About the Festival

Our Mission


Something Marvelous cultivates new works of magical realism and curates a reflective dialogue with the community to examine, broaden, and embolden the genre. Our work uses theatricality to awaken imagination and inspire empathy for new perspectives.


Our History

Something Marvelous is a theatre festival based in Chicago, IL. Each year, we put up a full production, conduct workshops of new plays in collaboration with playwrights, curate a series of special events involving local theatre companies, and lead a dialogue about imagination in the theatre.

  A Night of New Works  2014 Talkback

A Night of New Works 2014 Talkback

2013 was our inaugural festival, with three readings, a Night of New Works, and a production of The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl. In 2014, we presented References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot by José Rivera and eight reading series events. The 2015 festival featured six world premieres of ten-minute plays in our Night of New Works, three workshops culminating in staged readings at the Chicago Cultural Center thanks to the DCASE In the Works residency, and four special events geared towards actors, directors, and designers.  2016 brought our first world premiere, Don't Look by Gina Doherty, as well as a continuation of our workshop series and special events. For more information, please visit our previous seasons page.

In magical realism we find the transformation of the common and the everyday into the awesome and the unreal. It is predominantly an art of surprises.
— Angel Flores

Something Marvelous is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts

Our Staff


Emmi Hilger, Artistic Director

Emmi is thrilled to be working with this fantastic team on the fifth year of Something Marvelous after founding the festival in 2013.  For Something Marvelous, Emmi has directed The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl, References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot by José Rivera, Don't Look by Gina Doherty, the workshop of Koalas by J. Joseph Cox, Sunrise: Ardmore Beach by Hallie Palladino, and Sheltered by Laura Nessler. Recent directing credits also include An Almanac for Farmers and Lovers in Mexico (The Jades), Bethlehem, PA (20% Theatre Company), Crawling Between Heaven and Earth (Concordia University), Love in the Time of Bumblehive (Stage Left's Leapfest), Sand Castles (RhinoFest), 10 Things (Collaboraction's Sketchbook), The Lover (Walkabout Theater Company) and Punk Grandpa, a one woman show by Laura Scruggs that has performed across the country. Emmi loves Chicago and has worked extensively on new plays with Chicago Dramatists, The Fine Print Theatre Company, Piccolo Theatre, 20% Theatre Company, Women's Theatre Alliance, The Arc Theatre, Pegasus Players, and Strangeloop Theatre. Emmi is an Associate Artist and Associate Dramaturg with Chicago Dramatists and a proud graduate of Northwestern University.  www.emmihilger.com


Mary Siegel, Executive Director

Mary is delighted to be a part of the Something Marvelous team once again. A theater-geek since 2nd grade, it was serving as Dramaturg for our production of References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot in 2014 that made her a fan of magical realism. An arts administrator by day, Mary has worked in different capacities at a variety of Chicago's performing arts organizations since moving here after graduation from Ohio University where she majored in playwriting.


Laura Nash, Associate Artistic Director

Laura loves to make the impossible real on stage and on the screen (computer screen, that is). This is her fifth year with Something Marvelous, and during the day, you can find her working in as a user experience designer. She also co-hosts a podcast called The Short Game. Laura has a degree in Theatre from Northwestern, where she specialized in stage management and directing.

Sarah Mayhan, Literary Manager

Sarah is delighted to be part of Something Marvelous for a fifth year, and is proud to see the festival grow! She migrated from Tennessee to study theater and American history at Northwestern University, and stayed to do theater in Chicago. Sarah has acted onstage with companies such as Filament Theater Ensemble, Piccolo Theatre, Redtwist Theatre, & Tympanic Theatre Company, and onscreen with Fake Geek Girl Productions. She teaches ballroom dance to kids, and the Alexander Technique to students of all ages. When not reading plays, Sarah is listening to podcasts.  

Cruz Gonzalez-Cadel, Casting Director

Cruz was born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she fell in love with magical realism at the age of 12, after reading Isabel Allende's La Casa de los Espiritus for a school assignment. She studied theatre, dance and voice in addition to obtaining a BA from the Universidad del Salvador. In her home country she worked as a director, choreographer and drama teacher. Since making Chicago her artistic home she has graduated from the IO Chicago Training Center and has continued her studies in Meisner, On Camera and Scene study. Her Chicago credits include: The Compass (Steppenwolf Theatre), The Grown Up (Shattered Globe),  i put the fear of Mexico in em (Teatro Vista), The life and death of Madam Barker (Red Tape Theatre), Your problem with men (Teatro Luna), El Incas (Colectivo el Pozo), Corazon de Manzana (Mortar Theatre Company) and The Clean House (Something Marvelous). She is an artistic associate with Teatro Vista and passionate about inclusive and diverse casting. 


Allyce Torres, Company Manager

Allyce is an actor, teaching artist, and activist from San Diego, California. She fell in love with Something Marvelous when she played Gabriela in their 2014 production of References to Salvador Dalí Make Me Hot. Other recent credits include: Tea Flake in Chicago Danztheatre's Xtigone, as well as In Love and Warcraft and Estrella Cruz: The Junkyard Queen both at Halcyon Theatre. Allie is the director of Skin Deep, a theatrical initiative to aid those at risk for and struggling with eating disorders. She is a proud company member at Halcyon Theatre and is ecstatic to be continuing her work with Something Marvelous.

Based in Chicago, IL, Something Marvelous is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.  Contributions for the charitable purposes of Something Marvelous are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law.

The umbrella in our logo is adapted from an asset courtesy of the Vectorian Free Vector Pack, under a Creative Commons License.

Copyright 2015 © Something Marvelous.