Jennifer Engstrom

Engstrom croppedJen lived the first ten years of her life on a hog farm in Huxley, Iowa. Eschewing both the rural life and her grandpa’s fervent wish to see her wed a republican, Jen set her sights on the big city, and when she turned 18, she moved to Chicago with stars in her eyes.

Jen caught the eye of many while starring as the libidinous octogenarian Cheetah Bee in the smash hit The Fastest Clock in the Universe here at A Red Orchid. Since then, she has appeared in Kimberly Akimbo and The Hothouse. With Famous Door Theatre she earned critical praise in The Great Society with the Chicago Sun-Times dubbing her performance “the shrewdest, most darkly comic performance you may see all season.”

Her work at Northlight Theatre was rewarded with the Jack Springer Award for Best Actress in Sky Girls by Jenny Laird. Other roles include Jill Yardley in Brett Neveu’s Eric LaRue here at A Red Orchid, April Green in Hot l Baltimore at Mary-Arrchie (directed by David Cromer), Shirl in Defiant Theatre’s The Flaming Guns of the Purple Sage, as well as both The Incident and Are You Now Or Have You Ever Been… at Next Theatre which garnered Jeff Awards for Best Ensemble. In 2001, Jen traveled to London with Steppenwolf Theatre’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest starring Gary Sinise.

Jen’s long and often unfortunate affinity for Dorothy Parker led her to compose a “live literature” series, bringing to life a series of Mrs. Parker’s most beloved monologues. Rick Kogan of WGN Radio called her performance at Davenport Cabaret Bar, “a revelation” and deemed its viewing “essential for those with a soul.” Jen is inspired by A Red Orchid Theatre and is honored to be a part of it.


MacArthur Award 2016

Posted on March 21, 2016

  As many of you have heard, A Red Orchid Theatre has been named one of the 14 recipients of this year’s MacArthur Award for Creative & Effective Institutions.  We …

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Professional Development Series

A Red Orchid Theatre Professional Development: **This class is now full. Please check back for upcoming offerings and if you would like to be added to our contact list to …

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