Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department alumni Joel Reitsma ’08 and Cody Estle ’11 won glowing reviews for their work on By the Water, running through April 23 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in the northern Chicago suburb of Skokie. The drama — set in Staten Island, New York, in the wake of Hurricane Sandy — concerns a family’s efforts to rebuild their community following the disaster.
Reitsma, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s acting program, plays the family’s estranged son. Chicago Tribune critic Chris Jones praised Reitsma for “a breakout performance,” and Chicago Sun-Times critic Hedy Weiss saluted Reitsma’s “finely wrought work” in the role.
Estle, a graduate of the Theatre Department’s Theatre Directing program, directed the production, which marks the midwest premiere of the 2014 Off-Broadway hit. The Sun-Times’ Weiss cheered Estle’s “pitch-perfect direction,” and the Tribune’s Jones acknowledged “the very solid direction of the emerging Cody Estle.”
Reitsma and Estle are rising rapidly in the Chicago theatre scene. Reitsma is an ensemble member at Steep Theatre, and has also appeared in productions at Steppenwolf Theatre and at Raven Theatre, where he appeared in two shows directed by Cody Estle. Estle is Associate Artistic Director of Raven Theatre in addition to his freelance directing credits at Northlight, Redtwist Theatre, and The Artistic Home.