WBEZ | UP http://www.wbez.org/tags/up Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Metra in the wind, sleet and rain http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/metra-wind-sleet-and-rain-108252 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Metra train thumbnail image Flickr Larry Darling.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cory Feign remembers being marooned somewhere between Mount Prospect and Chicago&rsquo;s Ogilvie Transportation Center, staring out the windows of a Metra train at a drizzly little storm.</p><p>What I would think of as a typical storm came through,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;The kind of thing that if you were a kid you&rsquo;d be riding your bike through puddles as the storm was wrapping up, that trains should keep moving through. It didn&rsquo;t seem like, &lsquo;Thank God they stopped this train.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>That got him thinking:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><em>When and why did Metra start shutting down the entire regional train system due to potentially severe weather?</em></p><p>The 37-year-old rides his bike to Metra&rsquo;s Union Pacific Northwest line in suburban Mount Prospect every morning, commuting to his job across the street from Ogilvie as a trader for WRN. He says in recent years severe weather warnings have screeched trains to a halt more often than they used to.</p><p>At least compared to 2012, Cory is right. <a href="http://climateillinois.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/wet-june-and-wettest-year-to-date-in-illinois/">Until July this was Illinois&rsquo; wettest year to date</a>, with parts of the state <a href="http://climateillinois.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/il-prcp-mpe-m2d-dev-20130630.png">including northern Cook County, where Cory&#39;s train goes</a>, registering big departures from average precipitation between January and June.</p><p>Last year, extreme weather delayed 41 Union Pacific trains, compared to 209 so far this year. A lightning strike in April knocked out signals near Ogilvie, delaying 74 trains in one fell swoop.</p><p><strong>Ever-watchful tracks</strong></p><p>When we set out to answer Cory&rsquo;s question, Metra spokesman Mike Gillis corrected our course right away.</p><p>&ldquo;Metra has not recently shut down system-wide in bad weather,&rdquo; Gillis said. &ldquo;What has happened, however, is that BNSF Railway and Union Pacific have stopped trains.&rdquo; Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Union Pacific are independent train companies, based in Texas and Nebraska respectively. They operate the Metra lines that bear their names, while Metra operates the seven remaining lines in the local commuter rail system.</p><p>BNSF, UP and Metra share the goal of keeping riders safe, Gillis said, but their operating rules vary slightly. So we asked Mark Davis, spokesman for Union Pacific.</p><p>&ldquo;Weather plays a huge role in the rail industry and has since its beginning,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The weather service AccuWeather provides UP with national weather data, he said, but the railroad company is already well-connected. It has sensors along railroad tracks across its 23-state network that measure the heat in railcar bearings. Those sensors feed data into a master computer system, which also gets information from about 1,400 temperature stations operated by UP.</p><p>&ldquo;Why is that important to us? Well, extreme weather fluctuations impact the rail itself,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;During the summer, in extreme heat, rail wants to grow, metal wants to expand and grow. During the winter it&rsquo;s just the opposite &mdash; you have a huge temperature swing on the cold side and rail wants to pull apart.&rdquo;</p><p>Temperature swings cause slowdowns, or even put kinks in railroad switches.</p><p><strong>What happens during the rough stuff?</strong></p><p>When the weather&rsquo;s bad &mdash; but not bad enough to force a full shutdown &mdash; trains slow to less than 25 miles per hour. Metra dispatchers tell trains to reduce speed when there is a weather advisory for a tornado or severe thunderstorm.</p><p>High winds also pose a threat. At 70 miles per hour, wind can blow over a train car, but UP slows or stops service at 65 mph, in case there is a gust. AccuWeather currently provides wind speed information, updated every 15 minutes, but UP is rolling out its own network of wind sensors, Davis said.</p><p>Right now their closest wind sensor to Chicago is in central Iowa.</p><p>BNSF is working with Metra in Chicago to install wind detectors to provide real-time wind speed data along their line.</p><p>During a tornado warning, all UP trains stop in the warned area and usually wait at least 30 minutes after a warning is lifted, Davis said.</p><p>Metra uses similar protocol. Trains slow to 25 mph or less when there is a wind advisory above 60 mph. If wind speeds are expected to be above 70 mph, dispatchers tell trains outside the warning area to stop short as they close in, while workers inspect the track ahead. At 80 mph, or during a tornado warning, dispatchers instruct trains to stop at the first safe location and await further instructions even if they&rsquo;re outside the warning area.</p><p>Wind hasn&rsquo;t toppled any Midwest commuter trains in recent years, but coal trains and overloaded freight cars have blown over. In China<a href="http://web.archive.org/web/20070302073413/http:/www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/02/28/china.train.ap/index.html"> hurricane-strength winds during a sandstorm derailed an 11-car train, killing at least four people and injuring another 30</a>.</p><p>Luckily for Metra riders, such speeds aren&rsquo;t common in northern Illinois. According to Illinois State Climatologist Jim Angel, wind speeds have only topped 60 about 14 times since the early &rsquo;80s at O&rsquo;Hare (wind speed data is gathered at commercial airports).</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to say if the number is really changing over time,&rdquo; Angel said. &ldquo;It appears to occur most often in the summer months.&rdquo;</p><p>But wind that wouldn&rsquo;t blow over cars might still rip off tree branches or bring down power lines. If a train engineer sees something on the tracks, he&rsquo;ll radio back to Metra&rsquo;s offices downtown.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve empowered our train crews,&rdquo; Davis said. &ldquo;If they feel it&rsquo;s unsafe they have the power to stop the train.&rdquo;</p><p>The worst disruption to area trains in recent years was the February second blizzard in 2011. Five Metra rail lines closed as more than 20 inches of snow blanketed Chicago. The other lines had to run on Sunday schedules.</p><p>So what about Cory&rsquo;s sense that shutdowns have become more common? Even if trains are still running during high winds and thunderstorms, he says it seems like they&rsquo;re running slowly. And those delays ripple out.</p><p>UP spokesman Davis likens it to O&rsquo;Hare, where a thunderstorm at one airport can affect airports across the country.</p><p><strong>Comparing notes: With your friends and en masse</strong></p><p>Cory has several friends who take a few of the other Metra lines. During delays they&rsquo;ve taken to sharing notes on weather conditions and announcements from train engineers.</p><p>&ldquo;I take the Northwest line and I have friends that take several of the other train lines. We kind of compare notes when these things are happening, because you get kind of bored sitting on the train with nothing to do,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Sometimes my friends will be like, &lsquo;Have you heard anything?&rsquo; &hellip; We have our own communication system to figure out when we might be able to get back home. It seems like that wouldn&rsquo;t be too hard to implement for the general public.&rdquo;</p><p>Metra does have<a href="https://twitter.com/Metra"> a Twitter feed</a>, which announces delays and advisories as they happen. &nbsp;</p><blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p>ME Advisory - Inbound Train #118 Operating Approximately 15 to 20 Minutes Late <a href="http://t.co/7onDHeRl6Y">http://t.co/7onDHeRl6Y</a></p>&mdash; Metra (@Metra) <a href="https://twitter.com/Metra/statuses/362243482519220224">July 30, 2013</a></blockquote><script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>With all the different weather conditions that could slow or stop a train, Cory&rsquo;s impromptu database may be at a disadvantage. But if he and his friends have service on their smartphones, they might do well to check weather maps and advisories. The people running their train sure are.</p><p><em>Chris Bentley writes for WBEZ. Follow him at<a href="http://twitter.com/cementley"> @cementley</a>.</em></p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Wed, 31 Jul 2013 16:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/metra-wind-sleet-and-rain-108252 Daily Rehearsal: 'Faith Healer' remounts at the Den Theatre http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-faith-healer-remounts-den-theatre-103555 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Faith-Healer-Playbill-04-79.jpg" style="float: left; " title="" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Coming after the New Year</strong></span></span>:&nbsp;<a href="http://upcomedyclub.com/enhancedCalendar.cfm?date=12/01/12">Carlos Mencia</a> and <a href="http://upcomedyclub.com/enhancedCalendar.cfm?date=01/01/13">Nick Krol</a>l (of FX&#39;s <em>The League</em>) head to UP.</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>-&nbsp;The Den Theatre is remounting Brian Friel</strong></span></span>&#39;s <em>Faith Healer</em> <a href="http://www.brownpapertickets.com">starting in December</a>. According to the Den, the play previously &quot;played to sold-out houses&quot; at both TurnAround Theatre and Steppenwolf in 1995. It&#39;s a play that &quot;shows us the reality of grace, the unfolding of mystery and the healing powers of faith,&quot; and first opened on Broadway in 1979.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The <a href="https://twitter.com/redeyechicago/status/263724687937400832">RedEye celebrated </a>10 years of publishing</strong></span></span>&nbsp;last night with an all-star roast at the Laugh Factory, <a href="https://twitter.com/ErnestWilkins/status/263497708852092928">MCed by Ernest Wilkins</a>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 31 Oct 2012 12:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-faith-healer-remounts-den-theatre-103555 Daily Rehearsal: A chance to see Cyndi Lauper http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-06/daily-rehearsal-chance-see-cyndi-lauper-100462 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/2570180046_6d42359b98_z_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Show closing this week</strong></span></span> include:<a href="http://www.the-hypocrites.com/">&nbsp;The Hypocrites</a>&#39;&nbsp;<em>Romeo Juliet </em>(Thursday&#39;s show is sold-out);<em>&nbsp;<a href="http://chicagodramatists.org/production-change-the-world">I Am Going to Change the World</a> </em>from&nbsp;Chicago Dramatists; and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.redtwist.org/CurrentProduction.html"><em>The Cripple of Inishmaan</em></a>&nbsp;from Redtwist Theatre.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- An abridged line-up for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.upcomedyclub.com">UP</a>&nbsp;</strong></span></span>during&nbsp;July and August: Pablo Francisco (July 12-15); a tour of the cast of TBS&#39; new show <em>Sullivan and Son</em>; the stars of <em>Workaholics </em>Maribeth Monroe and Eric Griffen doing their show <em>Horrible Women</em>; Sheryl Underwood of CBS&#39;<em> The Talk</em>; and Adam Ferrara.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>-&nbsp;&nbsp;Broadway in Chicago</strong></span></span> has bowed out of the Taste of Chicago line-up but are doing their same summer concert in Millenium Park on August 6. Since one of their <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-02-22/daily-rehearsal-kinky-boots-definitely-set-chicago-96622">productions this year will be <em>Kinky Boots</em></a>, songstress Cyndi Lauper will perform,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/13427198-421/broadway-in-chicago-plans-millennium-park-show.html">reports the <em>Sun-Times</em></a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Oh and there were several theaters</strong></span></span> spotted at Pride with floats varying in size and impressiveness, like Broadway in Chicago and About Face. What were your favorites?</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="http://kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 27 Jun 2012 09:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-06/daily-rehearsal-chance-see-cyndi-lauper-100462 Daily Rehearsal: Donny Osmond stops by Navy Pier http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-19/daily-rehearsal-donny-osmond-stops-navy-pier-95013 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-19/2203639201_2e5608fb49.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/2203639201_2e5608fb49.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px; " title="Osmond performing in Joliet a few years back (Flickr/Linda Willis)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Spotted: Donny Osmond at Navy Pier</strong></span></span>, buying a Chicken Cubano sandwich at the Haagen Dazs there (here). He's apparently a very nice man, who went to Navy Pier because he's trying to see as much of Chicago as possible in his short time here for <a href="http://broadwayinchicago.com/shows_dyn.php?cmd=display_current&amp;display_showtag=DonnyMarie2011"><em>Donny &amp; Marie - Christmas In Chicago</em></a>. Our source says Osmond was then informed that Navy Pier is not really the part of Chicago you want to see if you come to Chicago, no matter what the tour books say. The Haagen Dazs is definitely worth a visit though.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Let's read a bunch of commentary about UP!</strong></span></span> by way of the food and the cleanliness, from the <em>Sun-Times</em> and Comedy of Chicago. The <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/9440973-421/whats-the-deal-on-stand-up-at-second-city.html">former describes</a> the current Second City with this sentence: "Seating is cramped, changing areas are no-frills, food is ... edible," while the <a href="http://www.comedyofchicago.com/2011/12/up-comedy-club-sneak-peak.html">latter says</a> the new space "&nbsp;is done in a sort of retro chic cabaret style with state of the art audio visual capabilities."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <em>South Pacific</em> is still planning</strong></span></span> on <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/newswire.php?newsID=636">wending its way to Chicago</a>. In preparation for this move, tickets went on sale Friday for the production, which will be here for two weeks in February, starting on <em>Valentine's Day</em>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. January brings <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/newswire.php?newsID=639"><em>Gypsy </em></a>and&nbsp;Klea Blackhurst as Mama Rose</strong></span></span> at Drury Lane. The rest of the cast rounds out with some of the best and the brightest of local musical theater, many of whom come from past Drury Lane productions, but others from places like Chicago Shakes, which did <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-19/you-missed-list-top-shows-2011-94979">so well</a> with <em>Follies </em>this year.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <em>The A.V. Club</em>'s <a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/account/status/147798132590260225">Twitter<em>&nbsp;</em>has drawn our attention</a></strong></span></span> to the plight of Dastardly, a band you may be familiar with through <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-19/paper-machete-radio-magazine-happy-birthday-episode-michael-miner-9">their <em>The Paper Machete</em> performances</a>. As of three days ago, their<a href="http://dastardlytheband.tumblr.com/van"> van had been stolen</a>; no word on whether it has been retrieved. If anything, they'll keep that memory of that first kiss they say was had there close to the chest.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 19 Dec 2011 16:34:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-19/daily-rehearsal-donny-osmond-stops-navy-pier-95013 Daily Rehearsal: Audition for Second City's new venture http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-08/daily-rehearsal-audition-second-citys-new-venture-94723 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-08/377520_212423508832517_163610423713826_482154_1149725909_a.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-08/holidayinvites.JPG" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 200px; height: 149px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. 'Tis the season for holiday parties</strong></span></span>, and holiday parties are really holiday fundraisers, and that really just means your favorite non-profit theater is asking for money. Why does this always come in the form of a letter with terrible fonts? We love you guys. Festive times does not call for festive fonts, though I may be the minority on that one. Get your fonts straight.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <em>American Idiot</em> tickets go on sale <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/newswire.php?newsID=632">tomorrow</a>.</strong></span></span></p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. The Neo-Futurists have added dates</strong></span></span> to their pretty cool sounding show<em> Burning Bluebeard.</em>&nbsp;Those&nbsp;extra performances will be Tuesday, December 20; Wednesday, December 21 and Wednesday, December 28.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-08/fml3.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 208px; height: 306px;" title="Fiona Robert (Photo by Sandro)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. UP&nbsp;is holding auditions for<em>&nbsp;Next UP!</em></strong></span></span>, their comedy showcase in early January. Bonus of doing that: Whoever wins<em> Next UP!</em> will open for an unnamed headliner at the club in the future.&nbsp;But this isn't a normal audition; you can submit through <a href="https://www.facebook.com/notes/up-comedy-club/next-up-chicagos-best-stand-up-comic-search/212423128832555">Facebook </a>and the best eight will make it. If you don't trust your fate to the fickle internet masses, audition in person on January 3. BUT if you don't win online, you can try in person. So while this new venture is definitely not what you've come to expect from Second City, it's still pretty structured.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Check out an image from&nbsp;Steppenwolf for Young Adults</strong></span></span>' final show for the 2011/12 season,<em>&nbsp;fml: how Carson McCullers saved my life</em>. It opens in February.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 08 Dec 2011 16:20:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-08/daily-rehearsal-audition-second-citys-new-venture-94723 Daily Rehearsal: Chicago theaters honor Maggie Daley http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-28/daily-rehearsal-chicago-theaters-honor-maggie-daley-94391 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-October/2011-10-04/IMG_0080.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1.&nbsp;Former first lady of Chicago, Maggie Daley, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/maggie-daley-dies-94357">died on Thanksgiving</a>.</strong></span></span> She was renowned for her tireless support of the arts and in honor of her legacy, theaters across Chicago honored her Sunday by turning off their lights for two minutes at noon. They then kept their lights on throughout the city for the duration of her wake, which ended at 10 pm. The event, which was organized by the League of Chicago Theatres, was primarily applicable to the larger, marquee theaters downtown, but other participants, including theaters on the North Side like Steppenwolf and Second City, did the same.&nbsp;Both Deb Clapp, Executive Director of the League and Eileen LaCario, Chair and VP of Broadway in Chicago, released statements expressing their sadness on behalf of the Chicago theater community.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2.&nbsp;Ebenezer Scrooge is back on Twitter</strong></span></span> -- that is, the Ebenezer in residence at the Goodman.<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/scrooge-r-us-christmas-carol-still-relevant">&nbsp;Reread Kelly Kleiman's comments</a>&nbsp;from last holiday season on whether&nbsp;<em>A Christmas Carol</em>&nbsp;is even culturally relvevant in today's modern times. She wrote about the Scrooge Twitter account and the positive and negative responses to it, but said, "For those of us a bit less serious about our encounters with comic promotional efforts, Scrooge’s comments bring tidings of great joy to all people." No matter what your opinion, you can't say he's not topical;&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/#%21/GoodmanTheatre/status/141190103270821888">Scrooge's latest</a>&nbsp;touches on the Occupy movement.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-28/grouponUP.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 196px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. There's a <a href="http://www.groupon.com/deals/gl-second-city">Groupon for Second City's UP</a></strong></span></span>. What are the odds that a Grouponer who works or takes classes there actually wrote it? Come forward if it was you, uncredited copy slave! Anyway, the deal is half off on two tickets, and isn't valid for the New Years show. Also: "Every show is rated for appropriate audiences, letting parents know when to bring the kids to fine-tune their funny bones, and when to bring pet parrots to update their repertoire."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. More best bets of holiday theater</strong></span></span>, this set from <a href="http://chicagolikealocal.com/2011/11/21/best-bets-for-holiday-theatre-in-chicago/#more-2315">Bob Bullen via Chicago Like A Local</a>. He vouches for<em> A Klingon Christmas Carol</em> at Greenhouse, dubbing it "Klingon Kabuki theatre."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. The <a href="http://www.redeyechicago.com/redeye-7-chicago-comedians-to-watch-in-2012-20111122,0,3492788.photogallery">RedEye lists their comedy acts</a> to watch</strong></span></span> for the coming new year. Some older faces (Cameron Esposito, Brian Babylon) with some new ones (Ever Mainard, Seth and Kellen). Vote your least favorite off the island, it's a contest (no, it's really not, support everyone).&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 28 Nov 2011 16:18:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-28/daily-rehearsal-chicago-theaters-honor-maggie-daley-94391 Daily Rehearsal: What's UP with Second City? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-21/daily-rehearsal-whats-second-city-94230 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-21/SweetConfinement_06.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Victory Gardens is getting NEA funding</strong></span></span> ($25,000) for&nbsp;Jackie Sibblies Drury’s play, <em>We Are Proud to Present a Presentation About the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as South-West Africa, From the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915</em>, which opens in March.&nbsp;It's part of their IGNITION series, which workshopped six plays submitted by young writers of color in the spring of 2010; one successful production that came out of that work was&nbsp;Kristoffer Diaz's&nbsp;T<em>he Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity</em> (which was a Pulitzer finalist, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-01/teatro-vista-new-york-and-chicago-honors-84628">among other honors</a>.)</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Second City has never been in the stand-up game</strong></span></span>, but <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/second-city-mines-chicago-history-next-project-93795">with UP</a>, that's about to change. "Maybe we’ve been a little snobby in the past," Andrew Alexander <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/andrew-alexander,64615">admits to <em>The AV Club</em></a>.&nbsp;"There has been this sort of split between stand-up and what we do, and they are both valid. For us to be involved with both gives us a better handle on understanding the form, and hopefully something new and fresh will come out of that experiment." It's a pretty interesting interview; Alexander doesn't sound too worried about the other new comedy club opening in Chicago,<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-28/daily-rehearsal-non-look-new-laugh-factory-93571"> the Laugh Factory</a>, which he says won't "have the same local sensibility" as UP. None of this really matters though; according to Alexander, you can't <em>really </em>"make it" in comedy if you stay in Chicago, but it sure is good training!</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <a href="https://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/box_office">Salomee Speelt</a> is Dutch; in&nbsp;<em>Date Me!</em> she plays Belgian</strong></span></span>, and in <em>Sound of Silence</em> by Jean Cocteau she's channeling Edith Piaf. The real reason to see <em>Date Me!</em> isn't Speelt though; it's the super awkward mixer you're forced into at the beginning of the play. Or maybe it's Michelle Slonim, who becomes more inebriated and more slapstick as the play goes on. "DATE ME" t-shirts available for purchase at the end. Speelt is a guest artist at Theater Wit, thus the double-plays.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-21/SweetConfinement_06.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px;" title="(Photo by Ben Chandler)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4.&nbsp;SiNNERMAN brings you<a href="http://www.sinnermanensemble.org/sweet-confinement-has-arrived"><em> Sweet Confinement</em></a></strong></span></span> (so much angst in these names!) at the Viaduct. They even had a "cheese and chat opening gala" this weekend. Read <a href="http://www.sinnermanensemble.org/interview-anna-carini">this interview</a> with playwright, artistic director and actor Anna Carini before you go, unless you're someone who likes to be really surprised.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Another panel about theater, this one hosted by the <em>Reader</em></strong></span></span>,<em>&nbsp;</em>occurred this weekend at the Chicago Book Expo. Called "<a href="http://chicagowritershouse.org/programming.html">Writing for Theatre with the Reader</a>", they asked "why aren't the people who write for theater thought of as part of the literary community?" The line-up was apparently Tony Adler, Joe Meno, Marisa Wegryzn, Greg Allen and Tanya Palmer.&nbsp;And then they answered all your big questions, right? Did you go/was it good?</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 21 Nov 2011 15:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-21/daily-rehearsal-whats-second-city-94230 Daily Rehearsal: Second City delays opening new theater http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-31/daily-rehearsal-second-city-delays-opening-new-theater-93640 <p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Northlight Theatre has cast three of their productions</strong></span></span>,&nbsp;<em>Black Pearl Sings!, Ten Chimneys&nbsp;</em>and <em>[title of show]. </em>Some familiar female faces: E. Faye Butler in <em>Black Pearl Sings! </em>(also in <em>Ella</em> at Northlight; read <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/November-2007/You-Should-Know-E-Faye-Butler/">this great profile of her</a>), Janet Ulrich Brooks in <em>Ten Chimneys </em>(currently seen in <em>A Walk in the Woods</em>, listen to this <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-25/inside-play-%E2%80%98-walk-woods%E2%80%99-93462"><em>Worldview </em>interview with Brooks here</a>), and McKinley Carter (Kelly Kleiman said she rocked it her role in<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-08/ripping-it-your-heart-apart-sondheim-revue-91625">&nbsp;<em>Putting It Together</em></a>). Tickets to all three productions go on sale tomorrow.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-31/Al%20Sur%20del%20Sur%2C%20choreographed%20by%20Sabrina%20%26%20Ruben%20Veliz_Photo%20by%20Sandro_Michael%20Gross%20and%20Jessica%20Wolfrum.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="'Al Sur del Sur' (Photo by Sandro Michael Gross and Jessica Wolfrum)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2.&nbsp;After a season of dancing across America and internationally in Korea</strong></span></span>, Germany and Switzerland, River North Dance Chicago has come back to Chicago after (maybe less than literally) dancing across Korea, Germany and Switzerland. They're premiering "SUPER STRAIGHT is coming down" this weekend, "a hypnotic urban drama" by Daniel Ezralow,&nbsp;as well as performing Charles Moulton's "Nine Person Precision Ball Passing." Both performances will be at 8 this Friday and Saturday.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Second City has <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/comedy/15003781/second-city-delays-opening-of-up">delayed the opening of UP</a></strong></span></span>, its new comedy club. It was set for late November, but is now going to be perhaps in January. New year, new theater, that's what I always say. Here's their statement, with interspersed commentary:</p><p>“Due to timeline issues with licensing (LICENSING THEIR OWN NAME?), the press opening for UP Comedy Club has been postponed. Construction continues in the new space and should be completed at the beginning of December. We plan to begin performances the weekend of December 15 with featured stand-up comedian Orny Adams as well as previews for two brand new shows –&nbsp;<em>The Second City’s History of Chicago</em>&nbsp;and our new kids show,&nbsp;<em>The Second City’s Improv Extravaganza Explosion</em> (SO IT JUST WON'T HAVE A FANCY PARTY UNTIL JANUARY, COOL). We will announce our Grand Opening Date as soon as we confirm details.”</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4.&nbsp;Signal Ensemble Theatre is extending&nbsp;<em>East of Berlin</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>The Russian Play</em></strong></span></span>. Originally slated to end November 13, they'll now play through December 18. Nice.&nbsp;The original run scheduled to end Sunday, November 13 has now been extended through Sunday, December 18. Signal Ensemble’s production of these two acts is performed together and runs two hours with one intermission. But some of the proceeds of this Saturday's 8 pm performance&nbsp;go to the charity organization Season of Concern, and there are cheaper Veterans tickets on Veterans Day, which is, if you forgot, November 11.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Stars of&nbsp;<em>The Lawrence Welk Show </em></strong></span></span>will be at Drury Lane on November 14 and 15 reminsicing about the good-ol' days. Expect to see Jo Ann Castle, Anacani, Ken Delo, Bobby Burgess, Elaine Balden, Guy Hovis and Ralna English. More importantly, here's a list of expected vittles:<em>&nbsp;</em>Tomato Bisque Soup, Spinach Mandarin Salad, Potato Gnocchi,&nbsp;Parmesan Crusted Tilapia, Chicken Asiago, Strip Loin of Beef and Roast Turkey.&nbsp;All meals are served with Chef's choice of vegetable, potato and dessert.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 31 Oct 2011 18:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-31/daily-rehearsal-second-city-delays-opening-new-theater-93640