McKendree University Students to Perform "Silent Sky" March 30-April 2

(LEBANON, Ill., March 15, 2023) – McKendree University’s students will be performing Silent Sky, the true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt. The curtain will rise for four performances from March 30-April 2 at the Hettenhausen Center for the Arts on campus. The Thursday performance, which will begin at 10 a.m., is part of the University’s Arts Education series and is suitable for all ages. The Friday and Saturday performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday’s matinee starts at 2:30 p.m.

Admission is free for McKendree students, faculty and staff. General admission tickets are priced at $5, and reservations are recommended. Please contact the Hett box office at (618) 537-6863 to reserve seats or purchase them online.

Cast members include: Felicity Crowell of Freeburg, Ill., as Williamina Fleming; Sean Harper of Metamora, Ill., as Peter Shaw; Jade Heuer of Granite City, Ill., playing the dual role of Annie Jump Cannon; Madison Rohn of O’Fallon, Ill., as Henrietta Leavitt; Jayden Touchette of Millstadt, Ill., as Margaret Leavitt; and Madeline Trinity of Millstadt, Ill., playing the dual role of Annie Jump Cannon. With Mia Wylie of Maryville, Ill., serving as stage manager, the rest of the crew members include: Alex Brandenburger of Belleville, Ill. (lighting design/board); Julian Castillo of Lincoln, Ill.; Gabi Cuba of Collinsville, Ill.; Caleb Marriott of Mascoutah, Ill. (sound); and Cheyenne Pride of Flora, Ill.

Written by Lauren Gunderson, Silent Sky takes place in the early 1900s when astronomer Henrietta Leavitt worked at the Harvard Observatory. She isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love. This true story explores a woman’s place in society during a time of immense scientific discoveries, when women’s ideas were dismissed until men claimed credit for them. Social progress, like scientific progress, can be hard to see when one is trapped among earthly complications. Henrietta and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.

The Hett opens for general admission seating 30 minutes prior to each performance. For more information, please contact Michelle Magnussen at (618) 537-6586. To purchase tickets, please visit