WBEZ | Strawdog http://www.wbez.org/tags/strawdog Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: Strawdog finds a new managing director http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-22/daily-rehearsal-strawdog-finds-new-managing-director-92332 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-22/patrick r.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. An extensive review of <em>Clybourne Park</em> </strong></span></span>reveals much less of this particular production, and more of the complexities of the play itself. Zac Thompson <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/clybourne-park-at-steppenwolf-theatre-company/Content?oid=4668963">does write that</a>, "The second act of&nbsp;<i>Clybourne Park</i>&nbsp;lacks the emotional depth that the specter of the lost son gives to the first. Still, this uncompromising, often bitterly funny play makes a convincing case that the happy ending of racial integration is still far off."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-22/patrick r.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 303px; height: 300px; " title="Patrick Rybarczyk"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Strawdog has hired Patrick Rybarczyk </strong></span></span>as their new managing director; he replaces Hank Boland, who left to get a graduate degree in playwrighting, but still performs with the group. Rybarczyk&nbsp;has worked at a bevy of impressive Chicago theaters, such as Court, Chicago Shakes, the Goodman, and Drury Lane Water Tower, but in recent years, he's been working at <a href="http://www.urbangateways.org/">Urban Gateways</a>, a youth arts education center. That explains his statement that it's&nbsp;"with great enthusiasm that I return to a more active role in the Chicago theatre scene." Boland's comment: "It's been a long two years at Strawdog, with lots of changes, but we've got the right people in the right positions to lead the company in the right direction."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. The future is now</strong></span></span>, in that there's the first review of the work of Stephen Schwartz is the show <a href="http://www.northlight.org/pages/snapshots/170.php"><em>Snapshots</em></a>, opening at Northlight this weekend. This is not your usual review, and even Chris Jones <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/ct-ott-0923-jones-loop-20110922,0,694446.story">remarks </a>on the puzzling direction it's taking: "Before I talked with Stern and Schwartz, I thought they were using the Schwartz songs, as they were originally written, in a new story, which is unusual enough. I did not realize that, in some cases, they are also going to use different lyrics. In other words, you'll hear the melody to, say, 'Popular' from <em>Wicked</em>, but you won't necessarily hear all the expected lyrics."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Party with <a href="http://www.collaboraction.org">Collaboraction</a></strong></span></span>, on not one but two events. Their 2nd Annual Fashion Mash is October 8, and their Beggars' Banquet is the following week on the 15. The difference? One's more of a party, the other is a party-fundraiser. The Fashion Mash will have DJs, dancing and performances, as well as a catwalk. The Banquet is chaired by Founding Company Member Sandra Delgado, and a ticket is $100, and there's <em>food</em>. Also did you know Collaboraction has a mission "to be Wicker Park's artistic hub for the performing arts"? I did not.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <a href="http://www.blasttheshow.com/"><em>Blast!</em></a> comes to the Paramount Theatre</strong></span></span>, breaking down the boundaries between music and theater. You'll see something I'm imagining as <em>Stomp!</em>, with more than just drums. And "As artistic director Mason observed:&nbsp;Nothing has ever been staged like this before. We’re truly creating a new musical genre with&nbsp;<em>Blast!'"</em>&nbsp;No sign as to whether Mason is his first or last or only name, but I believe him. Two shows only, starting October 15.</p><p class="BasicParagraph" style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; "><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 15:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-22/daily-rehearsal-strawdog-finds-new-managing-director-92332 Daily Rehearsal: Fall theater previews galore http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-14/daily-rehearsal-fall-theater-previews-galore-91964 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-14/timeoutfallpreview.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <em>Bus Stop</em>&nbsp;comes from <a href="http://www.raventheatre.com/">Raven Theatre</a> in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-02/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-62-87319">October</a></strong></span></span>, and it sounds romantic: "Trapped by a blustery winter storm, wayward travelers converge at a rural Kansas City diner. Forced to stay the night, the weary group turns the cold into heat as they discover new relationships." In a statement, director JoAnn Montemurro said,&nbsp;“Raven's mission is to present plays that illuminate the American experience and you can't get more American than cowboys and a showgirl stranded in Kansas."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2.&nbsp;</strong></span></span><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Verdana','sans-serif';"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>Stage Left Theatre has announced the recipients</strong></span></span> of their Downstage Left playwright residencies for the 30th season. They say that "this season represents the start of a larger scale restructuring of the program's resources towards extended development opportunities." This was the first year they had an open application process, and the residencies that won include&nbsp;</span><i>Warped</i>&nbsp;by Barbara Lhota and&nbsp;<i>Witches Vanish</i>&nbsp;by Claudia Barnett. <em>Warped </em>feels a little ripped from the headlines; it's about a drunk woman who is reportedly raped by police officers that drove her home. And <em>Witches Vanish</em> retells Macbeth.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-14/timeoutfallpreview.JPG" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 402px;" title="Justin Timberlake doesn't do theater, but the people inside do"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Strawdog also opens their new season in October</strong></span></span>, with <i><a href="http://www.strawdog.org/index.php?section=history&amp;production=oldtimes">Old Times</a></i>. That may sound familiar to you, and but don't get it confused with <em>Old Town</em>, the play the company put on in October. Kimberly Senior last did <em>The Cherry Orchard</em>, which you also might recall did pretty well, review-wise.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. I'm catching up on <em>This American Life</em></strong></span></span>, so this is new news to me; their September 5 episode (originally aired in 2003, so it's really old) called "<a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/241/20-acts-in-60-minutes">20 Acts in 60 Minutes</a>" was inspired by the Neo-Futurists. TAL throws their usual structure on their heads (long-form audio stories) to bring you short short little pieces, like <em>Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind</em>, which famously performs 30 plays in 60 minutes once a week.&nbsp;Of course, lots of radio does this every week (like radio news, for example), but I guess that doesn't make the gimmick less exciting. If you'd like to listen to just this one the piece during the show, it's the last one before the first break.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">5. Fall preview season is upon us</span></strong></span>, and the latest from <em>Chicago Magazine</em> and <em>TimeOut </em>have hit my desk. <em>Chicago Magazine</em> steals a bit from <em>New York Magazine </em>and creates an "Anticipation Index" of what they're excited about, gives us "Promising Players", a look at five young people being talented, a glimpse at the difficiculties of putting on a solo show, and an interview with Patrick Andrews, the younger star of <em>Red</em>. <em>TimeOut </em>has a look at the <em>six </em>local companies with new artistic directors, the headshots of the actors for <em>Spring Awakening</em>, the story behind the new space for the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural center, and a Q&amp;A with Kate Fry, the star of Sarah Ruhl's <em>In the Next Room or the vibrator play</em>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 14 Sep 2011 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-14/daily-rehearsal-fall-theater-previews-galore-91964 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 6/14 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-14/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-614-87824 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-14/CST_Gala_3_adj.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1. Expect a little blood and gore this summer; Drury Lane Theatre has a production of <a href="http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/live_theatre/full_season.php"><em>Sweeney Todd</em></a> starting previews August 11. Tony nominated Gregg Edelman plays our title character, and the production is choreographed and directed by Jeff Award winner Rachel Rockwell. Also part of the 2011-12 season is <em>The Sound of Music</em>, <em>Broadway Bound</em>, <em>Gypsy </em>and <em>Aida</em>.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-14/CST_Gala_3_adj.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 332px; " title="Rick Boynton, Heather Headley, Barbara Gaines, Gary Griffin,Sir Derek Jacobi, Michael Cerveris, Criss Henderson (Photo by Joan Hackett) "></p><p>2. Shakespeare is still very much alive in Chicago; last week, WBEZ's neighbor, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, celebrated its 25th season during their <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=14,2">Silver Jubilee Gala</a>. They honored "those who keep the spirit of Shakespeare alive through community service and artistic leadership," which meant performances by past and present ensemble members. Tony Award winners Heather Headley and Michael Cerveris were there, as well as the usual motley crew of CST actors, old and new.</p><p>3. Strawdog and A Red Orchid <a href="http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2011/06/new-seasons-at-a-red-orchid-strawdog.html">have announced their 2011-12 seasons</a>. Strawdog also has a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136288243112816&amp;ref=mf">fundraising event</a> this Saturday with entertainment provided by their very own ensemble members at the William H. Reid house, a <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagogeek/5566055095/">mansion on Prairie Avenue</a> that was built in the 1800s.</p><p>4. Sneak in to Northwestern's graduation this weekend and hear <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/01/stephen-colbert-northwestern-commencement.html">Stephen Colbert's commencement speech</a>. Colbert's a graduate of the University; no word on whether his alter-ego, or himself, will be giving the speech. And for a preview, remind yourself of the potential for hilarity/disaster and rewatch his White House Correspondents' dinner speech.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qa-4E8ZDj9s" width="480"></iframe></p><p>5. Collaboraction's <a href="https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136156076461493"><em>Workbook: Devolve</em></a> is this Friday and Saturday nights. In conjunction with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-02/working-weekend-critics-picks-63-65-87333"><em>Sketchbook: Evolution</em></a>, the show is, as usual, a few shorter works by different theater troupes.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Tue, 14 Jun 2011 14:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-14/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-614-87824