Lauren Gunderson's SILENT SKY Shines A Light On Female Astronomers

Lauren Gunderson's SILENT SKY Shines A Light On Female Astronomers

The play's director Claudia Billings says "Gunderson in the most exciting playwright working today. She has made it her career focus to bring the stories of women who didn't get the recognition they deserved - to the forefront. The script has found huge success across the nation since it's release in 2011. We are beyond excited to bring it to the Las Cruces area. With NMSU's rich history and research in Astronomy, we feel like this is the perfect story to tell."

Astronomer Henrietta Leavitt trades the comforts of her rural home for a job at the Harvard Observatory in Massachusetts. Her ambition leaves both her family and her new colleagues (women known simply as "computers") perplexed. But with a single discovery, their views of themselves, each other, and the universe itself will be upended for all time. An incredible story of bold love, boundless determination, and the vast grandeur of the cosmos-an unparalleled treat for the heart, mind, and senses.

At the center of Silent Sky is Henrietta Leavitt, a passionate and inquisitive "computer" at the turn of the 20th Century. She trades the comforts of home for a job at the Harvard Observatory, grinding through routine calculations for astronomy studies that fascinate her-though as a woman, she is not allowed to so much as touch a telescope. Staying long after hours to pursue her own science work she discovers a technique that makes it possible to measure the distance to stars by their pulsating light. Astounding truths cascade from this single shocking discovery, upending her colleagues' views of themselves, each other, and the universe itself for all time.

The five-person cast of all NMSU theatre students features Jaiden Jaramillo as Henrietta Leavitt, Jenna Ivey as Margaret Leavitt, Isaac Lucero as Peter Shaw, E. Gallegos as Willamina Fleming and Molly Schafer as Annie Cannon. Set and Lighting designs are by Jim Billings, costumes by NMSU senior Junice Robinson and sound by student Daniel Miller.


The author of Silent Sky A play by Lauren Gunderson is a playwright, screenwriter, and short story author. She was named the most produced playwright in America by American Theatre Magazine in 2017, was awarded the 2016 Lanford Wilson Award from the Dramatist Guild, the 2016 Otis Gurnsey Award for Emerging Writer, and was awarded the prestigious 2014 Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award.

Tickets are available at and the NMSU PamAm Ticket Center or at the ASNMSU Center for the Arts one hour before each show.

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