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TWIST! stories of the unexpected
Thursday, May 2 /  7:30-9:30 (doors open at 6:30)

Hey Nonny / Arlington Heights 

“Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face." Who hasn’t felt the truth of those words from the great American philosopher Mike Tyson? Life is full of twists and turns, and if you’re expecting anything different you’ve come to the wrong planet. But you’re not alone, and tellers prove it with stories about career wipe-outs, surprise wills, Peace Corp evacuations, parental reveals, medical crises, Hail Mary passes, and those awkward times when it’s on you to find the bomb (no, really).

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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Lily Be, award-winning storyteller and first Latina Moth GrandSLAM champion, lives to support the arts and communities through storytelling. She’s the creator and producer of “The Stoop” a storytelling show that featuring stories by people from marginalized communities. Lily also sits on the board of directors of The Hairpin Arts Center and The Prop Theater. 

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Cliff Johnson is a recovering social worker who currently leads internal communications at Teach For America. During his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Kingdom of Tonga, Cliff taught a youth theater troupe named “Tala Kei Kapa Na’a To Ki Mala,” which roughly translates to a warning about being eaten by devils. His other theater experience includes teaching youth improv in Chicago and writing/performing numerous plays. Cliff’s previously won a Moth StorySLAM and a national Peace Corps storytelling competition. Cliff enjoys writing fiction, watching movies, and making/consuming enough pizza to cancel out whatever exercise he got that day.

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Rashada Dawan is proud Black woman, mother, daughter, sister and friend born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. By day, she is a regional trainer and school consultant for PlayWorks, a national nonprofit that helps kids stay active and build life skills through play. When not singing, acting, or serving her community or schools around the nation, she is hugging trees and marveling at the sun and moon, giving thanks for making it through another day (word!). Rashada is new to storytelling and excited to share her life stories on stage.

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Jake Griffith is an actor, comedian, and writer based in Chicago. He moved here in September 2023, and has been delighted to perform with theaters such as The Second City, Annoyance Theatre, Shattered Globe Theatre, and Gwydion Theatre Company. Jake has also been seen on stage in Minneapolis and New York - at Brooklyn Comedy Collective, Upright Citizens Brigade, and the Guthrie Theater. He is a recent Moth StorySlam winner and an ensemble member at Gwydion Theatre Company. Jake is originally from South Carolina, and he loves to talk about it. Fair warning: If you get him talking, he will eventually start showing you pictures of his cats.

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Nadia Greenspan’s OKCupid profile says that she “still has a trace of an accent that most people find hard to place.” Born in the Soviet Union, Nadia is a proud Ukrainian, a recovering Jew, a practicing witch, and an outspoken disruptor of white patriarchal supremacy. As a psychotherapist in private practice, she works with people in creative and performing arts, as well as those who think that the matrix exists but have not yet found the white rabbit. Nadia is a recent winner of the Moth StorySlam, but her favorite way to tell stories is around a dinner table with friends. 

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Amana Mariam is sophomore at Glenbard West High School in Glen Ellyn. She’s on her school’s competitive speech team, which has fostered her passion for public speaking and performing (in other words, like most good storytellers, she loves to talk!). Amana is a huge fan of ABBA (don’t judge) and, in her free time, she loves to read all sorts of books and watch tons of movies (ok, now go ahead and judge ;). Amana is making her storytelling debut tonight!

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Susan Rohde started to change when she realized she owned her own story. After earning going back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University at age 35, she realized she could do anything, and went on to careers in both professional development and clinical research. But she is most proud of the family she and her husband created as foster parents for 20+ years. Susan is a three-time Moth StorySLAM winner and Director of Professional Development for a local higher education institution.

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