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Balm in Gilead


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Set in a greasy all-night diner in New York City, Balm in Gilead dives into the fringes of society—riff-raff, prostitutes, hustlers, and thieves—who are lost in a world that has shown no mercy. Joe, a heroin addict, and Darlene, a new arrival to the big city, spend the night together. Joe soon pushes Darlene away, overwhelmed by his debt to a local drug dealer. Meanwhile, Darlene finds herself increasingly vulnerable to the low-life men around the café. Balm in Gilead explores how desperate people, when left with few choices, turn to criminal activities for temporary relief from their own despair.

Balm in Gilead is an important work in the history of notable ISU alumni. Alumnus John Malkovich directed an Off-Broadway revival of the play, co-produced by the Circle Repertory Company and Steppenwolf Theatre Company in 1984. The cast featured alumna Laurie Metcalf, who was highly praised for her performance, specifically for her 20-minute monologue in Act Two.

The play’s title is inspired by a quote from the Old Testament:
“Go up into Gilead, and take balm, O virgin, the daughter of Egypt:
In vain shalt thou use many medicines; for thou shalt not be cured.” (Jeremiah 46:11)

“Balm in Gilead represents a glimpse into a world that the audience knows exists but may be afraid to engage,” says director John Tovar. “I find these types of stories fascinating because, even though the circumstances of these characters may be different from our own, we have all felt lost or forgotten at some point in our lives.”

For tickets or more information, contact the College of Fine Arts Box Office, which is located in the Illinois State University Center for the Performing Arts and is open 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Monday–Friday, at (309) 438-2535; or purchase tickets online by visiting ticketmaster.com. Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $17 for adults. Free performance parking is available in the School Street Parking Deck in spots 250 and above, at 400 West Beaufort Street in Normal.

Al (U/S: Bob, David): Jeremy Gavin
Ann: Betsy Diller
Babe: Al Vitucci
Bob (U/S: Rake, Tig): Asa Wallace
Bonnie: Krystina Coyne
Carlo: Tino Avila
Darlene: Angie Milton
David: Mikey Hendrickson
Dopey: Troy Schaeflein
Ernesto (U/S: Dopey): Malachi Hurndon
Fick: Tori DeLaney
Frank (U/S: Al): Dylan DeWitt
Franny: Will Olsen
Joe: Steve Carr
John: Jack VanBoven
Judy: Sarah Seidler
Kay: AnneMarie Owens
Marti (U/S: Fick): Abbie Brenner
Rake: Christian Frieden
Rust: Taylor Eaves
Stranger (U/S: Joe): Parker Carbine
Terry: Clare Ellen Supplitt
Tig: Rondale Gray
Tim (U/S: Franny): Bobby Voss
Xavier: Rashun Carter
Children: Katie Capp, Rachel Katz, Josephine O’Shaughnessy
Understudy (Kay, Terry, Rust): Katie Capp
Understudy (Babe, Bonnie, Judy): Rachel Katz
Understudy (Darlene): Josephine O’Shaughnessy
Understudy (Ann, Marti): Elena Sasso
Understudy (Carlo, Ernesto, Frank): Jason Snyder
Understudy (John, Stranger, Tim): Tanner Starr

Director: John Tovar
Asst. Director/Asst. Dramaturg: Emma Harmon
Fight Director: John Tovar

Dialect Coaches: Connie de Veer, David Prete
Asst. Dialect Coaches: Tyler Szarabajka, Ethan Rickard

Costume Designer: Dillon Knapp
Asst. Costume Designer: Daniel Balsamo, Torrey Mebust
Wardrobe Supervisor: Kaylie Henderson
Hair and Makeup Designer: Megan Wood
Asst. Hair and Makeup Designer: Megan Wunglueck

Lighting Designer: Erica Maholmes
Asst. Lighting Designer: Autumn Egger
Master Electrician: Laura Gisondi
Asst. Master Electrician: Connor Kubil

Scenic Designer: Jordan Gerow
Charge Artist: Allison McCarthy
Props Master: Jake Lambert
Asst. Props Master: Ashleigh Colyer

Sound Designer: Devon Rodlund
Pre-Show Composer: Sarah Ford

Stage Manager: Lucy Yahr
Asst. Stage Manager: Katelyn Kashnowski

Technical Director: Jeremy Jenkins