The 2nd Act Players’ 2019 Women’s Empowerment One-Act Play Festival May 11-26 features two stories about strong women overcoming trauma and stereotypes.  To buy tickets, simply click here. The plays are:

Intentions,which follows main character Katherine on her road to recovery from a massive past trauma, The script was named the winner of the 2nd Act Players’ 2019 One-Act Play Script Competition. Jerome Jagielski of Fontana, Wi., is the winning author of Intentions.

A Matter of Gender by Sloane Drayson-Knigge, also will be performed at the festival. A Matter of Gender is a humorous look at pre-conceptions about gender roles, including what some may consider the ultimate gender role. Its main character is a hotshot Broadway director desperate to cast the lead role in a new play about God. But he can’t seem to find the right actor, until one day…

“Audiences will be seeing two very dynamic plays at the festival, one from a new playwright, the other from an established author, but both with very important points to make about women’s empowerment,” says 2nd Act Players’ Creative Director John N. Frank. “This festival follows our #MeToo Play Festival in 2018 that focused on #MeToo issues. This year, we want to go beyond that to show women rising above challenges and changing perceptions in the process.”

Jerome Jagielski

Intentions author Jerome Jagielski has written more than 20 full-length and one-act plays which use compassion and humor to explore relationships. His writings reflect the idealism of the 1960s and women’s issues.

Two of his one-act plays premiered at the Belfry Theatre in Williams Bay, Wi., in the summer of 2015.

A retired school psychologist and resident of southeastern Wisconsin, Jagielski is also a published poet whose work has appeared in the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poetry’s annual calendar. His first book of poetry, entitled Grey Leggings will be published this year. He has served as a poetry judge in Walworth County’s annual arts scholarship program for high school students.

A Matter of Gender was performed in New Bedford, Ma., in 2017 as part of Seen & Heard: One-Act Plays Honoring Women by the Collective, a local theater company.

Drasyson-Knigge has taught at Drew University in New Jersey where, in 2015, she curated an exhibit entitled Women and the Graphic Novels they write: Alternative Narratives and has taught a class on women in theater. She also has written another play, WomanTalk: A Play in Three Scenes.

“We are thrilled to be staging our fourth short-play festival in the past six years highlighting new works for the stage,” says Frank.

The 2nd Act Players’ Women’s Empowerment Play Festival will run May 11-May 25, with performances on Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons at the Players’ theater in Northminster Presbyterian Church, Evanston.


The Evanston 2nd Act Players will be featuring two veteran 2nd Act Players and four newcomers in the cast of its Women’s Empowerment One-Act Play Festival this May 11-26.

Shannon Leigh Webber

The cast for Intentions by Jerome Jaglieski will feature Shannon Leigh Webber as Katherine, a woman struggling to overcome a major trauma in her life.

Phil Troyk

Phil Troyk, last seen in the 2nd Act Players’ 2018 production of New Year’s Eve at Grandma’s House, will play Larry, the widower who wants to be part of Katherine’s life.

Also in the cast will be Debra Rodkin as Katherine’s mother, Helen; Brandy Miller as Katherine’s overly helpful neighbor Vivian and Sharon Kushiner as Caroline, the social worker trying to help Katherine find a new life.

Troyk also will be featured in the festival’s second play, A Matter of Gender by Sloane Drayson, playing Tad, a washed-up Broadway director hoping to make a comeback with a new play about the nature of God.

Brandy Miller

Miller also will appear in A Matter of Gender, as Tad’s plucky assistant Carly.

Jasmine Richman

Making her return to the 2nd Act Players’ stage will be Jasmine Richman as the actor who tries to change Tad’s mind about who would be the perfect actor to be God in his play…and in his life.

Richman appeared in the 2nd Act Players’ 2018 #MeToo Festival, playing multiple characters in the six, 10-minute plays that made up that event.

Webber has played such memorable roles as Blanche in a Streetcar Named Desire, Katherine Brandt in 33 Variations, and Norma in Perfect Arrangement. Shannon also is a company member with Random Acts Chicago and Pride Films and Plays.

Richman followed her 2nd Act Players’ performance last year with a role in Footloose, the Musical at the Center for the Arts in Wilmette.

Debra Rodkin

Rodkin has played numerous roles in such well-known Chicago theaters as the Redtwist, Shattered Globe and with the Saint Sebastian Players.

Miller has worked at such Chicago-area theaters as Theatre in the Center and the Metropolis Performing Arts Center.  She’s a 2018 graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

kushiner102R (1)  Sharon Kushiner

Kushiner has played numerous roles with Wheaton Shakespeare in the Park and the Arena Theater of Wheaton College and was Sara at the American Blues Theater: Ripped Festival production of Two Different Americas.

Tickets for the festival are $22 in advance, $25 at the door. Simply click here to buy.

Shows begins Saturday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m. and continue for three weekends, ending Sunday, May 26. Sunday shows are at 3 p.m. Performances will be at the Northminster Presbyterian Church Theater, 2515 Central Park Avenue in Evanston.