announcing our 2024 season

Chicago Premiere!
Book by Steven Sater & Jessie Nelson
Music by Duncan Sheik
Lyrics by Steven Sater

Book by James Lapine
Music & Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim

Plus the Return of

CHICAGO (October 27, 2023) – Kokandy Productions is delighted to announce its 2024 season, including two fully-produced musicals and the return of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival.

Next summer, Kokandy goes down the rabbit hole with the Midwest premiere of Alice by Heart. This “fantastical, magical” show (which reunites Spring Awakening scribes Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater) will invite audiences to go through the looking glass, seeking solace in a Wonderland unlike any they’ve seen.

As summer fades into fall, Kokandy journeys alongside Sondheim with an immersive Into The Woods, the first Chicago storefront production of the beloved musical in over a decade.

In addition to the two full productions, Kokandy is elated to announce the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival (CMTF) officially returns next summer, as part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s LookOut Series. Official dates and submission guidelines will be announced soon.

Full productions in the 2024 season will be presented at The Chopin Theater, 1543 W Division St. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. The Chicago Musical Theatre Festival will be produced in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater, 1700 N Halsted St. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Single tickets will go on sale at a later date at

Producing Artistic Director Derek Van Barham comments, “When the madness of the world is too much to bear, we take refuge in the stories we love. Can we take you somewhere? With both Alice and Into the Woods, we reunite with characters we know, or think we know, to explore some of the darker edges of the page. We’re excited to transform our basement into a breathless wonderland full of whimsy and wit, then into a grim forest full of secrets and enchantment. These are stories we hold close to our heart, so it will be thrilling to experience them up close and all around us, becoming part of the story ourselves. Whether down the hole or into the woods, we’ll uncover the darkest corners of the imagination, finding light along the way.”

“And speaking of light, The Chicago Musical Theatre Festival is returning! In searching for the right way to relaunch this important piece of our new musical landscape, the mission of Steppenwolf’s LookOut series felt like a perfect fit for this year. Both the festival and the series focus on new work, emerging artists and the importance of the Chicago community in supporting both. We are very grateful for this collaboration as we rekindle the fire and reunite for the next iteration of this event. Stay tuned!”

Kokandy Productions’ 2024 Season includes:

August 8–11, 2024
The Chicago Musical Theatre Festival

The Chicago Musical Theatre Festival (CMTF) is a showcase of new musicals from Chicago and across the country. Originally produced by Underscore Theatre Company, the festival is a celebration of new work, designed to highlight emerging musical theatre creators.

July 18 – September 29, 2024
Alice By Heart
Book by Steven Sater and Jessie Nelson
Music by Duncan Sheik
Lyrics by Steven Sater
Opening Night: Friday, August 2, 2024 at 7 pm

From the Tony and Grammy Award-winning creators of Spring Awakening, Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik, and co-written by Jessie Nelson (Waitress), Alice by Heart is a touching musical inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

In the rubble of the London Blitz of World War II, Alice Spencer’s budding teen life is turned upside down as she and her dear friend Alfred are forced to take shelter in an underground tube station. When the ailing Alfred is quarantined, Alice encourages him to escape with her into their cherished book and journey down the rabbit hole to Wonderland. As they travel through the tale, Alice by Heart explores the poignancy of first love, coming to terms with loss and finding the courage to move forward. This Chicago premiere encourages us all to celebrate the transformational power of the imagination, even in the harshest of times.

October 10 – December 22, 2024
Into the Woods
Book by James Lapine
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Opening Night: Friday, October 25, 2024 at 7 pm

Escape into a fantastical fairytale adventure where wishes come true, but not always for free. A trove of storybook characters’ paths intertwine as they chase their deepest desires through an enchanted forest. However, once they receive their happily ever after, the unintended consequences of granted wishes unravel their worlds.

Weaving a euphoric score including the songs “Giants in the Sky,” “On the Steps of the Palace,” “No One Is Alone” and “Children Will Listen” with a darkly humorous book, Into the Woods is a sophisticated musical twist on beloved childhood fables.

About Kokandy Productions

Founded in 2010, Kokandy Productions seeks to leverage the heightened reality of musical theater to tell complex and challenging stories, with a focus on contributing to the development of Chicago-based musical theater artists, and raising the profile of Chicago’s non-Equity musical theater community.

The company’s artistic staff is comprised of Derek Van Barham (Producing Artistic Director), Scot T. Kokandy (Executive Producer), Adrian Abel Azevedo and Leda Hoffmann (Artistic Associates) and Jeff Meyer (Webmaster/Graphic Designer).

For additional information, visit