The Revel


Written by Damon Kiely
Music by Jess McIntosh
loosely adapted from The Bacchae by Euripides
Directed by Leslie Buxbaum Danzig

A soul-quenchin’ revival in music and spirits


RUN DATES: Sept 4 - Oct 25, 2015

PRICES: $15 for Previews, $30 and $35 for Regular Run

TIMES: Performances are Thursdays - Saturdays at 7:30pm and Sundays at 7:00pm

RUN TIME: 90 minutes, no intermission

AGES: The Revel is recommended for adults and teens. Read the Parents' Guide!

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED "An absolute stunner!"
- Chicago Sun-Times

RECOMMENDED  "Exceptionally enlightening!"
- NewCity Stage

"Beautiful staging, stunning original music"
- Chicago Theatre Beat

3 STARS "A foot-stomping world premiere!"  
- Chicago Tribune

And the show is Joseph Jefferson Awards Recommended!


Agatha’s husband died, the coal ran out, and the town went bust. Her son Peter promises renewed prosperity if the town will only put its nose to the grindstone in his shiny new factory. But when Deacon rolls in preaching salvation through song, spirit, and moonshine, the town’s hungry, worn down mothers and daughters take his message to heart -- and to their thirsty lips. Foot-stomping, mountain music fills the air. But what happens when the search for light and love leads to fire and brimstone? Sister Cadie seeks redemption, but fears she won’t measure up. Agatha steers her new-found flock toward frenzied freedom. Can Peter bring women of the town back without risking bloodshed and chaos?


Driven by the forces of Greek tragedy, Kiely's story races toward its bloody end. Director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (500 clown, Lucky Plush Productions) and a powerful ensemble of actresses use dynamic and percussive movement to bring this world to life. Chicago composer and fiddler Jess McIntosh creates all-new, old-time country gospel score for a unique chorus of women’s voices who have finally seen the light.



The Revel was commissioned and developed by The House Theatre of Chicago and the Chicago Performance Lab through the Theatre and Performance Studies Program at the University of Chicago.


Show Dates: Sep 4 2015 to Oct 25 2015 Location:

Chopin Theatre (Upstairs), 1543 W Division St, Chicago


  • Leslie Buxbaum Danzig


  • Damon Kiely


  • Andy Lutz
  • Bridget Rue
    Chorus, U/S Sheriff's Wife
  • Courtney Jones
    Chorus, U/S Cadie
  • Kamille Dawkins
  • Alex Stage
    U/S Deacon and Sheriff
  • Casey Morris
    U/S Peter
  • Eunice Woods
  • Jeanne T. Arrigo
    Chorus, U/S Agatha
  • Sarah Charipar
  • Julia Merchant


  • Stage Manager
  • Jerica Hucke
    Costume Manager
  • Jon Woelfer
    Scenic Supervisor
  • Eleanor Kahn
    Props Master
  • Amalie Vega
    Asst. Stage Manager
  • Ivy Reid
    Master Electrician
  • Emily Arnold
    Asst Costume Designer


  • Grant Sabin
    Scenic Designer
  • Izumi Inaba
    Costume Designer
  • Lighting Designer
  • Barbara Silverman
    Clogging Instructor
  • Jess McIntosh
    Composer, Co-Lyricist
  • Matthew Muniz
    Music Director
  • Sound Designer
  • Fight Choreographer
  • Christine Adaire
    Dialect Coach
  • Aileen McGroddy
    Asst. Director
  • Spencer Diedrick
    Production Assistant
Get a sneak peek inside the production!

Check out The Revel for "the beautiful staging, stunning original music and phenomenal female-dominated cast" (Chicago Theatre Beat)

Creating the Music in The Revel

Composer and co-lyricist, Jess McIntosh, talks about creating the country gospel songs for THE REVEL, on stage September 4 - October 25.

The Revel's chorus of women sing and play

Deacon sways Agatha to partake of the spirit on the mountain.

The Revel updates Greek tragedy 'The Bacchae'

In The Revel, Peter argues that the Sheriff should arrest Deacon for luring his women factory workers away to sing and worship on the mountain.

Raves for The Revel!


The Revel - 2015 Production

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED "The show, directed with ritualistic fervor, and performed with powerhouse physicality by a multi-talented cast, is AN ABSOLUTE STUNNER.
- Chicago Sun-Times


RECOMMENDED  "Exceptionally enlightening! An all-encompassing experiential environment"
- NewCity Stage


"Beautiful staging, stunning original music and phenomenal female-dominated cast make the production well worth watching."
- Chicago Theatre Beat


3 STARS "Moonshine, mothers and music — and ultimately mayhem — swoop and soar... a foot-stomping world premiere!"  
- Chicago Tribune




And the show is Joseph Jefferson Awards Recommended!

A note from our playwright

Several years ago I was riding my bike along the lakeshore listening to Hank Williams belt out his rousing hymn I Saw the Light. I sang along feeling full of joy. It struck me—not only was I swept up by the music, but by the spirit and message. No more darkness, no more night. Now I'm so happy, no sorrow in sight.  I felt closer to something larger than myself, closer perhaps to something divine. As a person who's fallen in and out of religion—I was pretty surprised—I wasn’t expecting revelation via ipod. I thought about it and realized that I feel the most spiritual when I sing, and specifically when I sing old time country gospel music. There's something about the simplicity of the tunes and lyrics that helps me cut through dogma and channel something more pure.


Singing in church is like being a part of a chorus—for a moment we all agree to profess the same faith. To lift our voice up to the unknowable. This reminded me of classic Greek theatre and specifically The Bacchae. In Euripides’ original play the god Dionysus wreaks revenge on a town for not worshipping him correctly. He whips a group of women into a religious frenzy—with tragic results. Dropping The Bacchae into a mythical version of 1930s Appalachia, with newly minted old time country gospel music, allowed me to dramatize my own struggle with faith.


Some Sundays I’m challenges by the readings, touched by the singing, and heartened by sharing an hour with my neighbors. Some days it all seems ridiculous—hokey at best and destructive at worst. There are moments where I’m certain I’ve experienced something larger than myself—and I’m better for it.


I do know that when I hear Jess McIntosh’s music sung by our talented chorus that I feel touched by God. The hairs go up on the back of my arm and I nod my head a bit—A body filled with spirit. Set my soul free. Oh my soul. Set my soul free.

- Damon Kiely, playwright

Events around The Revel

The Revel - 2015 Production


Post-Show Discussion: Saturday, October 10, 9:00pm
Stick around after the 7:30pm show for a post-show discussion about the source material (Euripides' tragedy The Bacchae), the themes of the story, and the big questions the play raises for us.


Jam Session: Saturday, October 17, 9:00 - 10:00pm
Bring your voices, instruments, and chord charts and join in an after-show jam with the cast lead by Composer Jess McIntosh! We'll play some old standards, and new favorites, and happily dive into anything you'd like to bring along!

What's the seating like?

All shows at The House are general admission, including The Revel. There are 116 seats, and they are on three sides of the space. The set is both in front, behind, and above the seats! It's a cool, immersive environment for us all to play in.


What ages is the show ok for?

We think this show is great for teens and adults. Check out our Parent's Guide for more details!


How much are tickets?

Previews are $15
Regular Run tickets are $30 and $35
Generous Admission tickets are $45 (giving more because you want to support The House!)


What food and drink is available at the theatre?

The Chopin Theatre venue offers a full cash-only bar as usual. Some sweets and snacks, too! All are welcome in the theatre, so grab something to bring in and enjoy.


Didn't Answer Your Question?

If you have any other questions about the production or your visit, please feel free to email us at or give us a call at 773.769.3832!