The Frederick Gunn School Theatre Program will present Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky, a play that explores 19th century social and scientific progress through the real-life lens of Harvard astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. Performances are November 9, 10, and 11 at 7 p.m. in the Tisch Family Auditorium of the Thomas S. Perakos Arts and Community Center. This event is open to the public. No registration is required and seating is by general admission.
“Silent Sky has been on my shortlist for years, and this is a great time to produce it,” said Kent Burnham, Director of Theatre Arts. “There are opportunities for cross-curricular programming with the Arts, Science, and History departments and the community. This is a beautiful play, and it will be a stunning production."
According to Dramatist Play Service: “The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.”
The cast of Silent Sky includes: Sofia Panzer ’25 (Henrietta Leavitt), Taylor Sall ’25 (Margaret Leavitt), Daisy Moriarty ’25 (Annie Cannon), Shannon McCormack ’25 (Williamina Fleming), and Sonia Romanenko ’24 (Peter Shaw). First-year students Oliver Severino ’27, and Aniah Sam ’27 are understudying the roles of Peter Shaw and Henrietta Leavitt, respectively.
The Design Team includes: Samara Kinyanjui ’27 (Stage Manager and Set and Scenic Design); Katherine Johnson ’25 (Costume Design, Set and Scenic Design); Polly Ross ’26 (Costume Design, Props, Set and Scenic Design); Willa Regan ’27 (Costume Assistant Design, Set and Scenic Design); Aryel Sealey ’25 (Props, Film and Photography, Set and Scenic Design); Katherine Aguirre-Felipe ’26 (Lighting and Sound Design); Drew McKessey ’26 (Props, Set and Scenic Design); and Charlotte Friedman ’27 (Props Assistant,, Film and Photography, Set and Scenic Design).
“Gunderson has been named one of the most produced playwrights in America since 2015, topping the list three times, including the 2022-2023 season. She is a two-time winner of the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award for I and You and The Book of Will,” according to Broadway World. “Her works, including I and You, Silent Sky, The Revolutionists, Emilie, and Exit, Pursued by a Bear have been commissioned and produced at The Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Boston's New Repertory Theatre and The O'Neill, among others. She co-authored Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley with Margot Melcon, and her play, The Half-Life of Marie Curie, premiered off-Broadway and at Audible.com.”
In addition, Gunderson’s play, Anthropologie, recently had its world premiere at The Hampstead Theatre in London. Her musical adaptation of the book, The Time Traveler's Wife, which was also adapted for the 2009 film starring Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams, opened in London's West End this October.