The mission of SoloChicago Theatre is to develop, encourage, and celebrate solo theatrical performance and work that embodies the spirit of the individual artist. We aspire to create, at the highest professional level achievable, a body of work that is worthy of the pride that we have in Chicago Style Theatre. Our process to achieve this level, that we call “SoloChicago-ization”, will enable us to develop work worthy of national recognition.
We at SoloChicago are working hard on our number one job: becoming. We want to be careful in what ingredients we include in our recipe. We have thought long and hard about the easy path of becoming an “old white guys” club or the Churchill group. We get many submissions which are for, by, or about famous old white guys. Some are very good and we’ll get to those. But we seek a path of balance...to tell stories that need to be heard by the people who need to tell them. Our new production, which opens at Theater Wit in June, The Unfortunates, is a challenging solo play with a strong woman at the helm. In it Mary Jane Kelly tells her own story, not the story of her more famous murderer. She is not a victim here but a vibrant, smart, and passionate human being who is surviving against tremendous societal odds. We are looking forward to collaborating with other companies and artists and further developing the craft of solo performing.
SoloChicago’s inaugural production, CHURCHILL was created and performed by founder, Ronald Keaton and directed by Artistic Director, Kurt Johns. Churchill played the Greenhouse Theatre Center to multiple extensions and sold-out houses, consequently opened a successful, extended run Off-Broadway at the Shubert-Owned New World Stages before returning to Chicago for a return engagement. Now we are concentrating on making it possible for the rest of the nation to see CHURCHILL with multiple bookings around the country.
has been involved in the theatre for over 40 years. He took up professional residence in Chicago in 1987, his first area bow being in 1776 at the Marriott Theatre nearly 30 years ago. He has appeared on many Chicago-area stages – Goodman Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, First Folio Theatre, Theater At The Center, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, Theatre At The Center, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse, Porchlight Music Theatre, Mercury Theatre, to name a few. Regional theatres include Indiana Repertory Theatre, the Alley Theatre in Houston, and the Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami.
Ronald has also been a stage manager, a director, a playwright, a fundraiser, a lyricist and composer, and a singer at jazz and cabaret venues around Chicago. Keaton has a solo musical in the wings, WHISPERS FROM THE MOON, as well as an adaptation of the novel THE LAST HURRAH, both created in collaboration with Chicago composer/lyricist William Underwood, music director here at TATC.
And now Keaton is learning the producer’s trade through SoloChicago Theatre, as the critically acclaimed production of Churchill prepares for potential future bookings. He presently has two scripts in development for other performers. And in the midst of all this, Ronald Keaton remains a proud member of and elected representative to the Central Regional Board of Actor’s Equity Association
Is proud to become a part of Solo Chicago Theatre by directing it's inaugural project CHURCHILL. Kurt recently directed the Midwest premiere of LYSISTRATA JONES at Chicago College of Performing Arts Theatre Conservatory. Kurt directed the Apple Tree Theatre’s highly acclaimed and multi award nominated production of THE MISTRESS CYCLE at the Auditorium Theatre. Also at Apple Tree Theatre, where he served as producer, Kurt directed PEN, the critically acclaimed IRON, the popular TALE OF THE ALLERGIST’S WIFE, and VINCENT IN BRIXTON, which received After Dark Awards for direction, lead actor, and production of a play. Kurt enjoyed directing IOLANTHE at Light Opera Works in Evanston, where he also directed BERLIN TO BROADWAY.
As an actor, Kurt appeared in the Broadway productions of CHESS and ASPECTS OF LOVE. He portrayed Enjolras in the First National Tour of LES MISERABLES. Here’s in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre, Kurt appeared in SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE and SHE ALWAYS SAID PABLO. He played Hildy in WINDY CITY (Jeff nominated), Baron Felix in GRAND HOTEL, Che in EVITA, Rutledge in 1776, and Harold Hill in THE MUSIC MAN at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre. Kurt received a Jeff Award for his work GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING at the Drury Lane Theatre. Kurt enjoyed performing Booth in Apple Tree's ASSASSINS (Jeff Nominated). For more information please visit kurtjohns.com
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What they're saying about our work.
"Engaging! Entertaining! Excellent!" “Ronald Keaton makes an imposing ‘Churchill’!” “Fascinating and provocative!” “Rewarding!” “Churchill never failed to inspire -- and Keaton's excellent rendition explains why.”
“Ronald Keaton's Churchill is surprisingly warm, witty and inviting and the play is an utter delight!” “I didn’t want it to end!” “You honestly believe you are watching Winston Churchill reincarnated before your very eyes!” “A flawless performance!” “I guarantee this will be one of the top performances you will see all year!”
“Britain's wartime leader gets a compelling portrayal from Ronald Keaton!” “It’s a kick to see a world leader behave in such a very silly and human way.”
“In Ronald Keaton’s CHURCHILL, the noted Chicago actor evokes the great leader with a, dare I say, Churchillian display of sheer thespian bravado!” “Spellbinding!” “It’s a fine piece of work and a noble start to Keaton’s new entity, the SoloChicago Theatre.” “Powerful!” “Charming, deep and emotionally affecting!”
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CHURCHILL on Broadway: Best of 2015
Actor Ronald Keaton speaks about the inspiration behind his new one-man show , 'Churchill'.
Winston Churchill's Granddaughter, Celia Sandys, attends the Actor's Fund benefit performance at New World Stages in New York City.
‘The Audience’ at the Schoenfeld Theatre and ‘Churchill’ at New World Stages
Ronald Keaton on becoming the man who coined the term "The Iron Curtain" in Churchill.