WBEZ | Gilbert & Sullivan http://www.wbez.org/tags/gilbert-sullivan Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don't-Miss List November 29-December 5: Two Gilbert & Sullivans, a family drama and a first-rate 'Annie' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-november-29-december-5-two-gilbert-sullivans-family <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6717_Paramount_Annie_1-scr.jpg" style="height: 474px; width: 620px;" title="'Annie' at the Paramount in Aurora (Courtesy of the theater)" /></div><p><u>The Gilbert &amp; Sullivan Reperatory, <a href="http://www.the-hypocrites.com">The Hypocrites</a> at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division; 773-989-7352; $28; runs through Jan. 13.</u><br /><br />Wildly challenging and sometimes pig-headedly wrong, The Hypocrites are never dull in their reinvention of the classics. Sometimes, however, the great works merely need to be presented and not reinvented. Ya&#39; pays yer money, ya&#39; takes yer choice. They had a super big hit last year with a version of Gilbert &amp; Sullivan&#39;s <em>The Pirates of Penzance</em> and so they&#39;re repeating it this year along with <em>The Mikado</em>, staged in rotating repertory. Company co-founder Sean Graney is the director and skilled musician/composer Kevin O&#39;Donnell has &quot;re-imagined&quot; the music. Both shows are presented in promenade style, meaning the audience and cast both move about the performance space, a presentation style which Mr. Graney often has favored. Accommodations are made for audience members with mobility issues. Also, in both shows the cast members double as musicians and performers (a trick also on display currently in <em>Failure: A Love Story</em> at Victory Gardens Theater). Fair warning: As brilliant as he can be, Mr. Graney&#39;s interpretations of the classics often are much more about Sean Graney than they are about the classic. &ndash;JA</p><p><u><em>The Feast</em>, <a href="http://propthtr.org">Prop Thtr</a>, 3502 N. Elston, 773-539-7838; $20; runs through December 16</u></p><p>This world premiere skillfully weaves a family drama set at that most family-dramatic of times, Thanksgiving day, with an examination of the way health care is meted out (or not) in this country. Though the play has a strong political view, it&#39;s never pedantic; we see politics through the eyes of the characters, whose family business is running a for-profit HMO. Director Brian Bell wrings every ounce of tension, meaning and humor out of Tony Fiorentino&#39;s script, which deserves as many productions as he can find for it. Any subsequent version would be hard-pressed, though, to match the stark beauty and eerie intensity of Joseph Lark-Riley&#39;s sets, Nevena Todorovic&#39;s costumes and Katherine Campbell&#39;s props.&nbsp;<em>The Feast</em> plays only for a few more weekends; get yourself to Elston and Addison (cati-corner from Chief O&#39;Neill&#39;s Pub) before it disappears. &ndash;KK</p><p><u><em>Annie</em>, <a href="http://paramountaurora.com/">Paramount Theatre</a>, 8 East Galena Boulevard in Aurora 630-896-6666; $34.90-$46.90; through December 30</u></p><p>If Rachel Rockwell were a man, she would long since have been recognized as a genius of musical theater.&nbsp; However belatedly, let me hail her as one now.&nbsp; Certainly it would be hard to beat her range: After directing last year&#39;s extraordinary production of <em>Sweeney Todd</em> at Drury Lane, she&#39;s turned her hand to <em>Annie</em>. I&#39;m a certified curmudgeon and was accompanied by another, and we both loved it. Gene Weygandt is such a perfect Daddy Warbucks that his abundance of hair doesn&#39;t even seem strange, and Christine Sherrill is a riotous Miss Hannigan; but when every performer is this good, credit rightly goes to the director. Rockwell gets particular kudos for directing a troupe of children (led by the able 12-year-old Caroline Heffernan in the title role) AND a dog while keeping the show wonderfully lively and treacle-free. This perfect family production even contains just enough Christmas to remind you of the season without drowning you in it. Brava, Madame Director! &nbsp;&ndash;KK</p></p> Thu, 29 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-november-29-december-5-two-gilbert-sullivans-family Daily Rehearsal: Dance at American Girl Place http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-21/daily-rehearsal-dance-american-girl-place-96587 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-21/900707345_98af1542eb.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Gilbert &amp; Sullivan's <a href="http://www.footlights.com/chicago/events/event/view-event/gilbert-sullivans-the-gondoliers.html"><em>The Gondoliers </em></a></strong></span></span>is up at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago the weekend of March 9. It&nbsp;"takes place in 19th-century Venice, where two handsome and charming would-be Kings – both gondoliers – vie for the disputed throne of Barataria." Riveting! Will there be water? Another fun fact: When it opened, "the comic opera was Gilbert &amp; Sullivan’s last great success, opening in 1889 and continuing for 554 performances—at that time the fifth longest running piece of musical theatre in history." And a final fun fact:&nbsp;2012 is the 28th consecutive year that the proceeds from the production will benefit the University's Department of Music.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. We've got more detailed thoughts</strong></span></span> about the power of regional theater from Jason Loewith at Howlround.&nbsp;The gist? Stop whining! "Managing institutional expansion while staying true to a theater’s intimate roots is a huge challenge when companies try to break financial barriers, <a href="http://www.howlround.com/in-case-you-missed-the-revolution-by-jason-loewith/">he writes</a>.</p><blockquote><p>"A success story I love was written by Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois. The company, which began in 1992 with fifty seats in the back of a bookstore, traded on its intimacy between artist and patron, and within ten years had grown to a budget of $1.2 million and 5,400 subscribers. When the company designed a new space in 2003, it held on to its hallmark intimacy by increasing to only 108 seats; the company retained (and even grew) its near-capacity subscription base, and now boasts a budget of $3.5 million.</p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Red Orchid's <em>Megacosm </em></strong></span></span>has been extended through March 11. Read more about the production <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-01/dado-comes-back-chicago-red-orchids-megacosm-96019">here</a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-21/900707345_98af1542eb.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="Just imagine they're ballerinas (Flickr/C.J. Peters)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. An activity I would have gotten behind as a youth </strong></span></span>(and, let's face it, am totally into now):&nbsp;The Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University and American Ballet Theatre (ABT) have joined up to host a dance class for girls 8 and up at the American Girl Place in Water Tower. "Visiting ABT teaching artist and former ABT dancer Anna Spelman will lead four 20-minute sessions featuring an introduction to the basics of ballet and movement from ABT’s upcoming performance of <em>Giselle </em>at ATRU (March 22 – 25)." It's a free event, but space will be limited. March 10 from 11 am to 1 pm.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p style="margin:0in;margin-bottom:.0001pt"><o:p></o:p></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Theaters just love conversations these days</strong></span></span>. Strawdog is the latest; they're doing a series called "Play Rites!" that starts March 5 will Bill Savage. He'll be moderator for&nbsp;“American Criminals,” a spin-off of The Petrified Forest. Topics of discussion include gangsters and outlaws of all kinds.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 21 Feb 2012 20:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-21/daily-rehearsal-dance-american-girl-place-96587