Mad Cow Theatre Announces Cast of SILENT SKY

Mad Cow Theatre Announces Cast of SILENT SKY

Mad Cow Theatre is delighted to announce the cast and creative team of Lauren Gunderson's Silent Sky, the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt, which plays out against a landscape of fierce sisterly love, early feminism, universe-revealing science, and a time when humans were called "computers."

Silent Sky takes the Zehngebot-Stonerock stage Feb. 16, 2018 as the third production of Mad Cow Theatre's Season 21. Mad Cow is thrilled to produce another play by this terrific writer, who was the country's most produced living playwright in 2016 and also wrote the award-winning I and You, at Mad Cow in 2014.

In Silent Sky, Henrietta Leavitt begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s but isn't allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women "computers," charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in "girl hours" and has no time for the women's probing theories. The true story of the 19th-century astronomer explores a woman's place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women's ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. But Leavitt and her female peers believe in both scientific progress and social progress, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

"This beautiful play filled with passion, language and the uplifting story of Henrietta and her colleagues is a treasure, says Mitzi Maxwell, Executive Director. "Silent Sky is an important play for these times, you'll leave the performance fulfilled and empowered!"

Writes playwright Gunderson: "The thrill of Silent Sky is that we are telling the story of a strong woman in a strong women's world. Not only is Henrietta (our hero) ambitious, funny, romantic, nerdy, and sharp; all three other women in the play are the same.

"The great thing about this is that it's based in history. The "ladies of the logbook" were a real cohort of women recruited by Edward Pickering at the Harvard Observatory to "count stars." This group of creative, curious, dedicated women pushed astronomy forward, and they did it in a room of their own."

Silent Sky was commissioned by and produced first at South Coast Repertory Theatre in California in 2011 and has gone on to be produced in regional theatres across the country. The San Francisco Chronicle called it "sheer magic," and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote: "Lauren Gunderson's luminously beautiful play Silent Sky is an intellectual epic told on an intimate scale. Bottom line: Heavenly."

At Mad Cow, Melissa Whitworth plays Henrietta Leavitt. Whitworth played Thomas Jefferson in Mad Cow's all-woman production of 1776 and was Olga in Three Sisters. She is joined by Mad Cow veterans Ginger Lee McDermott (The Big Meal, Other Desert Cities, The Road to Mecca), Adam Reilly (Animal Crackers, Three Sisters, Long Day's Journey Into Night), and Karel Wright (1776, The Dead, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof), along with Bethany Scarlet Sparacio in her Mad Cow debut.

Director Mark Edward Smith (Big River, The Amish Project, Three Sisters) returns to Mad Cow and is joined by lighting designer Amy Hadley (The Big Meal, 1776, Pygmalion), costume designer Janine Papin (Born Yesterday and who appeared in 1776 and Big River), sound designer Alex Mason (The Tale of the Allergist's Wife) and scenic designer Casey Price making his Mad Cow debut.

Previous work with Mad Cow in parentheses.

Regular tickets are $40. Preview tickets are $15. Pay What You Wish advance tickets are $18. Tickets are available online at or by calling the Mad Cow Theatre patron services team at 407-297-8788 ext. 1.

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