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A Red Orchid Theatre Announces New Members To Its Artistic Ensemble

A Red Orchid Theatre announces the addition of eight new members to the Artistic Ensemble: Karen Aldridge, Myron Elliott-Cisneros, Levi Holloway, Travis A. Knight, Jess McLeod, Sadieh Rifai, Grant Sabin, and Steve Schine. A Red Orchid also welcomes two Resident Stage Managers Stephanie Heller and Christa van Baale.

Just as we commit to the artistic development of each of these amazing artists, they have committed to the artistic development of A Red Orchid, comments Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald. I am beaming with pride and over-the-moon to call these artists family. Their work here at A Red Orchid and elsewhere embodies the honesty, rigor and compassion at the core of all we do. It is truly an honor to have them joining us, and I am giddy about our future together.

Karen Aldridge made her A Red Orchid debut in the 25th anniversary production of Victims of Duty. Before that she starred in the international tours of Battlefield and Le Costume, both directed by Peter Brook. She originated the role of Mrs. Phelps in the production of Matilda the Musical on Broadway. Chicago theatre credits include extensive work at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, Goodman Theatre, and Steppenwolf Theatre as well as Writers' Theatre and Next Theatre Company. Karen appeared in a guest star recurring role as Adele Kipling in the Netflix series The Get Down (produced and directed by Baz Luhrmann). Other television & film credits include: Dr. Kendra on NBC's Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, and Chicago Med, Dr. Ella Harris in the Golden Globe-winning series Boss (STARZ!), Blue Bloods (CBS), Unforgettable (CBS), and Ron Howard's film The Dilemma.

Myron Elliott-Cisneros has designed costumes at A Red Orchid for Small Mouth Sounds, Evening at the Talk House, 3C, The Nether, Pilgrim's Progress, In a Garden, and The Opponent. Other Costume Design credits include Monuments, The Brink (Walkabout Theatre); The Pajama Game, Annie Get Your Gun (Ohio Light Opera); The Heart is a Lonely Hunter, To Kill a Mockingbird (Steppenwolf for Young Adults); Oblivion, Ski Dubai, Honest, Sex with Strangers (Steppenwolf First Look); Dental Society Midwinter Meeting (16th Street/ Theatre on the Lake); Eclipsed (Northlight Theatre). Other collaborations include productions with Stages St. Louis, Concert Dance Inc, Cincinnati Playhouse, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Aurora University, College of Wooster, and Berkshire Theatre Festival. Myron is an Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago.

Levi Holloway first collaborated with A Red Orchid as playwright of the world premiere production of The Haven Place. He was then seen on stage in this season's Small Mouth Sounds. His Chicago acting credits include work with companies such as Steppenwolf, Northlight, About Face, Chicago Children's Theatre, Provision, Shattered Globe, and Hell in a Handbag. Levi is the co-founder and co-artistic director of Neverbird Project, a Chicago-based Deaf and hearing youth theatre company. He is a teaching artist for Lookingglass Theatre and Silk Road Rising and a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University.

Travis A. Knight made his A Red Orchid debut with this season's Small Mouth Sounds. Other Chicago credits include: The Crucible (Steppenwolf Theatre); Ah, Wilderness! Christmas Carol, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, Measure for Measure, and Camino Real (Goodman Theatre) and Camelot (Drury Lane). Regional credits include: The Brothers Size (Milwaukee Chamber Theatre); A Streetcar Named Desire (Uprooted Theatre) and Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Forward Theatre). He also spent five seasons at American Players Theatre. TV and web series credits: Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, Mind Games, and Dad Man Walking. Film credits: Henry Gamble's Birthday Party, and Runner.

Jess McLeod made her A Red Orchid Debut directing this season's Fulfillment Center and is the Resident Director of Hamilton Chicago. Upcoming shows include Hansol Jung's Wolf Play (The Gift Theatre), Idris Goodwin's Hype Man (Actors Theatre of Louisville), and Earth To Kenzie (Lyric Opera of Chicago). Chicago credits include Paola Lazaro-Munoz's There's Always the Hudson (Goodman, New Stages), Sharyn Rothstein's Landladies (Northlight), Stacy Oesi-Kuffour's Hang Man (The Gift), Idris Goodwin's How We Got On (Haven), Season on the Line (The House), Short Shakes! A Midsummer Night's Dream (CST), Kevin Coval's L-vis Live! (Victory Gardens), Venus (Steppenwolf Next Up!), Lauren Yee's in a word (Strawdog), Fugitive Songs, The Pajama Game (The Music Theatre Company); and Marry Me A Little (Porchlight). New York credits include work by Joyce Carol Oates, Rachel Axler, Harrison David Rivers, and The Unauthorized Musicology of Ben Folds at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, where she served as Director of Programming from 2005-08. An avid teaching artist and believer in youth and community engagement, McLeod has also worked with Storycatchers Theatre, Young Chicago Authors, and Chicago Voices, and was the 2017 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow (Goodman Theatre) and the 2018 Next Generation Samuel G. Roberson Artistic Fellow (Victory Gardens). M.F.A., Northwestern University.

Sadieh Rifai made her A Red Orchid debut in Evening At The Talk House. Other credits include the world premiere of The Humans (Jeff Award nomination for Best Ensemble), The Amish Project, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, The Original Grease, Columbinus, Doubt, Agnes of God and Speech and Debate (After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance) at American Theater Company; Support Group for Men and Christmas Carol at Goodman Theatre; Ski Dubai with Steppenwolf First Look, The Piano Teacher at Next Theatre and Merchant of Venice at Silk Road Rising. Film credits include The Wise Kids, Nate and Margaret and Olympia. Television credits include The Red Line, Chicago Med and Amazon's Patriot. She is a graduate of the School at Steppenwolf and received the Princess Grace Award in 2011.

Grant Sabin has designed sets for A Red Orchid's productions of The Hothouse, Blasted, Fat Boy, Simpatico, The Mutilated, The Room, and most recently, Killing Game. He was a proud part of the design team for the remount of Simpatico at the McCarter Theatre Center in Princeton, NJ. He was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for his designs of A Red Orchid Theatre's The Sea Horse, American Blues Theatre's Yankee Tavern, and Dog & Pony's Mr. Marmalade. His designs have been seen at Northlight, Victory Gardens, Steppenwolf, Next, The Royal George, Overture Center, Theatre Wit, Gallagher Bluedorn, American Blues, ATC, The House, The Hypocrites, Christina Isabelle Dance, and The Seldoms Dance. A native of rural Illinois, Grant blends his rural roots with urban art. He was recently named one of the Top 50 Players in Chicago Theatre by New City Magazine and is a recipient of the 2015 Michael Maggio Emerging Designer Award. Grant is currently a part-time faculty member at Columbia College and a Member of (USA) 829.

Steve Schine was seen most recently on the A Red Orchid stage in Fulfillment Center, and before that in The Nether, Solstice, Louis Slotin Sonata, Hunger & Thirst, The Earl, and Gagarin Way. He has also performed in notable Chicago productions at The Goodman, Court, First Folio, Steep, Stage Left, Raven, Veterans Art Project, Strawdog, American Theatre Company, Lifeline, Piven, and the late, great Famous Door Theatre, among others. Regional credits include several productions with Lakeside Shakespeare, the Clarence Brown Theatre in Tennessee, as well as new work development at Abington Theatre in NYC. TV: Jack Gatins on Chicago Fire and Curtis on Chicago PD. Video Games: Ubisoft's Watch Dogs. Additionally, as a voice over artist, he can be heard in many TV, radio, and internet commercials.

Stephanie Heller has stage managed at A Red Orchid on the productions of The Meek, Weapon of Mass Impact, Not A Game For Boys, The Unseen, Abigail's Party, Louis Slotin Sonata, New Electric Ballroom, The Mandrake, Becky Shaw, The Butcher of Baraboo, The Aliens, In a Garden, Solstice, Mud Blue Sky, Accidentally Like a Martyr, The Mutilated, Sender, The Nether, Evening at the Talk House, Small Mouth Sounds and assistant directed Trevor. In Chicago for more years than she'd like to admit, Stephanie has worked with Steppenwolf, Strawdog, Rte. 66, City Lit, ShawChicago, Seanachai, Piven, Rivendell, Bailiwick, StreetSigns, Ft. Worth Shakespeare, European Repertory, Irish Repertory, A Crew of Patches, Shakespeare's Motley Crew, The Den and others.

Christa van Baale is stage managing the current production of Killing Game. Other shows at A Red Orchid Theatre include Fulfillment Center, Victims of Duty, 33 To Nothing, Traitor, Simpatico (Chicago and McCarter Theatre Center productions), 3C, Pilgrim's Progress, Red Handed Otter, Strandline, The Opponent (Chicago and Off-Broadway productions), and Megacosm. Other stage/tour management credits include Remy Bumppo Theatre Company, About Face Theatre, Chicago Commercial Collective, Pine Box Theatre, Chicago Children's Theatre, The Gift Theatre, Defiant Theatre (RIP), Illinois Shakespeare Festival, The Artistic Home, Nebraska Theatre Caravan and the Irish dance show, Celticfusion. Christa is a proud member of Actors' Equity Association and alumnae of the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign MFA program.

A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993 and was honored in 2016 with a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. Over the past 26 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award-winning actors, directors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. 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: Karen Aldridge, Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Myron Elliott-Cisneros, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Steve Haggard, Levi Holloway, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Travis A. Knight, Danny McCarthy, Jess McLeod, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Sadieh Rifai, Grant Sabin, Steve Schine, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West.

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