Summer, 2010



My Sister Eileen is the delightful story about two sisters and their adventures as roommates in a Greenwich Village basement apartment.  Eileen is a beautiful aspiring actress and her sister Ruth is a self-reliant young woman who dreams of becoming a great writer.  This wonderful comedy paints an indelible portrait of life in the big city while existing under less than ideal living conditions. Follow Eileen, Ruth, and a parade of colorful, unforgettable characters through their hilarious escapades.


Written by Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov, My Sister Eileen is based on the work of renowned author and journalist, Ruth McKenney. This madcap story traces the misadventures of two sisters who leave Ohio for the life in New York City. Set in the 1940’s, Eileen sets her sights on the stage, while her sister Ruth struggles as a young writer. With sidesplitting hilarity, the Midwestern roommates encounter unforgettable characters, and stubbornly try to make a home out of an unforgiving, basement apartment in Greenwich Village.



Place & Time
Basement studio apartment in Greenwich village
near Christopher St. in the 1940’s.

    Act I, Scene 1         Summer Evening
                                    Scene 2         Late afternoon a few weeks later
                      Scene 3         Afternoon ten days later

(There will be one 10 minute intermission)

    Act II, Scene 1         A few hours later
    Scene 2         Next day



O Eileen! O America!

My Sister Eileen is a droll and charming play that has been amusing audiences for more than 70 years. In the mid 1930s, Ruth McKenney wrote a series of short stories for The New Yorker that were so popular they were adapted for the Broadway stage. Opening in December 1940, the show ran for more than two years. Then, in 1942, while still filling houses on Broadway, the play was adapted for the Hollywood screen. That adaptation was followed by a radio version in 1946, and then the play became a successful Broadway musical, Wonderful Town, in 1953. Two years later, another Hollywood film carried the title My Sister Eileen as did a TV show in 1960. The original play has been a staple of community theatre and summer stock ever since.

Why is this simple story of two girls from the Midwest so compelling? As I said, the play is droll and charming, but the answer goes beyond those important traits. A large measure of its popularity comes from its subject; My Sister Eileen shows the comedic confrontation of innocence and world-weary cynicism, with innocence triumphant. The play, even on its opening night, was nostalgic for something that probably never quite existed.

In its day, it was a little daring with its innuendos. The beat cop thinks the girls are running a prostitution ring—though the P-word is never used. Other men in the play seem to have but one thing on their mind. A couple upstairs are living “in sin” as it seems, and when she gets preggers, that P-word is never uttered. So My Sister Eileen skirts around various sexual issues, but the heroine of the title manages to maintain her sexual virtue (read virginity, but that word is never used). In the America of My Sister Eileen, boys will be boys, but girls have to be ladies. Despite absurdities and conmen, noisy subways and lecherous journalists, good dreams always come true; ideals endure even the bumpiest of rides.

One may measure just how far we’ve come since Eileen Sherwood first strode upon the Broadway stage. The Sherwood girls would be shocked at how our public schools distribute condoms and our society at large blithely accepts unwed mothers. We, in contrast, are rather surprised at how casually and constantly everyone in the play is reaching for another alcoholic beverage. We can only imagine what reaction My Sister Eileen would inspire in current social climate of our high schools: The students would perhaps cheer  all the alcohol; the teachers and band-wagon political correctors would fight to ban another showing of the play.
   
That is only one of the historical ironies of this play. Others abound.  When Ruth McKenney first wrote her pieces in The New Yorker, her actual sister Eileen was her inspiration. Eileen McKenney went on to other things. She became an assistant to Walt Disney, which strengthened her role in perpetuating the dream America where everything turns out right. But she also married Nathaniel West, whose great novels anatomize the anxieties that animate American life. His Day of the Locust, which introduces to the world an unlucky businessman named Homer Simpson,  and Miss Lonelyhearts are sweeping satires of the American dream so comfortably portrayed in My Sister Eileen.

On December 26, 1940, West and Eileen McKenney were returning to Hollywood from a hunting trip in Mexico. West ran a stop light and caused the accident in which he and his wife were killed. They were planning to attend F. Scott Fitzgerald’s funeral and then to go to New York  to see the opening of My Sister Eileen. Ruth McKenney, grieving for her sister, never attended a performance either.

Patrick McGuire
Senior Lecturer. English
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
http://McGuireHimself.com


Arbella Al-Bazi (Perspective tenant/Asst. Stage Manager) is extremely excited and thrilled to be apart of both the cast and crew for My Sister Eileen.  This is Arbella's first time working as assistant stage manager for a summer show at the Stage Center! She will also be appearing as extras in the show!  Arbella also played Little Red Riding Hood in the Children's Theater Workshop production of Totally Red!  Arbella is planning on graduating in fall of 2011 with a bachelor’s  degree in Communication, Media & Theater!


Robert Babcock (The Wreck) is thrilled to be working with such a wonderful cast and crew on My Sister Eileen. This is Robert’s fourth appearance with Stage Center, having most recently appeared last summer as Flute in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream...so he is grateful not to have to wear a dress this time around. In addition to Stage Center, Robert has worked with Democracy Burlesque Theatre and the Dominican University Performing Arts Center. Favorite past credits include MacBeth, The Laramie Project, Othello, and Taking Steps. Thanks again to Anna for her warm heart and brilliant mind.


John Baumeister (Jensen) Musicals were always playing in John's house as a kid. Twenty-five years after graduating with Electrical Engineering and Music Composition Degrees, he has now found a new passion with the theater.  While John has performed in recent productions of Oliver! and The Music Man with The Rising Stars Theater Company, he is very excited to have his premiere acting engagement with the Stage Center Theater.  He thanks his family for giving up their time with Dad, with special appreciation to his daughter, Grace,  who created the opportunity to see this new aspect of his life.


Clark Bender (Walter Sherwood) recently appeared at the Stage Center Theatre as Mr. Stryver in A Tale of Two Cities. He’s thrilled to be back so soon and thanks Anna for inviting him to play with such a great cast and crew. Thanks to family and friends—particularly the performing Cantwells—for encouraging Clark to pursue his acting bug. Finally, love and kisses to Kim for her support even when she knew it would mean fewer movies, dinners and evenings together.


Laura Deger (Ruth Sherwood) is absolutely crazy about playing Ruth Sherwood. Most recently she performed in The Somewhat Gelatinous BLOB From Beyond The Grave at the Conservatory and Clock Productions’ Six Scary Tales at National Pastime Theatre. Last fall she was in Brain Surgeon Theatre’s 1512 West Studebaker Place at the Prop Theatre, Bang Bang You’re Dead at the James Downing Theatre, and sang for the rock opera You Took Away My Flag: a Musical About Kosovo at Strawdog Theatre. She graduated in May ‘09 with her theatre degree from Loyola University Chicago. She would like to thank her talented cast and crew, especially Anna for giving her this amazing opportunity. This performance is dedicated to her friends and family for their love...and keeping her sane. Always have!


Johnny Garcia (Lonigan) just finished a six month run of the Jeff recommended production of The Pillowman with Redtwist Theatre, where he is the Development Outreach Coordinator. He was Austin in True West, Marco in A View from the Bridge, Raul in Extremities, Brewster and others in The American Clock, and he co-directed the Jeff recommended Three Hotels. His next show is The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet with Pence ShakespeareJohnny@redtwist.org. Thanks Anna. Love Angie.


Caitlin Inman (Eileen Sherwood) is honored to be appearing in her fourth Stage Center show this year. Most recently she has appeared in A Tale of Two Cities as Lucy Manette, Vaudeville America as Miss Freeman, and An Inspector Calls as Sheila Birling. She will be graduating from NEIU in the spring next year and plans to go for her MFA in Arts Leadership.


Elisabeth Jackson (Violet Shelton) is thrilled to make her debut with Thymely Theatre, and is blessed to be able to work with such a great cast, crew, and director. Including this experience, Elisabeth has worked in theatre both on stage, as well as behind the scenes. Some of her favorite experiences include: An Inspector Calls as Sybil Birling, Don’t Drink the Water as Miss Kilroy and also assistant directing children shows at Curtain Up Classroom in Glen Ellyn. Thanks to all her friends and family who continually support her in her passion for theatre!


Michaela Lichvanova (Helen Wade) is an art and theater student at Dominican University, and is thrilled to be making her professional debut at Stage Center Theater! She is grateful to be working with such an enthusiastic and supportive cast. Some of Michaela’s favorite roles in the past include: Little Red in Into the Woods, Ensemble in Macbeth, and Alice in Alice in Wonderland. She wants to thank her family and friends for their constant love and support, and Tate for keeping her sane and smiling everyday.


Bruce Moore (Mr. Appopolous) This is Bruce’s first show with The Stage Center Theatre. He most recently appeared as Bill Sykes in the Rising Stars Theatre Company production of Oliver. Other credits include: The Rev. Dr. Harper, Arsenic and Old Lace, The Rising Stars Theatre Production of the King and I, Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, John Heminge in the Beard of Avon, Judas in Godspell, Joe Boyd in Damn Yankees, Kaspar in Amahl and the Night Visitors, Jud Fry in Oklahoma. Thanks to PEH for your love, support and encouragement!


Dan Rippeteau (Assistant Director)  is majoring in Communications, Media and Theater and is excited to be working as the Assistant Director in this production and to be making his acting debut as one of the Brazilian Sailors. Thanks to Anna and the NEIU staff for the opportunity, instruction, and encouragement. A special thanks to Jeanne for her support and understanding.


Dan Rocha (Robert Baker) is very excited to perform in his first show at The Stage Center Theatre as Robert. He has appeared in several musicals with Rising Stars Theatre including Anything Goes, The Pajama Game, The Wedding Singer and Oliver! Dan also performs improv in Oak Park as a member of Swift Kick. Dan would like to thank all the great people on and off stage who have brought this wonderful show to life.


Herschel Slosberg (Chic Clark) comes to the theatre from the world of television and news production, where he was most recently an Emmy nominated Associate Producer for CNN's highly acclaimed documentary crew.  A former member of the US Olympic Diving team, Herschel looks forward to the challenges of returning to the stage, while welcoming the opportunity to work with such a talented cast and crew.


Joel Thompson (Frank Lippencott) is making his second appearance at The Stage Center Theatre. He was last seen as Theseus in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Favorite roles include Puck from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, James Keller from The Miracle Worker and the Colonel from Brave Navigator. He would like to thank his friends and family for their constant support of his art.


Production Staff

Director……………………………………...……….Anna Antaramian
Assistant Director……………………………...………...Dan Rippeteau
Stage Manager…………………………………...……...Anthony Colon
 Assistant Stage Manager…………………………………..Arbella Al-Bazi
Light Designer…………………………………….….....John Rodriguez
Scenic /Costume Designer……………...…………...…..Jessica Kuehnau
Technical Director………………………………….…...….Alex Useted
Sound Master………………………………………...…..Dan Rippeteau
Public Relations……………………………………..……Carolyn Aguila
Photographer………………………………..………….James Trigueros
Light Board Operator………………………………....…….Jesse Adams
Sound Board Operator………………………………...Veronica Coleman
House Manager………………………..……………….....Danijela Krizan
Set Construction……...Angelica Echon, Allegra Kaplan, Hanson Le,  Jamina
                 Lewis, Janina Lewis, Matt Polos, Christian Marquez, James Mason

Theater Personel

Artistic and Managing Director………….……...……Anna Antaramian
Theatre Bookkeeper…………………............Becca Raven Uminowicz
Theatre Manager………………………............Blagovesta Ranguelova
Assistant Theatre Manager……………………………...Carolyn Bernal
Newsletter Editor……...……………………………..Jessica Slizewski
Summer Box Office Manager……………………………..Donna Duraj

Anna Antaramian (Director) has been a member of NEIU’s theatre family for the past twenty years. She is the Managing and Artistic Director of the Stage Center Theatre, Thymely Theatre, and is a past president of the Illinois Theatre Association. She holds an M.F.A. from New York University and has worked in various theatrical venues across the country, the most recent being the Rocky Mountain Repertory Theatre. Special thanks to H-S-A-N-T and, as always, Mr. McGuire.

Anthony Colon (Stage Manager) is a Communication, Media & Theatre major at NEIU. He will be graduating this upcoming fall. This spring, Anthony made his stage debut at the Stage Center Theatre, appearing in the NEIU Children’s Theatre Workshop production of Totally Red! Stage managing his first show, he is extremely appreciative to return to the Stage Center. Anthony would like to thank Anna and the department of Communication, Media & Theatre’s faculty and staff for this great opportunity.

John Rodriguez (Lighting Designer) joined the theatre faculty at NEIU six years ago and has been teaching courses in technical theatre as well as working as a designer on Stage Center Theatre productions. Most recent designs include Lucky Stiff, An Inspector Calls, Arms and the Man, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Lettice and Lovage, The Illusion, Electra, and Charley’s Aunt as well as Thymely Theatre’s productions of Taking Steps and Stage Door.

Jessica Kuehnau (Scenic/Costume Designer) is pleased to be designing her third season for the Stage Center Theatre and third year as technical faculty for NEIU.  Since completing her M.F.A. in Scenic and Costume Design at Northwestern University, Ms. Kuehnau has been designing sets and costumes for such notable theatres as Pegasus Players, Circle Theatre, Griffin, Lifeline Theatre, MPAACT, Adventure Stage Chicago, Metropolis Performing Art Center and Backstage Theatre.  She is also the resident set designer at North Park University and a founding ensemble member of Adventure Stage Center Chicago.

Alex Useted (Technical Director) is happy to be joining The Stage Center this summer. Alex serves as the Technical and Facilities Director at American Theatre Company. ATC productions include The Peoples Temple, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and the upcoming Yeast Nation (the triumph of life.) He also works with Crosstown Scenic, where he has contributed to projects for theatres throughout the Chicago area, including Timeline Theater, TUTA, Next Theatre, Chicago Dramatists, and the House Theater of Chicago.


Special Thanks to
Colleen McCready, Karol Bayley, Katrina Bell-Jordan, Becca Uminowicz, Robert Condren, Dan Rippeteau, Arbella Al-Bazi, Anthony Colon, Jeanne Siekowski, Rick Martin.







































file:///G:/Eileen/IMG_2671_2s.JPG





Return to the Home Page of the Stage Center Theatre


Go to the Scrapbook of the Stage Center Theatre