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Wednesday, July 12  7:30-9:30 (doors open at 6:30)

Hey Nonny / Arlington Heights 

Whether we seek it out or it's forced upon us, there is no life without risk. So this month, we embrace the art of taking chances: Stories about confronting bullies, breaking the rules, defying authority, hiding crimes, facing the Grim Reaper, and the greatest risk of all: being true to yourself.  

This show is appropriate for age 18* unless accompanied by an adult.

All sales are final - no refunds or exchanges.

Don Hall
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Diane Kastiel is the producer and host of First Person Live. A writer and storyteller from Chicago, she’s a three-time winner of the National Public Radio’s Moth StorySLAM; her work has been featured on the Moth Radio Hour, its podcast, and at special events for WBEZ, NPR’s Chicago affiliate. Diane has told stories on stage at The Second City, Steppenwolf, the Park West, Victory Gardens and other theaters as well as comedy clubs, art galleries, the basement of a tattoo parlor - she even did a show in the middle of the woods! Diane works with libraries, schools, community centers and homeless shelters to bring storytelling to a wider audience, and leads storytelling workshops at Northwestern University. Diane is an alumna of The Second City Conservatory and the University of Chicago’s Great Books program. She also has an MBA from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management…just in case. 

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Lee Melchior is a longtime Chicago storyteller, producer and open-mic-host. Like so many of us, Lee’s life changed during the pandemic. She stepped away from her 23 year Executive Coaching practice, a business that took her around the world several times from London to Dubai to South Korea as well as traveling in 40 U.S. states. Now Lee is taking time to get to know her hometown.  Not retired. Reinvented.  She is exploring Chicago neighborhoods and hiking our lake front and forest preserve trails and thrilled to be back telling stories live.  

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Mir Salman Ali is an incoming senior at Glenbard West high school who enjoys drawing, reading, learning new things, and working out. Mir has also attained the designation of Hafiz, a person who has memorized the Quran from cover to cover. Anticipating Muslim Student Association co-president at the school and joining the best buddies club, he seeks out to help others and enjoys being a positive influence for his friends, peers, and anyone else in need.

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Megan Lavery lives in Grayslake with her partner, daughter, and menagerie of rescue animals. However, home will always be Danville, Illinois, where she was born and raised. Megan is a health teacher and coach on the North Shore whose passion is helping kids become good humans. Teaching important topics like mental health, consent, and addiction are her jam. Meg is an introvert who has lived many lives in her 42 years, which reflects her family motto: “We might not have good luck, but at least we have great stories!” 

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Wendi Nelson is a native Chicagoan who divides her time between the Windy City and Miami. By day, she’s a sales process improvement consultant; by night, she can be found lurking around storytelling open mics, hoping to share a story. New to storytelling, Wendi has participated in Moth StorySLAMS in both of her home cities, and is committed to working her way to New York. She’s thrilled and honored to appear in First Person Live. When not working or telling stories, Wendi loves to spend time with her husband and two grown daughters. She is an exceptional cook, and loves to sing (loudly) and be on the water - either in a boat or a raft, as long as it has a cup holder.

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Alan Teller is a photographer and curator whose museum design has been featured in more than 100 exhibits nationwide - from Vivian Maier’s Chicago to the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library. His grandfather was a Vaudeville magician and he tries to keep up that sense of the miraculous in everything he does. Alan also sings in Gilbert and Sullivan groups, much to the pride and annoyance of his wife. The two of them received a Fulbright award based on their discovery of a box of remarkable photographs made in India by an unknown U.S. soldier. Working with contemporary Indian artists in various disciplines, the pair have made numerous trips to India, developing the “Following the Box” exhibit that has toured internationally.

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Susan Rohde credits God’s guidance and grace in making a couple of amazing decisions: going back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University at age 35, and marrying a terrific man (celebrating 25 years of marriage!) who is patient enough to listen to all her stories...over and over. Their children are all either foster or adopted which, along with their two dogs, makes for an “interesting family life,” for which they are very grateful. Susan is Director of Professional Development for a higher education institution.

Francesca Sobrer

Francesca Sobrer, actor/writer/theater teacher, comes to Chicago via Nantucket Island, where she was raised in a delicatessen and bakery, Something Natural. Along the way, she landed in Bloomington, Indiana, where she was the program director and teacher at Bloomington High School North Theatre for more than 20 years. Francesca is mother to three grown adults and is constantly surprised to see that they behave more maturely than she does. When she is not pounding the pavement for acting gigs, Francesca is an acting coach. She is a three-time Moth StorySLAM winner and performs in storytelling shows around Chicago. 

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