REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

American Wee-Pie


By Lisa DillmanAmerican WeePie

Directed by Megan Carney

At Rivebdell Theatre Ensemble, Chicago

Sweet, quirky comedy/drama about rediscovering one’s life purpose is the recipe for fa fine show

Rivendell theatre Ensemble, a troupe dedicated to producing theatre that is “women’s work, ” has mounted a funny and quirky comic drama about a group of souls struggling to both fine their sense of  purpose and an outlet for their creativity. Filled with contemporary references to the latest fad (designed cupcakes -who knew?), this world premiere by Lisa Dillman tells the story of a middle-aged textbook editor, Zed (played quirky by Kurt Brocker) who returns to his rural hometown for a funeral of his mother. He  finds himself on an unexpected journey of self-reinvention as he finnally realizes that his life in Chicago is devoid of purpose.


Once he has a chance encounter with a high school acquaintance, Pam (the charming Jennifer Pompa), he envies her happiness and sense of fulfillment as he visits her cupcake show in Gardensend, a small Midwestern town.  Together with her soul mate husband, Pableu (the over-the-top French pastry -here a cupcake chief, Mark Ulrich), they run a cupcake shop called Le Petit Gateau.  Zed also has encounters with his estranged sister, Linz (Jane Baxter Miller) who is cynical toward Zed as both siblings have lost touch over the years. Linz is on her own journey to discover a new purpose in life. Add Keith Kupferer as Malcolm (an others) – the noisy mailman  and we have a comic drama that sweetly deals with the life-altering effects of recession and second chance careers. The need to be creative as a means to personal  self-fulfillment is vividly presented via quirky comedy. Kurt Brocker’s droll subtle sense and Mark Ulrich’s flamboyant pastry chef give American Wee-Pie an engaging point-of-view. Keith Kupferer deftly demonstrates his acting chops as he swiftly changes both costumes and characters.

As a world premiere, American Wee-Pie only needs a little tightening as it is basically a polished new work that has much to say about the life traps that many middle aged folks find themselves stuck in. We see how the need to be creative and the courage to change can become a self-reinvention that fuels contentment.  Hope is the main ingredient in both the cupcakes and those little wee-pies. Entertainment for us this the result. You’ll enjoy Lisa Dillman’s comedy. Taste her treats.


Tom Williams

Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast

Date Reviewed: January 14, 2013

Jeff Recommended

For more info checkout the American Wee-Pie page at

At Rivendell Theatre Ensemble, 5779 N. Ridge, Chicago, IL, call 773-334-7728,, tickets $30, Thursdays and Fridays at 8 pm, Saturdays at 4 & 8 pm, running time is 2 hours, 15 minutes with intermission, through February 16, 2013

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