Piedmont Center Theatre


Silent Sky

by Lauren Gunderson

directed by Michael French


Feb. 22 thru Feb. 25



Piedmont Center Theatre presents its first theatrical event of the new year: Silent Sky by Lauren Gunderson, directed by Michael French, Feb. 22 thru Feb. 25.

Tickets are $25 each, open seating; complimentary beverage/cheese/brownie bar. 


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Piedmont Center Theatre presents "Silent Sky" by Lauren Gunderson., directed by Michael French, and starring Kim Taylor and Benoit Monin .  Gigi Benson plays the loving role of Henrietta's sister, Margaret, while Marika Kuzma perfectly inhabits the role of Willamina Fleming, the Scottish firebrand among the women in Harvard's computing lab. Local actress Susannah York plays Annie Cannon, another major contributor to modern astronomy.

"Silent Sky" will open Thursday, February 22nd in a 7:30 pm show & continue with performances on Friday, Feb. 23 (8:00 pm), Sat., Feb. 24 (8:00 pm), Sun., Feb. 25 (2:00 pm Matinee and 7:30 Evening Show).


Contemporary Playwright Lauren M. Gunderson is the winner of the Lanford Wilson Award, the Steinberg/ATCA New Play Award and the Otis Guernsey New Voices Award, as well as a recipient of the Mellon Foundations 3-year residency with Marin Theatre.  Her work has been commissioned, produced and developed at companies across the US including The Kennedy Center, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The O'Neill, The Denver Center, SF Playhouse, Berkeley Rep., Shotgun Players, TheatreWorks and more. 

Her sensitive work of "Silent Sky" dramatizes the true story of 19th century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt (played by Ms. Taylor) against a landscape of sisterly love, early feminism and universe-revealing science. Leavitt was a persistent and quiet intellect whose discoveries enabled her colleagues and the astronomers who followed her to measure the size of the cosmos, expanding our knowledge and giving us a new way of looking to the depths of time itself.  Yet it is men who garnered the esteem for her work, & who were remembered for her discoveries. Her boss at Harvard, Edward Pickering, signed his name to her research.  In 1925 she was recognized by the Nobel Prize committee who did not yet know she had died.  In this play, Gunderson rescues Henrietta from the footnotes of history to display her real-life struggles, guts and passion for the stars. 

As with many of her works, this talented playwright leaves her audiences with an ending asking us to hold some wonder, or motivation or compassion in our hearts as we go back out into the world.