This month, Kelly Haramis brings her acclaimed one-woman show, “Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family” to the Chicago Fringe Festival.
“Double Happiness“, written and performed by former Chicago Tribune writer Kelly Haramis, is the culmination of a not-so-smooth journey to parenthood. I was fortunate to see “Double Happiness” at its first staging in May 2012. This story is not totally unique to Kelly — there are elements of which we can all relate. In anticipation of the show’s debut, I interviewed Kelly for an article in a local newspaper. She revealed her story and how the show came about. The updated article appears below.
Several years ago, as a writer for the Chicago Tribune, Kelly Haramis shared her journey to adopt a child from China. This experience, through devastating fertility issues and frustrating foreign adoption procedures — and ultimately the grief of losing a parent– changed her life forever. But that was just the bad stuff. There was definitely good stuff — overcoming it all to finally become a mother to an unlikely family. Kelly has been though a lot, but has gained so much.
Always interested in writing—though she did “a lot of theater” in school—Kelly earned a journalism degree from Penn State. For years, she worked as a journalist. Though she loved writing, she still had a nagging passion for the theater.
Kelly and her novelist husband, Davis Schneiderman, moved to Chicago when he accepted a position as an English professor at Lake Forest College. Shortly thereafter, she went to work for the Trib, editing and writing about various topics including parenting and fashion. About this time, the couple began the adoption process. Her editor asked her to share this journey with readers. During the two-year process, readers shared stories and offered support.
In January 2007, as the couple prepared to pick up their daughter Athena from China, they received a surprise — Kelly was pregnant. Six months later, she gave birth to another daughter, Kallista. This actually happens quite often; Kelly is part of a group aptly named “Double Happiness,” composed of families just like hers.
The Tribune was sold, leaving her without a job. After some time at home, she freelanced and began contemplating the future. An opportune time to return to the stage, Kelly began taking classes at Second City Conservatory Program, and joined two improv groups.
In a class at Improv Olympics, students were asked to share personal stories. Kelly spoke about fertility and adoption.
“The teacher said, ‘That’s a one-woman show. You should write it.’ One of my classmates produced it.”
Since 2012, Kelly has been performing Double Happiness around Chicago, and has taken it to Toronto, Orlando, and New York. September 6-13, she will perform the show at the Windy City Music Theatre Blackbox Studio in Chicago, part of the Chicago Fringe Festival.
Don’t miss it. You will laugh, you will cry, you will relate. And you’ll be glad you went.