WBEZ | Jonathan Abarbanel http://www.wbez.org/tags/jonathan-abarbanel Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don't-Miss List March 22-28: Irish theater, war stories http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-22/dont-miss-list-march-22-28-irish-theater-war-stories-97507 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-21/Light in the Piazza_Theo Ubique.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-21/Light in the Piazza_Theo Ubique.jpg" style="width: 630px; height: 473px;" title="Theo Ubique's 'A Light in the Piazza.' (Courtesy of Theo Ubique/Adam Veness)"></p><p><strong>Dueling Critics on <em>Eight Forty-Eight,</em> WBEZ 91.5 FM and streaming live at wbez.org<br> Friday, March 23, 9 to 10 a.m., FREE</strong></p><p>First, of course, don't miss Jonathan and me as we duel over <a href="http://theoubique.org/">Theo Ubique's <em>The Light in the Piazza</em></a>, a musical (or is it an opera?) set in Italy after the Second World War that asks the following musical question: Can a girl from Winston-Salem who's been kicked in the head by a pony find love with a boy from Florence whose parents run a tie shop? (No, I'm not making this up.)</p><p>With a score by composer-lyricist Adam Guettel, whose <em>Floyd Collins</em> was equally unconventional and showed him to be a major new talent, and a book by Craig Lucas whose <em>Prelude to a Kiss</em> is one of the most romantic plays of the past couple of decades,<span style="font-style: italic;"> </span><em>Piazza </em>offers us plenty to talk about. We're on the radio Friday morning, and if you happen to miss the live segment you'll find it <a href="http://wbez.org/848">here on the site</a>.</p><p><a href="http://seanachai.org/"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-22/A Moon Misbegotten_Senachai Theater_Jackie Jasperson.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 267px; margin: 5px; float: left;" title="Brad Armacost and Carolyn Klein star in 'A Moon from the Misbegotten.' (Seanachai Theatre Company/Jackie Jasperson)"></a><strong><a href="http://seanachai.org/"><em>A Moon for the Misbegotten</em> at Seanachai Theatre Company</a><br> March 23-April 29, Irish American Heritage Center, tickets $24-$28</strong></p><p>What's so great about Seanachai is that it's transcended the default setting of Irish theater, namely, works about The Troubles. It certainly does work of that kind, like last year's spectacular <em>Shadow of a Gunman</em>; but it also does work from the Irish-American canon, and that's what's on tap beginning Friday night. Eugene O'Neill's <em>A Moon for the Misbegotten</em> is even more romantic than <em>Prelude</em> . . . (see above) and has all the richness of his best work without the egregious length of the magisterial <em>Iceman</em> and <em>Long Day's Journey.</em> This production features Steve Pickering as the tortured Jim Tyrone, and that would be reason enough to see the show even if the company weren't so reliably excellent.&nbsp;</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.propthtr.org/"><em>". . . drumming in the night"</em> at Prop Thtr</a><br> March 23-April 29, 3502 N. Elston, tickets $15</strong></p><p>Prop Thtr offers its own take on the current craze for work about World War I (<em>War Horse, Downton Abbey</em>, the soon-to-be-released <em>Birdsong</em>) in Bertolt Brecht's first produced play <em>". . . drumming in the night."</em>&nbsp; The company uses a new translation of this tale of a German soldier trying to reconstruct his life and reconnect with his love in defeated postwar Berlin. Brecht was one of the leading critics of the Nazi regime during its rise; look to this early piece to see how the First World War gave birth to the Second.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 22 Mar 2012 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-22/dont-miss-list-march-22-28-irish-theater-war-stories-97507 'Dueling Critics' unwrap a box full of holiday theater http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-15/dueling-critics-unwrap-box-full-holiday-theater-94924 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-15/Rudolph DCs.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Believe it or not, every theater company in Chicago was not doing a holiday play--but many were. Now some of the productions are like the holidays themselves--filled with promise and anticipation, only to make theatergoers wish it was January already! Others are great presents for the audience: full of laughs, nostalgia and warm-and-fuzzy feelings. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics" target="_blank"><em>Dueling Critics</em></a>, Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abarbanel, talked about some of their favorites from the holiday stages.</p><p>For more picks, check out the <em>Dueling Critics</em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-16/dueling-critics-guide-holiday-theater-tinsel-and-treacle-triumph-94" target="_blank">guide</a> to holiday theater on WBEZ's <a href="http://www.wbez.org/onstagebackstage" target="_blank"><em>Onstage/Backstage</em><em> </em></a>blog.<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 14:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-15/dueling-critics-unwrap-box-full-holiday-theater-94924 There are over 50 holiday shows in Chicago this year, but who's profiting off of them? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-15/there-are-over-50-holiday-shows-chicago-year-whos-profiting-them-94 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-14/6406855765_c968f43d14.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-14/6406855765_c968f43d14.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 225px;" title="(Flickr/Goatling)">When I first set out to list every holiday show performed in the Chicago-area this season,&nbsp;and the reviews written about them, I thought it'd be a manageable project. I assumed there'd be maybe twenty or so, even though a smaller part of me knew that there were definitely more than twenty out there; they just all blurred together, like the many reviews I read during a given week.</p><p>But then the list started to drag on.</p><p>As I culled from many different sources, I asked our dance writer Laura Molzahn to send me the dance shows I was missing, and then there were the comedy shows I'd forgotten, and finally, I had an Excel spreadsheet with over 50 shows in it, some of which I had never even heard of, or read reviews of. I was less surprised by the three or four different versions<em> of A Christmas Carol</em> and <em>The Nutcracker</em>&nbsp;(both the dance and the play) cropping up all over town.</p><p>With so many options for theater-goers this holiday season, I wondered if these productions are even profitable for the various companies that produce them.</p><p>General lore posits that the holidays are a great time for performing arts venues. After all, you've got all that family, and the theaters, if nothing else, give you somewhere to put them - quiet and behaved and entertained, at least for a few hours.</p><p>When I put this question out to our theater bloggers, Dueling Critic Jonathan Abarbanel was doubtful I'd get anyone "to talk cash" with me. He was right. But he also said the numbers do speak for themselves.</p><p>"There certainly is a reason more and more theaters do these shows each year, and generally return to the same ones," Abarbanel noted.&nbsp;</p><p>Abarbanel pointed out that productions like <em>The Santaland Diaries</em> and <em>Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer</em> are popular even if the company that's putting them up isn't, which still allows them to pack-in the crowds at smaller, less trafficked venues (Theater Wit and Hell in a Handbag, at Mary's Attic, respectively).</p><p>But when <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-07/mark-yonally-wants-give-tap-dancing-its-due-94674">Molzahn interviewed Mark Yonally</a> of Chicago Tap Theatre, and asked whether the holiday-themed "Tidings of Tap" was a "cash cow" for the company, she was told no.&nbsp;</p><p>“Most of our shows come very close to breaking even—or actually break a profit," Yonally told her. "We try to do shows that we think the audience will want to see.” Which means holiday-themed ones, right audience?</p><p>Every year, the Goodman produces arguably one of the most high-profile of the Chicago holiday productions. But Denise Schneider,&nbsp;publicity director for the theater,&nbsp;points out that the production isn't exactly profitable for them, given that they're a non-profit. But, she does argue that the company does well off of <em>A Christmas Carol</em> in "myriad ways non-monetary—most importantly, that it has served as the entry point to theater for generations (plural) of Chicagoans."&nbsp;The hope is that if you go see <em>A Christmas Carol</em>, you'll have warm, fuzzy thoughts about the Goodman and return back for some of their less family friendly productions. A gateway theater experience, &nbsp;if you will.</p><p>For smaller companies, a holiday show is more of a risk. Robert Bouwman of Corn Productions, responsible for this year's <em>Happy Holly-daze</em>, said that the Cornservatory hadn't done a holiday show "in a long while", opting to rent out the theater for that cash instead. But this year, they're hoping that the success of their other holiday-themed shows (St. Patrick's Day, New Year's Eve and Valentine's Day) will rub off on this season as well.</p><p>So whether or not the companies are making money off of them, what <em>should</em> you go see?</p><p>Well, the most positively reviewed productions actually include a pretty healthy mix of larger and smaller shows.&nbsp;<em>A Christmas Carol</em>&nbsp;(the Goodman edition),<em> Season's Greetings</em> from Northlight, <em>Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer</em>, and <em>The Santaland Diaries </em>are all solid bets. Others worth checking out include <em>Hannukatz the Musical</em> from National Pasttime,&nbsp;<em>Charles Dickens&nbsp;Begrudgingly&nbsp;Performs&nbsp;"A Christmas Carol."&nbsp;Again.&nbsp;</em>from Building Stage, and <em>The Christmas Schooner</em> at Mercury.</p><p>But the question remains: Is more always better? I wonder if the companies behind these shows, which seem to be trying to capitalize off of the season, lose out on potential profits simply due to reviewer fatigue -- or audience disappointment -- neither of which dissipate just because there's tons of holiday cheer being forced down our throats year after year.</p><p>For instance, a friend of mine attended <em>The Santaland Diaries</em> over the weekend, which she thoroughly enjoyed. But she noted that one of the funniest moments was when actor Mitchell Fain asked the audience if any of them had actually been expecting author David Sedaris to be there.</p><p>The response? A few sheepishly raised hands, and a big laugh.</p><p>Perhaps these holiday shows should come with a warning label: Like the presents you get on Christmas morning, your expectations of a holiday show may be greater than the bounty you're about to receive.</p><p>***</p><p>Below is a list of all holiday shows playing in Chicago this season (excluding your child's very important holiday pageant). I'll be clear: this study was more qualitative than quantitative, so please feel free to point out any errors on my part. I admit that once I delved into this project, it was a little more than overwhelming, so comments about my grievous errors are welcomed -- let's get this list to one hundred.</p><p>And for your interest, here are the critic's holiday picks from the<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2011/12/08/the-latest-reader-performing-arts-reviews"> <em>Chicago Reader</em></a>, the <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/9008751-421/area-stages-light-up-the-season-with-holiday-shows.html"><em>Sun-Times</em></a>, <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/15023259/new-holiday-theater-shows-for-2011"><em>TimeOut</em></a>, the <em>Tribune</em> (<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/ct-ott-1125-holiday-guide-main-20111123,0,7683303.column">here </a>and <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ott-1202-antichristmas-fill-20111201,0,7822971.story">here</a>), and of course, <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-16/dueling-critics-guide-holiday-theater-tinsel-and-treacle-triumph-94%20%20">WBEZ</a>.</em></p><p><strong>THEATER/COMEDY</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.theaterwit.org/plays/2010/santaland/index.php"><em>The Santaland Diaries</em></a> (Theater Wit)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="https://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/87/performances"><em>The Eight Reindeer Monologues</em></a> (Theater Wit)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.cbtheatre.org/CHI-works/KCC2011/KCC2011-Tix.php"><em>A Klingon Christmas Carol</em></a> (Commedia Beauregard)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://silenttheatre.com/Current_Events.html"><em>A Christmas Carol: The Silent Bah-Humbug</em></a> (Silent)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.handbagproductions.org/"><em>Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer</em></a> (Hell in Hand)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.npt2.com/doolisters/hannukatz.htm"><em>Hannukatz, the Musical</em></a> (National Pastime)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://americanplayers.org/plays-and-tickets/the-gift-of-the-magi"><em>The Gift of the Magi</em></a> (American Players)&nbsp;</p><p><em>St. Nicholas</em> (Next)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://buildingstage.com/bxo_show_dickens.php"><em>Charles Dickens&nbsp;Begrudgingly&nbsp;Performs&nbsp;"A Christmas Carol."&nbsp;Again.</em></a>&nbsp;(Building Stage)</p><p><a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/Production.aspx?prod=110"><em>A Christmas Carol</em></a> (Goodman)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.thechicagotheatre.com/events/christmas-story-chicago-1211.html"><em>A Christmas Story: The Musical</em></a> (Chicago Theatre)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://the-hypocrites.tix.com/Event.asp?Event=410100"><em>The Pirates of Penzance</em></a> (Hypocrites)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/seasonfour/ourholidaystories.html"><em>Our Holiday Stories</em></a> (16th Street)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://neofuturists.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=112&amp;Itemid=100020"><em>Burning Bluebeard</em></a> (Neo-Futurists)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://drinkingandwriting.com/news_items/1"><em>A Beer Carol</em> </a>(Drinking &amp; Writing)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.theatreatthecenter.com/2011_christmas.asp"><em>Another Night Before Christmas</em></a> (Theatre at the Center)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://mercurytheaterchicago.com/schooner.html"><em>The Christmas Schooner</em> </a>(Mercury)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.greenhousetheater.org/index.php/el-stories-holiday-train"><em>El Stories: Holiday Train</em></a> (Waltzing Mechanics)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.ticketmaster.com/Donny-Marie-Christmas-In-Chicago-tickets/artist/1649824"><em>Donny &amp; Marie: Christmas in Chicago</em></a>&nbsp;(Oriental Theatre)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.atcweb.org/onstage/iawl.html"><em>It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play</em></a> (ATC)</p><p><a href="http://www.marriotttheatre.com/show.aspx?show=46"><em>Irving Berlin's White Christmas</em></a> (Marriott)</p><p><a href="http://bohotheatre.com/show_archive/striking12_2011/show_striking12_2011.php"><em>Striking 12</em></a> (Heartland Studio)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://about.me/winterpageant"><em>The Teeny Lounge Presents: 2011 Winter Pageant</em></a> (Redmoon)</p><p><a href="http://www.annoyanceproductions.com/gayco/index.shtml"><em>Lit!</em></a> (GayCo)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.secondcity.com/performances/detail/749/"><em>The Second City's Dysfuntional Holiday Review</em></a></p><p><a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/Production.aspx?prod=119"><em>The Nativity</em></a> (Congo Square)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/io/shows/290-joy-an-io-family-christmas-special"><em>Joy!</em></a> (iO)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.annoyanceproductions.com/falala/index.shtml"><em>Fa La La La, F--- It</em> </a>(Annoyance)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.cicomedy.com/NowPlaying.html"><em>A Very Sci-Fi Christmas</em></a> (Chemically Imbalanced)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.vextheatre.org/next.html"><em>Twist-a-Carol II: Moby-Nick</em></a> (Vex)&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://www.victorygardens.org/onstage/abt.php">It’s a Wonderful Life: Live at the Biograph</a></em>&nbsp;(ABT)</p><p><a href="http://www.citadeltheatre.com/whats-on/2011-2012-season/a-christmas-carol/"><em>A Christmas Carol</em></a> (Citadel)</p><p><a href="http://www.metropolisarts.com/index.php/fuseaction/show.details/showid/253/a-christmas-carol.html"><em>A Christmas Carol</em></a> (Metropolis)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://greenhousetheater.org/index.php/tinsel-the-musical"><em>Tinsel! The musical</em> </a>(Lil' Buds Theatre)&nbsp;</p><p><em><a href="http://whatisph.com/shows.php">The Santa Stories: The Nice One/The Naughty One</a>&nbsp;</em>(pH productions)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="https://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/82/performances"><em>Silent Night of the Living Dead</em></a> (Theater Wit)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.overshadowedproductions.com/news_events.php"><em>The Match Girl</em></a> (Overshadowed productions)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.annoyanceproductions.com/christmaspageant/index.shtml"><em>The Annoyance Christmas Pageant&nbsp;</em></a></p><p><a href="http://cornservatory.org/?page_id=1410"><em>Happy Holly-daze</em></a> (Cornservatory)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.offoffbroadzway.com/events/18/off-off-broadzway-presents-let-it-ho/"><em>Let it Ho!</em></a> (Off Off Broadzway) &nbsp;</p><p><a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Chicago-Dramatists/12654227027"><em>Christmas in Chicago</em></a> (Chicago Dramatists)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.emeraldcitytheatre.com/shows_1112_juniebjones.php"><em>Junie B. Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!</em></a> (Emerald City)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://thehousetheatre.com/seasons/eight/shows/the-nutcracker--2"><em>The Nutcracker</em></a> (House Theatre)</p><p><a href="http://www.barrelofmonkeys.org/blog/entry/holiday_special/"><em>That's Weird, Grandma! Holiday Round</em></a> (Barrel of Monkeys</p><p><strong>DANCE</strong></p><p><a href="http://www.joffrey.org/nut"><em>The Nutcracker</em></a>&nbsp;(Joffrey)&nbsp;</p><p><a href="http://www.saltcreekballet.org/Calendar/tabid/87/Default.aspx"><em>The Nutcracker</em></a> (Salt Creek Ballet)</p><p><a href="http://www.ruthpagecivicballet.com/Civic_Ballet_of_Chicago.html"><em>The Nutcracker</em></a> (Civic Ballet of Chicago)</p><p><a href="http://chicagotaptheatre.com/events/121208-tidings-tap"><em>Tidings of Tap</em></a> (Chicago Tap Theatre)</p><p><a href="http://www.bethegroove.com/content/performances"><em>Winter Break Down (Louder Than Your Christmas Sweater)</em></a>&nbsp;(Be the Groove)</p><p><a href="http://www.ensembleespanol.org/#/concerts/4537860520"><em>Concierto Familiar</em></a> (Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater)</p><p><a href="http://www.stridinglion.org/Home.html"><em>Night Roars Performance Cabaret</em></a>&nbsp;(Striding Lion)</p><p><a href="http://www.balletchicago.org/index.asp"><em>The Nutcracker</em></a> (Ballet Chicago)</p><p><a href="http://www.nutcracker.com/yourcity/rosemont-il"><em>The Great Russian Nutcracker</em></a> (Moscow Ballet)</p></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 13:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-15/there-are-over-50-holiday-shows-chicago-year-whos-profiting-them-94 Polarity Ensemble Theatre tackles Ibsen’s 'Peer Gynt' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-09/polarity-ensemble-theatre-tackles-ibsen%E2%80%99s-peer-gynt-94763 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-December/2011-12-09/PET_PG_img_6702_2_large.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>To <a href="http://www.petheatre.com/peergynt.html" target="_blank">Peer Gynt</a>, the world is his for the taking. He fancies himself a brilliant, charming rogue and a self-made man. In reality, he is selfish, egotistical and uses others for his own gain. He has been likened to the trickster, the embodiment of the Norwegian psyche and the essence of American capitalism. Thankfully for audiences' sake, he is simply the title character in the most famous play by Norway’s most famous playwright, Henrik Ibsen. The play, also <em>Peer Gynt</em>, springs from the epic-poem-slash-verse play that trolls between what is happening on stage and what is happening in Peer Gynt’s head.</p><p>So, can this play be tamed and can audiences find something to like about this rather unlikable fellow? The very likeable Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abarbanel,<em> Eight Forty-Eight's</em> <em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics" target="_blank">Dueling Critics</a></em>, shared their opinion of <em>Peer Gynt</em>.</p><p>The <a href="http://www.petheatre.com/index.html" target="_blank">Polarity Ensemble Theater</a> performs <em>Peer Gynt</em> at the <a href="http://www.dcatheater.org/shows/show/peer_gynt/">DCA Theater's Storefront Theater</a> through Dec. 18.</p></p> Fri, 09 Dec 2011 15:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-09/polarity-ensemble-theatre-tackles-ibsen%E2%80%99s-peer-gynt-94763 Dueling Critics: 'Momma's Boyz' offers second chances http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-28/dueling-critics-mommas-boyz-offers-second-chances-93567 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-28/mammasboys.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago theater company <a href="http://www.teatrovista.org/home.html" target="_blank">Teatro Vista</a> launched its 22nd season the last week of October. They had a special guest this year, resident playwright<br> Candido Tirado. The New Yorker brought Teatro Vista a little present, his drama <a href="http://www.teatrovista.org/stage/26-miles.html" target="_blank"><em>Momma’s Boyz</em></a>. The play follows three young men who are given a second chance after a tragic incident. <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> was joined by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics" target="_blank"><em>Dueling Critics</em></a> Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abarbanel to talk about <em>Momma's Boyz</em>.</p></p> Fri, 28 Oct 2011 14:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-28/dueling-critics-mommas-boyz-offers-second-chances-93567 Dueling Critics: Sondheim's 'Follies' at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-14/dueling-critics-sondheims-follies-chicago-shakespeare-theater-93150 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-October/2011-10-14/Follies.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Take an old theater on the verge of demolition; add some former showgirls who, like the theater, have seen better days; roll out a score by Stephen Sondheim that pays homage to his favorite musical styles from the '30s, '40s and '50s; and it's a show! <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,63" target="_blank"><em>Follies</em></a> is currently being performed at the <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Shakespeare Theater</a>. Jonathan Abarbanel and Kelly Kleiman discussed the production with <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>.</p><p><em>Follies</em> is on stage at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater through Nov. 13.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Music Button: Carol Burnett performing Stephen Sondheim's "I'm Still Here", from a tribute to Sondheim television broadcast</em></p></p> Fri, 14 Oct 2011 14:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-14/dueling-critics-sondheims-follies-chicago-shakespeare-theater-93150 Dueling Critics duke it out over 'The Shadow of a Gunman' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-30/dueling-critics-duke-it-out-over-shadow-gunman-92656 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-30/Shadow.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cases of mistaken identity can be awkward, funny—even tragic. Sean O’Casey’s play <em>The Shadow of a Gunman</em> plays the scenario out in all three directions. The play is being staged by the <a href="http://seanachai.org/" target="_blank">Seanachai Theatre Company</a> at the <a href="http://irish-american.org/" target="_blank">Irish American Heritage Center</a>. Set in the tenements of Dublin in the 1920s, the plot involves a middling poet mistaken for a calculating gunman. But does the play successfully marry comedy and tragedy?&nbsp; And can a modern staging capture the political tension of revolutionary Ireland? <em>Eight Forty-Eight's </em>Dueling Critics Jonathan Abarbanel and Kelly Kleiman joined host Alison Cuddy with their takes.</p><p><a href="http://seanachai.org/" target="_blank"><em>The Shadow of a Gunman</em></a> runs through October 23 at the Irish American Heritage Center.</p></p> Fri, 30 Sep 2011 14:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-30/dueling-critics-duke-it-out-over-shadow-gunman-92656 Dueling Critics: 'The Kid Thing' delves into family issues with a modern twist http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/dueling-critics-kid-thing-delves-family-issues-modern-twist-92069 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/the kid thing.png" alt="" /><p><p>Many couples have confronted the same fundamental question of whether or not they really want kids. The answers often involve pondering major life and possible personality changes. One such Q &amp; A session is at the heart of a new play, <a href="http://www.chicagodramatists.org/production_the-kid-thing" target="_blank"><em>The Kid Thing</em></a>, a co-production of Chicago Dramatists and <a href="http://aboutfacetheatre.com/" target="_blank">About Face Theatre</a>. But <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> had other questions too; like – does the play work?&nbsp; Are central characters, Leigh and Darcy, believable? For answesr to those questions and no doubt more, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics" target="_blank"> the <em>Dueling Critics</em></a>, <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/adpa/facultybios/faculty-staff_abarbenel.htm" target="_blank">Jonathan Abarbanel</a> and Kelly Kleiman.</p><p><em>The Kid Thing</em>, runs at Chicago Dramatists through Oct. 16th.</p><p><em>Music Button: It's Our Turn, "Project 4007 Remixes", (Emotive)<br> Music today provided by our guest DJ, DJ Frique</em></p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/dueling-critics-kid-thing-delves-family-issues-modern-twist-92069 The 'Dueling Critics' take on 'The Women' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-29/dueling-critics-take-women-89836 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-29/The women.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Dueling Critics take on <em>The Women</em>, by Clare Booth Luce, at<a href="http://www.circle-theatre.org/" target="_blank"> Circle Theater</a> in Oak Park.&nbsp; The show focuses on a socialite seeking revenge on her wayward husband in the 1930s. When the <em>The Women</em> was performed on Broadway in the 1930s, a scandal ensued among the male-dominated world of theater criticism. Booth Luce unveiled society ladies behaving badly--the characters were catty, coniving and even, divorced. Real emotions-–played out in a tony, art deco setting. Seventy-five years years later, art deco remains a compelling style but the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics" target="_blank"><em>Dueling Critics</em></a> wondered if <em>The Women</em> is still relevant.</p><p><em>The Women</em>, at Circle Theater in Oak Park - through August 14.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 29 Jul 2011 20:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-29/dueling-critics-take-women-89836 'Chinglish' mines cultural, language divide between East and West for laughs http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-01/chinglish-mines-cultural-language-divide-between-east-and-west-laughs-88 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-01/Chinglish.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>China has changed dramatically in the 23 years since David Henry Hwang’s <em>M. Butterfly</em> first hit Broadway. If the East retains a reputation for mystery, today that may well stem from its astonishing economic growth as much as its cultural allure.<br> <br> But if China and America have drawn closer in some ways, there are still significant differences between the countires - especially around language. Hwang’s new play<em> <a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/Production.aspx?prod=114" target="_blank">Chinglish </a></em>mines these divides for laughs. The play continues its run at the <a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/" target="_blank">Goodman Theatre</a> through July 24 before heading to Broadway. <em>Eight Forty-Eight's</em> Alison Cuddy was joined by dueling critics Jonathan Abarbanel and Kelly Kleiman to discuss the play and how it will travel.</p><p><em>Music Button: Kode 9, “Magnetic City,” Box of Dub: Dubstep and Future Dub, (Soul Jazz)</em></p></p> Fri, 01 Jul 2011 13:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-01/chinglish-mines-cultural-language-divide-between-east-and-west-laughs-88