WBEZ | Christmas shows http://www.wbez.org/tags/christmas-shows Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Eggnog, grog and a holiday theater blog http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/eggnog-grog-and-holiday-theater-blog-103911 <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/christmas%20carol%202.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="The Goodman Theatre reprises their classic production of 'A Christmas Carol' (Courtesy of the Goodman Theatre)" /></div><p><em>Jonathan writes:&nbsp;</em></p><p>I call it &quot;the sugarplums-and-treacle time of year.&quot; Kelly calls it &quot;another chance for Jonathan to spout off.&quot;</p><p>Obviously, we&#39;re talking about the same thing: that six-week hiatus &mdash; from mid-November through the New Year&mdash; during which theaters large and small abandon art in favor of Yuletide commerce, raking in dollars with a Holiday Season show.</p><p>We know they are successful because there are more and more of them every twelfth month, and they never disappear: Just like a seasonal allergy the same shows&mdash;and generally the very same productions of them &mdash; come back year after year. Some have been around for decades now. According to our careful calculations, Chicago area theaters and dance companies are offering&nbsp;<em>no fewer than 40 Holiday Season shows</em>&nbsp;in theaters throughout the city and suburbs.</p><p>The two oldest Holiday Season theater &quot;traditions&quot; are&nbsp;<strong><em>The Nutcracker</em></strong>&nbsp;ballet danced to Tchaikovsky&#39;s ever-tasty roasted chestnut of a score, and&nbsp;<strong><em>A Christmas Carol</em></strong>. Both always are available in numerous versions presented with varying degrees of opulence and fidelity to the originals.</p><p>As far back as I can remember (and that&#39;s 60 years, rounded to the nearest decade),&nbsp;<em>The Nutcracker</em>&nbsp;has been presented as a family-friendly Holiday Season special event. For eons (it seems) it was the province of the Chicago Tribune Charities in a version staged by the late Ruth Page. However, for the last 17 years&nbsp;<em>The Nutcracker</em>&nbsp;has been owned and operated (one might say) by The Joffrey Ballet in a lavish version which even curmudgeonly critics openly can enjoy (Dec. 7-27, Auditorium Theatre). The Joffrey production features live musical accompaniment by the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra.</p><p>As for&nbsp;<em>A Christmas Carol</em>, the Mother of All Local Productions is the big one at the Goodman Theatre, now in its 35th year (through Dec. 29). The Goodman version not only is lavish but it&rsquo;s also true to the tone and spirit of Charles Dickens&#39;s 1843 novella.</p><p>Y&#39;see, Dickens didn&#39;t write&nbsp;<em>A Christmas Carol</em>&nbsp;for kids and families. His target was the adult populace who made Christmas happen, or not. It&#39;s a ghost story intended to scare the bejesus out of people or, more correctly, scare the be-Jesus back into folks at a time when Christmas, in Dickens&#39;s view, had grown crassly commercial and non-spiritual. The Goodman version is NOT suitable for very young children (say, under six or seven) because it IS scary and also because it&#39;s not short. Those who prefer a 75-minute musical reduction of the tale, suitable for wee ones, will find several of them around town.</p><p>Now that I&#39;ve gotten all of that off my chest, Ms. Kleiman and I offer some ideas of the range of Holiday Season fare available to those with varying tastes. The productions below are&nbsp;<em>far from a comprehensive list</em>. We offer merely a stuffed stocking of choices in four categories: Family-Friendly Traditional, Adult Traditional, Alternative/Weird (generally for adults) and New.</p><p><strong>Adult Traditional</strong></p><p>You don&rsquo;t have to be earnest, but these are plays about the season that will reward the un-ironic attention of grownups as well as older children.</p><p><strong><em>It&rsquo;s a Wonderful Life</em></strong>&nbsp;(x 2). After the divorce between American Theater Company and&nbsp;American Blues Theater, each got (or took) custody of this crowd-pleaser, an old-time radio script version of the famous Frank Capra film. The American Blues version is at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre (Downtown, Nov. 23-Dec. 30). The American Theater Company&#39;s version, part of its &ldquo;Radio Rep&rdquo; (<em>The Wizard of Oz</em>&nbsp;is on deck), plays at the troupe&#39;s Northcenter location (also Nov. 23-Dec. 30) and will actually be recorded for broadcast on WBEZ. Before you take small children to either one, remember that it&rsquo;s about suicide.</p><p>The reconstituted Congo Square Theatre offers&nbsp;<strong><em>The Nativity,&nbsp;</em></strong>McKinley Johnson&rsquo;s story of the journey of Joseph and Mary, with music and lyrics by Jaret Landon. Add gospel music and modern dance and it should be a delightful evening (Kennedy-King College Theatre, Dec. 13th-23rd).</p><p>The House Theatre of Chicago, always first-rate storytellers, repeats its version of&nbsp;<strong><em>The Nutcracker</em></strong>, more closely adapted from the E.T.A. Hoffman German original about spooky magic on Christmas night (at the Chopin Theatre through Dec. 30). It has original music in it and dance, but it&#39;s NOT the traditional ballet. Not a note of Tchaikovsky to be heard. The House says it&#39;s a family show, and why not? After all, the villain is a rodent and city kids probably are used to rats.</p><p><strong>Alternative/Weird</strong></p><p>The gang at ComedySportz is offering&nbsp;<strong><em>It&#39;s a Bierberful Life</em></strong>&nbsp;(Fridays at Midnight, through Dec. 29) in which Justin is &quot;saved&quot; by an angel who looks like Robert Pattinson, and Profiles Theatre is presenting a 20th anniversary new production of Will Kern&#39;s&nbsp;<strong><em>Hellcab</em></strong>&nbsp;(Profiles mainstage through Dec. 23) in which a put-upon Chicago cabbie deals with a collection of Christmas Eve crazies, and Chemically Imbalanced Comedy stages&nbsp;<strong><em>Dirty 30&#39;s Christmas</em></strong>&nbsp;(Dec. 7-Jan.12) featuring guns, booze, dames, deadbeats, gangsters and bank robbers in Depression Era Kansas (yes, it&#39;s a comedy).</p><p>Tongue-in-cheek or outright cynical, a few alternative choices have entered the realm of Chicago holiday &quot;tradition.&quot; Consider&nbsp;<strong><em>The Santaland Diaries</em></strong>, the tart and funny reflections of David Sedaris on seasonal employment as a department store elf. It&#39;s been done by Theater Wit for eight years now (Nov. 23-Dec. 29 in its still-new Belmont Avenue digs), with Mitchell Fain once again the star. Mr. Fain has made this elf role so much his own, we hear his ears now are permanently pointed.</p><p>Also returning for its 12th year, courtesy of Hell in a Handbag Productions (Nov. 29-Dec. 30 at Mary&#39;s Attic in Andersonville), is the annually-updated&nbsp;<strong><em>Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer</em></strong>, about a darling little transvestite quadruped.</p><p>One more choice is&nbsp;<strong><em>Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs &quot;A Christmas Carol.&quot; Again</em></strong>, which nicely straddles the line between world-weary and inspiring as Dickens himself, whom most supposed to have died in 1870, proves he is alive, if not quite well. Blake&nbsp;Montgomery is as cranky as one could wish as he essays the 200-year-old Dickens,&nbsp;reduced to a one-trick pony, at the Building Stage (Nov. 29-Dec. 24 at the Building Stage in the Randolph Market area).</p><p><strong>Family-Friendly Traditional</strong></p><p>We&rsquo;ve already noted the Goodman Theatre production of&nbsp;<strong><em>A Christmas Carol</em></strong>, but at least two other takes on the tale are catering to suburban family audiences: the&nbsp;Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace presents daily matinees of an hour-long musical version clearly intended for children (Nov. 23-Dec. 22), and Piccolo Theatre in Evanston adapts the tale as an English-style Xmas panto under the title&nbsp;<strong><em>Bah, Humbug!&nbsp;</em></strong>(Evanston Arts Depot, through Dec. 22).</p><p><strong><em>The Christmas Schooner</em></strong>, long a local holiday tradition, now is in the second year of a new production at a different theater, the Mercury Theater (Nov. 23-Dec. 30). This original, lyrical musical by John Reeger and the late Julie Shannon is a fact-based, Chicago-specific musical about the sailing ship that brought Christmas trees to Chicago from Michigan every year&ndash;until one year it didn&rsquo;t.&nbsp; In fact, this is the 100th anniversary of the wreck of the &quot;Rouse Simmons,&quot; the actual Xmas tree ship.</p><p>Now in its spiffy new home in Uptown, the Black Ensemble Theatre remounts its Christmas show of many years,&nbsp;<strong><em>The Other Cinderella</em></strong>, a take on the fairy tale so vibrant and&nbsp;sweet and wonderfully sung that you&rsquo;ll almost forget it&rsquo;s not actually a Christmas story.</p><p><strong><em>The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey</em></strong>, an original adaptation of an award-winning children&#39;s book, is back for a second year at Provision Theater, a troupe dedicated to&nbsp;advancing Christian values. The tale of a boy and a grumpy woodcarver who bond in the spirit of the season is presented at the Chernin Arts Center (Nov. 21-Dec. 23) near UIC.</p><p><strong>New</strong></p><p>Trying to find a new Holiday Season show actually is difficult, although the earnest but light-hearted&nbsp;<strong><em>Hannukatz the Musical</em></strong>&nbsp;comes close as it&#39;s only in its second year. National Pastime Theater (in the Preston Bradley Center in Uptown) presents this brief easy-rock exploration of the Jewish Feast of Lights, suitable for the family (Nov. 29-Dec. 30).</p><p>For really new, however, consider&nbsp;<strong><em>The Gifts of the Magi</em></strong>&nbsp;at Porchlight Music Theatre (through Dec. 23), the Chicago premiere of an 85-minute musical by Mark St. Germain and Randy Courts that combines two classic O&#39;Henry short stories, the familiar tale of impoverished newlyweds Jim and Della, and the story of street bum Soapy Smith who wants only cozy jail cell for Xmas. Sounds like another Holiday Season &quot;tradition&quot; in the making.</p><p>Also, there&#39;s the multi-cultural, all-inclusive&nbsp;<strong><em>It&#39;s a Wonderful Santa Land Miracle Nut-Cracking Christmas Story . . . Jews Welcome</em></strong>&nbsp;at Stage 773 (through Dec. 30), promising singing, dancing, stories, audience-interactive games and &quot;non-holiday specific eggnog.&quot; They say it&#39;s an all-holiday show for all ages.</p><p>Finally, The Agency Collective offers&nbsp;<strong><em>Out of Tune Confessional</em></strong>, a new musical &ldquo;holiday show for the holiday wary,&quot; at the Underground Wonder Bar (Nov. 23-Dec. 15). The holidays somehow bring together a trio of musicians whose between-song patter reveals more angst than the torchiest torch song.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the venue for the American Blues Theatre production of </em>It&#39;s a Wonderful Life.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 19 Nov 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/eggnog-grog-and-holiday-theater-blog-103911 The Dueling Critics' guide to holiday theater: Tinsel and treacle triumph! http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-16/dueling-critics-guide-holiday-theater-tinsel-and-treacle-triumph-94 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-05/4192455989_75478bc5ba.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There are so many holiday shows that if we, the Dueling Critics, didn't restrict ourselves in some way we'd be here til Easter. So each of us offers a list of the top shows that are worth your time (or at least not too agonizing to sit through) for the holidays. The Ghost of Christmas Present will be played by Kelly Kleiman; the role of Scrooge will be played by Jonathan Abarbanel.</p><p><strong>THE GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT SAYS:</strong></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-05/dickens_web.jpg" style="margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 212px; height: 300px;" title="">It's easy to make fun of <a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/Production.aspx?prod=132&amp;gclid=COiR3evfu6wCFQFX7AodDktCqw">the Goodman's <strong><em>A Christmas Carol</em></strong></a>, because the text is so well-known and the production so entrenched. But that's just another way of saying it's a holiday tradition, and with <a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/ArtistPopups/YandoLarry.aspx">the incomparable Larry Yando</a> as Scrooge and <a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/ArtistPopups/ScottSteve.aspx">the skillful Steve Scott</a> at the helm, the show is well worth seeing. At least once.&nbsp;<em>A Christmas Carol</em> runs November 18 through New Year's Eve; tickets go as high as $80, but at 10 a.m. each performance morning the box office sells $10 tickets for students and half-price mezzanine tickets for everyone else.&nbsp;</p><p>Enough deference. Now we can get on with the season's favorite sport, which is making fun of the season.&nbsp;<a href="http://buildingstage.com/">The Building Stage</a> reaches right back to the source with its <strong><em>Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs 'A Christmas Carol' Again</em></strong>, with artistic director Blake Montgomery as the exhausted and aggravated prisoner of his own success. If the troupe could <em><a href="http://www.buildingstage.com/index.php">conquer Moby-Dick--and it did</a></em>--surely it can manage Dickens. December 1 through 24th at 412 North Carpenter in the West Loop; tickets are $22, $12 for children and students.</p><p>It's a good idea to check out another one-man show when the man in question is <a href="http://shanghailow.typepad.com/home/steve-pickering.html">Steve Pickering</a>, former artistic director of <a href="http://www.nexttheatre.org/">Next Theatre</a> and directing-designing-writing-performing polymath. This time around he's producing and performing <strong><a href="http://stnicholasplay.com/"><em>St. Nicholas</em></a></strong>, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conor_McPherson">Conor McPherson</a>'s 1997 mashup of Christmas and vampires. As anyone who's seen <em>The Weir</em> or <em>Dublin Carol</em> or <em>The Seafarer</em> can tell you, McPherson is a prodigiously talented contemporary Irish writer; and in Pickering he's met his match. See the show at the <a href="http://irish-american.org/">Irish-American Heritage Center</a>, 4626 N. Knox; its run will benefit <a href="http://seanachai.org/">Seanachai Theatre</a> and Pickering's Shanghai Low Theatricals.&nbsp;<em>St. Nicholas</em> runs Thursdays-Sundays December 1-18; tickets are $20.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-05/Magi1.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 200px;" title="'The Gift of the Magi' (Photo by Carissa Dixon)">At <a href="http://www.thechicagotheatre.com/">the Chicago Theatre</a>, you'll find the national tour of <strong><em><a href="http://achristmasstorythemusical.com/">A Christmas Story, The Musical!</a></em></strong>&nbsp;Though the Ghost is prejudiced against productions with exclamation points in their names, and worries about the addition of music to <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean_Shepherd">Jean Shepherd</a>'s delicate story of a family Christmas in Indiana, she's prepared to put herself in the hands of <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/newswire.php?newsID=594">Tony Award-winning director John Rando</a> and <a href="http://www.broadwayinchicago.com/shows_dyn.php?cmd=display_current&amp;display_showtag=wicked05">long-time <em>Wicked</em> Wizard</a> <a href="http://broadwayworld.com/people/Gene_Weygandt/">Gene Weygandt</a>. The show runs December 14 through 30 only, with tickets from $35-$79. Hey, they've got to pay for the theatre's gold leaf interior somehow!</p><p>And finally, if Xmas in the city is starting to get you down, blow town for Spring Green, Wisconsin, beginning this weekend (November 20) to see <a href="http://americanplayers.org/">American Players Theatre's original musical <em><strong>The Gift of the Magi</strong></em></a>. (Indoors, of course, at the new Touchstone Theatre.) Tickets: $36. A weekend near Taliesin: priceless.</p><p><strong>SCROOGE SAYS:</strong>&nbsp;Me as Scrooge? Why, don’t be silly. Why would I want to be redeemed when I’m perfect the way I am? Besides, the Ghost of Xmas Yet to Come is scarier and more threatening, so I’ll take that one. Of course, I <em>DO</em> refer to this as the “sugarplums-and-treacle time of year” when it comes to theater, so perhaps there’s a tiny bit of Scrooge in me after all.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-05/seasonsgreetings.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 233px; height: 350px;" title="'Season's Greetings' (Photo by Michael Brosilow)">First of all, in the spirit of interfaith pluralism, there’s <a href="http://www.npt2.com/doolisters/hannukatz.htm"><strong><em>Hannukatz the Musical</em></strong></a>, a family-friendly, audience-interactive presentation celebrating the <em>other</em> major monotheistic religious holiday of the season. Written by Terry Abrahamson and Michael Carlson (music), it’s described as contemporary retelling of the story of the world’s first oil crisis. Y’see, there’s this Jewish cat—literally, a cat (like in that other musical)—who’s a rock musician and comes to Skokie to tell the Hannukah story to the Moskowitz Kids. <em>Hannukatz the Musical</em> runs through Dec. 31 at the National Pastime Theatre, 4139 N. Broadway. There’s even a Xmas Day show with Chinese buffet. FTY: Hannukah overlaps Xmas this year, running Dec. 21-28.</p><p>Then, in the spirit of dysfunctional families in which everyone really hates the idea of spending Xmas with all the others, I offer <a href="http://www.northlight.org/pages/season_s_greetings/171.php"><strong><em>Season’s Greetings</em></strong></a> at Northlight Theatre. Since this is a farce written by Sir Alan Ayckbourn, you know that whatever might possibly go wrong does. The plot entails mistaken identity, under-the-tree promiscuity, a dreadful puppet show, an incompetent doctor (just imagine) and a senile retired security guard, all of which should be enough to cook your Xmas goose and curb your holiday enthusiasm. Director BJ Jones has put together a first-rate cast of Chicago veteran performers. <em>Season’s Greetings</em> continues at Northlight, 9501 Skokie Blvd. in Skokie, through Dec. 18.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-05/4192455989_75478bc5ba.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 207px;" title="'Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer' (Photo by Rick Aguilar)">Next, in the spirit of transvestism, I must mention <strong><em>Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer</em></strong>, which for 14 years has been the annual holiday show for <a href="http://www.handbagproductions.org/">Hell in a Handbag Productions</a>. Forget the popular song about the reindeer with the glow-in-the-dark nose, this original musical offers the real skinny on everyone’s favorite cross-dressing critter and his struggle to be accepted by all the elves and reindeer at Santa’s place. Each year author David Cerda refreshes and updates the show with new material. <em>Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer</em> runs through Dec. 30 at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark Street in Andersonville, the intimate bar/revue room above Hamburger Mary’s.</p><p>Next, in the spirit of elves and reindeer, there are the two monologue shows which have been offered every year since Time Immemorial (or so it seems): <a href="http://www.theaterwit.org/plays/2010/santaland/index.php"><strong><em>The Santaland Diaries</em></strong></a> at Theater Wit and <strong><em><a href="http://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/87/performances#top">The&nbsp;</a><a href="http://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/87/performances#top">Eight: Reindeer Monologues</a></em></strong> also at Theater Wit (but presented by Stage Left Theatre Company). <em>The Santaland Diaries</em> are the account by David Sedaris of his days as a department store Xmas elf, and acerbic and jaundiced are only the first words that come to mind. Once again, Mitchell Fain is the Master Elf in this solo show, running through Dec. 31. Jeff Goode’s <em>Eight Reindeer Monologues</em> is a tale of bestiality and sexual harassment at the North Pole (something about Santa and a reindeer), and each of his eight tiny reindeer gets to speak his/her piece. Also through Dec. 31 (most performances at 10:30PM, when kids are asleep!).</p><p>Finally, in the spirit of, well, <em>A Christmas Carol</em>, we note that there are several alternative versions of the perennial holiday favorite, among them<a href="http://greenhousetheater.org/index.php/a-klingon-christmas-carol"> <strong><em>A Klingon Christmas Carol</em></strong></a>, performed entirely in Klingon (with projected English titles) by Commedia Beauregard at the Greenhouse Theatre Center, 2257 N. Lincoln, through Dec. 31; and <a href="http://silenttheatre.com/Current_Events.html"><strong><em>A Christmas Carol: the Silent Bah-Humbug</em></strong></a>, a wordless adaptation of the tale as performed by the physical artists of the Silent Theatre Company through Dec. 30 at the arts center of St. Paul’s Church, 2215 W. North Avenue.</p></p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-16/dueling-critics-guide-holiday-theater-tinsel-and-treacle-triumph-94 The 'Nutcracker' is back, without the ballet but with puppets http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-10/nutcracker-back-without-ballet-puppets-93884 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-09/NutcrakerPoster_2011_300w.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-10/NutcrakerPoster_2011_300w.jpg.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="">If you just can't wait for the frigid days to come, check out tonight's opening of <a href="http://www.maryarrchie.com/">Adam Rapp's icy drama <strong><em>Red Light Winter</em></strong> at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company</a>. Rapp, who on the basis of this Obie Award-winning offering might be competing with Neil LaBute for the Contemporary Misanthropic Playwright prize, is nonetheless a smart and agile writer whose bleak view of the world can't be dismissed.&nbsp; Through December 18 at Angel Island, the upstairs theater at 735 West (note, <em>West</em>) Sheridan Road; tickets $18-$22 but only $11 tomorrow (11/11/11). No one under 18 will be admitted.</p><p>Something a bit more pleasantly in keeping with the season, you say? Try <a href="http://www.annoyanceproductions.com"><strong><em>Fa-La-La-La F*ck It!</em></strong> at Annoyance</a>, opening Saturday at 10 p.m. and running in that slot through December 23. This comedy of family breakdown brought on by the holidays---which succeeds, though it probably can't replace, Annoyance's beloved long-running <em>Co-Ed Prison Sluts</em>---is only one of many which will grace our stages in the weeks to come, but Annoyance gets points for being first. And there's something to be said for getting your Xmas angst out of the way before Thanksgiving. The theater's at 4830 N. Broadway; tickets are $15, $10 for students. All ages admitted, but parents shouldn't blame the theater if the kiddies hear something crude.</p><p>And on Sunday comes the formal opening of <a href="http://thehousetheatre.com/">House Theatre's version of <strong><em>The Nutcracker</em></strong></a><em>,</em> a ballet-free rendition of the weird tale of the kitchen implement which becomes a prince (or whatever the hell the story is). This reprise of last year's human-puppet collaboration features original music and "spellbinding spectacle," or so says the press release. Thursdays-Sundays through December 30 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division; tickets are $25, but only $10 for students. &nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/dancer-choreographer-adam-rose-holocene-overkill/Content?oid=4624044">Adam Rose is not your everyday choreographer</a>—or your everyday guy. A quintessential soloist, he delivers no-holds-barred performances based on apocalyptic scenarios. “The human is about to mutate to something other,” he says on <a href="http://www.antibodycorp.org/">his website</a> about his newest piece, a trio, <strong><em>Holocene Overkill (Phase 2)</em></strong>. “It’s our own choice as individuals whether we want to jump off the cliff with humankind or take our chances with whatever biological escape plan we can scrape together.” Friday and Saturday at <a href="http://www.dfbrl8r.com/DEFIBRILLATOR/NEXT_NOW.html">Defibrillator gallery</a>.</p><p>Ever lost yourself on the dance floor? If not, it belongs on your bucket list. <a href="http://honeypotperformance.com/">Meida McNeal’s <strong><em>The Sweet Goddess Project</em></strong></a> explores that transcendental state as well as the sensual role that women play in the culture of house music and dance. Four performers and DJ Jo de Presser perform Thursday, Friday, and Sunday at Experimental Station.</p><p style="text-align: left;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-10/Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in The Matter of Origins.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 397px;" title="Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, 'The Matter of Origins'"></p><p>Choreographer Liz Lerman never pulls her punches, never backs off a subject. In <strong><em><a href="http://mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/741">The Matter of Origins</a></em></strong>, she tackles nothing less than the physical and philosophical beginnings of the universe. The second act is a sort of salon, or “tea,” that seats audiences at tables for conversation. And chocolate cake, using a recipe from Edith Warner, who hosted atomic-bomb scientists at her Los Alamos roadhouse restaurant. Thursday through Sunday at the MCA.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-10/David-and-Brian.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 199px; height: 300px;" title="Seven Doors">“May the Farce be with you,” and with Mark Sleepwalker as well. This mantra indicates that Evanston’s Piccolo Theatre once again is presenting a <strong>British-style panto</strong> for the holiday season, this time <a href="http://www.piccolotheatre.com/The-Plays/space-wars-the-panto.html"><strong><em>Space Wars</em></strong></a>, a world premiere by Jessica Puller. It’s not a pantomime, mind you, but an audience-interactive fantasy musical comedy with particular traditions which originated in English 19<sup>th</sup> Century family entertainment. Those traditions may include a “britches role” in which a girl plays the lead boy, and a “Dame” in which a man plays a Gorgon of an old woman. Pack up the kids (even ones as young as four) for <em>Space Wars</em>, which continues at the Evanston Arts Depot through Dec. 17.</p><p>Premiere Theatre and Performance is offering a new staging of its 2008 hit, <a href="https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/40401"><strong><em>Seven Doors</em></strong></a>, by prolific contemporary German playwright Botho Strauss, translated by Peter K. Jansen. Usually described as a dark comedy, the play offers nine vignettes of contemporary life and, most significantly, what may lie beyond. Remember, seven always has been a number with particular spiritual and mystical potency. Premiere Theatre and Performance is one of the few local troupes (Trap Door is a significant other) dedicated to bringing Chicago audiences contemporary European drama beyond London’s West End or the boulevard theatres of Paris. <em>Seven Doors</em> is performed at DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western, through Dec. 11.</p></p> Thu, 10 Nov 2011 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-10/nutcracker-back-without-ballet-puppets-93884