The Children’s Hour

Broken-DollPride Films and Plays Presents An Exciting Revival Of

Lillian Hellman’s Classic Play of Loves and Lies,

The Children’s Hour

Directed by Derek Bertelsen

January 9 – February 9, 2014 at Collaboraction

Pride Films and Plays continues its 2013-14 season with Lillian Hellman’s classic story of love and lies, The Children’s Hour. Directed by PFP Ensemble Member Derek Bertelsen, the production will run January 9 to February 9 at Collaboraction’s Pentagon Theater, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave.  Tickets are available through Brown Paper Tickets, 1 800 838 3006 or The press opening is Saturday, January 11 at 7:30pm. Press tickets are also available for Sunday, January 12 at 3:00 pm.

When asked about producing this play now, Bertelsen said, “In an era when a simple phrase on social media can have immediate and sometimes tragic consequences, the danger of a rumor has never been more present. Pride Films and Plays is a champion of new LGBT scripts and screenplays, but as a company we have to know where we come from to move forward. The Children’s Hour, to me, is the original ‘gay play.’”

Written in 1934, The Children’s Hour is based on a true story, and was originally banned in Chicago and not seen here until the 1950s. Karen and Martha are two school teachers who are on the verge of personal and professional success. Karen is engaged to be married to Joe, and the small boarding school she and Martha founded is on the verge of financial stability. However, when one student is disciplined, she makes a statement which is repeated endlessly, and everything changes.

PRODUCTION DETAILS:Whitney Morse (left) and Britni Tozzi

Title:  The Children’s Hour

Playwright: Lillian Hellman

Director: Derek Bertelsen

Britni Tozzi plays Karen Wright, and Whitney Morse is Martha Dobie. PFP Ensemble Members in the cast are Nelson Rodriguez as Dr. Joseph Cardin, Michelle McKenzie-Voigt as Mrs. Lily Mortar, and Joan McGrath as Mrs. Amelia Tilford.

Jeff Recommended SignageOthers in the cast are Nathalie Mendez (Rosalie), Zoquera Milburn (Peggy), Brittany Bookbinder (Catherine), Tasheena Migayi (Evelyn), Katrina Kiss (Helen), Ashley Darger (Lois), Ella Mouria Seet (Agatha), Bryan Renaud (Grocery Boy) and Nora Elise Ulrey as Mary Tilford.

The production features designs by Kassie Davis (set), Alberto Ruiz (lights), Chrystle Morman (costumes), and Patrick Bley (sound). Assistant Director is Kathryn Olsen.

Location:  Collaboraction (Pentagon Theater), 1579 N. Milwaukee, Chicago

Please note the theater is on the third floor. There is an elevator if you use the entrance on Milwaukee with the red awning and follow the signs to Collaboraction.   You can also walk up two flights by using the stairs at the Collaboraction entrance 2 doors south.

Previews: Thursday and Friday, January 9 and 10 at 7:30pm
Regular run:  Thursday through Sunday, January 9 through February 9, 2014
Curtain Times:  Thursday, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm

Tickets are available for all performances!

Tickets: Previews $15. Opening $30. Regular Run: Thursdays $25; Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays $30. Students and seniors: $5 off all performances. Industry: $10 during previews. (The senior discount is for those 62 and older.)
Tickets are available at, in person one hour prior to show times (availability permitting) or by calling 1 800 838 3006.

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Collaboraction is easy to get to using public transportation.

Hop on the CTA’s Blue Line, and  get off at Damen. The Fine Arts Building is directly across the street from the station on the southeast Corner of North Avenue, Damen, and Milwaukee.  METRA, the regional rail system, also serves our area on both the Union Pacific North and Union Pacific Northwest lines, which stop at the Clybourn Station, at 2001 N Ashland.

The theater is also served by the following CTA bus lines:

North-South bus lines:

  • #50 Damen Avenue

East-West bus lines:

  • #72 North Avenue

For more information on public transit service to our area, please visit the CTA at and METRA at


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Street parking is available, with metered spots close by and unpaid parking a little further south on Damen, near the park.

Valet parking is available on Friday and Saturday nights. The valet parking is not specific to the theatre. It’s at various restaurants in the neighborhood. We generally recommend Chop Shop, 2033 W. North Ave – Chicago IL 60647 and Forno (the restaurant on the corner opposite us). I believe the Valet parking is $10.

There is parking in the ally that runs on the east side the el tracks south of North, and again where the tracks go underground. You might want to check out those areas as well.  This is paid, metered parking.


Pride Films and Plays’ production of Under a Rainbow Flag, a finalist in last year’s Great Gay Play Contest, won 2013 Non-Equity Jeff Awards for Best New Work and Best Musical Production. For detailed information on PFP’s contests and play development initiatives, visit

About the Playwright

[toggle type=”white” title=”Lillian Hellman” active=””] Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans on June 20, 1905. She moved to New York with her family in 1910. After studying at both New York University and Columbia University, Hellman dropped out of school and worked as a book reviewer for the New York Herald Tribune. In 1930, she moved to Hollywood and became a script reader for MGM, where she became involved in the social and political scene. There, she met writer Dashiell Hammett and began a close relationship with him that lasted almost 30 years. Hammett urged her to write a play based on “The Great Drumsheugh Case,” in which a student at a boarding school accused two teachers of being lesbians. The result, The Children’s Hour (1934), was a huge success on Broadway and ran for 691 performances. Her play The Little Foxes (1939) was another success, and she received an Academy Award nomination for her screenplay for the film adaptation. She published several plays throughout the 1940s and 1950s, including Another Part Of The Forest (1946), The Autumn Garden (1951), and the anti-fascist plays Watch On The Rhine (1941) and The Searching Wind (1944). She wrote the libretto for Leonard Bernstein’s adaptation of Candide (1956), which won a Tony Award for Best Musical, as well as The Lark (1955), Toys In The Attic (1960), and My Mother, My Father And Me (1963). She died in 1984.[/toggle]

About the Director

[toggle type=”white” title=”Derek Bertelsen” active=””] Derek Bertelsen has directed Next Fall, Doubt (AstonRep Theatre); The Dinner Party, God of Carnage (BrightSide Theatre), You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown (Wilmette Center for the Arts); and assistant directed Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (Bailiwick Chicago) and RACE (Goodman). He’s also an annual guest director with Timber Lake Playhouse in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, where credits include Love, Sex & the IRS, Red Herring, Boeing-Boeing, and Monty Python’s Spamalot. Other regional credits include August: Osage County, God of Carnage (New Ground Theatre in Davenport, IA), Honest Abe! (Little Theatre on the Square in Sullivan, IL) and The Glass Menagerie, Assassins, Misery, and both parts of Angels in America (The Green Room Theatre in Rock Island, IL). Previous credits with Pride Films and Plays include directing readings of Pig, Mr. Teddy, Sand Man, and Welcome to L.A.[/toggle]

About Pride Films and Plays

[toggle type=”white” title=”Learn More About Pride Films and Plays” active=””]Pride Films and Plays fosters excellence in writing for the stage and screen with LGBT themes by linking an international network of writers to our Artistic Ensemble in Chicago and professionals working in the field internationally. Using stories with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender characters or themes, Pride Films and Plays develops human stories that speak for the community and is essential viewing for all audiences.

PFP’s contests – the Great Gay Play Contest, Women’s Work (for works by women with lesbian characters or themes) and the Great Gay Screenplay Contest – reach their conclusion during Festival Weekends of readings and workshops sponsored by Center on Halsted. Writers from around the world have worked with PFP’s Artistic Ensemble in extensive rehearsals and performances of “enhanced staged readings” which include movement, blocking, and technical elements.

PFP’s fully staged productions include reinvigorated classics, Chicago premieres, and world premieres of scripts that have been developed in the contests. The 2011 Great Gay Play Contest winner, Learn To Be Latina by Enrique Urueta, has had multiple regional productions, and the 2012 winner At The Flash by Sean Chandler and David Leeper was Jeff-recommended in Chicago and recently concluded a successful run in Los Angeles. Under A Rainbow Flag by Leo Schwartz, a finalist in last year’s contest, had its premiere this spring and won the Jeff Award for Best New Work and Best Musical Production, and Directions for Restoring the Apparently Dead by Martin Casella recently concluded its world premiere run in the 150-seat Thrust Theater at Stage 773.

PFP’s previous classical productions have included 20th anniversary productions of David Drake’s The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me and Jonathan Harvey’s Beautiful Thing.[/toggle]