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'Six Stories Up' Theater Puts Kids' Spin On Chicago History

By Alex Nitkin | October 12, 2017 6:09am
 Stephen Donart plays Al Capone, who kidnaps a singer named Miss Ruby (Serenity Deida) to sing at his speakeasy.
Stephen Donart plays Al Capone, who kidnaps a singer named Miss Ruby (Serenity Deida) to sing at his speakeasy.
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Tekki Lomnicki

CHICAGO — Filament Theatre, 4041 N. Milwaukee Ave., is gearing up for Halloween with six showings of "Six Stories Up in Haunted Chicago," a student-written and student-performed musical featuring some of the city's most famous ghosts.

The show is the latest production by Tellin' Tales Theater, an ensemble launched in 1996 to "shatter barriers between the able-bodied and disabled worlds," co-founder Tekki Lomnicki said.

Its cast is made up of six students age 11-14 and six adult mentors, some with disabilities and all hailing from different parts of the city.

The story tracks the kids on a "ghost tour" of the city's past, where figures like Al Capone and Malcolm X impart lessons about navigating adulthood, Lomnicki said. Each student-mentor pair wrote one scene, and the musical ties all the stories into one.

While the cast members' backgrounds and abilities don't feature prominently in the story, they remain an important part of its message, Lomnicki said.

"We want people to come away with the feeling that Chicago's problems belong to all of us, and in order to solve them we have to come together," said Lomnicki, who also directs and stars in the show as the ghost of Resurrection Mary.

"It starts with understanding each other on a personal level, no matter if you have a disability or whatever culture you come from," she added.

"Six Stories Up in Haunted Chicago" shows at Filament Theatre at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 2 p.m. Sunday. It will run again, at the same times, on Oct. 20-22.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students. They can be bought online or over the phone by calling 312-540-1330.