“Saint Jane”

Jane Addams was born in 1860 in Cedarville, Illinois, to an Illinois State Senator who was a friend of Abraham Lincoln. She was an early reader, freethinker, and outstanding student. After graduating from Rockford Female Seminary and touring Europe with fellow graduate Ellen Gates Starr, they decided to move to Chicago to open a settlement house, the first of its kind in the U.S. Soon, Hull House became a legendary center of activism, reform, inspiration, and sisterhood. Jane and her crew of merry women forged ahead to help establish the field of social work, establish laws protecting workers, women, and children, and welcoming immigrants. She co-founded both the NAACP and the ACLU and served as president of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom from its beginnings. She opposed World War I, got active in the woman’s suffrage movement, and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931. Jane spent more than 30 years in a close relationship with Mary Rozet Smith, nine years her junior, with whom Jane traveled the world and vacationed in Bar Harbor, Maine. Jane died only one year after Mary’s death. There are many biographies about this fascinating and influential woman, and she herself wrote prolifically. For selected resources about Jane Addams, Hull House and The Columbian Exposition of 1893, please look at the Resources section.

Production Team and Cast

Kristin Lems

(Playwright, Composer, Lyricist, Producer) has won numerous national and state writing awards, including a prestigious Hopwood Award from University of Michigan. A full-length musical revue of her original songs, Catch it on the Run, ran at the Station Theatre in Urbana, Illinois. She was composer/lyricist for a children’s musical by Karima Ibsen, Voyage of the Radiant Shield, and provided and created original music for a radio play, Happy Family (Schreiber, 2019). She has written songs for National Geographic and the Illinois Farm Bureau, and her song “The Heritage of Farming” was part of a coveted Cindy Award. Kristin’s original songs are featured in video and audio productions including The Best of Broadside (Smithsonian/Folkways, a Grammy finalist) and The Social Power of Music (Smithsonian/ Folkways 2019). Her songs have been covered by Anne Feeney, Bruce Hancock, the Los Angeles Women’s Community Choir, Margaret Roadknight, the Fest City Singers, the Tucson Women’s Chorus, and many others. Her CDs of original songs, including Sharing, a CD-with-book for children, can be purchased here or through her website. You may subscribe to her mailing list at the bottom of this page.  (she/her/hers)

Douglas Post

(Director) directed the world premiere productions of his musicals The Wind in the Willows (Organic Lab Theater), The Other Wise Man (Leo A. Lerner Theater), Everyman (Bailiwick Repertory), Gethsemane (Holy Covenant Church) and The Long River Passes (Orphans).  He also directed Shakespeare’s The Tempest (San Antonio Cultural Center), Jones and Schmidt’s I Do! I Do! (Thunder Bay Summer Theater), and the audio dramas Happy Family and The Optimist (both for I’ll Tell You a Story, LLC).  He has produced three original cast recordings for Long River Records, and supervised the composition and arrangements of music for over 25 productions.  (he/him/his)

Diana Lawrence

(Music Director) has garnered credits that include Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Second City, American Musical Theatre Project, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Storycatchers Theatre, an organization that creates musical theatre with incarcerated youth. As a composer/lyricist, Diana is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, and her musical, Mill Girls, was granted a 2018/19 Incubator workshop at the O’Neill Theatre Center. Dedicated to empowering the voices of girls and women, Diana also performs staged concerts and workshops as a member of the cross-genre vocal trio, Artemisia. dianalawrence.com (photo: Joe Mazza – Brave Lux)  (she/her/hers)(Music Director) has garnered credits that include Goodman Theatre, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Second City, American Musical Theatre Project, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Storycatchers Theatre, an organization that creates musical theatre with incarcerated youth. As a composer/lyricist, Diana is a member of the BMI Musical Theatre Workshop, and her musical, Mill Girls, was granted a 2018/19 Incubator workshop at the O’Neill Theatre Center. Dedicated to empowering the voices of girls and women, Diana also performs staged concerts and workshops as a member of the cross-genre vocal trio, Artemisia. dianalawrence.com (photo: Joe Mazza – Brave Lux)  (she/her/hers)

Dan Dietrich

(Mixing Engineer) is a Chicago-based audio engineer, consultant, and educator. With over 20 years’ professional experience and a background in studio recording, engineering, producing, consulting, live sound, and installations, Dietrich has developed a reputation as being no-nonsense, easy to work with, and client-focused.  After extensive training in both recording arts and studio management, in 2004 Dietrich opened Wall to Wall Recording, where he serves as President and Chief Engineer. Wall to Wall has hosted sessions with Andrew Bird, Neko Case, Sarah Silverman, Doug Shorts, Chvrches, Grizzly Bear, Gov’t Mule, and Art Brut, among many others.  (he/him/his)

Tom Cortese

(Pianist, Arranger, Copyist) is a versatile musician and computer programmer. He was a member of the CERL PLATO Music Lab at University of Illinois and obtained his doctorate there, in Theoretical & Applied Mechanics. A highly regarded pianist, both as a soloist and accompanist, Tom records classical piano, specializing in works by obscure composers, as well as jazz/pop/show tunes, original compositions, and free improvisations. His  YouTube channel is “themadmusician6”. Tom has notated music for large ensembles as well as for his own compositions. He is a keyboardist in several bands, ranging from jazz and pop, country, gospel/praise to rock. (he/him/his) [email protected]

Cast

Rebecca Keeshin

(Nellie Wicks, Evelyn) is a Chicago native whose credits include Porchlight Music Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, Marriott Theatre, First Folio, and Emerald City. She originated the role of Winnie Foster in the TYA World Premiere of Tuck Everlasting at Nashville Children’s Theatre, and the role of Sophie Kringle in the new Heisler and Goldrich musical, Auntie Claus. She received her BFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul University. She is represented by DDO Chicago.  (she/her/hers)

Kathy Cowan

(Jane Addams) has appeared with Doc Severinsen, the Milwaukee Symphony, the Paul Winter Consort, and on the Millennium Stage at the Kennedy Center. She toured for a decade as a lead in productions of In the Deep Heart’s Core, and she performs regularly at venues around Chicago, including the Phantom Collective, the Newberry Library, the Ruth Page Dance Company, and the Irish American Heritage Center. Kathy teaches voice at NEIU and the Old Town School. (she/her/hers)

Monica Szaflik

(Ellen Gates Starr, Second Juvenile Protection Lady) is a Chicago native who is honored to be a part of this new musical celebrating these historically amazing women.  She has had the pleasure of working with William Street Rep, Northlight, First Folio, Metropolis, Boho, Circle, EFCT and House Theatre.  Monica recently discovered the joys of voiceover acting and has since begun voicing radio plays, podcasts, audiobooks, and even a cartoon.  However, her most recent role is by far her favorite – the role of Mommy to her infant son Xander Sky, who lights up her life.  (she/her/hers)

Maddie Sachs

(Julia Lathrop, First Juvenile Protection Lady) is a Chicago based performing artist represented by Lily’s Talent Agency. Chicago theatre credits include Howards End (Remy Bumppo), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (Metropolis Performing Arts Center), and the world premiere of The Bottle Tree (Stage Left). Regional credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry IV Part I (Hoosier Shakes) and a tv debut in season 5 of Chicago Fire. For more on Maddie, visit maddiesachs.info or follow @maddiesacts. (she/her/hers)

Patrick Byrnes

(George Wicks, John Dewey) is a Chicago-based actor. Recent credits: I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter (u/s) at Steppenwolf Theatre, Casa Valentina at Pride Films & Plays, Frost/Nixon at Redtwist Theatre, Marie Christine at Boho Theatre, Far From Heaven and Marry Me a Little (u/s) at Porchlight Music Theatre, Titanic at Griffin Theatre, Assassins at Kokandy Productions, Peter and the Starcatcher at Metropolis Performing Arts Center, and A Marvin Hamlisch Songbook at Theo Ubique. Patrick is represented by Shirley Hamilton Talent. (he/him/his)

Frankie Leo Bennett

(Gene Wicks) has performed in Head Over Heels (Kokandy Productions); Sweeney Todd, Altar Boyz (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre); In the Heights (Best Actor in a Musical – BroadwayWorld Chicago Award), Revisits: 1776, New Faces Sing Broadway 1985 (Porchlight Music Theatre); Poseidon: an Upside Down Musical; The Golden Girls – Bea Afraid, and Christmas Dearest (Hell in a Handbag Productions). He is also playwright/composer for Resident Services: A Crossed-up Animal Musical and a regular guest speaker at Porchlight’s Movie Musical Mondays and [email protected] www.FrankieLeoBennett.com @FrankieLeoBennett  (he/him/his)

John B. Leen

(Wicks, Sol Friedman) is very excited to work on a new musical project during this Covid wildness! John was most recently seen on stage at Lyric Opera, Goodman Theatre and Theo Ubique and can also be heard and seen on radio and TV spots for the Chicago Bulls, Firestone, Cellcom, and others.  He has narrated dozens of audiobooks and industrials. Love to my beautiful wife Jordan and my wonderful son Eamon. Website: johnbleen.com (he/him/his)

Therese Harrold

(Addie Wicks) appreciates opportunities to bring characters to life. Her passion for performance is seconded by her dedication to play and screenwriting, directing and teaching, and how each enriches the other. A graduate of DePaul University in Speech and Drama, Therese honed her potential in acting and other theatre arts at Chicago Dramatists, The Actor’s Studio, Columbia College and Second City School of Improvisation, and on stage and technically, behind the scenes, in community and professional theaters.(she/her/hers)

Kingsley Day

(Richard Crane) recently appeared at Pride Arts Center as Terry in Casa Valentina, at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol, and at City Lit as the Judge in Trial by Jury and Sir Harcourt in London Assurance. He has played the patter baritone lead in all 14 Gilbert & Sullivan operettas with the Savoyaires, where as resident director he has staged Ruddigore and The Yeomen of the Guard. (he/him/his)