Wants & Needs

71 3Arts supporters
$6,271 raised of $6,000 goal
0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
Funded on July 28, 2023
    • 105% contributed

Wants & Needs is a site-specific show that will blend audio and live performance in two storefront shopsDistrict and Ponnopozz—located in the Ravenswood neighborhood. Working with the Living Room Playmakers writer’s collective, the performance will feature new work by up to ten writers, each adding their perspective on storytelling within a non-traditional space. The stores themselves will serve as both backdrop and context for the new works and allow for the audience to make choices in how they engage with the live and audio portions of the show. Coming out of the isolation of pandemic, connection through storytelling is key. This performance will provide a unique opportunity for connection between artists, audience members, and local shop owners. With community support, Wants & Needs will premiere in October 2023.

About This Project

This project is a refueling of work I’ve done for years with Living Room Playmakers, a writer’s collective that creates site-inspired theater pieces. I’ve always had an interest in working outside of a traditional theater space, which at times requires artists to rely on gatekeepers for their work to be seen. I’m also motivated by a similar experiment from 2014 called Refinished, which was a series of short plays written for and performed at District, a furniture store in Ravenswood owned by friend and collaborator, Chris Murphy. In that show, the writers were prompted to develop new works along the theme of “refinishing,” inspired by the furniture pieces in the store and conversations with Chris about his work as a storeowner.  

I first met Chris when he was my drama student many years ago. I was a young teacher (22!) at Oak Forest High School, and we later reconnected through mutual friends. We both love theater and had a great collaboration on Refinished. We believe that the arts can have such a positive effect on neighborhood businesses, and these projects are a great way for a business and artists to collaborate.

For Wants & Needs, once again Chris will provide rehearsal and performance space at his store, District, free of charge, as will Adrianne Hawthorne of Ponnopozz. This means that a large portion of the grant funds will go straight to the artists involved. Currently, I’m assembling a group of writers to adapt original pieces and create new ones. At the moment, committed writers are Erin Austin, Rachel DuBose, Chad Eschman, Mara Galeno, Jennifer Rumberger, Jessy Lauren Smith, Tony Werner, and myself. The audio and live pieces will be inspired by the idiosyncrasies of these two stores, the nature of neighborhood retail, and the ways in which these can impact our relationships and identities. Our show will be produced by Second Site, a new collective that will serve as the next iteration of Living Room Playmakers, with a focus on “new stories in new spaces.” Thank you for your support!

Thank yous

Contribute any amount or choose from the levels below.

  • $20
    Special thanks on social media and a handwritten Ponnopozz notecard ($18.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $50
    Soy candle gift from District, plus above ($25.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $100
    One ticket to "Wants & Needs" performance, plus all of the above ($50.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $250
    Candle set gift from District, a gift card to Ponnopozz, plus one ticket and special thanks above ($125.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $500
    Exclusive invitation to a post-show reception and meet-the-artists, a District Gift Card, plus candle, one ticket to the performance, and special thanks above ($300.00 is tax deductible.)
  • $1000
    Deluxe gift basket of goodies from District and Ponnopozz, your name (or another’s of your choosing) written into the play, plus 2 tickets to the performance and special thanks above ($700.00 is tax deductible.)

Jenni Lamb

Make a Wave Artist

Jenni Lamb has spent the last two decades as a performer, writer, teacher, and theater maker in Chicago. She is a former resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and a member of the Goodman Playwrights Unit (2015). Her plays Jumble of …

View Jenni Lamb's profile
  • Update 1: New Artists Joining The Project!
    Posted on June 13, 2023


    We are pleased to announce that Jess Hutchison (director) and Jeffrey Hunter (writer) are joining Wants & Needs!

    Update 2: Welcome Nathaniel, Austin and Kasey!
    Posted on June 29, 2023


    Our project is growing and we are so thrilled to welcome Nathaniel Andrew (writer), Austin Heller (audio designer), and Kasey Waas (audio editor) to our group of artists!

    Update 3: Kickoff Meeting Last Night!
    Posted on July 12, 2023


    Last night we met with writers, directors and audio designers to discuss Wants & Needs! It was wonderful to hear ideas about how to best use the space and engage with audiences. We also shared stories of how objects function in our families and the meaning they take on. Overall, it was a great night to dream and connect. Thank you for your support of this special project!

    Update 4: We did it!!
    Posted on August 06, 2023


    Thanks to your generosity we have met our goal and the project is up and running! Writers have submitted ideas, and our team is now complete. We are on target to open Wants & Needs on October 25, and I will keep you all in the loop once details are in place. In the next week or so, keep an eye out for an email from me requesting information so that I can get thank yous and gifts to you. A million thanks to you all for supporting Chicago artists!

    • Thank you to the following for contributing to 3Arts with the recommendation that we support this project.

    • Melissa Lamb

    • Lisa Coburn

    • Anne Zacharias-Walsh

    • Anita LeBlanc

    • Michelle Lopez-Rios

    • Holly O’Brien

    • Antje Kastner-Panya

    • Dan Gill

    • Ann Lamb

    • Lisa DuBeau

    • Josh Hetherington

    • Tara Mallen

    • Liz Cloud

    • Dave and Deb Tolchinsky

    • Elana Elyce

    • Zayd Dohrn

    • Hilary Williams

    • Jo Cattell


    • Maria Stephens

    • Joe Zarrow

    • Leah Boston

    • Dianna Frid

    • Tomo Lekovic

    • Alvaro Rios

    • Sandra Delgado

    • Jean Deering

    • Sarah Hecht

    • Andy Tsoukalis

    • Brian James Polak

    • Joanne Oyer

    • Emily Sanford

    • Kathy Muller

    • Cassandra Rose

    • Rachel Swearingen

    • Connie Kuntz

    • Sarah Schol

    • Carrie B

    • Sera Hayes

    • Lauren Niemchick

    • Chio Cabrera

    • Lisa Dillman

    • Lynda Shadrake

    • Annette Apsley

    • Solomon Smith

    • Nichole Lovett

    • David Sacchetti

    • Robert Buscemi

    • Steve Gadlin

    • Lily Mooney

    • James Litchfield

    • Stephanie Sitterding

    • Mark Smith

    • Joe Gengler

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Amanda Carver

    • Kristin Morris

    • Mia McCullough

    • Elise Soeder

    • Sara Perry

    • Sandi Tenfelde

    • Mary-terese Cozzola

    • David Mitchell

    • Teresa Miller Dudley

    • Brett Johnson

    • Anonymous Supporter

    • Julie Smith

    • Monica Reilly

    • Jonathan Baude

    • Erin Hays

    • Beth Tidmarsh

make it work


3AP Presenting Partner:

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 Additional support provided by: 

Department of Cultural Affairs logo  Illinois Arts Council