Resident Company BAILIWICK CHICAGO presents:


Mar 6 – Apr 5, 2014

Book and Lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, Music by Stephen Flaherty
Based on the novel by Sherley Anne Williams
Directed by Artistic Director Lili-Anne Brown
Music Direction by Collective Member James Morehead
Featuring Jayson “JC” Brooks (of JC Brooks and the Uptown Sound)

Richard Christiansen Theater

Contains mature content and situations. Parental discretion advised for those under 13 years old

Dessa Rose is a stirring musical drama based on the noted novel by Sherley Anne Williams. Told as an oral history and related by two women, Ruth and Dessa Rose, this powerful tale of an unlikely friendship takes place in 1847, 14 years before the outbreak of the American Civil War.

Based on both fact and fiction, the musical weaves together the stories of two real women, one white and one black, who struggled for different kinds of freedom in an era defined by men. Ruth Sutton is a white woman abandoned by her husband and living on an isolated farm. Dessa Rose is an escaped slave on the run from a bloody slave rebellion, with a newborn infant to protect, who seeks refuge with Ruth. Hidden in this Alabama backwater, the two women’s uneasy alliance ultimately transcends any racial barriers as they find the strength to confront the world on their own terms. Their dangerous journey to freedom and self-realization makes for a musical that is by turns comic, tragic, uplifting and inspiring.


Jayson “JC” Brooks – Nathan
Sydney Charles – Dessa Rose
Brigitte Ditmars – Ruth’s Mother
gilbert Domally – Philip
Harmony France – Ruth
Jasondra Johnson – Dorcas
Jaymes Osbourne – Kaine
Steven Perkins – Harker
Pavi Proczko – Mr. Steele
David Schlumpf – Nehemiah
Sasha Smith – Anabelle
Eunice Woods – Rose

*Sideshow Ensemble Member

Production Team

Danny Bernardo – Assistant Director
Aaron Benham – Associate Music Director
Mary-Catherine Mikalayunas – Stage Manager
Sydney Sarah Stier – Assistant Stage Manager
Megan Truscott – Scenic Designer
Brian Hoehne – Lighting Designer
Patrick Bleh – Sound Designer
Samantha C. Jones – Costume Designer
Beau Forbes – Fight Choreographer