THE CAKE

THE CAKE

By Bekah Brunstetter

Directed by Lauren Shouse

A Mid-West Premiere
Featuring RTE Founders Tara Mallen and Keith Kupferer

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.

 

The Cake was originally produced by The Echo Theater Company, Los Angeles, California; Chris Fields, Artistic Director and Jesse Cannady, Producing Director. The Cake received a developmental reading at The Alley Theatre, Gregory Boyd, Artistic Director and Dean R. Gladden, Managing Director. The Cake was developed at The Ojai Playwrights Conference, Robert Egan, Artistic Director/Producer

Rivendell provides several opportunities throughout our runs to see the performance and also take part in additional access, entertainment, or insight. For THE CAKE these include:

 

Friday, April 27 – Mama’s Night / Ladies Night

Following the performance, please join us in our rehearsal studio for wine, cheese and some great conversation!

 

TBD – Planned Parenthood benefit night

See a show and support Planned Parenthood at the same time! $10 of every ticket sold will be donated to Planned Parenthood of Illinois. 

 

 

 

Thursday, May 3, 2018 – Open Captioned Performance

Join Rivendell for an 8:00pm performance with open captioning. $15 Tickets available with the code “ACCESS”.

 

 

 

Saturday, May 5, 2018 – Town Hall Discussion

During each Rivendell production, town halls happen after select Saturday matinees, and are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.

Click here for town hall details. 

 

Saturday, May 12, 2018 – Town Hall Discussion

During each Rivendell production, town halls happen after select Saturday matinees, and are an essential touchstone for our organization to extend the conversation from the stage to the community. Panelists help field questions, present observations, and participate in supporting a thoughtful, in-depth dialogue for all involved. Audience participants need not be present for the Saturday matinee and are welcome to join the conversation following the performance.

Click here for town hall details. 

 

Sunday, May 6 and May 20 – Sunday 3pm matinees 

Audiences have been asking for Sunday matinees – get your tickets while you can!

Buy Tickets Now!

 

Tara Mallen (Della) an actor, director, producer and the Artistic Director at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, Tara was most recently on stage in Rivendell’s production of The Firebirds Take the Field. Other recent credits include Lynn Nottage’s Sweat at Arena Stage; Rivendell’s Jeff Nominated, world premiere productions of Look, we are breathing and Rasheeda Speaking; How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence at Steppenwolf›s Theatre for Young Audiences; Rivendell’s World Premiere, Jeff nominated production of The Walls and Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen — both productions part of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Visiting Theater Initiative. For Rivendell, Tara has both produced and acted in over thirty productions. She received a Joseph Jefferson award for “Supporting Actress” for her portrayal of Gwenyth in WRENS as part of that production’s Jeff-winning ensemble. She was nominated the following year for “Actress in a Principal Role” for her work in My Simple City. Screen credits include Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion; Boss (STARZ); Chicago Fire (NBC); Chicago P.D. (NBC) FOOLS (Feature film); Sense8 (Netflix); and the CBS/Sony Pictures pilot Doubt 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.

 

Keith Kupferer (Tim) is a founding member of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble where he was most recently seen in their critically acclaimed production of Cal in Camo. Other Chicago credits include The Qualms, Good People, Middletown, South of Settling, Of Mice & Men, Carter’s Way, Men of Tortuga; Things Being What They Are; Jesus Hopped The A Train and Tavern Story at Steppenwolf Theatre; The Humans at American Theatre Company, Men’s Support Group, God of Carnage, High Holidays, Passion Play and The Old Neighborhood at the Goodman Theatre; The Mystery of Love and Sex (where he received a Jeff nomination for “Supporting Actor”), and Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Wolf at Writer’s Theatre; Hillary and Clinton, Never the Sinner, and Appropriate at Victory Garden’s Theatre; Gypsy at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; End Days at Windy City Playhouse; Execution of Justice with About Face Theatre; Cat Feet and The Old Neighborhood at Northlight; Desire Under The Elms, a co-production between Philadelphia’s Freedom Theatre and Chicago’s Court Theatre; The Unseen, The Meek, Canus Lunis Balloonis, (nominated for a 1998 Joseph Jefferson award for Best Ensemble), and The Physicists for A Red Orchid Theatre; and Big Lake, Big City, Trust and Hillbilly Antigone for Lookingglass Theatre. Film credits include the soon-to be released Widows; The Dilemma; Dark Knight; Public Enemies; The Express; Stranger Than Fiction; Road to Perdition; Finding Santa; Fred Klaus; The Last Rights of Joe May; The Merry Gentleman directed by Michael Keaton, Resurrecting McGinn; and Open Tables. TV credits include Better Call Saul; Empire; Chicago P.D.; Betrayal; Crisis; Chicago Fire; Detroit 187; The Beast; Prison Break; The Jamie Kennedy Experiment and Early Edition.

 

 

Krystel McNeil (Macy) is an ensemble member at RTE where she performed in the production WOMEN AT WAR. Most recent credits Include In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play (Timeline Theater Company), Bootycandy (Windy City Playhouse), The Compass (Steppenwolf SYA) , and understudying and performing in Objects in the Mirror and Carlyle at Goodman Theater Company. Krystel also did some voiceover stuff and an episode of Chicago P.D. She is represented by Big Mouth Talent.

 

 

Tuckie White (Jen) is very excited to be performing with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. She most recently appeared in Raven Theatre’s Red Velvet and The Play About My Dad. Over the years, she has been part of productions at Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Cock & Bull, Lifeline, Victory Gardens, and Goodman Theatre. Film/TV: The Drunk, After Effect, Chicago Med. She is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University and an alum of iO and Second City. She is represented by Grossman & Jack Talent.

Bekah Brunstetter (Playwright) hails from Winston-Salem, North Carolina and currently lives in Los Angeles. Her plays include The Cake (Ojai Playwrights Conference), Going to a Place where you already are (South Coast Repertory), The Oregon Trail (Portland Center Stage Fall 2016, O’Neill Playwrights Conference; Flying V) Cutie and Bear (Roundabout commission), A Long and Happy Life (Naked Angels commission), Be A Good Little Widow (Ars Nova, Collaboraction, The Old Globe), Oohrah! (Atlantic Theater, Steppenwolf Garage, Finborough Theater/London), Nothing is the end of the World (except for the end of the world) (Waterwell Productions), House of Home (Williamstown Theater Festival) and Miss Lilly Gets Boned (Ice Factory Festival). She is an alumna of the CTG Writers Group, Primary Stages Writers Group, Ars Nova Play Group, The Playwright’s Realm, and the Women’s Project Lab. She is currently a member of the Echo Theater¹s Playwright’s Group. She has previously written for MTV (Underemployed; I Just Want My Pants Back,) ABC Family’s Switched at Birth and Starz’s American Gods. She is currently a Co-Producer on NBC’s This Is Us. She received her B.A. from UNC Chapel Hill and her M.F.A. in Dramatic Writing from the New School for Drama.

 

Lauren Shouse (Director) is a director, dramaturg and teacher. She is currently the Artistic Associate and Literary Manager at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre. Her recent directing credits include: The Legend of Georgia McBride at Northlight Theatre, Nice Girl and Betrayal at Raven Theatre, Rapture, Blister, Burn, Superior Donuts, and A Christmas Story at Nashville Repertory Theatre, the world premiere of Long Way Down with 3Ps productions (nominated for American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg New Play Award 2011); the world premiere of Religion and Rubber Ducks with Ovvio Arte; Parallel Lives, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Last Five Years and Chess in Concert with Street Theatre Company; the world premiere of Rear Widow at Chaffin’s Barn Theatre, and Sylvia Plath’s 3 Women. As Artistic Associate at Nashville Rep, Lauren directed the Ingram New Works Play Lab and Festival, which developed new works by John Patrick Shanley, David Auburn, Steven Dietz and Victoria Stewart. Lauren also co-founded Ten Minute Playhouse, a company that produces short plays by local playwrights. Before moving to Nashville, Lauren lived in London, UK and worked with Producer/Director Hugh Wooldridge. Her work abroad includes: Production Executive for The Night of 1000 Voices (celebrating John Kander and Fred Ebb and starring Joel Grey with Avenue Q) at The Royal Albert Hall; Production Executive of An Evening with Michael Parkinson at The Theatre Royal – Windsor, Children’s Director/Assistant to the Director of A Gift of Music, and Assistant Director of The Night of 1000 Voices at The Odyssey Arena in Belfast, Ireland. Lauren holds an MA in Performance Studies from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill where she adapted and directed The Time Traveler’s Wife. She received her MFA in theatre directing at Northwestern University where she directed Stop Kiss, Eurydice and In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play. In Chicago, Lauren has also worked with Steppenwolf Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Rivendell Theatre, Sideshow Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and Stage Left Theatre.

 

Jenniffer Thusing (Stage Manager) happily returns to Rivendell. She previously stage managed Cal in CamoAlias 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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

Coming Soon!

Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
Theatre: 5779 N. Ridge Avenue
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