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Silent Sky

Silent Sky

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About The Show

By Lauren Gunderson  
Directed by Seema Sueko 

“A deeply moving and profound play, written by one of our greatest living playwrights” - BroadwayWorld

Silent Sky tells the story of pioneering female astronomers with humor and warmth” - The Washington Post

At the turn of the 20th century, years before women had the right to vote, one woman’s breakthrough changed our perception of the stars. 

Full of wonder, humor, and heart, SILENT SKY is the remarkable true story of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the pioneering women astronomers working at Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s. You will be enthralled by the story of this extraordinary woman who took on the astronomy establishment in order to discover the mysteries embedded in the sky. Henrietta transcended the odds while navigating love, family, and the universe, going on to make a world-altering advancement to the field of astronomy that forever changed our view of the cosmos. 

Written by one of today’s leading playwrights, Lauren Gunderson, this mesmerizing drama is directed by Seema Sueko, who recently brought this work to life at Washington D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre. 

Recommended for general audiences.

 

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Meet the Cast

KENDRA JO BROOK*, she/her

FIRST SEASON (Henrietta Leavitt) is a Montana native and NYC-based, HOH actor and musician. Jo is the founder of the all-female bluegrass collective The Snowy Mountain Sisters. Credits include Silent Sky (Barnstormers Theatre), October Sky (Universal Stages), The Goree All-Girl String Band (NYMF), Wild Fire (Denver Center), Big River (Alpine Theatre Project), and Bright Star (Barter Theatre). kendrajobrook.com

 

LISE BRUNEAU*

FIRST SEASON (Williamina Fleming) is making her Asolo Repertory Theatre debut, despite having been directed as Desdemona by Michael Donald Edwards one or two years ago at Shakespeare Santa Cruz. She currently lives in DC, where she appears at the Shakespeare Theatre, Arena Stage, and Studio Theatre, among others. She has played on Broadway and at regional theatres across the country. As a director, she’s helmed productions of Measure for Measure, Savage in Limbo, Twelfth Night, and more. While continuing to cause trouble at DC’s upstart Taffety Punk Theatre Co., Lise trained at RADA and hopes 15-year-old Percy can join her at Galaxy’s Edge.

 

CHRISTIAN DOUGLASS, he/him

FIRST SEASON (Peter Shaw) is overjoyed to make his debut on the Mertz stage and is a third-year student at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Previous credits include Cinderella’s Prince/Wolf in Into the Woods, Pharaoh/Jacob in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Glen in The Wedding Singer at The Bigfork Summer Playhouse. He enjoys long car rides and quick walks on the beach. Big thanks to Jolene, Mom, Dad, Ryan, Katelyn, and Aunt Rose.

 

SUZANNE GRODNER*, she/her

TENTH SEASON (Annie Cannon) is thrilled to be back at Asolo Rep, where past shows include Grand Horizons, The Plexiglass Slipper, Nunsense, Tartuffe, and How the Other Half Loves. Broadway credits include Beautiful, Bye Bye Birdie, and The Rose Tattoo. Off-Broadway credits include Old Jews Telling Jokes, Sarah/Sarah, Cakewalk, and Death-Defying Acts. National/Int’l Tours include Beautiful and Ken Hill’s Phantom. Regional Theatre: Over 80 productions in over 45 theatres, including V&S&M&S (Cincinnati Playhouse), Jane Austen’s Emma (The Old Globe), The Sisters Rosensweig (Indiana Rep), Ragtime (TheatreWorks), Becky Shaw (SF Playhouse), among many others. TV/Film includes Ray Donovan, Law & Order/SVU/CI, Ed, and Muck. For Alba.

 

ZOYA MARTIN, she/her

FIRST SEASON (Margaret Leavitt) is thrilled to be making her Asolo Rep debut! Some credits include Malvolio in Twelfth Night, Henrietta in The Learned Ladies, and Abby in Belleville. She graduated with a BFA from Azusa Pacific University in Pasadena, CA, and will be receiving her MFA this spring from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Zoya sends love and thanks to her incredibly supportive friends and family!

 

MACARIA CHAPARRO MARTINEZ, they/them

FIRST SEASON (u/s Annie Cannon) is about to conclude their final year at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory, and it has been an odyssey of an education! They love projects that are impactful and important as well as silly little works of fun. Favorite credits include Mrs. Lovett, Belise in The Learned Ladies, and Telemachus in Asolo Rep On Tour’s Looking for Ithaca. Macaria also reps UC Irvine as well as Ventura College! Kindly, enjoy the show!

 

ELLE MILLER, she/her

FIRST SEASON (u/s Henrietta Leavitt) is absolutely thrilled to serve as an understudy on the Asolo Repertory Theatre stage as a first-year FSU/Asolo Conservatory student. Her recent credits include Marianne in Constellations at the Jacoby Arts Theatre in Alton, IL; co-facilitator and cast member in the Theatre for Anti-Racist Action Allegiance via Principia College; Kent in King Lear via the Globe Theatre Education Program; and Portia in The Merchant of Venice.

 

AYDA OZDOGANLAR, she/her

FIRST SEASON (u/s Margaret Leavitt) graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a BS in Biology and a minor in Drama and is thrilled to start her first year as a student at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. At Carnegie Mellon, she performed roles such as Sophie in Mamma Mia! (2019) and Amelia in The Summerland Project (2020). With an interest in vocal performance, she has sung with the National Association for Music Education’s (NAfME) All-Eastern National Treble Choir and Pennsylvania All-State Choir.

 

PETER S. RAIMONDO, he/him

FIRST SEASON (u/s Peter Shaw) is a third-year student with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. He is from Buffalo, NY, and holds a BFA in Theatre Performance from Niagara University. His Conservatory credits include Belleville (Zack), The Learned Ladies (Clitandre), Twelfth Night (Antonio), and Asolo Rep’s BardWired: Much Ado About Nothing (u/s perf., Claudio). Peter is grateful for the love and support of his family and thrilled to be alongside his cohort, beginning their first season with Asolo Rep.

 

CLARE WARD, she/her

FIRST SEASON (u/s Williamina Fleming) is originally from Helena, MT, and is no stranger to Asolo Rep, as she was the Asolo Angel coordinator for eight years. Clare has a degree in Theater Studies from Saint Mary University and is currently a paralegal at Legal Aid of Manasota. Clare makes her home in Southgate with her husband Alvin and her chat fou Teddy.

 

*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

 

Meet the Creatives

KARMA CAMP, she/her

FIRST SEASON (Choreographer) has staged over 150 productions for theatre, film, TV, and events. Stage credits include The Graduate w/Kathleen Turner (Broadway), A Salute to the 1940s (Lincoln Center), off-Broadway, and regional productions. She is an artistic associate at the Tony Award-winning Signature Theatre, affiliated artist at the Shakespeare Theatre, and a recipient and 13-time nominee of the Helen Hayes Award for Theatrical Excellence. Last year she was honored to stage the opera tribute to Justino Diaz for the Kennedy Center Honors (CBS). Creative associate for Disney Cruise Line and Busch Gardens Williamsburg. Staff with Washington National Opera. TV credits: July 4th from the White House, National Christmas Tree Lighting, In Performance at the White House & New Year’s Eve at Rockefeller Center (PBS), 25 commercials, and I Wanna Know with Reese Witherspoon and Owen Wilson.

 

KATIE CISZEK, she/they

FIRST SEASON (Dramaturg) is a DC-based dramaturg, director, and directing assistant whose credits include The Kennedy Center, Ford’s Theatre, Catholic University, and Adventure Theatre MTC. Katie was the 2018/2019 dramaturgy apprentice at Olney Theatre Center, where she served as dramaturg on nine productions. Other dramaturgy credits include Westport Country Playhouse, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, and Barrington Stage Company. Education: James Madison University; theatre, media arts & design, and creative writing.

 

LINDA DIGABRIELE

FIFTIETH SEASON (Managing Director) has served as Asolo Rep’s managing director since 1989. Prior to that time, she held other positions with Asolo Rep, including director of touring programs and stage manager. During her 12-year tenure with the touring programs, Linda orchestrated 26 regional and national tours for Asolo Rep’s mainstage and educational companies. She has served several terms on the board of directors for the League of Resident Theatres (LORT), a national organization of regional not-for-profit professional theatres. Linda has been an advisory panel member for the National Endowment for the Arts and, for five years, the John F. Kennedy Center’s Theatre for Young Audiences. She is a past president of the Florida Professional Theatre Association and has served the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs as a member of various panels including the Grant Awards Task Force, Theatre Grants, Arts in Educations Grants, and the Cultural Institution Programs review committee. Other boards of directors’ appointments include ASSITEJ/USA, an international theatre organization for young audiences, the Florida Cultural Alliance, and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. A graduate of Florida State University, Linda’s professional theatre experience includes acting and directing. She is honored to have been recognized by the Florida Professional Theatre Association’s Richard G. Fallon Award for Excellence in Professional Theatre and the Florida Theatre Conference’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

 

SHAWN DUAN, he/him

FIRST SEASON (Projection Design) is a New York based projections/media designer. Recently in New York: Letters of Suresh (2nd Stage; Lortel Award, OCC nomination), The Chinese Lady (Ma-Yi/The Public; Lortel nomination, Drama Desk nomination). Broadway: David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish. Other NYC: the Met Museum, New York City Opera, the Public Theater. Regional: Arena Stage, The Alliance, Berkeley Repertory, Dallas Theater Center, Denver Center, Goodspeed, The Guthrie, The Muny, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Seattle Repertory, South Coast Repertory, and Yale Repertory. Tour/Concert work includes several shows in Las Vegas as well as numerous US/International commercial entertainment tours. Consultant work includes corporate events, activations, music festivals, and film post-production.

 

MICHAEL DONALD EDWARDS

EIGHTEENTH SEASON (Producing Artistic Director) has served as producing artistic director of Asolo Rep since 2006. He was previously the associate artistic director of Syracuse Stage and served as artistic director of Shakespeare Santa Cruz. A Garland Award and Drama-Logue Award winning director, Michael has directed at Cleveland Play House; Indiana Repertory Theatre; Geva Theatre; Syracuse Stage; The Shakespeare Theatre; San Jose Rep; Opera San Jose; the Oregon Shakespeare Festival; the Old Globe in San Diego; Virginia Stage Company; the Virginia Opera; the State Theatre of South Australia; Opera Australia; Victoria State Opera; and the Metropolitan Opera, where he staged revivals of AidaThe Barber of SevillePorgy and Bess, and Phillip Glass’ The Voyage. In previous seasons for Asolo Rep, Michael has directed DisgracedOur BettersThe Grapes of WrathClybourne ParkMy Brilliant DivorceHamlet, Prince of CubaLas MeninasLa BêteThe Last Five YearsThe Life of GalileoPerfect MendacityThe Winter’s TaleEquusA Tale of Two CitiesDarwin in MalibuNobody Don’t Like YogiAmadeusThe Smell of the Kill and, most recently, The Crucible.

 

SAMANTHA EGLE, she/her

FIRST SEASON (Intimacy Choreographer) is thrilled to be joining Asolo Rep for this production! Her work has been seen on the stages of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, Colorado Spring Fine Arts, Denver Children’s Theatre, Mizel Center for Arts and Culture, Athena Project Festival, Lagoon Theme Park, New York Fringe Festival, University of Northern Colorado, University of Denver, and numerous other educational institutions. She was a resident artist as an intimacy director at Arena Stage in 2019 and an apprentice with Intimacy Directors International. She is the founder of Humble Warrior Movement Arts, producing international virtual and local in-person stage combat and intimacy training. She is the regional representative and a certified teacher with the Society of American Fight Directors.

 

LAUREN GUNDERSON

(Playwright) has been one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015, topping the list twice, including 2019/20. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I and You and The Book of Will, the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and John Gassner Award for Playwriting, and a recipient of the Mellon Foundation’s Residency with Marin Theatre Company. She studied Southern Literature and Drama at Emory University, and Dramatic Writing at NYU’s Tisch School, where she was a Reynolds Fellow in Social Entrepreneurship. Her newest play, The Catastrophist, about her husband, virologist Nathan Wolfe, premiered digitally in January 2021. She co-authored the Miss Bennet plays with Margot Melcon, and her audioplay The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available on Audible.com. Her work is published at Playscripts (I and You, Exit Pursued by a Bear, The Taming, and Toil and Trouble), Dramatists Play Service (The Revolutionists, The Book of Will, Silent Sky, Bauer, Natural Shocks, The Wickhams, and Miss Bennet), and Samuel French (Emilie). Her picture book Dr. Wonderful: Blast Off to the Moon is available from Two Lions/Amazon. She is currently developing musicals with Ari Afsar, Dave Stewart, and Joss Stone, and Kait Kerrigan and Bree Lowdermilk. laurengunderson.com

 

MICHELLE HART, she/her

TWENTY-FIRST SEASON (Resident Hair/Wig & Make-up Designer) designs for Asolo Repertory Theatre and FSU/Asolo Conservatory. Other credits: Sarasota Ballet, Palm Beach Drama Works, freeFall Theatre, Urbanite Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Banyan Theatre, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Venice Theatre, Dorset Theatre, Barrington Stage, and Open Stage Theatre. She has also done hair and/or make-up for Joan Rivers, Doris Roberts, Martin Short, Jane Russell, Arlene Dahl, Soledad Villamil, Jane Pauley, Richard Dreyfuss, Castille Langdon, Christopher Higgins, Mary Mara, Heather Robb, Lauren Sweetser, Justin Long, Paul Downs, Douglas Sills, and Nia Hills. Music videos: “Second Chance” by Shinedown, “Reverse Cowgirl” by T-Pain. Film/TV: Lady of the ManorParadise, FL; and The Real Stephen Blatt.

 

KRISTIN LOUGHRY*, she/her

FOURTH SEASON (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be back in sunny Sarasota! Previous Asolo Rep credits include The Cake, Grand Horizons, Eureka Day, and the unopened production of The Great Leap in the Cook. Additional credits include shows with Baltimore Center Stage, Hangar Theatre Company, Infinity Theatre Company, Lyric Stage Company of Boston, NewArts, New London Barn Playhouse, Primary Stages, Rattlestick Playwrights Theatre, Soho Playhouse, Virginia Stage Company, NYU Grad Acting, and The New School. Proud AEA member and Ithaca College alum.

 

VICTOR MEYRICH

FIFTY-FOURTH SEASON (Director of Production & Operations) is a graduate of Carnegie Tech and worked at New York Shakespeare Festival, Brandeis, University of California Institute of Repertory, APA, American Conservatory Theater, and again in New York. As head of production and technical staffs, he is responsible for the overall technical operation of Asolo Rep and its facilities. He wrote the architecture program for both the Center for the Performing Arts and the Koski II expansion and is the owner’s representative on both projects. He has been a member of the Asolo Rep family since 1969.

 

ANDRE PLUESS, he/him

FIRST SEASON (Sound Design and Original Compositions) Broadway: Good Night Oscar (upcoming, Belasco) The Minutes (Cort/Studio 54), 33 Variations (Eugene O’Neill Theatre), I Am My Own Wife (Lyceum Theatre), Metamorphoses (Circle in the Square). Off-Broadway: The Clean House (Lincoln Center), Milk Like Sugar and BFE (Playwrights Horizons). Regional: multiple productions with the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Center Theatre Group, Yale Repertory, Arena Stage, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Shakespeare, Court Theatre, Berkeley Repertory, Williamstown Theatre Festival, La Jolla Playhouse, The Huntington, and South Coast Repertory. Based in Chicago, Andre is an ensemble member of Lookingglass Theatre Company.

 

MILAGROS PONCE DE LEÓN, she/her

FIRST SEASON (Scenic Design) Recent regional credits include School Girls; Or, the African Mean Girls Play at Cincinnati Playhouse; Detroit ’67 at Signature Theatre; Quixote Nuevo at Round House; and Steel Magnolias at Everyman Theatre. Additional credits include Silent Sky, Into the Woods, and Ragtime at Ford’s Theatre; The Thanksgiving Play and Matilda at Olney Theatre Center; Gala Hispanic Theatre; Imagination Stage; The Kennedy Center; Ensemble Studio Theatre in NYC; and Children’s Theatre of Charlotte, among others. Milagros heads the BFA program in Theatre Design & Technology at Penn State. She holds MFA degrees in Studio Arts and Scenic Design from the University of Maryland and a BFA in Painting from Catholic University of Peru. Milagros is a five-time Helen Hayes nominee for scenic design in the Washington, D.C. area, a member of USA-829, and an associate artist at Ford’s Theatre.

 

RUI RITA, he/him

FIRST SEASON (Lighting Design) Selected Broadway: Skeleton Crew, Velocity of Autumn, Trip to Bountiful, Present Laughter, Dividing the Estate, Enchanted April. Off-Broadway premieres: Paradise Blue (Signature), Horton Foote's Old Friends & Orphans' Home Cycle (Hewes Award, Signature), Happiest Song Plays Last (Second Stage), Just Jim Dale (Roundabout), Nightingale, Moonlight, and Magnolias (Manhattan Theatre Club), Carpetbagger's Children, Far East (Lincoln Center Theater), Dinner with Friends (Variety Arts Center). Off-Broadway revivals: The Piano Lesson (Signature), Talley's Folly (Roundabout), and Engaged (Obie Award, TFANA). Recent regional credits include Alley, CenterStage, Center Theatre Group, Dallas Theater Center, Ford's, Guthrie, Huntington, Oregon Shakespeare, Old Globe. designbyrui.com

 

CELINE ROSENTHAL, she/they

SIXTH SEASON (Local Casting; Associate Artistic Director) is a Tony-nominated producer and “Key” member of The Ring Of Keys and New Georges Affiliate Artist. They are in their sixth season at Asolo Rep, having directed Camelot, The Lifespan of a FactMidsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, and co-directed We Need a Little Christmas with Michael Donald Edwards. Celine has developed new work with NYMF, The New Georges, The Musical Theatre Factory, The Kidoons, Tamasha, and National Queer Theatre, as well as creating Asolo Rep’s premiere new work series, Asolo Rep Ground Floor. Other recent projects: Trayf (New Rep); Drowning in Cairo (N.Q.T); A Doll’s House, Spike Heels (Studio Theatre); Motherf**ker with the Hat (FSU/Asolo Conservatory); the award-winning short film Wildflower. Celine was a member of the 2018/19 MTC Directing Fellowship class and was awarded an SDC Observership and Asolo Rep Directing Fellowship. They are an alumnus of the Commercial Theatre Institute, BMI Lehman Engel Workshop, NYU Tisch (BFA), and The New School for Drama (MFA). celinerosenthal.nyc

 

NIA SCIARRETTA*, she/her

ELEVENTH SEASON (Production Stage Manager) Favorite Asolo Rep credits include stage manager for Knoxville, The Great Leap, The Sound of Music, Into the Breeches, The Music Man, Sweeney Todd, Sweat, Shakespeare in Love, Roe, and the 2020-21 Terrace Stage season, as well as assistant stage manager for Rhinoceros, Guys and Dolls, All the Way, South Pacific, and Hero: The Musical. Previous off-Broadway credits include work on Jesus Hopped the A Train, In the Blood, and The Wayside Motor Inn at the Signature Theatre. Nia has also worked with Creede Repertory Theatre, the Hangar Theatre, the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, the Flea Theatre, and Penguin Rep.

 

IVANIA STACK, she/her

FIRST SEASON (Costume Design) is delighted to be part of her first season at Asolo Repertory Theatre. Her work as been seen at several regional and DC area theatres, including Arena Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Baltimore Center Stage, The McCarter Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, The Wilma Theatre, Gulf Shore Playhouse, Everyman Theatre, Andy’s Summer Playhouse, The Second City, The Contemporary American Theatre Festival, Ford’s Theatre, The Kennedy Center, Signature Theatre, Woolly Mammoth Theatre (company member), Round House Theatre, Imagination Stage, Olney Theatre Center, Studio Theatre, Theatre J, Pointless Theatre, and Gala Hispanic Theatre. Ivania has an MFA in design from the University of Maryland, College Park. Ivania is also a proud member of United Scenic Artists, Local USA 829.

 

SEEMA SUEKO, she/her

FIRST SEASON (Director) is a freelance director and the 2022 recipient of the TCG Alan Schneider Director Award. Raised in Honolulu, she received her MA in International Relations from the University of Chicago and serves on the boards of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC) and its Foundation (SDCF). Her current projects include adapting Kiana Davenport’s novel Song of the Exile to a playscript and organizing learning circles about Solidarity Economy for the theatre community. For past credits or more information, visit seemasueko.com.

 

BINDER CASTING

(New York Casting) was founded 40 years ago and is now a part of RWS Entertainment Group. The office has cast 150+ Broadway, off-Broadway, and National Touring productions, in addition to countless national and international projects spanning both stage and screen. Binder is a proud 11-time recipient of the Artios Award for Excellence in Casting and is a supporter of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS. The office holds a deep respect for their legacy, as well as a commitment to growth. To facilitate this growth, Binder has partnered with the Disruptive Equity Education Project (DEEP) to dismantle harmful practices and to carry this work into their organization, client relationships, and audition rooms. They acknowledge that the work is on-going and strive to do better. bindercasting.com

 

CLAIRE SIMON CASTING

(Chicago Casting) Claire and associate Cassidy Price have worked in Chicago and the Midwest for 5½ years. Claire and her team have cast for the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Writer’s Theatre, Indiana Repertory, Madison Rep, Milwaukee Rep, St. Louis Rep, Kansas City Rep, The Cleveland Playhouse, Asolo Rep, Syracuse Stage, Million Dollar Quartet in Chicago, and the Clarence Brown Theatre. TV: Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Somebody Somewhere, Dark Matter, Proven Innocent, Easy, Empire. Recent films include Candyman. Claire has been nominated four times for Artios awards, winning in 2016 for Excellence in Casting for her work on Empire and in 2006 for Prison Break. A board member of the Illinois Production Alliance, she and her team also started an annual food drive 16 years ago called Meal for Monologues, to collect food for the homeless.

 

*Members of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States.

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