Wednesday, November 14, 2018


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Heaven on Broadway!  A celebration of the privilege
of living inside that improbable paradise called a musical comedy.”


THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of nine Tony Awards including Best Musical, is pleased to announce a lottery ticket policy for the National Tour, which begins in Chicago on November 20, 2018 at Broadway In Chicago’s Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph) and plays a limited two-week engagement through Sunday, December 2, 2018. In Chicago, the production will conduct a pre-show lottery at the box office, making a limited number of tickets available at $25 apiece.  

The wildly popular lottery for the Broadway production has attracted as many as 800 entries at some performances. The producers of THE BOOK OF MORMON are pleased to offer low-priced lottery seats for every city on the National Tour.  

Entries will be accepted at the box office when the Oriental Theatre box office opens each day; each person will print their name and the number of tickets (1 or 2) they wish to purchase on a card that is provided. Two hours before curtain, names will be drawn at random for a limited number of tickets priced at $25 each. Only one entry is allowed per person. Cards are checked for duplication. Winners must be present at the time of the drawing and show valid ID to purchase tickets. Limit one entry per person and two tickets per winner. Tickets are subject to availability.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. Parker and Stone are the four-time Emmy Award-winning creators of the landmark animated series, “South Park.” Tony Award-winner Lopez is co-creator of the long-running hit musical comedy, Avenue Q.  The musical is choreographed by Tony Award-winner Casey Nicholaw (Monty Python’s Spamalot, The Drowsy Chaperone) and is directed by Nicholaw and Parker. 

THE BOOK OF MORMON is the winner of nine Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Score (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Book (Trey Parker, Robert Lopez, Matt Stone), Best Direction (Casey Nicholaw, Trey Parker), Best Featured Actress (Nikki M. James), Best Scenic Design (Scott Pask), Best Lighting Design (Brian MacDevitt), Best Sound Design (Brian Ronan) and Best Orchestrations (Larry Hochman, Stephen Oremus); the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Musical; five Drama Desk Awards including Best Musical, the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album; four Outer Critics Circle Awards, including Best Musical, and the Drama League Award for Best Musical.

THE BOOK OF MORMON features set design by Scott Pask, costume design by Ann Roth, lighting design by Brian MacDevitt and sound design by Brian Ronan.  Orchestrations are by Larry Hochman and Stephen Oremus.  Music direction and vocal arrangements are by Stephen Oremus.  

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for THE BOOK OF MORMON, winner of the 2011 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, is available on Ghostlight Records.

For more information, visit
Follow THE BOOK OF MORMON on Twitter and on Facebook.

Individual tickets for THE BOOK OF MORMON at the Oriental Theatre (24 W. Randolph) range from $40 - $150 with a select number of premium seats available. Tickets are available now for groups of 10 or more by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710. Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000 and online at

Broadway In Chicago was created in July 2000 and over the past 18 years has grown to be one of the largest commercial touring homes in the country.  A Nederlander Presentation, Broadway In Chicago lights up the Chicago Theater District entertaining more than 1.7 million people annually in five theatres. Broadway In Chicago presents a full range of entertainment, including musicals and plays, on the stages of five of the finest theatres in Chicago’s Loop including the Cadillac Palace Theatre, CIBC Theatre, Oriental Theatre, and just off the Magnificent Mile, the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place and presenting Broadway shows at The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University. For more information, visit

Facebook @BroadwayInChicago ● Twitter @broadwaychicago ● Instagram @broadwayinchicago ● #broadwayinchicago

Friday, November 9, 2018


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar


Porchlight Revisits Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Tony Award-winner About the Founding of the United States of America with the Largest Cast in Porchlight Revisits History

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's Porchlight Music Theatre for their matinee Thursday, Nov. 15th. Check back soon for my full review. These short runs do tend to sell out so don't wait to get your tickets. These “lost” musicals in staged concerts are a hoot and a favorite of ours here at ChiIL Live Shows.

Porchlight Music Theatre begins its sixth season of Chicago’s “lost” musicals in staged concert series with Porchlight Revisits 1776, music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and book by Peter Stone with direction by Artistic Director Michael Weber, musical direction by Jeremy Ramey and musical staging by Michelle Lauto. Porchlight Revisits 1776 is presented for only three performances Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 15 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets for 1776 are available now for $37, subscriptions to the three performance series including 1776, Can-Can, March 6 and 7, 2019 and Minnie’s Boys, May 22 and 23, 2019 are $90/per person and available at or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884. 

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1969 Tony Award-winner, Porchlight Music Theatre brings to Chicago the impassioned arguments and world-changing visions that were fought over in those sweltering summer days in Philadelphia nearly 250 years ago. The historic players will be present in the characterizations of Benjamin Franklin, Abigail Adams, Thomas Jefferson and others, showcasing the compelling debate of what are we willing to compromise to build a new country will ring out louder than the toll of the Liberty Bell.

With special permission from the rights holders, the approach to this production, which has been frequently presented with a primarily Caucasian and male identified cast playing the signers of the Declaration of Independence and the congressional staff, will be an inclusive company of actors, expanding the casting potential both in ethnic and gender identities, in modern dress. 

Every Porchlight Revisits begins with Behind the Show Backstory, an entertaining and informative multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Artistic Director Michael Weber, introducing the evening’s production including the show’s creative history, juicy backstage gossip and much more.

Featuring a cast of 26, the largest ever for a Porchlight Revisits production, the 1776 company includes: Micha Astala, “Dr. Josiah Bartlett;” Frankie Leo Bennett, “George Reed;” Jeff Bouthiette, “Samuel Chase;” Erica Chinn, “Col. Thomas McKean;” Cynthia Clarey, “Rev. John Witherspoon;” Jazmín Corona, “Andrew McNair;” Richard Costes, “Leather Apron;” Ryan Dooley, “James Wilson;” William Dwyer,“Edward Rutledge;” Joseph Foronda, “Dr. Benjamin Franklin;” Kim Fukawa, “Charles Thomson;” Lucy Godinez, “Martha Jefferson;” Randolph Johnson, “Stephen Hopkins;” Christopher W. Jones, “Lewis Morris;” Teressa LaGamba,“, “Richard Henry Lee;” Michelle Lauto, “Abigail Adams,” Anne Marie Lewis, “Joseph Hewes;” Cari Meixner, “Dr. Lyman Hall;” Robert Quintanilla,“Thomas Jefferson;” Nolan Robinson, “Courier;” Kelvin Roston Jr., “John Adams;” Jenny Rudnick, “Caesar Rodney;” Peter Ruger, “Robert Livingston;” Heather Townsend, “John Dickinson;” Jessica Vann,  “Roger Sherman” and Nancy Wagner,  “John Hancock.” 

Michael Weber is the artistic director of Porchlight Music Theatre where, under his leadership, the company has received the Best Production Equity Jeff Award for the past five consecutive years. He previously served as artistic director for the inaugural season of Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place (now The Broadway Playhouse) and at Theatre at the Center (1998 – 2004).  Weber recently made his Porchlight stage debut in Porchlight Revisits Do Re Mi this past spring. His productions of End of the Rainbow, Sweeney Todd, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Pal Joey, Assassins and Side Show at Porchlight Music Theatre, Grand Hotel at Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place and She Loves Me at Theatre at the Center were each nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Production. Directing credits include Living the History-125 Years of The Auditorium Theatre starring Patti LuPone and John Mahoney, Fifth of July and Talley’s Folly at the Oak Park Festival Theatre, The Petrified Forest at Theatre at the Center, Beauty and the Beast at Marriott Theatre, Over the River and Through the Woods at The Mercury Theater, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum at Pheasant Run Theatre and Cirque du Symphony at Sears Center Arena. The recipient of two Joseph Jefferson Awards, he has written and directed the past twelve Joseph Jefferson Awards ceremonies. Weber’s regional acting credits include Annie Get Your Gun and Gypsy (both starring Patti LuPone) at Ravinia, Disney’s My Son Pinocchio at First Stage Milwaukee, Around the World in 80 Days at Cleveland Playhouse, The Winter’s Tale and Henry V at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, It Had To Be You (starring Cindy Williams and Eddie Mekka) at Little Theatre on the Square, Angel Street at First Folio Shakespeare and The Gifts of the Magi at Indiana Repertory. Weber is proud to serve as a pledge host on WTTW, Channel 11. 

ABOUT JEREMY RAMEY, music director
Jeremy Ramey is a concert pianist, conductor and music director based in Chicago.  He was awarded the non-equity Jeff Award for music direction for his work on Theo Ubique’s Light in the Piazza in 2012 and again in 2013 for the company’s Smokey Joe’s Cafe. Some of his favorite music directing projects include Altar Boyz at Downtown Drury Lane, Hats! with Grammy award winner Melissa Manchester and Tony-nominated director Lynn Taylor-Corbett, Forever Plaid at Drury Lane Oakbrook and C’est la Vie at Light Opera Works. Ramey was also the music director for both the world premiere and Wisconsin premiere of Adding Machine. He received his training in piano performance at Rhodes College, Northwestern University and The Juilliard School of Music. He has taught at Northwestern University, Columbia College, Loyola University and the University of Memphis. He is also the music director at Unity Church on the Northshore in Evanston, Illinois.

ABOUT MICHELLE LAUTO, musical staging and “Abigail Adams”
Michelle Lauto is Porchlight Music Theatre’s education associate and starred in Porchlight’s hit In The Heights. Lauto is an award winning Chicago based actor, singer, writer and educator having grown up in the Jersey suburbs of New York and begun acting in and around the city at the age of 16. At 21, she moved to Chicago to study her other love: comedy. She is a 2014 graduate of The Second City Training Center's Conservatory program. Since graduating, Lauto has worked at several prominent Chicago area theaters, including appearing in the Original Chicago Cast of Spamilton: An American Parody for which she won a 2017 Jeff Award for Best Actress in a Revue. She also enjoys working as a teaching artist and sharing her love of musical theatre with the next generation. 

A four-time Jeff Award nominee, three-time BTA Award winner and two-time Black Excellence Award winner, Kelvin Roston Jr. is the winner of the Light in the Darkness Public Education Award from NAMI for his play, Twisted Melodies, written and performed by himself. He is an artistic associate of Congo Square and has appeared at Court Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Black Ensemble Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Northlight Theatre and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.

ABOUT JOSEPH FORONDA, “Benjamin Franklin”
Joseph Foronda’s Broadway credits include Pacific Overtures, Miss Saigon and James Clavell's Shogun: The Musical. His West End credits include Pacific Overtures (Donmar Warehouse). And Chicago credits include productions at Goodman Theatre, Ravinia Festival, Silk Road Rising, American Theater Company, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Victory Gardens Theater. Foronda’s regional credits include productions at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Weston Playhouse and more. 

ABOUT LUCY GODINEZ, “Martha Jefferson”
Currently appearing as “Serena” in Legally Blonde at The Paramount Theatre, Lucy Godinez burst onto the Porchlight stage receiving rave reviews as “Nina” in In The Heights and in New Faces Sing Broadway 1969. She has appeared in Chicago in Hair at The Mercury Theatre, A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre and others.

A Porchlight Music Theatre Artistic Associate, Heather Townsend’s Chicago theatre credits includes productions with Mercury Theatre, Shattered Globe, Northlight, Remy Bumppo, Dog & Pony, Theatre Wit, Apple Tree, Next and readings with the Goodman and Steppenwolf.  

ABOUT CYNTHIA CLAREY, “The Reverend John Witherspoon”
In addition to her Porchlight debut in The Scottsboro Boys, Cynthia Clarey has sung leading roles in Thea Musgrave’s Voice of Ariadne, which was her New York City Opera debut, Anthony Davis’ Under the Double Moon, Minoru Miki’s Actor’s Revenge, Myron Fink’s Chinchilla and many more.  She has sung the role of “Carmen” throughout the world and toured in seven countries with Peter Brook’s innovative La Tragedie de Carmen.

One of Porchlight’s most popular offerings, Porchlight Revisits celebrates the lost musical gems of The Great White Way. Everyone knows Rodgers and Hammerstein's hits Oklahoma!, South Pacific, and The Sound of Music. But have they ever had the chance to experience, live on stage, their rarely seen Broadway shows Allegro, Me and Juliet or Flower Drum Song? It's here audiences get to discover the 'lost musicals' of Stephen Sondheim, Cole Porter, Kander and Ebb and more when Chicago's finest music theatre talent, with script in hand and fully staged, dust off these treasures and escort you to the world of Broadway’s past.

The experience begins with Behind the Show Backstory, an entertaining and informative multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Artistic Director Michael Weber, introducing the evening’s production including the show’s creative history, juicy backstage gossip and much more.

Porchlight Revisits is the ticket to go behind the scenes with an introduction to the luminaries who created the greatest musicals of all time and an opportunity to discover a new 'old' favorite all in one big show—plus Porchlight Revisits subscribers are invited to influence the choosing of future titles in the series.

Previous Porchlight Revisits productions include: 
(2017/18) Do Re Mi, They’re Playing Our Song, Woman of the Year;
(2016/17) The Rink, Little Me, On a Clear Day You Can See Forever;
(2015/16) Chess, Applause, Babes in Arms; 
(2014/15) Bells Are Ringing, City of Angels, Mack & Mabel 
(2013/14) Anyone Can Whistle, Golden Boy, Fade Out-Fade In

Porchlight Music Theatre is proud to be a member of the vibrant Ruth Page Center for the Arts community and an Artist In-Residence. Central to the Ruth Page Center for the Arts’ programming is the Artists In-Residence program, which is designed to serve organizations looking for a home base while they grow or expand their artistic and organizational capabilities. The Center is committed to nurturing and assisting dance and other performing artists, allowing for exchange and collaborative relationships to develop within the artistic community. The Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a destination for quality performing arts, accessible to a wide community regardless of race, gender, age, education or disability. An incubator of artistic energy and excellence, the Ruth Page Center for the Arts carries forward the vision of its founder, legendary dance icon Ruth Page, to be a platform for developing great artists and connecting them with audiences and community.

As Chicago’s home for music theatre, Porchlight Music Theatre enters its 24th season and its second as an Artist In-Residence at the historic Ruth Page Center for the Arts in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Porchlight Music Theatre is nationally recognized for reimagining classic productions, developing new works and showcasing musical theatre’s noted Chicago veterans and rising stars. Porchlight elevates the genre by providing intimate and powerful theatrical experiences of music theatre through the lens of the “Chicago Style.” Porchlight’s rich history includes the staging of more than 60 productions with 15 Chicago premieres and five world premieres. Through Porchlight’s “Off the Porch” new works program, the musicals of the next generation are developed and given a first audience. The School at Porchlight is Chicago’s center for music theatre training in the areas of performance, writing and appreciation including a youth summer “Make Your Own Musical” camp and a Saturday morning youth program. The company’s many accolades include 28 Black Theatre Alliance nominations and seven awards, as well as a total of 151 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations resulting in 42 Jeff Awards including five consecutive Best Production awards for The Scottsboro Boys (2017), Dreamgirls (2016), Sondheim on Sondheim (2015), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (2014) and A Class Act (2013).

Porchlight Music Theatre begins its sixth season of Chicago’s “lost” musicals in staged concert series with Porchlight Revisits 1776, music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards and book by Peter Stone with direction by Artistic Director Michael Weber, musical direction by Jeremy Ramey and musical staging by Michelle Lauto. Porchlight Revisits 1776 is presented for two-nights-only Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, Nov. 15  at 2 and 7:30 p.m. at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets for 1776 are available now for $37, subscriptions to the three performance series including 1776, Can-Can, March 6 and 7, 2019 and Minnie’s Boys, May 22 and 23, 2019 are $90/per person and available at or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884. 

The Honorable Julian Frazin and Rhona Frazin and Charles and Diane Laff sponsor Porchlight Revisits 1776.

Porchlight Music Theatre is supported by generous contributions from the Actors’ Equity Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, Abe and Ida Cooper Foundation, Chapman | Spingola, Attorneys at Law, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Elegant Events Lighting, James P. and Brenda S. Grusecki Family Foundation, the MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Prince Foundation, the Morgan Stanley Foundation, Q Chicago, The Saints and the Topfer Family Foundation. 

The season program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency, a state agency, and by a CityArts Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events. 

Thursday, November 8, 2018

INCOMING: The Skatalites and More at Chicago's Beat Kitchen Friday, November 9th, 2018

Chi,IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

This Friday I'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's Beat Kitchen, covering The Skatalites for ChiIL Live Shows. Their Chicago show is officially sold out, so check back soon for our recap.


The Skatalites are Jamaica's premier ska band since 1964 who backed artists like Bob Marley, Toots and The Maytals, Alton Ellis, Ken Boothe and most of the singers of the day. Their infectious brand of bluesy,jazzy ska spread like wildfire around the island and spawned the entire genres of ska, rocksteady, reggae, dub, two-tone, and 3rd wave ska. The tiny island of Jamaica has probably had more effect on music globally than any other country or place in the world, and The Skatalites were the pioneers of the music that originally caused this. 

The original lineup lasted only 14 months but recorded thousands of tunes, some of which are still being discovered in the archives today. Although the group broke up in 1965, the members remained active in the evolution of Jamaican popular music as it increased in popularity. After hearing about the resurgence of interest in their music they reunited in 1983 to perform at Jamaica's famed Sunsplash festival. Subsequently in 1986 they migrated to the USA and began performing and touring all over the world as they continue to do now after 52 years in the music business. 

Despite changes in personnel over the years, the band has continued to stay viable in the market, recording and performing at some of the world's largest festivals and has been nominated twice for The Grammys. Their most recent recording "Platinum Ska" features some tracks with Lloyd Knibb , the original drummer who passed away in 2011 and was widely regarded as the creator of the ska beat as well as the "onedrop" rhythm that is the foundation of most reggae music. Also on some tracks is original alto sax man Lester Sterling who is still active but no longer touring regularly with the band. Original vocalist Doreen Shaffer contributes a vocal track on this cd and continues leading the band on it's path as it continues it's great legacy bringing joy to fans, old and new, all over the world. 


Click the image to view legendary members

Forever indebted to the inspiration and talent of: Roland Alphonso, Lloyd Brevett, Tony DaCosta, Rupert Dillon , Don Drummond, Joseph " Lord Tanamo" Gordon, Jerome "Jah Jerry" Haynes, Lloyd Knibb, Tommy McCook, Donat Roy "Jackie" Mittoo, John " Dizzy Johnny" Moore, Jackie Opel, Doreen Shaffer, Lester Sterling.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

NEW RELEASE: Dead Can Dance Album Dionysus Out November 2nd

Music on Our Radar:

New album Dionysus 
November 2, 2018
through [PIAS] Recordings

Check out their new recording ACT II - The Mountain - 

European Tour May + June 2019
A Celebration of Life & Works 1980 – 2019

Sea Borne
Liberator of Minds
Dance of the Bacchantes

The Mountain
The Invocation
The Forest

Having previously announced details of their new album Dionysus, Australian duo DEAD CAN DANCE share new recording ACT II - The Mountain which premieres via Pitchfork.

The follow-up to 2012’s Anastasis and taking its lead from the myth of Dionysus, the new work consists of two acts across seven movements representing the various facets of the legend - conveyed via an array of folk instrumentation,  field recordings  and chants. Its inspiration drawn from across the world, Dead Can Dance continue to harvest an intriguing trajectory both in spiritual and creative terms.

ACT II - The Mountain is the first new recording from Dionysus and the first movement of the album’s second Act where, explains Brendan Perry; “listeners will find themselves visiting Mount Nysa. This mountain was Dionysus’ place of birth, where he was raised by the centaur Chiron, from whom he learned chants and dances together with Bacchic rites and initiations. “

Driven by Perry’s exploration of religious rites and rituals, Dionysus nevertheless sees ally-in-arms Lisa Gerrard convey the feminine aspect of Dionysus's dual nature through song in both solo and mantric choral forms and ultimately to play the role of Psychopomp, signifying Dionysus's role as an agrarian deity returning to winter’s underworld to reassume the role of guide to dead souls.

May 02: Le Liberte, Rennes, France
May 04 / 05: Hammersmith Apollo, London, UK
May 07 / 08: Cirque Royale, Brussels, Belgium
May 10 / 11: Grand Rex, Paris, France
May 13 / 14: Tivoli Vredenburg, Utrecht, Netherlands
May 16 / 17: Tempodrom, Berlin, Germany
May 20 / 21: Barts, Barcelona, Spain
May 23 / 24: Aula Magna, Lisbon, Portugal
May 26 / 27: Teatro Degli Arcimboldi, Milan, Italy
June 16: Alte Oper, Frankfurt, Germany
June 18 / 19: Ruhrcongress, Bochum, Germany
June 21 / 22: Torwar Hall, Warsaw, Poland
June 24: Kongresove Centrum Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
June 26: Papp Laszlo Budapest Sportarena, Budapest, Hungary
June 28: Sava Centar, Belgrade, Serbia
June 30: Roman Theatre Of Philippopolis, Plovdiv, Bulgaria

REVIEW: Scientific Method at Rivendell Through December 2, 2018

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Gaslighting Smart Girls and Sexism in Science

All Photos by Michael Brosilow

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents
the World Premiere of
Scientific Method
by Jenny Connell Davis
directed by Devon de Mayo
featuring RTE Member Ashley Neal, with Glenn Obrero,
Josh Odor, Courtney Williams and Carmen Roman

by bonnie kenaz-mara

Rivendell's Scientific Method is beautiful, infuriating, smart theatre whose time has come. I'm raising a 15 year old daughter, so I've seen the generation of burgeoning STEM girl programs first hand. Yet the numbers of women, particularly minority women, pursuing careers in science still lag far behind men, and the problem isn't brains, it's balls. 

I read a wonderful article in the past year, and sadly I've forgotten the source, but it was an eye opening and rage inducing collection of first hand stories of why brilliant women in STEM are fleeing a field rife with toxic masculinity, systemic sexism and racism, sexual harassment and assault, and male entitlement. Heartbreaking story after story told of women in science who were top of their class, innovative researchers who were gaslighted, bullied, underestimated, underfunded, denied credit for their work, and attacked mentally and physically by their male peers, until they left the field entirely.

I'm beyond excited to see this phenomenon brought to life on stage. This ingrained bias thrives in darkness, so creating works of theatre, where our societal failings can be examined under the illumination of stage lights, is a boon to smart women everywhere. Jenny Connell Davis's writing is a witty and spot on analysis of why women in science have to run on the treadmill just to stand still, and why all the STEM girl programs in the works won't make a perceptible difference in attracting the best and the brightest into the field until male researchers, teachers, and scientists are held accountable for their biases, intellectual property theft and worse. 

Rivendell's set design and full sized wall projections of microscopic view videos are gorgeous and artfully done. They're visually stunning and provide a colorful, beautiful backdrop for the serious subject matter. It's a compelling combination. 

Ashley Neal (Amy), Courtney Williams (Makayla), and Carmen Roman (Marie) capably show the strength and beauty of smart women helping and encouraging one another, as well as the casualties of women ruthlessly pursuing their career goals, sometimes at the expense of others. Glenn Obrero (Manish) and Josh Odor (Julian), provide an interesting Yin/Yang counterpoint to the women as a potential ally, playing both sides of the game, and a charismatic charmer, accustomed to using people with impunity. 

Scientific Method also honors the unseen victims of scientific research, from sacrificed mice to women's uphill battle against sexism in academia and the scientific community. Until top universities, corporations, and research institutions value equality, equity, and truly listing to victims of criminal acts and systemic injustices, more than they value covering their own asses and avoiding public scandal, nothing will change. This tacit complicity and enabling of abusers in the good old boys network must stop. The hashtags of the #metoo generation are spreading and mutating into a roar that will not be ignored. Women, exhausted from shouting into the void without being heard for far too long, are speaking out and sharing their stories, and discovering that far from being alone, they are legion, with untold strength in numbers. Don't miss this. Highly recommended. 

Continue the discussion...

Rivendell’s Town Hall Series:
Saturdays, November 17 and December 1 after the 4pm matinee performances
During the run of each production, Rivendell hosts Town Halls Discussions after select Saturday matinees. These are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.

October 19 – December 2, 2018

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we're all about supporting and elevating women in the arts. I'll be out for the press opening of the world premiere of Scientific Method on October 30th, so check back soon for my full review. We've been huge fans of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core. 

As a female theatre critic with two woman owned websites, I'm completely on board with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble's mission statement. RTE advances the lives of women through 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 an intimate, salon environment. 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.

Check out the World Premiere of Scientific Method by Jenny Connell Davis, directed by Devon de Mayo, and featuring RTE Member Ashley Neal, with Glenn Obrero, Josh Odor, Courtney Williams and Carmen Roman. Scientific Method runs October 19 – December 2, 2018, at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago. 

Amy, a hotshot scientist at an elite U.S. cancer research lab, is moments from publishing data that could revolutionize the field. When she’s scooped by a senior scientist from a competing lab, she first questions her own ability to compete in her chosen field. But as new information comes to light, Amy must face the possibility of willful sabotage by a powerful male colleague. Scientific Method is a witty and complex behind-the-scenes look at women in the sciences—and the struggle many women have to keep moving forward on the rocky terrain of an uneven playing field.

The cast of Scientific Method includes RTE Member Ashley Neal (Amy), with Glenn Obrero (Manish), Josh Odor (Julian), Courtney Williams (Makayla), and Carmen Roman (Marie).

The creative team includes Lauren Nichols (Scenic Design), Izumi Inaba (Costume Design), Heather Sparling (Lighting Design), Shain Longbehn (Sound Design), Jonathan Berg-Ein (Properties Design), and Tony Churchill (Projections Design). The stage manager is Jenniffer Thusing.

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


Jenny Connell Davis’s (Playwright) plays include End of Shift, Goddess of Mercy, The Dragon Play, and Scientific Method.  Her work has been produced or developed at Chance Theater, the Eugene O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, The Playwrights’ Center, Icicle Creek Theater Festival, ACT Seattle, ATC Chicago, the Araca Group, Asolo Rep, New York Stage and Film, Ars Nova, The Gift Theatre, Shrewd Productions, ScriptWorks, NAATCO and Rivendell. Her first screenplay, Playing House, was a finalist for the Nicholl Fellowship; her second, Two Truths and a Lie, was a semi-finalist.  Her short with writer/director Soham Mehta, Fatakra, has screened worldwide and been recognized with more than a dozen audience awards and jury prizes. She currently has film and television projects in development with Maven Pictures/Tangerine Entertainment, Fox Animation, Astronauts Wanted/Cinestar Pictures, and Iconoclast/Anonymous Content. Jenny has an MFA from UT Austin, is a former member of Ars Nova’s Play Group, an Affiliated Writer with the Playwrights’ Center, and was the 2014-2015 Hot Seat Resident Playwright at Baltimore’s Center Stage. She is a member of Chicago’s Gift Theatre Company and a proud member of ScriptWorks and the MARTHAs, an Austin-based playwrights’ collective.

Devon de Mayo (Director) is working with Rivendell for the first time. Recent directing credits include: Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theatre Wit); The Burn (Steppenwolf Theatre), Harvey (Court Theatre), Sycamore (Raven Theatre), You on the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Animals Out of Paper (Shattered Globe Theatre), You Can’t Take it With You, and Lost in Yonkers (Northlight Theatre), Jet Black Chevrolet (side project); Compulsion and Everything is Illuminated (Next); Roadkill Confidential, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, and Clouds (Dog & Pony). Directing and devising credits: Don’t Look Back/Must Look Back (Pivot Arts); Guerra: A Clown Play (La Piara, Mexico); The Whole World is Watching, As Told by the Vivian Girls and The Twins Would Like to Say (Dog & Pony). She received her MFA from Middlesex University in London and did further studies at the Russian Academy of Dramatic Arts in Moscow and the Indonesian Institute for the Arts in Bali, Indonesia. 

Ashley Neal (Amy) is back at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, where she is a longtime member and most recently appeared in Cal in Camo. She has appeared in many Rivendell productions including: Alias Grace, Wrens, 26 Miles, The Walls, Be Aggressive, and others. Ashley most recently appeared in A Red Orchid Theatre's The Nether where she also appeared in A Red Handed Otter. Other shows include: London Wall, Men Should Weep and Stage Door with Griffin Theatre, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle with Steep Theatre, as well as work with Chicago Dramatists, Pine Box, Irish Theatre Company, Step Up, Jackalope Theatre, Victory Gardens, Strawdog, The Greenhouse Theatre, and others. Ashley is a graduate of Columbia College Chicago and The School at Steppenwolf. She is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

Glenn Obrero (Manish) is making his Rivendell debut. Other Chicago credits include: 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Lookingglass Theatre); A Beauty Queen of Leenane (Northlight Theatre, u/s); A Wrinkle in Time (Lifeline Theatre); Akeelah and the Bee (Adventure Stage Chicago); How We Got On (Haven Theatre, u/s). TV credits include Chicago Fire (NBC). He received his BFA in Performing Arts from Savannah College of Art and Design and trained on-camera at Vagabond School of the Arts. He is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Josh Odor (Julian) is back at Rivendell where he was last seen in The Firebirds Take the Field. Most recently Josh performed in TimeLine's To Catch a Fish, ATC's Welcome to Jesus and The Hypocrites' You On the Moors Now - also directed by Devon DeMayo. Josh has also worked at Steppenwolf, The Goodman, Steep, Teatro Vista, The Artistic Home, The Inconvenience, Griffin, The House, Haven, Erasing the Distance, The New Colony, Collaboraction, Side Project, LiveWire, Buffalo Ensemble, at The Long Wharf in New Haven, CT, and as a member of Pine Box. Josh's television work includes Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Betrayal and Boss.

Courtney Williams (Makayla) is making her Chicago stage debut with Rivendell. Originally a Brooklyn based performer from Oakland, CA, her work has primarily been in New York's colorful downtown scene. She's performed and collaborated with Daniel Alexander Jones, Kaneza Schaal, Mike Iveson, Tea Alagic, Gracie Gardner and other artists who have enriched her collaborative process.

Carmen Roman (Marie) most recently performed in Angels in America at Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Last fall she played Margaret Thatcher in The Audience at Timeline Theatre and in Native Son at Yale Rep. She also played in the world premiere production of Native Son - a co-production of American Blues Theater and The Court Theatre. She played Mrs. Eynsford-Hill in My Fair Lady at The Lyric Opera last season. Other recent production include: Sotto Vocce by Nilo Cruz at Portland Stage (Maine), Alabama Story by Kenneth Jones at Peninsula Players (Wisconsin) and playing opposite Hal Linden in Moon Over Buffalo at The New Theater (Kansas City). Carmen was in the National Tour of Angels in America and appeared Off-Broadway in The Iphigenia Cycle (Theater for a New Audience); The Mysteries (Classic Stage Company); Paradise (Gary Allen productions), and Love, Sex and Death in the Amazon (Paradise Factory Theater). Regional credits include 13 seasons with Peninsula Players; Wit, Black Snow, Brutality od Fact (Goodman Theatre, Chicago) Side Man (Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago), The Price (Syracuse Stage and Geva), The Importance of Being Earnest  (Centerstage Baltimore), Lost in Yonkers (Coconut Grove, Walnut Street Theater) Sonia Flew (The Huntington Theatre), According to Goldman (Philadelphia Theater Company) Electra (Hartford Stage Company), Big Love (The Wilma), Shadowlands (The Alliance Theater). Film/Television credits include Chicago PD; Betrayal; Boss; All My Children; Early Edition; Law and Order; Law and Order SVU; Criminal Intent; Savages, The Falcon (a co-production shot in Soviet Georgia) She is a proud company member at American Blues Theater and Circling the Drain, New York. Awards and honors include 2002 Fox Fellow, Sarah Siddons Award, Florence Herscher Award, and Joseph Jefferson Awards for Master Class and Wit. 
October 19 – 27, 2018
Friday, October 19 at 8:00pm
Saturday, October 20 at 8:00pm
Sunday, October 21 at 3:00 pm
Thursday, October 25 at 8:00pm
Friday, October 26 at 8:00pm
Saturday, October 27 at 8:00pm

Press Opening: Tuesday, October 30 at 7:00pm
VIP Gala Opening: Sunday, October 28 at 6:00pm

Regular run:
Thursday, November 1 – Sunday, December 2, 2018

Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 4:00pm
Sundays at 3:00pm (November 18 and December 2 ONLY)

No performance on Thursday, November 22 (Thanksgiving)
Additional performance on Tuesday, November 20 at 8:00pm
Town Hall Discussions will follow Saturday 4pm matinees on November 17 and December 1

Friday, November 2: Performance to Benefit Planned Parenthood: See a show and support Planned Parenthood at the same time! $10 of every ticket sold will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Illinois.

Friday, November 9: Mama’s Night / Ladies Night: Following the performance, please join us in our rehearsal studio for wine, cheese and great conversation!

Friday, November 23: Open Captioned Performance
$15 tickets with the code ACCESS

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago

General Admission:
Previews: $28
Regular Run: $38
Student, Senior, Active Military, Veteran:
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.
Three-show pass: $59-$80 for one ticket each to the next three Rivendell plays

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. 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 the lives of women through 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 an intimate, salon environment.

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, Rivendell moved into its own theater space in 2011 in Edgewater. 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 Rivendell on Facebook at, on Twitter @RivendellThtr, and on Instagram at rivendelltheatre.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported by generous grants from: 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 League of Chicago Theatres and ComEd; The Reva and David Logan Foundation; The Luria Family Foundation; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; The Alfred Pick Jr. Fund; Shubert Foundation; 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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