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


Barbara Robertson (Annis)

Chicago credits include: Tug of War : Foreign Fire, The Tempest, Gypsy, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, A Little Night Music, The Winter’s Tale, Kabuki Lady Macbeth (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); The Detective’s Wife (Writers Theatre); Life Sucks, Hard Times (Lookingglass Theatre); On The Town (Marriott Theatre); Love, Loss, and What I Wore, Working, Grand Hotel (Broadway Playhouse); Wicked (National Tour); Yeast Nation (American Theater Company); Pursued by Happiness (Steppenwolf Theatre Company); Camino Real, The Goat, or Who is Sylvia, House and Garden (Goodman Theatre) Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Mary Stuart, La Bête (Court Theatre); and Emma’s Child (Victory Gardens Theater). Ms. Robertson has received more than twenty awards and nominations for her work in theater. Film credits include Robert Altman’s The Company, and David Lynch’s A Straight Story.

Sean Cooper (Roddy)

is thrilled to be back on stage after a four year hiatus and performing with Rivendell again having previously appeared in their production of These Shining Lives. Other Chicago credits include Spoon River Anthology (Provision Theater), Sweet Bird of Youth and The Crowd You’re in With (Goodman Theatre), The Metal Children (Next Theatre) Jackie and Me, Honus and Me, and Dandelion Wine (Chicago Children’s Theatre), Wedding Play (About Face Theatre), Cradle of Man (Victory Gardens), Red Herring (Northlight Theatre), Mojo (Mary-Arrchie) Eurydice, Melancholy Play, Mad Forest, Book of Days (Piven Theatre), A Lesson Before Dying (Steppenwolf Theatre), Lysistrata (Running With Scissors), H2O and K. (The Neo-Futurists), and a slew of shows with The Shakespeare Project of Chicago. Film and television work includes Whirlybird, A Pirate’s Life, The Malcontents, and guest starring roles on The Beast and Mind Games.

Steve Haggard (Evan)

Chicago credits: Sender, Accidentally Like A Martyr, The Aliens and Kimberly Akimbo (A Red Orchid); Tribes (Steppenwolf); Funnyman,Season’s Greetings, She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight); Doubt, Old Glory, The Subject Was Roses and Our Town (Writers’); Wasteland (Timeline); King Lear, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare); Power (Remy Bumppo). Regional Credits: American Players, Milwaukee Repertory and Indiana Repertory. Steve is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre and a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University. Love to Mom and Q.


Martasia Jones (LD)

Born and raised in Chicago, Martasia Jones is an alumni of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she received her BFA in Acting. Favorite theatre credits are 9 Parts Of Desire, Much Ado About Nothing, and Polaroid Stories in the role of Persephone/Semele. Earlier this year, she appeared in the Goodman Theatre’s New Stages Festival in the staged reading of Florissant & Canfield, the Goodman’s Every 28 Hours series as well as a reading of Serial Black Face with Definition Theatre Company, where she is an ensemble company member. She was also seen in Jackalope Theatre’s Annual Living Newspaper Festival. Film credits includes Spike Lee’s newest joint, Chiraq. She is excited to be a part of Winter and is delighted to work with Rivendell & such a great group of artists.

Dan Flannery (Robeck)

Dan has worked at numerous Chicago Theatres, including Timeline, The Artistic Home, Steppenwolf, Stage Left, and Steep. He played Atticus Finch in Wisdom Bridge’s production of To Kill a Mockingbird and reprised the role for Collaboraction years later. He taught On Camera Acting at Act I Studios for 20 years. Among his film credits are David Lynch’s The Straight Story, Contagion, The Weatherman with Nicholas Cage, The President’s Man (a CBS movie of the week with Chuck Norris), and Holliday Baggage with Cheryl Ladd and Barry Bostwick. Dan has had appearances in television’s ER, Boss, Chicago Fire as well as a recurring role on Empire. He and his poet wife are currently empty nesters sitting tight in their old house–for the time being. He is pleased to be associated with the fine work of Rivendell Theatre.


Megan Carney (co-director) has worked with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble since 2005. Most recently she directed GRIZZLY MAMA by George Brant and BODY/COURAGE by Danielle Pinnock and wrote WOMEN AT WAR which premiered last season and continues to tour. Megan also directed Rivendell productions of AMERICAN WEE PIE and THE WALLS, two premieres by Lisa Dillman. Carney’s playwriting and directing credits include eight years with About Face Theatre creating original plays based on true stories of queer youth and their allies that were produced in Chicago and toured around the country, OPEN SYSTEMS, a commission from The Goodman Theatre Education Program examining impacts of Hurricane Katrina in Baton Rouge and Chicago, LET THEM EAT CAKE, debating same sex marriage with Holly Hughes and Moe Angelos (Dixon Place, NYC), and PITTSBURGH PROJECT REMIX on the legacy of the steel industry in her hometown (Pump House, Homestead Steel Mill). Megan directs the UIC Gender and Sexuality Center and is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the UIC School of Theatre & Music. She has a MFA in Theatre Arts from Virginia Tech with a focus on Directing and Public Dialogue and her work has been recognized with multiple awards and grants.

Mark Ulrich has been a Rivendell Theater Ensemble member since 2007. His previous RTE directing credit was the Jeff Award and After Dark Award winning production of Mary’s Wedding. Other directing credits include Mrs. Mannerly at Artist’s Ensemble; and Sylvia at Next Act Theater. As an actor for Rivendell, he has appeared in Silence; The Walls; These Shining Lives; Falling: A Wake; and American Wee Pie. Recent Chicago area credits include Assassination Theaterr at The Museum of Broadcast Communications; Yasmina’s Necklace at 16th Street Theater; Mosque Alert at Silk Road Rising; Douglass at Theater Wit; and Vanya, and Sonia, and Masha, and Spike at Artists’ Ensemble.

Playwright Julie Jensen has been writing plays for over 30 years. She has won a dozen awards, among them The Joseph Jefferson Award in Chicago for best new work, the LA Weekly Award for best new play, and The David Mark Cohen National Playwriting Award. She has been commissioned by a dozen theatres including Kennedy Center (twice) and Actors Theatre of Louisville (twice) and Salt Lake Acting Company (twice). She has received grants from NEA, TCG, Pew Charitable Trusts, among others. Her work has been produced in NYC, London, and theatres nationwide, from Arizona to Alaska, from Michigan to Massachusetts, California to Connecticut. Her work is published by Dramatists Play Service, Dramatic Publishing, and Smith and Krause. She has taught playwriting at five universities, directed a graduate playwriting program, and has written a book on the craft. She is currently the Resident Playwright at Salt Lake Acting Company, board member of the College of Fellows of the American Theatre, and the Regional Representative of the Dramatists Guild of America.

Chicago audiences might remember her play THE LOST VEGAS SERIES, produced by Zebra Crossing Theatre, which won a Jefferson for the best new work, and STRAY DOGS, produced by Profiles Theatre and nominated for five Jefferson Awards.

Jenniffer Thusing (Production Stage Manager)
Jenniffer is thrilled to be returning to Rivendell after Grizzly Mama. She has stage managed for SoloChicago, Chicago Dramatists, Chicago Commercial Collective, Noble Fool, Nuns for Fun, Emerald City and Light Opera Works.  In addition to having stage managed 14 productions at Chicago Dramatists, she also served as props designer, co-designed a set (Aiming for Sainthood at the Pritzger Pavillion) and is an artistic associate there. Jenniffer’s 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.

Stephanie Cluggish (Costume Design): Stephanie’s recent projects include 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 also 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 upcoming new production of Rusalka at the Metropolitan Opera, directed by Mary Zimmerman. See more at

Elvia Moreno (Scenic Design)
Michael Mahlum (Lighting Design)
Michael Mahlum, a native of Denver, Colorado, has designed lighting for dance, theatre and architecture all across the globe.This is Michael first time designing lighting for Rivendell Theater Ensemble and is thrilled to be working with such an amazing team.
Michael’s recent projects include lighting for theatre as well as events and architecture. Recent theatre credits include: Year of the Hiker, Of Mice and Men, Death of a Salesman, A Night of Innocent Games, Dustbowl Gothic, Dracula, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Macbeth. A selection of project include: The Fillmore-Philadelphia, The Gas Light Building Exterior- Milwaukee, Crayola Experience-Orlando, Choctaw Casino and Resort-Durant;
Michael currently works for Visual Terrain Inc as the Principal Designer in Chicago.

Robert Hornbostel (Sound Design)

Blake Leo Burke (Properties Design)
Blake is excited to make her debut with the Rivendell Theatre being Properties Designer on Winter. Her other Props Master/Designer credits include: 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.

Danielle Davis (Master Electrician)
Danielle Davis (Master Electrician) is excited to be working with Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. Born and raised in the Chicago area, Danielle is recently returning to the area after graduation from Millikin University where she received a BFA in Theatre and Production with an emphasis in lighting design. Some of her recent work credits include Master Electrician and Programmer for Utah Shakespeare Festival’s The Odd Couple, Assistant Master Electrician and Programmer for Utah Shakespeare Festival’s Mary Poppins and The Cocoanuts. She has also worked with Milwaukee Repertory Theater as an Assistant Lighting Designer and Production intern for their 2015-2016 season and am a recurring production team member at the Utah Festival Opera. She looks forward to working with Rivendell on Winter and breaking into the Chicago theatre community

Sam Moryoussef (Production Manager)
Sam is the Production Manager for this production at Rivendell Theatre. He 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 this past summer from North Carolina where he worked 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. He is excited to be in Chicago and working with such a welcoming group of people at Rivendell.

Matt Super (Technical Director)
Matt is excited to be making his Rivendell debut.  Matt has worked in various capacities with Stage Left Theatre, Lifeline Theatre, American Blues Theatre, Otherworld Theatre, The Arc Theatre, Provision Theater, Peninsula Players Theatre, and the Ojai Playwrights Conference.

Aurora Klok: (Charge Artist) After receiving her bachelors in Scenic Art and Scenic Design from Western Michigan University, Aurora decided to move back to Chicago where she could pursue her Theatre career.  She has since had the pleasure of working with several Chicago-land Theatres and scenic shops including: Ravenswood Studio, Crosstown Scenic, Fox Valley Repertory Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Mariott Theatre Lincolnshire, and various others. This will be Aurora’s second production with Rivendelle Theatre and she is excited to be involved. Aurora would like to thank her husband, Zachary, for his never ending patience and support.

“[a] Sincere and Empathetic Play…written with truth and poignancy and acted as such”  “Deeply Moving”

– Chicago Tribune

“Under the sensitive, textured direction of Megan Carney and Mark Ulrich, with a remarkable performance by Barbara E. Robertson at its center, Rivendell’s premier of Julie Jensen’s Winter is a gripping and sympathetic treatment of the difficulties of aging gracefully, especially with dementia.”

– Chicago Stage Standard

“A beautifully written story…Winter takes you on an emotional journey which gives you a glimpse into the life of a woman who’s determined to live her life on her own terms, I highly recommend this production!” 
– Chicago Splash

Addressing our mortality and quality of life is profoundly personal. I don’t have an answer but am thankful for this production for igniting an inquiry.”

– Performink

5 of the best actors in the Chicagoland area who help our rapt attention for 90 minutes. They took a difficult topic – dying with grace, under your terms – and added some humor, some humanity, and a lot of heart. “

-India Times

Robertson’s portrayal of a woman caught between the solid world of consciousness and the short, sporadic, periods of haunting lost time is quite remarkable.  Jensen’s character finds a perfect interpretation through the skill of Robertson’s ability to dance the fine line between these two spheres of existence.  The joy of living, the missing time, and acute awareness of non-lucidity is quite chilling when rendered to us by Robertson’s fine acting.”

– Irish American News


January 23, Irish American News by 

January 21, Splash, Review by LaRita Smith

January 18, Chicago Tribune, Review by Chris Jones

January 18, New City Stage, Review by Kevin Greene

January 18, PerformInk, Review by Alyssa Dyksterhouse

January 17, Picture This Post, Review by Amy Munice

January 16, New City Stage, Opening item w/photo

January 15, Broadway World Chicago, Photo Flash Gallery

January 6, Columbia College Blog, The Green Room, post about Barbara Robertson

December, Third Coast Review, Guide to A Better January includes Winter

December 9, PerformInk, Casting Announcement

December 9, Broadway World, Announcement

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