WBEZ | Merce Cunningham http://www.wbez.org/tags/merce-cunningham Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: All about 'Penelope' (and its program) http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-12/daily-rehearsal-all-about-penelope-and-its-program-94827 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-12/steppenwolf penelope.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-12/steppenwolf penelope.JPG" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 299px; height: 400px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. The opening of <em>Penelope </em>at Steppenwolf was last night</strong></span></span>. Instead of talking about the mixed bag of a production, let's talk about the <em>program</em>, which was clearly printed before <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-23/daily-rehearsal-john-mahoney-out-steppenwolfs-penelope-94322">John Mahoney unfortunately had to leave the production due to a death in the family</a> -- he's still featured prominently on the cover. Other than that, my seating partner remarked that it was the thickest program he'd ever seen. So let's give a round of applause to the company for not wasting trees on a reprint.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. And more on <em>Penelope</em>, from others</strong></span></span>: Find out about how the play, written by&nbsp;Enda Walsh, was adapted from the Greek epic you know and maybe finished in high school, in <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/9306532-421/penelope-playwright-reinvents-epic-greek-poem.html">this profile from the<em> Sun-Times</em></a>. And The Fourth Walsh starts her review off with this statement: "I love men. Wars, Nascar, fantasy football... I don’t always *get* men but I love them."<a href="http://www.chicagonow.com/the-fourth-walsh/2011/12/penelope-steppenwolf-theatre-the-ugly-side-of-men/"> Read more</a>&nbsp;of these comments that become less personal and more review-y.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. What is <a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/">the private event at iO this Thursday</a> </strong></span></span>WHY IS IT CLOSED? What shows will you be missing? The Classy D, the Collectibles, Michael Pizza and The Scene at the Cabaret; The 'Verse: Another Firefly Story and Ugly &amp; Delicious presents Ragamuffins JODY.&nbsp;Someone please clear up this pressing improv-related matter.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Read a beautiful homage to Merce Cunningham by <em>New York Times</em></strong></span></span> critic Alastair Macaulay, where he laments the loss of this troupe. "Cunningham extended dance, radically; he also extended our minds," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/arts/dance/merce-cunningham-troupes-last-us-repertory-night-review.html?_r=1">writes Maculay</a>. "A Cunningham season could be fun, drama, challenge, poetry and therapy. For many of us there was no greater adventure. It is hard to start putting this into the past tense."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. ATC's </strong></span></span><em><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>It’s a Wonderful Life</strong></span></span>: The Radio Play </em>has been extended through December 30.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 12 Dec 2011 16:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-12/daily-rehearsal-all-about-penelope-and-its-program-94827 Daily Rehearsal: Chicago Opera Theater welcomes a new general director http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-06/daily-rehearsal-chicago-opera-theater-welcomes-new-general-director <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-07/mitisek.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left; "><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1.&nbsp;The artist&nbsp;Kenneth E. Parris III&nbsp;is doing something cool</strong></span></span>; he's touring with members of the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.merce.org/">Merce Cunningham Dance Company</a>&nbsp;and sketching them, where they're posted on the <em>New York Times' ArtsBeat</em> blog. <a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/05/drawing-dance-the-cunningham-company-in-illinois/">This week's sketch</a> is from their stops in Illinois, where a dancer is surrounded by bags of his stuff.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. John Bucchino, who wrote the musical <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-10/daily-rehearsal-holland-taylor-stage-not-two-and-half-men-93938"><em>A Catered Affair</em></a></strong></span></span>, will teach a small class in February at Stage 773 on cabaret performance. Every student should be prepared with two of his songs, which they'll work on with him personally. They'll then be accompanied by Beckie Menzie on piano for a live cabaret show after<a href="http://porchlightmusictheatre.org/"> Porchlight's production of <em>A Catered Affair</em> that night</a>. These master classes are nothing unusual for Bucchino, but they're typically open to the public this way; the cost is $100, but if you're a student you can audit it for $15.</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>3. An audition listing highlight comes by way of<em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1571">Avenue Q</a></em></strong></span></span>, still being produced by Tom Mullen and Kevin Mayes with Bailiwick Chicago, is looking for non-Equity actors and singers; the final audition date is tonight -- or send it in via YouTube! Ah technology. You don't need to be good at puppetry, &nbsp;but it's "a plus."</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-07/mitisek.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 138px; height: 160px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Chicago Opera Theater has <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago-opera-theater-picks-new-general-director-94679">announced that Andreas Mitisek</a></strong></span></span> will become the company's new general director, starting in September of 2012. Mitisek has signed a five-year contract. He succeeds Brian Dickie, who has been in the position since 1999. Under his reign, COT "has specialized in baroque opera as well as a broader and definitely contemporary world view,"&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-21/fat-lady-sings-overview-opera-scene-chicago-89376">wrote&nbsp;Jonathan Abarbanel</a>. Mitisek comes from Long Beach Opera, where is Artistic and General Director. Of the new hire, Board President Gregory O'Leary said in a statement,&nbsp;“We chose Andreas to be the next General Director due to his original and unique artistic vision which builds upon the incredibly high standard set by Brian."&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Comedian Matt Elfring talks</strong></span></span> about <a href="http://www.comedyofchicago.com/2011/12/people-i-hate-in-scene-by-matt-elfring.html">people he hates in comedy</a>. Well <em>types </em>of people he hates, so don't get too exited. We wouldn't want to name names would we.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 06 Dec 2011 16:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-06/daily-rehearsal-chicago-opera-theater-welcomes-new-general-director The Don't-Miss List: Merce Cunningham's last hurrah http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-17/dont-miss-list-merce-cunninghams-last-hurrah-94102 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-17/5187509060_37f4cde975(2).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-17/hunger.jpg" title="" width="550" height="198"></p><p style="text-align: left;">The weather outside may be frightful (or not--there's no knowing) but onstage at <a href="http://explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/attractions/dca_tourism/jay_pritzker_pavilion.html">the Pritzker Pavilion</a> you can be snug and warm while enjoying concert readings of shows by Chicago companies. It's called the <a href="http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/provdrs/theater/news/2011/oct/_in_the_works_theaterlabseriesatmillenniumparkreturnsforathirdse.html">In The Works Theater Lab</a>, and it will open tonight (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. with <a href="http://www.lifelinetheatre.com/performances/11-12/hunger/index.shtml">Lifeline Theatre's adaptation of <strong><em>Hunger</em></strong>.</a>&nbsp;This world premiere, which will receive a full production at Lifeline in February, is set during the World War II siege of Leningrad, a nearly unbelievable true story of people defying starvation to defend their country and future. The cast includes Lifeline stalwarts Peter Greenberg and Jenifer Tyler, who should be seen whenever and wherever they appear. Tickets for the reading, which runs only through Saturday, are $15; call 312-742-TIXS or go to <a href="http://explorechicago.org/city/en/millennium.html">millenniumpark.org</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>And if you'd like to do a little defending of country and future yourself, consider spending part of November 19 or 20 at the <a href="http://anti-stasis.org/post/12300905648/defend-occupy-chicago">benefit for the <strong>Occupy Chicago Legal Defense Fund</strong></a>.&nbsp; Beginning at 10 p.m. on Saturday and at 6 p.m. on Sunday at <a href="http://www.propthtr.org/">Prop Thtr</a>, 3502 North Elston, the benefit includes a mix of speeches, music, performance art and a 45 minute work in progress documentary about the Occupy Chicago movement. (Saturday night features <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/contributors/beau-oreilly"><em>This American Life</em> contributor</a> and <a href="http://curioustheatrebranch.com/">Curious Theatre Branch</a> resident genius Beau O'Reilly, among others.) Pay what you can to attend, and/or purchase donated artwork to support the movement and its lawyers, who (as <a href="http://www.suite101.com/news/occupy-wall-street-court-allows-protesters-to-return-to-plaza-a396670">New York has just demonstrated</a>) have their hands full keeping speech free.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>As everyone knows (but <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/dance/15011513/live-review-dance-chicago-2011-first-night">Zac Whittenburg discusses</a> with enviable skill), <strong><a href="http://www.dancechicago.com/">Dance Chicago</a></strong> is a complete crapshoot. Now in the third week of its 17th season, and featuring some 250 companies or choreographers, the fest this weekend consists of two “Urban Movement” shows. Translation: “flat-out fun hip-hop acts.” This is the first year there’ve been two such programs—other years there’s been one, always sold out. Dance fans have an opportunity to see companies like M.A.D.D. Rhythms, Culture Shock Chicago, RFSF (“Raw Funky Street Flav,” which—full disclosure—is the creation of my hip-hop teacher, Viola Elkins) and literally dozens more Friday and Saturday at Stage 773.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-17/Merce%20Cunningham%20Dan%2348D57C.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 399px;" title=""></p><p style="text-align: left;">And for those in a genuflecting mood: this weekend the <a href="http://www.merce.org/">Merce Cunningham Dance Company makes its final appearance</a> in Chicago—one of its last anywhere. Merce died in 2009, and when the company’s<strong> </strong>“<strong>Legacy Tour</strong>” concludes on NYE 2011 in NYC, the troupe will be disbanded. Those who’ve never seen his work and are curious, take note: Merce didn’t act like an icon. His sense of humor courses through the dances being performed here, three on Friday and one (<em>Roaratorio</em>—I love it) on Saturday <a href="http://www.colum.edu/dance_center/performances/mercecunninghamdancecompany/index.php">at the Harris</a>.</p><p>My other fabulous dance teacher, Idy Ciss of Muntu Dance Theatre, is also performing this weekend, Friday night at the OTSFM with Erika Ochoa of Baladina Dance. <strong><em><a href="http://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2011/11/18_kayfetch.php">Kay Fetch</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>(no, I don’t know what it means) reportedly takes viewers on a music-and-dance trip to West and North Africa.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-17/thecaretaker.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 180px; height: 266px;" title="">Distinguished actor William J. Norris at last is ancient and decrepit enough to play the roles he’s been playing for the last 30 years, among them Davies, the bullied title character of <a href="http://www.writerstheatre.org/boxoffice/production?id=0082"><strong><em>The Caretaker</em></strong></a>, an early masterpiece by Harold Pinter now at Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe. Norris may be a doddering old bag of bones who can barely walk or talk, but audiences love him, so whatcha’ gonna’ do?&nbsp; Director Ron OJ Parson has been smart enough to surround Norris with two excellent stout lads who can hold him up through Pinter’s famous Comedy of Menace, Anish Jethmalani and Kareem Bandealy. <em>The Caretaker</em> continues at the Writers’ Theatre Books-on-Vernon location through next March 25, by which time Norris—known for his indelible performances as Scrooge at the Goodman Theatre—will be about 200 years old.</p><p>Only 14 months and $16 million from groundbreaking ceremonies—which is fast and relatively cheap by Chicago construction standards—the <strong>Black Ensemble Cultural Center</strong> is open for business at 4450 N. Clark Street in Uptown. Consisting of one brand-new building and one retrofit building, the Center includes two theaters, classrooms, offices and gallery space. It’s the fulfillment of a dream for Black Ensemble executive director Jackie Taylor, who founded the company 35 years ago. To open the Center, Taylor has mounted a new production (with a new, dynamic star) of a decade-old Black Ensemble hit, <a href="http://www.blackensembletheater.org/event/2"><strong><em>My Heart is Crying: The Jackie Wilson Story</em></strong></a>, a musical biography, which runs through Jan. 8.</p></p> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 17:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-17/dont-miss-list-merce-cunninghams-last-hurrah-94102