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Showing posts with label women centered Equity theatre. Show all posts
Showing posts with label women centered Equity theatre. Show all posts

Thursday, November 1, 2018

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



Review:
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.

ARTIST BIOS

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. 
  
Previews: 
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

Schedule: 
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

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

Tickets: 
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 www.RivendellTheatre.org

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 http://rivendelltheatre.org. Follow Rivendell on Facebook at Facebook.com/rivendelltheatre, 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.

Friday, September 28, 2018

OPENING: World Premiere of Scientific Method Via Rivendell Theatre Ensemble October 19 – December 2, 2018

Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar


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


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.

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.

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

ARTIST BIOS

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. 
  
Previews: 
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

Schedule: 
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

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

Tickets: 
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 www.RivendellTheatre.org

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 http://rivendelltheatre.org. Follow Rivendell on Facebook at Facebook.com/rivendelltheatre, 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.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

OPENING: Catch The Midwest Premiere of Cal in Camo at Rivendell Through February 17th

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble announces complete casting for
the Midwest Premiere of
Cal in Camo
by RTE member William Francis Hoffman
Directed by RTE member Hallie Gordon
Featuring RTE Members Ashley Neal, Keith Kupferer and Eric Slater

**Funds tight? 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.**


January 5 – February 17, 2018


Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we're excited for another fabulous female centered production at Rivendell. There's still a huge need to hear a myriad of styles of women's voices and experiences and we're enamored with Rivendell's mission statement to "...advance women’s lives through the power of theatre. Rivendell cultivates the talents of women artists—writers, actors, directors, designers and technicians by seeking out innovative plays that explore unique female experiences and producing them in intimate, salon environments."

Rivendell fills an important role in the Chicago region as the only Equity theatre dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women. 

I've known Chicago director, Hallie Gordon, since our children were in a pre preschool playgroup together. I've admired her work for years. I'll be out Saturday night 1/13 for the press opening, so check back shortly after for my full review. 



Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core, announces the Midwest premiere of Cal in Camo by RTE member William Francis Hoffman and directed by RTE member Hallie Gordon. Cal in Camo runs January 5 – February 17, 2018, at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago.  

Marooned in a sinking starter home in rural Illinois, Cal struggles to bond with her newborn daughter as her beer salesman husband struggles in vain to land accounts in unpromising new territory. Playwright William Francis Hoffman’s new play explores the intricacies of family ties with equal doses of penetrating humor and scorching revelation. 

The cast of Cal in Camo includes RTE members Ashley Neal (Cal), Keith Kupferer (Flynt) and Eric Slater (Tim).

The creative team includes RTE members Joanna Iwanicka (Scenic Design), Janice Pytel (Costume Design) and Victoria Deiorio (Original Composition and Sound Designer), as well as Charles Cooper (Lighting Design), and Blake Burke (Properties Design). The stage manager is Jenniffer Thusing.

ARTIST BIOS
William Francis Hoffman (Playwright) was born and raised in Oakville, Missouri, a mile from the Mississippi River. He is a member of The Actor’s Gym in Los Angeles, California and was an ensemble member at Rivendell Theatre from 2001 until he moved to Los Angeles in 2007. His play Cal in Camo, a co-production between The Rattlestick Playwrights Theater and Colt Coeur, received its world premiere in New York City. His play Drift is currently being workshopped in Los Angeles.

Hallie Gordon (Director) previously directed Dryland and Eat Your Heart Out for Rivendell. Hallie has directed for Steppenwolf Theatre; last productions included: HIR, The Rembrandt, and Monster. She is currently the Artistic Director for Steppenwolf for Young Audiences and an Artistic Producer for Steppenwolf Theatre Company. She is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Achievement Award.

Keith Kupferer (Flynt) is a founding member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble where he was most recently seen in the critically-acclaimed production of How the World Began. Other Chicago credits include The Qualms, Good People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice & Men, Carter's Way, Men of Tortuga, Things Being What They Are, Jesus Hopped The A Train and Tavern Story at Steppenwolf Theatre; The Humans at American Theatre Company; Men’s Support Group, God of Carnage, High Holidays, Passion Play and The Old Neighborhood at the Goodman Theatre; The Mystery of Love and Sex (where he received a Jeff nomination for “Supporting Actor”), and Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Wolf at Writer’s Theatre; Hillary and Clinton, Never the Sinner and Appropriate at Victory Garden’s Theatre; Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; End Days at Windy City Playhouse; Execution of Justice with About Face Theatre; Cat Feet and The Old Neighborhood at Northlight; Desire Under The Elms, a co-production between Philadelphia’s Freedom Theatre and Chicago’s Court Theatre; The Unseen, The Meek, Canus Lunis Balloonis (nominated for a 1998 Joseph Jefferson award for Best Ensemble) and The Physicists for A Red Orchid Theatre; and Big Lake, Big City, Trust and Hillbilly Antigone for Lookingglass Theatre. Film credits include the soon-to be released Widows; The Dilemma; Dark Knight; Public Enemies; The Express; Stranger Than Fiction; Road to Perdition; Finding Santa; Fred Klaus; The Last Rights of Joe May; The Merry Gentleman directed by Michael Keaton, Resurrecting McGinn; and Open Tables. TV credits include Better Call Saul; Empire; Chicago P.D.; Betrayal; Crisis; Chicago Fire; Detroit 187; The Beast; Prison Break; The Jamie Kennedy Experiment and Early Edition.  

Ashley Neal (Cal) is thrilled to be back at Rivendell Ensemble Theatre, where she is an ensemble member and most recently appeared in Alias Grace. Other Rivendell productions include Wrens, These Shining Lives, 26 Miles, The Walls, and Be Aggressive. Ashley most recently appeared in A Red Orchid Theatre's The Nether where she also appeared in A Red Handed Otter. Other shows you may have seen her in 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. 

Eric Slater (Tim) has been a company member of RTE since 2006 and has appeared in Winter, Rasheeda Speaking, Self-Defense, Expecting Isabel, Silence and most recently Alias Grace. Chicago: Hand To God (Victory Gardens); Kill Floor (American Theatre Co.); Diary of Anne Frank (Writers Theatre); Feathers & Teeth and Smokefall (Goodman); and many others. Off & Off-Off Broadway: Juvenal Players (The Kitchen); The Dudley’s: A Family Game! (Theatre for a New City); Our Greatest Year (Kraine & The Brick); Original Cast Gloryana (The Public Theater & The York Theatre Co.); and Cyanocitta (The Becket on Theatre Row). Regional: Fornicated From The Beatles (American Repertory Theatre); Experiment America (ICA Boston); Hunchback (DIA Detroit); Permanent Collection (Madison Rep.); Our Greatest Year (Dobama Theatre). Film/ TV: Widows, Coming to You, and Chicago Fire. Eric is a founding member of the immersive theatre company The New Ensemble based in NYC and has written extensively for The Neugents Project as a member of the North Carolina Writer’s Group. He has also written and produced two short films and a number of theatrical experiments.

Previews:
January 5 – 13, 2018
Friday, January 5 at 8:00pm
Saturday, January 6 at 8:00pm
Sunday, January 7 at 4:00 pm
Thursday, January 11 at 8:00pm
Friday, January 12 at 8:00pm
Saturday, January 13 at 8:00pm
VIP opening: Sunday, January 14, 2018 at 6:00pm
Press Opening Saturday, January 13, at 7:00pm

Regular run:January 18 – February 17, 2018

Schedule:     
Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 4:00pm (except January 13)
Additional matinee performance on Sunday, February 11 at 3:00pm
Town Hall Discussions will follow select Saturday matinees

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
Subscriptions: $59-$80 for 3-plays  

Box Office: (773) 334-7728 or www.RivendellTheatre.org

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

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

For more information about Rivendell Theater Ensemble, visit http://rivendelltheatre.org. Follow RTE on Facebook at Facebook.com/rivendelltheatre and on Twitter @RivendellThtr.

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

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

OPENING: The Firebirds Take the Field World Premiere at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble 4/15-5/27

 ChiIL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble Presents
the World Premiere of
The Firebirds Take the Field
by Lynn Rosen
Directed by Jessica Fisch

Featuring RTE Members Meighan Gerachis, Rebecca Spence,
RTE Artistic Director Tara Mallen and RTE’s newest member Jessica Ervin

April 15 – May 27, 2017

 ]
Tonight we'll be ChiILin' on Chi, IL's north side with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core! It press opening time for the world premiere of The Firebirds Take the Field by Lynn Rosen and directed by Jessica Fisch. Check back soon for our full review.

The Firebirds Take the Field runs April 15 – May 20, 2017, at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago. The Firebirds Take the Field is produced with support from the Alfred P. Sloane Foundation and Ensemble Studio Theater and is the second production of RTE’s 2017 Season ‘Exploring the Mind/Body Connection.’



Regular run: April 27 – May 27, 2017

Schedule: Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00pm
Saturdays at 4:00pm (no Saturday performance Saturday May 27)
Town Hall Discussions will follow the Saturday matinees 4/6; 4/13; 4/20

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

Tickets: General Admission
Previews: $25
Regular: $38

Student, Senior, Active Military, Veteran:
Previews: $15
Regular: $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.

Box Office: (773) 334-7728 or www.RivendellTheatre.org



It's been 25 years since molecular neuroscientist Avery Kahn left Highland Falls, NY. But when 18 local girls, cheerleaders mostly, are stricken with a mysterious ailment, Avery reluctantly returns home to tackle what the locals derisively call the “girl disease.” As Avery becomes affected—and infected—by the girls, the case becomes more personal than she ever expected. Based on actual events, Firebirds is a fascinating and often hilarious investigation of how women in particular are impacted by the pressures of growing up.

The Firebirds Take the Field was inspired by real events in LeRoy, New York in Fall 2011.  Camera crews descended on the small town when over a dozen teenagers from the same high school developed similar mysterious symptoms, including uncontrollable twitching, tics and verbal outbursts.

The Firebirds Take the Field features RTE Members Meighan Gerachis (Avery), Rebecca Spence (Helen), RTE Artistic Director Tara Mallen (Kathy) and RTE’s newest member most recently honored with a Jeff nomination for Best Actress for her work in last season’s production of Dry Land, Jessica Ervin (Penelope), Margaret Kusterman (Cynthia), Josh Odor (Mark), Aurora Real de Asua (Lucia), and Hannah Toriumi (Agatha).

The Firebirds Take the Field is funded in part by The Ensemble Studio Theatre/ Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project.

“The play takes place in a dying industrial town stunted by years of decay, where going to ‘the game’ and rooting for victory still mean something and winning gives the town worth and hope,” said director Jessica Fisch. “Pretty, athletic, smiling, golden girls are responsible for rallying the spirits of their community, but to be seventeen and believe your value is inextricably tied to your looks, youth, and exuberance is a recipe for destruction. Off the field, the girls are grappling with challenges and instability without the maturity or vocabulary to handle them. The girls bury their concerns and ignore their own grief, trauma, sadness, and hardship, but the weight of their repression proves too much and their bodies begin to rebel. By ignoring those emotions they deny themselves the process of healing. It turns out, the human body will find a way to grieve.”

“I was surprised when researching the real stories of the teens from LeRoy, New York, to learn that their final diagnosis of ‘Conversion Disorder’ was just a new name for ‘female hysteria.’ Women, in particular, who are diagnosed with mental issues are immediately dismissed both from the medical profession and by society as their conditions are not seen as being ‘real’," comments Artistic Director Tara Mallen. “Yet history and myth are filled with stories of girls exhibiting bizarre symptoms around the time of puberty — and doctors have pondered the connection between our mental and physical health for centuries. The cautionary of tale these three girls exemplifies the sometimes devastating results when we disregard this essential connection.”

The creative team includes new RTE ensemble member Joanna Iwanicka (scenic design), with Katherine Scott (choreography), Paul Toben (lighting design), Stephanie Cluggish (costume design), Sarah D. Espinosa (sound design), and Blake Leo Burke (properties). Tanya Palmer is the dramaturg. Sam Mouryessef is the Production Manager; Andra Sturtevant is the Production Stage Manager; and Joan Sergay is the Assistant Director.



ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Jessica Fisch (Director) Recent credits: Straight White Men (Associate Director, Steppenwolf), Trudy, Carolyn, Martha and Regina Travel to Outer Space (Actors Theatre of Louisville, Humana Festival), Fefu and Her Friends (Goodman Theatre/Rivendell Latina/o Celebration) Opulent Complex and That Thing That Time (Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Tens), The Rosenkranz Mysteries: An Evening of Magic (Royal George Theatre), Psychodramatic (A Red Orchid, Incubator Series), Traces (Feast Productions/ Jackalope Theatre), Far Away (SITE Festival), 42 Stories (Raven Theatre, [Working Title] series), Machinal, Spike Heels (Northwestern University). 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/Down Payment Productions/FringeNYC/FringeEncores), Dressed In Your Dreams (Public Theater/Emerging Writers Group), 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, a member of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab, and the founding Artistic Director of Down Payment Productions. MFA: Northwestern University. 

Lynn Rosen (Playwright) has had works produced or developed with: Actors Theatre of Louisville, TheatreWorks (Silicon Valley), Women's Project, New Georges, Ensemble Studio Theatre (two EST/Sloan commissions), Centerstage (Baltimore), Studio Theatre, Working Theater, Barrington Stage, The New Group, The Lark, terraNOVA Collective, New Harmony, GEVA, Fault Line Theatre, The Brick Theater, Red Bull Theatre, Todd Mountain Theater Project, The Lark Development Center (Writing Fellow), 52nd Street Project, among others. Lynn was commissioned in 2016 by UCSB for her new play Bernhard which was just produced in their acclaimed Launch Pad series. She also co-writes and co-created the award-winning web series Darwin, directed by Carrie Preston, with whom she is developing two TV pilots. Darwin was named one of the “Top Ten Best Web Series of 2015” by Paste Magazine and season two is currently in production. Her short piece The Amazing America Auction, originally commissioned for Centerstage, is included in Hal Hartley’s feature film My America. Coming up: Gurley! (a musical about Helen Gurley Brown), TheatreWorks Silicon Valley Writers’ Retreat; I Love You with Playing On Air; Washed Up On The Potomac with The Pool, NYC. Lynn got her B.A. in Theatre Arts from Brandeis University and is currently a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists in NYC.

Meighan Gerachis (Avery) is a founding member at Rivendell and has appeared in their productions of The Electric Baby, Precious Little, The Walls, Elliot: A Soldier's Fugue, Indulgences at the Louisville Harem, Factory Girls, My Simple City, Wrens, and Ten Tiny Fingers, Nine Tiny Toes. Other credits include Blue Skies Process (Goodman), Domesticated, Our Town, The House on Mango St. (Steppenwolf), Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Theater Wit), Solstice (A Red Orchid Theater),  Measure for Measure (Chicago Shakespeare); Cloud Nine (About Face), Cigarettes and Moby Dick, Che Che Che (Latino Chicago), The Underpants (Noble Fool); and The Road to Graceland (Lifeline Theatre). Her Regional credits include: Charm (Mixed Blood Theatre) Elliot; A Soldier's Fugue (Stageworks/Hudson); and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Contact Theatre, Manchester, UK). Film credits include Batman v. Superman, At Any Price, and Virginia. Television credits include Chicago PD, Crisis, Bobby & Iza (NBC), Sirens (USA), and Battleground (Hulu).

Rebecca Spence (Helen) joined Rivendell Theatre Ensemble after appearing in These Shining Lives for which she received Equity Jeff Nomination in 2009.  Other RTE credits include Wrens and How the World Began (Equity Jeff Nomination for Best Actress in 2015). Her most recent work was originating the role of Mary Page Marlowe 40/44 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company where her previous credits include: The Crucible, Our Lady of 121st Street and Pacific. Other theatre credits include: In The Garden (Lookingglass Theatre Company); Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West (TimeLine Theatre Company); This (Theatre Wit); The Voysey Inheritance, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Remy Bumppo - Equity Jeff Nom.); Dracula (Defiant Theatre); Cyrano (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre). Film Credits include Kingfisher, Recke, Not Welcome, Bloomin’ Mud Shuffle, Man of Steel, Fools, Tiger Tail in Blue, One Small Hitch, Contagion, The Dilemma, Audrey the Trainwreck, Earthling, Public Enemies, Grace is Gone and The Break-Up.  Television Credits include Easy (Netflix), Chicago Fire (NBC), Crisis (NBC), Betrayal (ABC), Boss (STARZ), The Mob Doctor (FOX), Detroit 1-8-7 (ABC), The Chicago Code (FOX), The Beast (A&E) and Prison Break (FOX).

Tara Mallen (Kathy) is an actor, director, producer and the Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble.  She was most recently on stage in RTE’s production of Grizzly Mama and  the world premiere production of Lynn Nottage’s Sweat at Arena Stage. Prior to that she was in RTE’s Jeff Nominated, world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking. Tara appeared in the Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. She was part of the ensemble in Rivendell’s World Premiere, Jeff nominated production of The Walls and played Jolene Palmer (inspired by the true-life story of Aileen Wuornos) in Rivendell’s award winning production of Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen -- both productions part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Visiting Theater Initiative.  For Rivendell, Tara has both produced and acted in over thirty productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress” for her portrayal of Gwenyth in WRENS as part of that production’s Jeff-winning ensemble. She was nominated the following year for “Actress in a Principal Role” for her work in My Simple City.  Screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion, Boss (STARZ) ,Chicago Fire (NBC), Chicago P.D. (NBC), Sense8 (NetFlix), indie feature FOOLS and the CBS/Sony Pictures pilot Doubt .

Jessica Ervin (Penelope) ,one of RTE’s newest members returns to Rivendell where she was last seen in Dry Land (Ester) and also understudies their touring production of Women at War. Other Chicago theatre credits include touring artist with Erasing the Distance, Herculaneum (Blue Goose Theatre Ensemble), Summer in the Parks production of The Wild (Walkabout Theater Company), 12 Ways to Play Festival (The Public House Theatre), and Collaboraction’s final Sketchbook Festival. She can also be seen in the upcoming feature film Princess Cyd. Jessica is a graduate of Ball State University with a B.F.A. in Acting, and is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Margaret Kusterman (Cynthia) has appeared at Next Theatre where she appeared in The Luck of the Irish and Great God Pan. She understudied the role of Patricia in The Herd at Steppenwolf, where she was also in the Ensemble of No Place Like Home. At Seanachai she was part of the Jeff-nominated ensemble of The Big Picture. She was in Tartuffe at Remy Bumppo and Uncle Vanya at Strawdog. After understudying the role of Meg in The Beauty Queen of Leenane at Steppenwolf, she played the role at Northern Stage in Vermont. Margaret has worked with Jackalope, The Gift, Defiant, Livebait, Lifeline and Center Theatre. She holds a Masters Degree in Theatre from Northwestern University. 

Josh Odor (Mark) most recently performed in Griffin's Winterset, The Hypocrites' You on the Moors Now, Haven Theater's The Distance and The Time of Your Life with the Artistic Home. Josh has also worked at Steppenwolf, The Goodman, TimeLine, Steep, Teatro Vista, The Inconvenience, The House, The New Colony, Collaboraction, LiveWire, Buffalo Ensemble and as a member of Pine Box.  Josh's television work includes Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Betrayal and Boss.

Aurora Real de Asua (Lucia) is working with the Rivendell Ensemble for the first time. Past Chicago credits include Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Metropolis), You On the Moors Now (u/s Hypocrites), Twelfth Night (u/s Chicago Shakespeare in the Park), as well as work with the Goodman Theatre and American Myth Project. She recently graduated from Northwestern University.

Hannah Toriumi (Agatha) has performed with such theaters as The Gift, Goodman Theatre, Silk Road Rising, Step Up Productions, and TOTC. She has also made appearances in commercials, film, and television. Hannah is represented by Paonessa Talent, is a graduate of The School at Steppenwolf Class of 2015 and holds a BA in Theatre Performance from North Central College.

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

Among the cast are four RTE Members, including Meighan Gerachis, Rebecca Spence, RTE Artistic Director Tara Mallen and RTE’s newest ensemble member, Jessica Ervin, most recently honored with a Jeff nomination for Best Actress for her work in last season’s production of Dry Land.  
The dramaturg is Tanya Palmer, the Goodman’s Director of New Play Development.


**Rivendell fills an important role in the Chicago region as the only Equity theater dedicated to producing artistically challenging and original plays created by and about women.**


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

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

For more information about Rivendell Theater Ensemble, http://rivendelltheatre.org. Follow RTE on Facebook at Facebook.com/rivendelltheatre and on Twitter @RivendellThtr.

The Firebirds Take the Field was commissioned by Ensemble Studio Theater through support from the Alfred P. Sloane Foundation Grant. Founded in 1934 by industrialist Alfred P. Sloan Jr., the Foundation is a not-for-profit grantmaking institution that supports high quality, impartial scientific research; fosters a robust, diverse scientific workforce; strengthens public understanding and engagement with science; and promotes the health of the institutions of scientific endeavor.

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported by generous grants from Allstate Insurance Company; The Lester and Hope Abelson Fund; The Alphawood Foundation; The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The Chicago Community Trust; The Chicago Foundation for Women; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The Reva and David Logan Foundation; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; SIF Fund at The Chicago Community Trust; The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation; The University of Illinois at Chicago Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement; Cultural Outreach Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

OPENING: Dry Land at Rivendell Theatre

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents
the Midwest Premiere of
Dry Land
by Ruby Rae Spiegel
Directed by RTE Member Hallie Gordon
Featuring Jessica Ervin and Bryce Gangel

April 22 – May 28, 2016



Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre dedicated to producing new work with women at the core, announces the midwest premiere of Dry Land by Ruby Rae Spiegel. The production, directed by RTE member Hallie Gordon, runs April 22 – May 28, 2016, at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge Avenue in Chicago.

Sometimes high school boils down to one thing - survival. And the only way to stay afloat is to find yourself an ally…

Set in the girls' locker room of a Florida high school, Ruby Rae Spiegel's ferocious new play looks at the unlikely friendship between Esther and Amy, two high school swimmers under uncommon pressure. Called a “remarkable new play” by The New York TimesDry Land is alternately harrowing and hilarious, as it homes in on the issue of DIY abortion, the complexities of female friendship, and the impossible pressures that build up at the brink of adulthood.   

VIP Opening: Thursday, April 28 at 7:00pm
Regular run: April 29 – May 28, 2016

Schedule: Thursdays-Saturdays at 8:00pm
                 Saturdays at 4:00pm
    Town Hall Discussions will follow the Saturday matinees on May 7, 14 and 21

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

Tickets: General Admission
Pre-sale: $32
Walk-up: $35

Student, Senior, Active Military, Veteran
Pre-sale: $22
Walk-up: $25

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.
Flex Pass: $110 ($80 for Student/ Senior/ Active Military/ Veteran)
Includes four tickets to use in any combination for the season.

Box Office:                  (773) 334-7728 or www.RivendellTheatre.org

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


Artistic Director Tara Mallen comments, “Dry Land is the second production in RTE's 2016 “The Body Politic” season consisting of three important new plays in which the political is deeply personal.  The play begins with two teenage girls attempting a do-it-yourself abortion. It is a precarious subject, rife with shame and secrecy, not to mention being a political time bomb. The play doesn't pick sides or ask you to pick sides -- it simply reflects a growing reality, particularly for women and girls living in areas where it is now most difficult to get abortions. In the midst of this election circus, as we sift through the candidate’s policies and platforms, Dry Land tackles this hot button issue with extreme truth - and a great dose of humor -- engendering an imperative dialogue about women’s bodies in this crucible of politics."

“What struck me the first time I read Dry Land, this expertly written play by the young Ruby Rae Spiegal, was how unbelievably real, how lively and true and recognizable these characters were,” comments directorHallie Gordon.  “While the play has at its center a harrowing and dramatic incident, what matters about the play is not its plot, but its themes – at its heart, this is a work about friendship. The play asks how we are connected, and how we conduct ourselves when that connection is tested.”

Dry Land features Jessica Ervin as “Ester” and Bryce Gangel as “Amy” with Charlotte Thomas, Matt Farrabee, Ric Walker, Olivia Shine and Ireon Roach. The design team includes Joanna Iwanicka (scenic design), Charles Cooper (lighting design), Janice Pytel (costume design), Sarah Putts (sound) and David Blixt (fight choreography).

ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Ruby Rae Spiegel (Playwright) is a graduate of Yale University. Her Susan Smith Blackburn Prize nominated play, DRY LAND, premiered Off-Broadway in 2014 in a sold-out, critically acclaimed run at Colt Coeur, following development in New York Stage and Film’s Powerhouse Theater Readings Festival and the Ojai Playwrights Conference. Her play Carrie & Francine premiered in the Summer Shorts Festival in 2011 at 59E59 alongside work by Neil LaBute and Christopher Durang. Dubbed “the prodigy of Summer Shorts” by the Theatre Development Fund, she received a rave review in the The New York Times for the piece and won Stephen Sondheim’s Young Playwrights Inc.’s National Competition (her second consecutive win after 2010’s All Ye Know). Ruby currently writes for Netflix’s forthcoming original series “The OA.”

Hallie Gordon (Director) is an RTE member and Artistic Producer at Steppenwolf and Artistic Director of Steppenwolf Young Adults.  As a theatre artist Hallie has directed for Rivendell, Eat Your Heart Out, Eclipsedat Northlight Theatre, for Steppenwolf 1984, Animal Farm, Leveling Up, the world premiere of The Book Thief, To Kill A Mockingbird, the world premiere of a new adaptation by Tanya Saracho of The House on Mango Street, and Harriet Jacobs, adapted for the stage by Lydia R. Diamond. A new premier of Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, also adapted by Lydia R. Diamond, which won a Black Excellence Award from the African American Arts Alliance of Chicago. This production also transferred Off-Broadway to The New Victory Theatre. She has directed staged readings for The Goodman Theatre, Timeline Theatre, Chicago Dramatists and Steppenwolf Theatre Company.  Hallie is the recipient of The Helen Coburn Meier & Tim Meier Achievement Award

Jessica Ervin (Ester) is a recent graduate of Ball State University with a B.F.A. in Acting. Her Chicago credits include Walkabout Theater Company’s Summer in the Parks production of The Wild, The Public House Theatre’s 12 Ways to Play Festival, Collaboraction’s final Sketchbook Festival, and understudying Rivendell’s touring production of WOMEN AT WAR. Some of her other favorite projects are The Skriker (Josie),Romeo and Juliet (Juliet), and The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds (Tillie). 

Bryce Gangel (Amy) makes her Rivendell Theatre debut. Recent Chicago credits include: The U.S. premiere of Posh (Steep Theatre); Between You, Me, and the Lampshade (Teatro Vista); All American (Redtwist Theatre); the Chicago premiere of Hank Williams: Lost Highway (Filament Theatre Ensemble); and You Never Can Tell (Remy Bumppo Theatre U/S). She has appeared on television in “Crisis” (NBC).  Bryce is a graduate of Loyola University and The School at Steppenwolf.  She is proudly represented by Paonessa Talent.
                        
About Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Founded in 1994, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble advances women’s lives through the power of theatre. Rivendell cultivates the talents of women artists -- writers, actors, directors, designers and technicians – by seeking out innovative plays that explore unique female experiences and producing them in intimate, salon environments. 

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


Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported by generous grants from The Alphawood Foundation; The Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development; The Chicago Community Trust; The Chicago Foundation for Women; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The Reva and David Logan Foundation; The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust; Cultural Outreach Program Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events; and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is also very grateful for the support received from 100 Women Who Care.

For more information about Rivendell Theater Ensemble, http://rivendelltheatre.org.  Follow RTE on Facebook at Facebook.com/rivendelltheatre and on Twitter @RivendellThtr

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