WBEZ | Side Man http://www.wbez.org/tags/side-man Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Critics theater picks; less theater, more movies, with 'Chicago Live!' and 'Dance for Life' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-10/critics-theater-picks-less-theater-more-movies-chicago-live-and-dan <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-11/DFL_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Jonathan Abarbanel is STILL out (jeez, get back from vacation already) but will be back next week.</em></p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-10/chicagolive.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 238px; " title="">Tonight, check out <strong><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/about/chicagolive/"><span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Chicago Live!</span></a></strong>, Rick Kogan's hour-long after-work stage show which will later be broadcast on WGN-Radio. Kogan is a charmer and knows Chicago from every angle, which means he knows enough to shine a spotlight on the most important or interesting or timely occurrences of any given week. It also means he knows enough to share the stage with the Second City, whose segment makes fun of all the usual Chicago suspects and reminds us that it's not a Great Recession unless it features a "Living Newspaper." Tonight's three-ring circus includes new schools superintendent (and proposer of property tax increases) Jean-Claude Brizard as well as Steve James and Alex Kotlowitz discussing their new movie, <strong><em>The Interrupters</em></strong>. Get your $20 ticket at the Chicago Theatre box office and then make your way down the alley on the building's south side to the entrance to the basement theater. The fun begins at 6:30.<br> <br> On Friday, go to the Siskel Center to see the opening of the James-Kotlowitz movie, a documentary featuring CeaseFire, a group of ex-gang members who work to defuse violent gang confrontations. 5:30 and 8:15; general admission $11, with breaks for students and members of the Art Institute.<br> <br> Finally, make sure you're not so dazzled by downtown and by film that you neglect to see live theater, specifically, Ka-Tet Theatre Company's production of <a href="http://www.citylit.org/"><strong><span style="FONT-STYLE: italic">Side Man</span></strong></a>, a play by Warren Leight about the last days of jazz trumpeting. It's fitting that the real stars of the production should be not the central characters but the side men: Scott Allen Luke, Rich Logan and Jeffrey Gitelle as Al, Jonesy and Ziggy, whose love for music is so pure that it shines through the wreckage they've made of the rest of their lives.&nbsp; The play itself has the problem of treating its women as good if they're docile and bad if they're vocal about what they want, but that's probably true to the milieu being portrayed. Director Richard Stockton Rand's well-paced production runs Thursday through Sunday, but only through August 20 (which is next weekend, believe it or not!); tickets are $20. At City Lit Theater, in the church at 1020 West Bryn Mawr Avenue.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-10/DFL_1.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 400px; " title="A still from 'Dance for Life'">HMS Media celebrates the 20<sup>th</sup> anniversary of “Dance for Life” in a documentary <a href="http://www.wttw.com/main.taf?p=2,2,1,2">to air on WTTW at 10 PM Thursday</a>. This moving treatment of the 2010 benefit (the 2011 benefit happens <a href="http://www.danceforlifechicago.com/">Saturday, August 20, at the Auditorium</a>) includes performances by the Joffrey, Hubbard Street, and Ensemble Espanol as well as voiceovers from participants and supporters who remember—or don’t—the AIDS crisis. HMS Media director-editor Matt Hoffman does a bang-up job of capturing the excitement of dance, and choreographer Harrison McEldowney, of expressing the terror of the early AIDS years.</p><p>Immigrants from another galaxy strive to get a cosmic green card so they can live and love peacefully in Wisconsin in Breahan Pautsch’s new sci-fi comedy, the second production in Hobo Junction’s sci-fi season. <em>In Pursuit&nbsp;</em>reportedly explores the distinction between “nice” and “normal”—something I’ve always been clueless about. <a href="http://www.hobojunctionproductions.com/">Opening Thursday, then running Thursday-Sunday at Second Stage through September 11.</a></p><p><em>Broads&nbsp;</em><em>on Boards</em>: OK, so the title’s not PC. I still love it. Though maybe it should have been “Broadway Broads on Boards.” This musical (songs by Matthew Loren Cohen) directed by Brendan Dowling stars Lauren Dowden and Jeff-winning Amanda Blake Davis as 50-year song-and-dance vets who reunite for one last performance. <a href="http://www.annoyanceproductions.com/broadsonboards/index.shtml">At the Annoyance, beginning Sunday and running through September 4.</a></p></p> Wed, 10 Aug 2011 19:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-10/critics-theater-picks-less-theater-more-movies-chicago-live-and-dan Daily Rehearsal: Rhys Darby of 'Flight of the Conchords' lands in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-27/daily-rehearsal-rhys-darby-flight-conchords-lands-chicago-89700 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-27/flight of theconchords_aphbo_Craig Blankenhorn.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <em>Pornography </em>opens this weekend from&nbsp;<a href="http://www.steeptheatre.com/shows/shows_main.html">Steep</a></strong></span></span>, and before you get all hot and bothered, it's not really all about that. It's more about a terrorist attack in the U.K. in 2005. The cast features both the&nbsp;2010 and 2011 winners of the Jeff Award for Best Actress, Kendra Thulin&nbsp;and Caroline Neff.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/side man.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 223px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. KaTet Theater has <a href="http://katettheatre.org/"><em>Side Man</em></a>&nbsp;opening this weekend</strong></span></span>, about Clifford, who recalls his New York City family and their love of jazz over a period of 30 years. You might remember <em>Side Man</em>; it won the 1999 Tony Award for Best Play. Check out <a href="http://katettheatre.org/2011/07/">their blog</a> for remarks from several of the actors and producers over the weeks of rehearsal, and their emotional connection to the piece.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Things look better for <a href="http://www.actone.com/">Act One Studios</a></strong></span></span>&nbsp;than they have recently; their website, in a flurry of fireworks and with the phrase "An Angel Arrived", has annoucned that they've gotten some new funds and free rent, which should alleviate some of their debt issues. The acting studio told <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2011/07/26/no-last-act-yet-for-act-one-studios">the Reader</a> that “It's really embarrassing" but that they're making it work.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4.&nbsp;When I say "casino" you probably don't say "high-class entertainment."</strong></span></span> But&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/ct-ent-0727-focus-casinos-20110726,0,6038180.column?page=1&amp;track=rss" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">Chris Jones looks at&nbsp;</a>casinos around the country and what kind of shows they brought with them, from Celine Dion to Cirque du Solei. "Regardless, don't expect somebody to build the biggest theater in Chicago just for Dion, and hope only for warm bodies headed for the casino," says Jones.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-27/flight of theconchords_aphbo_Craig Blankenhorn.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 200px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="Rhys Darby, left, in Flight of the Conchords (AP-HBO/Craig Blankenhorn)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;Like the Flight of the Conchords? Of course you do!</strong></span></span> Rhys Darby, who played manager Murray on the HBO show of the same name, was at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.improv.com/Search/?searchTerm=rhys" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">Improv this weekend</a>&nbsp;for a jam-packed set of shows (5). Jenna Marotta of&nbsp;<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/comedy/14866445/live-review-rhys-darby-at-the-improv" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">TimeOut says</a>&nbsp;of Darby's performance, "Basically, Darby is a good comedian to go see with your mom. I did." Darby was also considered one of the potential Steve Carell replacements for The Office, and at least a few feel that his New Zealand touch would have been a welcome homage to Ricky Gervais' British version.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 14:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-27/daily-rehearsal-rhys-darby-flight-conchords-lands-chicago-89700 Critics theater picks; 'Pornography', 'Bigger!' and being a 'Side Man' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-21/critics-theater-picks-pornography-bigger-and-being-side-man-89465 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/aerial dance.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></div><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-28/cuttothequick.jpg" style="width: 400px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; height: 269px; float: left; " title="">First up: site-specific work from <a href="http://www.thesideproject.net/">the side project</a>, whose theater is so minute that any other venue must seem palatial. That, in any case, is my reading of their decision to kick off a festival of site-specific one-acts this Saturday in the office of <a href="http://www.ward49.com/">Alderman Joe Moore</a>.</p><p>side project (lower-case theirs) is celebrating its tenth anniversary and its ties to the 'hood it calls Jarvis Square (Jarvis at Greenview in what I'd style mid-Rogers Park). Alderman Moore's office isn't the only unusual venue for this series, called <em>Cut to the Quick: On Location</em>; neighborhood bars and restaurants, and even a local body shop, are turning themselves into theaters for its brief duration. It starts this Saturday at the Alderman's office at 12:30 (with a piece about lawyers' ethics and other oxymorons), and continues through August 17 in various locales. Tickets are $10.</p><p>If the goings-on in Washington mean you've had your fill of politicans, perhaps you'd prefer to consider the comforting topic of terrorism in other countries. Name the play <em>Pornography</em>, and you're all set for another evening of summertime fluff. It opens tonight at <a href="http://www.steeptheatre.com/">Steep Theatre</a>, whose space is nearly as tiny as side project's (what is this, some kind of competition? "Narrowest space that is not a single bowling lane?" "Shallowest space that is not a bus shelter?") and whose reputation is stellar enough that advance reservations are a must. Tonight's opening is sold out but tickets are available for the rest of the run (through September 3) and are $22 tops. Hard by the Berwyn Red Line stop in Edgewater--or maybe that should be "Berwyn Square."</p><p>And, as previously mentioned, <a href="http://collaboraction.org/">Collaboraction </a>re-opens <strong><em>1001 </em></strong>at the Flatiron Building, vacating Theatre on the Lake so Bohemian Theatre Ensemble can take its turn with <a href="http://bohotheatre.com/"><em>Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn</em></a>.</p><p>I keep mentioning <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/312df49f-8fbf-4e35-8da1-443a4a50e3e8.cfm">ToL </a>because it's really a remarkable resource: a way to see the cream (or at least some of the cream) of last season's theater crop. Those of us who remember its incarnation as the place where community theaters based in Park District fieldhouses had their moment of glory before returning to well-deserved obscurity know what enormous effort it took to change ToL into a showcase for Chicago's professional companies, and what an incredible contribution it's made and continues to make to the city's summer entertainment options.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-28/aerial dance.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 334px; " title="'Bigger!' at Aloft Loft"></p><p><a href="http://www.aloftloft.com/">“<strong>Bigger!</strong>”</a> might sound like a porno, but in some ways it’s the opposite: this Aloft Loft party celebrates that staple of G-rated entertainment, aerial dance. Expect “extreme circus performances,” giant cupcakes, and monster popcorn balls. While <a href="http://www.facebook.com/planetclaireband">B-52s tribute band Planet Claire</a> plays, you can eat the dress off a “towering cotton-candy princess” or maximize your hair at the Gigantic Hair Styling Station. The event, Saturday from 8 PM to midnight near Damen and Fulton, inaugurates and helps support Aloft’s new digs, the largest circus training space in the Midwest—and the third largest in the country. Guests must be 21 or older. NO tickets at the door; sign up <a href="https://www.fracturedatlas.org/s/campaign/310">here</a> to get a ticket and register for a tax-deductible contribution.</p><p>Ever considered taking “a highly athletic look at the number 3” or thought of David Byrne as speaking in tongues? You can see these and other thoughts tackled in <a href="http://www.thodosdancechicago.org/">Thodos Dance Chicago’s 11<sup>th</sup> annual <strong>“New Dances” showcase</strong>.</a> This time around there are nine world premieres, most by company dancers, set to music that runs the gamut from Sufjan Stevens to Talking Heads to Shostakovich. Guest choreographer Rebecca Lemme contributes a piece about loss, <em>Effigy</em>. <a href="http://www.thodosdancechicago.org/NewDances2009TicketPurchase.html">Friday through Sunday at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts</a>.</p><p>Next Monday could be the most exciting evening of <a href="http://www.chicagotap.org/pg.120.149.873_793_802.aspx">the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s <strong>JUBA!</strong> performance series</a>. It’s hard to say for sure because stuff will be improvised. Happening at the Jazz Showcase on the very first night of the series, it features Rhythm World tap-dance faculty and students performing with jazz musicians. And this year’s crowd of faculty/performers definitely seems focused on live improv with live musicians. Literally, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><span lang="EN"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-28/side man.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 268px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; " title="">Warren Leight's Tony Award-winning 1998 play, <a href="http://katettheatre.org/"><b><i>Side Man</i></b></a>, may be the best dramatic work ever written about the soul and spirit of a musician. Balancing humor and darkness, Leight's autobiographical play is warm yet pointed and always compelling. A new production is being mounted by Ka-Tet Theatre, an ensemble-driven troupe formed three years ago and still in the process of making its mark locally; this is only their fourth production. Ka-Tet believes theater should be felt first and intellectualized later, and <i>Side Man </i>is an excellent choice for that experience. <i>Side Man </i>plays at City Lit Theatre in Edgewater and runs through Aug. 20.</span></p><p><span lang="EN">We're taking a plunge off a high tower in highlighting <a href="http://www.newrocktheater.com/schedule.html"><b><i>The Swordsman of San Gimignano</i></b></a>, a swashbuckling comedy set in 16th Century Italy. That's the Cinquecento, if you're Italian. It's presented by New Rock Theater and On the Spot Theatre Company and, frankly, we don't know a thing about either troupe except that they're relatively new. They describe <i>The Swordsman of San Gimignano</i> as a "family-friendly full-length production, for adults and children eight and older with parental supervision." It's performed through Aug. 21 at the New Rock Theater, 3933 N. Elston.&nbsp;</span></p></p> Thu, 21 Jul 2011 15:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-21/critics-theater-picks-pornography-bigger-and-being-side-man-89465