A big thank you to everyone who joined us for Cyrano de Bergerac last week at The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare Theater! We are still celebrating this special night!

Our ensemble was at Chicago Shakespeare Theater twice last week, first for a dress rehearsal on Monday and then again for the big show! We try to run dress rehearsal as close to the actual performance as possible. But it was a little different for a few reasons:

  1. A giant flash hailstorm that hit Navy Pier just as our actors were arriving for the day! Kudos to our facilitators Beth, Lawrence, and Kate who got rained on the most shuttling people to and from their cars!
  2. Rather than running each scene in its entirety, we focused more on our key entrances and exits, and moments where the lighting or music needed to change. This is called a "Q2Q" because we're running the show from one cue to the next. 
  3. We also had a professional photographer working with us to capture some of our process and the performance. You'll see some in this post.  You can see more on our Facebook Album. All photos by Liz Lauren.

Actors come into the theatre and place their personal effects in the green room, and then we all circle up together onstage for a group warm up. This is a chance to get comfortable on the stage without the pressure of the performance. After rehearsing group numbers and going over announcements, we circle up for “I Take From the Heavens”. Then it’s time to go backstage to “places”. In the wings, each actor has a chair with his/her headshot on it, their journal, and water. We’re ready for the top of the show!


We thrive on the process of building a show each week, growing relationships with each other, and building skills in class. If you've been following our blog the past few weeks, you've seen this in action. But our ensemble truly comes alive infront of an audience. There is just nothing quite like it. Especially for a show like Cyrano – it’s amazing to hear oohs, ahhs and laughter punctuating our work. The validation and recognition from an audience can work wonders for an actor’s confidence. And audience can see the growth in actors from one show to the next, and challenge their own notions about what people with Down syndrome and other developmental differences are ABLE to do.

Enormous thanks to our friends and partners at Chicago Shakespeare Theater for welcoming us with open arms. Every single department came together to give our ensemble the best, most professional experience possible. We are so grateful for their generosity, expertise, enthusiasm, and kindness. 

Thanks to everyone who joined us last week. We had 421 people in attendance – our biggest crowd ever. Based on a hand-raise during Katie’s pre-show speech, almost a third of the crowd were seeing our work for the first time! We also raised over $1300 in donations – a record for an A.B.L.E. show. This will go a huge way to helping us expand creative opportunities like our adult program and next season's teen shows…which we’ll be announcing soon. Stay tuned!

We can’t wait to see what comes next!



A.B.L.E. in partnership with Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents


Monday Ensemble

Colleen Altman

Emma Burkhalter

Benjamin Collins

Peter Grzeslo

Emily Lavin

Emily Kwidzinski

Anna Luzadder

Claire O’Leary

Sam Radinsky

Hannah Vilic


Friday Ensemble

Quincy Bane

Marissa Bloodgood

Alena Brown

Jack Butler

Samuel Floersheimer

Natalia Janik

Mila Medina

Maria Meyer

Lucas Miezal

Samuel Petri

Lucy Walsh


Teaching Artists

Kaylie Honkala, Sean Okerberg, Katie Yohe



Braden Cleary, Shannon Diegel, Lawrence Kern, Emma MacLean, Kate Magon, Alison Perrone, Jenna Rapisarda, Madeleine Rostami, Michael Russell, Beth Sherwood, Susan Sjodin, Lindsay Stock, Adele Wilhelm, Polly Yukevich


Line Producer for Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Rosie Bross


Music Direction

Peter Van Kempen



Kendra Van Kempen



Alison Perrone


Lighting Design

John Kelly



Captioning provided by c2


Front of House

Somer Benson, Nate Buursma, Meryn Daly, Julianne Eisele, Lauren Francisco, Judith Henry, Carly Mulliken, Ben Settle, Carly Settle, Katie Svec, and Maria Yohe


Special Thanks

Boho Theatre Company, Nancy Buchanan, Marcus Chestand, Andrew Heckman, Rich Hein, Matt Maxwell, The Menomonee Club Drucker Center, Sweet Mandy B’s, The Theatre School at DePaul, Props Department