Alley Stage Reading Series: Reading Anna K

Sept 7, 2024

Schedule: 4pm Sat

Instructor: Fran Zell

Registration Deadline: Sept 6

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Join us for a staged reading of an original play in our intimate outdoor theater, Alley Stage. Following the reading by local cast members, stay for the talkback session and reception on the Art Cafe patio with complimentary nibbles and a cash bar. (Rain location: Sardeson Studio at 223 Commerce St.) Tickets available at the door.

It’s Sylvia’s turn to choose the book and she wants to read Anna Karenina because someone once told her it reveals the meaning of life. At age 89 she believes it’s past time to find out. The other two members of the women’s book club at a senior living facility aren’t so sure. Pearl says the book is too long and too sexy. Gertrude, wandering between dementia and lucidity, just wants to hold on to her friends in a group that has been visited too often by death. When Milton, a recently widowed new resident shows up singing the praises of Anna K, relationships spin out of control. Reading Anna K takes a heartfelt look at life imitating art while exploring our endless need for friendship, love and new beginnings.

Fran Zell is a playwright, lyricist, fiction writer, essayist and independent journalist. Her newest play, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Venezuelans, based on her volunteer work with asylum seekers in Chicago, will be featured in the May 2024 Chicago Writers Bloc Festival of New Work. Her musical VERVE (with composer Karena Mendoza) was selected for Underscore Theatre’s 2020 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Reading Anna K was a finalist in the 2022-23 Henley Rose Playwright Competition for Women. She has directed staged readings of Reading Anna K for the Hyde Park Community Players and Montgomery Place Senior Living, both in Chicago. Minister of Loneliness had a staged reading in the 2019 Chicago Writers Bloc Festival of New Plays. Meat Marketing was produced at the 1992 Love Creek Productions’ one-act festival in New York. Her book, The Marcy Stories, won the Banta Award for literary achievement from the Wisconsin Library Association. She has been awarded writing residencies at Parrsboro Creative in Parrsboro, Nova Scotia; Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Red Wing, MN; and Ragdale in Lake Forest, IL. She is a former feature writer for the Chicago Tribune.

If you would like to contribute to the improvement of our Alley Stage, please consider making a donation with your ticket purchase. Thank you!

  • Price: $5