WBEZ | Q Brothers http://www.wbez.org/tags/q-brothers Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Q Brothers do Dickens http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/dont-miss-list-december-13-19-inside-pritzker-pavilion-and-round <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS6807_345.unb_.th_.qbrothers.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/erQ8zJpuWVo" width="601"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><u><em>A Christmas Carol</em>, a work in progress by the Q Brothers; inside the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, tomorrow (Friday the 14th) through Sunday (the 16th); Friday and Saturday at 7, Sunday at 2; FREE!</u><p>The Q Brothers are a pair of actual brothers from the North Side who&#39;ve carved out an unlikely niche: They turn Shakespeare plays into hip-hop musicals, thereby managing to horrify both Shakespeare aficianadoes and hip-hop fans. And yet &mdash; speaking from the Shakespeare side, at least &mdash; it absolutely works. The Brothers&#39; verbal and physical inventiveness, coupled with complete understanding of the plays, made <em>The Bomb-itty of Errors</em> and <em>Funk It Up About Nuthin&#39; </em>not just fun but faithful to the originals in every way that matters.</p><p>Now they take on another classic that could use a good shaking-up: Charles Dickens&#39; nearly exhausted <em>A Christmas Carol</em>. While it&#39;s still a work in progress, the Brothers are spicing up this year&#39;s holidays by sharing their reinvention of the work we think we all know. The audience will sit safe and warm in the choir lofts of the Pritzker Pavilion stage and see what new changes can be rung on the familiar story. Believer me, if there are any changes left, the Qs will find them!&nbsp;Tickets are free, but RSVPs are strongly recommended. To RSVP, please contact <a href="mailto:qbrotherschristmas@gmail.com" target="_blank">qbrotherschristmas@gmail.com</a>.&nbsp;And when that&#39;s over . . .</p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><u><em>The Second City That Never Sleeps</em>, a benefit for Onward Neighborhood House, Tuesday (the 18th) at 6 pm at <a href="http://secondcity.com/">The Second City</a> e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 North Wells, 2nd floor; 312-337-3992; tickets $20 at the door throughout the 24-hour event.</u></p><p>The Second City may be a for-profit company (unlike most Chicago theaters) but its heart is apparently in the nonprofit world. For 24 hours beginning Tuesday evening, Second City company members, alumni and friends will present improv, music, stand-up comedy and even an interview with political stats maven (and University of Chicago graduate) Nate Silver. Proceeds will benefit Onward Neighborhood House, a broad-spectrum social service agency (or what Jane Addams would have called a settlement house). If you can&#39;t imagine rising and shining to see Fred Armisen perform at 1:30 in the morning, there are plenty of offerings at reasonable hours, including Jeff Tweedy at 9 p.m. Tuesday, the aforementioned Nate Silver at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and others too numerous to mention: find details on the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/search/results.php?q=The%20Second%20City%20That%20Never%20Sleeps&amp;init=quick&amp;tas=0.56148045176595">Second City That Never Sleeps Facebook event page</a>.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/dont-miss-list-december-13-19-inside-pritzker-pavilion-and-round 2011's funniest and best-dressed Chicago shows http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-21/2011s-funniest-and-best-dressed-chicago-shows-95076 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-21/funniest.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Being funny and looking good aren’t mutually exclusive (see below), but they don’t always go together either. Just think of your high school boyfriend.</p><p>Most of these dance and theater shows were new—because to me, though original work can be downright awful, it can also pay off big-time. Seems like, once all the creative juices get flowing, they flow into every corner of the work. (And, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/arena-stage-bans-media-public-from-new-play-conference/2011/11/02/gIQAqAhOmM_story.html?wprss=rss_style">as the <em>Washington Post</em>’s Peter Marks recently remarked</a>, what stage artists are creating right now is “the true measure of a nation’s artistic vitality.”)</p><p>Two of these shows—candidates in both categories—are currently running: the Hypocrites’ remount of <a href="http://www.the-hypocrites.com/"><em>The Pirates of Penzance</em></a> and the Neo-Futurists’ <a href="http://www.neofuturists.org/"><em>Burning Bluebeard</em></a>. Actually, so is perennial favorite <a href="http://www.barrelofmonkeys.org/"><em>That’s Weird, Grandma</em></a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>2011’s Top 5 Funny Shows </strong></span></p><p><a href="http://www.dancemagazine.com/reviews/November-2011/Lucky-Plush-Productions">Lucky Plush Productions’ dance/theater hybrid <em>The Better Half </em></a>poked unmerciful fun at its source, George Cukor’s 1944 film noir <em>Gaslight</em>, and at marriage, theater, and the movies. Collaborating with 500 Clown’s Leslie Danzig, Julia Rhoads managed to nail the bittersweet tragicomedy of wedded (or unwedded) “bliss.”</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-21/funniest.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 214px; " title="Q Brothers' 'Funk It Up About Nuthin'">The Neo-Futurists’ <em>Burning Bluebeard</em> also inhabits the universe of high-spirited comic takes on tragic subjects. (And, though hardly dance-theater, it often conveys meaning and emotion through nonverbal means, including Mike Tutaj’s amazing sound design and the chair dance that <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-14/jay-torrence-playwright-behind-latest-neo-futurist-sensation-burnin">playwright-performer-amateur choreographer Jay Torrence</a> cobbled together.)&nbsp;</p><p>Jumping from the sublime to the ridiculous: another <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-19/jill-valentine-heart-living-dead-93277">irreverent take on a film, <em>Musical of the Living Dead</em></a>. The campy Halloween hit, which had its second season at Logan Square’s Charnel House last fall, deserved every shred of its word-of-mouth fame. (And, in a unique take on set design, part of the décor is blood-spattered audience members.)</p><p>Moving on to the only slightly less ridiculous: the Q Brothers’ rap-a-thon <em>Funk It Up About Nothin’</em> at Chicago Shakes. The brothers themselves—Chicagoans JQ and GQ—compared it to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/q-brothers-re-funk-it">Brecht crossed with <em>The Simpsons</em></a>. And they were right.</p><p>And finally there’s Barrel of Monkeys’ ongoing <em>That’s Weird, Grandma</em>, which for ten years has been <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-11/monkeys-business-whats-behind-grandmas-success-86396">doing good in multiple ways,</a> including re-acquainting full-grown adults with the joys of spazzy childhood humor.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>2011’s Top 5 Best-Dressed Productions</strong></span></p><p>As every fashionista knows, style has nothing to do with budget. All these shows substituted intense creativity for cold hard cash. (And by “dressed,” of course, I mean the overall stage design.)&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-21/best dressed.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 400px; " title="Nicole Wiesner in Trap Door Theatre's 'First Ladies' ">A commercial loft’s old refrigerator room, painted and lit in blinding white, served as the whistle-clean hellish set for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-19/theater-ys-melissa-hawkins-89356">Theatre Y’s <em>Vincent River</em></a>. A door allowed the audience to peer in at the story’s two victims, Laura Jones in a festive poppy-red dress and Kevin V. Smith in nondescript coat and tie. But somehow they radiated the horror of the story—especially given the beads of sweat visible on Smith’s face, illuminated by the harsh beam of a slide projector.&nbsp;</p><p>Trap Door’s fussy set for <em>First Ladies</em> was at the opposite end of the design spectrum. But set designer Ewelina Dobiesz’s Old World parlor—complete with floral wallpaper and framed pictures of the Virgin—created a vivid contrast with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-01/holy-sht-nicole-wiesner-goes-home-trap-door-84611">Werner Schwab’s highly inappropriate script</a>.</p><p>The dance conglomerate of Jonathan Meyer and Julia Rae Antonick (aka Khecari, at least sometimes) has produced design magic three times over the last year alone, aided in particular by superb lighting. Whether it was the wild party of Antonick’s <em>Commissura</em>, set on the tenth floor of an old Loop building, the treasure hunt of Meyer’s <em>Whence</em> in a 15,000-square-foot Pilsen loft, or <a href="http://seechicagodance.com">the fractured fairytale of Khecari's <em>The Clinking</em></a> in the stodgy old Hamlin Park fieldhouse—these folks know how to transform a space.</p><p>So does Rachel Bunting. Her eerie, magical <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-humans/Event?oid=5092495"><em>Paper Shoes</em> transfigured the Hamlin Park stage</a> with shoes and toys painted white, Collin Bunting’s shredded white gowns, two tall stepladders (the base for an anomic “love” duet to the drippy yet stirring “Never My Love”), and horse heads—stuck backward on the dancers’ heads, thereby creating a threatening human/animal herd with oddly moving legs.</p><p>Like <em>First Ladies</em>, the Hypocrites’ <em>Pirates of Penzance </em>sets up a fruitful disjunct between script and stage design. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/music-whiz-kevin-odonnell">Treating the Gilbert &amp; Sullivan classic with the utmost disrespect</a>, costumer Alison Siple outfits the cast in flippers, retro bathing suits, and sunglasses. Docks and kiddie pools add to the “seaside” ambience of this sun-drenched visual feast staged, remarkably, in a basement.</p></p> Wed, 21 Dec 2011 15:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-21/2011s-funniest-and-best-dressed-chicago-shows-95076