Directed by Jessica Fisch

Previews begin April 18, 2017

Runs until 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.

PLEASE NOTE – Strobe effects will be used in this performance.

Preview the playbill by clicking here. 

Dining Partner:

Visit Cellars Bar and Grill on the day you see the performance and get 10% off. Valid only April 18 – May 27, 2017, cannot be combined with other offers.

















*denotes Members of Actors Equity Association

+denotes Rivendell Theatre Ensemble Members

Lynn Rosen (Playwright) has had plays produced or developed with: New Georges, TheatreWorks (Silicon Valley), Actors Theatre of Louisville, Women’s Project, Ensemble Studio Theatre (three 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), and 52nd Street Project, among others. She is also a Resident Playwright at New Dramatists. Lynn was commissioned in 2016 by UCSB for her new play Bernhard which was then 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 play I Love You was just recorded for Playing On Air starring Bill Irwin, Steve Boyer, directed by David Auburn, and her one-act The Opulent Complex was recently published in Red Bull Shorts. Coming up: Washed Up On the Potomac with The Pool, NYC; continued development of Gurley!—a musical about Helen Gurley Brown– at TheatreWorks Silicon Valley, along with rock band, The Kilbanes. Lynn currently lives in NYC but she’s originally from Gary, Indiana, and trekked into Chicago everyday to attend high school at the Lab School.

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), MachinalSpike 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 BenefitPersonal 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.

Katherine Scott (Choreographer) is a choreographer, dancer, and teaching artist. Choreography credits: Fuente Ovejuna, Hair: An American Tribal Love-Rock Musical, Jump Rhythm Jazz Project’s Getting Down, Going Forward (Northwestern University), The Great and Terrible Doctor Faustus (The Athenaeum Theatre), and Splendour Without Diminishment (Chicago Fringe Festival). Katherine has danced as a company member with Striding Lion Performance Group, and she will be performing as a part of Synapse Arts New Works this spring. Katherine regularly teaches, directs, and choreographs at Mudlark Theater, and she instructs a dance class for individuals with developmental differences at Dovetail Studios. Katherine studied dance, psychology, and theatre at Northwestern University, and she will be pursuing her M.A. in Dance/Movement Therapy & Counseling at Columbia College of Chicago this fall.

Andra Sturtevant (Stage Manager) Recent Chicago area credits include The Hundred Dresses, The Miraculous Journey of Edward TulaneWonderland: Alice’s Rock & Roll Adventure, Frederick,The Selfish Giant, Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money, and A Year With Frog and Toad at Chicago Children’s Theatre; Life Sucks at Lookingglass Theatre Company; Short Shakespeare: Twelfth Night! at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; and productions with the Evanston Dance Ensemble. Andra is a graduate of Northwestern University. She also teaches creative drama and theatre classes for young artists.

Tanya Palmer (Dramaturg) is the director of new play development at Goodman Theatre, where she coordinates New Stages, the theater’s new play program, and has served as the production dramaturg on a number of plays including the world premieres of 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, adapted by Robert Falls and Seth Bockley, Smokefall by Noah Haidle, Carlyle by Thomas Bradshaw, The Happiest Song Plays Last by Quiara Hudes and the Pulitzer Prize–winning Ruined by Lynn Nottage. Prior to her arrival in Chicago, she served as the director of new play development at Actors Theatre of Louisville, where she led the reading and selection process for the Humana Festival of New American Plays. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, she holds an MFA in playwriting from York University in Toronto.

Joanna Iwanicka (Scenic Design) previously designed sets for Rivendell’s productions of Dry Land, WRENS (2012 remount), and The Electric Baby. She is a Chicago-based theatre artist with design credits from 16th Street Theatre (Into the Beautiful North, Carroll Gardens, Merchild, Pinkolandia), Jackalope (Rolling), Lifeline (Monstrous Regiment), The Oracle (President, Romulus), Trap Door (No Matter How Hard We Try, Balcony) and Steppenwolf for Young Adults (Monster) among others. Joanna has also realized shows at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, the State Theatre Academy’s Department of Puppetry Arts, The Białystok Puppet Theatre, Teatr K3, and Teatr Lalek Arlekin in her native Poland. For more info on previous, current and upcoming projects please visit her online portfolio at Her professional affiliations include IATSE local 476 and 829.

Stephanie Cluggish (Costume Design) has many recent projects including: Winter (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble), Betrayal (Raven), How We Got On (Haven), Phillip Glass’ In The Penal Colony (Chicago Fringe Opera), Posh (Steep), Good For Otto (The Gift), The Marriage of Figaro (Wolf Trap Opera), and Melancholy Play (Piven Theatre Workshop). She was the Associate Costume Designer with Mara Blumenfeld on One Man, Two Guvnors and The Secret Garden (Court Theatre), East of Eden (Steppenwolf), Into Shadowland (Disney Tokyo, Japan) and the recent production of Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera directed by Mary Zimmerman. See more at

Paul Toben (Lighting Design) Chicago: Electra (Court Theatre), The Mystery of Love and Sex (Writers’ Theatre), Regional: Circle Mirror Transformation, Peter and the Starcatcher, 4000 Miles, and many others at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and designs for four seasons of the Humana Festival including Airness, The Grown-Up, The Roommate, This Random World.  NSFW (Roundhouse), Silent Sky, Triangle, Upright Grand (TheatreWorks), Fly by Night, Medea, School for Wives (Dallas Theater Center), The Who and The What (Kansas City Rep), Daddy Long Legs (New York, regional and international premiers), Another Way Home (The Magic Theatre), Caravan Man, Demon Dreams (Williamstown Theatre Festival). Broadway: The Story of my Life. Off-Broadway: The Judy Show (DR2), Saturn Nights (Incubator Arts Project), Electra in a One Piece and The Realm (The Wild Project), Romeo and Juliet (Columbia Stages), When in Disgrace (Examined Man), The Redheaded Man (Fringe Encores), and many more.

Sarah D. Espinoza (Sound Designer) has recently sound designed The Woman in Black (Wildclaw), Romeo and Juliet (Loyola University Chicago), Diamond Dogs (The House Theatre), Thumbelina (Lifeline), You On the Moors Now (The Hypocrites), Farewell My Friend ((re)-discover), Douglass (American Vicarious), Dating and Dragons (The Factory), Midnight Cowboy (Lifeline), Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Lifeline), The Revel (The House Theatre), Motel 666 (Wildclaw), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Two Pence), fml: How Carson McCullers saved my life (Loyola University Chicago), Deathscribe 2014 (WildClaw), co-sound designed The Last Defender (The House), and won the non-Equity Jeff award for her sound design for The Arsonists (Strawdog).

Blake Leo Burke (Properties Design) other Props Master/Designer credits include: Winter (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble). AfterLove (Chautauqua Theatre Company). Spamalot, Anything Goes, Oklahoma (McLeod Summer Playhouse). She Loves Me, Arsenic And Old Lace, The King And I (The Monomoy Theatre). A Streetcar Named Desire, Dracula, Return To The Forbidden Planet (ECU/Loessin Playhouse), and more! Blake graduated from East Carolina University in Greenville, NC earning her BFA in Theatre Design and Production with a dual concentration in Costume Design and Theatrical Properties.

Sam Moryoussef (Production Manager) is currently the Interim Assistant Technical Director for Lookingglass Theatre, and also serves as the Master Electrician/AV Supervisor at Lifeline Theatre. He moved to Chicago summer of 2015 from North Carolina where he worked at Elon University as the Assistant Technical Director for Performing Arts and Cultural Programs. He graduated in 2010 from the University of North Carolina Greensboro with a BFA in Drama concentrating in Technical Production.

Joan Sergay (Assistant Director) assistant directed Scott Weinstein’s production of Upright Grand at Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest and Joanie Schultz’s production of Hand to God at Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C. She also served as the directing intern for Barbara Gaines’ marathon production of Tug of War: Foreign Fire at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Joan is graduating from Northwestern University in June, where she has directed Grounded by George Brant, Cock by Mike Bartlett, Stupid Fucking Bird by Aaron Posner, and several staged readings of student written work. Joan’s play At These Gates, about two female Syrian refugees, was commissioned by Piven Theatre in Evanston and will receive a staged reading directed by Devon de Mayo in the spring.

Dr. Heather Berlin (Scientific Advisor to Playwright) is a cognitive neuroscientist and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and Visiting Scholar at the New York Psychoanalytic Society and Institute. She explores the neural basis of impulsive and compulsive psychiatric disorders with the aim of developing novel treatments. She is also interested in the brain basis of consciousness, dynamic unconscious processes, and creativity. Passionate about science communication, Berlin is a committee member of the National Academy of Sciences’ Science and Entertainment Exchange, and host of the PBS series Science Goes to the Movies, and the Discovery Channel series Superhuman Showdown. She co-wrote and stars in the critically acclaimed off-Broadway and Edinburgh Fringe Festival show, Off the Top, about the neuroscience of improvisation. Dr. Berlin has made numerous media appearances including: BBC, History Channel, Netflix, StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, and TEDx. She received her doctorate from the University of Oxford and Master of Public Health from Harvard University.

The Firebirds Take the Field trailer video by Brent Eickhoff

The Firebirds Take the Field cheer video by Katherine Scott, Choreographer

Production Photos by Michael Brosilow

Rehearsal and prep-production photos

Download the press release: The Firebirds Take the Field (March 2017)


Let It All Out: A Review of The Firebirds Take the Field at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble: Recommended

” “The Firebirds Take the Field” encompasses what Rivendell does so well: challenge preconceived notions and let them fight back. ” – Kevin Greene



Bad Blood: The Firebirds Take the Field  – Rivendell TheatreEnthusiastically Recommended

“Rosen has crafted a twisty script that relishes its surprises, and clearly juggles a complex tangle of relationships, slights, intrigues, and unspoken fears without muddling the issue or losing sight of the medical mystery set for us to solve. She is also graced with a fine tuned sense of humor and the laugh-lines grow ripe and fall readily, particularly when wielding Avery’s barbed wit.” – Ben Kemper



“Gimme an H E L P”—World Premiere Reflects Real Life Disorders of Teenage Cheerleaders




Rivendell Theatre Ensemble Announces Casting for the World Premiere of THE FIREBIRDS TAKE THE FIELD

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Theatre: 5779 N. Ridge Avenue
Office: 5775 N. Ridge Avenue
Chicago, IL 60660


Copyright © 2017 Rivendell Theatre