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
Annabelle Revak
Literary Manager
Annabelle.Revak@UnderscoreTheatre.org
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
Corinne Florentino
Grant Writer
Alex Higgin-Houser
Outreach Director
Alex@UnderscoreTheatre.org
Allison Fradkin
Leslie Halverson
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
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

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Whitney Rhodes (Artistic Director) recently made her way to the Windy City (Go Cubs Go!) by way of Nebraska, Iowa, New York, and Minneapolis. A graduate of Drake University with degrees in Acting and Advertising, she has enjoyed wearing many hats as a performer, producer, director, educator, writer and arts administrator. Her decade in Minneapolis began as the Manager of Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Education program championing young artists across the state and establishing Spotlight as a national model in non-competitive high school awards programs. As a fierce advocate of the value and impact of storytelling, she grew her leadership chops as the Development Manager and eventual Chief Operating Officer of Mixed Blood Theatre. She was proud to have directed and produced the swan song of the Ivey Awards (the Twin Cities celebration of theater) alongside the team of Arts ink, Inc. In addition to her work on the Iveys, as the Director of Strategic Operations at Arts Ink, she worked closely with the CEO to develop marketing and organizational strategy for performing arts organizations in the Twin Cities area. As an artist, she is the Book writer of For Tonight, a musical that has seen development at NYMF, Goodspeed Festival of New Musicals, New York Theatre Barn and most recently its World Premiere at the Queensbury Theatre in Houston, Texas in February of 2019. Her favorite onstage credits as an actor 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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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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Isaac 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, he has already grown so much and is excited to be there as it continues to grow. Having worked with several theater companies throughout the Chicagoland area he feels Underscore Theatre 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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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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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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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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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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Annabelle Revak is a composer, music director, arranger, and pianist. Cabaret: Antithesis (The Understudy); Keeper of the Keys (Davenport’s), TSCS (The Understudy). Arrangements/Orchestrations: Take Me (Strawdog Theatre); Wife Material (Underscore Theatre); Make Me Bad (Columbia College Chicago). MD: The Last Five Years (JPAC), The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe (asst., Underscore Theatre); The Incredible 6,000-ft. Ladder, Something Blue, The Bone Harp (CMTF 2019); High Fidelity (Columbia College Chicago). BA in Music Composition & BA in Musical Theatre at CCC. www.annabelleleerevak.com

Literary Manager

Annabelle Revak

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Katy Campbell (Marketing Director) is a recent alum of Columbia College Chicago where she studied musical theatre performance and public relations. Originally from Colorado, she has been seen on the Underscore stage as Geraldine in The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe and Olivia in the staged reading of Notes & Letters, as well as on the Columbia stage as Rose in Caroline, or Change and Melpomene in Xanadu. She is passionate about the creation and development of new musicals and loves getting to work on them both on and off the stage.

Marketing Director

Katy Campbell

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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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Corinne Florentino (Grant Writer) is an arts administrator originally from Cincinnati, OH. She graduated from Indiana University in 2018, with a B.A. in Theatre & Drama with a certificate in arts administration. Since moving to Chicago in 2018, she has worked for the League of Chicago Theatres as the Advertising Assistant and Steppenwolf Theatre Company as a part of the Audience Services team. Corinne is thrilled to join the development team of Underscore theatre as the company keeps growing. Outside of theatre, Corinne is obsessed with all things Gilmore Girls.

Grant Writer

Corinne Florentino

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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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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 Intern

Allison Heinz

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(c) 2018 Underscore Theatre Company

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