Past PRODUCTIONS

We have elevated the lives of women through the power of theatre for over 25 years. Check out our past shows to remember your favorites and see the range of work and artists that we have brought to audiences.

 

Productions prior to 2012 - Coming Soon!

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SPAY
by Madison Fiedler
World Premiere: March 17 - April 17, 2022
Extension: April 23 - May 1, 2022

Directed by Georgette Verdin

Williamson, West Virginia has been aptly nicknamed “Pilliamson” as long as the Attridge sisters have called it home. In the wake of their mother’s overdose, the two sisters have taken very different paths. As Harper raises Noah’s child, vowing to tread new ground, Noah finds herself unable to break old cycles – until a stranger promises a way to do just that. Madison Fiedler’s provocative new drama SPAY interrogates the question of autonomy in small-town Appalachia.

 

Selected from a field of over 150 new plays, SPAY was one of six new plays featured in the 2019 National New Play Network’s Annual Showcase of New Plays in Atlanta, Georgia.

Featured artists:
Ensemble members, Rae Gray,
Krystel McNeil and Artistic Director, Tara Mallen.
Ensemble member Mary Cross replaced Tara Mallen for the extension.
Also featuring J. Spencer Huffman

 
 
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8:46 (Breathing Room) Festival
In-Theatre: October 21-23, 2021
Virtual: November 1, 2021

An 8 minute and 46 second new play festival in association with The Breath Project. Curated by RTE ssociate Artistic Director Denise Yvette Serna

Featured artists:
Tina Fakhrid-Deen, Mari DeOleo,
Gloria Imseih Petrelli and Risha Tenae.
Special appearance by RTE ensemble member Jessica Ervin.

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The Tasters
 By Meghan Brown
 

A World Premiere
 January 10 - February 16, 2020

With government leaders getting poisoned left and right, the
Tasters have an important job—eating delicious, gourmet meals,
and then waiting to see if they die. When rebellious Taster Elyse goes on a hunger strike, she kicks off a series of events that will change the course of history…while putting all of the Tasters’ lives
in jeopardy. In her sharp, energetic new play, Meghan Brown
(The Pliant Girls) explores the nuances of political resistance,
self-interest and individual action creating hope in the face of hopelessness.


Directed by RTE member Devon de Mayo
Featuring ensemble members Paula Ramirez and Eric Slater with Shariba Rivers, Daniella Pereira, and Collin Quinn Rice

 

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SOLO VOICES WORKSHOP:
A DIGITAL FESTIVAL


April 29 – May 2, 2020

Originally conceived as an in-person new play festival of one-woman shows, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents a digital pivot of its inaugural Solo Voices Workshop: a celebration and exploration of the development process of four new one-woman plays written and performed by Chicago artists. Over the course of the digital festival, online audiences will explore process-generated content from digital workshops of four new plays–When Given the Choice, Bleed by
Kimberly Dixon-Mays, Tidy by Kristin Idaszak, Aping Jane by Aurora
Real de Asua, and The Inside by Lydia R. Diamond. Thanks to Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation for generously funding this project.


Curated by RTE Member Kristen Osborn

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SOLO VOICES WORKSHOP:
A DIGITAL FESTIVAL


April 29 – May 2, 2020

Originally conceived as an in-person new play festival of one-woman shows, Rivendell Theatre Ensemble presents a digital pivot of its inaugural Solo Voices Workshop: a celebration and exploration of the development process of four new one-woman plays written and performed by Chicago artists. Over the course of the digital festival, online audiences will explore process-generated content from digital workshops of four new plays–When Given the Choice, Bleed by
Kimberly Dixon-Mays, Tidy by Kristin Idaszak, Aping Jane by Aurora
Real de Asua, and The Inside by Lydia R. Diamond. Thanks to Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation for generously funding this project.


Curated by RTE Member Kristen Osborn

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I WANNA FUCKING TEAR YOU APART 
 By Morgan Gould

A Midwest Premiere

February 15 – March 23, 2019

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

 

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

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

Directed by Jessica Fisch
Featuring RTE Ensemble member Jessica Ervin
with Teressa LaGamba and Robert Quintanilla
 

 
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SOMETHING CLEAN
By Selina Fillinger
A co-production with Sideshow Theatre


A Midwest Premiere
June 16 – July 21, 2019

New York Times Critic’s Pick!

“Simply splendid… a beautifully observed, richly compassionate new drama.”

Charlotte has been a mother for nineteen years, a wife for three decades and a respectable community member her entire life. But when her son is incarcerated for sexual assault, Charlotte is forced to reckon with a brand new identity, both public and private. Inspired by today’s headlines and on the heels of its off-Broadway premiere, Selina Fillinger’s breathtaking new drama slips into the jagged cracks of a sex crime’s aftermath – as a mother struggles to make sense of her own grief, intimacy, and culpability.

Originally commissioned by Sideshow’s Freshness Initiative, and hot on the heels of its NYC World Premiere at Roundabout Theatre — Playwright Selina Fillinger’s breathtaking new drama slips into the jagged cracks of a sex crime’s aftermath – as a mother struggles to make sense of her own grief, intimacy, and culpability.

Directed by Lauren Shouse
Featuring RTE Ensemble member Mary Cross
with Patrick Agada and Guy Massey
 

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Photo credit: Nathanael Filbert

LAURA AND THE SEA
By Kate Tarker
 


A World Premiere
October 25 – December 8, 2019

It’s company outing day, and Laura, one of the top travel agents of her generation, is having the best/worst day of her life. So much so that she decides to end it all. Afterwards, her colleagues try to piece things together on a memorial blog. But how do you mourn someone you didn’t know that well?
A comedy about depression, or: a treatise on travel agents who don’t travel.

Awards: 2016 Kilroys List / Finalist, L. Arnold Weissberger Award, 2016 / Finalist, Princess Grace Award, 2016 / Semi Finalist, The Relentless Award, 2016

Directed by Devon de Mayo
Featuring RTE Ensemble members Tara Mallen, Paula Ramirez and Mark Ulrich
with Jordan Arredondo, Adithi Chandrashekar and Alex Gillmor

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CAL IN CAMO
By William Francis Hoffman


A Midwest Premiere
January 5 – February 17, 2018

“ a vernacular, mystical cocktail of a play”
– Ben Brantley, The New York Times

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. Produced by special arrangement with Playscripts, Inc. (www.playscripts.com)

 

Directed by RTE Ensemble member Devon de Mayo
Featuring RTE Ensemble members Ashley Neal, Keith Kupferer & Eric Slater
 

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THE CAKE
By Bekah Brunstetter


A Midwest Premiere
January 5 – February 17, 2018

Jen lives in New York but has always dreamed of getting married in her small North Carolina hometown, so she heads down south with her partner to ask Della, her late mother’s best friend, to do the honors of making the wedding cake at her bakery. Della’s cakes are legendary, even earning her a spot as a contestant on the “Great American Baking Show.” She is overjoyed at Jen’s request until she realizes there’s not just one bride, but two, forcing her to re-examine some of her deeply-held beliefs, as well as her own marriage. Faith, family, and frosting collide in this touching and timely new play.

 

Directed by Lauren Shouse
Featuring RTE Ensemble members Tara Mallen, Krystel McNeil and Keith Kupferer with Tuckie White

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SCIENTIFIC METHOD
By Jenny Connell Davis


A World Premiere
October 19 – December 2, 2018

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.

 

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

 

Directed by Devon de Mayo
Featuring RTE Ensemble member Ashley Neal with Carmen Roman, Glenn Obrero, Josh Odor and Courtney Williams

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Photo credit: Nathanael Filbert

WINTER
By Julie Jensen

A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere
January 7 – February 11, 2017

A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere

A retired professor and poet slowly losing herself to dementia seeks to end her life on her own terms at a time when she can still recognize herself. Julie Jensen’s WINTER is a searing, compassionate, and often very funny examination of the end of life – and the unconventional path one woman takes to get there

 

Directed by RTE Ensemble members Megan Carney and Mark Ulrich
Featuring Barbara Robertson, Sean Cooper, Steve Haggard,
Martasia Jones and Dan Flannery

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Photo credit: Nathanael Filbert

THE FIREBIRDS TAKE THE FIELD
By Lynn Rosen

 

A World Premiere
April 18 – May 27, 2017

The Firebirds Take the Field is Jeff Recommended!

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.

 

Inspired by actual events in LeRoy, New York during the Fall of 2011.

THE FIREBIRDS TAKE THE FIELD was commissioned and developed with support from The Ensemble Studio Theatre / Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Science & Technology Project.

 

Directed by Jessica Fisch
Featuring RTE Ensemble members Jessica Ervin, Meighan Gerachis,
Tara Mallen, and Rebecca Spence

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Photo credit: Nathanael Filbert

Margaret Atwood's
ALIAS GRACE

Adapted for the stage by Jennifer Blackmer


September 1 – November 4, 2017

A world premiere adaptation of Atwood’s acclaimed novel, Alias Grace takes a look at one of Canada’s most notorious murderers. In 1843, 16-year-old Grace Marks was accused of brutally murdering her employer and his housekeeper. Imprisoned for years, Grace still swears she has no memory of the killings. A doctor in the emerging field of mental health arrives to try to find out the truth of the matter. Alias Grace is a fascinating study of memory, culpability, and the shadowy spaces within the human mind.

 

Alias Grace, by Margaret Atwood, © 1996 O.W. Toad Ltd.
Published by Nan A. Talese, an imprint of Doubleday Books
Currently available in an Anchor Trade Paperback edition
Permission for adaptation and performance granted by Author.

 

Directed by RTE Co-Founder Karen Kessler
Featuring RTE Ensemble members Ashley Neal, Jane Baxter Miller and Eric Slater

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Photo credit: Nathanael Filbert


BODY COURAGE
Written and Performed by Danielle Pinnock

January 28 - February 27, 2016

Created from over 300 interviews conducted worldwide, Body/Courage is a rich exploration on body acceptance, as we share in one woman’s transformative journey to discover her own beauty through the voices of others. Pinnock’s powerful new work introduces a constellation of characters grappling with diverse body issues including weight, illness, disability, skin color, aging, and gender transition. Together their stories reflect a nuanced and moving response to the high pressures, expectations, and judgments society places on personal appearance.

RTE produces Body/Courage in association with Waltzing Mechanics. Waltzing Mechanics creates original documentary theatre inspired by real people telling stories about their lives. Using methods of performance ethnography, Waltzing Mechanics facilitates dialogues among audiences and within the community.

Production sponsors for Body/Courage:
The Reva and David Logan Foundation and The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation

 

Directed by Megan Carney

Produced in association with Waltzing Mechanics

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DRY LAND
By Ruby Rae Spiegel


A Midwest Premiere

April 21 - May 28, 2016

Sometimes high school boils down to one thing – survival. And the only way to stay afloat is to find 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 NY Times, Dry 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.

Previews April 21 – 23 at 8 PM, April 24 at 4 PM & April 26 at 8 PM
Gala Opening April 28 at 7 PM
Performances April 29 – May 28, 2016:
Thursdays – Saturdays at 8 PM and Saturdays at 4 PM

 

*Jeff Nominated

 

Directed by RTE member Hallie Gordon

Featuring RTE member Jessica Ervin and Bryce Gangel; With Charlotte Thomas, Matt Farabee, Ric Walker, Olivia Shine, Ireon Roach & Jackie Seijo

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GRIZZLY MAMA
By George Brant


A Midwest Premiere

September 7 - October 15, 2016

Following the death of her activist mother, divorced single mom Deb is on a mission. But to carry it out, she must first reinvent herself as a liberal avenger. Deb’s teenage daughter, Hannah, couldn’t care less–that is, until she discovers the real reason behind their recent move to Alaska, right next door to a certain conservative presidential candidate. Grizzly Mama is a dark comedy about motherhood, murder, and moose.

Directed by RTE member Megan Carney

Featuring RTE Artistic Director Tara Mallen

 
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WOMEN AT WAR
By RTE Member Megan Carney


A World Premiere

November 5 – December 6, 2014

A debate rages over whether females should serve on the frontlines, yet more women are being sent into active combat zones than ever before. This new theatrical work is woven from years of research and first-person interviews with women who have laid their lives on these lines and returned from deployment to re-enter civilian life.

Directed by RTE Artistic Director Tara Mallen

Featuring RTE member Mary Cross, Krystel McNeil and Paula Ramirez

With Rengin Altay, Danielle Davis, Susan Gaspar, Brittani Green,
Cynthia Hines and Charlita Williams  

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LOOK WE ARE BREATHING
By Chicago playwright Laura Jacqmin


A World Premiere

April 2 – May 16, 2015

Those who die young are mourned for their lost potential. But what if Mike, a high school hockey player killed while driving drunk, never really showed much potential? In this searing world premiere, Chicago playwright Laura Jacqmin turns her unblinking eye on the grieving process, as three women in Mike’s life realize that in order to move on, they first have to confront some hard truths about themselves.

 

Production Sponsor: The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation

JEFF NOMINATED for Best New Work!

Directed by Megan Shuchman, Associate Director of Education at Steppenwolf
Assistant Directed by RTE member Mark Ulrich

Featuring RTE Artistic Director Tara Mallen with Brendan Meyer,
Lily Mojekwu, and Brenann Stacker

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