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 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) last directed Rivendell’s productions of Dry Land and Eat Your Heart Out. She is thrilled to be back with Cal and Camo. Hallie has directed for Steppenwolf theatre, where last productions included: HIR, The Rembrandt, and Monster. Hallie 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.
Jenniffer Thusing (Stage Manager) happily returns to Rivendell. She previously stage managed Alias Grace, Grizzly Mama and Winter. Jenniffer has stage managed for SoloChicago, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Commercial Collective, Noble Fool, Nuns for Fun, Emerald City and Light Opera Works. Her work as a set designer with her partner Robert Groth has been seen at Irish Theatre of Chicago, Mary Arrchie, The Royal George, Metropolis Performing Arts, The Broadway Playhouse, The Apollo Theater, and Emerald City’s Little Theater. Jenniffer is a proud member of Actors Equity Association.
Joanna Iwanicka (Scenic Designer) is a Chicago-based designer and scenic artist. Cal in Camo is her third collaboration with Hallie Gordon and her fifth set design realized at Rivendell (WRENS, The Electric Baby, Dry Land, The Firebirds Take the Field). Her most recent theatre projects include Yerma at Theatre Y, Into the Beautiful North, Yasmina’s Necklace at the 16th Street Theatre. Joanna is currently working on Anna Karenina at Lifeline Theatre and Suddenly Last Summer at the Raven. She is an artistic associate of RTE and of the 16th Street Theatre in Berwyn. She is also a proud member of IATSE locals 476 and 829. More information can be found at www.joannaiwanicka.com.
Janice Pytel (Costume Design) has been a Rivendell ensemble member since 2010 and also serves on Rivendell’s literary committee. Throughout her 20-year career as a costume designer, she has had a special interest in new play development, and has designed costumes for numerous world premiers by noted playwrights such as Bruce Norris, Moises Kauffman, as well as the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize winning I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright. With Rivendell, she has designed costumes for the world premiers of Psalms of a Questionable Nature, WOMEN AT WAR (core artist), Look, we are breathing, Body Courage, and Alias Grace. Additional Rivendell credits include Mary’s Wedding; Precious Little; Falling: A Wake; Crooked; The Electric Baby; How the World Began, Dry Land, and Grizzly Mama. Recent costume design credits include The Book of Will (Northlight Theatre); Booty Candy (Windy City Playhouse); Queen, Hand to God, Hillary and Clinton, Cocked and Never the Sinner (Victory Gardens) and Song from the Uproar (Chicago Fringe Opera). In Chicago, Janice has worked with Steppenwolf, Court Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Writers’ Theatre, TimeLine Theatre, Next Theater, About Face Theater, Lookingglass, Chicago Shakespeare, Silk Road Rising, Piven, and others. Her Broadway credits are 33 Variations and I Am My Own Wife. Regionally she has worked with The Alley Theatre, Kansas City Rep, Geffen Playhouse, Milwaukee Rep, Madison Rep, Alliance Theatre, Williamstown Theatre Festival, Centerstage, Arena Stage, Center Theatre Group, La Jolla Playhouse and others. She has designed costumes for opera, dance, film, and performance art, and her work has been seen in numerous cities across five continents. Janice also works as a personal wardrobe consultant with her company Wardrobe Solutions, Inc.
Charles Cooper (Light Design) returns to Rivendell where he previously designed Dry Land. Recent: Boeing, Boeing (Indiana Repertory Theatre) Woody Sez and Gutenberg! The Musical (Milwaukee Rep); A Wrinkle in Time (First Stage Children’s Theatre); Slowgirl (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); Good for Otto and The Grapes of Wrath (The Gift Theatre); Old Jews Telling Jokes (Chicago Company); Bye Bye Birdie, Hairspray, Curtains, and Sleeping Beauty (Drury Lane), Sunday in the Park with George, Dial M for Murder, The Mystery of Irma Vep, Chicago, A Few Good Men and Around the World in 80 Days (Peninsula Players), The Clean House and Creditors (Remy Bumppo);The Tall Girls, The Rose Tattoo, Mill Fire (Jeff Nomination) and Orpheus Descending (Shattered Globe); Love, Loss, and What I Wore (Asolo Rep, Philadelphia Theatre Co, San Jose Rep, Broadway in Chicago,1st National Tour, second national tour) Do the Hustle, and Old Glory (Writers’ Theatre), Of Mice and Men, and First Look Repertory of New Work (Steppenwolf); Eclipsed, and She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight Theatre) 16 productions for TimeLine Theatre (Associate Artist). Charles has been nominated for seven Joseph Jefferson awards, winning one in 2016 for Murder Ballad at Bailiwick Chicago. He lives in Oak Park, Illinois with his wife Angela and children Ethan and Gavin. Member: United Scenic Artists. Cooperportfolio.com.
Victoria Deiorio (Sound Design and Original Music) is a founding member of RTE; she is a critically acclaimed sound designer and composer for theatre and film, based in Chicago. She is the head of Sound Design at DePaul University’s The Theatre School, and is a founder and on the Executive Board of the Theatrical Sound Designers and Composers Association (TSDCA.org). She is the first woman honored with 13 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations—winning 7—and she has received 2 After Dark Awards and a SALT award. Her compositions and sound design have been heard in many theatres across the country over the past 20 years. For more information visit: www.victoria-sound–design.com.
Blake Leo Burke (Properties Design) Other properties design credits include: Winter and Firebirds Take The Field (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble); Giggle Giggle Quack (Lifeline Theatre); AfterLove (Chautauqua Theatre Company); Spamalot, Anything Goes, and Oklahoma (McLeod Summer Playhouse); She Loves Me, Arsenic And Old Lace, and The King And I (The Monomoy Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire, Dracula, and Return To The Forbidden Planet (ECU/Loessin Playhouse) Blake graduated from East Carolina University with a BFA in Theatre Design and Production with a dual concentration in Costume Design and Theatrical Properties, and currently works in Chicago as a freelance Costume and Properties Designer.
Catherine Allen (Production Manager) is thrilled to be working with RTE for the first time! Recent production management credits include Significant Other (About Face Theatre), Violet and Ragtime (Griffin Theatre), Invisible Hand, Hookman, and Bobbie Clearly (Steep Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened… (Route 66 Theatre Company), and many circuses with Actors Gymnasium where she is the staff Production Manager. She has also worked with Congo Square Theatre, Pegasus Theatre Chicago, Haven Theatre, Chimera Ensemble, and Step Up Productions where she was an Artistic Associate. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she received a BFA in Acting.
Robert Groth (Technical Director) is excited to return to RTE where he recently worked on Alias Grace. He has been a freelance technical director, scenic carpenter and designer for over 15 years. Robert has also worked as a scenic designer for several theater companies with his partner Jenniffer Thusing including Mary Arrchie, Pinebox, Emerald City and most recently Chicago Theatre Workshop’s production of Little Miss Sunshine. Their design work was recognized in 2011 with a nomination for an Equity Wing Jeff for Best Scenic Design—Midsized Theater.
Abby Armato (Assistant to the Director/Box Office Manager) joined the Rivendell team in the summer of 2017 as a Production Intern. After graduating from Kenyon College where she studied Drama and English, she is thrilled to work at RTE and be a part of its empowering and thoughtful community. She is honored by the opportunity to support the artists of Cal in Camo as an associate producer. She has a background in directing, dramaturgy, and events, and hopes to continue to be an active part of Rivendell’s mission.
Jasmine Manuel (Assistant Technical Director) is excited to join Rivendell’s production team for Cal in Camo. She is a recent graduate of Kenyon College, where she studied and earned her BA in Drama, intensely focusing on theatre. She has done over-hire carpentry work for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, and The Hypocrites. She hopes to learn from and contribute to Rivendell’s mission and is happy to be a part of the community.
Audrey Kleine (Assistant Stage Manager) is thrilled to be back at RTE after previously sub-ASM’ing on Alias Grace. Previous credits include: Continuity (Goodman Theater, SM Intern) and This (Windy City Playhouse, ASM). She is a graduate of Columbia College, Chicago, where she earned her BA in Technical Theatre. Her college credits include: Little Shop of Horrors, Death and the King’s Horseman and M. Butterfly.
Playscripts, Inc. (Licensor) is an independent publisher of new plays and musicals, established in 1998 by brothers and playwrights Doug and Jonathan Rand. Playscripts’ plays and musicals represent a great diversity of voices, styles, and stories, and have been enjoyed in over 100 countries. We license amateur and professional productions, publish standard acting editions, binder books, collections, and eScripts. Our commitment to innovation has made Playscripts an industry leader. Our marketing reach extends beyond traditional channels and focuses on connecting new plays with audiences. The Playscripts website provides a unique and extensive suite of services for playwrights and customers. Visitors can search for plays that fit their specific needs, read lengthy script samples for free, and buy books and performance rights online with ease. Playscripts is also the creator of Findaplay.com, a free service for locating plays in the catalogs of all major play publishers.
Tara Mallen (Rivendell Artistic Director / Producer) is the founder and Artistic Director of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. An actor, director and producer, she was most recently on stage in RTE’s world premiere The Firebirds Take the Field. Prior to that she appeared in Lynn Nottage’s pulitzer-prize winning play Sweat at Arena Stage and Steppenwolf’s How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence written by Chicago Journalist Miles Harvey. Other notable productions at Rivendell include Jeff Nominated, world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing; Rasheeda Speaking; The Walls; and Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen. Tara has produced and/or acted in over thirty productions at Rivendell and received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress” for WRENS as well as being part of that production’s Jeff-winning “Best Ensemble.” She was nominated the following year for “Actress in a Principal Role” for My Simple City. Tara co-conceived and directed the critically acclaimed World Premiere of WOMEN AT WAR, a theatrical exploration of women in today’s military that played to sold out houses in the fall of 2014 and is now touring throughout the mid-west; she also directed the Jeff nominated Midwest premieres of The Electric Baby, 26 Miles (in co-production with Teatro Vista); Fighting Words; Psalms of a Questionable Nature; and the co-production of Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue with Stageworks/Hudson. Screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion, Boss, Chicago Fire, Chicago P.D., Sense8, the CBS/Sony pilot Doubt, the FOX pilot Doubt, and the independent feature film Fools.
Jackie Banks-Mahlum (Rivendell Managing Director / Producer) is an arts manager, producer, and educator based in Chicago. She was thrilled to join the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble as the Managing Director in March 2014. Jackie is also the Membership and Development Associate at Arts Alliance Illinois, and the Co-Producer for Theatricum Botanicum. Previously Jackie was in the Los Angeles area where she worked with Center Theatre Group’s P.L.A.Y., the Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Theatricum Botanicum. She has also freelanced regionally where she has had the opportunity to work in a variety of performing arts including opera, ballet, modern dance, improv, and theatre. She is a member of Actors’ Equity Association, has a Bachelor of Science in Theatre Production and Business Management from Bradley University, and a Masters of Fine Arts in Producing from the California Institute of the Arts.