WBEZ | Stage 773 http://www.wbez.org/tags/stage-773 Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don't-Miss List March 29-April 3: Ghost stories, untimely death and prep-school romance http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-29/dont-miss-list-march-29-april-3-ghost-stories-untimely-death-and-pr <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-29/Two Sides photos.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-29/Two Sides photos.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 420px;" title="Shannon Cason performs in 'Two Sides' by Chicago Slam Works. (Courtesy of the Vittum)"></p><p><u>Dueling Critics, 91.5 FM and WBEZ.org, between 9 and 10 a.m. Friday March 30th, FREE!</u><br> <br> Top of the list, of course, is our tete-a-tete on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> about <a href="http://theartistichome.org/"><em>Tea and Sympathy</em> by the Artistic Home at Stage 773</a>. A prep-school student suspected of being gay hopes to escape this fate worse than death through the ministrations of his housemaster’s frustrated wife. When you talk about this (and you will), be kind. Guest Duelist Albert Williams of the <em>Reader</em>, Columbia College Chicago and the <a href="http://www.arts.cornell.edu/english/awards/nathan/previous.html#2000">George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism</a> will challenge me to consider whether this chestnut (staged in 1953, filmed in 1956 with the oh-so-sympathetic Deborah Kerr) is worth roasting.</p><p><u><em>Tangled</em> at eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., 8 p.m. Thursday March 29th, $10</u><br> <br> <a href="http://etacreativearts.org/mainstage_shows.html">eta’s new mainstage show</a> is sadly timely, focusing as it does on a group of African-American women funeral directors. Sure, their South Side businesses are thriving, but who wants to profit from the early deaths of the neighborhood’s young men? In light of Trayvon Martin (only the most recent of many), Nicole Anderson-Cobb’s play will hit frighteningly close to home–and yet it’s styled a “provocative dramedy.” Thursdays through Sundays through May 20; tickets $30; $20 on “Talkback Thursdays” and a special $10 for tonight’s opening.<br> <br> <u><a href="http://firstfolio.org/"><em>The Turn of the Screw</em> at First Folio</a>, Mayslake Estate, Oak Brook, 8 p.m. Saturday March 31st, $26-$37</u><br> <br> Here’s a ghost story for those of you who confuse March 31 with October 31, one by Henry James for those of you too snobby to admit you like ghost stories and one starring the elegant Nick Sandys as the ghost for those of you still <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062565/">identifying with Mrs. Muir.</a> Set in a spooky English manor, it’s performed in the spooky faux-English manor where First Folio makes its home. The company has a particular flair for genteel horror, so get in touch with your inner governess Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through April 29.<br> <br> <u><em>Two Sides</em> by Chicago Slam Works at the Vittum, 1012 N. Noble, 8 p.m. Tuesday April 3, $18.50</u><br> <br> In the spirit of the season one might ask: Why is this poetry slam different from all other poetry slams?&nbsp; To which the answer is, it’s a choreographed face-off between storytellers and performance poets. This is the first show of the inaugural season of <a href="http://chicagoslamworks.org/">Chicago Slam Works</a>, which continues with shows in May and July. (A three-show Slam Pass will run you $40.)&nbsp; Oil your snapping fingers and check it out.</p></p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-29/dont-miss-list-march-29-april-3-ghost-stories-untimely-death-and-pr If you build it, what really happens? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-02/if-you-build-it-what-really-happens-96026 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-02/day52.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-02/day52.jpeg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 176px;" title="Construction wrapped up on the Black Ensemble Cultural Center this past fall. (Courtesy of Black Ensemble Theater)"><a href="http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight">As Jonathan and I will discuss more fully on Friday</a>, 'tis the season for theater companies to move and build. On the one hand, this is the good news: <a href="http://blackensemble.org/">Black Ensemble</a> needs and deserves to emerge from the basement into the sunlight, and to have room enough to do the new-show development for which it's known. Audiences will be able to find <a href="http://rivendelltheatre.org/">Rivendell</a> and <a href="http://griffintheatre.com/">Griffin</a> at permanent locations instead of trying to remember where they're in residence this season.&nbsp;<a href="http://writerstheatre.org">Writers Theatre</a> is beyond ready for a home large enough to encompass its audience, let alone its ambition; and certainly if <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/">Chicago Shakespeare</a> wants a new stage there's no question it will be able to put it to good use.</p><p>But.</p><p>This building boom raises two concerns: First, in the years immediately following a company's move to a new space, there's often a dramatic decline in quality. It's not entirely clear why this should be the case, and there are certainly exceptions (<a href="http://www.steeptheatre.com/">Steep</a> and <a href="http://theartistichome.org/">Artistic Home</a> come to mind).</p><p>"New Building Disease," though, is a well-known syndrome: just ask anyone who subscribed to <a href="http://steppenwolf.org">Steppenwolf</a> during those first seasons at Halsted and North. The company was so distracted by the process of moving, and so intoxicated by the toys available in its new home, that there seemed to be no energy left to invest in the shows themselves. I recall its world-premiere production of <em>The Man From Nebraska,</em> chiefly for the use of the lift at center stage, which was so frequent and so distracting that the point of the play-- stasis at mid-life-- disappeared completely.</p><p>Similarly the <a href="http://goodmantheatre.org">Goodman </a>spent its first few years on Dearborn Street reveling in its new-found access to fly-space, with sets that flew and hung and did everything but roller-skate absorbing audience attention that should have been directed to the plays themselves. The expression "hoist on its own petard" came insistently to mind.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-02/2233697052_6290df6dbf.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="Steppenwolf had growing pains at one point too. (Flickr/Jeff Zoline)">Eventually, of course, both theaters regained their footing. And no one would argue that either company was better off before having access to the full range of theatrical resources. But when smaller and less-established companies turn the bulk of their attention to their physical spaces, they risk losing the artistic focus that brought them to their current level of success. And, unlike the biggest troupes, they lack the staying power to sustain a couple-three bad years. Good spaces are valuable, but they also require some adjustment, and everyone who's preparing to build or move should be aware of that cost and try to figure out how to keep it to a minimum.</p><p>And speaking of cost, the other significant concern about all this bricks-and-mortar activity is the sheer financial burden of owning one's own space. It's worth remembering that the original Organic Theatre, of E/R and Bleacher Bums fame, was sunk by the capital and maintenance costs of the space it purchased on Clark Street. Sure, it was wonderful to have a permanent home, but when it turned out to be too expensive to heat the mainstage, the company had to confine itself to doing work in the studio. Sure, it was great to have multiple spaces, but each of them required upkeep which in turn required rentals which in turn diminished the identification of the company with its building--when identity is often one of the main reasons to construct a building. Nor is this the only example: The first inhabitants of the Theatre Building (now <a href="http://stage773.org/">Stage 773</a>) head the roster of theater-renaissance troupes no longer with us. Even the venerable Body Politic--and even while sharing space and expenses with <a href="http://victorygardens.org/">Victory Gardens</a>--paid the ultimate price for having a permanent address. &nbsp;</p><p>Any real-estate agent will tell you that first-time buyers always get too much space and saddle themselves with too much debt. First-time theater are no exception. Naturally, each of today's companies has prepared itself for a significant fundraising campaign, but when the campaign is over the day-to-day expenses remain, and it would be a shame to trade an inadequate space for a day in bankrupty court.</p><p>As some right-wing economist is reputed to have said, <a href="http://www.mgtaylor.com/public/2001/tanstaafl.html">there ain't no such thing as a free lunch</a>. Each of the companies now engaged in moving and building should remember that in addition to the immediate financial costs of a new space there are artistic costs and long-term costs, and should proceed with appropriate care. Thus spake <a href="http://www.arthistory.sbc.edu/imageswomen/papers/fittoncassandra/intro.html">Cassandra</a>.</p></p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-02/if-you-build-it-what-really-happens-96026 No ordinary theater weekend: What to see, when http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-20/no-ordinary-theater-weekend-what-see-when-93268 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-20/more more more...future.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>This is no ordinary weekend in the theater world (what would that look like, anyway?).&nbsp;<a href="http://theateroobleck.com/home">Theater&nbsp;Oobleck</a> presents an art form you’ve probably never heard of, while <a href="http://www.shatteredglobe.org/">Shattered Globe</a> kicks off a&nbsp;series of staged readings of the plays that made its reputation.</p><p>Oobleck is first up, with its <em><strong>Baudelaire in a Box: Death and Other Excitements</strong></em>, which opened&nbsp;last night and continues through Sunday at <a href="http://www.linkshall.org/">Links Hall</a>. The show, based on the poet’s stunningly&nbsp;twisted and troubling <em><a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/039250.html">Les Fleurs du Mal</a></em>, consists of “7 new cantastoria . . . with crankies&nbsp;designed and illustrated by Dave Buchen and songs by Chris Schoen.” Cantastoria, it emerges in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kEVoCsgsS0">a YouTube video posted by the company</a>, are “singing pictures,” performances in which&nbsp;illustrations on the body of performer or elsewhere on the stage are explained in song. And&nbsp;before you race in the opposite direction, remember that this is Oobleck, which never does&nbsp;anything dull. As for “crankies,” well, in the spirit of my 5th grade book reports, “If you want to&nbsp;find out you’ll have to see the show.” Sheffield and Newport in Chicago, $15, “more if you’ve&nbsp;got it, free if you’re broke.” &nbsp;<br> <br> <img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-18/bonniekoloc.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 150px; height: 100px;" title="Bonnie Koloc">Then Sunday afternoon (if you can tear yourself away from watching American football in&nbsp;London–speaking of twisted and troubling!), head over to <a href="http://www.stage773.com/">Stage 773</a> to watch a one-time-only&nbsp;reconstruction by the original director of Shattered Globe’s critically acclaimed <em><strong>Judgment at&nbsp;Nuremberg</strong></em>. What’s particularly cool is that every month through January the company will do&nbsp;another staged reading of another past success, and that the shows in question are <em>The&nbsp;Manchurian Candidate</em>, <em>Talk Radio</em> and <em>A View from the Bridge</em>.&nbsp; Even if you didn’t see&nbsp;Shattered Globe in its first glory days, that package of shows should prove irresistible. $12 for&nbsp;this week’s performance (reception at 1 p.m., reading at 1:30), or $35 for all four. &nbsp;</p><p>Also a one-time-only event: <em><strong>Chicago Live!</strong></em> the talk-comedy-music show hosted by Rick Kogan in the basement of the Chicago Theater and taped for broadcast on WGN Radio. Tonight's edition features a conversation with Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and a performance by Bonnie Koloc. The doings start at 6:30; tickets $20, which includes the opportunity to buy drinks for the performers afterwards at the theater's cash bar.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/more%20more%20more...future.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 334px;" title="'More More More...Future'"></p><p>Choreographer Faustin Linyekula comes from the bloodiest nation on the globe’s bloodiest continent. For decades the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been the battleground not only for DRC factions but for neighboring countries; though rich in minerals, it’s home to one of the poorest populations on the planet. Two engines drive Linyekula’s&nbsp;<strong><em>More More More … Future</em></strong>. One is politics. The other is ndombolo, a mix of traditional Congolese music, rumba, church fanfares, and funk—embellished here with punk music by guitarist Flamme Kapaya and his five-piece band. Supertitles translate poetry by political prisoner Antoine Vumilia Muhindo.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/739">Friday through Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Art.</a></p><p>On the home front this weekend:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.giordanodance.org/company/"><strong>Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago</strong>&nbsp;does its thing at the Harris Theater</a>. Expect the upbeat, including&nbsp;<em>Alegria</em>(“Joy”) by Kiesha Lalama and&nbsp;<em>Alloy</em>, a romantic duet, by Autumn Eckman—both world premieres. Four works from the repertory round out the program.</p><p>And on the micro-dance scene: Andrea Cerniglia, a promising young choreographer, presents her&nbsp;<a href="file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/kdries/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/OLK7F/dropshiftdance.com/calendar"><strong>Dropshift Dance</strong>&nbsp;at the Holstein Park Fieldhouse</a>&nbsp;tonight through Saturday afternoon (such are the vicissitudes of performing on Park District stages…). Cerniglia’s thoughtful new&nbsp;<em>Becoming</em>is movingly inhabited by its five dancers and ingeniously staged in its unusual space.</p><p><strong><u>Jonathan Abarbanel</u></strong></p><p>First, there was a dedicated and naïve marine biologist, Dr. Randy Olson, who believed he could make a documentary film about global warming that would definitively convince all doubters and skeptics as to the truth of our deteriorating climatology. He couldn’t, and his efforts to do so resulted in the documentary film,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newsuittheatre.com/sizzle.html"><strong><em>Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy</em></strong></a>. At least Olson recognized the absurdity of his predicament. Now Off-Loop troupe New Suit Theatre offers a stage adaptation of the film as their third production. The live version of&nbsp;<em>Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy</em>&nbsp;is performed at the Raven Theatre (Clark at Granville) through Nov. 13. FYI: the world IS getting warmer.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="395" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/6243862906_1c0fb40838%20%281%29.jpg" title="'The Elephant Man' (Photo by OCA Photography)" width="500"></p><p style="text-align: left;"><br> Also on the boards this weekend is a new production of Bernard Pomerance’s&nbsp;<a href="http://saintsebastianplayers.org/Current_Season.html"><strong><em>The Elephant Man</em></strong></a>, the tale of John Merrick, an actual physical freak (due to a rare illness) in Victorian England who went from exploited sideshow attraction to a high scientific case study and darling of London society. The presenter, Saint Sebastian Players, says they are offering a Brechtian take on the play, which is set in a London where Jack the Ripper also is walking the streets. Among the alienation devices they are employing is cross-gender casting, with Romanian-born Simina Contras playing Merrick.&nbsp;<em>The Elephant Man</em>&nbsp;is presented at St. Bonaventure House (1625 W. Diversey) through Nov. 13.</p></p> Thu, 20 Oct 2011 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-20/no-ordinary-theater-weekend-what-see-when-93268 Daily Rehearsal: The 'Reader' covers 40 years of Chicago theater http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-17/daily-rehearsal-reader-covers-40-years-chicago-theater-93184 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-18/birthday cake_flickr_william clayton.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-17/beirut_boekerJan20_1989.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 239px; height: 100px;" title="An excerpt of one of Tom Boecker's reviews"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. The&nbsp;<em>Chicago Reader</em>'s reliving their past 40 years</strong></span></span>, which includes some really incredible reviews that former theater reviewer <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/reminiscence-from-a-reviled-theatre-critic/Content?oid=4799570">Tom Boeker wrote</a> during his time there. And his feelings now, looking back? "These actors and directors with their hurt feelings, so misunderstood," Boeker wrote. "Was I supposed to lie, say that the earth moved beneath me? I was a critic, with a PhD in theater no less. Look at this way. You've been to one of those art shows at the mall. Wouldn't you say that 95 percent of that stuff was embarrassingly bad? Would you buy it? It's the same with theater, only you've already kissed $20 to $200 goodbye. In retrospect you probably could have used a heads-up on this turkey. So I'd tell people. I'm no artist. I don't make this sh*t up. I just call it as I see it." Some commentors don't quite agree with him, so read along.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2.&nbsp;</strong></span></span><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>The&nbsp;<a href="http://chitheatreaddict.com/2011/10/14/the-great-follies-smack-down-of-2011/">Great&nbsp;<em>Follies&nbsp;</em>smackdown</a>&nbsp;has arrived</strong></span></span>, and "It’s a draw!" says Bob Bullen. "Both productions, as varied as they are, have their weaknesses and strengths, which, in the end, makes both productions equally well-worth seeing." These productions are, of course,&nbsp;<em>Follies&nbsp;</em>in New York, and&nbsp;<em>Follies&nbsp;</em>right here at Chicago Shakes.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. TEDx Midwest was this weekend</strong></span></span>, with TEDxYouth@Midwest bringing out some absolutely fabulous (theater) folk. Like Joan Cusack. Were you there? Are you young? How was it?</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-17/stage773.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px;" title="An artist's rendering of the new Stage 773"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. A Chicago writer who sometimes tells stories for the theater</strong></span></span> who you might remember from <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-14/paper-machete-radio-magazine-91011-passage-time-91994">a recent Machete performance about <em>Rookie </em>magazine</a>, Megan Stielstra, has a great piece on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/claire-zulkey/2011-10-17/i-asked-guy-why-are-you-so-fly-megan-stielstra-93183">Claire Zulkey's blog today</a>&nbsp;about turning 30.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;</strong></span></span><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>The Congo Square Theatre&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/chi-congo-square-makes-a-move-20111014,0,3272976.column">moves to Stage 773</a></strong></span></span>, away from their longtime how at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts. The newly revamped space has gotten a lot of attention lately; the grand opening of their new space was yesterday. You'll note that just a year ago,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/loop-theater-endangered-species-list">Jonathan Abarbanel put Congo Square</a>&nbsp;on an endangered species list of Chicago-area theaters.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 17 Oct 2011 14:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-17/daily-rehearsal-reader-covers-40-years-chicago-theater-93184 Daily Rehearsal: Will Eno gets a big chunk of cash http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-19/daily-rehearsal-will-eno-gets-big-chunk-cash-92158 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-05/323.th_.th_.op_.WillEnoNEW2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-19/GNR.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 165px; height: 206px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <a href="http://stage773.squarespace.com/Now-Playing"><em>Gretchen and Regina</em></a> is still running at Stage 773</strong></span></span>&nbsp;on Tuesdays through early next week. What's it about? "Take one part bratty drunk, add 1 part fumbling lesbian, mix with a generous amount of alcohol and you have the embarrassingly funny novelty folk duo Gretchen and Regina. The uncomfortable hilarity of this duo, otherwise known as Hilary Williams and Emily Claiborne, dominates the audience with the feeling of awkwardly watching the two uninvited drunkards at the party." Or I could like...go to a party...but this is good too!</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Remember when the<em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-09/daily-rehearsal-yo-joe-brings-favorite-figure-theater-91746">Sun-Times</a></em></strong></span></span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-09/daily-rehearsal-yo-joe-brings-favorite-figure-theater-91746"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong> covered</strong></span></span><em> Love, Lost and What I Wore</em></a> by asking Theater Critic Hedy Weiss to write about hers? Someone else loved it! Zac Thompson from the <em>Reader</em> <a href="http://foolsgoldcoast.typepad.com/fools_gold_coast/2011/09/chicago-fun-times.html">writes</a>&nbsp;(on his personal blog), "I am not exaggerating when I tell you that this piece of journalism...is the best thing that has ever happened to me." He also throws out a few future column possibilities, like, "Is Hedy Weiss Interested in Sharing an Egg Cream with Me and Talking about Cute Boys?" and "How Come Whenever a Cell Phone Rings during a Play, Hedy Weiss Glares at Me as Though I Am Responsible? Or Am I Imagining Things?"</p><p><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>3. A <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/7259682-421/fall-dance-preview-big-steps-forward-for-chicago-scene.html">dance preview</a> for the fall season</strong></span></span> includes the usuals -- Hubbard Street, River North, Luna Negra, and Merce Cunningham. But we've also got Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago and Chicago Dance Crash.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-05/323.th_.th_.op_.WillEnoNEW2.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 373px; height: 250px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. An interview with <em>The Vibrator Play</em> director </strong></span></span>Sandy Shinner reveals some historical fun facts about the true story behind women being treated for hysteria. Bonus points to an amazing question on <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/sandy-shinner-director-of-in-the-next-room-or-the,61088/">behalf of <em>The A.V. Club</em></a>: &nbsp;"And since vibrators require electricity of some kind, does the play also address the dawning modern age?"</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Will Eno, the beloved writer of <em>Middletown</em></strong></span></span>, is part of a <a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/09/19/five-playwrights-named-in-signature-theater-initiative-to-stage-new-works/?smid=tw-nytimesarts&amp;seid=auto">new residency program</a> at Signature Theater Initiative. It grants each writer three productions over five years,&nbsp;$50,000, stipends to help pay for all that theater, and health insurance.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 19 Sep 2011 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-19/daily-rehearsal-will-eno-gets-big-chunk-cash-92158 Daily Rehearsal: Your favorite 'Mean Girls' cast member hits Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-12/daily-rehearsal-your-favorite-mean-girls-cast-member-hits-chicago-9 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-13/screen-shot-2011-07-30-at-12-53-29-am[1].png" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-12/FRAT400x400.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 200px; height: 200px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Go back to college with The New Colony's <a href="http://thenewcolony.org/view/frat"><em>Frat</em></a>.</strong></span></span> It opens in previews this weekend, after a run in 2009. Writer&nbsp;Evan Linder's wrote the play after interviewing members of Southern fraternities, but the previous version wasn't worth seeing for that. Rather, "see&nbsp;<i>Frat</i>&nbsp;for (a) a robust environmental staging, with nothing but sharp performances; (b) an insight into the group-think, psychological cruelty, and desperate need to belong that make frat life possible; and (c) the beer, of course, available from a bar in the performance area," <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/Event?oid=990019">wrote Tony Adler</a>. Not sure what's changed, but hopefully it's not the beer.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <em>SNL </em>alum Tim Meadows </strong></span></span><a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/posts/195"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>will be joined</strong></span></span> by</a> Joe Canale and Brad Morris at iO for two shows in a row this Sunday, bringing the whole crew back together for what was once called Uncle Brother. Can we get <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c2i0wlDBsOI">a round of</a> "Oh hell yes! I did indeed leave the southside for this!"</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-12/ImprovMinions.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 225px; height: 300px;" title="Nick Semar as Dr. Ne'er-Do-Well"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Early October brings <a href="http://www.comedysportzchicago.com/">Comedy Sportz Theatre</a>'s</strong></span></span><em> Improv Minions with Dr. Rubius Ne'er-Do-Well</em>. If you go, you'll "Enjoy an extra helping of fun and games where eight improvisers are put through the 'tortures' of comedy's self-proclaimed greatest mad scientist 'ever ever ever ever ever.' Who will win Dr. Ne'er-Do-Well's 'Prettiest Little Bird' award?" Dr. Ne'er-Do-Well is played by Nick Semar.</p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Franklin Gothic Book';"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. This week in "not this weekend but the weekend after,"</strong></span></span> Cerqua Rivera Dance and Inaside Chicago Dance bring us “Constant Motion" at the Harris Theater. It's jazz dance, accompanied by live music and vocals, which always adds a bit of spice to things. More potential mistakes, more fun.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Shattered Globe Theatre will be at the new Stage 773 </strong></span></span>space for their 2011-12 season, which happens to be their 20th. This will include a "Greatest Hits" series of stage readings of past works, as well as full-fleshed plays <em>Orpheus Descending </em>and <em>Her Naked Skin</em>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 12 Sep 2011 14:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-12/daily-rehearsal-your-favorite-mean-girls-cast-member-hits-chicago-9 Daily Rehearsal: Learn about Britney Spears tonight http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-10/daily-rehearsal-learn-about-britney-spears-tonight-90356 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-10/britneyspears_chicagofabulousblog.com_.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. What are some of the best closing lines for plays?</strong></span></span> Howard Sherman started some twitter fanfare over that very question yesterday, and <a href="http://www.2amtheatre.com/2011/08/09/famous-last-words/">here are some highlights</a>:&nbsp;“Greetings, Prophet. The Great Work begins: the messenger has arrived";&nbsp;“Oh, how I do love birthday cake";&nbsp;“We’re free and clear. We’re free.” Guesses?</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-10/britneyspears_chicagofabulousblog.com_.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 250px; height: 166px;" title="Britney Spears at the United Center in July (Flickr/chicagofabulousblog.com)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. I bet you're dying to analyze Britney Spears</strong></span></span> all the time, and tonight you can do just that. Presented by Homeroom, <a href="http://homeroomchicago.org/calendar/8/2011/9">go to The Hungry Brain</a>, and listen to Liz Mason, Christopher Smit, and Judy Hoffman (two of them are professors, so this is legit) talk about one of America's greatest living legends.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. There's a new director at the Athenaeum Theatre</strong></span></span>;&nbsp;Joan Mazzonelli, whose been working as executive director for Stage 773. In an interview <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/chi-atheaeum-theatre-joan-mazzonelli-20110809,0,5358378.column">with Chris Jones</a>, Mazzonelli said she hoped to "get some buzz going and utilize this grand old building." They're also planning new renovations. Is this a&nbsp;step back for Mazzonelli, or a flash of a life for a struggling venue?</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/xQuFj36jR_8" style="margin: 10px;" width="300" align="left" frameborder="0" height="247" scrolling="no"></iframe>4. People are just raving over <a href="http://doyleanddebbie.com/"><em>The Doyle and Debbie Show</em></a></strong></span></span>, and they haven't even gotten here yet! They're from Nashville, and describe the show as a "sublime parody, simultaneously lampooning and idolizing country music's tradition of iconic duos and their subsequent battle of the sexes." Sounds a little like <em>A Mighty Wind</em>, which I am very, very into. It'll be at the <a href="http://theroyalgeorgetheatre.com/shows.php">Royal George</a> in October; check out Bruce Arntson&nbsp;and&nbsp;Jenny Littleton&nbsp;in their numerous Youtube videos.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <em>The Homosexuals</em> has been extended</strong></span></span> for one final week, but it <em>must close the 21st</em>, so get it while you can.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 10 Aug 2011 15:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-10/daily-rehearsal-learn-about-britney-spears-tonight-90356 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 6/10 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-10/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-610-87688 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-10/the fifth of july broken bigger.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1. <em>The Vic &amp; Paul Show</em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-11/steel-magnolias-vic-paul-show-and-some-blue-men-85041">has finally arrived</a><em>, </em>and&nbsp;Paul Barrosse and Victoria Zielinski did a <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/victoria-zielinski-paul-barrosse-prop-thtr/Content?oid=4025725">lovely interview with the <em>Reader</em></a>, during which they explain why they were inspired to come back to the stage together after 20 years away.</p><p>"We were coming up on our 20th wedding anniversary last year and thought to ourselves, 'We should do a show again,'" said Barrosse. "So we set aside an hour just about every day for a couple months to meet and work and improvise. We started out by doing long improvisations in the kitchen, and every now and then our 14-year-old daughter would be saying, 'Is everybody OK down there?' Because there'd be some kind of shrieking going on." See it tonight through Sunday at Prop Theater.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="344" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-10/the fifth of july broken bigger.jpg" title="" width="275"></p><p>2. Infamous Commonwealth Theatre's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.infamouscommonwealth.org/"><em>Fifth of July</em></a> opens tomorrow night. Lanford Wilson's play is about Vietnam veterans in the summer of 1977, and is part of the Theatre's "Sacrifice" season. Wilson&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-03-29/remembering-lanford-wilson-chicago-and-out-84422" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">died in March</a>, shortly after his <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-07/working-weekend-critics-picks-84873"><em>Hot L Baltimore</em></a> opened in previews at Steppenwolf.</p><p>3.&nbsp;Forget the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-06-09/flash-mobs-flash-floodswhats-next-news-about-flash-taco-87635">actually bad flash mobs</a> cropping up in Chicago this week -- the original intention of the word was all positive, connoting a largescale dance that just seemed to break out of nowhere. <em>Just for Laughs</em>&nbsp;will bring it back and present their own with New York's Improv Everywhere. "Participants are asked to download an mp3 (at bit.ly/io51ny) and bring their players to Millennium Park. Everyone presses play at 1:30 p.m., follows the recorded instructions and baffles onlookers," <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/5837778-421/millennium-park-stunt-starts-fest.html">reports the Sun-Times</a>.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="432" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-10/storycollectivecopy.jpg" title="" width="288"></p><p>4.&nbsp;Stage 773's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.stage773.org/showDetail.aspx?uniqshow=85" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">two week performing arts festival</a>&nbsp;opens on Monday, as part of their celebrations surrounding a new space. Called 14@Stage773, there are a variety of performances. Wait until the 23rd for perhaps the sultriest; Chicago Story Collective will be presenting&nbsp;<em>Summer Lovin'</em>, which they describes as tales of "Sweat, Sex...and Romance."</p><p>5. It's graduation season, even at iO: be a part of history <a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/io/shows/28">on Sunday nights</a> and check out their graduation shows, and watch as the future Jerry Seinfeld wows you with...something that will hopefully get better with time.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Fri, 10 Jun 2011 15:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-10/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-610-87688