November 2 – December 18, 2022

A cutting yet humorous behind-the-curtain drama that examines pervasive racial dynamics within the American theatre and the tolls of superficial representation on stage.

ACCLAIMED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES as “a rich, unsettling play that lives up to its title [and] lingers in one’s memory long after its conclusion.”

At a Broadway theater in New York City in the mid-1950s, a group of actors has gathered for their first day rehearsing a new play called Chaos in Belleville, an anti-lynching Southern drama. But as the cast rehearses, tensions flare between Wiletta, the Black actress in the starring role, and her white director about his interpretation of the play. What emerges is an explosive investigation of interracial politics and the need for a cultural shift in theatre and America.

Written by Alice Childress—the first Black woman to have a play professionally produced in New York City—Trouble in Mind recently enjoyed an acclaimed Broadway production nominated for four 2022 Tony Awards, including Best Revival of a Play. The critics raved that this “masterpiece of astonishing power” (New York Magazine) is “the play of the moment” (The New York Times) and “will take your breath away” (Associated Press).

PLEASE NOTE: TimeLine is currently requiring mask-wearing to attend. These protocols are subject to change as the pandemic evolves. For the most updated information about TimeLine’s Health & Safety policies, click here …

Trouble in Mind runs 2 hours, 15 minutes including one intermission

Use Your FlexPass


Production Team


* Member of Actors Equity Association

# Member of United Scenic Artists

~ Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society

+ TimeLine Company Member

^ TimeLine Associate Artist

§ TimeLine Playwrights Collective


  • Chicago Tribune

    November 12, 2022

    “★★★1/2…an intensely detailed and richly acted revival from director Ron OJ Parson…a brilliantly incisive and emotionally rich piece of writing, filled with characters suffering from what poet Langston Hughes famously referred to as ‘the dream deferred.’”

    —Chris Jones

    Read the full review

  • Chicago Sun-Times

    November 14, 2022

    “★★★★…In TimeLine Theatre Company’s can’t-look-away staging, director Ron OJ Parson shapes a production that is both period-perfect and urgently of the moment.”

    —Catey Sullivan

    Read the full review

  • Around the Town Chicago

    November 10, 2022

    “★★★★★…TROUBLE IN MIND, by Alice Childress is troubling and difficult to watch. Not because it isn’t an amazing production with incredible performances, because that it is…You will most certainly be discussing the play with those who watch with you as you leave the theater…a story we must watch, with words we must hear…Ms. Childress would be quite pleased.”

    —Paul M. Lisnek

    Read the full review

  • Broadway World

    November 11, 2022

    a blistering portrait of racial and gender politics on Broadway…  It’s both fascinating that we’re now able to experience TROUBLE IN MIND for the first time in Chicago in 2022, but it’s also chilling how relevant the play still is.”

    —Rachel Weinberg

    Read the full review

  • Chicago Reader

    November 17, 2022

    “TimeLine’s production stars Shariba Rivers as Wiletta, and it’s a stunning performance that should not be missed…it’s a pure joy to see her move here with nimble leaps from sardonic asides to anguished take-no-prisoners confrontations with Tim Decker’s Manners. Parson’s funny but wrenching production places us up close to these characters as they wrestle with their consciences and each other.”

    —Kerry Reid

    Read the full review

  • Buzz Center Stage

    November 12, 2022

    “TimeLine Theatre, with their strong company, long experience, broad resources and culture of excellence, presents us with a superlative production of this incredible play. At the interval my companion and I were debating which was finer – the script, the acting, or the production – and at the final curtain we were still unable to single one out.”

    —Sarz Maxwell

    Read the full review

  • Third Coast Review

    November 14, 2022

    “There is a feeling of connection between the characters that in lesser hands would not come through. [Director Ron OJ] Parson and his cast create a synthesis that puts the audience backstage in the thick of the conflict. Parson has a deft touch with plays about being Black in America.”

    —Kathy D. Hey

    Read the full review

  • Picture This Post

    November 10, 2022

    The pitch perfect direction by OJ Parson seems to let every actor in this production shine, and especially gives Shariba Rivers an opportunity to deliver a tour de force performance… Anyone who loves theater’s ability to say something important – as lead character Wiletta Mayer craves it to do—will be well-served by changing their schedule to see this show.”

    —Amy Munice

    Read the full review

  • Let's Play Theatrical Reviews

    November 9, 2022

    “Alice Childress’ riveting and thought-provoking, TROUBLE IN MIND will have you questioning the soul of your integrity. It compels the audience to ask whether we can see the racism within us —and how we, humanity, can eradicate it.”

    —Rick McCain

    Read the full review


  • Chicago Sun-Times

    November 3, 2022


    What’s interesting for me is how relevant the play still is. Black people particularly are still fighting this battle over identity, over being able to name themselves, and speak for themselves, and define themselves without interference or without commentary.
    – Shariba Rivers

    The Chicago Sun-Times’ Mary Houlihan spoke with director Ron OJ Parson and cast members Shariba Rivers and Tim Decker about how Alice Childress’ drama about the Black experience in the theatre world is as powerful today as it was when it was written in the mid-1950s.

    Read the feature

Discussions & Events

  • TROUBLE IN MIND: Post-Show Discussions
    Various Dates

    Join us for informal post-show discussions with members of the production team and cast.

    Read More
  • Distanced Performances of TROUBLE IN MIND
    Tuesday, November 22 & Friday, December 2

    These performances have a capacity cap and seating chart.

    Read More
  • TROUBLE IN MIND: PRE-Show Discussions
    November 27 & December 8

    Join us for an informal sneak peek into this production with members of the production team.

    Read More
  • TROUBLE IN MIND: Company Member Discussion
    Sunday, December 4 at 4pm

    Join us for an informal chat with TimeLine’s Company Members after today’s performance.

    Read More
  • Open Captioned Performances of TROUBLE IN MIND
    December 9 at 8pm & December 10 at 4pm

    Featuring a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance.

    Read More
  • TROUBLE IN MIND: Sunday Scholars
    Sunday, December 11 at 4pm

    This one-hour post-show panel discussion features experts on the themes of the play.

    Read More
  • Audio Described Performance of TROUBLE IN MIND
    December 16 at 8pm

    Featuring audio description of visuals during the performance via individual headset.

    Read More