E59 Members). To purchase tickets, call Ticket Central at (212) 279-4200 or go to www.59e59.org.

Noah is raising his adopted daughter Jira alone in the wake of his partner’s death in a car accident. When Jira decides to seek out her birth mother, Noah’s already strained relationship with her is pressed to the breaking point. Direct from its sold-out run in Chicago, A TWIST OF WATER is a profoundly touching story of love and loss, of fathers and daughters, and of rebuilding this non-traditional family after an unspeakable tragedy.

The cast, who were all in original Chicago production, includes Alex Hugh Brown, Lili-Anne Brown (David Cromer’s Rent at American Theatre Company), Falashay Pearson, and Stef Tovar (Jeff Award-nominated On An Average Day in Chicago and LA).

The design team features Stephen Carmody (set design), Sean Mallary (lighting design), and Lindsay Jones (sound design and original music). John Boesche, who won a Jeff Award for the Chicago production, is projection designer.



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A beautiful sermon encouraging parishioners to see TWIST

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 30, 2011

Thank you to The Reverand Rex E. Piercy for including A Twist of Water as part of the message of his lovely sermon, “From Emmaus to Jerusalem: Signs of Faithful Following” on May 15th, 2011 at The Congregational United Church of Christ in Arlington Heights, IL.

You can read the entire sermon HERE, and below is the passage where the Reverend speaks so eloquently about the play:

“Yesterday I attended a new play called “A Twist of Water.” It is a must see at the Mercury Theater on Southport. The playwright has woven the story of Chicago into the story of a gay man whose partner has died leaving him to raise a somewhat rebellious and angry teenage daughter on his own. At one point near the end of the play, he speaks as narrator and says that Chicago and its people are “moved by water and unearned hope.” Oh my when I heard those words, I thought so are we all as God’s children, moved by water and unearned hope. It is all grace. All grace.”

Such a beautiful sentiment honors and moves all of us, and we are so glad that the play reached the leader of this congregation. Thank you, Reverend Piercy.

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TWIST announces extension through June 26th at The Mercury!

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 9, 2011

It’s official! A Twist of Water, originally scheduled to close on June 5th, will now run through June 26th at The Mercury Theater!

BUY YOUR TICKETS TO A TWIST OF WATER HERE – or call the The Mercury Theater box office at 773-325-1700


Thursdays at 7:30 PM
Fridays at 8PM
Saturdays at  at 4PM and 8PM.
Sundays at 4PM

This Limited Engagement now runs through June 26, 2011

Location: The Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave, Chicago, IL.
BUY TICKETS HERE or call 773-325-1700

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Chicago Theatre Addict has high praise for TWIST at The Mercury

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 2, 2011

“Seeing this artfully drawn family drama in this newly rechristened venue was such a communal experience. People coming together to support an important new work and a vital space reborn.” – Bob Bullen, ChicagoTheatreAddict. 


“A Twist of Water is a play about rebuilding and new beginnings, Chicago style. This stunning new work, written by Caitlin Montanye Parrish and directed by Erica Weiss who is also the co-creator, perfectly sets the tone for the re-opening of the Mercury Theater”

Thanks to Bob Bullen at www.chitheatreaddict.com for joining us for a wonderful opening night last evening at The Mercury Theater! Check out his review and then buy your tickets HERE.

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The Chicago Tribune interviews Stef Tovar on the Re-Opening of “Twist” at the Mercury

Posted by A Twist of Water on April 28, 2011

Doug George of The Chicago Tribune interviewed Artistic Director and star of A Twist of Water on the transfer and grand re-opening of TWIST at The Mercury Theater. Check out the whole article HERE.

“We sort of realized our place as a Chicago play — and how much it speaks to the city.” – Stef Tovar

“By playwright Caitlin Montanye Parrish and Route 66 Theatre Company, its initial run sold out at Theater Wit. It extended for a week and sold out again. Further extensions weren’t possible in that space, says artistic director Stef Tovar, who also stars as Noah, so a deal was quickly put together to move to the Mercury Theater; the set was trucked over within days and it will be the first production in the 300-seat venue since L. Walter Stearns took over. But the show had to take a couple of weeks off to readjust and let cast member Lili-Anne Brown direct “Passing Strange” for Bailiwick Chicago.”

“We didn’t want to lose momentum,” Tovar said, “but we just couldn’t start as quickly as we wanted.”

But we’re back now! A Twist of Water officially re-opens at The Mercury Theater on Sunday, May 1st, and will run through June 5th. There are three remaining preview performances 4/28-4/30. Get your tickets HERE or call 773-325-1700.

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Twist is moving to The Mercury Theater and running until June!

Posted by A Twist of Water on March 28, 2011

From Chris Jones’ Theater Loop blog at The Chicago Tribune:


The Route 66 Theatre Company production of “A Twist of Water” is transfering to the Mercury Theatre. This very successful show will start performances on Apr. 14 and re-open officially on May 1.  Tickets are already on sale.

It will be the first production at the 300-seat Mercury Theatre since Walter Stearns took over the theater. This is not a straight rental deal; Stearns’ theater is sharing the burden of producing with Route 66.

The deal came together quickly, and when “A Twist of Water” closed at Theatre Wit Saturday night, the set was moved over directly to the Mercury on 3745 N. Southport Ave.

Penned by the young writer Caitlin Montanye Parrish and directed by Erica Weiss, “A Twist of Water” sold out virtually every seat at Theatre Wit. It deals both with the history and spirit of Chicago, and with the lives of a group of struggling modern-day Chicagoans.

An early performance was attended by Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor elect.


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An audience member responds – by Beth Urech

Posted by Erica Weiss on March 7, 2011

On March 6th, I met and spoke with an audience member at A Twist of Water‘s sold-out Sunday matinee. Her name is Beth Urech, and this morning she sent me a lovely response to the play and has given me permission to post it here in full. Thank you so much!

A Twist of Water, Sunday, March 6, 2011

The bare and barren set exudes Chicago before A Twist of Water starts.  A curving wall above a two-tiered platform wraps around one side of the stage evoking the water’s edge at Division Street. A single bare tree branch protrudes high from the side wall signaling winter and despair.  On the other side of the stage, way up high, is a cut-out of our beloved Chicago skyline.  From my second row seat, I cannot see it well, but I know that skyline almost by heart.  It’s my Chicago.

Over the course of the play, John Boesche’s projections make Chicago history come alive.  A lonely first homestead, the crowded riverfront, the city pre and post fire, the Columbian Exposition stating, “Here we are.  Come and see us, you citizens of Paris, London, and New York.  We’re Chicago.”

We’re also the Chicago of Carl Sandburg with broad shoulders and little cat feet.  Carl is quoted by the English teacher (Alex Hugh Brown).

But A Twist of Water is more than a history or English lesson, although the two male characters are high school teachers of, yes, history and English.

A Twist of Water insinuates its way into our hearts and souls by telling a simple story of grief.  You want to know the plot?  Won’t it suffice if I tell you what I told Erica Weiss (Co-creator and director) afterwards in the lobby:  “This play is all that a play is meant to be.”

All right, then.  Dad (Stef Tovar) and teenage daughter (Falashay Pearson) are at odds.  They are grief stricken over the tragic death in a car accident of the other Dad whom Jira loved unconditionally. He was a doctor.  She plans to study medicine.  She grates under the constraint and clumsy surveillance of Dad Number Two. He’s the history teacher.  During the course of the play, he and the much younger English teacher become lovers which galls Jira who seeks out her birth mother. She needs her father’s help; eventually he offers it.  The meeting with 17 year old Jira and her mother now only 33 (Lili-Anne Brown) is heart wrenching and oh, so real.

I wept.  Most people in the audience wept. Is that why we go to the theatre? To shed a tear. No, we go to be transformed. We want to witness a human conflict that tears us from our warm complacency and hurdles us into a cold body of water. Then we want to be rescued and dried off so we can reenter the world knowing that life goes on and lives intertwine like A Twist of Water.
Beth Urech, after years as a speech &  communications consultant based in Switzerland, is segueing back into theatre in Chicago (bethurech.com) and recently established www.101010scholarship.info to support The Beaver Island Lighthouse School.

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“Twist” announces an extended run, extra performances, and rave reviews!

Posted by A Twist of Water on March 4, 2011





Tickets for the one-week extension are now on sale through the Theater Wit box office or by calling 773-975-8150

Get all the info you need HERE.

The critics are raving about A Twist of Water! Here is a sampling of some of the reviews:

Chicago Tribune – Highly Recommended (Four Stars out of Four)
“Parrish’s play — which reaches with more passion, wisdom and lyricism towards civic definition (and redefinition) than any Chicago work I’ve seen in a long, long time — captures this precise moment of Chicago’s re-invention with such astonishing alacrity …This is a piece that does for Chicago something like what Armistead Maupin (“Tales of the City”) did for San Francisco a generation ago.” – Chris Jones Read Full Review

Time Out Chicago – Highly Recommended
“…This is compelling work, well worth sitting through a bit of history.” – Julienne Bilker Read Full Review

NewCity Chicago – Highly Recommended
“…Caitlin Montanye Parrish’s script is a provocative mix of history, obstacle and longing that insists you root for all the characters. Tovar’s performance is solid and sympathetic as Noah tries to rebuild his life; Pearson makes her character’s abandonment palpable. But the highlight is Brown, whose crack timing and dry wit enable him to walk off with every scene. His work is a cool drink.” – Lisa Buscani Read Full Review
Windy City Times – Highly Recommended
“…Stef Tovar is well-versed at playing all-American middle-aged Nice Guys, acquitting himself capably as the grieving Noah (who wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to his husband). Alex Hugh Brown lends Liam a refreshing candor, as does Lili-Anne Brown as the fairy godmama bred of orphans’ fantasies, both of whom suffer misleading introductions before transcending cliché to become plausible and individualized personalities. What focuses our sympathies, however, is Falashay Pearson’s performance as the lonely Jira, whom you want to sweep up in your arms—or at least offer your scarf—along with assurances that everything will get better. Really.” – Mary Shen Barnidge Read Full Review
Centerstage – Highly Recommended
“…Stef Tovar bares his soul as Noah, a middle-aged parent trying desperately to reconnect with Jira, his adopted daughter (touching teenage actress Falashay Pearson) while beginning a new relationship with Liam (brilliant newcomer Alex Hugh Brown), the young English teacher who brings poetry, humor and wisdom to their world. Lili-Anne Brown is strong as Tia, the mother who gave up Jira because she was just a baby herself. Altogether, this exquisite cast bathes in the waters of truth.” – Colin Douglas Read Full Review
Chicago Theater Blog – Highly Recommended

“A contemporary masterpiece…A Twist of Water is an important play that speaks to our time. Hopefully it will see an extended run because it deserves a large audience. Just remember to bring a tissue because, when I saw it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” – Keith Ecker Read Full Review

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Thank you and Congratulations to our Mayor-Elect…

Posted by Erica Weiss on March 1, 2011

On Saturday morning, the front page of The Chicago Tribune featured Chris Jones’ Four-Star review of A Twist of Water. In his write-up, Jones made a point of encouraging our recently elected Mayor to attend.

“Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and those jockeying to share his power to put down the reports, resumes and briefing books this Saturday night and head, not to party with the Bulls, but over to Belmont Avenue where they might ponder the living soul of the paradoxical town they will soon be leading, and to whose citizens they will need to articulate a vision that goes deeper than parking meters.”

He added:

“Since Parrish’s starting point is as much Abraham Lincoln as Sandburg, they could pick up the governor on the way. They would witness one of Chicago’s greatest assets: artistic self-examination moving from generation to generation. Performed intimately, affordably, to whoever cares to show up.”

That afternoon, Mr Emanuel called the box office and made reservations for the evening performance. You can read the scoop on The Chicago Tribune HERE, and The Wall Street Journal’s pickup of the story HERE.

Our first impulse, after the immediate giddiness in hearing the news of his ticket purchase, was to make sure not to tell the cast. Why put them under added pressure when they’re already delivering such solid shows night after night? Also, it gave me a chance to practice my acting skills – for I am nothing if not a terrible liar, and had to come up with a reason I was so dressed up when I visited backstage. I think it was something like, “I’m giving the curtain speech tonight!” It never hurts to tell the truth when you’re trying to conceal part of it.

We were stunned and honored to have Mr Emanuel there, and very impressed that Mr Jones sent such a resounding message. The Mayor-Elect showed up in the Theater Wit lobby with two friends, in an untucked shirt, jeans, and a bomber jacket, to many “congratulations!” from folks in the lobby, and some photo requests. There were three shows running at Theater Wit that night – in addition to Twist, Stage Left’s Enemy of the People and Wit’s This were in previews. His presence excited everyone. I do not report the details this way to be sycophantic or fawning (though, let’s be honest – he was President Obama’s right-hand man. I might have been a little fawn-y), but because I believe that his showing up at this Chicago storefront theatre sends a signal that all theatre artists in this city should be looking forward to his term – that we may see in Daley’s successor an Arts Mayor who puts his (fingers crossed) money where his mouth is.

Mayor-Elect Emanuel was a fantastic audience member. He was engaged, responsive, and quite friendly. After curtain call, before we brought up the house lights and opened the doors, I got up onstage (which is not my natural habitat) to acknowledge our special guest. The cast’s reaction, having no idea, was so priceless I wish I could have bottled it. Falashay Pearson, who plays Jira, and is also amongst the world’s most entertaining human beings, actually jumped in the air and made a sound which is probably not reproducible. It was a really wonderful shared experience between artists and audience. A commenter on The Chicago Tribune’s story, Jason R, who was at the show that night, says:

“Absolutely one of the most magical nights of my theater going life in Chicago. The play, probably the best new script to hit this town since August Osage, and Rahm being present in this intimate audience made for live theater experience that was not only enjoyable…but important. It said that the man who is going to run this city feels as though what is being done on that stage is vital. Astounding.”

We should, all of us in the Chicago arts community, be excited by this story. It shows us that he cares, and acknowledges the value of the small theatres as well as the larger institutions. I am very much looking forward to seeing what the Emanuel Era brings for The Windy City.

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Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune gives “Twist” 4 Stars!

Posted by A Twist of Water on February 25, 2011

“Parrish’s play — which reaches with more passion, wisdom and lyricism towards civic definition (and redefinition) than any Chicago work I’ve seen in a long, long time — captures this precise moment of Chicago’s re-invention with such astonishing alacrity that you want Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and those jockeying to share his power to put down the reports, resumes and briefing books this Saturday night and head, not to party with the Bulls, but over to Belmont Avenue where they might ponder the living soul of the paradoxical town they will soon be leading, and to whose citizens they will need to articulate a vision that goes deeper than parking meters.”

“This is a piece that does for Chicago something like what Armistead Maupin (“Tales of the City”) did for San Francisco a generation ago.”

Read the entire rave review HERE.

Then buy your tickets now! You can purchase them online at mercurytheaterchicago.com or by calling 773-325-1700.  Check out all the info you need about seeing the show HERE.

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