WBEZ | Redtwist http://www.wbez.org/tags/redtwist Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Playwrights at Center Stage: Trap Door Premieres Vaclav Havel, Red Twist Captures Bruce Norris http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/playwrights-center-stage-trap-door-premieres-vaclav-havel-red-twist <p><p></p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6870_2570652-unveiling-1217121.jpg" title="" /></div><p><u><em>The Unveiling</em> and US Premiere of <em>Dozens of Cousins</em>, <a href="http://trapdoortheatre.com/">Trap Door Theatre</a>, 1655 W. Cortland; 773-384-0494; Thursdays-Saturdays 8 p.m. through January 26; tickets $20 (2 for one Thursdays, $25 Saturdays).</u><br /><br />Few theaters in the country, and none in Chicago, do the kind of work in which Trap Door Theatre specializes: the highly intellectual, deeply political and quasi-absurdist plays of contemporary Europe.&nbsp; So an evening at Trap Door is never less than an adventure, and often absolutely thrilling.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s the case with the company&rsquo;s current offering, a pair of plays by poet-dramatist Vaclav Havel. (In his spare time Havel engineered the Velvet Revolution against Soviet domination of Czechoslovakia and then became the first president of the Czech Republic.) Havel&rsquo;s bizarre comedies anatomize with surgical precision the ludicrous self-absorption of people determined to reform others, and Trap Door Artistic Director Beata Pilch captures every nuance.&nbsp; You know how some people have perfect pitch?&nbsp; Pilch and her actors have perfect rhythm for Havel&rsquo;s dialogue, and express it not only in speech but in dance and acrobatics as precise as the workings of a Swiss watch.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s impossible to describe: just go see it! (KK)<br /><br /><u><em>Purple Heart</em>, <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/">Redtwist Theatre</a>, 1044 West Bryn Mawr; 773-728-7529; Thursdays-Saturdays 7 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m. through January 27; tickets $30 ($25 Thursdays, seniors/students $5 off)</u><br /><br />Another first-rate work in a space the size of your living room.&nbsp; Redtwist Theatre in Edgewater isn&rsquo;t afraid to take on big projects, and when the project matches the company&rsquo;s very contemporary sensibility the results are outstanding.&nbsp; (Its production of <em>The Man From Nebraska</em> made brilliantly clear a play I&rsquo;d found puzzling and tedious at Steppenwolf.)&nbsp; Here again it takes on a one-time Steppenwolf commission, teasing out every layer of meaning in this early work by the Pulitzer-Prizewinning author of <em>Clybourne Park</em>.&nbsp; The four actors (including the remarkable teenager Nicholas Roget-King) strip back the surface of routine exchanges among a war widow, her mother-in-law, her son and a mysterious visitor so we can see the blood and muscle underneath.&nbsp; Director Jimmy McDermott gets the best from everybody, and Clay Sanderson takes the concept &ldquo;creepy&rdquo; to previously unknown heights.</p></p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 19:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/playwrights-center-stage-trap-door-premieres-vaclav-havel-red-twist The Don't-Miss List: Second City on Chicago History, Twyla Tharp and an 'Opus' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-05/dont-miss-list-second-city-chicago-history-twyla-tharp-and-opus-952 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-05/catherine wright generation bitch.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></div><p>Starting tonight (Thursday the 5th), the <a href="http://www.thegifttheatre.org/">Gift Theatre</a> will present <strong><em>Ten</em></strong>, a collection of ten ten-minute plays written to celebrate the theater's tenth anniversary by no-slouch playwrights including David Rabe, Eric Bogosian and Stephen Adly Guirgis (whose shows Streamers, Talk Radio and The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, respectively, the company has done in the course of its history). These performances are free to Gift Theatre subscribers, and (if there are any left over) to anyone else who can manage to score tickets by calling the theater at (773) 283-7071. The catch: there will only be guess-how-many performances, so hustle! Thursdays and Fridays 7:30 P.M., Saturdays at 4:00 P.M. and 7:30 P.M and Sundays at 2:30 PM., this weekend and next. (<em>Editor's Note: Jonathan agrees! See his thoughts below.</em>)</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-05/chicago8.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 172px; height: 125px;" title="">And<strong> <a href="http://upcomedyclub.com/page.cfm?id=1109#chicago">The Second City's History of Chicago</a></strong>&nbsp;is at UP, its new comedy club, offering two performances this weekend: matinees Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th. The show, developed with the assistance of the Chicago History Museum, should be a fine in-joke for Chicagoans, and is rated PG--suitable for those 13 [and UP]. Tickets $30-$35.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-05/catherine wright generation bitch.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 296px;" title="Catherine Wright of Generation Bitch">Fans of Twyla Tharp have caught her Ol’ Blue Eyes choreography long before now, thanks mostly to Hubbard Street—the first company (besides her own) she allowed to perform her 1982 <em>Nine Sinatra Songs</em>, beginning in 1992. Since then, having been set on an additional 25 troupes, it’s become something of a franchise, a franchise she expanded in 2010 with the full-length Sinatra dance-musical <strong><em>Come Fly Away</em></strong>. So, is it a capitalist expansion—or the continuation of a genuine love affair? The national tour of Tharp’s most recent Broadway show, now reportedly shorter by a half hour, <a href="http://www.broadwayinchicago.com/">arrives in Chicago Tuesday</a> for a 12-day run at the Bank of America Theatre.&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.linkshall.org/">“<strong>Generation Bitch</strong>”: love the title.</a> Its three young female choreographers, including Minneapolitan April Sellers, are all from Minnesota. But really, being a bitch is kind of an equal opportunity situation, geographically speaking. At any rate, these artists are questioning traditional gender roles—sometimes in what will at least sound like a bowling alley, thanks to a live drummer. Sellers describes her <em>Instructions to a Fancy Pack&nbsp;</em>as “a bowling team taking a lane, then developing into a showgirl piece.” Friday through Sunday at Link’s Hall.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p>For the first full weekend of 2012, theater smarty-pants should head for the tiny Gift Theatre in Jefferson Park (stash the car; take the Blue Line or a Lawrence, Foster or Milwaukee bus) for <strong><em>Ten: A World Premiere</em></strong>. In honor of its 10th anniversary (already? My goodness!), the troupe has commissioned 10 short plays by the likes of David Rabe, Eric Bogosian, Craig Wright and Stephen Adly Guirgis (plus several top Chicago authors) which it will offer in 10 performances only (through Jan. 15). What's more, all 10 shows are FREE! But remember: the Gift has only about 40 seats, so you'd better call and reserve your place at the table for <em>Ten: A World Premiere</em>.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-05/Production.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 238px; height: 200px;" title="">For those who enjoy squeezing their booties into tight spaces in order to see top-notch theater, there's also <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/2011-2012Season.html#Opus"><strong><em>Opus</em></strong> </a>at another 40-seat storefront, the Redtwist Theatre in Edgewater. Michael Hollinger's play is slightly predictable and perhaps a bit too glib as it tells the tale of a renowned string quartet on the verge of melt-down, even as it performs at the White House; but the play is witty, the in-your-face acting is pitch-perfect and Hollinger has a knack for making the abstractions of music real. <em>Opus</em> is playing through Jan. 29.</p><p><em>Correction: A previous version of this post stated that The Second City's History of Chicago would be closing on Wednesday the 11th; in actuality, the show has an open run.</em></p></p> Thu, 05 Jan 2012 17:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-05/dont-miss-list-second-city-chicago-history-twyla-tharp-and-opus-952 The Don't-Miss List: An unseasonal 'Spring Awakening' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-07/dont-miss-list-unseasonal-spring-awakening-94706 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-08/376243_304596249561932_147061585315400_1008750_1576414475_n.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>All's quiet on the theater front (except for various holiday-themed openings, of which enough, already) until Saturday, when two exciting openings are scheduled at exactly the same time. Pick your poison:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-08/OpusGroup.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 322px;" title="'Opus' (Photos by Christopher Burpee)"></p><p><a href="http://www.redtwist.org/">Redtwist Theater</a> on Bryn Mawr Avenue in Edgewater is doing the Chicago premiere of <strong><em>Opus</em></strong>, a play about the internal politics of a string quartet whose members regard it as a substitute family. (If it's like most artistic organizations, that would be the family in <em>Long Day's Journey Into Night.</em>) The company's work is generally excellent and occasionally stunning. Redtwist's production of <em>The Man From Nebraska</em> was superior in every way to the world premiere production the play received at Steppenwolf.</p><p>Which doesn't mean you shouldn't go to <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=528">Steppenwolf instead, where Amy Morton is directing Enda Walsh's <strong><em>Penelope</em></strong></a>, just the second Homeric tale on Chicago stages this month. (<em>An Iliad</em> at Court Theater closes the very next day, suggesting some sort of matter-antimatter relationship between <em>The Odyssey</em> and <em>The Iliad</em>.) Chicago's only previous exposure to Walsh, who seems to be breathing down <a href="http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/reference/timestopics/people/m/conor_mcpherson/index.html">Conor McPherson</a>'s neck for the title of latest-greatest Irish playwright, was a brief visit to Chicago Shakespeare in 2009 with a touring production of his <em>The Walworth Farce</em>, so at this moment the cast is better-known than the play.&nbsp; It includes Steppenwolf ensemble members Ian Barford, Yasen Peyankov and Tracy Letts, the last of whom has stepped in for John Mahoney, who had to leave the show to attend to family matters. You know you're really something when your <u>understudy</u> has won the Pulitzer Prize.</p><p><em>Opus</em> is at Redtwist Thursdays-Sundays through January 15; tickets $25-$30.</p><p><em>Penelope </em>plays Tuesdays through Sundays at Steppenwolf through February 5; tickets are $20-$78.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>If you like dance, love the holidays, but hate <em>The Nutcracker</em>, you can scratch that itch this weekend with several shows having little or nothing to do with the Sugar Plum Fairy. Tap/body percussion troupe Be the Groove opens its third annual seasonal showcase—this year titled <a href="http://www.bethegroove.com/content/">“<strong>Winter Break Down (Louder Than Your Christmas Sweater)</strong>”</a>—at the Hoover Leppen Theatre of the Center on Halsted. M.A.D.D. Rhythms are the special guests this Friday and Saturday, and Chicago Dance Crash performs with BTG next Friday and Saturday. The Sunday matinees are family-friendly.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-08/DSC_0025.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 402px;" title="Be the Groove"></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-07/mark-yonally-wants-give-tap-dancing-its-due-94674">Chicago Tap Theatre</a> opens (and closes) its inclusive <a href="http://chicagotaptheatre.com/">“<strong>Tidings of Tap</strong>,”</a> this year with all-live music, at the UIC Center for the Performing Arts Friday through Sunday. And if you’d like some nibbles with your holiday festivity, check out Monday evening’s <a href="http://www.stridinglion.org/Home.html">“<strong>Night Roars!</strong>” modern-day variety show</a>, presented by Striding Lion Performance Group at the Logan Square Arts Center.</p><p>Also on Monday, <a href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/events/2011-2012-season/musicnow-12-12-11">Hubbard Street performs on the<strong> CSO’s MusicNOW program</strong>,</a> devoted to contemporary tunes, at the Harris. HSDC artistic associate Terence Marling presents the brand-new <em>Twice (Once)</em>, set to composer Anna Clyne’s “haunting, elegiac” <em>Within Her Arms</em>. And on Friday only, <a href="http://deeplyrootedproductions.org/">Deeply Rooted Dance Theater</a> performs its deeply felt season closer, “Chicago Women of Song,” also at the Harris.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-08/still in play.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px;" title="'Still in Play' (Photo by Kristin Basta)">Curious Theatre Branch offers a one-weekend return engagement of its one-weekend hit from earlier this season at the Museum of Contemporary Art, <a href="http://mcachicago.org/performances/past/all/2011/734"><strong><em>Still in Play: A Performance of Getting Ready</em></strong></a>. This time the venue is Wrigleyville’s Links Hall (3435 N. Sheffield) and the performances are this Friday-Sunday only, Dec. 9-11. Written by Jenny Magnus, <em>Still in Play: A Performance of Getting Ready</em> is play built out of the rituals of an acting troupe preparing for a show. It may sound like so much cotton candy, a mere gossamer of a show; but, hey, this is Curious Theatre Branch, a troupe which often finds profound somethings in nothings. It’s directed by Stefan Brun&nbsp; with music by The Crooked Mouth.</p><p><strong><em><a href="http://griffintheatre.com/spring-awakening/">Spring Awakening</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>is the modern, hip rock musical version of a seminal modernist play written by Frank Wedekind in Germany in 1891 and still widely produced. Although already seen in Chicago in the touring version of the Broadway production, this new staging by Griffin Theatre Company is the first locally-mounted and intimate production of the musical. In 1891, sex was a taboo subject even among adults, so you can imagine the scandal <em>Spring Awakening</em> caused when Wedekind used both realism and meta-theatrical devices to broach teenage sexuality including masturbation, rape, homosexuality and pregnancy, and the total adult hypocrisy surrounding said subjects. The musical gives it a modern dress skew, yet one wonders if teens today can possibly be as benighted as those of 1891. Nonetheless, <em>Spring Awakening</em> in any form is a powerful cautionary tale; presented by Griffin at Theater Wit (1229 W. Belmont) through Jan. 8.</p></p> Thu, 08 Dec 2011 02:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-07/dont-miss-list-unseasonal-spring-awakening-94706 Daily Rehearsal: Help out a friend, like Judy Fabjance, at Second City http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-20/daily-rehearsal-help-out-friend-judy-fabjance-second-city-92214 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-20/110817_SC_TRC_Fabjance_Benefit.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-20/ek_2598_image.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 350px; height: 223px;" title="Raven by Eiko and Komo (Photo by Edwin Adhiputra)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Eiko &amp; Koma bring&nbsp;<a href="http://eikoandkoma.org/index.php?p=ek&amp;t=events&amp;id=3343"><em>Regeneration</em></a> to the&nbsp;MCA</strong></span></span> this weekend, with&nbsp;live music by Pueblo musician Robert Mirabal. The MCA is used to doing collaborative pieces, and this is no exception;&nbsp;<i style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 13px; vertical-align: baseline; background-color: transparent;">Eiko &amp; Koma:Time Is Not Even, Space Is Not Empty</i> is at the galleries as well, which includes photos and videos of their work, as well as set and props. Most impressively, there is an installation of the nest from their work <em>Naked</em>.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <em>Love, Loss, and What I Wore</em>&nbsp;wasn't <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/7735855-421/great-premise-squandered-in-love-loss-and-what-i-wore.html">judged so highly by the <em>Sun-Times</em></a></strong></span></span> - their headline labels it a "Great premise squandered." Citing little "cohesion and excitment," Hedy Weiss writes that "the Chicago edition of this show (essentially a 90-minute staged concert reading by five actresses), frequently feels under-rehearsed, with Nora Dunn, that veteran of stage and screen, the weakest link." She adds that "the price of a ticket would be better spent ordering Beckerman’s book and heading to your favorite shoe emporium for a new pair of heels." Ouch. (This is all part of Weiss' <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-19/daily-rehearsal-will-eno-gets-big-chunk-cash-92158">extensive coverage of this show</a>, that I feel may have come to a close, but hopefully not.)</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Redtwist brings us <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/Press.html"><em>Elling</em> </a></strong></span></span>this weekend, and there's such a history to it that they've outlined it in bullet points. I don't even have to do any reseach!:</p><ul><li><span style="font-style: italic;">Blood Brothers</span>, a novel written by Ingvar Ambjornsen (1996)</li><li><span style="font-style: italic;">Elling</span>, a film&nbsp;adapted from the novel into a screenplay by Axel Hellstenius &amp; Petter Naess (2001)</li><li><span style="font-style: italic;">Elling</span>, a stage play adapted into English&nbsp;by Simon Bent (2007), premiered at Bush Theatre, then West End</li></ul><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-20/110817_SC_TRC_Fabjance_Benefit.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 226px; height: 350px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Tomorrow night,&nbsp;The Second City Training Center</strong></span></span> will be hosting a <a href="http://www.secondcity.com/page/judy/">celebration and fundraiser</a>. Longtime teacher and member of the comedy troupe GayCo, Judy Fabjance, is trying to "kick cancer's ass," and you can help her do it, by attending <em>Lift Them Up Where They Belong</em>. Expect performances and appearances by the Chicago glitterati like <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/53rdward">Alderman Ed Bus</a>, as well as food and drink. Tickets are $25, and it starts at 6 pm. Once you get there, show your support by participating in fun things like a raffle! Who doesn't love a raffle.</p><p><strong><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">5.&nbsp;Today at 2 pm, former <em>Saturday Night Live</em></span></span></strong> castmember Nora Dunn will be at Second City (Again with the SC, I know, I know), I assume talking to the youth about her wise, wise words.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 20 Sep 2011 14:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-20/daily-rehearsal-help-out-friend-judy-fabjance-second-city-92214 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 5/24 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-24/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-524-86964 <p><p>1. Looking ahead: <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/05/summerstage-2011.html">Northwestern's SummerStage</a> season starts June 24 with&nbsp;<em>The Johnny Mercer Songwriters Project: Applause! Applause! A Celebration of Charles Strouse</em>, with performances by Strouse himself and Christine Ebersole. Catch a preview of the other fun ahead tonight at 6:30 hosted by&nbsp;TIC Artistic Director Henry Godinez, and American Music Theatre Project Executive Director Dominic Missimi and Producing Director Heather Schmucker. And it's free!</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="267" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-24/Nunset Boulevard.jpg" title="" width="400"></p><p>2. Nun humor is apparently in full-force these days, but <a href="http://www.theatreatthecenter.com/2011_nunset.asp"><em>Nunset Boulevard</em></a> is wrapping up its Chicago area run this week. The&nbsp;Little Sisters of Hoboken think they're singing at the Hollywood Bowl, only to find that they're really performing at the Hollywood Bowl-A-Rama. Of course, hijincks insue and they all get a bit of a shot of fame anyway.&nbsp;</p><p><em>3. <a href="http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2011/05/the-original-grease-to-play-all-summer.html">The Original Grease</a></em>&nbsp;has been extended through August 21. This comes on the heels of a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-19/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-519-86757">shortening and tightening</a> of the show discussed and implemented last week.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-24/iphy_poster_final_options.jpg" style="width: 324px; height: 500px; " title=""></p><p>4. Also <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-03/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-53-86004">turning up</a> all over right now are the Greek tragedies. No exception is Lights Out Theatre Company's&nbsp;<a href="http://lotcchicago.wordpress.com/current-productions/"><em><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#214469" size="2">Iphige</font></em><em><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#214469" size="2">neia at&nbsp;Aulis</font></em></a>, originally by&nbsp;Euripides, adapted and directed by&nbsp;Josh Altman, at Collaboraction. Expect this to be a casual affair, as you'll be offered a drink and a pillow to cushion your seat on the floor.</p><p>5. Redtwist Theatre's <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/2010-2011Season.html#Bug"><em>Bug</em></a> opens this weekend. The play seems to ponder when fantasy becomes psychosis by following an AWOL Gulf War veteran. &nbsp;A good guarantee this will be a solid production: it is under the direction of Kimberly Senior,&nbsp;<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/71734/the-pillowman">who helmed the 2009-10 </a>Redtwist show&nbsp;<span style="font-style: italic; ">The Pillowman.</span></p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Tue, 24 May 2011 14:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-24/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-524-86964