Everything is Wonderful

“Thought-provoking, often beautiful, and in a quiet way, inspiring… It should not be missed.” — Broadway World

“A perceptive, character-rich drama about forgiveness in an Amish community” — the Washington Post

“As a morality play that explores the complexities of family, modern life and the increasingly strained relationship between religious and philosophical tenets and the largely secular ways of modern life, “Wonderful” is highly effective, posing key questions and dilemmas for which contemporary society has yet to provide clear answers or even the support necessary to uncover them.” — Communities Digital News

“A beautiful story of redemption and forgiveness within a family… A concept which could cause mass confusion in lesser hands is expertly developed here and fluidly reveals key plot developments and character information in a uniquely layered style.” — Broadway World

“Everything is Wonderful is challenging theatrical terrain that few plays tackle successfully. Ms. Marcantel does so, however, with beauty and grace, and CATF’s production is a standout.” — DC Metro Theatre Arts

“Through themes of forgiveness, repression and faith, Marcantel and director Ed Herendeen also explore the complicated nature of how the past affects the present and how experiences, emotions, people and situations affect one another in the grand picture of life.” — Frederick News-Post

“Chelsea Marcantel’s thoughtful play is a metaphor for modern religious, moral and political contradictions.” — Communities Digital News

Full-length drama • One Intermission • 3M, 3W

When an Amish couple’s two sons are killed in a car accident, the family struggles to maintain their faith and cling to their way of life.  In an act of unfathomable forgiveness, they take in Eric, the wayward young driver of the car.  But Eric’s mistake cracks open the family’s dark history, and brings back their eldest daughter, excommunicated five years earlier.  Miri finds her family in shambles, the man who killed her brothers living in the barn, and the man who drove her away intent upon marrying her younger sister.  Without a way forward, this insular community must seek to heal the deep wounds of the past, forcing everyone into a new kind of reckoning.


EVERYTHING IS WONDERFUL received its world-premiere production at the Contemporary American Theatre Festival in Shepherdstown, West Virginia in the summer of 2017.  The play was directed by Ed Herendeen.

Set by David M Barber
Costumes by Therese Bruck
Lights by D.M. Wood
Sound and Composition by Miles Polaski
Stage Manager Deb Acquavella
Asst. Director and Dramaturg Shaun M. McCracken


JACOB Paul DeBoy
ESTHER Hollis McCarthy
ERIC Jason Babinsky
ABRAM Lucky Gretzinger
RUTH Lexi Lapp
MIRI Jessica Savage

click on any photo in the gallery below to see the full-sized image

all photos by Seth Freeman Photography

Development History

This play received an Honorable Mention on The Kilroys 2015 List.

This play received an Honorable Mention on The Kilroys 2016 List.

Everything is Wonderful received a staged reading at Atlantic Theatre Company in October of 2016.  The reading was directed by Walter Bobbie and featured Boyd Gaines, Veanne Cox, Patch Darragh, Colby Minifie, Rowan Vickers, and Madeleine Rogers.


Everything is Wonderful received a staged reading as part of the COLONY at Montana Repertory Theatre in July of 2016.  The reading was directed by Gregory Johnson.

Everything is Wonderful received a public reading at Barnard College, produced by New York Stage and Film, on November 2nd, 2015.  The reading was directed by Tyne Rafaeli.

Everything is Wonderful received a workshop performance at The Juilliard School, September 10-12 2015, directed by Tyne Rafaeli.

Everything is Wonderful received its first developmental reading in a Play Lab at The Juilliard School in November 2014.

Everything is Wonderful owes a developmental debt of gratitude to an inspirational early workshop with director Sarah Gitenstein and The New Colony in Chicago.

play lab 2

Play Lab 1

(l-r) Alex Shaw, Marianne Rendon, Kelsey Maverick, Sarah Tolan-Mee, Adam Ewer, and Rowan Vickers.