Around the Hood: New Shows at The Raven


Well there is certainly no shortage of great theatre to checkout in the neighborhood. Our friend John over at the Raven Theatre wanted to let everyone know about two new upcoming shows. Trailers coming soon…

The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know

In Todd Bauer’s world premiere play, The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know, an adult son living with cerebral palsy and dealing with the needs and demands of his aging parents learns that it’s easier for birds to leave the nest than it is for humans to break away from their parents. This tragicomic three-character play was developed by Raven Theatre Company  New Play Development Series.

The cast for The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know will include Raven ensemble members Chuck Spencer and Joshua J. Volkers and Raven newcomer Sheila Landahl. Chuck Spencer was praised for his performance as Joe Keller in Raven’s critically acclaimed All My Sons last fall and won a Jeff Award for his portrayal of Ken Carpenter in Redtwist Theater’s production of Man from Nebraska. Joshua J. Volkers was most recently seen on the Raven stage in Bang the Drum Slowly and in the workshop productions of The Bird Feeder Doesn’t Know and Floating and appeared in the Artistic Home’s production of Watch on the Rhine. Sheila Landahl brings a wealth of experience to her role, having played Paulina in Winter’s Tale, Gertrude in Hamlet, Ava in Party in the Kitchen and many other roles in theaters around the world.

The production will be directed by Jonathan Wilson, professor of Theatre at Loyola University of Chicago and well known as a freelancer director for his productions of Master Harold . . . and the Boys (TimeLine), JitneyPantomime

Two Trains Running and Fraternity (Pegasus Players) and Playland and A Raisin in the Sun. (Steppenwolf) as well as productions at Court Theater, Northlight Theater and the Goodman.

The creative team includes Megan Gallagher (stage manager), Timothy Mann (set designer), Mary O’Dowd (props/set dressing), Mary McDonald Badger (lighting designer), Alex Wren Meadows (costume designer), Christopher Kriz (original music and sound designer), Zhanna Albertini (scenic artist), Browyn Sherman (assistant director), Joshua Kirkpatrick (costume assistant), Conor Clark (technical director), Justin Castellano (master electrician), and Deborah Blumenthal (dramaturgy).

Raven’s New Play Development Series has evolved into a vital aspect of Raven’s artistic commitment to excellence. Started in 1992, our objective is to foster and present new voices of the American stage, with fully rehearsed, fully-staged presentations of new plays to the general public for three nights, with moderated post show discussions after each performance. Our Series provides the company with the opportunity to incubate new plays, while offering an invaluable laboratory for playwrights, directors and actors to experiment with and showcase new works.


Beast on the Moon

The final play of Raven’s 2014-15 season will be Richard Kalinoski’s Beast on the Moon, a touching and frequently humorous story of two refugees from the Armenian Genocide as they struggle to build a new life together in Milwaukee during the 1920’s and 1930’s.. Beast on the Moon begins previews on April 21 and opens on April 27, 2015, playing through June 6.

Beast on the Moon has been produced in 17 countries and 12 languages, enjoying a four-month New York run in 2005. In 2001, it won France’s Moliere Award for Best Play (the equivalent to the Tony Award) and has also received Argentina’s Ace Award, the Osborn Award, the Garland Award and in 2005 it received the Khorenatsi Medal which was presented by President Robert Kocharian, on behalf of the country of Armenia.  

  When it was produced as part of the Humana Festival in 1995, the Louisville Courier Journal said that the play “…took its place as one of the most beautiful, sensitive and emotionally complete dramas in the 19-year history of Actors Theatre of Louisville’s annual Humana Festival of New American Plays.” In 2005, The New Yorker called the play “Compassionate and humane” and The New York Daily News said, “The play moves from tragedy and turmoil to a profound sense of promise.” And a review in The London Times Online said of a 2007 Nottingham production, “The past finds a sort of closure, but the author’s skill has kept us on tenterhooks throughout, uncertain whether any happy outcome can be possible.”

Beast on the Moon was selected to be a part of Raven’s 2014-2015 season as it tells a story of which Raven’s Co-Artistic Director Michael Menendian, as a first generation Armenian-American, has a deep personal and cultural connection.  One of the cast members is Menendian’s daughter, Sophia Menendian, making the theatre company’s season’s theme of FAMILY BUSINESS even more personal.

Joining Raven ensemble member Sophia Menendian on stage will be Raven newcomers Matt Browning and Aaron Lamm and returning artist Ron Quade.  Sophia Menendian was last seen in Raven’s productions of Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose and last season’s Good Boys and True while Ron Quade last appeared in Brighton Beach Memoirs.  Matt Browning has been seen in The Zoo Story, Richard III and The

Glass Menagerie, while Aaron Lamm has previously appeared in The Crypotgram at Profiles Theatre and Medea at Theater Y.

The creative team for Beast on the Moon includes Kiley Morgan (stage manager), Kristin Abhalter (set designer), Mary O’Dowd (props/set dressing), Diane Fairchild (lighting designer), Lauren Roark (costume designer), Leif Olsen (original music), Joe Court (sound designer), David Woolley (Fight Choreographer), Zhanna Albertini (scenic artist), Laura Zarougian (assistant director), Conor Clark (technical director), Justin Castellano (master electrician), and Deborah Blumenthal (dramaturgy).

Tickets and information are available at or 773-338-2177. 

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