Who We Are

We are Chicago's home for new musicals.
In operation since 2011, Underscore Theatre Company is a not-for-profit performing arts organization in Chicago, IL. Our mission is to explore stories of power and resonance through a musical lens, to foster the development of new musicals, and to bolster Chicago’s role as a national leader in new musical theatre.

At a glance

Staff
Whitney Rhodes
Artistic Director
Whitney.Rhodes@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Rachel Elise Johnson
Executive Director
Rachel.Johnson@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Brendan Siegfried
Development Director
Brendan@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Isaac Loomer
Producing Artistic Director
Isaac.Loomer@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Allison Heinz
Literary Manager
Sophia Sinsheimer
Casting Director
Sophia.Sinsheimer@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Raymond Gaytan
Finance Manager
Ray.Gaytan@UnderscoreTheatre.org
David Marden
Audience Service Manager 
David.Marden@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Katy Campbell
Marketing Director
Katy.Campbell@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Solana Oliver
Company Manager
Solana.Oliver@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Alex Higgin-Houser
Outreach Director
Alex@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Aaron Roberts
Literary Interns
Board
Dan Desmond
Board President
Dan@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Olivia Chen
Board Secretary
Matthew Ulm
Kevin Skalnik
Tom Houseman
Brendan Siegfried
Laura Stratford
Alex Higgin-Houser
David Kornfeld
Katie Rydz
Board Members
Ensemble
Brendan Siegfried*
Laura Stratford*
Alex Higgin-Houser*
David Kornfeld*
Aaron Stephenson
Rachel Johnson
Isaac Loomer
Annabelle Revak
Ensemble members
*indicates founding members
 
Other Contacts
Upcoming Audition Inquiries
auditions@underscoretheatre.org
Casting Inquiries
casting@underscoretheatre.org
Group Discounts/Special Offers
groupsales@underscoretheatre.org
Submit For The Season
literary@underscoretheatre.org
submissions@underscoretheatre.org
Rent Our Space
space@underscoretheatre.org
Inquires About Your Tickets
tickets@underscoretheatre.org

Bios

Dan Desmond (Board president) is an electrical engineer working in product research & development at Rogers Park-based S&C Electric Company. For over 5 years, he's been developing technologies and products that improve the resiliency and adaptability of the electrical power grid. Since March of 2014, Dan has been a member of the Underscore Theatre Company Board of Directors, and has been serving as Board President since January of 2017. A four-year member of the Northwestern University Marching Band (trumpet), and a veteran of his high school's scintillating productions of (among others) Guys & Dolls and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Dan and founding member Brendan Siegfried have been close friends since the seventh grade. Dan is dedicated to setting intelligent and achievable goals for growth of the business, while as President ensures that all of the Board's efforts are hyper-focused on the company's mission. Dan lives in Chicago and is an avid Northwestern sports fan, urban cyclist, and golfer.

Board President

Dan Desmond

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Whitney Rhodes (Artistic Director) came to the Chicago by way of Nebraska, Io- wa, New York, and Minneapolis. A graduate of Drake with degrees in Acting and Advertising, she is a per- former, producer, director, educator, writer and administrator. Offstage highlights include the Chief Operating Officer of Mixed Blood Theatre, Man- ager of Hennepin Theatre Trust's Spotlight Program and Director of Strategic Operations of Arts ink. She wrote the book of For Tonight, a mu- sical that was developed at NYMF, Goodspeed, New York Theatre Barn and recently its premiere at the Queensbury in Houston. Her favorite roles include: She Loves Me (Amalia), DalekoArts; The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (Jewel), Old Log Theatre; The Full Monty (Joanie), Theater Latté Da; Ragtime (Ensemble), Park Square Theatre.

Artistic Director

Whitney Rhodes

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Rachel Elise Johnson (Executive Director) is an actor, director, and singer. In her time with Underscore she has co-directed Carrie 2: The Rage with Isaac Loomer and assistant directed My Name is Annie King with Alex Higgen-Houser. As Executive Director for Underscore, Rachel acts as the Festival Manager for the Chicago Musical Theater Festival and co-producer of the Tiny Storefront Concerts. In her time in Chicago she acted in several plays and musicals throughout the Chicago-land area, including her roles as the Sour Kangaroo in Suessical (Big Noise Theater Company) and Diva in Priscilla Queen of the Dessert (JPAC). Rachel lives in Chicago, actively dances with The Luna Troop, and is a math professor at Harry S Truman College and DePaul University.

Executive Director

Rachel Elise Johnson

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Isaac Loomer (Producing Artistic Director) has been a proud member of Underscore Theatre for a few years now. Originally from Minnesota he got his degree in theater performance. During his time With the company has already grown so much and he’s excited to be there as it continues to grow. Having worked with several theater companies throughout the Chicagoland area he feels Underscore theater company not only fills an important role in the tapestry of Chicago theater but is also one of the most fun and collaborative places to work.

Producing Artistic Director

Isaac Loomer

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Solana Oliver (Company Manager) is fairly new to the Chicago Theatre scene. She is an emerging director, producer, and Arts administrator with experience and knowledge in almost all aspects of the theatre world - a proud jack of all trades. She is currently earning a BFA in Theatre Management at The Theatre School at DePaul University, with minors in both Business Administration, and Management. She has been a part of ZACH Theatre in her hometown of Austin, TX as well as Moxie Theatre in San Diego, CA. Her love of new works and musical theatre led her to Underscore Theatre Company to be a part of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival and she has been in love with the company ever since.

Company Manager

Solana Oliver

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Sophia Sinsheimer is a Chicago-based director, actor, playwright, and intimacy director originally from Berkeley, CA. She received her BA in June of 2018 from Northwestern University, with majors in Theatre and Gender and Sexuality Studies. At Northwestern, Sophia participated in over 25 student and department productions, directing six plays, three of which were world premieres. An alum of the Writer's Theatre internship program, Sophia is delighted to bring her passion for arts administration and casting to Underscore!

Casting Director

Sophia Sinsheimer

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Raymond Gaytan (Finance Manager) is a native of Toledo, Ohio and recently made his way to Chicago to embark on a new chapter in life. Raymond has spent the past 13 years working in various corporate accounting and finance roles and is excited to bring his numbers expertise, passion for the arts, and self-acclaimed meme/gif game to the Underscore team. In addition to his career pursuits, Raymond has spent several years volunteering his time to advocate for LGBTQ+ issues in the workplace, including garnering corporate executive support to publicly endorse the Equality Act; implementing LGBTQ-inclusive policies to secure a perfect score on the HRC Corporate Equality Index for five consecutive years; coordinating inclusion training with LGBTQ+ community partners; and producing a storytelling video series that highlighted the experiences of LGBTQ+ people, their parents, and allies. In his free time, Raymond enjoys perfecting his baking skills, reading anything related to legal history and social justice, and exploring the city with his 10-year-old yorkiepoo, Jonah.

Finance Manager

Ray Gaytan

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Allison is thrilled to be joining Underscore Theatre Company for their 2019/2020 season! She graduated from The University of Alabama with a degree in Musical Theatre and Communications Studies. Since graduating, she worked as a touring actor, director, educator, and sound designer in Florida, Mississippi and all over the New England area. She eventually settled into Chicago where she has had the pleasure to direct for the 2018 Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, 2nd Story, Pride Films and Plays, and 20% Theatre Company. Outside of theatre, she is a certified pilates instructor and an avid baker!

Literary Manager

Allison Heinz

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Katy Campbell (Marketing Director) is a Chicago actor, singer and combatant. She came to Underscore after taking part in the staged reading of Notes & Letters at CMTF 4 and hasn’t left since. She’s been recently seen on the stage as New Girl in The Facts of Life: Satan’s School for Girls (Hell in a Handbag), Geraldine in The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe (Underscore), Melpomene in Xanadu, Rose in Caroline, or Change and Daisy in Make Me Bad (Columbia College Chicago). In her free time, she runs, bikes, reads and daydreams about the mountains she grew up with in Colorado.

Marketing Director

Katy Campbell

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Audience Services Manager

David Marden

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Alex Higgin-Houser (Outreach Director) is a playwright, lyricist, and director. Working with his frequent collaborators David Kornfeld, Laura Stratford, and Brendan Siegfried, Alex has written 6 full-length musicals, including Haymarket (2016 Jeff Award Nomination for Best New Musical), The 57th National Mathlete Sum-it (2017 official NYMF selection, published by Theatrical Rights Worldwide in 2018), Grounds: a Fresh-Brewed Musical (2017 Actors Training Company workshop, 2010 midwest tour), Spa Fire: The Children of the 1% (Abbiefest official selection, commissioned by Ex-Pat Theatricals), Pr0ne (Underscore world-premiere 2013, CMTF workshop production 2015), and Liberal Arts: The Musical (Underscore world-premiere 2012, collegiate premiere 2009). As co-Artistic Director for Underscore, Alex co-founded the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival, and has produced or co-produced 65 new musicals. Alex lives in Chicago with his wife Francesca, their dog Ragueneau, and their cats Portia, Balthazar, and d'Artagnan.

Outreach Director

Alex-Higgin-Houser

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Aaron Jamieson Roberts is a Director and Writer who is thrilled to join Understudy’s Literary department. Aaron recently moved to Chicago after running away to the circus (twice) serving as Director in Residence for Circus Culture in Ithaca NY. Outside of that ring, Aaron has worked with regional theaters developing radically local theatre with a global outlook. A longtime devotee of the musical theatre tradition, his previous directing credits include: Titanic, Company, Can Can, Assassins, and Pippin.

Literary Intern

Aaron Roberts

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(c) 2018 Underscore Theatre Company

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