RTELabelDesignRivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE), Chicago’s only Equity theatre devoted to the work of women theatre artists, is proud to announce Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby as the third and final production of its 2012–2013 Season of Reinvention.  RTE Artistic Director and founder Tara Mallen directs the Chicago premiere, May 16 through June 22 at the new Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge. Previews are Thursday, May 16, Friday, May 17 and Saturday May 18 at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15. Press opening is Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. The play runs Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; regular tickets are $30 and are available online at www.RivendellTheatre.org or by calling 773.334.7728.

In this thrilling new drama, a tragic car accident brings a group of fractured souls into the presence of a baby that glows with an unearthly light. Magic and folklore weave throughout Stefanie Zadravec’s beautiful, poignant tale of sad endings, fateful beginnings and the unlikely people that get you from one place to the next. Although she has only begun establishing a national presence, Zadravec is regarded by many as one of the American theatre’s most exciting new voices. The Rivendell production marks Stefanie Zadravec’s Chicago debut.

The Electric Baby was originally produced in 2012 at Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theatre and received the Women in the Arts and Media Coalition’s Collaboration Award in 2011. Zadravec’s account of writing The Electric Baby appeared in the March 2011 issue of American Theatre.

Rivendell’s production features RTE members Meighan Gerachis (WrensFactory Girls; Elliot, A Soldiers Fugue and The Walls) and Kathy Logelin (These Shining Lives and Precious Little), as well as guest artists Amanda Powell (Wrens, 2012), Jeff TrainorLionel Gentle and H.B. Ward.

The production team includes RTE members Diane Fairchild (lighting designer) and Janice Pytel (costume designer), with Joanna Iwanicka (scenic designer) and Kate Hopgood (sound designer).


Zadravec is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and a 2012-2013 Fellow at The Lark Play Development Center. Her play Honey Brown Eyes (Theater J, Working Theater) received the 2009 Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding New Play; The Electric Baby (Quantum Theater, PA Two River Theater, NJ) the 2011Women in Arts and Media Award), and Save Me (TBG, NYC) received Phoenix Theatre’s National Playwriting Award. Her collaborations include: We Play for the Gods (The Women’s Project), The Fear Project (The Barrow Group), and The Jackson Heights Trilogy (Theater 167).  Zadravec has received commissions from Oregon Shakespeare Festival/Full Stage USA, The Working Theater/NYSCA and Epic Theatre Ensemble/Ford Foundation. Awards and residencies include a Playwrights Realm Fellowship, the 2012 Sustainable Arts Foundation Writing Award, a Dramatists Guild Fellowship, The Women’s Project Lab, PlayPenn and Sewanee Writers Conference.


Mallen is a founding member and the current Artistic Director of Rivendell Theatre Ensemble. For Rivendell, Mallen has directed the Jeff-nominated Midwest premieres of 26 Miles (co-production Teatro Vista); Fighting Words; Psalms of a Questionable Nature; Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (co-production Stageworks, NY); and Shady Meadows (2007 Chicago Humanities Festival).  As well as produced and acted in more than twenty RTE productions.  Recently she was seen in Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of How Long Will I Cry: Stories of Youth Violence.  She also performed in Rivendell’s Jeff-nominated productions of The Walls and Self Defense, or the Death of Some Salesmen; both were part of Steppenwolf Theatre’s Visiting Company Initiative. She received a Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Gwyneth in Wrens and was nominated the following year for Best Actress in a Principal Role for her work in My Simple City.  Mallen also appeared opposite Kate Winslet in Steven Soderbergh’s film Contagion, as well as in Boss starring Kelsey Grammer, the NBC pilot of Chicago Fire, and the upcoming ABC pilot Doubt.


Since 1994 Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE) has given voice to theatre’s forgotten majority—women. As Chicago’s only professional woman-centered theatre company, RTE continues to develop relevant new stories in a fertile environment. RTE remains steadfast in its commitment to serve female theatre artists as an ally, advocate, and artistic home, and has earned a national reputation for developing exceptional, groundbreaking work with women at the core.

The Electric Baby is the latest in Rivendell’s long history of world and regional premieres—a history that, in addition to Wrens, includes American Theatre Critics Association “Best New Play,” My Simple City by Richard Strand; Carson Kreitzer’s Self-Defense (2004–05, with Steppenwolf); Quiara Alegria Hudes’s Elliot, a Soldier’s Fugue (2006–07, with Steppenwolf); Melanie Marnich’s These Shining Lives (2008–09, remounted in 2010); Stephen Massicotte’s Mary’s Wedding (2009–10); Catherine Trieschmann’s Crooked (2012); and most recently, the world premiere of Lisa Dillman’s American Wee-Pie this past January.

In the past year, due in part to the generosity of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the MacArthur Foundation PAV Fund, RTE transformed two adjoining storefronts into a state-of-the-art 50-seat theatre space at 5779 North Ridge Avenue in Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood. RTE today serves as an artistic home to a diverse company of actors, directors, playwrights, and designers. For more information about Rivendell’s and its 17th season, visit www.RivendellTheatre.org.

Stefanie Zadravec’s The Electric Baby runs May 16 through June 22, at the new Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge. Previews are Thursday, May 16, Friday, May 17 and Saturday May 18 at 8 p.m. and tickets are $15, Press opening is Monday, May 20 at 7 p.m. The play runs Thursdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 4 and 8 p.m.; tickets are $30 and are available online at www.RivendellTheatre.org or calling773.334.7728.

Free parking is available in the Senn High School parking lot (located a block and a half from the theatre behind the school off Thorndale Avenue). There is limited paid and free street parking in the area and the theatre is easily accessible via the Clark (#22) or Broadway (#36) bus and a short walk from the Bryn Mawr redline El Station.

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 Rivendell Theatre Ensemble is supported in part by generous grants from:

3Arts; The Alphawood Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; The Chicago Foundation for Women; The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation; The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; The Ronald A. Greene Memorial Fund, a Donor Advised Grant from the Chicago Community Trust; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation PAV Fund; The Saints; A CityArts Program 1 Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs; The Illinois Arts Council, A State Agency