BlackTop Sky | Theatre Seven of Chicago

What Happens:

After police rough up a street vendor near the David L. Hynn Housing Projects, Ida takes an interest in the homeless man who sleeps on a nearby bench. When an unlikely friendship emerges, will it strengthen her connection to home or drive her away in search of a new life? The Chicago Premiere of BlackTop Sky, from celebrated playwright Christina Anderson, examines the intersection of love, violence and seduction inside an institution with a haunting Chicago legacy: the public housing project.

Ticket Info:

Tickets $20. Buy online at or call 312-335-1650. 

Christina Anderson Playwright
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Playwright), Shikaakwa: BlackTop Sky (Playwright)

Christina Anderson has written several plays, including Good Goods, Hollow Rootspen/man/shipSweet Brown GingerMan in LoveGloBlackTop SkyInked Baby and DRIP. Her work has appeared at A.C.T., Penumbra Theater, About Face Theater, Playwrights' Horizons, Yale Repertory Theatre, Crowded Fire, Ars Nova and other theaters all over the country. Awards and honors include Schwarzman Legacy Scholarship awarded by Paula Vogel, Susan Smith Blackburn nomination, Lorraine Hansberry Award (American College Theater Festival), Van Lier Playwriting Fellowship (New Dramatists), Wasserstein Prize nomination (Dramatists Guild), Lucille Lortel Fellowship (Brown University). American Theatre Magazine selected Anderson as one of fifteen up-and-coming artists "whose work will be transforming America's stages for decades to come." She obtained her BA from Brown University and her MFA in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama. 

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Cassy Sanders Director
T7 Credits: Yes, This Really Happened to Me; We Live Here (Co-Director); Lies & Liars (Co-Director/Conceiver); Mimesophobia (Jessica); The Water Engine: An American Fable (Ensemble); The Chicago Landmark Project (Co-Coordinator, Co-Dramaturg); Exit, Pursued by a Bear; BlackTop Sky (Director)

Cassy is a Company Member of Theatre Seven, as well as a director, dramaturg, writer, and performer. Recent projects include Co-Directing Theatre Seven of Chicago’s We Live Here and directing Pavement Group’s MilkMilkLemonade. She is a company member of Theatre Seven of Chicago where she co-conceived / co- directed Lies & Liars and co-directed the 2008 summer hit Yes, This Really Happened to Me. Other Chicago directing credits include: The Pigeons (Walkabout Theater), Case of You (The Ruckus Theatre), 2nd Story (Serendipity Theatre Collective), My Future Ex-Boyfriend (Pavement Group), and Love, Valour and Technology (Live Bait’s Fillet of Solo). Cassy co-dramaturged for The Wooden Breeks, and Around the World in 80 Days at Lookinglass Theatre. Her short plays Lesson One and Chicago Summer premiered at The Steppenwolf Garage as part of the 7th and 8th Annual SKETCHBOOK Festivals with Collaboraction. At Collaboraction, Cassy served as Assistant Artistic Director for from 2007 - 2009. In February 2013, Cassy directed BlackTop Sky for Theatre Seven as part of the Steppenwolf Garage Rep. Cassy holds a BFA in Theatre from Cornish College of the Arts.

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Paige Collins Assistant Director
T7 Credits: Hunting & Gathering  (Bess), We Live Here (Kit, Ensemble)
Paige is a Theatre Seven Company Member and a member of Theatre Seven's 7P Literary Circle. Paige received her BFA at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Paige's most recent performance was with Theatre Seven of Chicago in We Live Here. Other Chicago credits include: Spring Awakening (Griffin Theatre), The Twins Would Like To Say (Dog + Pony Theatre), Freedom, NY (Teatro Vista), Eclipsed (Northlight Theatre), as well as Halcyon Theatre and Filament Theatre Production. She's represented by Marisa Paonessa. 
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Julian Parker Performer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Klass)

Julian Parker is making his Theatre Seven debut in BlackTop Sky. He proudly represents the Chicago-based Definition Theatre Company. Last summer, under DTC, he co-produced and acted in The Brothers Size as Oshoosi under the direction of Kathleen F. Conlin at The Alley Stage. He was last seen in Hamlet (Writers' Theatre) as Rosencrantz/Osric. He received his BFA in Acting from the University of Illinois-Champaign and is currently understudying for Head of Passes (Steppenwolf).

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Kristin E. Ellis Performer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Ida)

Kristin was last seen in Good People (Steppenwolf); Slaying your Goliath, Speaking in Tongues: The Chronicles of Babel (MPAACT) (Jeff Award for Outstanding New Work) and Fractured I.D (Sankofa Theatre Company). Kristin has appeared in print ads for Target, Acuvue and Entwine. Kristin received her BFA in Acting from DePaul Theatre School. This is Kristin’s Theatre Seven of Chicago debut. Upcoming: Walking with Heroes (Dusable Museum). “Eph 6:19-20.”

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Eric Lynch Performer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Wynn)

Eric recently completed an acting internship with Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where his credits include Othello, To Kill A Mockingbird, Lombardi, A Christmas Carol, and Yellowman. Eric received his BFA at Ohio University and has collaborated with Chicago Dramatists, Pegasus Players, and Mortar Theatre Company. 

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Lizzie Bracken Scenic Designer
T7 Credits: BlackTop SkyIn the Heart of America (Scenic Designer)

Lizzie returns to Theatre Seven having designed scenery for In The Heart of America. Other design credits include The Book Thief (Steppenwolf Theater Company); Six Characters in Search of an Author (The Hypocrites); 60 Miles to Silver Lake (Collaboraction); 44 Plays for 44 Presidents and costumes for Burning Bluebeard (The Neo-Futurists). Lizzie received her MFA in Scenic Design from the University of Texas at Austin and is an ensemble member with Barrel of Monkeys.

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Lee Keenan Lighting Designer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Lighting Designer)

Lee Keenan has designed lights for The House Theatre of Chicago (company member), Lookingglass Theatre, 500 Clown, Centerstage Baltimore, Kansas City Rep, Next Theatre,  Silk Road Theatre Project (Artistic Associate), The Griffin Theatre, Circle Theatre, The Building Stage, Apple Tree, Milwaukee Repertory, and Court Theatre. Lee is Instructor of Lighting Design at Loyola University Chicago. He returns to Steppenwolf where he lit fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life last season.

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Brenda Winstead Costume Designer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky, American Storm, Killing WomenThe Water Engine, Boys & GirlsThe Sand CastleDiversey HarborCooperstownHunting & GatheringWe Live HereIn the Heart of AmericaExit, Pursued by a Bear (Costume Designer), The Chicago Landmark Project (Supervising Costume Designer)

Brenda Winstead loves Theatre Seven! She is a company member with T7 and has designed numerous shows there. Other Chicago area design credits include Making God Laugh, Guys and Dolls, The Wiz, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Man of La Mancha, Crazy for You, Leading Ladies, The Producers, Hello Dolly and Fiddler on the Roof (Theatre at the Center); Ragtime (Drury Lane); It’s a Wonderful Life: A Radio Play (Noble Fool); Kingsville (Stage Left); and The Price (Shattered Globe). Regional Credits include Born Yesterday, Rumors and Mousetrap (Peninsula Players); All Shook Up, High School Musical (Forestburgh Playhouse). Brenda holds a Master of Fine Arts from the University of Connecticut. 

updated october 2012
Chris LaPorte Sound Designer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky, Lies and Liars (Sound Designer)

Chris LaPorte  is a sound designer, engineer, and recording artist based in Chicago. As an artistic associate with Sideshow Theatre Company, his work has been heard in Idomeneus, The Ugly One, Heddatron, Theories of the Sun, Medea with Child, Ekphrasis, and Everything Freezes. He is very excited to return to T7 where he once designed Lies and Liars. Chris is also the head of sound for Lookingglass Theatre Company where he can be heard mixing their shows. He also recently released a recorded soundtrack for North Point available on Phantom Soundtracks.

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Toni Kendrick Props Designer
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Props Designer)

Toni Kendrick is a recent graduate of DePaul University's Theatre School. She has many DePaul credits to her name. She has been working as a freelance Properties Designer and Set Designer. Her freelance experiences include working for Strawdog Theatre Company, Caffeine Theatre Company, Lookingglass Theatre, A Red Orchid Theatre, LiveWire Theatre Company and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. This is her first show with Theatre Seven of Chicago and The Garage Rep Series.

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Taylor Fenderbosch Stage Manager
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Stage Manager),  Lies & Liars (Assistant Stage Manager), Mimesophobia (Stage Manager), The Chicago Landmark Project (Production Stage Manager - Program B), We Live Here (Stage Manager).

Taylor is a company member of Theatre Seven. She has worked on five T7 productions since she first fell in love with the company in '09. She has also been seen stage managing and assistant stage managing elsewhere in the Second City; recent productions include: Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind (The Neo-Futurists), MilkMilkLemonade (Pavement Group) and Madagascar (Next Theatre). 

updated december 2012


Jennifer McClendon Production Manager
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Production Manager), American Storm (Assistant Production Manager)

Jennifer is a graduate of the nine month Multicultural Fellowship and Production Management Apprenticeship at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Recent Stage Management credits include Superior Donuts (Mary-Arrchie); Seascape (Remy Bumppo); South of Settling (Steppenwolf NextUp Series); Rung, (The Ruckus); Mud Blue Sky (Steppenwolf). Production Management experience includes American Storm (Theatre Seven) and Summer Studio Series 2011 (UIUC).

 updated december 2012
Marjie Southerland Understudy
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Understudy for Ida)

Marjie Southerland was born and built in New Jersey, but has made Chicago her new home. She recently debuted in Waukengan in Soul Sisters (Clockwise Theatre) as Cleo. She is excited to be a part of this production and thrilled to be working with Theatre Seven. Favorite theatre credits include Footloose, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Rent and Pinocchio. “Thank you to my mother, sister and closest friends for their unconditional love and relentless support.”

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Dominique Worsley Understudy
T7 Credits: BlackTop Sky (Understudy for Klass & Wynn)

Dominique Worsley most recently performed in Titus Andronicus (Right Brain Project) as Aaron the Moor. He has also worked on King Lear, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Titus Andronicus, and Othello (Great River Shakespeare Festival).

updated december 2012

"The best part of Blacktop Sky is Lizzie Bracken’s wonderful set, a battered inner-city courtyard defined by the cracked, titular blacktop "
Catey Sullivan / Chicago Theater Beat / More →

"BlackTop Sky deals with some extremely moving topics and lends itself well to the mission of Theatre Seven of Chicago "
Storefront City / More →

"Blacktop Sky is a engrossing look at the struggle for love and acceptance in urban project life"
Chicago Critic / More →