ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar:
A RED ORCHID THEATRE PRESENTS
SMALL MOUTH SOUNDS
By Bess wohl
directed by ensemble member shade murray
October 18 – December 9, 2018
A Red Orchid Theatre presents Small Mouth Sounds by Bess Wohl, directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray. Small Mouth Sounds runs October 18 – December 9, 2018 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N Wells in Chicago. Press performances are scheduled for Saturday, October 27 at 3:00pm and 7:30pm.
“Consider those times in your life when you ached for a fresh start or a hard stop,” suggests Artistic Director, Kirsten Fitzgerald. “It is hard to break a cycle, but when we find ourselves in real agony a change is needed; a reset. In Bess Wohl’s beautiful play we get to witness six individuals risking something new, trying desperately–sometimes hilariously–to hit that reset button. They give up comfort and familiarity and some discover that when the talking stops, the real communication begins.”
Six urbanites take their troubles to the woods and attempt to work them out at a secluded spiritual retreat. Attendees may not speak for the entire week, clothing is optional at the lake, and beware of bears. The isolating silence collides with the human ache to connect. How do we address life’s biggest questions when words fail us? A Chicago premiere that is at once strange and compassionate, awkward and graceful, silly and profound.
The production features Ensemble Members Jennifer Engstrom (Joan) and Lawrence Grimm (Jan), with Cynthia Hines (Judy), Heather Chrisler (Alicia), Meighan Gerachis (Teacher), Levi Holloway (Ned), Travis A. Knight (Rodney).
The creative team includes Kurtis Boetcher (Scenic), Myron Elliott-Cisneros (Costumes), Heather Gilbert (Lights), Jeffrey Levin (Sound), Jenny Pinson (Props), Samantha Rausch (Technical Director), Cortney Hurley (Production Manager), S.G. Heller (Stage Manager), Chloe Orlando (Assistant Director), Kate DeVore (Vocal Coach) and Leean Kim Torske (Dramaturg).
About the Artists
BESS WOHL (Playwright) Bess Wohl's Plays include Small Mouth Sounds, American Hero, Barcelona, Touched and In. They have been produced or developed at theaters in New York and around the country. Her original musical about the adult entertainment industry, Pretty Filthy, produced by The Civilians, also premiered off-Broadway and was nominated for both the 2015 Lucille Lortel and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Musical. She won the Sam Norkin special Drama Desk Award for “establishing herself as an important voice in New York theater, and having a breakthrough year” in 2014-2015. She also writes for film and television, most recently the pilot Broad Squad for ABC. Her screenplay adaptation of her play In was included on Hollywood's Black List of best scripts. She has also developed original television pilots for HBO, USA, FOX and the CW. As an actress, Ms. Wohl appeared onstage in New York and regionally, and in numerous films and television shows. She is a graduate of Harvard University, Magna Cum Laude, where she was awarded the Rona Jaffe Writing Prize and the Tennessee Williams Scholarship. She earned her MFA from the Yale School of Drama, where she was a recipient of the Rebecca West Scholarship. She is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and lives in New York.
SHADE MURRAY (Director) is an ensemble member of A Red Orchid Theater, where he has directed the world premieres of Brett Neveu’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Ike Holter’s Sender, as well as productions of Wallace Shawn's Evening at the Talk House, David Adjmi’s 3C, Grant Varjas's Accidentally Like a Martyr, Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky and The Butcher of Baraboo, Annie Baker’s The Aliens, Nick Jones’ Trevor, Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party and Kimberly Akimbo by David Lindsay-Abaire. He also performed in the A Red Orchid production of The Mutilated. Other directing credits include Steppenwolf Theatre Company, The House Theater, Steep Theater, Second City, Writers’ Theater and elsewhere. Shade is a lecturer at University of Chicago and teaches at DePaul University and Actors’ Studio Chicago.
HEATHER CHRISLER (Alicia) was recently been seen in Chicago in Mies Julie (Victory Gardens); Machinical (Greenhouse Theatre Center // Jeff Award Nomination Performer); Her Majesty’s Will (Lifeline); and Good Friday (Oracle // Jeff Award Nomination Ensemble). Chrisler is an Artistic Associate of First Folio Theatre where she was recently seen in Mary’s Wedding and Captain Blood. Upcoming appearances include Twilight Bowl (Goodman). Television work includes CHICAGO PD on NBC. Chrisler holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Ohio University.
JENNIFER ENGSTROM (Joan) has been part of A Red Orchid’s ensemble since 2003, Jen has appeared in many productions, most recently a revival of AROT's 2014 Simpatico, in a co-production with McCarter Theatre, NJ. Other Chicago credits include: Women Laughing Alone with Salad (Theatre Wit); HIR, The North Plan, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Steppenwolf Theatre); Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire, Death Of A Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf, (Writer's Theatre); Sky Girls (Northlight Theatre). Regionally, Jen appeared in The David Cromer directed Angels in America (Kansas City Rep); Ground (Humana Festival); MacBeth (Notre Dame Shakespeare); A Streetcar Named Desire (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Off Broadway, Excuse My Dust, A Dorothy Parker Portfolio (Soho Playhouse). Jen has appeared in Chicago Fire, APB, The Onion Network and the feature film SLICE.
MEIGHAN GERACHIS (Teacher) returns to A Red Orchid, where she previously appeared in Solstice. She most recently appeared in Graveyard Shift at The Goodman Theatre where she also appeared in The Wolves, A Christmas Carol and the New Stages production of Blue Skies Process. Other Chicago credits include Domesticated, Our Town and The House on Mango Street (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Seven Homeless Mammoths Wander New England (Theater Wit); 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 (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Measure for Measure (Chicago Shakespeare Theater); Cloud Nine (About Face Theatre); Cigarettes and Moby Dick and Che Che Che (Latino Chicago); The Underpants (Noble Fool Theatricals) and The Road to Graceland (Lifeline Theatre). Regional and international credits include Charm (Mixed Blood Theatre); Elliot, A Soldier's Fugue (Stageworks) and A Midsummer Night's Dream (Contact Theatre in Manchester, England). Film credits include Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, At Any Price and Virginia. Television credits include Chicago P.D., Crisis, Bobby & Iza, Sirens and Battleground.
LAWRENCE GRIMM (Jan) is a founding Ensemble Member of A Red Orchid theatre. Favorite and most recent at A Red Orchid: Traitor, (Jeff Nomination); 3C, Trevor (Jeff Nomination); Solstice, In a Garden, Pumpgirl, Abigail’s Party, The Meek, The Physicists, Mr. Kolpert, Caine-Mutiny Court Martial, In the Solitude of Cotton Fields, and Born Guilty. Selected credits: The Heavens Are Hung in Black as Abraham Lincoln (Shattered Globe); King Charles III and The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); 2666 (Goodman Theatre); My Name is Asher Lev (Timeline Theatre); In the Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Victory Gardens); Maple and Vine, Welcome Home Jenny Sutter (Next Theatre); Orlando (Court Theatre); King Lear, Two by Pinter (Piven Theater Workshop); The Glass Menagerie (Raven Theatre // Jeff Award); The Brothers Karamazov, 1984, The Naked King (Lookingglass); I Never Sang for My Father, Wolf Lullaby (Steppenwolf). Film: Welcome to Me, Perfect Manhattan, Cicero in Winter, Captive State. Television: Chicago PD, Chicago Med.
CYNTHIA HINES (Judy) has worked previously in Women at War (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Clybourne Park and Doubt (both at Harper College); Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Galaxy Theatre Company); Barbecue (Understudy-Strawdog Theatre Company); Wedding Band (Understudy-The Artistic Home) and Everything In Between (Dandelion Theatre).
LEVI HOLLOWAY (Ned) is an actor, producer and playwright. As an actor, Chicago credits include works with companies such as Steppenwolf, Northlight, Aboutface, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Provision, Shattered Globe, and Hell in a Handbag. Levi is the co founder and co artistic director of Neverbird Project, a Chicago based Deaf and hearing youth theatre company. Also a playwright, his own play, The Haven Place had it’s world premiere here at AROT in 2016. He currently holds a Tutterow Fellowship at Chicago Dramatists and is a teaching artist for Lookingglass Theatre and Silk Road Rising. Levi is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.
TRAVIS A. KNIGHT (Rodney) Chicago credits include: The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Ah, Wilderness! Christmas Carol, The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window, Measure for Measure, and Camino Real (Goodman Theatre) and Camelot (Drury Lane). Regional credits include: The Brothers Size (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire (Uprooted Theatre) and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Forward Theatre). He also spent five seasons at American Players Theatre appearing in The Tempest, Glass Menagerie, Two Gentlemen of Verona, and Richard III. TV and web series credits: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Mind Games, and Dad Man Walking. Film credits: Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party, and Runner.
Previews: October 18-27, 2018
Press Performances: Saturday, October 27 at 3pm & 7:30pm
Opening: Sunday, October 28, 2018 at 7pm
Red Night: Friday, November 2, 2018 at 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30 p.m.
Fridays: 7:30 p.m.
Saturdays: 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Sundays: 3:00 p.m.
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Ave.
$15-$25 previews, $30-$40 regular run. ($30 Thurs, $35 Fri, Sat matinee, $40 Sat evening & Sun)
Located at 1531 N. Wells Ave, Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online www.aredorchidtheatre.org
A Red Orchid continues the FLASHPASS. As always, FLASHPASS holders get reserved seats, ticket and date flexibility, no-fee ticket exchanges, discounts for friends & family tickets, and early access to events such as readings, panel discussions, and more. The Three-show FLASHPASS is $90 and includes one ticket to each of the 3 shows in our 26th Season, excluding Opening and Red Nights. The Three-show Red Night FLASHPASS is $150 and includes a ticket to each of the 3 show's Red Night performances and post-show receptions with the cast and creative team. The Preview FLASHPASS is $60 and includes one ticket to a preview performance of each of the 3 shows in our 26th season.
FLASHPASSes may be purchased from the Box Office at 1531 N. Wells Street, Monday through Friday from 12pm to 5pm, by telephone during office hours by dialing (312) 943-8722, or online at www.aredorchidtheatre.org. Individual tickets will go on sale at a later date.
With our 26th season of ambitious and powerful storytelling, we continue to champion A Red Orchid Theatre’s Red League, which is a gift $1k or more, and the Founders Circle, which is a gift of $5k or more annually for a three-year pledge. These donors represent a community of our most committed and impactful cultural investors. Every profound and shocking moment on our stage is made possible through their critical annual contributions. Their philanthropic leadership fosters the development of raw and relevant work, creates a platform for our talented ensemble to reach new audiences, and ensures that A Red Orchid Theatre remains a source for honest, compassionate, and aesthetically rigorous theatre.
About A Red Orchid
A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was recently honored with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 26 years, its Artistic Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award-winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories.
A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.