Showing posts with label Jessica Fisch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jessica Fisch. Show all posts

Sunday, November 5, 2023

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL To Play Marriott Theatre November 1 Through December 31, 2023

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Peter Blair, Executive Producer 

Peter Marston Sullivan, Artistic Director 



Celebrating the soundtrack of a generation!

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we adore BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL, and can't wait to see Marriott Theatre's take on this acclaimed production. Our guest critic, D'Arcy Mies will be out to see it on opening night, the 8th, so check back soon after for her full review.

The Tony and Grammy Award-winning Broadway mega-hit, which has thrilled audiences with the inspiring true story of one woman’s remarkable journey from teenage songwriter to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, closes out Marriott Theatre’s 2023 Season. Previewing Wednesday, November 1 at 7:30 pm, opening Wednesday, November 8 at 7:30 pm and closing December 31, 2023, this moving biographical musical will be directed by Jessica Fisch (Marriott Theatre debut! Drury Lane Theatre: Murder on the Orient Express; Writers Theatre: Athena; Northlight Theatre: Dear Jack Dear Louise), choreography by Christopher Windom (Marriott Theare debut! Film: RESPECT starring Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin; The Vineyard Theatre: Kid Victory) and musical direction by Jeff Award Winner Ryan T. Nelson.

Featuring over two dozen pop classics, including “You’ve Got a Friend,” “One Fine Day,” “Up on the Roof,” “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling,” “Will You Love Me Tomorrow,” and “Natural Woman,” this crowd-pleasing international phenomenon is filled with the songs you remember, and a story you’ll never forget. The bio-musical follows King’s rise to stardom, from her time as part of a hit songwriting team with husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann, to becoming one of the most successful solo acts in popular music history with Tapestry. BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL takes you back to where it all began – and takes you on the ride of a lifetime.

“Growing up my parents only kept a handful of tapes in the car, one of which was Tapestry, the best-selling album of Carole King,” said director Jessica Fisch. “Simply put I can’t remember a time in my life when Carole King wasn’t singing to me. She is part of the soundtrack of my life and that is true for so many people. It is a dream come true to get to direct this first made-in-Chicago production.”

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL will star Kaitlyn Davis, who played the role in the First National Tour in 2015. Other National Tour credits include The Phantom of the Opera. Co-stars include Andrew Mueller as “Gerry Goffin” (Marriott Theatre: Man of La Mancha, For The Boys; Paramount Theatre: Rent); Erica Stephan as “Cynthia Weil” (Marriott Theatre: Damn Yankees; Porchlight Theatre: Cabaret); Justin Albinder as “Barry” (National Tour & New World Stages: Jersey Boys); Janet Ulrich Brooks as “Genie Klein” (Goodman Theatre: The Cherry Orchard; Drury Lane Theatre: Steel Magnolias); and Lawrence Grimm as “Don Kirshner” (Goodman Theatre: 2666; Timeline Theatre: My Name is Asher Lev); with Melanie Brezill, Christian Denzel Bufford, Caron Buinis, Ariana Burks, Dan Gold, Daryn Whitney Harrell, Kayla Kennedy, Adam LaSalle, Naiqui Macabroad, Michael E. Martin, Spencer Davis Milford, Yasir Muhammad, Juwon Tyrel Perry, Alexis J Roston, Maya Rowe, Aisha Sougou, and Alina Taber.

The artistic team features Scenic Designer Andrew Boyce, Costume Designer Sully Ratke, Lighting Designer Jesse Klug, Sound Designer Michael Daly, Media Designer Anthony Churchill, Props Designer Sally Zack, Production Manager Meg Love, Assistant Director Nora Geffen, Stage Manager Jessica Banaszak, Assistant Stage Manager Richard Strimer, Intimacy Choreographer Katie Johannigman, Dialect Coach Adam Goldstein, and Conductor Christopher Sargent.

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL is scheduled to run Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m., with select Thursday 1:00 p.m. shows. Ticket prices start at $55 (excluding tax and handling fees). Call for student, senior, and military discounts. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings there are a limited number of dinner-theatre packages available for purchase through the Marriott Theatre Box Office. To make a restaurant reservation, please call 847.634.0100. Reservations strongly recommended. Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets, please call The Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or go to Visit for more information.

Friday, April 8, 2022

OPENING: Athena Via Writers Theatre May 5-July 10, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Writers Theatre continues 2021/22 Season with


Written by Gracie Gardner

Directed by Jessica Fisch

May 5-July 10, 2022

Writers Theatre, under the leadership of Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma and Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy, continues its 2021/22 Season with Athena, by Gracie Gardner, directed by Jessica Fisch in the Gillian Theatre at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe. I'll be out for the press opening May 13th, so check back soon for my full review. I studied fencing and stage combat in college and loved it, so I'm particularly eager to catch this production with my 19 year old daughter, Sage. 

Mary Wallace and Athena are both seventeen-year-old fencers training for Nationals. Mary Wallace lives in a house in New Jersey, loves marine biology and practices at home. Athena lives in an apartment in New York City, takes acne medication and Athena is not her real name. Follow their journey from competitors to confidantes as they form a bond navigating the milestones of adolescence, training together only to learn the future is only certain for one of them.

 Fight choreography plays an important role in this production as each performance features live fencing on stage. The cast has taken fencing lessons at Lincoln Square Fencing Club and co-choreographers David Blixt and Christian Kelly-Sordelet are rehearsing with the cast to bring those lessons to life on stage. The sport equally adds action to the production, propels the plot, develops the characters, and deepens the story.

A fast-paced, engaging new play from Gracie Gardner, the winner of the 2017 Relentless Award, Athena received a critically acclaimed premiere in New York in 2018. Director Jessica Fisch (Cry It Out at Northlight Theatre, Every Brilliant Thing at Windy City Playhouse) brings her deft touch for storytelling to this portrait of two high-achieving young women, simultaneously rivals and allies, pushing each other to be the best.

Audiences, including those with little-to-no experience with or knowledge of fencing, can expect to get caught up in the action, tension, and elegance of the sport. The traditionally masculine sport of fencing is positioned it in the lives of these two young characters, reflecting what it is to navigate the tricky world of teenage friendship in a new and surprising way.           

The cast includes Mary Tilden (Athena) and Aja Singletary (Mary Wallace). The understudies are Emma Rosenthal (Athena) and Kianna Rose (Mary Wallace).  

The creative team includes: David Blixt and Christian Kelly-Sordelet (Co-Choreographers), Arnel Sanciano (Scenic Designer), Mieka van der Ploeg (Costume Designer), Paul Toben (Lighting Designer), and Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer/Composer), The assistant director is Grace Dolezal-Ng and the stage manager is Miranda Anderson.

Interim Artistic Director Bobby Kennedy comments, “Writers Theatre is pleased to produce the Midwest premiere of Gracie Gardner’s Athena, following highly successful runs of the play in London and New York. This intimate portrait of the friendship and rivalry between two teenage athletes crackles to life with its charming honesty and kinetic fencing choreography. In the crucible-like Gillian Theatre, the clashing of swords and emotions mere inches from the audience will create a theatrical experience unlike anywhere else. It’s the perfect play for us to continue our 30th Anniversary Season, as it highlights the joys and trials of young women today in a fresh and life-affirming way.”


About the Artists

Gracie Gardner is an award-winning playwright whose work has been seen internationally. Athena was a New York Times Critic’s Pick when it was produced in New York in 2018.

Gracie Gardner (Playwright) has written Decoys (McKnight National Residency), Pussy Sludge (Relentless Award, Theatertreffen Stückemarkt), Athena (New York Times Critic’s Pick), Hate Baby (James Stevenson Prize), Panopticon (Clubbed Thumb). Development: New Dramatists, Ars Nova Play Group, Manhattan Theater Club, SPACE on Ryder Farm, Ensemble Studio Theater’s Youngblood, The Old Vic, The New Group, Two River Theater, Williamstown Theater Festival. Publications: Bloomsbury, Samuel French, Table Work Press, S. Fischer, Cincinnati Review, Metrograph. She also writes video games for Annapurna Interactive and is an EMT in New York City.

 This marks Jessica Fisch’s first time working at Writers Theatre. Among her acclaimed local productions are Every Brilliant Thing (Windy City Playhouse, #2 Chicago Tribune “Top 10 Productions of 2019”, Chicago Sun-Times “Best of the Decade”), I Wanna F*#%ing Tear You Apart, The Firebirds Take The Field (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), and Cry It Out (Northlight Theatre, #8 Chicago Tribune “Top 10 Productions).

Jessica Fisch (Director) is a freelance director, educator, and creator based in Chicago. She is dedicated to the creation of new plays, original content, and bold interpretations of classic texts. Recent credits: Every Brilliant Thing (Windy City Playhouse, #2 Chicago Tribune “Top 10 Productions of 2019”, Chicago Sun-Times “Best of the Decade”), And Then There Were None (Drury Lane), I Wanna F*#%ing Tear You Apart, The Firebirds Take The Field (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), Twilight Bowl (University of Wisconsin at Madison), Cry It Out (Northlight Theatre, #8 Chicago Tribune “Top 10 Productions of 2018”), You Across From Me, Trudy, Carolyn, Martha and Regina Travel to Outer Space (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival), Late Company (Cor Theatre, Midwest Premiere), Straight White Men (Associate Director, Steppenwolf Theatre), The Rosenkranz Mysteries: An Evening of Magic (Royal George Cabaret), Fefu and Her Friends (Goodman Theatre/Rivendell Latina/o Celebration), Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens). In addition to her theatre work, Jessica, with her co-creator Grace McLeod, is the co-writer and co-director of the original scripted podcast series Two Truths and a Lie which has been developed with creative producer Temple Hill Entertainment and will begin production in 2022. Jessica is adjunct faculty at University of Illinois at Chicago, a proud member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and a mom to two awesome kids. MFA: Northwestern University.

Mary Tilden (Athena) is a queer, Southern-born actor, writer, director, producer, and educator. Her theatre credits: The Wolves at Goodman Theatre (winner of the 2018 Jeff Award for Best Ensemble); Hookman at Steep Theatre. New Work Development: The Kennedy Center, The Latinx Theatre Commons, Sideshow Theatre, Jackalope Theatre, Adventure Stage Chicago, PlayMakers Laboratory and The Neo-Futurists. She is a proud member of the long-running improv team Devil’s Daughter. In 2018, Mary co-starred in and co-produced the short film Cool for Five Seconds, written by Calamity West. The short has been featured at 22 festivals, received the Grand Prize at the Midwest Film Awards and Best Ensemble at the Milwaukee Shorts Fest in 2021. Mary’s short film script Rough River Lake was a semifinalist for the 2020 Chicago Community Builders Grant and the Mass Epiphany script competition. Mary is a 2021 3Arts Make A Wave grantee. She seeks to celebrate and uplift queer, feminist perspectives in every aspect of the creative process. She is honored to do so in this production of Athena. 

Aja Singletary (Mary Wallace) is making her Writers Theatre debut. She graduated from Fordham University in 2016 and did the School at Steppenwolf in 2019. Chicago credits include Relentless (u/s, Timeline) Dance Nation (u/s, Steppenwolf) Eclipsed (Pegasus); American Revolution (Theatre Unspeakable) and As You Like It (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre). Now, she's a Bramble Theatre Ensemble Member and represented by Gray Talent Group.

Creative Team: David Blixt and Christian Kelly-Sordelet (Co-Choreographers), Arnel Sanciano (Scenic Designer), Mieka van der Ploeg (Costume Designer), Paul Toben (Lighting Designer), and Mikhail Fiksel (Sound Designer/Composer). The assistant director is Grace Dolezal-Ng and the stage manager is Miranda Anderson.


Dates: First performance: May 5, 2022

Press opening: Friday, May 13, 2022 at 7:30pm

Closing performance: Sunday, July 10, 2022


Wednesdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 7:30pm

Saturdays: 3:00pm and 7:30pm

Sundays: 2:00pm and 6:00pm

Location: The Gillian Theatre 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Prices: Prices for all performances range from $35 - $90. Purchase early for best prices                                   

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe;




The Writers Theatre season began with Dishwasher Dreams, written and performed by Alaudin Ullah, directed by Chay Yew, and produced in association with Hartford Stage, followed by Wife of a Salesman, written by Eleanor Burgess, directed by Jo Bonney, and produced in association with Milwaukee Repertory Theater, The season concludes with the world premiere of Pearl’s Rollin’ with the Blues, a musical revue created by Felicia P. Fields and Ron OJ Parson and direction by Parson.

The 2021/22 Season will see the company return to live performances and celebrate its 30th Anniversary, now firmly at home in its award-winning building at 325 Tudor Court in Glencoe, designed by Studio Gang Architects. Productions will be presented in two spaces in the theater complex including the 255-seat Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre as well as the Gillian Theatre, a 50 to 99-seat flexible theatre space. 

The theatre, along with over 60 other Chicago performing arts organizations, will require patrons to be fully vaccinated and masked when attending performances. Please visit for full details.



Writers is offering a variety of Classic Subscriptions, which include a ticket to each production throughout the season and includes renewal into fixed seats on set dates once each run is announced.

Subscriptions include three familiar package types that all offer fixed seats to see all four WT productions this season, one ticket to each production. Subscriptions are made for those who are looking to set their schedule in advance and gain access to seating at the top of the Season.


For the 2021/22 Season, Writers will continue the Membership Program, which includes 4 tickets to be used throughout the season as the Member chooses.

There are two types of Memberships: The most flexible option to “Pay As You Go” after an up-front Membership fee, or the option to pay in full for 4 tickets to be used throughout the season (“Up Front Flex”). Memberships are designed for those who want the freedom and flexibility of a more adaptable package.

Classic Subscriptions range in price from $160 to $240. Customizable payment plans are available. A “Pay As You Go” Membership is $35 per ticket after a one-time $60 Membership fee, or patrons may opt for the “Up Front Flex” Membership for $200 up-front

Season package subscribers receive exclusive benefits including complimentary ticket exchanges by phone and mail (upgrade fees may apply), access to special play readings and lectures, special “subscriber-rate” prices on additional tickets, a year subscription to The Brief Chronicle digital newsmagazine and more. For a complete list of benefits visit

Season Packages are available online at, and at the Box Office by calling 847-242-6000.

Writers Theatre is pleased to welcome back BMO Harris Bank as the distinguished 2021/22 Season Sponsor, marking the Bank’s ninth consecutive year as season sponsor.


WT also offers Access Performances, including ASL-interpretation and Open Captioning on select dates for each production. Please visit for more information.

Writers Theatre is also working with Erika Walker and Maylene Peña of the Walker Thomas Group on workplace culture and equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives. Additional information about this important and ongoing work can be found at


Writers Theatre boldly looks to the future as it begins its 30th season. Having captivated audiences for years with its dedication to creating the most intimate theatrical experience possible, the theatre is now a major Chicagoland cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence, being called “America’s finest regional theater company” by The Wall Street Journal.

Since 1992, Writers Theatre has stayed true to its core values: valuing the power of the written word and uplifting the artists who bring that word to life. The company has produced over 120 productions—everything from inventive interpretations of classics to groundbreaking new work. In 2016, Writers Theatre opened a new, state-of-the-art facility designed by the internationally renowned Studio Gang Architects. The new facility has allowed the Theatre to accommodate its growing audience, while maintaining its trademark intimacy.

Writers Theatre now welcomes more than 60,000 patrons each season and has helped establish the North Shore of Chicago as a premier cultural destination. Through its Literary Development Initiative, which has been responsible for the nurturing and premiering of over two dozen world premieres, the theatre has established itself as a major originator of new theatrical works. Serving as an extension of the Writers Theatre mission, WT Education programs engage an average 10,000 students each year with active learning opportunities centered around the written word.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

OPENING: Midwest Premiere of I Wanna F#!&ing Tear You Apart at Rivendell Theatre February 15 - March 23, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
 Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents the Midwest Premiere of 

I Wanna F#!&ing Tear You Apart 
by Morgan Gould

featuring Teressa LaGamba, Robert Quintanillo and RTE Member Jessica Ervin 

February 15 - March 23, 2019

I'll be out for the press opening, February 27th, so check back soon for my full review. I adore Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago's only Equity theatre dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women. Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we can't wait to see Rivendell's take on this Midwest premiere. 

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core, presents the Midwest premiere of I Wanna F#!&ing Tear You Apart by Morgan Gould and directed by Jessica Fisch. I Wanna F#!&ing Tear You Apart runs February 15 – March 23, 2019 at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago.  

Samantha and Leo are a team—best friends and roommates, fat girl and gay guy against the world—until a new friend upends their cozy co-dependent diet of mutual self-loathing and Grey’s Anatomy marathons. An ode to the complications of friendship in its many fucked-up forms, with a special nod to a kind of love that sometimes looks a lot like rage.

Produced first at D.C.’s Studio Theatre, I Wanna F#!&ing Tear You Apart challenges assumptions around niceness, beauty, and mainstream acceptance as it upends traditional narratives about fat women—Gould herself identifies openly as such—by putting a fat woman at its center. “I’m not chubby or big-boned,” says Gould. “I’m fat. That’s who I am.”

Directed by Jessica Fisch, director of Rivendell’s highly-successful world premiere production of The Firebirds Take the Field, Gould’s play is a wild ride with unforgettable characters that asks probing questions about friendships, fatness, bigotry, ambition, and the cost of living in a world that finds you unacceptable in some way.

The cast of I Wanna F#!&ing Tear You Apart includes Teressa LaGamba (Sam), Robert Quintanilla (Leo), and RTE Member Jessica Ervin (Chloe).

The creative team includes RTE Member Regina García (Scenic Design), Anthony Churchill (Projections Design), Heather Gilbert (Lighting Design), Jeffrey Levin (Original Music and Sound Design), Alison Siple (Costume Design), and Jonathan Berg-Einhorn (Properties Design). The Stage Manager is Miranda Anderson.

Rivendell’s Town Hall Series:  

During the run of each production, Rivendell hosts Town Hall 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. 


Morgan Gould (Playwright) is a fat-fat, not TV-fat, New York based writer/director who is a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists and current Lila Acheson Wallace Playwriting Fellow at Juilliard. Morgan’s play I Wanna F**king Tear You Apart, is a Beatrice Terry/Drama League Award Winner, and had its world premiere at Studio Theatre in Washington, DC in February 2017 (with Morgan directing). It was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play, and DC Metro Arts said that Morgan’s work “shows every bit as much promise as Edward Albee’s early work, arguably more.” Morgan has directed productions at the Humana Festival, Marin Theatre Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, P73, and more. Morgan is also the Artistic Director of Morgan Gould & Friends—her theater company with 9 actors, 3 designers, and a filmmaker, and their work has been seen at many NYC venues including HERE Arts Center, Ars Nova, The Ice Factory and more. Morgan is developing a half hour original series with Amazon Studios and Will Graham/Field Trip Productions. 

Jessica Fisch (Director) returns to Rivendell where she previously directed The Firebirds Take the Field and Fefu and Her Friends (Goodman Theatre/Rivendell Latinx Celebration). Recent credits include Cry It Out (Northlight Theatre), You Across From Me (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival), Late Company (Cor Theatre), Straight White Men (Associate Director, Steppenwolf), Trudy, Carolyn, Martha and Regina Travel to Outer Space (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival),  The Rosenkranz Mysteries: An Evening of Magic (The Royal George), Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens), Psychodramatic (A Red Orchid, Incubator Series), Traces (Feast Productions/ Jackalope Theatre). Selected New York credits: The Realm (The Wild  Project), strive/seek/find (Abingdon Theatre), the 2009 Playwrights Horizons Stories on 5 Stories Benefit, Personal History (Ensemble Studio Theatre), The Redheaded Man (Barrow Street Theatre/FringeNYC/FringeEncores), Dressed In Your Dreams (Public Theater/Emerging Writers Group), and an adaptation of the cult 1960’s gothic vampire soap opera Dark Shadows (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Jessica was a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theater, the Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident, and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab.

Teressa LaGamba (Sam) is a Chicago based actor/musician from Pittsburgh, PA. She has performed feature roles in productions with Porchlight Music Theatre, Paramount Theatre, Boho Theatre, Marriott Theatre, Kokandy Productions, Emerald City Theatre, Broadway In Chicago, Griffin Theatre, Haven Theatre and more. Teressa received her BA in Acting and American Sign Language from Columbia College Chicago.

Robert Quintanilla (Leo) is making his Rivendell debut. He was most recently seen as Thomas Jefferson in Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of 1776 as part of their Revisits series and in Evil Dead with Black Button Eyes. This past season he was seen in The View Upstairs with Circle Theatre, Yank! A WWII Love Story with Pride Films and Plays, and Woman of the Year with Porchlight Music Theatre. Other select credits include On a Clear Day You Can See Forever with Porchlight Music Theatre, United Flight 232 with The House Theatre, The Fantasticks with Quest Theatre Ensemble, Jesus Christ Superstar with The Public Theatre San Antonio, The Merry Widow and HMS Pinafore with Music Theatre Works.

Jessica Ervin (Chloe) is an ensemble member at Rivendell. She received an Equity Jeff nomination for her portrayal of Ester in Dry Land and has also worked with Rivendell on Scientific Method (understudy), Alias Grace, The Firebirds Take the Field, WOMEN AT WAR, and the staged reading 381 Bleecker. Additionally, Jessica has worked with The Sound, Walkabout Theatre, Route 66, Erasing the Distance, The Public House, and Blue Goose Theatre Ensemble. Most recently, Jessica returned to Ball State University, her alma mater, to devise and perform an adaptation of Frankenstein as part of Indiana Humanities’ One State One Story initiative. She can be seen on film in Princess Cyd and the upcoming projects Teacher, Injustice, and Stalled.

Previews:  February 15-23, 2019

Friday, February 15 at 8:00pm

Saturday, February 16 at 8:00pm

Sunday, February 17 at 3:00pm

Thursday, February 21 at 8:00pm

Friday, February 22 at 8:00pm

Saturday, February 23 at 8:00pm 

Gala Opening: Sunday, February 24 at 6:00pm

Press Opening: Wednesday, February 27 at 7:00pm

Regular Run: February 28 – March 23, 2019

Schedule:      Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00pm; Saturdays at 4:00pm

Additional performances on Sunday, February 17 at 3:00pm (preview); Sunday, March 10 at 3:00pm; Monday, March 11 at 8:00pm ; and Wednesday, March 20 at 8:00pm

Town Hall Discussions will follow Saturday 4:00pm matinees on March 9 and 16

Friday, March 1: Mama’s Night / Ladies’ Night: Following the performance, please join us in our rehearsal studio for wine, cheese and great conversation! 

Friday, March 8 : Performance to Benefit Planned Parenthood: $10 of every ticket sold will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 

Friday, March 15: Open Captioned Performance; $15 tickets with the code ACCESS 

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

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.

Three-show pass: $59-$80 for 3-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.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

OPENING: Cry It Out Via Northlight Through June 17th, 2018

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Northlight Theatre concludes its 2017-18 season with
Cry It Out
Written by Molly Smith Metzler
Directed by Jessica Fisch
Featuring Laura Lapidus, Gabriel Ruiz, Darci Nalepa,
and Kristina Valada-Viars

May 10 – June 17, 2018

I'll be out for the press opening on May 18th, so check back soon for my full review. Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we've long enjoyed Northlight Theatre's acclaimed productions and new work. There's still a gender gap in the theatre world, so we're elated this show is written and directed by women and deals with an intense and all too common collective experience. We're eager to catch Cry It Out.

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, concludes its 2017-18 season with Cry It Out, written by Molly Smith Metzler and directed by Jessica Fisch.  Cry It Out runs May 10 – June 17, 2018 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie.   

Cooped up on maternity leave and eager for conversation, Jessie invites the funny and forthright Lina for coffee on their neighboring patios. They become fast friends, quickly bonding over their shared “new mom” experience—and arousing the interest of a wealthy neighbor hoping for a similar connection. This insightful comedy takes an honest look at the absurdities of new motherhood, the dilemma of returning to work versus staying at home, and how class impacts parenthood and friendship.

“Northlight has always been interested in new work. Last year one of the hits of The Humana Festival was Cry It Out, the story of young women struggling with the exhausting adjustment to one of the most difficult jobs of all—motherhood. The work/life balance is a challenge for all of us, but it becomes a psychological battle for women who prepare for their careers, only to have to make a choice, to stay home or leave their babies with caregivers. The guilt inherent in the latter is so powerful it can distract from focusing on their professional career,” comments BJ Jones. “At the helm is director Jessica Fisch whose husband is also our lighting designer Paul Toben. Their daughter Olivia is not yet a year, but she is already broken in as a green room baby. Jess knows the geographical and emotional territory because she is living it in real time. And Molly Smith Metzler's writing is both familiar and surprising, fresh and resonant, the kind of conversations that I hear in my home, between my children and their friends.”

Previews: May 10 – 17, 2018
Regular run: May 19 – June 17, 2018

Schedule: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (May 15 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except May 30) and 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:30pm (except May 12) and 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (May 13 and June 3 only)

Northlight Theatre is located at the North Shore
Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd,

Previews: $30-$57
Regular run: $30-$81
Student tickets are $15, any performance
(subject to availability)

Box Office: 
The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.

Cry It Out premiered at The Humana Festival at Actors Theatre of Louisville where dramaturg Lauren Shouse brought it to the attention of BJ Jones.  Jessica Fisch also saw it at Humana. Then in her first trimester with her daughter, Jessica immediately connected with the play and said, “I was seeing so much of my future self on stage. I ended up laugh-crying through the whole play. So much so that the man next to me put his hand on me and asked, ‘Are you okay?’ To which I exclaimed, ‘Yes, I’m pregnant!’ I wasn’t showing yet and I think he was afraid I was having a nervous breakdown. I just felt so immediately seen by the play because those characters were having conversations that at that point I was only having with myself. It was surreal, I felt like I knew these people.”

Cry It Out was commissioned by Actors Theatre of Louisville and premiered at the Humana Festival of New American Plays in spring 2017. Northlight's production, directed by Jessica Fisch, will be the first outside of the Festival.

The cast of Cry It Out includes Laura Lapidus (Lina), Gabriel Ruiz (Mitchell), Darci Nalepa (Jessie) and Kristina Valada-Viars (Adrienne).
The creative team includes Andrew Boyce (Scenic Design), Stephanie Cluggish (Costume Design), Paul Toben (Lighting Design) and Kevin O’Donnell (Sound Design). The stage manager is Rita Vreeland.

Northlight’s production of Cry It Out is supported in part by Room & Board, Edward Jones, Plante Moran, MB Financial, Coldwell Banker, John J. Cahill Inc., Uline, Mary Ann and David Grumman, and Greg and Anne Taubeneck Fund at Chicago Community Trust.

The entire cast including Laura Lapidus (Lina), Gabriel Ruiz (Mitchell), Darci Nalepa (Jessie) and Kristina Valada-Viars (Adrienne) will be making their Northlight debuts in Cry It Out.  This also marks the first production at Northlight for playwright Molly Smith Metzler and director Jessica Fisch.


Molly Smith Metzler (Playwright) is the author of Cry it Out, Elemeno Pea, The May Queen, Carve, Training Wisteria and Close Up Space. Regional credits include Actors Theatre of Louisville/Humana Festival, South Coast Repertory, The Kennedy Center, The O’Neill National Playwrights Conference, Chautauqua Theater Company, City Theatre, Play Makers Rep, Geva Theatre Center, and many more. Off-Broadway credits include Manhattan Theatre Club. Metzler’s awards include the Lecomte du Nouy Prize from Lincoln Center, the National Student Playwriting Award from The Kennedy Center, the Association for Theatre in Higher Education’s David Mark Cohen Award, the Mark Twain Comedy Prize, and a finalist nod for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize.  She is currently under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club and South Coast Repertory. In television, Metzler has written for Casual (Hulu), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Codes of Conduct (HBO), and is currently a writer/co-producer on Shameless (Showtime). She is also a screenwriter, currently adapting Ali Benjamin’s award-winning novel The Thing About Jellyfish into a film for OddLot and Pacific Standard (Reese Witherspoon’s company). Metzler was educated at SUNY Geneseo, Boston University, New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts, and The Juilliard School.  She lives in Los Angeles.

Molly Smith Metzler is currently under commission at Manhattan Theatre Club and South Coast Repertory. In television, Metzler has written for Casual (Hulu), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix), Codes of Conduct (HBO), and is currently a writer/co-producer on Shameless (Showtime). She is also a screenwriter, currently adapting Ali Benjamin’s award-winning novel The Thing About Jellyfish into a film for OddLot and Pacific Standard (Reese Witherspoon’s company).

Jessica Fisch (Director) has previously directed You Across From Me (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival); Late Company (Cor Theatre); The Firebirds Take The Field (Rivendell);  Straight White Men (Associate Director, Steppenwolf); Trudy, Carolyn, Martha and Regina Travel to Outer Space (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival); The Rosenkranz Mysteries: An Evening of Magic (The Royal George); Fefu and Her Friends (Goodman /Rivendell Latinx Celebration); Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens); Psychodramatic (A Red Orchid, Incubator Series); and Traces (Feast Productions/Jackalope). Select New York credits include The Realm (The Wild Project); strive/seek/find (Abingdon Theatre); the 2009 Playwrights Horizons’ Stories on 5 Stories Benefit, Personal History (Ensemble Studio Theatre); The Redheaded Man (Barrow Street Theatre/Fringe NYC/Fringe Encores); Dressed In Your Dreams (Public Theater/Emerging Writers Group); and an adaptation of the cult 1960’s gothic vampire soap opera Dark Shadows (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Jessica was a resident director at Ensemble Studio Theater, the Playwrights Horizons Directing Resident, and a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. She holds an MFA from Northwestern University.

Laura Lapidus (Lina) previously appeared at the North Shore Center as Daphna in Theater Wit’s Bad Jews. She later reprised the role in other productions at DC’s Studio Theatre and New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse. Other credits include Stay Lit (Steppenwolf LookOut Series); Balm in Gilead, Golden Boy, Port (Griffin Theatre); The Seagull (The Artistic Home); Pains of Youth (Odradek/Oracle); and breaks & bikes (Pavement Group). Film/Television credits include Chicago PD and The Two (co-writer, producer). She holds a BFA in Acting from the University of Michigan. Laura is the winner of a 2018-19 Fulbright Award and will pursue a Masters in Classical Acting at LAMDA this fall.

Gabriel Ruiz (Mitchell) is a proud ensemble member of Teatro Vista, Chicago credits include You Got Older, The Rembrandt, The Way West, How Long Will I Cry? and The Motherfucker with the Hat (Steppenwolf); Native Gardens (Victory Gardens); Agamemnon and Man in the Ring (Court); Arcadia and Company (Writers); City of Angels and Singin’ in the Rain (Marriott); The Upstairs Concierge (Goodman); The Wolf at the End of the Block and White Tie Ball (Teatro Vista); Creditor (Remy Bumppo); Sita Ram (Chicago Children’s Choir); Working: The Musical (Broadway Playhouse); Richard III and Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Chicago Shakespeare) and Arabian Nights (Lookingglass). His regional credits include Native Gardens (Cincinatti Playhouse), Harvey (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre), Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them (Forward Theatre Company), and Blood and Gifts (Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York). He has composed music and lyrics for Don Chipotle performed at DCASE, and Epic Tale of Scale for Chicago Children’s Theater. He has appeared on television in Boss, APB, Electric Dreams, Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice, and Chicago PD.

Darci Nalepa (Jessie) is a proud ensemble member of The Gift Theatre where she has appeared in A Swell In the Ground, A Life Extra Ordinary, and Good for Otto. Other Chicago credits include: Queen (Victory Gardens), Kill Floor (American Theatre Company), Northanger Abbey (Remy Bumppo), and The Drunken City (Steppenwolf). Darci appeared in Stephen Cone’s film Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party and is the co-creator of the upcoming web series The Force. Television credits include Patriot, Shameless and Chicago Fire. She is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf and proudly works as an Instructor at Black Box Acting. Darci is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Kristina Valada-Viars (Adrienne) is a theatre artist living in Chicago. As an actor and director, her work has been primarily devoted to new work development and first and second productions of new American plays. Most recently, she was seen in Steppenwolf for Young Audience’s production of The Crucible, the independent web series The Force, and served as Assistant Director on The Doppleganger (Steppenwolf). Acting credits include: Steppenwolf (Jeff Nomination, Time Stands Still), Goodman, New Dramatists, The New Group, 13P, Writers, Theater Wit, Route 66, About Face. Film/TV credits include Molly’s Girl (Best Actress in a Feature, Iris Prize), Black Box, Shameless, Empire. She is an activist, freelance writer, teacher and a member of the Chicago Green Theatre Alliance. She is working to foster artist-led exchange with performer-based communities outside of traditional commercial theatre circuit cities and actively works to expand casting boundaries within traditional narrative forms. She is the recipient of the 2017 Princess Grace Award and Fellowship in residence with Steppenwolf Theatre Company for the 2017-2018 season.

The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.

Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (May 15 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except May 30) and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm; Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except May 12) and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (May 13 and June 3 only).

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production. All events are free.

Backstage with BJ: Cry It Out
Friday, May 4 at noon
at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL
Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. Backstage with BJ for Cry It Out will last approximately one hour. The event is free but reservations are required. Visit to reserve your spot.

Inside Look: Cry It Out
Tuesday, May 22
at Wilmette Public Library
1242 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette, IL
and Wednesday, May 30
at Highland Park Public Library
494 Laurel Ave, Highland Park, IL
Explore the context of Cry It Out through a discussion and Q&A session with artists related to the production.

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community. 

Now in its 43rd season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 207 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 36 Awards, as well as nine Edgerton Foundation for New Play Awards. As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality. 

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Henrietta Lange Burk Fund; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; and Tom Stringer Design Partners.

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