Best Impresario You Probably Never Heard of

Mary Bonnett

Critics' Picks

A retired Chicago public school theater teacher, Mary Bonnett has spent the last several years writing, staging, and producing plays with her company, Her Story Theater. Their next production will be Shadow Town, which she says is "based on the interviewed lives of girls trafficked into the sex-slave trade." Bonnett also produces readings that feature rappers, poets, novelists, journalists, and comedians of every age, race, and ethnic background. For the readings, she does it all: makes the posters, sends out invites, and selects the venues, which have included a beauty parlor. Oh, to be a fly on the wall when she's haggling with the venue owners. Bonnett greets the audience at the readings, introduces the participants, and hosts the post-show discussion. She also recruits the talent. I know this 'cause she drove me out of my cave to be in her June 18 event, "Writers on Race." I told her, "Mary, I don't do readings." She said, "That's nice, Ben. See you on the 18th."