Blackfish The Musical Sings Sea World Changes with Blackfish Documentary Trainer

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Blackfish The Musical welcomes Jeffrey Ventre, Cast Member & Former Sea World Trainer from Blackfish, the 2013 documentary. Ventre will speak briefly with a Q&A at the Musical's show on April 9th, 2016, in Chicago, IL.

As “Blackfish The Musical” performs every Saturday thru April 9th at MCL Chicago, they are honored to welcome Mr. Jeffrey Ventre, a cast member & former Sea World trainer from the 2013 documentary, Blackfish, to speak at Closing Night. He will be joined by well-known Chicago area animal advocate and volunteer with PETA, Ms. Georgia Argiris, to talk about recent events at Sea World and the continuing effort to release orcas in captivity.

“Blackfish The Musical” is one of many instances of the Blackfish Effect, which has recently led into changes at Sea World that hit nationwide media attention on March 17th, 2016. “This year we will end all orca breeding programs — and because SeaWorld hasn't collected an orca from the wild in almost four decades, this will be the last generation of orcas in SeaWorld's care. We are also phasing out our theatrical orca whale shows,” as quoted in a letter to the Los Angeles Times from SeaWorld President & CEO, Joel Manby.

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PETA issued the following statement: “In response to SeaWorld's announcement that they are ending their orca breeding program last week, PETA, which has long campaigned against the use of Orcas and other animals at such abusement parks, stated that there is payoff for future generations of orcas with this decision by SeaWorld. For decades orcas, dolphins, beluga whales, seals and many other animals have suffered in SeaWorld confinement, but to really do right by them now, SeaWorld must open the tanks to ocean sanctuaries so that these long-suffering animals may have some semblance of a life outside their prison tanks. SeaWorld has taken a step forward but more must come. PETA urges kind people everywhere to keep campaigning strong.”

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PETA and several former Sea World trainers featured in Blackfish have been supportive of The Musical’s satirical treatment of this serious campaign to end captivity. This ongoing effort and other actions that people can take to help save captive killer whales will be addressed by Georgia Argiris & Jeffrey Ventre immediately after the last performance of “Blackfish The Musical” on April 9th, 2016.


Jeffrey Ventre is a medical doctor (MD) practicing at two hospital owned spine-clinics in Central Washington. Jeff trained cetaceans at SeaWorld of Florida for seven years, including Tilikum and pinnipeds for one year, for a total of 8 years at the park. Based on 1st-hand observations, science & ethical concerns, he disagrees with the practice of captivity for free-ranging mammals and is in the book Death at SeaWorld and the movie Blackfish as himself. He has co-authored three peer-reviewed scientific works, including a university book chapter, on the topic of orca captivity with co-author and Blackfish cast member John Jett PhD, and co-hosts the annual "Superpod" gathering with his "Voice of the Orcas" colleagues. He is on Twitter @Jeffrey_Ventre


Based off of the controversial 2013 documentary, Blackfish The Musical shows audiences the operations of "the greatest place on Earth," the marine animal amusement park known as Sea Universe. With their famous killer whale overloaded with performances and kept in the conditions of Sea Universe, a tragic incident occurs when Head Trainer, Cybil Bass, preps in-between shows. Blackfish The Musical is a satirical story that parodies the lives of these characters who work behind-the-scenes of Sea Universe and hopefully sends a message to general audiences about whales in captivity. Profit ticket sales will be donated to a marine wildlife conservation charity.

"Blackfish The Musical" runs every Saturday at 7:30 pm (CST) thru April 9th, 2016, at MCL Chicago, 3110 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago, IL 60657. Tickets are $10 for General Admission and may be purchased at the theater box office, or by phone (773-610-5930), or online at

"Blackfish The Musical" features Lisa Akroush, Stephanie Branco, Kristen Britt, Natalie Carneal, Alex DiVirgilio, Dylan Guzman, Kathryn Hammen, Cole Headrick, Maura Hogan, Kristin Phillips, Morgan Phillips-Spotts, Terrance Rogers, Dustin Sharpe, and Elliot Simmons.

Music performed by Randy Bryant (bass), Katie Foster (piano), and Michael Vuckovich (drums).

Written by Cole Hintz, Meredith Messerle, Thomas Simmons, and Matt Tarpey. Dance Choreography by Teresa Leahey. Musical Direction & Composition by Katie Foster. Technical Lighting and Design by Caitlin Boylan. Stage Management by Brie Weatherington and Matt Tarpey.

Directed by Jonald Jude Reyes.

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Jonald Reyes
since: 02/2016
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