WBEZ | Steppenwolf Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/steppenwolf-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: Frank Rich advises young theater critics to see even the bad stuff http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/daily-rehearsal-frank-rich-advises-young-theater-critics-see-even-bad <p><p><a href="https://twitter.com/NYMag/status/241186044551241728/photo/1"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/frank%20rich%20nymag.jpg" style="height: 444px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="(Twitter @NYMag)" /></a><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- There were </strong></span></span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/sections/culture/clown-hopefuls-audition-spot-greatest-show-earth-102074"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>clown auditions</strong></span></span> in Chicago yesterday</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Speaking of clowning, </strong></span></span><a href="http://www.handshakeuppercut.com/upcoming.php">Handshake Uppercut</a> opens tonight at 10 pm as part of the Fringe Festival. They were <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/weiss/14487104-452/on-the-edge-chicagos-fringe-festival-showcases-organized-chaos.html">one of Hedy Weiss&#39; picks</a> (&quot;at least on paper&quot;).</p><div><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>- Frank Rich <a href="http://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/z2v3a/i_am_frank_rich_writeratlarge_for_new_york/">did an AMA</a></strong></span></span>&nbsp;for reddit Thursday and had some thoughts for those trying to pursue theater criticism:</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;See as much as you can, including the crap, and write as much as you can, even if it&#39;s for a non-professional outlet, whether a school paper, web site, blog etc. The more you experience of the art itself and the writing of criticism, the better off you are. And I reiterate: see the whole range, not just the good stuff....&quot; He also named the critics that he enjoyed reading as a young person: Kenneth Tynan and Walter Kerr.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>- Steppenwolf is <a href="https://www.facebook.com/SteppenwolfTheatre/posts/405665549495875">giving away street banners</a></strong></span></span> from this past season of their plays, so if you were a big fan, get creative.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151030212953587&amp;set=a.10151030212938587.420918.13704073586&amp;type=1&amp;theater">This one says</a>, &quot;Hello.&nbsp;I would look good in a living room, or scaring the daylights out of a guest in a bathroom, maybe.&quot;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</div></p> Thu, 30 Aug 2012 11:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/daily-rehearsal-frank-rich-advises-young-theater-critics-see-even-bad Daily Rehearsal: Top theaters unveil new website designs http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-08/daily-rehearsal-top-theaters-unveil-new-website-designs-97088 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-08/steppenwolf new site.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. On&nbsp;Thursday,&nbsp;March 8, "Come to Goodman Theatre</strong></span></span> for a pre-show reception featuring internationally renowned Catalan director Calixto Bieito, co-creator Marc Rosich and Goodman's Associate Dramaturg Neena Arndt. Enjoy Spanish-themed hors d'oeuvres, beer and wine -- as well as a discussion with Bieto and Rosich regarding their preparation and vision for the play. Then catch a performance of&nbsp;<em>Camino Real</em>, directed by Bieito, known as "the Quentin Tarantino of Opera." Well that just says it all doesn't it?</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. The <a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/">Goodman </a>and <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/">Steppenwolf </a></strong></span></span>have both unveiled new web designs: its the war of top Chicago theaters! Which do you like more? I personally find them somewhat similar in vibe.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-08/steppenwolf new site.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 246px; " title=""><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-08/goodman new website.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 225px; " title=""></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Kevin Coval</strong></span></span>, founder of Louder Than a Bomb, has a one-man show --&nbsp;<a href="http://victorygardens.org/onstage/l-vis.php"><em>L-VIS LIVE!</em></a> is at Victory Gardens, directed by Jess McLeod, and based off his book.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Kris Vire<a href="https://twitter.com/#!/krisvire/status/177522637537427458"> points out</a></strong></span></span> that since it's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-12/daily-rehearsal-tomorrow-never-knows-weekend-95493">move to the Palmer House</a>, <em>Magic Parlour</em>'s tickets have been raised a full $50. David Loehr, editor of 2amt said he also noticeced, and wonders how much the Palmer takes from the show.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. The&nbsp;Chicago Improv Festival hosts</strong></span></span> the&nbsp;Chicago Improv Awards Show Benefit on Saturday, March 31 at 9 p.m. at the Athenaeum. "The evening will culminate with an unpredictably witty improv jam emceed by Chicago Improv Festival Artistic Director Mark Sutton featuring comedic actors Keegan-Michael Key, Jordan Peele, Ike Barinholtz and Jon Barinholtz." Plus there's a Lifetime Achievement Award going to Dan Patterson, the creator of your favorite late-night program Who's Line Is It Anyway? and a Spotlight Award going to Festival Board Member Alan Barinholtz.&nbsp;Relatedly, catch up with your comedy, with the stars of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-06/keegan-michael-key-and-jordan-peele-talk-comedy-chicago-97016">Key and Peel</a>, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-06/jason-sudeikis-growing-time-chicago-and-his-career-97034">Jason Sudeikis</a>, all of whom were on <em>Afternoon Shift</em> yesterday.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 08 Mar 2012 20:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-08/daily-rehearsal-top-theaters-unveil-new-website-designs-97088 Daily Rehearsal: Steppenwolf brings 'The Motherf**ker with the Hat' and others for 2012-13 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-07/daily-rehearsal-steppenwolf-brings-motherfker-hat-and-others-2012-1 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-07/the reckoning740x350.gif" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-07/the reckoning740x350.gif" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 142px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Steppenwolf's 2012-13 shows have been announced</strong></span></span>:&nbsp;David Lindsay-Abaire’s <em>Good People</em>, directed by ensemble member K. Todd Freeman; Stephen Adly Guirgis' <em>The Motherf**ker with the Hat</em> directed by&nbsp;ensemble member Anna D. Shapiro;&nbsp;Harold Pinter's&nbsp;<em>The Birthday Party </em>directed by&nbsp;ensemble member Austin Pendleton; ensemble member Tina Landau directs the world premiere of <em>Head of Passes</em>, commissioned by Steppenwolf and written&nbsp;by ensemble member Tarell Alvin McCraney (they worked on praised <em>The Brother/Sister Plays</em> in 2010 together; and&nbsp;Amy Herzog's&nbsp;<em>Belleville</em>&nbsp;directed by Anne Kauffmann. The theme of this season is "The Reckoning", Artistic Director Martha Lavey: "In each of these five plays, there is a moment when the past reveals itself, unbidden but ineluctable in its force," and that moment is "The Reckoning." Among the many returning ensemble members is John Mahoney, who <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-23/daily-rehearsal-john-mahoney-out-steppenwolfs-penelope-94322">was missed in <em>Penelope </em></a>but graciously replaced by Tracey Letts; Mahoney will be in the cast of <em>The Birthday Party</em>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Auditions coming up:</strong></span></span> Porchlight is <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1759">casting </a>for their<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-06/daily-rehearsal-look-chicago-women%E2%80%99s-funny-festival-97013"> just-announced new season</a>, and Collaboraction is<a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1751"> looking ahead</a> to SKETCHBOOK. Auditions are March 13/15 and March 10, respectively.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Debra Ehrhardt's <em>Jamaica Farewell</em></strong></span></span> is being produced by Meadowbrook Entertainment, opening May 4. It's a pretty amazing story, one that&nbsp;follows Ehrhardt's "escape from revolution-torn Jamaica in the 1970's to fulfill her lifelong dream of going to America."&nbsp;It'll be at the Chopin, is being directed by Joel Zwick, who has an interesting resume: he directed <em>My Big Fat Greek Wedding</em>, and has worked with Hershey Felder on several of his recent productions, including Maestro.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. A Red Orchid has added</strong></span></span> a second <em>Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs</em> performance with Lance Baker; this one will be March 12 at 8 pm.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. And <em>The Houdini Box</em></strong></span></span> by Brian Selznick goes to the North Shore Center in Skokie the weekend of March 17. It was last at the Mercury Theatre.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 07 Mar 2012 20:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-07/daily-rehearsal-steppenwolf-brings-motherfker-hat-and-others-2012-1 Daily Rehearsal: All about 'Penelope' (and its program) http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-12/daily-rehearsal-all-about-penelope-and-its-program-94827 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-12/steppenwolf penelope.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-12/steppenwolf penelope.JPG" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 299px; height: 400px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. The opening of <em>Penelope </em>at Steppenwolf was last night</strong></span></span>. Instead of talking about the mixed bag of a production, let's talk about the <em>program</em>, which was clearly printed before <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-23/daily-rehearsal-john-mahoney-out-steppenwolfs-penelope-94322">John Mahoney unfortunately had to leave the production due to a death in the family</a> -- he's still featured prominently on the cover. Other than that, my seating partner remarked that it was the thickest program he'd ever seen. So let's give a round of applause to the company for not wasting trees on a reprint.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. And more on <em>Penelope</em>, from others</strong></span></span>: Find out about how the play, written by&nbsp;Enda Walsh, was adapted from the Greek epic you know and maybe finished in high school, in <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/9306532-421/penelope-playwright-reinvents-epic-greek-poem.html">this profile from the<em> Sun-Times</em></a>. And The Fourth Walsh starts her review off with this statement: "I love men. Wars, Nascar, fantasy football... I don’t always *get* men but I love them."<a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/the-fourth-walsh/2011/12/penelope-steppenwolf-theatre-the-ugly-side-of-men/"> Read more</a>&nbsp;of these comments that become less personal and more review-y.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. What is <a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/">the private event at iO this Thursday</a> </strong></span></span>WHY IS IT CLOSED? What shows will you be missing? The Classy D, the Collectibles, Michael Pizza and The Scene at the Cabaret; The 'Verse: Another Firefly Story and Ugly &amp; Delicious presents Ragamuffins JODY.&nbsp;Someone please clear up this pressing improv-related matter.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Read a beautiful homage to Merce Cunningham by <em>New York Times</em></strong></span></span> critic Alastair Macaulay, where he laments the loss of this troupe. "Cunningham extended dance, radically; he also extended our minds," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/arts/dance/merce-cunningham-troupes-last-us-repertory-night-review.html?_r=1">writes Maculay</a>. "A Cunningham season could be fun, drama, challenge, poetry and therapy. For many of us there was no greater adventure. It is hard to start putting this into the past tense."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. ATC's </strong></span></span><em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>It’s a Wonderful Life</strong></span></span>: The Radio Play </em>has been extended through December 30.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 12 Dec 2011 16:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-12/daily-rehearsal-all-about-penelope-and-its-program-94827 Steppenwolf announces 2012 Garage Rep http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-28/steppenwolf-announces-2012-garage-rep-89755 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/Heddatron-05.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One of the things that sets Chicago's theater community apart from those in other cities is that we ARE a community, and the idea of sharing is ingrained even within our largest theater companies. The Goodman Theatre has producing partnerships with such much, much smaller Off-Loop companies as Teatro Vista and Silk Road Theatre Project, and Steppenwolf Theatre Company regularly co-presents smaller Off-Loop companies in its Upstairs Theatre and, especially, its Merle Reskin Garage Theatre. The dominant companies in other cities don't do this sort of thing often, if at all.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-28/Heddatron-05.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 266px; margin: 7px; float: right;" title="From last year's Garage Theater: A clan of renegade robots capture Jane Gordon (Nina O'Keefe) in Elizabeth Meriwether's Heddatron. (Peter Coombs)">Two years ago, Steppenwolf went even farther by creating its Garage Rep program in which it presents three newer and less-known Off-Loop (and even Off-off-Loop) companies in rotating repertory. What's more, Steppenwolf has been inviting companies with non-realistic performing styles that are miles apart from the realism upon which Steppenwolf itself has built its reputation.</p><p>The 'wolfies have just announced (July 28) the three troupes they have invited to be part of Garage Rep 2012, next Feb. 3-April 8. The companies and productions are: LiveWire Chicago presenting <em>Current Nobody</em> by Melissa James Gibson, the puppet-and-mask Theatre Zarko offering <em>He Who</em> by company founder Michael Montenegro, and the interdisciplinary artists of The Inconvenience in <em>Hit the Wall</em> by Ike Holter.</p><p>Steppenwolf has dedicated the Garage Theatre to "new plays, new artists and new audiences for the American theater." It's a refreshingly mature attitude for the company to recognize that Steppenwolf itself may no longer fulfill that mandate as it once did, although the Mother Company continues to commission and stage new plays and periodically refreshes its ensemble with younger artists.</p></p> Thu, 28 Jul 2011 14:43:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-28/steppenwolf-announces-2012-garage-rep-89755 Comedian and writer Jeff Garlin returns to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-07/comedian-and-writer-jeff-garlin-returns-chicago-88821 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-07/jeff_bio.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>One of the Chicago area’s greatest exports is perhaps <a href="http://www.jeffgarlin.com/bio.html" target="_blank">Jeff Garlin</a>. He’s a writer, producer, director, actor and stand-up comedian. He co-stars and executive produces the long-running HBO series <em>Curb Your Enthusiasm</em>. But this summer, Garlin is coming back to Chicago for a special run at<a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/" target="_blank"> Steppenwolf Theatre</a>. His one-man show is called <em><a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=538" target="_blank">No Sugar Tonight</a></em> and it kicks off July 13. But his trips home are bittersweet. He returns regularly to visit his parents who are both currently undergoing treatment for cancer at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.<em> Eight Forty-Eight</em>'s Jason Marck recently talked to him about his life and career in Chicago-and the time after he left.</p><p><em>Music Button: Luciano Michelin, "Frolic" (theme from Curb Your Enthusiasm)</em></p></p> Thu, 07 Jul 2011 13:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-07/comedian-and-writer-jeff-garlin-returns-chicago-88821 Robots invade Jeff Awards!! Martians next? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-07/robots-invade-jeff-awards-martians-next-87512 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-07/logo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-07/logo.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 424px; " title=""></p><p>A robot invasion was just one of the surprises at the <a href="http://www.jeffawards.org/Nominees/recipients_nonequity.cfm"><strong>38th annual Joseph Jefferson Awards for Non-Equity Theater</strong></a>, handed out Monday night (June 6) at their usual venue, Park West. Typically raucous and generally joyful, the evening honored many of the usual suspects--powerhouse troupes which have won many previous Jeffs--as well as anointing a few lesser-knowns.</p><p>The top Jeffs for Production-Play and Production-Musical went to familiar names, respectively Redtwist Theatre for <em>Man from Nebraska</em> and The Hypocrites for <em>Cabaret</em>. Chuck Spencer took home the Jeff for Actor in a Principal Role--Play for his work in<em> Man from Nebraska</em> while <em>Cabaret</em> won four additional Jeffs for various artists, among them Matt Hawkins as Director-Musical and Jessie Fisher for Actress in a Principal Role-Musical for her cross-gender portrayal of the Emcee.</p><p>Among the other perennial winners were Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, Lifeline Theatre and Bohemian Theatre Company. Indeed, the five Off-Loop troupes identified so far in this story walked off with 19 of the 28 Jeffs awarded Monday night.</p><p>If there was an unexpected big winner it was, collectively, the Steppenwolf Theatre Company's Garage Rep just this spring, in which the Wolfies presented three lesser-known non-Equity troupes in a rotating repertory of highly unique productions. Two of them walked out of the Park West with Jeff plaques. For its Garage Rep world premiere, <em>The Three Faces of Dr. Crippen</em>, the Strange Tree Group won the Director-Play Jeff Award for Jimmy McDermott and the New Work award for playwright (and Strange Tree artistic director) Emily Schwartz.</p><p>In a completely separate win, Strange Tree Group also took home the highly-coveted Jeff Award for Ensemble for its production of <em>Shakespeare's King Phycus</em>, produced much earlier in the season at Building Stage.</p><p>And so we come to those robots. One of the Steppenwolf Garage Rep productions was <em>Heddatron</em>, a spectacular production by Sideshow Theatre Company of a curious play in which robots meet Henrik Ibsen's <em>Hedda Gabler</em>. The production featured seven ingenious robots ranging from toaster-size to larger-than-life. The designers of these wondrous contraptions won a Jeff Award for Artistic Specialization, while several of the robots themselves delivered Jeff Awards to recipients in two categories. The team of robot artists included Glen Aduikas, Rick Buesing, Mike Fletcher, Salvador Garcia, Stuart Hecht, David Hyman, Terry Jackson, Don Kerste, Bruce Phillips, Al Schilling, Lisi Stoessel, and Eddy Wright. Alas, we do not know the names of the robots, although we gave one of them our phone number. It hasn't called . . . so far.</p><p>One noticeable void this year was that no Special Honors Jeffs were awarded. Typically, one or two Special Honors are given to individuals who have made substantial contributions to the theater community over an extended period of time, perhaps a teacher, a producer or--gasp!--even a theater critic on occasion. It seems to us that Chicago's theater industry has no shortage of worthy possible recipients, and if the Jeff folks couldn't find one this year, they must not have been trying very hard.</p><p>The 50-member <strong>Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee</strong> was founded in 1968 to honor excellence in Chicago-area professional theater. Each fall, the Committee honors productions of the previous 12 months staged by theaters working under contracts with Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage manager. Since 1973, the Jeff Committee also has presented annual springtime honors to non-union theaters. For this year's non-Equity Jeffs, the Committee members judged 146 productions by 62 producing organizations. The 2011 Equity Jeff Awards will be presented November 7 at Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. The public is invited to the black tie optional awards show.</p></p> Tue, 07 Jun 2011 14:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-07/robots-invade-jeff-awards-martians-next-87512