WBEZ | Viaduct http://www.wbez.org/tags/viaduct Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: Tig Notaro at the Viaduct http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-15/daily-rehearsal-tig-notaro-viaduct-90598 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-15/3628196278_606b5d7d78.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1. The Old Town School of Folk Music is producing their first theatrical event, to go up in November. Called <a href="https://www.oldtownschool.org/concerts/2011/11/3_vaudeville.php"><em>Keep a Song in Your Soul: The Black Roots of Vaudeville</em></a>, the show&nbsp;is the combined effort of string-band Carolina Chocolate Drops, jazz pianist Reginald R. Robinson, and tap dancer Reggio "The Hoofer" Laughlin. It opens in November but contains adult language and themes! You may remember Old Town as the group that WBEZ beat in this year's battle to the death during <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-06-13/bike-commuter-challenge-prompts-cycling-smackdown-87763">Bike to Work Week</a>.</p><p>2. <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/subscription/explore/"><em>Clybourne Park</em></a> started rehearsals last week. The show is Steppenwolf's season opener in September.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-15/3628196278_606b5d7d78.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 225px;" title="Tig Notaro performing in California in 2009 (Flickr/Scott Beale/Laughing Squid)">3. Comedian Tig Notaro was <a href="http://www.zvents.com/z/chicago-il/tig-notaro-cameron-esposito-junior-stopka--events--202432226">at the Viaduct last night</a>, and she <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/comedian-tig-notaro-on-her-new-tv-show-her-great-great-grandfather-and-a-looong-career/Content?oid=4418031">tells the Reader</a> about her potential new show<em> Tig Has Friends</em>, a televised version of the variety show she hosts in LA.<em> "</em>Last I heard, we'll know something before the new year," Notaro said. "That's pretty much all I know. I certainly hope it airs. I'm really happy with what we did, and having the cast of&nbsp;<i>Mad Men</i>&nbsp;as my guests was pretty magically fun."</p><p>4. Rob Newhouse and Aerial Dance Chicago performed <a href="http://Rob%20Newhouse%20and%20Aerial%20Dance%20Chicago">today</a> at Millennium Park at the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/MP-Family-Fun-Festival/209774532396608">Family Fun Festival</a>. It's the final week of free family fun, so get your dance on.&nbsp;</p><p>5. The Neo-Futurists <a href="http://neofuturists.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=106&amp;Itemid=100013"><em>Chalk and Saltwater: The Ladder Project</em></a> opens September 15. It <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-07/daily-rehearsal-trib-redesigns-their-theater-section-88824">explores the idea of failure</a>, and you can be a part of it, by participating in an "online journal" starting over Labor Day weekend. The show will also have special "pot luck Thursdays" with free admission if you bring a dish; email ladderpotluck@gmail.com if interested. It's an homage to the original production of The Ladder, during which Edgar Davis ran a free admission special for six months of the show and lost an absurd amount of money.&nbsp;Co-creator and performer John Pierson says of the revamp, "Once you understand the art, is it more difficult to mock? Our plan is to have a job that is never done - to constantly reevaluate the piece after each performance."</p><p>Also I'll be out learning about theater in other lands/really just lying on the beach, so look for Daily Rehearsal back on August 25. Don't miss us too much!</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:Play%20texts%20are%20not%20infinitely%20malleable:%20if%20the%20playwright%20calls%20for%20elms%20on%20stage,%20even%20naming%20the%20play%20after%20them,%20there%20damn%20well%20ought%20to%20be%20elms%20on%20stage.">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 15 Aug 2011 14:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-15/daily-rehearsal-tig-notaro-viaduct-90598 Two dance performances tackle global war and harmony http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-17/two-dance-performances-tackle-global-war-and-harmony-86645 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//segment/photo/2011-May/2011-05-17/AAADT-in-Alvin-Ailey&#039;s-Revelations.--Photo-by-Nan-Melville__.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Two upcoming dance performances tackle epic themes of world war and global harmony. But the scale is surprisingly intimate. For WBEZ, dance Critic Lucia Mauro provided a review.</p><p>Mention Leo Tolstoy’s 1869 novel, <em>War and Peace</em>, and most people make some kind of comment about its massive length and scope. So imagine the response to a one-hour dance-theater interpretation of a tome that chronicles the Napoleonic invasion of Russia. The book is also told through the eyes of five aristocratic Russian families. But the dance performance is not so much a condensed version of the novel. It’s a larger exploration of the effects of war at home and abroad, an idea that’s certainly relevant for our times.</p><p>Local theater director Jim Manganello teamed up with choreographer Amanda Timm, along with artists from <a href="http://redmoon.org/" target="_blank">Redmoon</a> and<a href="http://www.collaboraction.org/" target="_blank"> Collaboraction</a> theaters for this production. Their format, reminiscent of the musical <em>Cabaret</em>, sets the catastrophe of war and strife in the absurdist realm of a circus-like variety show. Even the makeup has a garish tone, with ashen lighting punctuated by bursts of blood reds and bruised purples. There are no characters, only archetypes of personalities associated with a combat unit. For instance, there’s the anxious live wire, the misfit who becomes a form of comic relief, and the cool-headed leader.</p><p>The artists begin with a juxtaposition of a battlefield and a ballroom, and visually show how the two intersect. The bigger irony centers on the idea of the prevalence of war to preserve civilized society. One section bounces between couples waltzing and soldiers getting stabbed and blown up. The harmonious becomes confrontational, and we can clearly see the fine line between a headlock and an embrace. The performers also manipulate stools and a table to become a stuffy group of politicians barking out strategies in the safe confines of a situation room. Another sequence involves dancers being bound together with elastic, but they’re really not connected.<br> <br> They seem to be enemies, not lovers.<br> <br> Overall, <em>War and Peace</em> uses circular movements to suggest the cyclical nature of its theme. The late choreographer Alvin Ailey took a similar approach with his epic 1960 dance classic, <em>Revelations</em>. But its iconic set pieces, from a blazing orange sun to a giant round umbrella, emphasize a cycle of unified humanity. When <a href="http://www.alvinailey.org/" target="_blank">Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater</a> makes its annual Chicago stop this month, the dancers will no doubt get the audience up on its feet in celebration of the 50th anniversary of <em>Revelations</em>.</p><p>The three-part African-American opus, set to spirituals, embodies Ailey’s blood memories of growing up in rural Texas. It begins with a moving evocation of faith triumphing over oppression. Then it segues into the exuberant mood of a baptism within a stream of undulating fabric. <em>Revelations</em> ends with a rousing unison dance to "Rocka My Soul in the Bosom of Abraham".</p><p>Both <em>War and Peace</em> and Alvin Ailey’s <em>Revelations</em> show the intersection of conflict and joy to address the ultimate triumph of the human spirit.</p><p><a href="http://www.viaducttheatre.com/cms/" target="_blank"><br> <em><strong>War and Peace</strong></em></a><strong> runs through May 22 at The Viaduct Theatre in Chicago</strong></p><p><strong>Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs May 18-22 at the <a href="http://auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/pages/home/performances-events/performances.php?event_id=299" target="_blank">Auditorium Theatre in Chicago</a>.</strong></p></p> Tue, 17 May 2011 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-05-17/two-dance-performances-tackle-global-war-and-harmony-86645 Working for the Weekend: Critics picks for 5/13-5/15 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-12/working-weekend-critics-picks-513-515-86470 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-12/Derick Grant_Laura Domnar Photography_med.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-13/viaduct_theater_war_and_peace.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 618px; " title=""></p><p><a href="http://www.viaducttheatre.com/cms/"><strong><em>War and Peace</em></strong></a> in an hour?&nbsp; It sounds like a joke, but it's the real deal: a group of Chicago dance and theater artists (including folks from Redmoon and Collaboraction) will offer their own speed-of-light interpretation of Tolstoy's famously long masterwork. (Cynics should recall that Writers' Theatre's 90-minute version of <em>Crime and Punishment</em> omitted nothing that mattered and included nothing that didn't--a masterwork, itself.) I'm seeing <em>War and Peace</em> tonight, so I can't tell you if the effort is successful, but the very concept is so brilliant that anyone who cares about Russian literature (or dance or theater, for that matter) should plan to see it.</p><p>It's a short run--only til next Sunday (May 22), and only Thursday-Sunday, so hop to it. At one of the best spaces in town, the Viaduct, under the highway at Belmont and Western; tickets $10-$15.&nbsp;</p><p>And speaking of hopping to it: tomorrow night (Friday, May 13) is the final performance of Sondheim's <a href="http://www.themusictheatrecompany.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=25&amp;Itemid=12"><strong><em>Merrily We Roll Along</em></strong></a> up at The Music Theatre Company in Highland Park. This show <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-07/working-weekend-critics-picks-84873">was exciting in prospect</a>, because it's one of Sondheim's most sophisticated works; but it turns out it was even more exciting in execution, with just the right light touch on a serious vein. This company seems to have appeared from nowhere, but like Athena springing from the head of Zeus it has arrived fully armed and ready for anything.&nbsp; $30, and worth every penny.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-13/Derick Grant_Laura Domnar Photography_med.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 904px; " title=""></p><p>Tap dancers, who are all about lineage, pass down the physical equivalents of oral history, honoring their elders and nurturing their students and always acknowledging their connections. In the family show <strong><em><a href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/calendar/performance?id=3114&amp;mos=7">Once Upon a Tap</a></em></strong>, Derick K. Grant—who starred in Broadway’s Tony-winning <em>Bring in ‘Da Noise, Bring in ‘Da Funk</em>—ramps up that tradition by performing with his kids, Lulu and Kaleo, who reportedly received their first tap shoes on the days they were born. Lulu is 11 and Kaleo turns 13 on the day of this world premiere, <a href="http://tickets.harristheaterchicago.org/tickets/reserve.aspx?performanceNumber=3114">Sunday only at the Harris and just $10</a>. A bedtime story about teamwork and gnomes, it reportedly takes viewers to a magical land where an evil conductor, the “Maestro,” threatens to destroy the rhythm and funk. Writer Shane Rutkowski narrates the performance, and the supporting ensemble of seven dancers includes hip-hip acrobat/contortionist Tylon and 15-year-old tapper Demi Remick.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-12/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-512-86451"><strong>Desmin Borges</strong></a> blew everyone away as the narrator/hero of Kristofer Diaz's <em>The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Diety</em>, first in the Chicago co-production by Teatro Vista and Victory Gardens, and then in the Off-Broadway transfer. Now Borges is returning to Chicago and Teatro Vista where he takes the lead in Jennifer Barclay's <a href="https://www.theaterwit.org/boxoffice/index.php"><em>Freedom, NY</em></a>, which plays through June 12 at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-12/TheatreSymposium2011.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 102px; " title=""></p><p>True theater mavens should be flocking next week (Wed.-Sat., May 18-21) to the confines of Columbia College for its years-in-the-making massive symposium titled "<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-09/symposium-discuses-future-chicago-theater-86254"><strong>Chicago: Theatre Capital of America--Past, Present and Future</strong></a>." Over 70 sessions with 180 speakers (from across the country) are on the schedule, which should cover everything from our five Tony Award winning companies to gay theater to theater critics. $95 for everything ($60/students). Full disclosure: Kelly Kleiman and I are leading one symposium program, Critiquing the Critics, May 21 at 12:30PM.</p></p> Thu, 12 May 2011 20:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-12/working-weekend-critics-picks-513-515-86470 Atalee Judy strikes back at the 'Empire' http://www.wbez.org/story/atalee-judy/atalee-judy-strikes-back-empire <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//DSC_5870 copy_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Atalee Judy didn&rsquo;t like getting called &ldquo;Attila&rdquo; as a kid. But this powerfully built director-choreographer is something of a warrior. Ever since she started <a href="http://www.breakbone.com/">Breakbone DanceCo.</a>, in 1997, she&rsquo;s taken physical, emotional, and political risks in what she calls &ldquo;a performative humanistic theater&rdquo; like Pina Bausch&rsquo;s.<em><br /></em></p><p>Breakbone board member and actress Carolyn Hoerdemann says, &ldquo;Atalee&rsquo;s use of text, live sound and songs, character, video, time, magical realism all adds to the deep theatricality of her work.&rdquo;</p><p>A former mosher, Judy is best known for her bodyslam technique, which involves hurling oneself through the air into a death-defying roll. But her new piece&mdash;&ldquo;Course of Empire,&rdquo; opening tonight at the <a href="http://www.viaducttheatre.com/cms/">Viaduct</a> and running through November 20&mdash;is something of a departure: no bodyslamming, no text, no overt anger. Instead, partly inspired by painter Thomas Cole&rsquo;s pessimistic 1836 series of the same title, Judy looks at architecture through the lens of human psychology.<em><br /></em></p><p style="text-align: left;">&ldquo;At first,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;I was thinking the Taj Mahal, the Vatican, these grand places. But I wasn&rsquo;t thinking about all these emotional things. Women walking through a tunnel at night have a completely different experience than men walking through a tunnel at night. I wanted to work on the fear factor as much as the beautiful, inspiring factor. The fear of decay, the fear of an earthquake, or of the ceiling coming down on your head, or destruction in general&mdash;so war.&rdquo;</p><p>Video for &ldquo;Course of Empire,&rdquo; by Judy&rsquo;s partner and longtime collaborator <a href="http://www.carlwiedemann.com/">Carl Wiedemann,</a> is projected on three screens to &ldquo;capture the peripheral vision of going through doorways and spaces,&rdquo; Judy says. &ldquo;I wanted to sync the images so that they all give you that vertigo kind of feeling, like you&rsquo;re looking over a balcony or going through a hallway. You see that stuff that makes you a little dizzy or nauseous.&rdquo;</p><p>Asked to name her favorite earlier pieces, Judy first mentions &ldquo;Heroine&mdash;A Woman&rsquo;s Tale,&rdquo; a 2006 dance opera about female survivors of sexual abuse that was &ldquo;important to do.&rdquo; Then she talks about the 2007 &ldquo;Visions of Light,&rdquo; which she says was about &ldquo;me coming to terms with my dad&mdash;who died of dementia, schizophrenia, bipolar&mdash;and blending it with the idea that Joan of Arc was schizophrenic.&rdquo;</p><p>Judy has vivid memories of her father, whom she clearly loved. &ldquo;I started noticing when I was about six, &lsquo;Oh, Daddy&rsquo;s saying funny things&hellip;&rsquo; Like he could walk on water. And he&rsquo;d make these little stick figurines, and they&rsquo;d be his disciples, and he&rsquo;d name them. He was institutionalized 11 times, given electroshock therapy 13 times, and he escaped once that I know of, and they found him wandering naked in some woods. Obviously he was kinda wacked, poor guy.&rdquo; He died when Judy was 12, and a few months later she ran away from home (in Texas) to New York City. She never went back, not to live.</p><p>Judy&rsquo;s mother is an architect. &ldquo;I grew up with her dragging me to odd places,&rdquo; Judy says. &ldquo;The one place that profoundly affected me was, in Rome, there&rsquo;s this monastery inhabited by monks who&rsquo;ve taken a vow of silence. It&rsquo;s called the Church of Bones. The altar and the pews and all the walls are decorated with the bones of monks from past ages who&rsquo;ve died. That was so cool.&rdquo;</p><p>Her mother didn&rsquo;t have &ldquo;grandiose ideas&rdquo; about architecture, Judy says. But in &ldquo;Course of Empire&rdquo; she herself is aiming for &ldquo;a more masculine viewpoint, perceiving this empire path as men would. We&rsquo;re definitely not portraying ourselves as women building a new empire. If it were up to women, we wouldn&rsquo;t be building empires. We&rsquo;d still be in mud huts. And living happily.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 11 Nov 2010 17:29:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/atalee-judy/atalee-judy-strikes-back-empire