WBEZ | Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace http://www.wbez.org/tags/drury-lane-theatre-oakbrook-terrace Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: Chazz Palminteri to perform in free production of new play http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/daily-rehearsal-chazz-palminteri-perform-free-production-new-play <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/5678148983_a69e4694fd_z.jpg" style="height: 409px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="Chazz Palminteri. (Flickr/David Shankbone)" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The fifth season of <em>The Late Live Show</em></strong></span></span> starts Saturday September 1 but this year, it&#39;ll be at 8 pm. They have a <a href="http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/thelateliveshow/the-late-live-show-the-quest-for-a-fifth-season">Kickstarter</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Reminder: Chicago Opera Theater </strong></span></span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-20/daily-rehearsal-chicago-opera-theater-makes-2012-season-updates-957">is doing <em>The Magic Flute</em></a> this fall. &quot;This is the first new production of <em>The Magic Flute </em>in Chicago in 17 years, the last being Chicago Opera Theater&rsquo;s production in 1995 at the Athenaeum Theatre.&quot; It&#39;s the first time an English translation by Jeremy Sams has been put up in Chicago, and it&#39;ll run September 15, 19, 21 and 23 at the Harris Theater.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Actor&nbsp;Chazz Palminteri </strong></span></span>will be performing in a free performance of the new play <em>Unorganized Crime</em> by Kenny D&#39;Aquila. It&#39;s&nbsp;Monday, August 6, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. You have to make a reservation to get the free tickets though, so email&nbsp;<a href="mailto:aintfordummies@gmail.com" linktype="2" shape="rect" target="_blank">AintForDummies@gmail.com</a>. I recognized Palminteri from <em>The Usual Suspects</em>, where he played the U.S. Customs agent who is duped, but he was also nominated for an Oscar for the Woody Allen movie&nbsp;<em>Bullets Over Broadway</em>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Drury Lane Theatre&#39;s 2013-13 season</strong></span></span> (we&#39;re there already?!) includes <em>Oliver!</em>, <em>Boeing-Boeing</em> (a favorite of mine), <em>Next to Normal</em>, <em>Hello, Dolly!</em> and <em>Young Frankenstein</em>. Lots of exclamation points! Remember, this means the first production doesn&#39;t open unli April 2013. So, this coming spring, for those getting turned around.</p><p><em>Correction: This post originally inaccurately depicted the status of COT&#39;s </em>The Magic Flute<em>. It will be performed as usual.</em></p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 30 Jul 2012 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/daily-rehearsal-chazz-palminteri-perform-free-production-new-play Daily Rehearsal: Many a Mother's Day deal http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/daily-rehearsal-many-mothers-day-deal-98665 <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1.<em>&nbsp;Motherhood the Musical®</em>&nbsp;</strong>(don't ever forget that<em>®</em>)<strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></span>will be giving away doughnuts to mothers during their Mother's Day performances, plus Standard Market gift certificates.&nbsp;Drury Lane isn't doing the free thing, but for $32.95 (adults), $13.50 (children 6-12), $10.00 (children 3-5) you get a <a href="http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/dining_room/mothers_day_buffet.shtml">really, really delicious brunch</a>. Like, my lunch is looking really unappealing right now delicious. Call&nbsp;630-530-8300 for reservations. Oh and, while you're there, see <em>Hairspray</em> at 2 or 6 p.m. for an additional $45 or $40, respectively.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Rachel Dratch</strong></span></span> dishes with Steve Edwards on <em>Afternoon Shift </em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-04/rachel-dratch-talks-life-after-snl-98675">Monday</a><em>.</em></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <em>The A.V. Club </em>helps you get <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/jon-benjamin,72774/">acquainted with Jon Benjamin</a> </strong></span></span>before the comedian's shows this week at Schubas.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. An interview with Adam McKay</strong></span></span> -- formerly of Chicago comedy fame now of <em>Funny or Die</em>/Apatow/Hollywood success -- was in<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ent-0430-funny-or-die-main-20120427,0,7096238.story"> this past weekend's <em>Tribune</em></a>.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/signal%20hostage%20song.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; " title="Simone Roos as Jennifer, Steve O'Connel as Jim in 'Hostage Song' (Photo by Johnny Knight)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;Signal Ensemble Theatre's <em>Hostage Song</em> </strong></span></span>opens this weekend:<span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&nbsp;</strong></span></span>"Bound and blindfolded in a war-torn country,&nbsp;two hostages take refuge in music, memory and each other in the Chicago premier of this provocative indie-rock musical." Of the production's launch in 2008 in New York, <a href="http://theater.nytimes.com/2008/04/08/theater/reviews/08host.html">Charles Isherwood wrote</a>, it was "hampered by the dramatic limitations of its conceit; time hangs heavily for these two. And in allowing the helium of comedy and the driving energy of rock music into the room, the show’s creators sacrifice the chance to extract all the gut-wrenching drama from this piteous situation."</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email<a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">&nbsp;kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 30 Apr 2012 15:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/daily-rehearsal-many-mothers-day-deal-98665 Daily Rehearsal: 'Jersey Shore: The Musical' extended, performers needed http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-22/daily-rehearsal-jersey-shore-musical-extended-burlesque-performers- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-22/399406_10150470669712263_39302912262_8899496_95099471_n.jpeg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. American Blues Theater's 2012-13</strong></span></span> season will include: new play <em>Illegal Use of Hands</em>; <em>It's a Wonderful Life: Live on State Street! </em>(the usual, though this time at the Museum of Broadcast Communications); and <em>Collected Stories </em>playwright Donald Margulies, who was <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-06/piecing-together-life-war-journalist-fiction-and-practice-96999">recently on <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <em>Alice in Wonderland</em> from <a href="http://www.comedysportztc.com/">ComedySportz </a></strong></span></span>will include an interactive experience for kids: "With colorful costumes, puppetry and animation, young audiences will be introduced to familiar characters like the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, the Cheshire Cat, the Caterpillar, and the Red King and Red Queen."</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-22/399406_10150470669712263_39302912262_8899496_95099471_n.jpeg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 263px; height: 400px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. More stuff for kids: <a href="http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/live_theatre/childrens_theatre.shtml">Drury Lane's <em>The Wizard of Oz </em></a></strong></span></span>will let you attend "breakfast buffets" on&nbsp;April 28, May 12, May 19, May 26 and June 16 at 11:30 a.m. Performances precede and follow at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.; $25 for adults and $22 for kids.&nbsp;"Drury Lane Theatre’s family-friendly menu includes Scrambled Eggs, Tater Tots, Pancakes, Fresh Fruit, Mini Bagels, and Oatmeal."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Auditions coming up:</strong></span></span> <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1798">Burlesque performers wanted </a>for GTT's&nbsp;<em>The Dark Knude: A Batman Burlesque </em>(April 15 and 16, callbacks April 17); <em>Jersey Shore: The Musical</em> has been extended through May 26, moved to Greenhouse Theatre Center, and is adding 3 shows a week, so they<a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1794"> need more performers</a> (March 24); and Lifeline is <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/auditions/industrydetail.php?AuditionID=1792">casting for their new season </a>(April 7 and 10th).</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Remember <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-28/local-groups-urge-boycott-israels-batsheva-dance-96790">the Batsheva Dance protests</a>? </strong></span></span>There is <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/dance/15191951/batsheva-dance-company-dance-review">an extensive footnote</a> attached to&nbsp;Zachary Whittenburg's review of the performances this past weekend that addresses just that.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 22 Mar 2012 16:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-22/daily-rehearsal-jersey-shore-musical-extended-burlesque-performers- Daily Rehearsal: A Marc Maron documentary http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-03/daily-rehearsal-marc-maron-documentary-93731 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-05/Marc Maron Spitzer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1.&nbsp;</strong></span></span><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>Jodi Lennon has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/jodi-lennon,64504/?utm_medium=RSS&amp;utm_campaign=feeds&amp;utm_source=avclub_rss_daily">sort-of surreptitiously made a documentary about Marc Maron</a></strong></span></span>, and by that, I mean she made one after September 11th about his first post-terrorist attack comedy show.&nbsp;Not only does it include great quotes like "I'm f***ing floundering in insecurity and fear right now," but Maron looks so young but sounds exactly the same! That's what happens when <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/justin-kaufmann/2011-10-28/aldermen-want-decriminalize-pot-media-rushes-find-stock-photos-93566">you listen to people on the radio without seeing them a lot</a>. Also Lennon refers to Manhattan as "Manhattan Island" in this interview, which is just too cute. It's screening on November 8-9th at the Annoyance Theater.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/28559499" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="490" frameborder="0" height="276"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. The suburbs are not a destination</strong></span></span>, <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ott-1104-jones-loop-20111102,0,6898461.story">according to this headline in the <em>Chicago Tribune</em></a>. Except now they are, because of <em>The Sound of Music</em>.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. In order to get people hot about their new season</strong></span></span>, Chicago Opera Theatre had a flashmob that WLN TV describes as "a lot less annoying." They performed at&nbsp;Chicago French Market at lunch yesterday, and <a href="http://www.wgntv.com/blogs/leshock-value/wgntv-pop-up-opera-chicago-opera-theater-takes-the-flash-mob-to-a-higher-key-video-photos-20111102,0,1376051.photogallery">here are some photos</a>&nbsp;and a video. It's part of their pop-up Opera series this week, plus there's also a scavenger hunt. Because why? It's <a href="http://www.chicagooperatheater.org/arias/now2011.html">National Opera Week</a>!</p><p><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>4. TimeLine has extended <em>The Pitmen Painters</em></strong></span></span>. Of the play, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-12/class-classroom-again-timelines-pitmen-painters-91864">Kelly Kleiman wrote</a>, "under BJ Jones's strong direction,&nbsp;<em>The Pitmen Painters</em>&nbsp;feels fresh as well as powerful, with any&nbsp;History Boys&nbsp;echoes serving only to make this play's truths ring louder." It'll be up through December 18.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Hideout</strong></span></span>? Yes, the esteemed Navy Pier institution is <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/15010891/chicago-shakespeare-bringing-national-theatre-of-scotland-to-hideout">teaming up</a> with the speakeasy bar and performance spot to put on <a href="http://www.nationaltheatrescotland.com/content/default.asp?page=home_LongGoneLonesome"><em>Long Gone Lonesome</em></a> from the National Theatre of Scotland. It'll run the weekend of February 2, and will be followed by&nbsp;"a joyous post-performance dance party," which probably won't look anything like <a href="http://www.chancesdances.org/">Chances Dances</a>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 03 Nov 2011 16:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-03/daily-rehearsal-marc-maron-documentary-93731 Daily Rehearsal: Sketchbook is now accepting submissions http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-05/daily-rehearsal-sketchbook-now-accepting-submissions-92858 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-05/collaboraction sketch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-05/TheArgument_revised_Poster_10-2.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 162px; height: 250px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Interrobang's <a href="http://interrobangtheatreproject.org/"><em>The Argument</em></a> opens this weekend </strong></span></span>at the Viaduct. As is unfortunately too usual, it's not uplifting, but is instead "the story of twin sisters, Mia and Ana, who are separated by death when the levees break and the city floods. Devastated by guilt for having survived, her sister Mia carts her sister’s corpse through a post-apocalyptic landscape of anarchy and desperation seeking love and happiness for her lifeless twin." Carting a corpse around: <em>So </em>the latest thing.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Get <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/newswire.php?newsID=597">super close</a> to the stars of <em>Love, Loss and What I Wore</em></strong></span></span>, if you're not <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-20/daily-rehearsal-help-out-friend-judy-fabjance-second-city-92214">entirely sick of them already</a>. They'll be at&nbsp;Petterino's, called "the downtown theater district go-to restaurant" &nbsp;for "Monday Night Live" this coming Monday. Dinner theater at it's finest, hoested by Denise McGowan Tracy and Beckie Menzie.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Drury Lane has extended <em>The Sound of Music</em></strong></span></span> before it's even opened, to January 8, 2012. Previews start October 20, the real deal is the 27th. It seems that moral is high and buzz is good.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-05/collaboraction sketch.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 170px; height: 250px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Submit your stuff to <em>Sketchbook now</em></strong></span></span>, Collaboraction's very well-reviewed annual festival. The <a href="http://www.sketchbooksubmissions.org/">deadline </a>is November 1 for the June 2012 festival. You can submit a piece that's super short (under 7 minutes) and one that's a bit longer (over 8, under 80). And directors without work are welcome to apply as well. Works that have started at Sketchbook have gone on to do pretty well after they start short, like the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-27/daily-rehearsal-5-lesbians-eating-quiche-88391">Daily Rehearsal-approved </a><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-27/daily-rehearsal-5-lesbians-eating-quiche-88391">5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche</a></em>, which moved on to a fully-fleshed out performance under the wing of The New Colony.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;<a href="http://eclipsetheatre.com/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 12px; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 153, 204);" target="_blank">Eclipse Theatre Company</a>&nbsp;is <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14972075/eclipse-theatre-company-plans-eugene-oneill-season-moves-to-athenaeum">dedicating </a>it's 2012 season</strong></span></span> to Eugene O'Neill. This is a consistent practice for the company -- well, not the O'Neill, but the decision to devote an entire season to one playwright. It'll also be moving from its home at the Greenhouse to the Athenaeum. This past season was all about Naomi Wallace, with productions like <em>The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek</em>, which the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-26/dueling-critics-get-tense-over-trestle-pope-lick-creek-91035">Dueling Critics found to be</a> "a lovely, if puzzling, evening in the theater."</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 18:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-05/daily-rehearsal-sketchbook-now-accepting-submissions-92858 Daily Rehearsal: Katharine Hepburn, immortalized on stage http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-21/daily-rehearsal-katharine-hepburn-immortalized-on-stage-92292 <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Next Theatre announced their new production</strong></span></span> of <a href="http://www.nexttheatre.org/maple-and-vine-shows-16.php"><em>Maple and Vine</em></a>,&nbsp;about "Kathy and Ryu, a successful NYC couple" who "have become allergic to their 21st century lives. After meeting a charismatic man from a community of 1950's re-enactors, they forgo cell phones and sushi for cigarettes and Tupperware parties." Who doesn't want to go back to the days of <em>Mad Men</em>?</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-21/Katharine Hepburn_flickr_Laura Loveday.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 256px; height: 300px; " title="Katharine Hepburn (Flickr/Laura Loveday)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. The Katharine Hepburn tribute <em>Tea at Five</em></strong></span></span> is adding extra performances. The production, by <a href="http://www.firstfolio.org/">First Folio Theatre</a>, is based off of Hepburn's autobiography <em>Me: Stories of My Life</em>, is a one-woman show starring Melissa Carlson, who was also seen in <em>A Midsummer's Night's Dream</em> at the Theatre as well.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <a href="http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/">Drury Lane Theatre</a> has replaced <em>Promises, Promises</em></strong></span></span> with <em>Xanadu</em>. No Olivia Newton John promised, though, so hold your tears.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. The hate on <em>Love, Loss, and What I Wore</em> rolls on</strong></span></span>. Well, sort of: Bob Bullen trashes it on his personal blog, referring to the play as <a href="http://chitheatreaddict.com/2011/09/21/love-loss-and-what-i-snore/"><em>Love, Loss, and What I Snore</em></a>, but then is pretty fine about it on the other <a href="http://chicagolikealocal.com/2011/09/20/love-loss-and-what-i-wore-at-broadway-playhouse/">blog he writes for</a>. What gives? Well, the "ladies" might like it, so take the "lady" in your life.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Howard Sherman <a href="http://www.2amtheatre.com/2011/09/21/it%E2%80%99s-you/">tells us</a> about how theater companies</strong></span></span> are annoying him on Twitter. "You retweet this stray person who liked your show and that nameless egg-head who liked your performance; every night between 10 and 11 pm, or first thing in the morning when you rise, it’s the same thing," writes Sherman. "You’re cool, you’re mind-blowing, I’ve got to run and see what you’re doing. It’s boring. And let me let you in on a little secret: I know you’re being selective and if I feel like it, I can find all of those negative tweets you never seem to mention." More interestingly, Sherman calls out Robert Falls as someone who he enjoys on Twitter, because he's "dropped the curtain that often separates us." What do you think of <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/RobertFalls201">Bob's tweets</a>?</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 21 Sep 2011 14:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-21/daily-rehearsal-katharine-hepburn-immortalized-on-stage-92292 The Dueling Critics choose not to murder each other over 'Sweeney Todd' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-02/dueling-critics-choose-not-murder-each-other-over-sweeney-todd-9148 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-02/Gregg_Edelman-Liz_McCartney2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Editor's Note: This week, the Dueling Critics cross swords over a production at Stephen Sondheim's musical adaptation of Sweeney Todd at the Drury Lane Theater in west suburban Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.</em></p><p><strong>KELLY:</strong> Ever since Terence McNally's <em>Lisbon Traviata</em>, in which one character harshly mocks its title song, I've had a hard time remembering whether, and why, I liked <a href="http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/live_theatre/now_playing.php"><em>Sweeney Todd</em></a>. This Stephen Sondheim show is perhaps the only inhabitant of the genre "shock operetta." Its plot is simple, and simply horrifying: our eponymous 19th Century anti-hero is consumed with desire for revenge against the men who sent him to a penal colony so they could despoil his wife and kidnap his daughter (and who could blame him?). When deprived of that revenge Mr. Todd decides to team up with his landlady to slit throats in his barber's chair and then bake the victims into pies. Think <em>The Count of Monte Cristo</em> meets <em>Titus Andronicus</em>, with music. Are you nauseated yet, Jonathan?</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-02/Gregg_Edelman-Liz_McCartney2.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 388px; " title="Gregg Edelman and Liz McCartney in 'Sweeney Todd' "></p><p><strong>JONATHAN:</strong> Nauseated? Of course not! I lived in London and I LIKE meat pies, not to mention warm beer. Besides this is a Stephen Sondheim musical (everyone forgets that Hugh Wheeler wrote the book, based on a play by Christopher Hampton and a multiplicity of rich source materials dating back to the actual <em>Sweeney Todd</em>), and it very likely is the best damn production of <em>Sweeney Todd</em> you'll ever see. Musically and dramatically, it is a wonder, plus it's been done big--which means done right--by Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace. Cast of 27 and a nine-piece orchestra faithful to the original orchestrations and score, word-for-word and note-for-note. I've seen many versions of Sweeney Todd, from Lyric Opera of Chicago to intimate stagings in theaters of 150 seats and this is the real deal.</p><p><strong>KELLY:</strong> You're killing me (so to speak), because I have to agree with every word. This is a perfectly cast, perfectly directed, perfectly sung production of a brutally difficult piece. It retains the humor that runs through the text until the very last minute, without trivializing Todd's need for revenge or the seriousness of the vice and corruption of which he's the victim. When things are this perfect, it's all credit to the director, and Rachel Rockwell has not only shaped the work to a fare-thee-well but choreographed it as well. Still, the weight of the show rests on the guy who plays Sweeney, and Chicagoan-manque Gregg Edelman returns from 20 years of Broadway success to play the part for which he was born. Edelman's Sweeney suggests Alan Rickman with a bad haircut (which is to say, Alan Rickman): malevolent, terrifying and yet somehow irresistible.</p><p><strong>JONATHAN:</strong> And Liz McCartney is "a bloody wonder" as venal, lustful Mrs. Lovett with a big voice. Ultimately, this is NOT a show that belongs in an opera house nor is it one that works better with a high concept, such as the London and New York version in which 12 actors played all the roles and also played all the musical instruments. <em>Sweeney Todd</em> is a lavish Broadway musical and works best when that's respected. It's not just Rockwell, but also musical director Roberta Duchak, conductor Ben Johnson and a superb design team down to the wigs and make-up. The basic scenic concept (by Kevin Depinet) is a two-level set that slashes across the stage diagonally as does the light grid above it.</p><p><strong>KELLY:</strong> And let's not forget to give credit to the veteran Chicago character actors who make each of the supporting roles unforgettable: Kevin Gudahl, whose evil Judge Turpin seems much more evil for being very low-key about it; George Keating as the mountebank Pirelli (his falsetto is a wonder to hear); and Heidi Kettenring in the thankless part of the old woman who accosts every passerby with the warning, "City on fire!" And Jonah Rawitz, the young man playing Toby (who starts as Pirelli's assistant and becomes Todd's), is no mere "child actor" but an actor, period, and a damn good one. There was a real Sweeney Todd? And the guy who wrote <em>Dangerous Liaisons </em>also wrote the underlying book? How you dazzle us with your in-depth knowledge!</p><p><strong>JONATHAN:</strong> Playwright Christopher Hampton ADAPTED earlier source material into his <em>Sweeney Todd</em>, just as he adapted into English the 18th Century French play <em>Les Liaisons Dangereuses</em>. As for <em>Sweeney Todd</em>, some final thoughts. It's often viewed as an Early Industrial Age morality tale, but Rockwell makes it a tale of justice perverted, which goes beyond any particular era or economy and is, alas, a universal complaint. Next, a shout out to the producers, the DeSantis-Van Lente clan, who have so gloriously reinvented the theater left to them by their legendary grandpa, producer Tony DeSantis. The quality of this show starts/end with them. Finally, at a top ticket price of $46 (with free parking),<em> Sweeney Todd</em> is one of the best bangs-for-bucks currently available. It runs at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace through Oct. 9.</p></p> Fri, 02 Sep 2011 19:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-02/dueling-critics-choose-not-murder-each-other-over-sweeney-todd-9148 Three Big Winners in annual Jeff Awards http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/three-big-winners-annual-jeff-awards <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-October/2010-10-26/writers-theater.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>In swift-moving and engaging ceremonies Monday night, the 42nd annual Joseph Jefferson Awards reduced the largest field of nominees in Jeff history--162--to 32 winners in 31 categories.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="500" width="481" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-October/2010-10-26/writers-theater.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p><p>The three big winners of the night were the classy musical revue &quot;Oh Coward!&quot; at Writers' Theatre, the world premiere drama &quot;The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity&quot; co-produced by Victory Gardens Theater and Teatro Vista and the epic musical &quot;Ragtime&quot; as staged at Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace, the venue for the night's festivities.</p><div style="line-height: 200%;">The Jeff Awards are Chicago's version of Broadway's Tony Awards, honoring the best work in locally-produced professional theater. As is the usual case with the Tony Awards, the 2010 Jeffs honored shows already crowned with success: the night's big winners were audience and critical successes of Chicago's 2009-2010 theater season. This wasn't the night for daring choices or Jeff Awards honoring brilliant but unpopular work.</div><p>The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,&quot; an action-filled yet poetic drama by Kristoffer Diaz, uses rigged professional wrestling as a metaphor for ethnic and racial stereotyping and image manipulation in America. It took home Jeff Awards for Diaz in the New Play category, director Edward Torres (artistic director of Teatro Vista), principal actor Desmin Borges, fight choreographer David Woolley and production of a play at a large theater. It was a joyous night for the Victory Gardens/Teatro Vista co-production, which went on intact to Off-Broadway success in New York, with Diaz himself short-listed for the 2010 Pulitzer and Steinberg/American Theatre Critics Association new play prizes. Said Borges, accepting his star-topped Plexiglas Jeff trophy, &quot;You know you've given Jeff Awards to three Puerto Ricans tonight. You know what we're gonna' do to the lobby later on?&quot; referring to the buffet supper and party which followed the awards ceremonies.</p><p>Writers' Theatre in Glencoe put a high Art Deco polish on the familiar revue &quot;Oh Coward!&quot; a stylish rendering of the songs of Noel Coward. Audiences responded by sustaining the show for a six-month run, the longest in Writers' Theatre history. Actor/singers Rob Lindley and Kate Fry received Jeff Awards for Actor in a Revue and Actress in a Revue while the entire show took home the Jeff Award for Production/Revue. Writers' Theatre also produced an original cast CD of the show. The third big winner of the night was &quot;Ragtime&quot; as presented by Drury Lane Productions. The largest winner of the night, it took home Jeffs for Production/Musical, director Rachel Rockwell, musical director Roberta Duchak, Principal Actor/Musical Quentin Earl Darrington, Principal Actress/Musical Cory Goodrich, Supporting Actor/Musical Mark David Kaplan and Supporting Actress/Musical Valisia LeKae. The victory for &quot;Ragtime&quot; was testimony to the new respect Drury Lane Productions has earned over the last three years under the leadership of the youthful grandchildren of legendary founding producer Tony DeSantis, who died in 2007 at the age of 93. With Kyle DeSantis heading the organization, Drury Lane has significantly upgraded the style, depth and production values of its onstage offerings, and both critics and audiences have taken note.</p><p>If there was a little-engine-that-could story, it was the rare revival of the racy 1930's drama &quot;Tobacco Road,&quot; staged as a rogue production by the resurgent American Blues Theater. Founded in 1985, ensemble-based American Blues changed its name to American Theater Company (ATC) some years ago. In 2009, most of the original ensemble walked out in a dispute with the company's new artistic director (P. J. Paparelli), resuming work under the original American Blues name. &quot;Tobacco Road&quot; took home Jeff Awards for costume designers Sarah E. Ross and Kristin DeiTos (sic) and scenic designer James Leaming. In accepting his award, ensemble member Leaming spoke of collaboration and honesty in remarks obviously aimed at Paparelli, who stood just a few feet away as a presenter of the design categories.</p></p> Tue, 26 Oct 2010 21:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/three-big-winners-annual-jeff-awards