Whitney Morse (Lydia) is excited to make her The Brown Paper Box debut. Her recent Chicago credits include The Children’s Hour (Pride Films and Plays), Down Range (Genesis Theatricals), Trafford Tanzi and I Carry Your Heart (Prologue Theatre Company), Accomplice (Jedlicka Performing Arts Center), The Turn of the Screw, Unnecessary Farce, and The Merchant of Venice (First Folio Theater), and Little Women (Theatre-Hikes). New York credits: Hold Music (The Culture Project), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Dir. Andrei Serban) and Three Sisters (Dir. Andrei Serban). You can see Whitney later this winter in Other Desert Cities at Citadel Theatre. Whitney has an MFA in Acting from Columbia University.
Full name? Whitney Alice Morse
Where you were born/raised? I was born in Petosky, Michigan, but grew up in Central Florida.
Your position/role within the SPIKE HEELS family? I play Lydia.
How would you describe your character? Lydia is awesome! She is all the kinds of assertive I wish I were.
In 5 words, how would you describe SPIKE HEELS? Smart + Sexy + Wordplay + Pygmalion = AWESOME
How would you describe Theresa Rebeck's writing? It's like a carousel: you just have to like fucking jump on and ride, ya know? It's like—one of those roller coasters at Disney World that looks like its for kids but really it's—Wait. I am sorry. I'm confused. What was the question?
What's your favorite kind of shoe? Probably Toms. I love any shoe that doesn't require that I put on socks.
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? I WANT Chloe Sivengny but I am sure Lifetime wouldn't be able to get her so it would end up being Alison Sweeney or someone like that.
Special hidden talent? I can name the presidents in order.
Something you're REALLY bad at? Simple math. Pretty bad.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Hmmm... I live in Lakeview, so let's go with that.
Current local show you've been recommending to friends? UMMM... SPIKE HEELS DUH!
Most played song on your iPod? At the moment probably "Let It Go." My son LOVES Frozen.
Pop culture guilty pleasure? Grey's Anatomy
Three things you can't live without? Coffee, wine, and OH! My family, yeah yeah—them. (priorities man. AMIRIGHT?)
"I'll never understand why…" some restaurants don't have vegetarian options....
SPIKE HEELS runs January 23–February 8, 2015 at THE WEST STAGE AT THE RAVEN THEATRE COMPLEX. Thursdays–Saturdays @ 8 PM and Sundays @ 3:30PM. Tickets are available at http://spikeheelschi.bpt.me.
Justin Harner (Assistant Director) recently performed in Walkabout Theater Company's Beach Party at the End of the World. He has also appeared twice in The One Minute Play Festival at Victory Gardens, A New Brain as assistant musical director with The Brown Paper Box Co., WILD (Jordy) with Kid Brooklyn Productions, Caesura: A Butchery (Casca) with The Plagiarists, and Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls (Martin) with The Brown Paper Box Co. He is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington and an artistic associate of The Brown Paper Box Co..
Full name? Justin Harner
Where you were born/raised? Effingham, Illinois
Your position/role within the SPIKE HEELS family? Assistant Director
What does that mean/what do you do? I'm here to observe the process and help troubleshoot with any problems, both onstage and offstage. For this show, I'm also sound designing.
In 5 words, how do you describe SPIKE HEELS? Laughter and embarrassment, we relate. (That sounds like the end of a haiku?)
How would you describe Theresa Rebeck's writing? Her writing forces the actors and the audience to engage with the vocabulary used onstage. I often find myself cringing or nodding my head up-and-down vigorously, depending on whether or not I agree with what is being said. She really nails the art of a concise argument.
What's your favorite kind of shoe? I love a good brogue shoe. Especially in the summer, without socks. ...wait, was I supposed to say SPIKE HEELS?
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? I feel like Shia LeBoeuf is due to hit the Lifetime level soon. That would be an interesting career choice for him, and a total shoe-in for me. Yep, not gonna miss another opportunity to mention shoes.
Special hidden talent? Not afraid to try new food products.
Something you're REALLY bad at? Being bad at things, in general! I've got a mean self-competitive streak. And an obsession with self-improvement.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Uptown. Though I don't know anyone who lives there anymore. Why can't they just pick up Lincoln Square and put it on the lake?
Current local show you've been recommending to friends? Book of Merman at Mary's Attic Jan. 15–Feb. 15. Tickets are going super fast, and I'm playing piano for part of the run!
Most played song on your iPod? "Keep on Lying"—Jessie Ware. It was an angsty fall.
Pop culture guilty pleasure? Is The Comeback considered pop culture? Just caught up on that fantastic series.
Three things you can't live without? A book, a blanket, and pajama pants. It's negative digits out there!
"I'll never understand why…" Google can't make email chains more intuitive. I'm really bad at replying, and often email the wrong people. Can we stick that back up top in the "something you're really bad at" section, so I don't sounds like such a perfectionist?
When taking on a play, a director may first need to decide on the basics of the setting—the where, the when, etc. In most plays, this is spelled out for you. But sometimes, you get a little gift on that title page of your script: those three words, “Time: The Present.” Which is what I was faced with on page 3 of my Spike Heels script. This is a contemporary play, first workshopped in 1990 and fully produced in New York in 1992. And even almost 25 years after it was written, it still reads and sounds like it could be happening now.
In Spike Heels, playwright Theresa Rebeck uses humor and wit to tackle some pretty big issues, one of these being sexual harassment in the workplace. Within the first scene, we learn that Georgie has been the victim of unwanted sexual advances and threats from her boss at work. But she goes back the next day because she “needs the job” and because “it was just talk.” The men in the show react in opposite ways: one becoming furious and railing about how “indecent” it was, and the other railing against society for being “so fucking sensitive these days,” claiming that the term “sexual harassment” means nothing anymore. I couldn’t help but think of the #yesallwomen hashtag that made such a big impact earlier in 2014 (and the #notallmen hashtag that followed), as well as the fact that feminism as a movement has returned to the forefront of the media. The story presented in that first scene not only could happen today, it is happening today. We could change the cordless phone onstage to a smartphone and no one would ever think that this show was written 25 years ago.
Which is precisely why I knew I had to set the show in 1990. Because so little has changed.
One of the things that I have always loved about theatre is that there is such a large spectrum of “uses” for it. At one end, we have pure entertainment—a production that simply transports an audience out of their daily lives, amuses them, and gives them escape. This in itself is a lofty goal, in my opinion. On the other end of the spectrum, we have theatre that instructs, presents serious issues to the audience, and maybe (hopefully) even inspires action on those issues in their lives. For me, Spike Heels sits very comfortably in the middle of that spectrum. Yes, it is hilarious. And yes, it has a lot to say about class, education, sexual harassment, and feminism. Rebeck herself has said, “I do see comedy as a response to being wounded and a sort of fierce need to survive.”
The beauty of this show is that it is in no way preachy, stereotypical, or unrealistic. It is about four people—two men and two women—reacting to a situation in the way that their lives have prepared them react, from the character who can intellectualize the problems away due to his position of privilege to the character who has been conditioned to put up with abuse because quitting a job is not an option financially. But the men are not simply monsters, and the women are not simply innocents. They all make mistakes, and they all in some way perpetuate the classist and patriarchal system that they are supposedly fighting against.
But perhaps my favorite thing about Spike Heels is that it is a celebration of change, and the power of honesty and respect to transform people and relationships. Education and opportunity can change someone’s life. People who see themselves as moral and ethical can do terrible things. People who wield power in inappropriate ways can wake up and change. It is character-centric, and we at The Brown Paper Box Co. are blessed with four extremely talented actors who are bringing these people to life.
Today, I was reading How To Be A Woman, by Caitlin Moran. In it, she writes, “If there is to be a fifth wave of feminism, I would hope that the main thing that distinguishes it from all that came before is that women counter the awkwardness, disconnect, and bullshit of being a modern woman not by shouting at it, internalizing it, or squabbling about it—but by simply pointing at it and going ‘HA!’ instead.” This is what Rebeck did 24 years ago. And this is what we are doing in this production. Come say “HA!” with us. Because laughing at the problems of the past, and recognizing them in our present, is perhaps the best way to solve them in the future.
Director, Spike Heels
The Brown Paper Box Co.
Jesse Dornan (Andrew) is excited to work with The Brown Paper Box Company. Previous Chicago credits include Both Your Houses (Remy Bumppo), SS! A Midsummer Nights Dream (CST), and Making God Laugh (Fox Valley Repertory). Regional credits include King Lear and Comedy of Errors (Door Shakespeare Festival); Two Gentlemen of Verona and Romeo and Juliet (Nebraska Shakespeare Festival); The Seafarer, The Government Inspector, and A Christmas Carol (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre); A Midsummer Nights Dream (Pioneer Memorial Theater); and Glengarry Glen Ross, Clybourne Park, and You Can’t Take It With You (Asolo Repertory Theatre). Jesse has an MFA from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Thank you to Colleen for always being there.
Full name? Jesse Michael Dornan
Where you were born/raised? Salt Lake City, UT
Your position/role within the SPIKE HEELS family? Andrew
How would you describe your character? He’s sensitive and inquisitive. Wants to help everyone in any way he can. I think it makes him feel more alive to change the world, one person at a time.
In 5 words, how would you describe SPIKE HEELS? Playful story of lust (and) loss.
How would you describe Theresa Rebeck's writing? Sitcom, quick dialogue with witty remarks and deep observations of human relationships.
What's your favorite kind of shoe? PUMA
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? Hugh Grant
Special hidden talent? Juggling
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? UPTOWN!
Current local show you've been recommending to friends? Pericles at Chicago Shakespeare
Pop culture guilty pleasure? True Blood
Three things you can't live without? My cat, my girlfriend, and chocolate
Sara Heymann (Set/Prop Designer) is originally from Riverwoods, IL. She went to school at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY to study installation art and painting. She ran the art and music warehouse Mortville from 2008-2012, and has built sets for Pride Films and Plays, Redmoon, and Odradek theater company. Her influences are Tove Jansson, Patricia Norris, Vincent Peranio, and Eiko Ishioka.
Full name? Sara B. Heymann
Where you were born/raised? Riverwoods, IL
Your position/role within the SPIKE HEELS family? Set Designer
What does that mean/what do you do? I get to time travel to the 90's, endlessly scroll through Craigslist for hot deals. Build stuff.
What's your favorite kind of shoe? Stripper heels with the tip jar. There should be a tip jar in all shoes.
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? Traci Lords
Special hidden talent? I can bark like a dolphin
Something you're REALLY bad at? Gardening
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Little Village
Current local show you've been recommending to friends? Sabrina Ott, "here and there pink melon joy"
Most played song on your iPod? Nina Simone, Mississippi Goddamn
Pop culture guilty pleasure? I watched that Lindsay Lohan reality show.....
Three things you can't live without? Cheese, Netflix, NPR
Richie Schiraldi (Stage Manager) is excited to make his Stage Management debut in Chicago with The Brown Paper Box Co.! Richie recently graduated from Coastal Carolina University with BFA in Physical Theatre. He studied traditional European circus arts and clown at Accademia dell'arte in Italy. When he is not clowning around, he loves to spend his spare time behind the scenes. Recent tech credits include Anything Goes (SM), Music Man (ASM), and Will Rogers Follies (ASM).
Full name? Richard Carl Schiraldi Jr.
Where you were born/raised? I was born in Washingtonville, New York. I was raised all over. I lived in New York for 8 years; Maryland for 8; Myrtle Beach, SC for 6; Italy for 1; and Chicago for almost 3 months. As far as I'm concerned, I'm still being raised.
Your position within the SPIKE HEELS family? Stage Manager
What does that mean/what do you do? Short answer? That means that... I manage the stage. Once the show opens, the designers and directors essentially hand it over to me.
I'm basically responsible for anything and everything that goes right or wrong.
In 5 words, how do you describe SPIKE HEELS? It's not anything like anything.
How would you describe Theresa Rebecks's writing? I originally wrote a solid two-sentence response, but it sounded much more intelligent in my head than it did on digital paper. So I will say this: Upon first reading the play, it just feels like everyone is just yelling at each other for 90 pages. However, after a second, third, and forth read, and hearing and watching it in person, this piece is 100% a comedy. There is a lot of awkward humor, and some dark humor, all the while teaching you a few deep life lessons.
What's your favorite kind of shoe? Depends on the weather. I like no shoe. If I need to wear one (or two), I have a solid pair of brown leather boots that have seen half of the world with me - literally.
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? Kenneth Branagh
Special hidden talent? I've got a BFA in Physical Theatre. Special talents include, but are not limited to: Juggling, Clowning, Stage Combat, Balloon Animals, Carpentry, and I was a knight at Medieval Times in Myrtle Beach.
Something you're REALLY bad at? Talking to new people, and surfing.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Since I only moved here two months ago, the neighborhood I know the most is Andersonville.
Current local show you've been recommending to friends? Spike Heels. Duh. Trick Question?
Most played song on your iPod? What's an iPod? I've still got an MP3 player. "Monkey Wrench" - Foo Fighters.
Pop culture guilty pleasure? Sometimes I listen to Taylor Swift when I'm alone. Don't judge. I've confided this information in you.
Three things you can't live without? A notebook (pencil included), juggling balls (they literally have bought me a train ticket and a room for a night while I was stranded in Europe), and ... water.
"I'll never understand why…" That's a loaded half sentence. I'll never understand why people do what they do. That's broad enough for you to contemplate a lot of things.
SPIKE HEELS runs January 23 - February 8, 2015 at THE WEST STAGE AT THE RAVEN THEATRE COMPLEX. Thursdays-Saturdays @ 8 PM and Sundays @ 3:30 PM. Tickets are available at http://spikeheelschi.bpt.me.
Some shots of the SPIKE HEELS cast in rehearsal! Photos by CB Lindsey.
SPIKE HEELS runs January 23 - February 8, 2015 at THE WEST STAGE AT THE RAVEN THEATRE COMPLEX. Thursdays - Saturdays @ 8 PM and Sundays @ 3:30 PM. Tickets are available at http://spikeheelschi.bpt.me.
SPIKE HEELS runs January 23 - February 8, 2015 at THE WEST STAGE AT THE RAVEN THEATRE COMPLEX. Thursday-Saturday @8PM and Sunday @3:30PM. Tickets available at http://spikeheelschi.bpt.me
A recent study by researchers at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville found that field trips to a live theatre show enhance students' literary knowledge, tolerance, and empathy. Just about anyone in theatre could have told you that—but it's nice to have some empirical data backing it up!
We believe theatre should be accessible to everyone, especially students, who don't often have a lot of spending money to throw around. That's why we're offering tickets discounted at $10 to all performances of SPIKE HEELS for student groups, with an opportunity for a talkback after the matinee performances on January 25th and February 1st.
For more information about our education discount, contact Michelle at email@example.com. For more information about our production of SPIKE HEELS, visit our page here.
Jillian Weingart (Georgie) is so excited to be working with Stephanie and The Brown Paper Box Co. once again! Past credits include Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors (Woodstock Opera House), Sally Bowles in Cabaret (Brightside Theater), Rhoda in A New Brain, and Sally in Reefer Madness! (The Brown Paper Box Co.). When she's not acting, Jillian writes for her food blog, I'd Come Back For That! Much love to her agent Shirley Hamilton and Mike for all that they do!
Full name? Jillian Kate Weingart
Where you were born/raised? Mostly suburbs... Crystal lake area
Your position/role within the SPIKE HEELS family? I'm playing Georgie!
How would you describe your character? Georgie is a firecracker. She's way smarter than she looks... She's tough, but sensitive, and she sticks up for herself. As Edward puts it... "She makes Godzilla look like a Barbie doll!"
In 5 words, how would you describe SPIKE HEELS? Witty, hilarious, sexy, scotch-y, and Jehovah's Witness-y.
How would you describe Theresa's writing? It's very natural and intense. Everything has a wonderful and natural build or swell. It's like riding a wave... Once you understand one relationship, another relationship gets cloudy and you have to reevaluate everything.
What's your favorite kind of shoe? I can always be found wearing something with a heel. I like the way they sound on floors... That click sound can be so satisfying.
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? Emma Stone
Special hidden talent? Sarcasm
Something you're REALLY bad at? Sarcasm
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? West town!
Current local show you've been recommending to friends? Keys of the Kingdom at Stage Left.
Most played song on your iPod? "A Fine Line" from Avenue Q
Pop culture guilty pleasure? I'm a closet Ghost Adventures addict.
Three things you can't live without? Wine, goat cheese, and pedicures.
"I'll never understand why…" I can never keep my house clean or house plants alive :)
SPIKE HEELS runs January 23 - February 8, 2015 at THE WEST STAGE AT THE RAVEN THEATRE COMPLEX. Thursday-Saturday @8PM and Sunday @3:30PM. Tickets available at http://spikeheelschi.bpt.me
Brown Paper Blog
Making theatre. Writing about it. Maybe some hilarious Youtube cat videos in between.