WBEZ | eta Creative Arts http://www.wbez.org/tags/eta-creative-arts Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Shaw and Brecht Even Shaw- and Brecht-Haters Will Enjoy, Plus An Alice Childress Revival http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-01/shaw-and-brecht-even-shaw-and-brecht-haters-will-enjoy-plus-alice <p><p>&nbsp;</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/RS6959_ChalkCircle-scr.JPG" style="height: 415px; width: 620px;" title="" /></div><p><u><em>Florence</em> and <em>Wine in the Wilderness</em>, <a href="http://etacreativearts.org">eta Creative Arts</a>, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave. in Grand Crossing, 773-752-3955;&nbsp; through March 3.</u><br /><br />Alice Childress, author of the novel <em>A Hero Ain&rsquo;t Nothin&rsquo; but a Sandwich</em> and the first woman to win an Obie Award, was also the first African American woman to have a play professionally produced.&nbsp; That play, <em>Florence</em> (1949) is the curtain-raiser of this evening of her work, and while it receives a fine production anchored by the delicate performance of Kona N. Burks, it&rsquo;s the second piece&mdash;written twenty years later&mdash;that&rsquo;s the real find.&nbsp; <em>Wine in the Wilderness</em>, set in the chaos of the late 60s, shows a black man coming painfully to terms with the idea that he doesn&rsquo;t get to define black womanhood.&nbsp; Under Mignon McPherson Stewart&rsquo;s capable direction, Mark Howard and Alicia Ivy White conduct a romance that&rsquo;s as sweet as it is unconventional.<br /><br /><u><em>Pygmalion</em>, <a href="http://stagelefttheatre.com">Stage Left</a> and <a href="http://BoHoTheatre.com">BoHo Theatre</a> at Theatre Wit, 1229 West Belmont Ave. in Lakeview, 773-975-8150; Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 3 through February 10; tickets $20-$25</u><br /><br />George Bernard Shaw&rsquo;s most familiar play turns out to be not so familiar after all as Vance Smith directs it at the speed of light, with no time for the audience to get restive. Shaw&rsquo;s complex ideas about identity, class and gender are spouted rapid-fire as if they were part of normal conversation rather than material for the lecture hall.&nbsp; This leaves us free to invest ourselves in the proto-love affair between Professor Henry Higgins (Steve O&rsquo;Connell, adorable enough to avoid invidious comparisons with Leslie Howard and/or Rex Harrison) and the Cockney flower-girl Eliza Doolittle (the extraordinary Mouzam Makkar).&nbsp; The result is a bit like standing under a volcano of ideas sharing an umbrella with terrifically interesting commentators (especially Mark Pracht&rsquo;s Alfred Doolittle, avatar of the &lsquo;undeserving poor&rsquo;).&nbsp; Theresa Ham&rsquo;s costume designs could put <em>Downton Abbey</em> to shame.<br /><br /><u><em>The Caucasian Chalk Circle</em>, <a href="http://prometheantheatre.org/">Promethean Theatre Ensemble</a> at City Lit Theater, 1020 West Bryn Mawr in Edgewater, 800-836-3006; Thursdays through Saturdays at 8 and Sundays at 3 through February 9; tickets $20 at <a href="http://brownpapertickets.com/">brownpapertickets.com</a></u></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Jon Stewart once created a spectrum of comedy that ran from &ldquo;Pants-Wetting&rdquo; down to &ldquo;Brechtian;&rdquo; and Brecht is indeed generally less funny than trying.&nbsp; This production, though, is funny and moving in equal measure, as expertly performed by a company of 15 actors.&nbsp; Not only do they handle Brecht&rsquo;s dry wit with fluency, they play instruments and sing Matt Kahler&rsquo;s gorgeous original music with flair.&nbsp; (Kahler&rsquo;s arrangements enlivened Gilbert &amp; Sullivan for the Hypocrites, but even if you saw <em>Penzance</em> or <em>Mikado</em> you&rsquo;ll be amazed by his composition skills.) The text of Caucasian is classic Brecht: we&rsquo;re at war, the world is run by cretins, and no good deed goes unpunished. Yet director Ed Rutherford enables us to care about Grusha (Sara Gorsky, with a voice to match her strong acting chops) and the child she adopts--even though the child is actually and obviously a doll.&nbsp; Brecht, who worked to alienate the audience, might be horrified&ndash;-but for the rest of us, a Brecht play about real people with real feelings is a joy to behold.</div></p> Thu, 17 Jan 2013 13:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2013-01/shaw-and-brecht-even-shaw-and-brecht-haters-will-enjoy-plus-alice Don't-Miss List September 13-19: A pointillist painting comes alive http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-09/dont-miss-list-september-13-19-pointillist-painting-comes-alive <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/Sunday%20Art%20Instutute%20Flickr%20Phil%20Roeder.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="'Sunday in the Park with George' comes alive at the Art Institute of Chicago Sunday. (Courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater)" /></div><p><u>Dueling Critics x 3, all FREE!</u></p><p>The latest edition of <a href="http://soundcloud.com/wbez/sets/the-dueling-critics-podcast">our podcast</a> is out:&nbsp;This week we review the premier of Charles Mee&#39;s&nbsp;<em>Iphigenia 2.0</em> at Next Theatre in Evanston. Then, check out our review of&nbsp;<em>Sweet and Sad</em>&nbsp;at Profiles Theatre from our appearance on <em>The Morning Shift </em>Wednesday.&nbsp;Next week&#39;s podcast will review&nbsp;<em>33 Variations</em> at TimeLine Theatre.</p><p>And don&#39;t forget: You can follow us on Twitter now&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZDuelingCrit">@WBEZDuelingCrit</a>. &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="300" scrolling="no" src="http://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F2478362&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe><br />&nbsp;</p><p><u>Sunday in the Museum with George, Sunday September 16th at 11 a.m., the Grand Staircase at the Michigan Avenue entrance of The Art Institute of Chicago, FREE with museum admission.</u></p><p>So you think you&rsquo;ve seen Georges Seurat&rsquo;s famous painting &quot;A Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte &ndash;1884&quot;? You know, the pointillist one that inspired Stephen Sondheim&rsquo;s musical <em>Sunday in the Park with George</em>? Well, see it again this Sunday when the Art Institute and Chicago Shakespeare collaborate to present a living version of the picture. The cast of the musical, which opens in ten days on Navy Pier, will strut and fret (and sing!) their hour upon the stair and then vanish, leaving behind a portrait of La Grande Jatte completely devoid of people. (The mysteriously empty painting will be auctioned off to benefit <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=7,10,4">Team Shakespeare</a>, the company&rsquo;s program for teens.) If your Sunday mornings are sacred to pajamas and the <em>New York Times</em>, wait for the musical at Chicago Shakespeare, directed by Gary Griffin, one of the nation&rsquo;s premier Sondheim interpreters. If it&#39;s half as good as Griffin&#39;s ChiShakes productions of <em>Follies</em> or <em>Pacific Overtures</em>, it will be sensational.&nbsp;&ndash;KK<br /><br /><u><em>The Amen Corner</em>, eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue, starts previews Thursday and plays Thursday-Sunday through October 21.</u><br /><br />James Baldwin&rsquo;s play about the generational tensions in an African-American church opens what eta aptly styles a season of &ldquo;Resurrected Works and Reclaimed Musicals.&rdquo; This 1950s drama is a foundational work of black theater, and the passage of 60 years has robbed it of none of its power, particularly when Baldwin&rsquo;s words are combined with gospel music. Eta always assembles a strong cast; now Artistic Director <a href="http://www.runakojahi.com/">Runako Jahi </a>directs a piece worthy of the group&rsquo;s talents.&nbsp;&ndash;KK</p><p><u><em>Hamlet, </em><a href="http://www.writerstheatre.org">Writers&#39; Theatre</a>, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe; 847-242-6000; $60-$70; through Nov. 11.</u></p><p>Richard Burbage, the original Prince Hamlet in 1601, was far older than the university student Hamlet is supposed to be, thus establishing a pattern followed for over 400 years. It&#39;s common for Hamlet to be played by men (and a few women) in their 30s, 40s and well beyond. The slim and perpetually boyish Scott Parkinson, although far past his frat boy days, is playing the title role in<strong><em> Hamlet</em></strong> at Writers&#39; Theatre, and it&#39;s a welcome return for a fine actor who&#39;s been away from Chicago for five years. Even better, director Michael Halberstam has surrounded Parkinson with a distinguished veteran cast, laced with Jefferson Award winners, among them Ross Lehman (Polonius), Shannon Cochran (Gertrude), Larry Yando (the Ghost) and Timothy Edward Kane (Laertes). Substantially edited, this production will run just under three hours (with two intermissions) and will offer a decidedly intimate experience in Writers&#39; Theatre&#39;s 104-seat playhouse. FYI: The Dueling Critics will discuss this production of&nbsp;<em>Hamlet</em>&nbsp;in our Oct. 5 podcast.&nbsp;&ndash;JA</p><p><u><em>The Magic Flute</em>, <a href="http://www.chicagooperatheater.org">Chicago Opera Theater</a>, Harris Theater, 00 E. Randolph; 1-312-704-8414; $25-$125; through Sept. 23.</u></p><p>Mozart had an instinctive understanding of theater, which is not true of all opera composers, and he was smart enough (at least in his few mature years) to choose skillful men of theater as his co-authors, among them the great Lorenzo Da Ponte and also Emanuel Schikaneder. They wrote the libretto for <strong><em>The Magic Flute</em></strong>, a great success that premiered less than three months before Mozart died in 1791. It&#39;s held the stage ever since and has been subject to myriad interpretations by great conductors and directors (such as Ingmar Bergman), drawn not only to its musical glories but also its fairytale story of magic, love and spiritual purity. This staging at Chicago Opera Theater, sung in English, is the first new production of <em>The Magic Flute</em> seen in Chicago in close to 20 years. It also is the first production under the tenure of COT&#39;s new general director, Andreas Mitisek. Although his immediate predecessor selected it and put the production team in place, it&#39;s Mitisek who has brought the vision to fruition.&nbsp;&ndash;JA</p></p> Thu, 13 Sep 2012 11:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-09/dont-miss-list-september-13-19-pointillist-painting-comes-alive Don't-Miss List March 29-April 3: Ghost stories, untimely death and prep-school romance http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-29/dont-miss-list-march-29-april-3-ghost-stories-untimely-death-and-pr <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-29/Two Sides photos.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-29/Two Sides photos.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 420px;" title="Shannon Cason performs in 'Two Sides' by Chicago Slam Works. (Courtesy of the Vittum)"></p><p><u>Dueling Critics, 91.5 FM and WBEZ.org, between 9 and 10 a.m. Friday March 30th, FREE!</u><br> <br> Top of the list, of course, is our tete-a-tete on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> about <a href="http://theartistichome.org/"><em>Tea and Sympathy</em> by the Artistic Home at Stage 773</a>. A prep-school student suspected of being gay hopes to escape this fate worse than death through the ministrations of his housemaster’s frustrated wife. When you talk about this (and you will), be kind. Guest Duelist Albert Williams of the <em>Reader</em>, Columbia College Chicago and the <a href="http://www.arts.cornell.edu/english/awards/nathan/previous.html#2000">George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism</a> will challenge me to consider whether this chestnut (staged in 1953, filmed in 1956 with the oh-so-sympathetic Deborah Kerr) is worth roasting.</p><p><u><em>Tangled</em> at eta Creative Arts, 7558 S. South Chicago Ave., 8 p.m. Thursday March 29th, $10</u><br> <br> <a href="http://etacreativearts.org/mainstage_shows.html">eta’s new mainstage show</a> is sadly timely, focusing as it does on a group of African-American women funeral directors. Sure, their South Side businesses are thriving, but who wants to profit from the early deaths of the neighborhood’s young men? In light of Trayvon Martin (only the most recent of many), Nicole Anderson-Cobb’s play will hit frighteningly close to home–and yet it’s styled a “provocative dramedy.” Thursdays through Sundays through May 20; tickets $30; $20 on “Talkback Thursdays” and a special $10 for tonight’s opening.<br> <br> <u><a href="http://firstfolio.org/"><em>The Turn of the Screw</em> at First Folio</a>, Mayslake Estate, Oak Brook, 8 p.m. Saturday March 31st, $26-$37</u><br> <br> Here’s a ghost story for those of you who confuse March 31 with October 31, one by Henry James for those of you too snobby to admit you like ghost stories and one starring the elegant Nick Sandys as the ghost for those of you still <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062565/">identifying with Mrs. Muir.</a> Set in a spooky English manor, it’s performed in the spooky faux-English manor where First Folio makes its home. The company has a particular flair for genteel horror, so get in touch with your inner governess Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays through April 29.<br> <br> <u><em>Two Sides</em> by Chicago Slam Works at the Vittum, 1012 N. Noble, 8 p.m. Tuesday April 3, $18.50</u><br> <br> In the spirit of the season one might ask: Why is this poetry slam different from all other poetry slams?&nbsp; To which the answer is, it’s a choreographed face-off between storytellers and performance poets. This is the first show of the inaugural season of <a href="http://chicagoslamworks.org/">Chicago Slam Works</a>, which continues with shows in May and July. (A three-show Slam Pass will run you $40.)&nbsp; Oil your snapping fingers and check it out.</p></p> Thu, 29 Mar 2012 14:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-29/dont-miss-list-march-29-april-3-ghost-stories-untimely-death-and-pr 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