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Chicago Street Theatre Brings Annual Teen Show to the Stage

Chicago Street Theatre’s cast of “Red Licorice” is not only acting out the play on stage. They also had a heavy hand in revamping and modernizing the script.

Divorce. Aging grandparents. Generational gaps. Self-acceptance. Crushes. Friendship. First love. These “timeless themes,” as Director Lisa Formosa-Parmigiano describes them, will be front and center during this production.

The target audience is wide open,” she says. “Younger kids for sure and certainly high-schoolers. Parents raising teenagers. Grandparents. Teachers.”

The cast is comprised of 13 high school students from all over Northwest Indiana – Valparaiso, Gary, Hobart, Westville, Hebron, and Kouts.

Finding a play that is geared toward this age group is not easy, Formosa-Parmigiano shared. “There really aren’t many teen-based shows out there – that’s a BIG problem. That’s why I try to feature the teens during this slot … because they are an age group that is simply too old for some of the “kids” roles and too young to play “adult” roles. During these years, they are usually cast inappropriately and have to just deal with it. “Red Licorice” is for teenagers, so it’s perfect.”

Originally written to be a series of monologues, the script now includes current lingo and language. “We also expanded to include dialogues instead of everyone being solo all the time,” says Formosa-Parmigiano. “The characters talk about friendships between each other and so we decided to show that instead of just talk about it. It fosters ensemble and allowed the cast the chance to participate in creating a very personalized script.

Chicago Street also has incorporated a unique apprenticeship program in which younger students have the opportunity to work on the technical side of the show, taking on responsibilities like lights and sound, stage management, props, and rehearsal assistant.

It’s the perfect opportunity for kids to test their boundaries,” Formosa-Parmigiano explains, “to learn all that it takes to put on a play behind the scenes and to participate in a meaningful way.” It’s also very beneficial for the theatre – many of these apprentices will probably go on to design mainstage productions and/or work crew for them.

Formosa-Parmigiano is Chicago Street’s Director of Education. She manages and instructs theatre classes for kids ages 5-18 that span the school year as well as during the summer months. She has previously directed children and teens at CST in “Pinocchio,” “The Red Shoes,” and “Ascension Day,” among others.

The Cast:

  • Liz Bianco, Valparaiso
  • Julia Dooley, Margie
  • Auriel Lark Felsecker, Gary
  • Grace Gass, Valparaiso
  • Casey Lowenthal, Westville
  • Forrest McCollum, Hobart
  • Cierra Payton, Hobart
  • Mitch Paxton, Valparaiso
  • Annie Penman, Valparaiso
    • Click Thumbnails Below to View Larger Versions
    • Click Thumbnails Below to View Larger Versions
    • Click Thumbnails Below to View Larger Versions
    • Click Thumbnails Below to View Larger Versions

  • Scott Perkins, Valparaiso
  • Kevin Perry, Hebron
  • Samantha Prevost, Kouts
  • Kyleah Rocchi, Valparaiso


  • Erin Brown, Valparaiso
  • Auriel Lark Felsecker, Gary
  • Delaney Nava, Valparaiso
  • Julia Michaels, Valparaiso
  • Natalie Michaels, Valparaiso
  • Zac Caprous, Valparaiso
  • Ethan Zell, Valparaiso
  • Mahdi Stephens, Valparaiso

Red Licorice Show Schedule

  • Friday, Feb. 24 @ 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 25 @ 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Feb. 26 @ 2:30 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 1 @ 7 p.m.
  • Friday, March 2 @ 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, March 3 @ 2:30 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for seniors, veterans, and students under 21. With each adult ticket purchased, a free child (under 12) ticket will be issued. Call (219) 464-1636, Ext. 1, for tickets or purchase online at /”Buy Tickets” tab.

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