1. Gilbert & Sullivan's The Gondoliers is up at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago the weekend of March 9. It "takes place in 19th-century Venice, where two handsome and charming would-be Kings – both gondoliers – vie for the disputed throne of Barataria." Riveting! Will there be water? Another fun fact: When it opened, "the comic opera was Gilbert & Sullivan’s last great success, opening in 1889 and continuing for 554 performances—at that time the fifth longest running piece of musical theatre in history." And a final fun fact: 2012 is the 28th consecutive year that the proceeds from the production will benefit the University's Department of Music.
2. We've got more detailed thoughts about the power of regional theater from Jason Loewith at Howlround. The gist? Stop whining! "Managing institutional expansion while staying true to a theater’s intimate roots is a huge challenge when companies try to break financial barriers, he writes.
"A success story I love was written by Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois. The company, which began in 1992 with fifty seats in the back of a bookstore, traded on its intimacy between artist and patron, and within ten years had grown to a budget of $1.2 million and 5,400 subscribers. When the company designed a new space in 2003, it held on to its hallmark intimacy by increasing to only 108 seats; the company retained (and even grew) its near-capacity subscription base, and now boasts a budget of $3.5 million.
3. Red Orchid's Megacosm has been extended through March 11. Read more about the production here.
4. An activity I would have gotten behind as a youth (and, let's face it, am totally into now): The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and American Ballet Theatre (ABT) have joined up to host a dance class for girls 8 and up at the American Girl Place in Water Tower. "Visiting ABT teaching artist and former ABT dancer Anna Spelman will lead four 20-minute sessions featuring an introduction to the basics of ballet and movement from ABT’s upcoming performance of Giselle at ATRU (March 22 – 25)." It's a free event, but space will be limited. March 10 from 11 am to 1 pm.
5. Theaters just love conversations these days. Strawdog is the latest; they're doing a series called "Play Rites!" that starts March 5 will Bill Savage. He'll be moderator for “American Criminals,” a spin-off of The Petrified Forest. Topics of discussion include gangsters and outlaws of all kinds.
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