image001 (2)A Red Orchid Theatre presents the world premiere of Pins and Withers, written and directed by Susan E. Bowen in collaboration with the A Red Orchid Youth Ensemble. Pins and Withers runs July 11 – July 19, 2014 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells. 

“Having seen several youth ensemble productions at A Red Orchid Theatre in recent years, I was excited by the challenge of creating a piece that would feature such a varied group of talented young actors, the majority of whom are female,” notes Susan E. Bowen. “Inspired by research, my short-lived dairy judging career in high school and by my conversations with the youth ensemble about recurring questions in their own lives as adolescent women, Pins and Withers has been developed through an incredibly collaborative process.”

Six months after she is implicated in a catastrophic accident, M. Kempson, along with her mother and sister, move from San Francisco to her grandfather’s small farm in Ohio. M soon finds herself drawn to Olivia and Jessica – the leaders of the “in-girls” – and members of the reigning championship junior dairy judging team. Competition heats up as the girls vie for spots in the senior level judging competition, and what follows is the hilarious story of a young woman’s quest to enter a new community and competition where’s she’s encouraged to “look closer before you judge a book by its udder.”

Pins and Withers follows M. and her family as they are forced to make their way in a very different social landscape andexplores what it means to truly begin again regardless of one’s age.

Pins and Withers features A Red Orchid Youth Ensemble Members Ellie DanischElita ErnsteenJaiden Fallo,Stella RothenbergElenna SindlerEden Strong and Aria Szalai-Raymond in addition to Stephen Cefalu Jr.Noah SimonPeter Surma and Tamara White with special nightly guests.

The creative team includes Jerre Dye (Set Designer), Karen Kawa (Costumes Designer), Mike Durst (Lighting Designer), Morgan Lake (Sound Designer), Angela Campos (Props Designer), Rachel Hayes (Stage Manager), Walter Briggs (Technical Director), Mead Jackson (Assistant Director), Jamie Crothers (Assistant Stage Manager),Stephanie Díaz (Puppetry Design), Alex Hand (Videographer) and Catherine Allen (Production Manager).

Pins and Withers will run at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells, July 11-July 19, 2014.  Tickets are $10. Tickets may be reserved by calling the box office at (312) 943-8722 or online at www.aredorchidtheatre.org.


About the A Red Orchid Youth Ensemble

In 2008, The A Red Orchid Youth Ensemble began as a creative outgrowth of AROT’s first successful all youth production of A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant, the satirical musical by Kyle Jarrow from a concept by Alex Timbers. With a warm critical and public reception,  the young actors involved in the show were eager for more theatrical opportunities and the play’s director, Steve Wilson had such a positive experience that classes, workshops, readings and programming focused exclusively on working with the young actor began to take root.  With Wilson, a drama teacher in the Chicago Public Schools and founding AROT ensemble member, Larry Grimm, a veteran teaching artist in theatre and high schools, teaming up as co-directors, youth actors were given training in audition technique, improvisation, on-camera workshops and commedia dell arte.


The philosophy of the Youth Ensemble mirrors A Red Orchid’s professional aesthetic: the belief that the best way to honor youth, maturity and intelligence is with a comparable selection of gutsy and authentic material on the human experience. Youth Ensmble productions include the holiday remount of  A Very Merry Unauthorized Children’s Scientology Pageant,Craig Wright’s adaptation of Homer’s The Iliad featuring an all-girl cast under the age of 16, two years participation in Collaboraction’s signature short play event, Sketchbook, and Theatre Seven’s The Chicago Landmark Project.


In May of 2013, as part of the Now is The Time initiative, a coalition of more than 15 theaters sponsored by the Chicago Public Library and Facing History and Ourselves devoted to creating dialogue around the pervasive citywide issue of youth violence, intolerance and bullying, the Youth Ensemble performed Our City Ourselves: Youth Voices for Tolerance, which profiled three different neighborhood stories affected by violence and intolerance.


About A Red Orchid Theatre

Since 1993 A Red Orchid Theatre has been an artistic mainstay of the Chicago theatre community; known and praised for its powerful ensemble, creative design and its gripping, intimate productions. The resident Ensemble maintains the conviction that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit and that passionately committed theatre will draw passionately committed audiences.

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.

Pins and Withers /FACT SHEET

Pins and Withers

   A story about the importance of looking closer before you judge a book by its udder.

Written and

Directed by:     Susan E. Bowen

Featuring:        A Red Orchid Youth Ensemble Members Ellie DanischElita Ernsteen,      Jaiden FalloStella RothenbergElenna Sindler Eden Strong, and Aria Szalai-Raymond. Also featuring Stephen Cefalu, Jr.Noah SimonPeter Surma and Tamara White with a variety of special guests nightly.

Dates:              July 11 – July 19

Schedule:        Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 4:00pm and 7:30pm

Run Time:        90 minutes

Location:         A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Ave.

Tickets:           $10

Box Office:      Located at 1531 N. Wells Ave, Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online atwww.aredorchidtheatre.org