Running On The Edge: A Red Orchid Gala



By Judy Carmack Bross



Old Town’s tiny ensemble theater with a full-blown international impact,  A Red Orchid Theatre staged the recent “Running on the Edge” gala celebrating their 26th anniversary. Winner of a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, the Red Orchid Ensemble boasts Oscar nominee Michael Shannon and founding Ensemble Member Lawrence Grimm, who was honored that night. Lawrence summed up his roles since the theater’s inception as actor, director, teacher, committee member, board member and various tours of duty as box office personnel and bathroom cleaner from 1992 to present day.


Andy Madden, Managing Director Abigail Madden, Steve Seiple, and Sally Seiple.

Gala Chair Marla Forbes, Gala Host Tom Shaer, and Ensemble member Michael Shannon.

Chair Marla Forbes and Red Orchid’s Managing Director Abigail Madden welcomed the 150 guests to the evening at Galleria Marchetti recently that raised over $70,000. Other committee members included Robin Breslin, Mary Gail Fitzpatrick, Mierka Girten, Lawrence Grimm, Rebecca Mills, Kyle Stoffers, and Mollie Stromberg. Sportscaster Tom Shaer hosted the evening. Old Town’s legendary arts activist Belle Kerman and WGN radio personality Rick Kogan were also honored that night.


Founding Ensemble members Guy Van Swearingen, Lawrence Grimm, and Michael Shannon.

Kristen Neveu, Ensemble member Brett Neveu, Ensemble member Natalie West, and Keith Moore.

A Red Orchid Theatre’s Board of Directors, dedicated to fostering new theatrical works for the ensemble, is headed by President Rebecca Mills. Its members include Mollie Stromberg, Hugh Breslin, Robin Breslin, Michael Fatall, Marla Forbes, Larry Grimm, Pamela Harrington, Mary Gail Fitzpatrick, Ann McCartney, Maureen O’Rourke, Michael Shannon, Giulia Sindler, Karen Stephenson, Guy Van Swearingen, Christian Chadd Taylor, and Robert Weil.


Jasmine Soto, Ensemble member Lawrence Grimm, and Colin Grimm.

Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Lawrence Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers, and Natalie West are members of the award-winning ensemble.

Corporate Sponsors included Wintrust Bank, WICU, Right Bee Cider, Begyle Brewing Company, and Southern Glazer Wine & Spirits. 


Kyle Stoffers, Ensemble member Lawrence Grimm, and Managing Director Abigail Madden.

Levi Holloway, Heather Chrisler, and Travis Knight.

Ensemble member Guy Van Swearingen, Ensemble member Brett Neveu, and Richard Cotovsky.

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