There’s nothing like the heartwarming story of a successful homecoming. The Princess Strikes Back coming to the Skokie Theatre in August is just such a success story.
The Princess Strikes Back started off as just an idea from actress and improv artist Victoria Montalbano – a story about how over the course of her life none of her boyfriends measured up to the standard she set in her mind when she chose Han Solo as her first teenage crush.
Lots of people come up with ideas for plays or movies, but only a small percentage have the determination to make them into a reality, much less a success story. But that is exactly what Montalbano has done.
Montalbano workshopped her original one-woman show, brought on a director and tech consultant, commissioned costumes, and started producing independent productions – on Zoom and around Chicago.
The show drew huge praise from theater critics, eventually winning the Heartstrings Award for Most Meaningful Independent Production of 2022. The win put Montalbano’s show in the same conversation as productions from Chicago powerhouses like Marriott Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, and Broadway in Chicago.
From there The Princess Strikes Back: One Woman’s Search for the Space Cowboy of Her Dreams went on the road with stops around Illinois, Florida, Missouri, and Indiana.
“It’s been an amazing journey,” says Montalbano, the charismatic writer and star of the storytelling theatre piece that has drawn comparisons to The Vagina Monologues and The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe. “It’s been exciting to share The Princess Strikes Back with people of all ages around the country. Now it’s really exciting to be bringing the show back to Chicago.”
The Princess Strikes Back will be playing the beautiful Skokie Theatre on Chicago’s North Shore on Friday, August 11, and Friday, August 18.
“The Princess Strikes Back is the kind of creative, imaginative, and really enjoyable theater that people in Chicago and on the North Shore really enjoy. Skokie Theatre is delighted to be bringing this funny, touching, empowering, and romantic story to our neck of the woods,” says Skokie Theatre managing director Wayne Mell.
Despite its Star Wars-related title, one does not need to have seen any of the entries in the sci-fi film and television empire to enjoy the show.
“At its heart, The Princess Strikes Back is not just about romance, but about the maturing process and finding one’s own sense of empowerment and place in the world,” says Montalbano.
The Skokie Theatre has been an institution in Chicago since it first opened its doors in 1915. Now under the leadership of executive director Wendy Kaplan, the theatre is known for presenting a mix of classic and new works with a commitment to quality that has earned praise from Chicago’s leading reviewers.
The theater’s current production of the Tony-award-winning musical HAIR in collaboration with MadKap Productions has been praised and recommended by a whose who of theatre critics. The Chicago Reader praises star Joey Chelius as “flawless” while Splash Magazine calls the show “a fabulous interpretation of the rock musical.”
In fact, Life and Times states, “Wendy Kaplan and Wayne Mell of MadKap Productions are experts at putting on great shows that audiences delight in experiencing and HAIR fits the bill nicely.”
“The Princess Strikes Back offers the same level of creative storytelling that audiences are lapping up with Drunk Shakespeare and Peter Pan Goes Wrong,” says Kaplan. “That’s what we do at Skokie Theatre – concentrate on telling great stories. We invite you for an evening you’ll treasure.”
The Skokie Theatre is located 7924 Lincoln Avenue, in Skokie, IL. The beautiful performing arts theater features a historic outer façade and a fully modernized interior where patron comfort is always at a maximum. There is ample free parking.
The Princess Strikes Back plays Friday, August 11 and Friday, August 18 at 7:30 PM. For tickets visit www.SkokieTheatre.com or call the box office at (847) 677-7761.