Salonathon @ UChicago: Chicago Performance Lab

Salonathon curates summer residencies for genre-defying performers through the University of Chicago’s Chicago Performance Lab.  In partnership with CPL and thanks to its generosity, Salonathon is able to offer resources and development of new work to selected artists.  Each summer culminates in a showcase of residents’ projects.

2017 Residents AJ WARE, GROWING CONCERNS POETRY COLLECTIVE (aka Jeff Austin, McKenzie Chinn, and Mykele Deville), and MAGGIE KUBLEY + MATTHEW SHERBACH will be sharing their hugely exciting works-in-progress in a showcase at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Performing Arts in September 2017.

Showcase Dates & Times:
FRIDAY, Sept 8 @ 7pm
SUNDAY, Sept 10 @ 7pm

An invitation and RSVP link will be posted closer to the performance dates.  Keep your eyes peeled!

These projects are outgrowths of works and collaborations that formed at Salonathon, and we couldn’t be more excited to share them with you:

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Resident: AJ WARE

A documentary film exploring our evolving definitions of Identity and Family, and the ways in which carrying a secret affects both the keeper and the people in their life.

AJ Ware is a storyteller whose work includes essays, poetry, and experimental performance. She is grateful to be a part of the Salonathon family, and regularly reads at and hosts many events throughout Chicago. AJ was a founder of Jackalope Theatre, and served as its Artistic Director from 2011-2014. She is the Artistic Curator at The Den, where she books music and performance events and creates original programming.


Growing Concerns Poetry Collective plans to explore its model of poetry as band more deeply and in greater theatrical ways with the tools provided by this residency. Utilizing visuals, lighting, and movement, Growing Concerns will underscore its poetic language with fresh musicality.

Growing Concerns Poetry Collective combines narrative, spoken word, and rhythmic poetry with soundscape and music to create work that we believe is greater than the sum of its individual parts. Based in Chicago, the collective consists of native west side Chicago poet and rapper Mykele Deville, poet, actor, and activist McKenzie Chinn, and musician and multidisciplinary artist Jeff Austin.

Together, we speak to a range of themes, but are especially interested in crafting deeply personal pieces that explore the various intersections of our identities and experiences including being young and black in America today, our gender identities, reflections on love and family, and the uniquely complex experiences of our millennial generation. It is our hope that by telling our own stories, we help validate the identities and experiences of others, and help build and bolster community both in and outside of Chicago.


Maggie Kubley’s Moderation looks at issues with moderation/addiction through works of storytelling and songwriting. In the winter of 2014, Maggie got sober. Her work since then has explored what it means to live life on life’s terms, unable to seek refuge in substance, and what that means for her relationships, both with others and herself. Performing as a counter to Matthew Sherbach’s innovative work about dreams and imagination, Maggie asks, when you’ve had years of being too high to remember your dreams, where does that leave you when you wake up?

Through a new work entitled A Dream I Could Speak To, Matthew Sherbach examines family, love, queerness and the power of imagination in his first duo performance with the intrepid Maggie Kubley. Using both traditional and nontraditional methods of storytelling, he blends fact and fiction to portray his life so far and the life he has yet to live. Everyone has hopes and dreams. When our dreams become so vivid and life-like that they feel like family members, those are dreams we can speak to.

Maggie Kubley is a multimedia performance artist, music video director, and songwriter who has lived and worked in Chicago for the last 10 years. She has enjoyed performing her works at various music venues, (Lincoln Hall, Metro, Subterranean, Schubas, Constellation, Donald E Stevens Convention Center), listening rooms, storytelling events, performance salons, (Salonathon, Chicago Home Theatre Festival, CHIRP Radio’s First Taste, Chicago Cultural Center), and theatre/music events (The Fly Honey Show, Taste of Chicago, Ike Holter’s “The Midnight Society” series). Maggie’s work has been featured in various publications (The Chicago Tribune, The Redeye, Gapers Block, Consequence of Sound) and on several radio stations (CHIRP radio, Vocalo, WGN). In 2016, The Chicago Reader dubbed Maggie’s feminist pop duo, Celine Neon, with “Best Band Name” in their 2016 “Best Of” poll. For all things Maggie Kubley, please visit

Matthew Sherbach is an actor, writer, and burgeoning educator who has worked throughout Chicago for the last decade. Northlight Theatre, The Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, About Face, Dog & Pony, Strawdog, First Floor, Theo Ubique, and Lifeline are some of the companies where he has been lucky enough to work. He is a stakeholder with the Back Room Shakespeare Project, where he has acted in over 20 plays. Matthew performs regularly with the One Year Chekhov Project, Salonathon, and has danced with the Fly Honey Show. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.


2016 Salonathon Summer Residents at Chicago Performance Lab:

Aasia Bullock + Dewayne Perkins: The Starving Artist
Bea Cordelia: The Cosmic Body
Matt Leyes, aka Judy Rosenblatt: TimeLife Video Presents a Limited Edition Performance of “Pretty Lady; The Life and Times of Judy Rosenblatt”

2015 Salonathon Summer Residents at Chicago Performance Lab:

Alexa GRÆ: The Diva in Seven Experiments
Alex Grelle: Shelley Duvall’s Women Under the Influence Theatre
Fee Lion + Kendra Miller: Carbon Copy

2014 Salonathon Summer Residents at Chicago Performance Lab:

Erin Kilmurray +The Salts
Dav Yendler