Zach Johnson-Dunlop plays Artie Solis!

My name is Zach Johnson-Dunlop and I will be playing Artie.  I am a native of the suburbs who got his start on the Chicago scene with n.u.f.a.n. two years ago and have been involved in some way shape or form with all of their productions since. 

I act, tech, stage manage and cook a mean bratwurst. 

Zach on Loyalty. 

I’ve been a boy scout since I was six-years old.  One of points of the Scout Law is loyalty.  Loyalty is one of the greatest qualities mankind can possess.  It ties the bonds of brotherhood and when steadfast provides an anchor for those who are lost. 

The bonds of loyalty that support us may also drag us down and that anchor may run us aground.  This may make people spurn loyalty as a characteristic meant for fools and dupes.   Those people miss the point.  

When we pledge our loyalty to people either explicitly or implicitly we are investing in them and in ourselves.  Loyalty is well worth any risk involved when the investment pays off.

 Zach is also co-producing the production.

Published in: on January 25, 2008 at 4:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rachel Rogers directs

My name is Rachel, and I’m the director of Italian Lights; Not Stars.  I’m so excited about this production. 


I’m originally from Kentucky, though I’ve been in Chicago for the last two years.  I’ve also recently worked in Colorado. 


This is my first world premiere, and after reading the script, I knew it was a production that I really wanted to be part of. 


There are so many wonderful relationships in this play that truly demonstrate community, family, friendships and unconditional love that, though seen in a specific culture, are universal. 


It’s a story worth telling, and it’s told in a truly heartfelt and entertaining way.  I look forward to beginning rehearsals and seeing where we can take this.   I can’t wait to bring this show to life onstage.  

 It’s going to be a great experience and even better production.

Published in: on January 23, 2008 at 4:02 am  Comments (1)  

Dennis Schnell portrays Lenny Dylan

Introducing Dennis Schnell

Ever since high school, I’ve been in various plays and musicals. 

I majored in theater at U of I in Champaign/Urbana.


In 2004 acting became a chore to me and it wasn’t fun anymore.


After taking a couple years off to spend some time writing and taking classes, I started getting the acting bug again. 


I’ve worked with Paul on three of his shows in the past, and I decided to ask if he would be interested in casting me in anything new.  I talked to him, and wouldn’t you know it, he had a part for me in this new show. 

  Dennis on Lenny…

Lenny and I are quite different. He is South side Italian and I am North side Mutt. 

He doesn’t really have that filter in his brain that screens what is appropriate and what isn’t appropriate to say. 


I am the exact opposite of that although inappropriate things sometimes slip out of my mouth if I’ve had a little too much to drink. 


Lenny and I are similar in that we both value good friends. Lenny’s dry humor and sarcastic wit are a natural fit for me as well. 


I’m excited to bring him to life.  Oh yeah…and he also likes Da Bears.  Maybe he and I will take in a game together next season. 

 Lenny is a fun, loveable character and I couldn’t be happier to return to the stage with a comedic role in this show. 

Published in: on January 21, 2008 at 11:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

…a year of pizza…

Third Thursdays at CiCi’s benefits the n.u.f.a.n. ensemble and HEAVY. 

Starting in February, every time you visit CiCi’s pizza endless pizza, pasta, salad buffet on the third Thursday of the month in 2008, there will be a big box with our name on it.

Please drop you receipt into the box before you assault the legendary (and low-priced) pizza, pasta, and salad buffet. Every receipt means a couple more dollars to put into our work which is developing world premiere plays for the American theater.  

Where else are you going to find macaroni and cheese pizza and zest veggie pizza as well as delicious pastas and crisp salads? Just make sure you save room for the gooey cinnamon rolls? 

2008 means we are more serious about pizza than ever and we are serious about CiCi’s located at 1340 Butterfield Road in Downers Grove. (Their number is 630-424-1520.) 

When you see us out at CiCi’s – stop by and say Hey! Let’s talk theater – or movies – or whatever… 

Remember that’s the third Thursday of every month at CiCI’s on Butterfield Road in Downers Grove.

Published in: on January 15, 2008 at 5:14 am  Leave a Comment  

Hey… Bring the family…

The idea for “Italian Lights; Not Stars” came to me long before I was even writing plays. I have always written, but the idea of writing plays was a childhood fantasy I never actually thought I would pursue.


I decided – one evening – I wanted to find a way – a new way – to share the stories of the neighborhood and the colorful people who live there. Most of them are still there – married to the girl they dated in high school.


Now I have to admit that the character of Feeb is completely fictional. He is a character I was forced to excise from another play and I just bad for the little guy so I gave him his own play.


Other than that – every person in this play is based on one (or more) people who live in the dusty recesses of my past.  Father Donny was a real priest who did drive a kickass Monte Carlo in the 1970s and Finola Ballard was a stunning Irish girl with a very bad reputation. (God bless her!)


The idea of the actual marriage that occurs at the end of the play walks the fine line between imagined and exaggerated. The players in that little drama will remain nameless.


“Italian Lights; Not Stars” is kind of an answer to the types of plays that make Italian-Americans violent slobs who shovel pasta in their faces while belching out memorable lines like “Fuhgettaboutit!” There is also a trend in making Italian-Americans – uh – less than bright.


The list of Italian-Americans who have had a powerful impact on our nation – on our world – is staggering. From the realms of art and architectures – to the sports arena – to the theaters of our nation – Italian-Americans are represented with some of the brightest shining stars.


Make plans to visit the DiMenzo –Bennino wedding this spring. Hey, Paisan… Bring the family…


Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment  

…and so it begins…

This spring the n.u.f.a.n. ensemble will bring you “Italian Lights; Not Stars” written by the company’s artistic director, Paul Barile.

Over the next few weeks we hope to introduce you to Paul and his work as well as the characters that inhabit this intimate little world where love blooms in the strangest places – where loyalty is tested – and family love wins the day. Check in from time to time at the company’s website to chart the progress as well as learn about ways to save money on tickets and other fun promotions…


Published in: on January 5, 2008 at 1:02 am  Leave a Comment  

the show must go on

Please visit on a regular basis to see what we are up to…

Published in: on January 5, 2008 at 12:48 am  Leave a Comment