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Sunday, March 3rd at 5pm


Eric Robinson​, Jean Wildest, Queer Dance Freakout, Richie Whitehead, Vanessa Valliere & Zoia Mendoza


Curated by Scott Ray Merchant


 by Various Artists (USA)

 70 minutes with no intermission

 Age Guidance: 14+

Sunday, March 3rd at 5 pm

All performances are at The Newport Theater

(956 W Newport Ave, Chicago, IL 60657)

Box Office:  (773) 270-3440

About SN

Scratch Night is a curated  showcase of works-in-progress featuring innovative local theatre makers. Scratch Night features 6 previews of original contemporary, visual, and physical theatre by different Chicago artists to foster their development. Produced by Scott Ray Merchant, Scratch Night aims to provide a social space for community, conversation, and collaboration.

Winter Scratch Night Line Up: ​

Queer Dance Freakout

Richie Whitehead

Eric Robinson

Zoia Mendoza

Jean Wildest

Vanessa Valliere and John Gregorio

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Queer Dance Freakout is an interactive choose-your-own-adventure spectacle, inspired by the Neo-Futurists Infinite Wrench. Our company is composed of queer, trans, and/or nonbinary artists & storytellers, who perform an array of devised dance and performance art pieces. We aim to have audiences booty shaking, grooving, and connecting with the larger queer community. Each of our original pieces range in length, and the audience queues the order of these pieces from our “playlist” by verbally calling out the next piece they want to see. No Queer Dance Freakout performance is the same as we continually devise new work influenced from our personal live experiences. We can't wait to freakout with you!


No Freakout performance is the same as we continually devise new work influenced from our personal live experiences.

Richie Whitehead - Headshot.jpg

Richie Whitehead (he/him) @ricardogarbanzo is a clown, actor, theatre-maker and teacher who loves creating and supporting imaginative, playful theatre.


A graduate of the performance school Ecole Philippe Gaulier, Richie has studied clown and physical comedy with teachers across the US, UK, Italy and France. He has created and performed 7 original clown/physical comedy shows - including solo and ensemble shows and shows for younger audiences.


Collaborations between his children's theatre company, Captain Curiosity, and WOW O'Clock have been performed over 300 times for enthusiastic rooms full of kids. He is currently refining and performing Bread Crumb, his one-person clown show about a no-nonsense lighthouse keeper, in festivals this summer and in Chicago this spring!

Eric Robinson is a Jack of all trades and master of instructional design and technology. Willing to try everything and perform only 5 things. With over 19 years of circus experience, Eric has taught with all of the best circus schools or gyms in Chicagoland area. He is proud of this production and honored to be performing with such great people.
Zoia Mendoza is a Chicago actor and clown. She holds a Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Acting from Northern Illinois University. For the past year, she has dropped almost everything else in theatre to study clowning. During the day, she works with children with special needs in Chicago Public Schools.
Jean Wildest (they/he) straddles the lines between burlesque, circus, and dance in order to create heartfelt storytelling with engaging movement patterns. They come with a decade of experience, a global tour roster, and 4 full-length burlesque credits to their name. Favorite credits include Bad Taste Chicago (2017-2021), Modet Dance Collective (2014-2023), Heels Over Head (2015-2019), Movement Revolution Dance Crew (2016-2019), Rational Dress Society (2017), Chicago Architectural Biennial (2019), and a dance studio residency with the Chicago Cultural Center (2023). Since graduating from the Actors Gymnasium’s Professional Circus Program in 2022 Jean has been working to extend their queerest choreography out from under the nightlife glow into more traditional venues and thus reach a wider audience. Wilder than Wilde, they’re Jean Wildest!

Vanessa Valliere and John Gregorio are a comedy duo with backgrounds in acting, physical theater, puppetry, improv and clown. Vanessa creates solo work that has been featured across the country. She has toured with Manual Cinema and Theater Unspeakable, she is a nerd-cheerleader for the Chicago's punk marching band, Mucca Pazza and for six years she was a performer and deviser with New Belgium's national Tour De Fat. John has acted with various regional theaters, most recently appearing in Mary Zimmerman’s Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci at The Goodman and The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Lookingglass. He was a founding member of Dad’s Garage in Atlanta and The Nuclear Family of New York. Together John and Vanessa created Gut Feelings, a short puppet film commissioned by Heather Henson’s company, Handmade Puppet Dreams. Gut Feelings was accepted into numerous film festivals in 2022, winning awards for "Best Comedy" and "Audience Favorite."



Scott Ray Merchant (he/him) is a performance artist and theatre maker celebrating over a decade in the Chicago theatre community. A graduate of the Theatre Conservatory of Roosevelt University, Scott has had the privilege to perform with The Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, the Scooty & Jojo Show, Abraham Werewolf, New Leaf Theatre, Dog & Pony, Red Twist, Rough House Theatre and he is a proud company member of Collaboraction. Scott was Co-director of, "TOLLBOOTH: A Clown Show" for First Floor Theatre and a former member of the cult-hit Bouffon troupe Les Enfants Terribles. Over the last several years, he has trained with Eric Davis in Bouffon, Sue Morrison in Pochinko clown in Toronto and with Steve Wasson and Corine Soum in Decroux mime. Scott was the co-curator and co-host of the 'Hindrance and Hysteria Mandatory Happy Party' alongside Lindsey Marks (Lady Jack) at the Den and Newport Theater. 

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