European premiere of STAND UP IF YOU’RE HERE TONIGHT to play at La Cave Cafe starting this month

Rohm Literary and American Blues Theater will present the European premiere of a new play, STAND UP IF YOU’RE HERE TONIGHT, written and directed by John Kolvenbach (Olivier Nominee Love Song) and featuring Jim Ortlieb (The Farnsworth Invention of Broadway by Aaron Sorkin) and starring Julie Kalya. STAND UP IF YOU ARE HERE THIS EVENING premieres Thursday, October 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m.; will open on Saturday October 29 at 7:30 p.m. and will take place from Thursday to Saturday November 12 at 7:30 p.m. at the café La Cave, 134 rue Marcadet.

“You tried everything. Yoga. Acupuncture. Therapy. You floated in salt water in pitch black darkness. You ate nothing but RINDS for three days and three nights. You reached out, you looked at inside, you tried. and yet you are there.”

Thus begins a new play by the playwright named by Olivier John Kolvenbach. Jim Ortlieb delivers a tour de force performance as a man desperate for connection, bent by isolation and deeply in love with the audience itself.


John Kolvenbach (Writer/Director) On the West End: Love Song (Olivier nomination, Best New Comedy, directed by John Crowley) and An average day (with Woody Harrelson and Kyle McLachlan, also directed by Mr. Crowley). Love Song premiered in Steppenwolf in 2006, directed by Austin Pendelton. It was produced in New York, Zurich, Melbourne, Sydney, Wellington, Seoul and Rome. There have been over fifty productions in the United States. Average Day was produced in Los Angeles by VS. (with Johnny Clark and Stef Tovar) and in Chicago by VS. and Route 66. Average Day was produced in Tel Aviv, Buenos Aires and Lisbon. Goldfish was created at South Coast Directorythen at the Magic Theater in San Francisco, directed by Loretta Greco. The play was done in the repertoire with Mrs. Whitney, which was directed by the author. More recently, Reel to Reel received its premiere at The Magic and Sister Play and received its premiere at The Harbor Stage Company and The Magic, both productions directed by the author. Other plays include: Fabuloso, (premiered at WHAT, later productions in San Juan and Zurich, in Spanish and Swiss German) Bank Job (Amphibian Stages) and Marriage Play or Half ‘n Half ‘n Half (Merrimack Rep.) Movie: “Clear Winter Noon,” an original screenplay, was blacklisted in 2008.

Jim Ortlieb has been a member of the American Blues Theater Company of Chicago since 1998. His association with Chicago artists has taken him across the United States and Europe, including Paris. When Gare St. Lazare Players artist Bob Meyer moved to Paris in 1988, to spend more time with his son, Charlie, Jim joined him to collaborate on numerous productions with an expanded group of English-speaking artists, including Judy and Conor Lovett which bear the name Gare St. Lazare Players. Plays include Eugene O’Neal’s Hughie, The Homecoming, Faith Healer, Dark Pony and Requiem for a Heavyweight.

Ortlieb’s fruitful relationship with John Kolvenbach began with The Marriage Play where Jim was nominated for an IRNE award for his lead performance and continues today with Stand Up If You’re Here Tonight! Jim won the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle award and is nominated for the Joseph Jefferson Chicago Award for Best Actor in the Play You’re Attending Tonight.

Some other acting credits include: Broadway in Aaron Sorkinis the invention of Farnsworth, of mice and men with James Franco and Chris O’Dowd directed by Anna Shapiroand Guys and Dolls with Lawrence Graham and Oliver Plattthe next Elton John‘s The Devil Wears Prada, and the 1st national tour of Billy Elliot, the Musical for two years in Chicago and Toronto.

His film and television credits include: Bob Meyer’s Drunkboat with John Malkovich and John Goodman, Flatliners, Home Alone, A Mighty Wind, Contagion, Chain Reaction, The Onion Movie, Latter Days, Bug and Magnolia. Some of his TV credits include Station 19, American Horror Story, 911: Lone Star, How to Get Away With Murder, Grey’s Anatomy, West Wing, The Closer, Roswell, Six Feet Under, Gabriel’s Fire and The Shield. Jim has done over 75 commercials and voice overs in his 45 years as an actor.

Jim’s two daughters are graduates of DePaul University. Grainne Ortlieb is staying in Chicago and Helena is studying in Canada and Germany for her MA in German Intercultural Studies. Jim is delighted to return to Paris.


Passionate and emboldened by studying Macbeth in high school in England, Julie auditions and is accepted by the prestigious NATIONAL YOUTH THEATER in London. The elders understand Daniel Day Lewis, Orlando Bloom, Helene Mirren, Daniel Craig, Rosamund pike and Colin Firth. She then moved to Sydney, Australia, where she received outstanding theater reviews for her “extraordinary performance” as Rose in “THE WOOLGATHERER” by Guillaume Mastrosimone at the Iron Cove Theater. Katrina, in the musical “BAZAAR AND RUMMAGE” by Sue Townsend at the Iron Cove Theatre, Coral, in ‘AWAY’ by Michael Gow at the Zenith Theatre, Felicity, in ‘THE ANGEL KEY’ by CM Covington and Deborah, in ‘A KIND OF ALASKA’ by Harold Pinter in the Actors Area.

Arriving in Paris, she joined the English-speaking theater company ACT playing several roles in: ‘PYGMALION’, ‘HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES’, ‘AN EVENING WITH Oscar Wilde‘ and ‘DETECTIVE STORIES’. She then joined ACT 2 THEATER COMPANY which was invited to open the FESTIVAL INTERNATIONAL DE THEATER EUROPEEN en VO in London with their French production of ‘LE MALADE IMAGINAIRE’ by Molière in which Julie interpreted the double roles of Béline and M. Purgon. The play’s season was extended for a tour to Bath, England, and then to Paris and Île-de-France, France.

Mandated by NELVANA TV, the writing of a play for children gave birth to ‘LA PETITE GRAINE’, a musical comedy in which she played the main role, but also wrote the music and the lyrics and created the baroque costumes. The play was performed to young audiences in Paris for several seasons.

She won the award for BEST SCENARIO for her short film PREDATRICE, produced by WENDIGO FILMS, and in which she played the main role, Léa. Julie produced, wrote and acted in the French adaptation of the One Woman Show ‘A SOLITARY CHOICE’ by Sheila Duncan, in Montmartre, Paris and La Rochelle and which was performed in the Assembly Rooms of the EDINBURGH FESTIVAL.

She was recently seen playing Sylvie in SYLVIE AND SLY in Joanna Pickering’s TRUTH LIES AND DECEPTION trilogy at the Pavé D’Orsay in Paris. She is currently working on a dramatized podcast for RADIO France and will see her latest play staged at THEATER LUCERNAIRE in Paris next spring.


Rohm Literary, co-producer of Stand Up if You’re Here Tonight, is dedicated to nurturing literary endeavors and international collaborations between authors, playwrights, filmmakers, producers and creative artists of all disciplines. Rohm was founded more than two decades ago by Wendy Goldman Rohm, a NY Times bestselling author, editor and literary agent who also founded Chicago’s award-winning Element Theater in the 1980s. Wendy is to illuminate humanity through the arts, shedding light on the dark places within us and the world, via great literature and drama. For more information, visit: or email [email protected]


Winner of the prestigious American Theater Wing national theater company Award winning, American Blues Theater is a premier arts organization with an intimate environment that patrons, artists, and all Chicagoans call home. American Blues Theater explores American identity through the plays it produces and the communities it serves. American Blues Theater is committed to developing the classic plays and musicals of tomorrow.

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