Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family

Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family

My oldest daughter is turning twelve on Thursday.  Yesterday, we spent some special mother-daughter time together to mark the occasion.

The two of us went to see actress and journalist Kelly Haramis perform a one-woman show about her journey to parenthood at the Chicago Fringe Festival. 

The show was fast-paced and funny, punctuated by moments of heartbreaking loss.  My daughter sat, enraptured, throughout the one-act show.  Although it is not a show for children (a few references to marijuana and sex), the content was very accessible for my tween. 

Haramis used children's toys as all of her props, which worked delightfully well.  Early in the play, she talked about her desire to have a daughter named Athena, and my daughter looked at me with glowing eyes, because we love the stories of the Greek Gods.

Haramis’ story included a long path to adoption – specifically from China – and my daughter nearly jumped out of her seat with excitement when Haramis held up an enlarged photo of the beautiful baby who became her daughter. “She’s so cute!” my big girl squealed out loud, unable to contain herself.

After the play, we talked about what was sad and what was happy. “Did you do those long plane trips to get me?” my daughter asked.

“Not nearly so long,” I replied, “because you weren’t in China, but we did do a LOT of trips.  We flew fourteen times to visit you while you were in foster care. It might have added up to at least a trip or two to China!”

To complete our special evening together, we went out to dinner.  We had Thai food, and it was delicious.  As we walked to our car, my daughter talked about how cute the baby was that Haramis adopted. “I wish at the end of the play that her kids would have come out onto the stage!” she said.

“I think they were probably at home with their dad,” I said.

“Do you miss when I was a baby?” she asked me.

“All the time.  I miss when you and your sisters were so tiny and I could carry you around.  But I also love that you are getting older.  I love that we can go out to see a play and eat Thai food together. We couldn’t do that when you were a baby. I just love you so much as a big kid too.”

She put her arm around my shoulder and hugged me close. It was a really good night. 

Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family 

Written by: Kelly Haramis

Directed by: David Knoell 

Chicago Fringe Festival 

4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6;
7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 7;
10 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 10;
7 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12;
5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept.13

Windy City Music Theatre Blackbox Studio (5340-5342 W. Lawrence Ave.): 

$10 (plus a one-time $5 fringe button) at

Veteran journalist and former Chicago Tribune writer Kelly Haramis brings her one-woman show—Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Familyto the Chicago Fringe Festival.

Double Happiness is an uproarious and unconventional staging of the journey to parenthood. Everything from China’s One-Child Policy to a 1958 New York City hot chocolate date to Penn State’s infamous parties to a Central Florida adolescence to the world’s most fertile man…blend together in this 55-minute trip set in the world’s messiest playroom.


Kelly juggles infertility, unexpected deaths and a multi-year adoption journey culminating in a globetrotting journey to the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the heart of her adopted daughter in a Chinese orphanage.


Double Happiness debuted in Chicago with a four-night sell-out run, with subsequent performances in the region, St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival in 2014, FRIGID New York 2014 and at the Orlando International Theatre Fringe Festival 2013, delighting audiences along the way. Double Happiness is thrilled to be making its Chicago Fringe debut.


Find out how Kelly’s hands went from holding a dream to holding two miracles, and make Double Happiness your own.

Performer and playwright Kelly Haramis 

KELLY HARAMIS rediscovered her love of improv and theatre after a 12-year stint as a journalist (Chicago Tribune, Woman’s World magazine and The Ithaca Journal). In addition to a BA in Journalism and minors in Theatre Arts and Women’s Studies from Penn State, Kelly is a graduate of the Second City Conservatory as well as the iO Chicago Training Center. Kelly debuted her one-woman show Double Happiness: A Tale of Love, Loss, and One Forever Family in May 2012 in Chicago. Since then, she has performed “Double Happiness” at St-Ambroise Montreal Fringe Festival in 2014; FRIGID New York in New York, NY in 2014; at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival in 2013; and in Highland Park, IL. Kelly debuted part of her new show “Hard-Core CORN” at the 2014 Chicago Women’s Funny Festival. When Kelly is not onstage with her improv troupe Old Smuggler, you can find her writing everything from Facebook updates and a future children’s book to reading trashy celebrity magazines to baking dye-free, corn-free baked goods with her two daughters, Athena (9) and Kallista (8). <>.

Director David Knoell

Director DAVID KNOELL graduated from the University of Nebraska (B.A.), the University of Central Florida (M.F.A.) and the Second City Training Center-Chicago (Directing Program, Conservatory, and Music Improv Conservatory).  He is a proud member of Actors’ Equity and has performed professionally in Chicago, New York, Seattle, and Orlando. He is the resident director of Chicago Giggle Authority, part of Scribble Bibble at Stage 773; and a co-producer of Jam Sandwich at the Second City Training Center.  He currently serves as the President of Equity Library Theatre-Chicago, Artist-in-Residence at Concordia University, and continues to teach theatre at Lake Forest College and Harold Washington College.  

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