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Theatre & Performing Arts

Welcome to Matteson!

A dark comedy by Chicago-born playwright Inda Craig-Galván, WELCOME TO MATTESON! follows two Black couples over the course of a dinner party; one couple has lived in the Chicago suburb of Matteson for years, the other has just moved in after being forcibly relocated from the Cabrini-Green housing projects. Tensions rise as each couple is forced to confront their own biases. WELCOME TO MATTESON! will be performed at Abbott Hall at Northwestern University Chicago Campus, 710 N DuSable Lake Shore Dr., September 6 – October 1, 2023.


The notorious Cabrini-Green public housing projects on Chicago’s Near North side were long seen by outsiders as a dangerous and violent no-go zone. To residents of the projects, however, Cabrini-Green represented an affordable housing option close to downtown, and a tight knit, multigenerational community that functioned through systems of mutual aid. When the city decided to tear down nearly all of the Cabrini-Green buildings, residents were forced out of not only their long-term homes, but also away from their systems of support. Displaced residents landed in numerous communities in the city and its suburbs including the Southwest suburb of Matteson, but they did not always receive a warm welcome. Neighbors in the receiving communities balked at the arrival of low-income residents, fearing an influx of criminal activity and a decrease in property values.


In WELCOME TO MATTESON! Regina and Corey Baker have just moved to the suburban village of Matteson, IL after the demolition of their home in Cabrini-Green. Matteson welcoming committee and long-time residents Patricia and Gerald Griffith host the Bakers for dinner- despite having misgivings about their new urban neighbors.


Directed by Congo Square Theatre Artistic DirectorEricka Ratcliff, the play features Congo Square Ensemble Members Ronald L. Conner (Gerald Griffith),  Anthony L. Irons (Corey Baker), and Alexis J. Roston (Regina Baker) alongsideSydney Charles(Patricia Griffith). Rita Wicks, April Lowery, and Stanley King serve as understudies.


The production team includes Julie Jachym (stage manager), Jake Snell (assistant stage manager), Victor Hugo Jaimes (production manager), Ariel Beller (assistant production manager), Joe Schermoly (set designer), Kieran O’Connor (master electrician), Gabrielle Strong (lighting designer), Gabrielle Strong (lighting designer), Jos N. Banks (costume designer), Willow James (sound designer), and Mariah Bennet (props designer).


Congo Square’s production of WELCOME TO MATTESON! is part of the National New Play Network’s Rolling World Premiere program in which a new play is  premiered by multiple companies over an 18-month period allowing the playwright to collaborate and make adjustments while working with unique perspectives from each company. WELCOME TO MATTESON! will receive its World Premiere at New Jersey Repertory Company, Long Branch, New Jersey (SuzAnne Barabas, Artistic Director; Gabor Barabas, Executive Producer) on September 28, 2023.


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