Theatre of Western Springs promises rip-roaring fun in ‘Women Playing Hamlet: A Comedy’

WESTERN SPRINGS – The year’s first Forum production at the Theatre of Western Springs is a modern comedy about an old tragedy titled “Women Playing Hamlet: A Comedy,” written by William Missouri Downs and directed by Adrianne Cury. It runs March 3 to 13, in the Cattell Theatre, TWS’s black box theater, 4384 Hampton Ave., Western Springs.

Featuring an all-female cast performing multiple roles, “Women Playing Hamlet” is rollicking fun for Shakespeare fans and haters alike, a news release stated.

Hamlet is a challenge for any actor, but when Jessica is cast as Hamlet in a New York production, it sends her into a tailspin. It doesn’t help that her acting coach is borderline abusive, or that every Starbucks barista with an MFA tells her she’s too young for the role, or that she’s managed to make Sir Patrick Stewart her nemesis, not to mention the fact that she’s a woman.

How can Jessica figure out “to be or not to be,” when she can’t even figure herself out?

Tickets cost $23 to $25. Call the box office at 708-246-3380 or go to

Director Adrianne Cury

Adrianne Cury returns to TWS to direct “Women Playing Hamlet.” Also at TWS, she directed “Sense and Sensibility” and “Mauritius.”

She directed 2016′s “The Taming of the Shrew” for the Oak Park Festival, “the experiment” for the Stockyards Theatre Project, “You Never Can Tell” with Village Players, “Scoundrel Time” and “The Thin Man” at City Lit, and “Ravenscroft” for Triton College.

As an actor, Cury has worked in Chicago with Writer’s Theatre, Famous Door, Next, First Folio, Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago Shakespeare Project, Drury Lane Evergreen Park, Bailiwick, Strawdog, Apple Tree, National Jewish, Lifeline, Organic/Touchstone, and ShawChicago.

Prior to the pandemic shutdown, she played Gertrude in “Hamlet” for the Shakespeare Project, followed by Sharon in “The Roommate” for the Cardinal Stage in Indiana.

Her acting honors include a Jeff Award nomination, a Jeff Citation, and two After Dark Awards. Cury is a member of Actor’s Equity and SAG-AFTRA, and she teaches both adults and teens at Acting Studio Chicago. She’s taught Senior BFAs at DePaul University TTS. She has conducted workshops and seminars for Triton College, North Central College, Theatre of Western Springs, and The Performer’s School. In addition, she provides private coaching for auditions.

The playwright

William Missouri Downs is the author of 12 plays that have been produced all over the world. He’s won numerous writing awards including rolling premieres from the National New Play Network: “Women Playing Hamlet” and “The Exit Interview.” Twice, he’s been a finalist at the Eugene O’Neill for “Mad Gravity” and “How to Steal a Picasso.”

Downs was a staff writer for the NBC sitcom “My Two Dads,” and a freelance writer for “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” and “Amen.” He was honored as a finalist for the Nick Darke Award at the Royal Court Theatre in London.

He was trained in playwriting by Milan Stitt and Lanford Wilson at New York City’s Circle Rep Theatre.

The University of Illinois alum has published four books including “The Art of Theatre,” which is now in its fourth edition and has been used by more than 80,000 college students. He’s also written “Screenplay: Writing the Picture,” which is required reading at many film schools. His two books on the art of writing for the stage are “Naked Playwriting” and “Playwriting: From Formula to Form.”

Roles and cast members

Jessica – Courtney Beresheim of Brookfield

Gwen – Patti Roeder of Oak Park

Actor 1 – Tricia Boren of Evergreen, Colorado

Actor 2 – Christina Preto of Westchester

Actor 3 – Laura Starr of Brookfield

Actor 4 – Janet Venzon of Downers Grove

Actor 5 – Peg Callaghan of Forest Park


Director Adrianne Cury of Oak Park

Stage Manager Dave Bremer of Western Springs

Assistant Stage Manager Stephanie Williams of Brookfield

Assistant Stage Mananger Sharon Sobotka of Hinsdale

Box Office Chair Mary Ellen Schutt of Westmont

Costume/Make-up Lori D’Asta of La Grange

Costume/Make-up Peggy Carlson of La Grange

Dialect Coach Laura Ciresi Starr of Brookfield

Fight Director Michele DiMaso of Brookfield

Hospitality Chair Joe Mills of Westchester

House Manager Mike Janke of Downers Grove

Lighting Designer Kurt Lemke of Niles

Paint Chair Karen Holbert of Western Springs

Program Editor Mark MacLean of Willow Springs

Props Chair Tammy White of Woodridge

Publicity Chair Ginny Richardson of Burr Ridge

Set Construction Dennis Burke of Downers Grove

Set Design Margaret Nikoleit of Mishawaka, Indiana

Set Dressing Chair Ryan Yagoda of Elmhurst

Technical Director Imani McDaniel of River Grove

About TWS

The Theatre of Western Springs is celebrating 93 years of continuous operation. The TWS building houses a 400-seat Mainstage auditorium, a 100-seat black box theater, and a seasonal outdoor stage. TWS was founded in 1929 by Mary Cattell. Learn more at