WBEZ | Lucky Plush http://www.wbez.org/tags/lucky-plush Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Theater picks for your weekend: Alexander before he was Great, Bad Boys of Dance and a vaudeville comeback http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-03/theater-picks-your-weekend-alexander-he-was-great-bad-boys-dance-an <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-03/Bad Boys of Dance Image 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.etacreativearts.org/index.php">eta Creative Arts</a> follows up its well-regarded <em>Flow</em> (which will have <a href="http://www.enewspf.com/latest-news/school-news/27663-governors-state-universitys-center-for-performing-arts-presents-flow-saturday-november-12-at-8-pm.html">an encore presentation at Governors State University next weekend</a>) with <em><strong>Broke-ology</strong>,</em> a family drama about the intersection of brothers, elder-care and dominoes. Nathan Louis Jackson's play, directed by Artistic Director Runako Jahi, opens tonight on the Mainstage. Opening night tickets are only $10, with $20 Thursdays throughout the run; regular admission is $30. Through December 18 at eta Square, 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue.</p><p>Or, if you're among the teeming masses of the unemployed and are not busy <a href="http://www.thethirdcity.org/blog/jon-randolph/uncategorized/randolph-street-occupy-lasalle-street/">occupying LaSalle Street</a>, you could go to <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=545">Steppenwolf</a> this afternoon for a free reading of a new play by <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/bio.aspx?id=381&amp;crewId=721">Sarah Gubbins</a>, <strong><em>fml: or how Carson McCullers saved my life</em></strong> (an apt complement to <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=539">Steppenwolf's Theatre for Young Adults production of McCullers's <em>The Heart is a Lonely Hunter</em>,</a> which closes tomorrow). Gubbins is the author of <a href="http://www.chicagodramatists.org/production_the-kid-thing"><em>The Kid Thing</em>, whose world-premiere production at Chicago Dramatists</a> was one of the highlights of this fall's season. 3 p.m. at the Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted. The free readings continue&nbsp; through Saturday; the First Look series of performances continues through November 20, but this is the only weekend you can get $10 tickets including a free beer.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-03/vaudeville.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 169px;" title="">Even more exciting than the <a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/?gclid=CJyLore4mKwCFcOd7Qodg2WULg">Old Town School of Folk Music</a>'s decision to branch out into theater is the subject of the show: <strong><em>Keep A Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville</em></strong>. It would be hard to top the array of talent involved: <a href="http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=2324">Andrea J. Dymond </a>will direct the piece, whose creator-performers include the <a href="http://www.carolinachocolatedrops.com/">Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops</a>, the MacArthur Genius Grant-winning ragtime composer <a href="http://www.reginaldrrobinson.com/">Reginald R. Robinson</a>, and veteran Chicago tapper <a href="http://www.tapheritage.org/reggio.html">Reggio "The Hoofer" McLaughlin</a>. Tonight through Sunday only, in the School's Maurer Concert Hall, 4544 N. Lincoln Avenue.&nbsp; Tickets are $45, $43 for Old Town School Members, $41 for seniors. The show is not recommended for children: adult language and content.</p><p>Finally, <strong><a href="http://www.rivernorthchicago.com/">River North Dance Chicago</a></strong> comes home briefly to the Harris Theater. The company's "Reality of a Dreamer" was, in its original form, the sexiest thing you'd ever see on a legitimate stage; they've reworked it as "Evolution of a Dream" and we'll see whether the libido still comes panting through. Tonight through Saturday only; tickets $30-$75.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/events/2011-2012-season/river-north-dance">The Harris</a>, at 205 East Randolph Street, is that glass box resembling a butt-plug for the Pritzker Pavilion. Still, there's not a bad seat in the house, and when you're inside you don't have to look at it.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>Word is that tickets are selling fast. On Saturday<strong>, </strong><a href="http://cso.org/TicketsAndEvents/EventDetails.aspx?eid=4296"><strong>DanceWorks Chicago</strong> shares the Symphony Center stage with the CSO</a> in two hour-long shows at family-friendly times. In “Magical Movements,” the six youthful DWC dancers help “build” the orchestra for the occasion’s finale, Benjamin Britten’s <em>The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra</em>. If for some reason you aren’t interested in being surrounded by kids age five to nine, <a href="http://www.danceworkschicago.org/Event/Dance-Flight-1111.aspx">DWC is also performing a “Dance Flight”</a> Saturday evening set to an eclectic mix of music: Vivaldi, Gershwin, and Sons of the Never Wrong.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-03/Bad Boys of Dance Image 2.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 429px;" title="The Bad Boys of Dance"></p><p>They’re called <a href="http://auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/">“<strong>The Bad Boys of Dance</strong>,”</a> but they’re neither all-bad nor all-boys. Fans of <em>Dancing With the Stars&nbsp;</em>and <em>So You Think You Can Dance</em>—the Bad Boys have turned up on both shows—will relish the opportunity to see these six babe magnets and one babe (Adrienne Canterna-Thomas, also the choreographer) shake their stuff in pieces set mostly to well-known pop songs. Saturday and Sunday at the Auditorium.</p><p>In the department of continuing but soon-to-end shows…. Lucky Plush undertakes its second and final weekend at the MCA in <strong><em><a href="http://mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/740">The Better Half</a></em></strong>, a brainy, funny physical-theater take on the 1944 film <em>Gaslight</em>…. And if you’re a fan of zombies—you know you are—try to catch <em><a href="http://www.musicalofthelivingdead.com/Musical_of_the_Living_Dead/Welcome.html">Musical of the Living Dead</a> </em>before its last show, November 12.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-03/Hershey%2520showpage.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 225px; height: 300px;" title="">Gifted pianist, writer and actor Hershey Felder has entertained us before with his one-man shows—half concert and half play—about George Gerswhin, Frederic Chopin and Beethoven. Now he’s back as Lenny, baby, in <a href="http://www.theroyalgeorgetheatre.com/shows.php?s=51"><strong><em>Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein</em></strong></a> at the Royal George Theatre. Conductor, author, serious composer, Broadway composer, brilliant lecturer, dedicated liberal, husband, father and bisexual lover, Bernstein certainly was a multi-faceted showman (and he was, indeed, a showman). We’ll see how many facets Felder fathoms in 100 minutes or so. <em>Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein</em> continues through Dec. 30. However, Felder has found Chicago congenial and often has extended his shows.</p><p>Alexander of Macedon (not yet “the Great”) was whuppin’ the Persians when he was just 21 years old, leading his troupes into battle with wounds to prove it. This point is pertinent to the 2011-2012 season of <a href="http://www.thesideproject.net/">the side project theatre company</a> (sic, they use all lower-case letters), up in Rogers Park (1439 W. Jarvis), which has dedicated the year to issues of war and youth. Not only that, but the side project is presenting its six-play season in rotating repertory, three plays now and three more in the spring. The opening repertory, which rolls this weekend, includes the world premieres <strong><em>of Through the Middle Ground</em></strong> by Louis Cancelmi and <strong><em>An Interrogation Primer</em></strong> by Mike Nowacki, plus the Midwest debut of Brett Neveu’s <strong><em>Twentyone</em></strong>. The first repertory series continues at the side project through Dec. 18.</p></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 15:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-03/theater-picks-your-weekend-alexander-he-was-great-bad-boys-dance-an Critics theater picks for 6/30-7/3 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-30/critics-theater-picks-for-630-73 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/Lucky Plush.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at: 2:45pm on 6/30/11 - Now with Jonathan Abarbanel!</em></p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-30/womenarecrazy.jpg" style="width: 232px; height: 300px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="">Start the weekend right by listening to the Dueling Critics as Jonathan and I debate David Henry Hwang's <em>Chinglish</em>, the latest missile being guided from the Goodman to Broadway. Is the show more or less true to the Asian-American experience than the production of Hwang's <em>Yellow Face</em> now running at the culturally specific Silk Road Theatre Project? Can a pair of highly diverse Jewish theater critics (he's Sephardic and I'm Ashkenazi) accurately assess that kind of authenticity? Is "authenticity" even relevant anymore? Listen and decide whether <em>Chinglish </em>measures up to Chicago standards or whether it's only good enough for New York.<br> <br> We're on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight">848 </a>between 9 and 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday), or you'll find the recorded segment posted shortly thereafter on the 848 page of this site. Catch us now or dig us later.<br> <br> This weekend only, another out-of-town tryout: live from L.A., the superbly-named <strong><a href="http://www.mercurytheaterchicago.com/"><em>Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes</em></a></strong>. I haven't seen it because it only opened its five-performance run last night; but if you're up for gender-role comedy check it out at 6 o'clock on Saturday, when tickets are only $19. At the Mercury on Southport in Lakeview.&nbsp;<br> <br> And finally, on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. join a cast of 100 or so of the city's top actors, directors, playwrights and designers--and, for some reason, me--as we <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-29/daily-rehearsal-start-planning-your-4th-july-88498">read the <strong>Declaration of Independence</strong></a> from the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. That's right: no fireworks on the Third of July, just the reading with Grant Park Concert to follow. Think of it this way: no fireworks means no nightmare crowds means plenty of room for you to see and hear and remember what the whole thing's supposed to be about. Free.<br> <br> And a Glorious Fourth to all.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-30/Lucky Plush.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 267px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="Lucky Plush/500 Clown in 'The Better Half'">Catch two of Chicago’s funniest groups in a free preview tonight, Thursday. <a href="http://www.luckyplush.com/">Lucky Plush Productions</a> and members of <a href="http://www.500clown.com/">500 Clown</a> are putting their heads together to create <strong><em>The Better Half</em></strong>, a take-off on Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play <em>Gaslight</em>, produced on Broadway in 1941 (under the title <em>Angel Street</em>) and made into a film in 1944. Set in 1880, this melodrama involves a husband who schemes to convince his wife she’s mad—but Lucky Plush and 500 Clown are playing it anything but straight. A preview I saw in April had people on the floor. The finished product is scheduled to open at the MCA in October, but you can get a glimpse of the creative process at a one-night-only work-in-progress showing, <a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/performances/perf_detail.php?id=732">6 PM in the MCA theater</a>.</p><p>Lots of theater romanticizes old age. Not Bruce Graham’s <em>The Outgoing Tide</em>. Directed by BJ Jones and starring John Mahoney and Rondi Reed—funny and horrifying as a long-married couple—it has, not the ring of truth, but the clamorous cacophony of truth. <a href="http://www.northlight.org/pages/the_outgoing_tide/145.php">Extended through July 3 at Northlight Theatre</a>, it’s also a true pleasure. I’ll never forget (unless I fall into dementia) the guy shuffling out behind us when it ended, decked out in his WWII veteran’s cap, who called after us, “Hey, kids! Have a wonderful day!”&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-30/cirque.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 231px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="">"Jungle Red!" The very words raise the hair on the necks of those who love bitch wit and revenge served cold (as it should be) and Upper Crust 1930's women's fashion. They are (1) the color of a lipstick and (2) a catch phrase from Clare Booth's quintessential 1936 comedy-of-manners, <a href="http://www.circle-theatre.org/shows/the-women.shtml"><b><i>The Women</i></b></a>, and it's onstage now at Circle Theatre in Oak Park. Given Circle's sense of production values, one may expect gorgeous gowns. The question is how they will treat the play itself, with its large, all-female cast. Will they serve it up as high camp, as has sometimes been the case? Or as an earnest period piece? Ironically, author Clare Booth was a powerful, independent career woman quite unlike the women of her play, who rely on the unseen men in their lives for validation. <i>The Women </i>runs at Circle Theatre through Aug. 14.</p><p>The cirques are back in town, both of them. <a href="http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/ovo/default.aspx"><b>Cirque du Soleil </b></a>has pitched its iconic blue-and-yellow air-conditioned tent next to the United Center with its latest lavishly costumed and scored opus, <i>Ovo</i>, a fanciful interpretation of insect life, playing through Aug. 21. Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.navypier.com/cirqueshanghai/"><strong>Cirque Shanghai</strong></a> is back for another summer-long run at Navy Pier's Skyline Stage, featuring the best highly physical acts from China's seemingly-endless supply of tumblers, jugglers, acrobats, aerialists and cyclists through Sept. 5. If Cirque Shanghai is less of a high-concept and unique environment, it counteracts that with truly family-friendly ticket prices. Best four-person family package at Cirque du Soleil is $150, while a four-person family can see Cirque Shanghai for as little as $65.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 14:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-30/critics-theater-picks-for-630-73