WHEN THERE ARE NINE – a dream play about Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Play to run February 10 – March 13 and open to the press on Monday, February 14

Casting has been announced for PrideArts’ production of WHEN THERE ARE NINE. This world premiere by American writer Sally Deering is a dream play in which the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg recalls the personal relationships and professional challenges she made on her life’s journey as a feminist, lawyer, and Supreme Court Justice, as she struggles to understand her legacy before it’s too late. WHEN THERE ARE NINE will be directed by Sam Hess (she/hers), who recently returned to the Chicago area after a three-year stay in Columbus, Ohio, where she directed and assistant directed several productions. WHEN THERE ARE NINE will play in The Broadway, Pride Arts Center at 4139 N. Broadway in Chicago from February 10 through March 13, 2022. Press opening is Monday, February 14, 2022, at 7:30 pm, following previews from February 10 through 13.

WHEN THERE ARE NINE takes place largely in the mind of Justice Ginsburg and imagines how she might have recalled pivotal moments in her life, and how she viewed the challenges she faced and her work yet to be done. Deering’s script shows Justice Ginsburg’s deep concern for the welfare of others and captures the wit and humor for which Justice Ginsburg was known as vividly as it documents her enormous contributions to the advancement of equality in the United States.

Hess’s cast will be led by Talia Langman as Ginsburg. Langman has acted with such Chicago companies as Strawdog, Silk Road Rising, Organic Theatre Company, and The Agency Collective; and in Frank Tovar’s short film A LAST GOLDEN FLASH ACROSS THE SKY, based on a story by Sherwood Anderson. Gabriel Estrada will play RBG’s husband, Marty Ginsburg, and Nicholia Q. Aguirre (of PrideArts’ CASA VALENTINA) will be Gabby – the Justice’s substitute caregiver for a day. The cast also includes an ensemble of seven actors who will play dozens of characters that Ginsburg encountered in her life of 87 years. The ensemble includes Shannon Bachelder (who will understudy the role of RBG), Hannah Boutilier (also U/S for Marty), Ginger DeLeon (also U/S for Gabby), Sarah Kinn, Zoe Nemetz, Ashlyn Seehafer, and Caitlin Wolfe. The production team includes Sarah Hensley (Associate Director, understudy), Valeria Nedgiva (Set Design), Dustin Brown (Projection Design), Nichole Clockel (Costume Design), Piper Kirchhofer (Lighting Design), Val Gardner (Sound Design), Jeff Brain (Props Design), and Hayley Procacci (Stage Manager).

Top row L-R: Talia Langman, Gabriel Estrada, Nicholia Q. Aguirre.
Middle row L-R: Shannon Bachelder, Hannah Boutilier, Ginger DeLeon, Sarah Hensley.
Bottom row L-R: Sarah Kinn, Zoe Nemetz, Ashlynn Seehafer, Caitlin Wolfe.

Hess says, “I was drawn to direct this piece because it’s so clear that real life RBG felt she had more work to do before leaving the court, and we really see her character wrestle with that in the show. That urgency and ambition for more progress, paired with her physical fragility, lends itself to a heartbreaking fever dream and a totally new perspective on RBG.

Tickets to WHEN THERE ARE NINE are priced at $30 for regular performances (February 14 through March 13) and $15 for previews February 10 -13. Seniors and students will receive a $5 discount for regular performances. Tickets will go on sale on Monday, January 3.



By Sally Deering


Directed by Sam Hess

February 10 – March 13, 2022

Thursdays – Saturdays at 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm,  Additional performance Wednesday, March 9, 2022, at 7:30 pm

Previews February 10 –13, 2022

PRESS OPENING Monday, February 14, 2022, at 7:30 pm

The Broadway, Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway, Chicago

Tickets $30 for regular performances, $15 for previews. Seniors and students receive a $5 discount off regular performance prices More information at www.pridearts.org

WHEN THERE ARE NINE traverses the imagined memories of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The show celebrates her legacy, while challenging the audience to see the woman behind the icon. This touching dream play is no biographical retelling of RBG’s life. Ruth is pulled into memories, as one is wrested to the ocean by the tide, and we’re forced to consider how the landmark moments she recalls continue to impact gender equity today.


Sally Deering

Sally Deering (playwright) is an award-winning screenwriter, playwright and journalist. Chicago audiences may remember her musical DR. SEX, which was produced by Bailiwick Repertory and earned six Jeff Awards including Best New Work. From there, the musical moved Off Broadway to the Peter Norton Theater in New York City. Sally has written and directed ten short films including IMPASSE which won Best Comedy Screenplay at the 2019 NYC Downtown Short Film Festival. Her latest film, AUNT SADIE LOVED A LADY was named Audience Favorite at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the Barrymore Film Center’s Short Film Festival. In February, the film will be streamed on Roku, Apple TV and more. Sally’s writing career began when she worked as a newspaper reporter for The Jersey Journal, a gritty daily where she covered some of the most harrowing stories of the day including the terrorist attacks of September 11th. As an award-winning columnist (Best Columnist in New Jersey two years in a row) Sally’s essays were syndicated in newspapers throughout the U.S. Her two novellas on Kindle, THE APPLE THAT FELL FROM THE ORANGE TREE and THE ACTING COACH MURDERS are both available for download on Amazon. Sally holds a B.A. in Media Arts from New Jersey City University, and lives right outside Manhattan with her soulmate, artist Fermín Mendoza. 

Sam Hess (she/her, Director). Sam’s primary directing interest includes scripts that leap out of realism, and considers a dream play the perfect vehicle to explore and celebrate RBG’s life and legacy. Sam has returned to Chicago after a few years in Columbus, OH, where she directed and assistant directed several productions. Favorite credits include: THE BONE HOUSE (Random Acts, Co-Directed with Bryan Renaud), CARRIE: THE MUSICAL (Imagine Productions), THE TICKING HEART (MadLab Theatre YWSPF 2019), THE ROCKY HORROR SHOWdirected by Edward Carignan, and LA CAGE AUX FOLLESdirected by Michael Licata (Short North Stage).