Showing posts with label Lauren Gunderson. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lauren Gunderson. Show all posts

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Citadel Theatre's SILENT SKY February 16 Through March 17, 2024

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

Citadel Theatre’Announces Cast and Creative Team for 

Lauren Gunderson’s Drama of the First Female Astronomers

Full cast and crew have been announced for Citadel Theatre’s upcoming production of SILENT SKY by Lauren Gunderson, one of the most produced playwrights in the U.S. Beth Wolf, nominated in the 2022 Jeff Awards – Equity wing for her direction of Citadel’s OUTSIDE MULLINGAR (nominated for Best Production of a Play – Midsize) returns to direct this drama celebrating the contributions of Henrietta Leavitt and other 19th century female astronomers employed at the Harvard Observatory who, because of their gender, were not recognized at the time for their work. SILENT SKY will open on Friday, February 16 (following previews on February 14 and 15) and play through Sunday, March 17, 2024.

Leading Wolf’s cast as Henrietta Leavitt will be Melissa Harlow, a member of Actors Equity Association who just completed a run as Mary Bailey in IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE: A LIVE RADIO PLAY with The Repertory Company of St. Louis. Playing Williamina Fleming and Annie Cannon, Henrietta’s fellow “human computers” at the Harvard Observatory, are Cameron Feagin and Anne Lentino of Promethean Theatre Ensemble. Feagin recently appeared with Promethean in the title role of RICHARD III as well as in A TOWN CALLED PROGRESS. Lentino and Feagin both appeared in that company’s highly regarded BLUE STOCKINGS in 2019. Adam Thatcher, of Citadel’s 2023 holiday hit SHE LOVES ME, will play Henrietta’s love interest Peter Shaw. Laura Michele Erle, who co-wrote and recently appeared in THREE SISTERS, FOUR WOMEN with SoHo Repertory Theatre in New York City, will play Henrietta’s sister Margaret Leavitt.  Understudies are Paige Klopfenstein (Henrietta Leavitt), Kelly Levander (Williamina), Tina Shelley  (Annie Cannon), Josh Bernaski (Peter Shaw), and Emily Turner (Margaret Leavitt). 

Top row L-R: Laura Michele Erle, Cameron Feagin, Melissa Harlow, Anne Lentino

Middle row L-R: Adam Thatcher, Josh Bernaski, Paige Klopfenstein, Kelly Levander

Lower row L-R: Tina Shelley, Emily Turner

The creative and production team for SILENT SKY, in addition to Wolf as stage director, are Trevor Dotson (Set Designer), Rachel Sypniewski (Costume Designer), Joel Zishuk (Lighting Designer), Stefanie Senior (Sound Designer), Patrick McGuire (Properties Designer), Cate Gillespie (Dialect Coach), Chris Owens (Projection Designer), and Sheryl Williams (Intimacy Designer). Rounding out the production team are Brian Wasserman (Master Carpenter), Alex Trinh (Stage Crew), Erin Galvin (Stage Manager), and Scott Phelps and Ellen Phelps (Production Managers).

Citadel Theatre is in residence in the West Campus of the Lake Forest School District at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. Further information and ticketing is available on the company’s website at or by phone at 847-735-8554, ext. 1.

Friday, February 16 - Sunday, March 17, 2024

(Previews February 14 and 15 @ 7:30 pm)

Press Opening Friday, February 16 at 7:30 pm

Thursdays*, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sunday matinees at 3 pm. Wednesday matinees at 1 pm on February 21 and March 6.

*No performances on Thursdays February 22 and March 7.

Preview ticket prices $20. Regular run prices Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays $40; Saturdays and Sundays $45.00. Discounts available for groups, seniors and students.

Citadel Theatre, located in the West Campus building of the Lake Forest School District 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest, IL

Tickets available online at or by phone at 847-735-8554, ext. 1


When 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt began work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, she wasn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love. SILENT SKY explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them.


Beth Wolf (Director) is the founder and Producing Artistic Director of Midsommer Flight, where she has directed eleven Shakespeare plays in Chicago parks since the company's founding in 2012, including critically acclaimed productions of CYMBELINE, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM, THE TEMPEST, TWELFTH NIGHT, and HAMLET, among others. Her production of OUTSIDE MULLINGAR at Citadel was nominated for Best Production and Best Direction of Play (Midsize) in the 2022 Jeff Awards. Other recent credits include THE SUFFRAGE PLAYS at Artemisia, THE ROOMMATE at Citadel Theatre (Equity Jeff Recommended), AND NON-PLAYER CHARACTER at Red Theater (2020 Non-Equity Jeff nomination for Projection Design). Other Chicago credits include LIAR!, which won first place in the City Lit Art of Adaptation Festival; ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD, BLACK MAGIC: AN EVENING OF SHAKESPEARE, BURY THE DEAD, and THE FANTASTICKS (Promethean Theatre Ensemble, where she was formerly the Artistic Director and co-founder); and various staged readings and assistant directing credits with Remy Bumppo, Idle Muse, City Lit Theater, and more. Beth is a proud Northwestern University graduate with a double major in Theatre and Gender Studies. She lives in Chicago with her husband and their two young children.

Lauren Gunderson (Playwright) has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015, topping the list thrice including 2022/23. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I AND YOU and THE BOOK OF WILL, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. She is a playwright, screenwriter, musical book writer and children's author who lives in San Francisco. She graduated from NYU Tisch as a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. 

Scott Phelps (Artistic Director) is in his 22nd year as the Artistic Director at Citadel. He’s acted in and directed dozens of Citadel productions over the two decades since founding this North Shore theatre in 2002 with his friend and lifelong companion, Ellen. Earlier in 2023, he starred in the leading role of Pastor Paul in THE CHRISTIANS. He has acted/directed in NYC, and in his home state of California, trained as an actor at the Pacific Conservatory of the Performing Arts in Santa Maria, CA, received his BFA from the University of Utah, and did an apprenticeship at the Actors Theatre of Louisville in KY. For 18 years Scott worked for a promotional company and raised his three daughters and his son in Lake Forest. Recently he has been taking on the next chapter of his life — the role of “Beepa” to his grandchildren. Although he is unsure if he is old enough to play that part, he’s been enjoying the challenge.

Citadel Theatre is one of Chicagoland’s premier live theatres, producing hundreds of performances annually and inspiring audiences for nearly 22 years. Founded by Scott and Ellen Phelps in 2002, Citadel Theatre is comprised of its Main Stage performances and its theatre acting classes for children. A proud member of the League of Chicago Theatres and the Lake Forest/Lake Bluff ArtsLink, Citadel Theatre offers a unique intimate theatre experience that transports you to another setting and leaves you feeling exhilarated and wanting more. A recognized 501(c)3 non-profit organization, Citadel can accept tax-deductible donations. For more information, ticketing, and to donate, please visit Citadel online at or call 847.735.8554.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

OPENING: Midwest Premiere of The Book of Will at Northlight Theatre Through December 17th

Northlight Theatre continues its 2017-18 season
with the Midwest Premiere of
The Book of Will
By Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Jessica Thebus

November 9 – December 17, 2017

Here at ChiIL Live Show, we adore Shakespeare and can't wait to catch  Northlight Theatre's latest, The Book of Will, by Lauren Gunderson, author of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley, last year's Jeff nominated holiday hit at Northlight. We're also elated this production is both written and directed by women! We'll be seeing it on November 22nd, so check back shortly after for our full review.

Northlight Theatre recently received the 50/50 Applause Award for 2017 from the International Centre for Women Playwrights. The company was among 58 recipients honored for producing 50% or more plays by women playwrights during the 2016/17 season (which included the World Premiere of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon).

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the Midwest Premiere of The Book of Will, written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Jessica Thebus.  The Book of Will runs November 9 – December 17, 2017 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. 

William Shakespeare wrote some of the world’s most beloved plays – but without his friends, they may have been lost to history! Follow the members of Shakespeare’s own company as they cunningly navigate the production of the First Folio in 1623. They may not have any money or clear-cut rights to his work, but they’re armed with wit, humor, a deep camaraderie and a passion to preserve the plays that shaped their lives. With the help of their wives and colleagues, two actors set out not only to print a collection, but to uphold a legacy for the world. From the author of Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley.

Artistic Director BJ Jones comments, “Lauren Gunderson is one of America's most produced playwrights thanks to Miss Bennet and now The Book of Will. We are proud to have introduced her work to Chicago, and of the Jeff nomination she received for Miss Bennet. Our continued collaboration with her is a joy for us and, we're sure, for our audiences.”

In The Book of Will, playwright Lauren Gunderson imagines the backstory of the creation Mr. William Shakespeare's Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies – commonly referred to as The First Folio. Shakespeare’s fellow actors, John Heminges and Henry Condell, were responsible for and had to collect copies of the plays in the form of actors’ sides, prompt books, quarto texts and handwritten versions. Without them we may have forever lost plays such as Macbeth, Julius Caesar, and Twelfth Night.

The cast of The Book of Will includes Rengin Altay (Rebecca Heminges/Anne Hathaway), Dana Black (Alice Heminges/Susannah Shakespeare), McKinley Carter (Elizabeth Condell/Emilia Bassano Lanier), Thomas J. Cox (Ralph Crane), William Dick (Ben Jonson/Sir Edward Dering), Sam Hubbard (Boy Hamlet/Marcus/Bernardo), Gregory Linington (Henry Condell), Jim Ortlieb (John Heminges), Luigi Sottile (Ed Knight/Isaac Jaggard) and Austin Tichenor (Richard Burbage/William Jaggard).

Austin Tichenor, playing Richard Burbage/William Jaggard), co-wrote Pop-Up Shakespeare, an illustrated pop-up book showing scenes and moments from all of Shakespeare’s plays. The book was released in early October.  He wrote and performed in ten productions with the Reduced Shakespeare Company and hosts the weekly Reduced Shakespeare Company podcast.

The creative team includes Richard and Jacqueline Penrod (Scenic Design), Janice Pytel (Costume Design), Paul Toben (Lighting Design), and Rick Sims (Sound Design). The production stage manager is Kimberly Ann McCann.

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 (November 14 and 21 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm (except Thanksgiving – November 23); Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except November 11) and 8:00pm; and Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (November 12 and 26 only).

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

Backstage with BJ: The Book of Will
Friday, November 3 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 The Book of Will will last approximately one hour. The event is free but reservations are required. Visit to reserve your spot.

Inside The Book of Will
Thursday, November 30 at 2:00 pm
Skokie Public Library, 5215 Oakton St., Skokie
Explore the ​inspiring true story of Shakespeare's First Folio and how that tale has been translated to the stage in a discussion and Q&A with artists related to the production.

Published in 1623, The First Folio contains approximately 900 pages and the following plays:
Comedies: The Tempest, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Merry Wives of Windsor, Measure for Measure, The Comedy of Errors, Much Ado About Nothing, Love's Labour's Lost, A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, All's Well That Ends Well, Twelfth Night, and The Winter's Tale
Histories: King John, Richard II, Henry IV Part 1, Henry IV Part 2, Henry V, Henry VI Part 1, Henry VI Part 2, Henry VI Part 3, Richard III, Henry VIII,
Tragedies: Troilus and Cressida, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Timon of Athens, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, Antony and Cleopatra, and Cymbeline.

'Popping Up' with Austin
Tuesday, December 5 at 6:30pm
The Book Stall, 811 Elm St., Winnetka
Cast member Austin Tichenor will discuss his experiences with the Reduced Shakespeare Company, The Book of Will, and his own ​recent ​book: Pop-Up Shakespeare. Event includes ​a brief performance, book signing, and Q&A.

The Book of Will was commissioned by Denver Center Theatre Company and developed at the 2016 Colorado New Play Summit.

Regular run: November 18 – December 17, 2017

Schedule: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (November 14 and 21 only)
Wednesdays: 1:00pm and 7:30pm           
Thursdays: 7:30pm (except Thanksgiving – November 23)
Fridays: 8:00pm
Saturdays: 2:30pm (except November 11) and 8:00pm
Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (November 12 and 26 only)

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

Tickets: 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.

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