Midwest Premiere

When the Murphy family faces the loss of their lifelong home, the secrets they’ve kept buried for years are suddenly exposed – leaving them vulnerable not only to nature, but to each other. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, the Murphys fight to protect their home, their community and their dignity in this compassionate portrait of a working class family struggling to keep their American Dream alive.

at Northlight Theatre
9501 Skokie Boulevard, Skokie, IL 60077

“Affecting. Drawn with acute sympathy and in gritty detail… seasoned with salty humor.”

- The New York Times

This production is supported in part by:

Calendar for By the Water

MarSunMar 12
MonMar 13
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WedMar 15
ThuMar 16
  • 7:30pm
FriMar 17
  • 8:00pm
SatMar 18
  • 8:00pm
SunMar 19
MonMar 20
TueMar 21
WedMar 22
FriMar 24
  • 8:00pm
MarSunMar 26
MonMar 27
TueMar 28
ThuMar 30
FriMar 31
SunApr 16
MonApr 17
TueApr 18
ThuApr 20
FriApr 21
SunApr 23
MonApr 24
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SatApr 29


Janet Ulrich Brooks

Andrea Carter

Janet is a member of TimeLine, where she has appeared in A Walk in the Woods,All My Sons, When She Danced, Not Enough Air, Weekend, Tesla’s Letters, Paradise Lost, Lillian and A Man For All Seasons. Chicago credits include: The Seagull and A True History of the Johnstown Flood(Goodman), The Original Grease (American Theatre Company), Pony (About Face), Jacob & Jack (Victory Gardens), Golda’s Balcony (Pegasus Players, Jeff Award Non-Equity wing – Outstanding Solo Performance), and work with Strawdog Theatre Company, Steppenwolf for Young Adults, Writers’, Collaboraction, and others. Film and TV: Conviction, Polish Bar, I Heart Shakey, One Small Hitch and Chicago Code. Janet received the first Ed See Outstanding Theatre Alumnus Award from the University of Central Missouri, and earned her MFA in acting from Western Illinois University.

Jordan Brown

Sal Murphy

Jordan is proud to return to Northlight Theatre, where he previously appeared in White Guy On The Bus and Sense and Sensibility. His other Chicago credits include the Goodman Theatre’s Wonderful TownVanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, Brigadoon (Jeff Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, Musical), and A Christmas CarolIphigenia In Aulis (Court Theatre); The Pitmen Painters and Juno (TimeLine Theatre) and In The Company Of Men (Profiles Theatre). Off-Broadway, he played Claudio in Much Ado About Nothing (Theatre Row in the Beckett Theatre). In Baltimore, he appeared in A Skull in Connemara (Centerstage Theatre). Mr. Brown’s television credits include Sirens and Crisis. Mr. Brown can also be seen playing the role of Kirt in NBC’s very first web series, Bobby & Iza. He is a graduate of the University of the North Carolina School of the Arts.

Patrick Clear

Philip Carter

Patrick is delighted to return to Northlight where he was seen as Mr. Kirby in last season’s You Can’t Take It With You. His other Northlight appearances include The Mousetrap, The Miser, Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde and Pride and Prejudice. He has appeared in more than 60 productions with Chicago area theatres including the Goodman, Chicago Shakespeare, Steppenwolf, Writers and Remy Bumppo. His regional credits include appearances at Hartford Stage, the Asolo Repertory Theatre, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Playhouse, Maltz Jupiter Theatre, Arena Stage, the Guthrie Theater, American Shakespeare Theatre, Centerstage, the Huntington Theatre and the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. He appeared on Broadway in Noises Off and Hollywood Arms. Film and Television credits include Empire, The Dark Knight, Chicago PD, Boss, The Untouchables and Early Edition.

Amanda Drinkall

Emily Mancini

Amanda returns to Northlight where she previously appeared in White Guy on the Bus and Funnyman. Other Chicago credits include: King Charles III (Chicago Shakespeare); Mary Page Marlowe (Steppenwolf), Venus in Fur and Measure for Measure (Goodman); Dutchman (American Blues); Last Train to Nibroc (Haven Theatre-Jeff Award, Best Actress); Rest (Victory Gardens); Pygmalion (Oak Park Festival); Great Expectations (Strawdog); Pride and Prejudice (Lifeline); hamlet is dead. no gravity, The Skriker, Brand, The Love of the Nightingale, and Pullman, WA (Red Tape); and sixteen shows with The Back Room Shakespeare Project. Regional credits include North Carolina & Michigan Shakespeare Festivals.  TV credits: Chicago Med, Bobby & Iza. Film credits: The View From Tall. Ms. Drinkall holds a BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is represented by Gray Talent Group.

Francis Guinan

Marty Murphy

Francis returns to Northlight where he previously appeared in White Guy On The Bus, Stella & Lou, Season’s Greetings and Inherit the Wind. Chicago credits include The Night Alive, The Birthday Party, Time Stands Still, The Book Thief, American Buffalo, Balm in Gilead and Say Goodnight, Gracie (Steppenwolf); The Book of Joseph (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre); Twist Your Dickens, Pullman Porter Blues and The Seagull (Goodman); A Guide for the Perplexed (Victory Gardens, Jeff Award); and Rantoul and Die (American Blues). He appeared on Broadway in August: Osage County, The Grapes of Wrath and As Is. His television credits include Boss, Eerie, Indiana, ER, Frasier and several Star Trek franchise episodes. Mr. Guinan’s film credits include Abundant Acreage Available, The Last Airbender, Typing, Low Tide and Constantine.

Joel Reitsma

Brian Murphy

Joel couldn’t be more thrilled to be working at Northlight. He is a company member with Steep Theatre, where he performed in Bobby Clearly and Motortown (Joseph Jefferson Award Nomination). He is also a co-founder, writer, performer, and director for The LIVINGroom, a Solo Performance ensemble that tells personal, autobiographical, and universal stories live on stage. Other Chicago credits include A Loss of Roses, and Vieux Carré (Raven); Lisbon Traviata (Eclipse); Ecstasy (Cole Theatre); Love and Understanding (Redtwist); and The Brig (Mary Arrchie). When not on stage, he’s on the water, as a captain on the Chicago River. For any additional information about Joel, visit JoelReitsma.com. He thanks his family for their endless support and his wife, Laura, his everything.

Penny Slusher

Mary Murphy

Penny last appeared at Northlight in You Can’t Take It With You. Other Northlight productions include Chapatti, Sense & Sensibility and A Life. Chicago credits include: Sweet Bird of Youth (Goodman); Uncle Vanya (After Dark Award), The Importance of Being Earnest, James Joyce’s “The Dead” (Court); Old Glory, Another Part of the Forest (Jeff Award), Bus Stop, The Subject Was Roses (Writers). Regional: Chapatti and The Hollow (Peninsula Players), My Fair Lady (Asolo Repertory), Sense & Sensibility (Actors Theatre of Louisville and Saint Louis Repertory). International Theatre: Chapatti and Stella & Lou (Northlight at Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland), August: Osage County (Steppenwolf at Sydney Theatre, Australia). Film: Virginia, Meet the Browns, Grace is Gone. Television: The Connie Banks Show.

Production Team

Sharyn Rothstein


Sharyn is a playwright and television writer, whose plays and musicals have been workshopped and produced around the country, as well as internationally. Her play By The Water was first produced by Manhattan Theater Club and Ars Nova in 2014 and was the recipient of the 2015 American Theater Critic’s Association Francesca Primus Prize for a play by an emerging woman playwright. Her play All The Days was the recipient of the Edgerton Foundation Award and was produced at the McCarter Theater Center in 2016, directed by Emily Mann. In addition to playwriting, Sharyn is a writer for the USA Network drama SUITS. She holds an MFA in dramatic writing from NYU and a Masters in Public Health from Hunter College, with a concentration in Urban Health.

Cody Estle


Cody is a Chicago-based freelance director. Directing credits include The Assembled Parties, A Loss of Roses, Dividing the Estate, Vieux Carré (named by “Chicago Tribune” as one of the Year’s Best in 2014), Good Boys and True, Brighton Beach Memoirs, Boy Gets Girl and Dating Walter Dante at Raven Theatre; Scarcity at Redtwist Theatre; The Seagull and Watch on the Rhine at The Artistic Home; Don’t Go Gentle at Haven Theatre; Uncle Bob at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company and Hospitality Suite at Citadel Theatre. He’s had the pleasure of assistant directing at Northlight, Steppenwolf, Goodspeed Musicals, Court, Writers, Next Theatre and Strawdog. Estle is the Associate Artistic Director at Raven Theatre, an associate member of SDC and a graduate of Columbia College Chicago. www.codyestle.com

Jeffrey D. Kmiec

Scenic Design

Jeffrey is a Chicago-based scenic designer. Local credits include: Butler, Funnyman, The Commons of Pensacola and Tom Jones at Northlight Theatre; The Little Mermaid, A Christmas Story and Les Miserables (2015 Jeff Award Recipient) at Paramount Theatre; Crazy For You, Deathtrap (2016 Jeff Award Recipient) and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Drury Lane Oakbrook; Man of La Mancha at The Marriott Theatre; Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill, Double Trouble, Ain’t Misbehavin’, Sweeney Todd and Sondheim on Sondheim at Porchlight Music Theatre; Good Boys and True, Dividing the Estate (Jeff Award Nomination), The Old Friends, A Loss of Roses (Jeff Award Nomination) and The Assembled Parties at Raven Theatre; Watch on the Rhine (Jeff Award Nomination) and The Seagull at The Artistic Home. Regional credits include: American Players Theatre, Illinois Shakespeare Festival, Arkansas Shakespeare Theatre, Heritage Theatre Festival and the Children’s Theatre of Charlotte. Jeffrey received his MFA from the University of Virginia.

JR Lederle

Lighting Design

Northlight credits include Charm, Shining Lives, Outside Mullingar, White Guy on the Bus, Detroit ’67, The Odd Couple, Ten Chimneys, Season’s Greetings, A Life, Grey Gardens, The Retreat From Moscow, Lady, Stella & Lou, The Outgoing Tide, Better Late and Chapatti (the last four also at the Galway International Arts Festival, Ireland). Other work has been seen at Lookingglass, Victory Gardens, About Face, Remy Bumppo, Writers, Steppenwolf and Walkabout. JR designed lighting for seven years of the Steppenwolf TRAFFIC Series, and five Steppenwolf performances in Chicago’s Millennium Park. He has served as head of the Lighting Department at Steppenwolf since 1995.​

Rachel Laritz

Costume Design

Rachel is happy to be joining Northlight for the 21st time with this production of By the Water. Other design credits include various shows at: Chicago Shakespeare, Writers, Court, Steppenwolf First Look, Remy Bumppo, TimeLine, Utah Shakespeare Festival, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Rep, Florentine Opera, Kansas City Rep, Great Lakes Theatre, Idaho Shakespeare, Illinois Shakespeare, Next Act, Chamber, Renaissance Theaterworks, Skylight Music Theatre, Arkansas Shakespeare, Peninsula Players and the University of Michigan. Off- Broadway: Pearl Theatre. Other professional credits: NBC’s Law & Order, American Players Theatre, Chicago Opera Theater, Garsington Opera and Spoleto Festival USA. Rachel is a recipient of a 2011 Emerging Artist Alumni Award from the University of Michigan and a 2009 Joseph Jefferson Award for The Voysey Inheritance (Remy Bumppo). Rachellaritz.com​

Lindsay Jones

Sound Design & Original Music

Northlight credits include: Snapshots, A Life, The Miser, Lady, Bee Luther Hatchee and Rounding Third. Off-Broadway credits include: Public Theater, Playwrights Horizons, NYTW, Vineyard Theatre, Pearl Theatre and Primary Stages. Regional credits include: Center Stage, American Conservatory Theatre, Hartford Stage, South Coast Repertory, Alliance, Goodman, Arena Stage, Yale Repertory, The Old Globe, Chicago Shakespeare, Alley, Steppenwolf and Lookingglass. International credits include: Stratford Shakespeare Festival (Canada), Royal Shakespeare Company (England), as well as productions in Austria, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Scotland. Jones has received six Joseph Jefferson Awards and 16 nominations, two Ovation Awards and three nominations, LA Drama Critics Circle Award, two ASCAP Plus Awards and two Drama Desk Award nominations. Film scores include The Brass Teapot for Magnolia Pictures and 2006 Academy Award-winning A Note Of Triumph for HBO Films. www.lindsayjones.com

Eva Breneman

Dialect Coach

Northlight credits:  Discord, You Can’t Take it With You, Lost in Yonkers, Outside Mullingar, Tom Jones, Stones in His Pockets, The Whipping Man, The Odd Couple, Season’s Greetings, A Life, The Lieutenant of Inishmore, and Grey Gardens. Chicago credits include Shakespeare in Love (Chicago Shakespeare); The Hard Problem (Court); The Columnist (American Blues); A Disappearing Number (Timeline); Pygmalion (Remy Bumppo); King Charles III (Chicago Shakespeare); The Compass (Steppenwolf); The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Chicago Children’s Theater); The Little Foxes (Goodman); Posh (Steep); and Blood Wedding (Lookingglass).  Regional credits include Death of a Salesman, The African Company Presents Richard III, A Streetcar Named Desire and The Island (American Repertory Theatre); Love’s Labour’s Lost (Actors Theatre of Louisville); Around The World In 80 Days (Centerstage/Kansas City Repertory) and Mamma Mia! (National Tour/Las Vegas).

Mara Filler

Production Stage Manager

Mara is honored to be working on her first production at Northlight. Other Chicago credits include Blue Skies Process, Mother Road, The Magic Play and The Solid Sand Below (Goodman); Twist Your Dickens (three seasons), #DateMe, Afro-Futurism (Second City); Stick Fly (Windy City Playhouse); First Look (Steppenwolf); The Merry Wives of Windsor (First Folio) and Travesties and Our Class (Remy Bumppo). She previously spent eight seasons working on the Stage Management team at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where her credits include Party People (world premiere), To Kill a Mockingbird, Henry IV Pt. 1 & 2, Hamlet, Death and the King’s Horseman, Much Ado About Nothing, Paradise Lost, The Clay Cart, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler, On the Razzle, Tartuffe, Two Gentlemen of Verona and Bus Stop.

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