1. Did you hear? Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre has won the 2011 Tony Award for Excellence in Regional Theatre, Onstage/Backstage's Jonathan Abarbanel reports. The Lookingglass is the fifth Chicago Off-Loop troupe to win this award. Hit the link for Jonathan's take on the importance of this award, but here's a preview: "No other city comes close to five Tony Awards for Regional Theatre."
2. Homer may have written about the Trojan War a long time ago, but that doesn't mean we've stopped reinterpreting his work. The latest stab at The Iliad is Vintage Theater's production of Helen, which just opened at the Strawdog Theater. In Helen, the title character is forced to wait in a hotel in Egypt until the battle for her hand comes to a close. TimeOut's Kris Vire says that the play, written by Ellen McLaughlin, is good, but that "One wishes McLaughlin would delve more deeply into the ideas she raises...."
3. Last night, Alice Ripley, who is currently in the well-reviewed production of Next to Normal, performed a concert, "Daily Practice: The Acoustic Sessions." The album features "covers of rock tunes that influenced me at a young age", Ripley says in the video below, and you'll recognize Sting and Bruce Springsteen among the chosen ones. "It's like a basic very basic sampling of what you outta know -- that's one of the songs, "You Outta Know", Alanis Morissette."
4. The Reader has the story of the dramatic exit of both Ron Bieganski and Anita Evans from Free Street Theater, citing a difference in philosophy about how the group should be run. This story has a relatively happy ending though; Bieganski and Evans have founded a new theater organization to work with youth called the [new ensemble], whose opening is a week from today.
5. More, more more Tony Awards; The New York Times liveblogged the nomination announcements this morning, so check out all the stuff you don't care about because it's not in Chicago. One thing I learned is that "Broadway shows based on movies have won the Tony for best musical in five out of the last 10 years."
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