Rochester University’s theatre department will present “Silent Sky,” written by Lauren Gunderson and directed by Dr. Catherine Parker, RU associate professor of theatre, starting on Thursday, Sept. 19. 

“Silent Sky” tells the story of Henrietta Leavitt, who begins work at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, but she isn’t allowed to touch a telescope or express an original idea. Instead, she joins a group of women “computers,” charting the stars for a renowned astronomer who calculates projects in “girl hours” and has no time for the women’s probing theories. 

As Henrietta, in her free time, attempts to measure the light and distance of stars, she must also take measure of her life on earth, trying to balance her dedication to science with family obligations and the possibility of love. The true story of 19th-century astronomer Henrietta Leavitt 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; Henrietta Leavitt and her female peers believe in both, and their dedication changed the way we understand both the heavens and earth.

Evening performances of “Silent Sky” will be Sept. 19-21 and Sept. 26-28 at 7:30 p.m. while matinee performances will be Sept. 22 and Sept. 29 at 2 p.m. All productions take place on the campus of Rochester University at 800 W. Avon Road, Rochester Hills, MI 48307 in the RAC Theatre.

Tickets are $5 for students and $12 in advance ($15 at the door). To purchase tickets online, visit www.rochesteru.edu/theatre. For group sales or more information, call (248) 218-2149 or e-mail theatre@rc.edu.

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