CHICAGO – The Artistic Home Ensemble this week announced the cast for its final production of the 2018-19 season – the Chicago premiere of Lauren Gunderson’s ADA AND THE ENGINE, which was given its world premiere by Central Works Theater Company of Berkeley, California in 2015. ADA AND THE ENGINE is an historical drama about Ada, the daughter of the poet Lord Byron, and Ada’s friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer.
As the British Industrial Revolution dawns, young Ada Byron Lovelace (daughter of the flamboyant and notorious Lord Byron) sees the boundless creative potential in the “analytic engines” of her friend and soul-mate, Charles Babbage, inventor of the first mechanical computer. Ada envisions a whole new world where art and information converge – a world she might not live to see. A music-laced story of love, friendship, and the edgiest dreams of the future. Jane Austen meets Steve Jobs in this poignant pre-tech romance heralding the computer age.
Leading the cast as Ada will be Brookelyn Hébert, an Artistic Home ensemble member who has appeared with the company as Madame in THE MAIDS, Eliante in THE SCHOOL FOR LIES, Nina in THE SEAGULL and most recently, Lenka in ROCK ‘N’ ROLL. Her friend and soul mate Charles Babbage will be played by Artistic Home founding ensemble member John Mossman, who directed the company’s just-closed, extended and Jeff Recommended REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, and earned a Jeff Award nomination for The Artistic Home’s HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE last year. Ada’s husband, Lord Lovelace, will be Rich Holton, coming off his role as Josh in AFTERGLOW for Pride Films and Plays and his 2018 role in SEX WITH STRANGERS for Citadel Theatre.
Carolyn Kruse, a longtime ensemble member of Irish Theatre of Chicago, will play Lady Annabella Byron. Artistic Home ensemble members Laura Coleman and John LaFlamboy, who both appeared REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT, have been cast as Lady Summerville and Lord Byron. The production team will include Eleanor Kahn (set design), Zachery Wagner (costume design), Cat Wilson (lighting design) and Sara Ann Dickey (stage manager).
ADA AND THE ENGINE will open on Sunday, June 23, 2019, following previews from June 19. Monica Payne, Resident Director at Trap Door Theatre, where she recently devised and directed INTO THE EMPTY SKY, will direct the Gunderson play. Payne says, “I’m thrilled to be tackling this new Lauren Gunderson play, which beautifully connects the dots between an imaginative young woman in Victorian England, her infamous poet father, and the advent of technology like the iPhone. The play is stylistically rich, but ultimately focuses on the mysteries of the human heart. I look forward to approaching the text with stunning visuals, gorgeous music, and the great acting that is the signature of The Artistic Home.”
Press release from The Artistic Home