Shattered Globe Theatre Launches 2014-15 Season with Midwest Premiere of THE WHALESHIP ESSEX By Founding Ensemble Member Joe Forbrich Directed by Lou Contey August 28 – October 11, 2014

we_poster_oa_smallforwitShattered Globe Theatre is pleased to launch its 24th season with the Midwest premiere of the nautical drama THE WHALESHIP ESSEX by Founding Ensemble Member Joe Forbrich, directed by Lou Contey, playing August 28 – October 11, 2014 at its resident home, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are available at, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150.

THE WHALESHIP ESSEX will feature a 15-member cast including Shattered Globe Ensemble Members Steve Peebles, Angie Shriner, Drew Schad, Kevin Viol, Ben Werling, Joe Wiens and Brad Woodard with Zach Bloomfield, Lionel Gentle, Darren Jones, Josh Nordmark, Bridget Schreiber, Jonathan Stutzman, Alif Muhammad and Antonio Zhiurinskas.

The ship that inspired Melville’s Moby-Dick and its crew met with tragedy on November 20, 1820, when it was sunk by an enraged sperm whale in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Based on first-hand accounts of this event, this imaginative new play is an epic, ensemble tale of survival. Infused with authentic sea chanteys, THE WHALESHIP ESSEX revels in the common language shared by both the theatrical and the nautical worlds, and weaves an historic story of whaling with our modern-day quest for oil, the lifeblood of our economy.

In 2008, Joe Forbrich built and sailed his 16-foot sailboat Jenny from Long Island to Martha’s Vineyard to spend the summer apprenticing as a boatbuilder by day, while working by night as an actor at The Vineyard Playhouse. It was on this trip that he first heard the story of the Essex and, blissfully caught between the nautical and theatrical worlds, the idea for his play – the true story of the destruction of a whaleship by a vengeful leviathan – was born. THE WHALESHIP ESSEX premiered June 21, 2014 at the newly remodeled Vineyard Playhouse after a reading at The Players Club and a workshop this spring in New York City.

“Shattered Globe is thrilled to reunite Joe Forbrich, now a produced playwright, with director Lou Contey for this boldly theatrical new production,” comments Producing Artistic Director Sandy Shinner. “These two artists have a long history of exceptional work together. Opening SGT’s new season with The Whaleship Essex honors this important partnership that has been forged in the Ensemble over the past 23 years – and signals a commitment to producing new work. Another issue of growing importance to the company is diversity in all its forms. In this work, we are addressing diversity not only within the racially diverse cast, but also in the design team. While the show features the men who have gone to sea, the design team and production staff is composed primarily of women artists,” adds Shinner.

“Joe’s play captures the theme ‘for what shall it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul,’” states director Lou Contey. “In a world constantly challenged by climate change and dependence on fossil fuels, the story of The Whaleship Essex is even more relevant as it examines mankind’s hubris in relationship to his environment. The play shows that the relentless pursuit of oil, in any era, has a price beyond the cost of a barrel of oil: it may cost us our humanity: indeed our very existence,” adds Contey.

The production team for THE WHALESHIP ESSEX includes: Ann Davis (set designer), Sarah Jo White (costume designer), Shelley Strasser Holland (lighting designer), J. J. Porterfield (sound designer), Michael Stanfill (projection design), Vivian Knouse (props designer), Christina Gorman (fight choreographer), Judy Anderson (production manager), Amanda Rozmiarek (technical director), Susan Gosdick (dialect coach) and Jeffrey Clark Stokes (stage manager).



Playwright: Founding Ensemble Member Joe Forbrich

Director: Lou Contey

Cast: Shattered Globe Ensemble Members Ben Werling (The Proprietor), Brad Woodard (Captain George Pollard), Joe Wiens (First Mate Owen Chase), Angie Shriner (Thomas Nickerson), Steve Peebles (Boatsteerer Benjamin Lawrence), Drew Schad (Charles Ramsdell), Kevin Viol (Boatswain Isaac Cole) with as well as Josh Nordmark (Second Mate Matthew Joy), Bridget Schreiber (Nancy Coffin), Darren Jones (Able Seaman Richard Peterson), Jonathan Stutzman (Boatsteerer Thomas Chappel), Lionel Gentle (Carpenter Lawson Thomas), Zach Bloomfield (Boatsteerer Obed Hendricks), Alif Muhammad (Purser William Bond) and Antonio Zhiurinskas (Owen Coffin).

Location: Theater Wit, 1229 W Belmont, in Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, August 28 at 8 pm, Friday, August 29 at 8 pm, Saturday, August 30 at 8 pm and Sunday, August 31 at 3 pm

Press performances/Opening: Wednesday, September 3 at 7:30 pm

Regular run: Friday, September 5Saturday, October 11, 2014

Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, September 4.

Tickets: Previews: $20. Regular Run: $30. Discounts: “Under 30” $20, students $15, seniors $25 and industry $15 on Thursdays. Tickets are available at, in person at the Theater Wit Box Office or by calling (773) 975-8150.

About the Playwright:

Joe Forbrich, a Founding Shattered Globe Ensemble Member, is an actor, writer, set designer, sailor and boatbuilder. He appeared most recently on the stage in Lucky Guy on Broadway, and in All’s Well That Ends Well and Measure for Measure at New York Shakespeare Festival. His TV work includes Elementary, Unforgettable, White Collar, 30 Rock, Blue Bloods and Law & Order. He can be seen on film in Freedomland, We Own The Night, My Own Love Song and in the upcoming films The Red Robin and Hypothetically, directed by Peter Zinn.

About the Director:

Lou Contey returns to Shattered Globe where he has directed A View from the Bridge, The Manchurian Candidate, A Streetcar Named Desire, All My Sons, Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Judgement at Nuremberg and Requiem for a Heavyweight. He has directed over 70 plays, among them The Master & Margarita, Marriage Play, The Diviners, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth and Hamlet. He is an Associate Artist at TimeLine Theatre where he directed Frost/Nixon, Awake and Sing!, The General from America, Lillian, Copenhagen, It’s All True and Pravda. He has also worked at The Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, Strawdog Theatre, Theatre at the Center, Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, Provision Theatre, Eclipse Theatre and American Theater Company. He is a twelve-time Jeff Award nominee and has received seven Jeff Citations, as well as an After Dark Award. He teaches acting and directing part-time at The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Shattered Globe Theatre (Sandy Shinner, Producing Artistic Director; Doug McDade, Managing Director) was born in a storefront space on Halsted Street in l991. Since then, SGT has produced more than 60 plays, including nine American and world premieres, and garnered an impressive 42 Jeff Awards and 97 Jeff Award nominations, as well as the acclaim of critics and audiences alike. Shattered Globe is an ensemble driven theater whose mission is to create an intimate, visceral theater experience that challenges the perspective of audience and artist alike through passionate storytelling. Shattered Globe is inspired by the diversity of our city and committed to making the theater available to all audiences. Through initiatives such as the Protégé Program, Shattered Globe creates a space which allows emerging artists to grow and share in the ensemble experience.

Shattered Globe Theatre is partially supported and funded by generous grants from The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, The MacArthur Fund for Arts & Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, The Illinois Arts Council, The Field Foundation of Illinois, The Blum-Kovler Family Foundation, The Robert J. & Loretta W. Cooney Family Foundation and Arts Work Fund.

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