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Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight


Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the Midwest Premiere of By the Water, written by Sharyn Rothstein and directed by Cody Estle. By the Water runs March 16 - April 23, 2017 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie. The press opening is scheduled for Friday, March 24 at 8pm.

Hurricane Sandy has just ravaged the lifelong home of Marty and Mary Murphy. But the storm has ripped apart more than just the walls: with their neighbors too devastated to stay, the couple's beloved Staten Island community is in danger of disappearing forever. Determined to rebuild, Marty wages a campaign to save his neighborhood and his home, but when the Murphys' sons arrive to help their parents dig out, past betrayals come rushing to the surface.

With fierce compassion and poignant humor, By the Water reminds us that the very powers that tear us apart can also bring us together.

"Sharyn is a wonderful talent and we are proud to have her work on our stage directed by longtime collaborator Cody Estle, who has assisted me on many projects here at Northlight," said Artistic Director BJ Jones. "In this play, natural disaster serves as a metaphor for the social and political change that forces generations to confront very real issues about their own lives-lives built on values that have become outmoded. Sharyn's sharp sense of humor built on rich character development is sprinkled throughout, and the themes of justice and family values and loyalties emerge full-throated in her dialogue and her surprising plot."

Director Cody Estle adds, "It's about confronting deep-seated personal problems in the face of a generational divide and finding a way to move forward. Times are changing and it's not about you and me; it's about our grandchildren, and their children. It's about all of us making sacrifices today to create a better tomorrow. The harrowing backdrop of a natural disaster also allows for unexpected wit and humor-all in all I think it will engage, move and inspire audiences."

The cast of By the Water includes Janet Ulrich Brooks (Andrea Carter), Jordan Brown (Sal), Patrick Clear (Phillip Carter), Amanda Drinkall (Emily), Francis Guinan (Marty Murphy), Joel Reitsma (Brian) and Penny Slusher (Mary Murphy).

The creative team includes Jeffrey D. Kmiec (Scenic Design), JR Lederle (Lighting Design), Rachel Laritz (Costume Design), and Lindsay Jones (Sound Design). The Production Stage Manager is Mara Filler.

Northlight's production of By the Water is supported in part by Bill and Eleanor Revelle and Hagerty Consulting.


Cody Estle (Director) is a Chicago-based freelance director. Directing credits include The Assembled Parties, A Loss of Roses, Dividing the Estate, Vieux Carré (named by Chicago Tribune as one of the Year's Best in 2014), Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Boy Gets Girl and Dating Walter Dante at Raven Theatre; Scarcity at Redtwist Theatre; The Seagull and Watch on the Rhine at The Artistic Home; Don't Go Gentle at Haven Theatre; Uncle Bob at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company and Hospitality Suite at Citadel Theatre. He's had the pleasure of assistant directing at Northlight, Steppenwolf, Goodspeed Musicals, Court, Writers, Next Theatre and Strawdog. Estle is the Associate Artistic Director at Raven Theatre, an associate member of SDC and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

Sharyn Rothstein (Playwright) is a playwright and television writer, whose plays and musicals have been workshopped and produced around the country, as well as internationally. Her play By The Water was first produced by Manhattan Theater Club and Ars Nova in 2014 and was the recipient of the 2015 American Theater Critic's Association Francesca Primus Prize for a play by an emerging woman playwright. Her play All The Days was the recipient of the Edgerton Foundation Award and was produced at the McCarter Theater Center in 2016, directed by Emily Mann. In addition to playwriting, Sharyn is a writer for the USA Network drama SUITS. She holds an MFA in dramatic writing from NYU and a Masters in Public Health from Hunter College, with a concentration in Urban Health.

Janet Ulrich Brooks (Andrea Carter) returns to Northlight after previously appearing in Ten Chimneys. A company member of TimeLine, her credits include Bakersfield Mist, The How And The Why, Apple Family Plays and Jeff-nominated performances in All My Sons, When She Danced, Not Enough Air and Weekend. Other credits include Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Seagull (Goodman); Crazy For You (Drury Lane); Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Helen Hayes nomination - Woolly Mammoth Theatre, DC); Failure: A Love Story (Victory Gardens); Golda's Balcony (Jeff Award - Pegasus Players) and work with Steppenwolf, ATC, About Face and Writers. TV: Sense8, Chicago Fire, Chicago Justice and Boss. Film: Divergent, Conviction, One Small Hitch and Fools. A recipient of the Ed See Outstanding Theatre Alumnus Award from University of Central Missouri, Janet is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Jordan Brown (Sal) returns to Northlight where he previously appeared in White Guy on the Bus and Sense & Sensibility. Other Chicago credits include the Goodman's Wonderful Town, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Brigadoon (Jeff Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Musical) and A Christmas Carol; Iphigenia In Aulis (Court); The Pitmen Painters and Juno (TimeLine) and In The Company Of Men (Profiles). Off-Broadway, he played Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Row in the Beckett Theatre). In Baltimore, he appeared in A Skull in Connemara (Centerstage Theatre). TV credits include Sirens and Crisis. Jordan can also be seen playing the role of Kirt in NBC's web series Bobby & Iza. He is a graduate of the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Patrick Clear (Phillip Carter) returns to Northlight where he was seen as Mr. Kirby in last season's You Can't Take It With You. His other Northlight appearances include The Mousetrap, The Miser, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Pride and Prejudice. He has appeared in more than 60 productions with Chicago area theatres including Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Writers and Remy Bumppo. His regional credits include appearances at Hartford Stage, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Arena Stage, the Guthrie Theater, American Shakespeare Theatre, Centerstage, the Huntington Theatre and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He appeared on Broadway in Noises Off and Hollywood Arms. Film and television credits include Empire, The Dark Knight, Chicago PD, Boss, The Untouchables and Early Edition.

Amanda Drinkall (Emily) returns to Northlight where she previously appeared in White Guy on the Bus and Funnyman. Other Chicago credits include: King Charles III (Chicago Shakespeare); Mary Page Marlowe (Steppenwolf), Venus in Fur and Measure for Measure (Goodman); Dutchman (American Blues); Last Train to Nibroc (Haven Theatre-Jeff Award, Best Actress), Rest (Victory Gardens), Pygmalion (Oak Park Festival); Great Expectations (Strawdog); Pride and Prejudice (Lifeline); hamlet is dead. no gravity, The Skriker, Brand, The Love of the Nightingale, and Pullman, WA (Red Tape); and sixteen shows with The Back Room Shakespeare Project. Regional credits include North Carolina & Michigan Shakespeare Festivals. TV credits: Chicago Med, Bobby & Iza. Film credits: The View From Tall. Ms. Drinkall holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Francis Guinan (Marty Murphy) returns to Northlight where he previously appeared in White Guy on the Bus, Stella & Lou, Season's Greetings and Inherit the Wind. Chicago credits include The Night Alive, The Birthday Party, Time Stands Still, The Book Thief, American Buffalo, Balm in Gilead and Say Goodnight, Gracie (Steppenwolf); The Book of Joseph (Chicago Shakespeare); Twist Your Dickens, Pullman Porter Blues and The Seagull (Goodman); A Guide for the Perplexed (Victory Gardens, Jeff Award); and Rantoul and Die (American Blues). He appeared on Broadway in August: Osage County, The Grapes of Wrath and As Is. His television credits include Boss, Eerie, Indiana, ER, Frasier and several Star Trek franchise episodes. Mr. Guinan's film credits include Abundant Acreage Available, The Last Airbender, Typing, Low Tide and Constantine.

Joel Reitsma (Brian) is a company member with Steep Theatre, where he performed in Bobby Clearly and Motortown (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination). He is also a co-founder, writer, performer, and director for The LIVINGroom, a Solo Performance ensemble that tells personal, autobiographical, and universal stories live on stage. Other Chicago credits include A Loss of Roses and Vieux Carré (Raven); Lisbon Traviata (Eclipse); Ecstasy (Cole Theatre); Love and Understanding (Redtwist); and The Brig (Mary Arrchie).

Penny Slusher (Mary Murphy) most recently appeared at Northlight in You Can't Take It With You. Other Northlight productions include Chapatti, Sense & Sensibility and A Life. Chicago credits include: Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman); Uncle Vanya (After Dark Award), The Importance of Being Earnest, James Joyce's "The Dead" (Court); Old Glory, Another Part of the Forest (Jeff Award), Bus Stop, The Subject Was Roses (Writers). Regional: Chapatti and The Hollow (Peninsula Players), My Fair Lady (Asolo Repertory), Sense & Sensibility (Actors Theatre of Louisville and Saint Louis Repertory). International Theatre: Chapatti and Stella & Lou (Northlight at Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland), August: Osage County (Steppenwolf at Sydney Theatre, Australia). Film: Virginia, Meet the Browns, Grace is Gone. Television: The Connie Banks Show.

The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie. Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.

Curtain times are: Tuesdays: 7:30pm (March 21 only); Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except April 5) and 7:30pm; Thursdays: 7:30pm; Fridays: 8:00pm; Saturdays: 2:30pm (except March 18) and 8:00pm; Sundays: 2:30pm (except April 16) and 7:00pm (March 19 and April 9 only)

Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production. All events are free.

Backstage with BJ: By the Water

March 10 at 12:00 pm

at Northlight Theatre

9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL

Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal. Backstage with BJ for By the Water will be held on March 10 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour. Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3605 or

Inside Look: By the Water

March 29 at 10:45am

at Bernard Weinger JCC

300 Revere Dr, Northbrook, IL

Explore the ?social and ?environmental context of By the Water, as well as aspects of the creative process through a discussion and Q&A session with director Cody Estle?.

Panel Discussion: Changing Climate, Changing Lives

April 1 at 4:00pm

at Evanston Public Library

1703 Orrington Ave, Evanston IL

In Northlight Theatre's By the Water, the Murphy family and their Staten Island neighbors lose their home to Hurricane Sandy - a natural disaster amplified by global warming. Join a panel of environmental experts to discuss the very human implications of climate change, and the many ways our changing environment can affect our lives.

Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now in its 42nd season, the organization has mounted over 200 productions, including nearly 40 world premieres. Northlight has earned 198 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 34 Awards. As one of the area's premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from Allstate Insurance; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation; Robert & Isabelle Bass Foundation; BMO Harris Bank; Henrietta Lange Burk Fund; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; The Chicago Community Trust; ComEd, An Exelon Company; The Davee Foundation; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; Full Circle Foundation; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; National Endowment for the Arts; Niles Township; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Room & Board; Sanborn Family Foundation; Dr. Scholl Foundation; The Shubert Foundation, Inc.; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; Tom Stringer Design Partners; Turner Construction; and the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation.

Photo Credit: Michael Brosilow

high res photos Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Drinkall & Reitsma Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Guinan & Brown Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Guinan & Clear Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Guinan & Brown Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Guinan & Slusher Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Guinan & Slusher Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Guinan, Slusher, Clear, Brown Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Slusher & Guinan Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Ulrich Brooks, Drinkall, Slusher Photos: BY THE WATER Opens Tonight at Northlight
Ulrich Brooks, Slusher, Guinan

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