WBEZ | Spring Green http://www.wbez.org/tags/spring-green Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don’t-Miss List June 7-June 13: A weekend in Wisconsin or one in Hyde Park? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-06/don%E2%80%99t-miss-list-june-7-june-13-weekend-wisconsin-or-one-hyde-park <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Phylicia%20Rashad%20AP.jpg" title="Phylicia Rashad has her Chicago directorial debut with ‘Immediate Family’ at the Goodman’s Owen Theatre. (AP/Jacquelyn Martin, file)" /></div><p><u>Dueling Critics, Friday June 8 between 9 and 10 a.m. on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>; FREE!</u></p><p>Of course you&#39;ll want to listen in as Jonathan and I review <em>Nutcracker</em> author ETA Hoffman&#39;s <strong><em>The Sandman</em></strong> at Oracle Productions and discuss the Tony Awards with a special guest. Tune in for the fireworks or listen <a href="http://wbez.org/848/">here on the site</a>. --KK</p><p><em><u>Immediate Family</u></em><u>, previews Thursday June 7 at 7:30 p.m. and opens Friday June 8 at 8 p.m.; the Goodman Theatre&rsquo;s Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn in Chicago. Note: no performance on Saturday June 9. Tickets $20-$58; through August 5.</u><br /><br />Paul Oakley Stovall&rsquo;s new play, directed by Phylicia Rashad, should strike close to home: It is, after all, set in Hyde Park. This family comedy, produced in association with About Face Theatre, addresses the themes for which Stovall is known, including race and gender identity. Phillip James Brannon, whose performances at Steppenwolf (<em>The March</em>), the Goodman (<em>Last Days of Emmett Till</em>), Court Theatre (<em>Titus Andronicus</em>) and Congo Square (<em>Elmina&rsquo;s Kitchen</em>) have never been less than thrilling, returns from his new home in New York to star. Rashad, best-known for her stint on <em>The Cosby Show</em> but also as the first African-American woman to win a Tony for best actress in a play (<em>Raisin in the Sun</em>), makes her Chicago directorial debut. --KK<br /><br /><u><em>Heroes</em>, Saturday June 9 at 3 p.m., American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis. Tickets $52-$58 at AmericanPlayers.org. In rotating rep with David Hare&rsquo;s<em> Skylight, Shakespeare&rsquo;s Will</em> and <em>In Acting Shakespeare</em></u>, through mid-September.</p><p>Unless you&rsquo;re boycotting Wisconsin because of the election results, this might be a good weekend to head up to Spring Green, where American Players Theatre begins previews of Tom Stoppard&rsquo;s <strong><em>Heroes</em></strong>. If the name sounds familiar, it&rsquo;s because Remy Bumppo presented the piece a few years ago; and that same director, the much-missed James Bohnen, takes the reins here. It&rsquo;s supposed to be hot this weekend, but the Touchstone Theatre is air-conditioned. (<em>Twelfth Night</em>, playing that evening at the Up-the-Hill amphitheater, is sold out, but never fear: It runs through October 5.) --KK</p><p><em><u>The Circus Princess</u></em><u> and <em>The Cousin from Nowhere</em>, <a href="http://www.chicagofolksoperetta.org/">Chicago Folks Operetta at Chopin Theatre</a>, 1543 W. Division; $30-$40 (plus booking fee); through July 1.</u></p><p>Emmerich Kalman (1882-1953) was one of the last great Viennese composers of operetta, a contemporary of Franz Lehar, until the Nazis shut him down owing to his Jewish heritage (Hitler liked his music and offered to make Kalman an &quot;honorary Aryan,&quot; an honor the composer declined). A handful of Kalman&#39;s lush and rich operettas&mdash;combining the best of waltz and gypsy musical traditions&mdash;still are performed, but not this rarity, although it was produced in New York in 1927. Now <strong><em>The Circus Princess</em></strong> being re-discovered, freshly translated and re-invigorated by the five year old Chicago Folks Operetta, which is the little company that could. Doing a lot with a little, the Folks Operetta folks bring lively musicianship and a rich-sounding orchestra (small though it is) to their stagings, making up with ingenuity what they lack in budget for the visual elements. <em>The Circus Princess</em> runs in repertory with another rarity, <strong><em>The Cousin from Nowhere,</em></strong> with music by Eduard Kunneke, a not-as-well-known direct contemporary of Kalman&#39;s. Both operettas have typical frothy, improbable romantic plots, although the Kalman would appear to have more theatrical possibilities with its circus setting. --JA</p><p><em><u>Exit, Pursued by a Bear</u></em><u>, <a href="http://www.theatreseven.org/">Theatre Seven of Chicago</a> at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln; 773-404-7336; $20-$22; through July 15.</u></p><p>Hey, ladies: ya&#39; ever meet a guy ya&#39; just want to kick in the you-know-whats? A guy you really want to <em>hurt</em>? And then you want to have a drink and laugh about it? Have I got a play for YOU! <strong><em>Exit, Pursued by a Bear</em></strong> takes its name from one of the two most famous stage directions ever written, from Shakespeare&#39;s <em>A Winter&#39;s Tale</em> (the other most famous is from Ibsen&#39;s <em>A Doll House</em>). Written by Lauren Gunderson, this play is billed as &quot;a revenge comedy&quot; in which the wife of an abusive no-goodnik gets back at him big time, both physically and emotionally, with the help of a stripper and a gay best friend. (Hey, y&#39;ever notice that gay best friends never get laid, they just get laughs?) This Chicago Premiere is courtesy of Theatre Seven of Chicago, winner just weeks ago of the 2012 Emerging Theatre Award from the League of Chicago Theatres and Broadway in Chicago. This troupe is about to leap into a much higher profile. --JA</p></p> Thu, 07 Jun 2012 12:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-06/don%E2%80%99t-miss-list-june-7-june-13-weekend-wisconsin-or-one-hyde-park Once more into the journalistic breach: Rescuing Spring Green, Wis. from the 'Tribune' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-30/once-more-journalistic-breach-rescuing-spring-green-wi-tribune-9119 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-29/springgreen.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This weekend's Chicago <em>Tribune</em> travel section contained <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-08-27/travel/ct-trav-0828-spring-green-20110827_1_taliesin-frank-lloyd-wright-school-hillside-home-school">a piece about a trip to Spring Green, Wis.</a>--and if the married reporters' capabilities are truly reflected in this piece, it's no wonder the paper is circling the drain. Spring Green has only three attractions, and they are hardly of equal value; but the article gives one-third to <a href="http://www.taliesinpreservation.org/">Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin home and studio</a>, one-third to the bizarre accumulation of crap that styles itself <a href="http://www.thehouseontherock.com/">the House on the Rock</a>, and one-third to the excellent <a href="http://americanplayers.org/">American Players Theatre.</a>&nbsp;And, because the format of the article compared the current experience to that of the couple 25 years ago, when all was said and done the author had only one sentence to spare for the two plays she and her husband had seen. Actually, even that's false: she had only one sentence to spare for the entire playgoing experience, including the fact that the hill is steep, the weather was hot, and the air-conditioning and toilets work in the new downhill theater. I suspect much the same could be said of any storefront theater in Chicago. So the article leaves hanging the very question it purports to answer: Why go to Spring Green?</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-29/springgreen.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 400px; height: 303px;" title="">But, as ever, I'm here to correct to errors of the wayward press (when not making them myself). So here's a quick-and-dirty on a weekend in Spring Green--worth knowing about because the activities in the area continue through mid-October. First, the plays: I saw <em>Crime &amp; Punishment</em> (as adapted by Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus), and though it was inevitably different from the world premiere version I'd seen at Writers' Theatre it did not suffer by comparison. Raskolnikov was played by Chicagoan Matt Schwader, who did us proud, managing the wild and constant changes of direction in the mood and morals of this young law student. And the pair of Milwaukee actors who play all the other roles in Dostoevsky's magnum opus are equally capable. James Ridge shone as Porfiry, the inspector who plays with Raskolnikov like a spider preparing his dinner, and Colleen Madden achieved the nearly-impossible task of making whore-with-heart-of-gold Sonia into a real person. She also ably distinguished between the murdered old pawnbroker and her murdered old sister, a non-trivial task.</p><p>And until this very second, writing these reviews, I had no idea that the protean Ms. Madden also plays Ruth, the brittle, infuriated and put-upon living wife in Noel Coward's <em>Blithe Spirit</em>. She's terrific in that role, as well, and gets as good as she gives from Deborah Staples as Elvira the other wife--charming, predatory and dead--who comes back invisibly to torment her. As husband Charles, Jim DeVita is the flywheel who makes this tricycle go. The show looks gorgeous, with a spare but elegant set laid against a spider-webby drop which goes perfectly with Elvira's pale limbs and grasping fingers.&nbsp;<em>Blithe Spirit</em>, in my opinion, is the best of the Cowards, and APT has given it the best of productions.</p><p>Meanwhile, the town of Spring Green itself is virtually dead, so we stayed in Mineral Point, about 15 miles the other side of the APT grounds. Mineral Point is like Galena, being an old lead-mining town which reinvented itself; but instead of Galena's antiques, Mineral Point offers fine crafts--pottery and fiber arts in particular. The quality is as high as in the galleries of Door County but the cost is considerably less. There are small hotels and bed-and-breakfasts galore (which you'll need, as Spring Green has fewer and fewer hostelries), an old-style cafe serving Cornish pasties (The Red Rooster Inn) and a couple of "high-end restaurants" whose prices, again, are easier on the wallet than equivalent fare in other resort areas, or in Chicago.</p><p>"Spring Green"--meaning the entire concept, outdoor summer theater in a beautiful and interesting setting--<em><u>was</u></em> wonderful 25 years ago--like the Tribune reporters, I was there. But today the theater is orders of magnitude stronger, and the environment richer and more charming. Of how many fondly-remembered things can one say that?</p></p> Tue, 30 Aug 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-30/once-more-journalistic-breach-rescuing-spring-green-wi-tribune-9119