WBEZ | Pirates of Penzance http://www.wbez.org/tags/pirates-penzance Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don't-Miss List November 29-December 5: Two Gilbert & Sullivans, a family drama and a first-rate 'Annie' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-november-29-december-5-two-gilbert-sullivans-family <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6717_Paramount_Annie_1-scr.jpg" style="height: 474px; width: 620px;" title="'Annie' at the Paramount in Aurora (Courtesy of the theater)" /></div><p><u>The Gilbert &amp; Sullivan Reperatory, <a href="http://www.the-hypocrites.com">The Hypocrites</a> at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division; 773-989-7352; $28; runs through Jan. 13.</u><br /><br />Wildly challenging and sometimes pig-headedly wrong, The Hypocrites are never dull in their reinvention of the classics. Sometimes, however, the great works merely need to be presented and not reinvented. Ya&#39; pays yer money, ya&#39; takes yer choice. They had a super big hit last year with a version of Gilbert &amp; Sullivan&#39;s <em>The Pirates of Penzance</em> and so they&#39;re repeating it this year along with <em>The Mikado</em>, staged in rotating repertory. Company co-founder Sean Graney is the director and skilled musician/composer Kevin O&#39;Donnell has &quot;re-imagined&quot; the music. Both shows are presented in promenade style, meaning the audience and cast both move about the performance space, a presentation style which Mr. Graney often has favored. Accommodations are made for audience members with mobility issues. Also, in both shows the cast members double as musicians and performers (a trick also on display currently in <em>Failure: A Love Story</em> at Victory Gardens Theater). Fair warning: As brilliant as he can be, Mr. Graney&#39;s interpretations of the classics often are much more about Sean Graney than they are about the classic. &ndash;JA</p><p><u><em>The Feast</em>, <a href="http://propthtr.org">Prop Thtr</a>, 3502 N. Elston, 773-539-7838; $20; runs through December 16</u></p><p>This world premiere skillfully weaves a family drama set at that most family-dramatic of times, Thanksgiving day, with an examination of the way health care is meted out (or not) in this country. Though the play has a strong political view, it&#39;s never pedantic; we see politics through the eyes of the characters, whose family business is running a for-profit HMO. Director Brian Bell wrings every ounce of tension, meaning and humor out of Tony Fiorentino&#39;s script, which deserves as many productions as he can find for it. Any subsequent version would be hard-pressed, though, to match the stark beauty and eerie intensity of Joseph Lark-Riley&#39;s sets, Nevena Todorovic&#39;s costumes and Katherine Campbell&#39;s props.&nbsp;<em>The Feast</em> plays only for a few more weekends; get yourself to Elston and Addison (cati-corner from Chief O&#39;Neill&#39;s Pub) before it disappears. &ndash;KK</p><p><u><em>Annie</em>, <a href="http://paramountaurora.com/">Paramount Theatre</a>, 8 East Galena Boulevard in Aurora 630-896-6666; $34.90-$46.90; through December 30</u></p><p>If Rachel Rockwell were a man, she would long since have been recognized as a genius of musical theater.&nbsp; However belatedly, let me hail her as one now.&nbsp; Certainly it would be hard to beat her range: After directing last year&#39;s extraordinary production of <em>Sweeney Todd</em> at Drury Lane, she&#39;s turned her hand to <em>Annie</em>. I&#39;m a certified curmudgeon and was accompanied by another, and we both loved it. Gene Weygandt is such a perfect Daddy Warbucks that his abundance of hair doesn&#39;t even seem strange, and Christine Sherrill is a riotous Miss Hannigan; but when every performer is this good, credit rightly goes to the director. Rockwell gets particular kudos for directing a troupe of children (led by the able 12-year-old Caroline Heffernan in the title role) AND a dog while keeping the show wonderfully lively and treacle-free. This perfect family production even contains just enough Christmas to remind you of the season without drowning you in it. Brava, Madame Director! &nbsp;&ndash;KK</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-november-29-december-5-two-gilbert-sullivans-family Daily Rehearsal: 'Kinky Boots' definitely set for Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-22/daily-rehearsal-kinky-boots-definitely-set-chicago-96622 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-22/56715745_7e9fe00970.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. On Vocalo's <em>Morning AMp</em> today was playwright</strong></span></span> behind&nbsp;<em>fml: How Carson McCullers Saved My Life</em>, which opens at Steppenwolf next week.&nbsp;Sarah Gubbins was joined by Joanie Schultz to talked about "the queer themes and female-centric narrative and the largely female crew working on the show."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-22/56715745_7e9fe00970.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 229px; height: 300px; " title="(Flickr/Annie Mole)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <em>Kinky Boot</em>s is definitely set</strong></span></span> for a pre-Broadway try-out in Chicago, reports the AP,&nbsp;marked for the 2012-13 season. In case it sounds familiar, you may be thinking of the <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0434124/">2005 film</a> of the same name with a bit of a cult following. The stage production involves Cyndi Lauper, who looks<a href="http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.lookafterhairco.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/Cyndi-Lauper_grammys_12.jpg&amp;imgrefurl=http://www.lookafterhairco.com/blog/hair-color-trends-tips/hair-rockstars-the-2012-grammys/&amp;h=550&amp;w=550&amp;sz=72&amp;tbnid=r2jXcMI9MSCKBM:&amp;tbnh=90&amp;tbnw=90&amp;zoom=1&amp;docid=NU2z9xbtN2KmNM&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=uUdFT6baIOGJiAKMvqmvDg&amp;ved=0CFAQ9QEwBg&amp;dur=203"> the same as she's always looked</a>, and Harvey&nbsp;Fierstein. Of the potential production, Fierstein <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/15118565/harvey-fierstein-and-john-bucchino%E2%80%99s-a-catered-affair">told <em>TimeOut </em></a>last week...not much: "It’ll be out soon enough. You talk about stuff that’s a year down the line, people say, ‘Eh, I already saw that.’ ”</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. A bit of a tiff about community theater</strong></span></span>, as per the usual, broke out on Twitter today between <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/parabasis">Isaac Butler</a>,&nbsp;Howard Sherman and Rafael Gallegos over Sherman's post on said topic from yesterday. <a href="http://www.hesherman.com/2012/02/21/theatre-the-theatre-community-disdains/">Read </a>it&nbsp;and decide for yourself if it's just in-fighting or worth some debate.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. More information on <a href="http://emergingamericafestival.org/events/pirates_of_penzance.html"><em>Pirates of Penzance </em></a></strong></span></span>in Boston the weekend of June 21: "Treat yourself to an eighty-minute exotic excursion featuring bathing beauties, philosophizing pirates, and grown men in remarkably short shorts! Warning: If you want boring, stay away; this experience will cause immense joy and the compulsion to spontaneously sing along. Come ashore with the 'Very Model of A Modern Major General,' the Pirate King, and a banjo-picking Mabel. The show features beach balls, sunshine (the artificial kind), and tons of fun music."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. We haven't heard about burlesque</strong></span></span> in awhile, but<em> The Kiss Kiss Cabaret </em>is entering its second year at Greenhouse Theater Center on Friday nights. Creator and director Chris Biddle says it's akin to Minsky's burlesque in New York in the 1920s. It's funny and there is nudity, which means that it is only fun for half the family/</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 22 Feb 2012 20:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-22/daily-rehearsal-kinky-boots-definitely-set-chicago-96622 Getting nosy with Shawn Pfautsch as Cyrano http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-21/getting-nosy-shawn-pfautsch-cyrano-92261 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-21/cyrano.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>“Every night before the show we do a fight call, we do a music call, and then we do a nose-color call, where I get worked on for about 15 minutes.”</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-21/cyrano2.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 315px; " title=""></p><p>You never really think about the ramifications of noses until, well, you have to. Shawn Pfautsch, 33, is now playing the nasally well-endowed, and challenged, Cyrano in <a href="http://thehousetheatre.com/">House Theatre’s swashbuckling adaptation of Edmond Rostand’s 1897 classic</a>. He had to think about noses. A few days at the beach, for example, wreaked havoc on the match between Pfautsch’s real face and fake schnoz. Hence the nightly color adjustments.</p><p>“In rehearsals, I wore a store-bought practice nose,” Pfautsch says. “We had to make sure that none of the fight choreography or any of my various and sundry stage business would get in the way. And we wanted to make sure I could breathe out of it, because those swordfights are strenuous and I didn’t want to get to the end of a fight and pass out.”</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-21/cyrano.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 266px; height: 400px; " title="">“We were very particular in what we wanted,” he adds, “and Ora [Jewell-Busche, who does makeup at Lyric Opera] was amazing at giving us that. We wanted something that looked like an extension of my own nose, we wanted something that wouldn’t fall off. We went through three or four iterations till we found one that was the length we wanted. She builds a new nose for me every week.”</p><p>“I suppose if I were a Method actor,” Pfautsch says, “I would have put one on and gone to a bar to see what people would say to me.” He’s not, I guess, and he didn’t—but I would have paid to be a fly on the wall there.</p><p>Pfautsch—a House founding member who went to school at Southern Methodist University with <em>Cyrano</em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/peter-pans-matt-hawkins-takes-flight#">director Matt Hawkins</a>—says that his character’s simultaneously confident/insecure mindset is “a natural place for me. I think it’s one reason Matt cast me in the role.”</p><p>Still, Pfautsch adds, “I was a little bit apprehensive about what Cyrano’s ‘panache’ is and what that means. Matt and Stacy [Stoltz, Hawkins’s real-life wife—and Cyrano’s love interest, Roxane] both assured me from the beginning, ‘Don’t worry about inventing what that is, because you have panache.’ But it’s still always something in the back of my head.”</p><p>Pfautsch’s portrayal balances arrogance and sweetness on a knife’s edge, a balance that wasn’t easy to attain—especially in the crucial first scene, which concludes with what he calls Cyrano’s “fight and write” feat. “We went through about a dozen iterations of that scene!” he says. “We started with this jovial, ‘I have status so I don’t need to raise my voice’ version of Cyrano. But late in the process, in previews, we decided to juice that first scene and make him a much more—for lack of a better word—‘loud’ presence.”</p><p>After <em>Cyrano</em> closes, Pfautsch says, “I have my storefront-theater dance card punched until May.” First up, in November, is a reprise of his mandolin-strumming role in <a href="http://www.the-hypocrites.com/2011-12season">the Hypocrites’ remount of <em>Pirates of Penzance</em></a>.</p><p>Pfautsch also officially has his writer’s hat back on (his 2007 <em>Hatfield &amp; McCoy</em>, produced by House, was nominated for a Jeff award). He’s one of three playwrights who’ve been asked to adapt <em>Moby-Dick</em> for the stage and to workshop their scripts next spring.</p><p>“I am a huge Melville fan,” he says. “Honestly, what draws me to [<em>Moby-Dick</em>] is that no matter how hard I try to explain the why and how of my interest in it, I get caught in the labyrinth of its depth.” Harpooning the Great White Whale: something Cyrano might have attempted if he’d been a sailor, not a soldier.</p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 14:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-21/getting-nosy-shawn-pfautsch-cyrano-92261