1. Sad news: John Mahoney will no longer be part of Penelope, which was slated to open in previews next week. Steppenwolf announced yesterday that there's been a death in Mahoney's family, and he'll be returning home. "Our hearts and prayers go out to John during this difficult time… and we hope to announce a replacement shortly," Artistic Director Martha Lavey said in a statement. Today the company announced he'll be replaced by Tracy Letts, who has been a part of the ensemble since 2002, and has won a Tony for his play August: Osage County.
2. TimeLine has announced the addition of nine Associate Artists who will work with their Company Members; they are Will Allan, William Brown, Aaron Carter, Andrew Carter, John Culbert, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, Ann Wakefield and Alex Weisman. What will their actual tasks include? "They serve as non-voting advisers in artistic planning," the company said in a statement, "and are encouraged to propose and promote artistic programming ideas and to enhance the work culture and environment of TimeLine."
3. Million Dollar Quartet is adding a new song to their set for the holiday season -- Chuck Berry's "Run, Run, Rudolph." Is it enough of a reason to see the show again (or for the first time)? Please watch the amazing video below and judge for yourself. The show will also be adding New Year's Eve performances, where they'll toast by singing "Auld Lang Syne." If I were you, I'd hope for champagne. The show is in Chicago through mid-January.
4. Sound of Music fans will love this Chicago-local connection to their favorite film; Sofia, Melanie, Amanda and Justin von Trapp (the great-grandchildren of Captain von Trapp) will be at the Paramount on December 4 singing the songs that stole a million hearts. Didn't know the von Trapp's were real? Now you do!
5. The Chicago Opera Theater will be announcing the appointment of a new General Director on December 7 at 12:30 pm, somewhere in the Loop. They'll be passed the baton of sorts by current general director Brian Dickie. In his overview of the opera scene published in the summer, Jonathan Abarbanel pointed out that Dickie has been in the position since 1999, during which time "COT has specialized in baroque opera as well as a broader and definitely contemporary world view."
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