The cast of the upcoming Los Alamos Little Theatre’s show, ‘Silent Sky.’ Courtesy photo
“Silent Sky,” directed by John Cullinan, follows the true story of Henrietta Leavitt, who began work at the Harvard College Observatory in the early 1900s when women were not allowed to touch a telescope or expected to express an original idea.
Leavitt joined a group of women “computers” measuring the dots of stars on photographic plates for a renowned astronomer who calculated projects in “girl hours.”
The play follows Leavitt as she undertakes her own study, in her free time, of stars whose brightness varies. But she also must take measure of her life on Earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love.
“Silent Sky” 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; Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and Earth.
Casting followed an arduous audition process with many talented actresses in the running. The final cast and characters are:
- Katrina Koehler as Henrietta Leavitt, dedicated and meticulous in her work in science
- Jess Cullinan as Margaret Leavitt, Henrietta’s sister and representing Henrietta’s familial obligations
- Kevin Pelzel as Peter Shaw, the potential love interest
- Andi Bishofberger as Annie Cannon, leader of the women “computers” who analyzed the star field photographs
- Kathi Collins as Williamina Fleming, a sassy Scotswoman who does not mind putting a man in his place
“Silent Sky” will be performed Sept. 14-29 at the Performing Arts Center, 1670 Nectar St.
Los Alamos Little Theatre is a non-profit, 501(c)3 organization that has provided the Los Alamos and surrounding communities opportunities to participate in theatrical productions since 1943.