A Red Orchid announces casting for the World Premiere of Sender by Ike Holter

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unnamedA Red Orchid Theatre concludes its 2015-2016 season with the world premiere of Sender by Ike Holter, directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray. Featuring Ensemble MemberSteve Haggard, the cast of Sender also includes McKenzie Chinn, Mary Williamson and Steven WilsonSender will run April 14 – May 29, 2016. The press opening for Sender is April 18, 2016 at 7 p.m. A Red Orchid Theatre is located at 1531 N Wells.

It’s summertime in Chicago. Over a year after his sensational death, a young man returns to his former apartment: alive, well, and with a new found ambition to fix what went wrong. A miracle reunion turns into a catastrophic disaster as the past catches up with the present and old debts return, expecting payment in full. What does growing-up mean and is it even desired in this day and age?

About the Artists

Ike Holter (Playwright) Holter’s work has been produced at Steppenwolf Garage, The New Colony and The Inconvenience, where he is a founding member and resident writer. He’s received fellowships and commissions from Goodman, Writers Theater, Teatro Vista and Kennedy Center.  His show Hit The Wall played at Steppenwolf Garage, Off-Broadway at The Barrow Street Theater in New York, and a 5 month run at the Lily Tomlin Center in L.A. Jackalope Theater commissioned and premiered  Exit Strategy in 2014; its now being produced at Philadelphia Stages and will transfer Off Broadway to Primary Stages this spring. Named “Chicagoan of the Year in Theater 2014” by The Chicago Tribune, Holter was recently named one of Victory Gardens newest ensemble playwrights. His new play Prowess premieres this May at Jackalope Theater.

Shade Murray (Director) is a member of the Artistic Ensemble at A Red Orchid where he recently directed the world premiere of Brett Neveu’s Pilgrim’s ProgressAccidentally Like a Martyr by Grant James Varjas, Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky, Annie Baker’s The Aliens and Nick Jones’ Trevor. Also at AROT; The Butcher of BarabooAbigail’s Party and Kimberly Akimbo.  He is currently performing in The Mutilated at A Red Orchid.  Other credits include productions at Steppenwolf Theatre, Steep Theatre, Second City, Writers’ Theater, Strawdog, Cole Theater, Next and Roadworks. Shade is a lecturer at University of Chicago and teaches at DePaul University and The Acting Studio.

Steve Haggard (Lynx) is currently on stage at A Red Orchid in The Mutilated and has been an ensemble member since 2007.  Other Orchid shows include Accidentally Like A Martyr, The AliensKimberly Akimbo and The Mandrake.  Chicago credits: Tribes (Steppenwolf); Funnyman andSeason’s Greetings (Northlight); DoubtOld GloryThe Subject Was Roses and Our Town(Writers’); Wasteland (Timeline); King LearAs You Like It and Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare).  Regional Credits: American Players, Milwaukee Repertory and Indiana Repertory. Steve is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.
McKenzie Chinn (Cass) makes her A Red Orchid Theatre debut. She is an actor and writer in Chicago, and most recently wrapped production on the independent feature film Olympia, which she wrote, produced, and in which she performs. She has performed on many Chicago stages including The Goodman, Steppenwolf, Victory Gardens, Sideshow, Stage Left, The Pavement Group, and Artemisia. She is a 2015/2016 Leonore Annenberg Artist Fellow.

Mary Williamson (Tess) returns to A Red Orchid after going on as an understudy in Butcher of Baraboo. She is the head of the Art Department with The Inconvenience, hosts and devises their annual extravaganza The Fly Honey Show, and originated the role of Madeline in Ike Holter’s Hit The Wall. Since graduating from The Theatre School at DePaul University with a BFA in acting, Mary has worked with several companies around Chicago including: Steppenwolf, The Goodman, The Hypocrites, Northlight, Victory Gardens, Next, TimeLine, Griffin, Redtwist, ATC, Redmoon, Dog and Pony, Jackalope, Red Tape, Stage Left, Emerald City, Lifeline, Strawdog, Sideshow, Haven, LiveWire and The New Colony. When she is not acting she is working as a designer, director, visual artist, stylist, curator, and voice-over artist.

Steven Wilson (Jordan) is a freelance director, actor and educator. Sender marks Steven’s return to the Chicago stage as an actor since taking a hiatus to earn his MFA in directing from The University of Texas at Austin. Previously with A Red Orchid, Steven directed the world premiere of Craig Wright’s adaptation of The Iliad and the Chicago premiere of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant, which was the catalyst for the founding of A Red Orchid Theatre’s Youth Ensemble. Steven was also a long standing member of The Hypocrites, where he performed in over a dozen productions including The Bald Soprano, Angels in America Parts 1 & 2, The Glass Menagerie, Balm in Gilead and the title role in Oedipus. Most recently, Steven directed Green Day’s American Idiot, which launched The Hypocrites’ 19th Season.

About A Red Orchid

A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993.  Chicago Magazine named A Red Orchid Chicago’s Best Theatre Company of 2010. Over the past 22 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit and that passionately committed productions will draw passionately committed audiences. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories.

A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.