Saturday, March 3, 2018


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Including the Midwest Premiere of
The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter
and the World Premiere of The Scientific Method by Jenny Connell Davis

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble 2018 Season, “The Reckoning” continues. The season includes three plays about women who come face to face with an essential truth that threatens to shatter the things they love most. The 2018 Season will be performed at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago.

The 2018 Season kicked off with the Midwest premiere of William Francis Hoffman’s Cal in Camo, directed by RTE ensemble member Hallie Gordon and featuring RTE members Ashley Neal, Keith Kupferer and Eric Slater. The season continues with the Midwest premiere of The Cake by Bekah Brunstetter, directed by Lauren Shouse, and featuring RTE Founders Keith Kupferer and Tara Mallen. The season concludes with the world premiere of The Scientific Method by Jenny Connell Davis and directed by Jessica Holt. 

What happens when a deeply held belief is revealed as a lie we've told ourselves? How do we change in the face of such revelations? Rivendell’s 2018 Season explores that moment of reckoning—the collision between the outer world and the core self—with three plays about women who come face to face with an essential truth that threatens to shatter the things they love most.

"Rivendell was born out of a specific need: women are vastly underrepresented in American theatre, a situation which limits the range of stories and perspectives available to audiences. We counteract these circumstances by serving as advocate, ally, and artistic home for women theatre artists and by offering our audiences a fuller and more realistic representation of the American experience, and this season is no exception,” comments Artistic Director Tara Mallen. “I am delighted to introduce these fresh new voices to Chicago audiences as we present a slate of relevant and timely new work centered on three women at wildly different moments in their lives--each colliding with a deep-seated personal bias they didn't even know they held." 

The Rivendell 2018 Season continues as follows:

The Midwest Premiere of
The Cake
Written by Bekah Brunstetter
Directed by Lauren Shouse
Featuring RTE Founders Keith Kupferer and Tara Mallen
April 11 - May 20, 2018

Jen lives in New York but has always dreamed of getting married in her small North Carolina hometown, so she heads down south with her partner to ask Della, her late mother's best friend, to do the honors of making the wedding cake at her bakery. Della's cakes are legendary,­ even earning her a spot as a contestant on the "Great American Baking Show." She is overjoyed at Jen's request­ until she realizes there's not just one bride, but two, forcing her to re-examine some of her deeply-held beliefs, as well as her own marriage. Faith, family and frosting collide in this touching and timely new play.

Bekah Brunstetter (Playwright) hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and currently lives in Los Angeles. Her plays include The Cake (Ojai Playwrights Conference), Going to a Place where you already are (South Coast Repertory), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage Fall 2016, O'Neill Playwrights Conference; Flying V) Cutie and Bear (Roundabout commission), A Long and Happy Life (Naked Angels commission), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova, Collaboraction, The Old Globe), Oohrah! (Atlantic Theater, Steppenwolf Garage, Finborough Theater/London), Nothing is the end of the World (except for the end of the world) (Waterwell Productions), House of Home (Williamstown Theater Festival) and Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Ice Factory Festival). She is an alumna of the CTG Writers Group, Primary Stages Writers Group, Ars Nova Play Group, The Playwright's Realm, and the Women's Project Lab. She is currently a member of the Echo Theater¹s Playwright's Group. She has previously written for MTV (Underemployed; I Just Want My Pants Back,) ABC Family's Switched at Birth and Starz's American Gods. She is currently a Co-Producer on NBC's This Is Us. She received her B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill and her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the New School for Drama.

Lauren Shouse (Director) is a director, dramaturg and teacher. She is currently the Artistic Associate and Literary Manager at Chicago's Northlight Theatre. Her recent directing credits include: The Legend of Georgia McBride at Northlight Theatre, Nice Girl and Betrayal at Raven Theatre, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts, and A Christmas Story at Nashville Repertory Theatre, the world premiere of Long Way Down with 3Ps productions (nominated for American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award 2011); the world premiere of Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company; the world premiere of Rear Widow at Chaffin's Barn Theatre, and Sylvia Plath’s 3 Women. As Artistic Associate at Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival, which developed new works by John Patrick Shanley, David Auburn, Steven Dietz and Victoria Stewart. Lauren also co-founded Ten Minute Playhouse, a company that produces short plays by local playwrights. Before moving to Nashville, Lauren lived in London, UK and worked with Producer/Director Hugh Wooldridge. Her work abroad includes: Production Executive for The Night of 1000 Voices (celebrating John Kander and Fred Ebb and starring Joel Grey with Avenue Q) at The Royal Albert Hall; Production Executive of An Evening with Michael Parkinson at The Theatre Royal - Windsor, Children's Director/Assistant to the Director of A Gift of Music, and Assistant Director of The Night of 1000 Voices at The Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland. Lauren holds an MA in Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill where she adapted and directed The Time Traveler’s Wife. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University where she directed Stop Kiss, Eurydice and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play. In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left Theatre.

The Cake was originally produced by The Echo Theater Company, Los Angeles, California; Chris Fields, Artistic Director and Jesse Cannady, Producing Director. The Cake received a developmental reading at The Alley Theatre, Gregory Boyd, Artistic Director and Dean R. Gladden, Managing Director. The Cake was developed at The Ojai Playwrights Conference, Robert Egan, Artistic Director/Producer

The World Premiere of
The Scientific Method
Written by Jenny Connell Davis
Directed by Jessica Holt
Cast TBD
October 18 – December 2, 2018 

Amy's on the cutting edge of a major scientific breakthrough...and on the brink of a nervous breakdown. When a handsome young grad student upsets the balance in one of the country's top research labs, he throws everything Amy thought she knew about science—and herself—.into question. A serio-comedy about work, life, and scientific progress.

Jenny Connell Davis (Playwright) has had her work developed and/or produced with The Eugene O'Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Playwrights Center, Icicle Creek, ACT (Seattle), American Theater Company (Chicago), SPACE at Ryder Farm, Ars Nova, NAATCO, Theater MITU, Articulate Theatre, New York Stage and Film, Shrewd Productions, Scriptworks, and The Gift Theatre, among others. She has been a finalist or semi-finalist for the Heideman, PlayPenn, Seven Devils, BAPF, the Nicholl Fellowship and the O'Neill. Jenny's short film, Fatakra, with writer/director Soham Mehta, played at over 75 festivals worldwide, including Toronto and SXSW, and was recognized with more than a dozen audience awards and jury prizes, including the Student Academy Award. She currently has screenplays in development with Maven Pictures and Co-op Entertainment. Jenny is an Affiliated Artist with The Playwrights' Center, and an alumna of Ars Nova Play Group, UT Austin's MFA Playwriting program, The School at Steppenwolf, the Court Theatre Resident Apprentice Program, and The University of Chicago.

Jessica Holt (Director) is a New York-based director. Recent projects include Speech and Debate by Stephen Karam at Barrington Stage Company (Boston Globe's Critics Pick), Rich Girl by Victoria Stewart at Florida Studio Theatre, Venus in Fur by David Ives at Virginia Stage Company, Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino at the Alliance Theater, Significant Other by Joshua Harmon at Actor’s Express, and the West Coast premiere of Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield at Magic Theatre.  She also directed a multimedia, live immersive project with advertising agency BBDO and their pro bono client Street Grace to tell a powerfully impactful story that shined a light on the horrific realities of domestic minor sex trafficking. Jessica is currently a National Directing Fellow with the O'Neill/National New Plays Network, and is working with Rivendell in Chicago and Magic Theatre in San Francisco as part of her fellowship. She was the 2015-2016 Yale Directing Fellow at the Alliance Theatre in Atlanta, under the mentorship of Artistic Director Susan Booth. She developed new work by Bekah Brunstetter, Will Arbery, Mark Kendall, and Edith Freni. She has developed, produced and directed work at Ensemble Studio Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Berkeley Rep's Ground Floor, Bay Area Playwrights Festival, Alliance Theatre, the American Academy of Dramatic Art in NYC, Theater Emory, Playwrights Center SF, Cutting Ball Theater, Berkeley Playhouse, Magic Theatre, New Conservatory Theater Center, and Piano Fight. Currently she is working with a number of playwrights and composers on exciting new projects including: Edith Freni's The Mystic, a time-travel comic drama about the 12th century mystic Hildegard von Bingen, Megan Cohen's Truest, a feminist absurdist fantasia of Sam Shepard's True West mashed with Thelma & Louise, and the new musical Danny and the Rocket by Marella Martin (Book/Lyrics) and Casey O'Neil (Music).  

This production is sponsored in part by Dan Cyganowski in memory of Carol K Cyganowski, scholar and theatre lover.

Subscription Packages
Subscription packages may be purchased at any time and include one ticket to the next three Rivendell mainstage productions. The Preview Pass is priced at $59 and the Performance Pass is $80. Benefits include: no-fee ticket exchange up to 48 hours prior to the performance, reserved seating, exclusive invites to Rivendell events, and a 10% discount for additional family and friends tickets purchased through the box office. Cal in Camo ticket purchase may be applied to the cost of a subscription. Please contact the box office.

Single Tickets
General Admission
Previews: $28
Regular Run: $38
Student, Senior, Active Military, Veteran
Preview: $18
Regular Run: $28

Pay What You Can: Five seats (10% of the house) are available for each performance. Reservations are made on a first come, first served basis.

Location: Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago.

Box Office: (773) 334-7728 or

Parking and Transportation: Free parking is available in the Senn High School parking lot (located a block and a half from the theatre behind the school off Thorndale Avenue). There is limited paid and free street parking in the area and the theatre is easily accessible via the Clark (#22) or Broadway (#36) bus, and is a short walk from the Bryn Mawr Red Line El station.

About Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Founded in 1994, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble advances women’s lives through the power of theatre. Rivendell cultivates the talents of women artists—writers, actors, directors, designers and technicians—
by seeking out innovative plays that explore unique female experiences and producing them in intimate, salon environments.

Rivendell fills an important role in the Chicago region as the only Equity theatre dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women. After years of being an itinerant company, RTE moved into its own theater space in 2010 in Edgewater. As new members of the neighborhood, the company is focused on becoming an integral community partner and serving as a catalyst to engage audiences in a discussion of local social issues.

For more information about Rivendell Theater Ensemble, visit Follow RTE on Facebook at and on Twitter @RivendellThtr.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported by generous grants from: The Lester and Hope Abelson Fund; The Alphawood Foundation; Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The Chicago Community Trust; The Chicago Foundation for Women; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The Reva and David Logan Foundation; The Jenny and Alexander Luria Foundation; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Trust; Cultural Outreach Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

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