WBEZ | Travels With My Aunt http://www.wbez.org/tags/travels-my-aunt Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Working for the Weekend: Critics picks http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-07/working-weekend-critics-picks-84873 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-07/Allison Torem and ensemble member Jon Michael Hill.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Let's try something new, shall we? Onstage/Backstage will give you our picks for weekend performances. Look for this new weekly feature every Thursday. Below are picks from all three of our writers (Kleiman, Molzahn and Abarbanel).</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-07/Allison Torem and ensemble member Jon Michael Hill.jpg" title="" width="450" height="300"></p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>Tonight I'm going to see Stephen Sondheim's "<strong>Merrily We Roll Along</strong>" up in Highland Park. I know nothing about&nbsp;<a href="http://www.themusictheatrecompany.org/">The Music Theatre Company</a>, the group doing it, but "Merrily" is one of those musicals that keeps ripening, and every re-viewing of it presents a different side. The music is excellent even for those of us who don't think every dissonant note Sondheim has ever written is an act of genius; the romance is heartbreaking; and the told-in-reverse-chronological-order structure continues to intrigue. At the Karchar Center on Green Bay Road in Highland Park, through May 1.</p><p>Closer to home (for city dwellers, at least) is Steppenwolf's remount of Lanford Wilson's 1973 play "<strong><a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=506">Hot L Baltimore</a></strong>", about the inhabitants of a soon-to-be demolished flophouse. Sort of a reverse "Grand Hotel," where people don't come and go and yet everything happens, the play manages to be of epic proportions and yet offer masterly miniature portraits of the individuals who live, work or simply wait in the hotel's lobby. Tina Landau's production isn't quite as focused as I'd like--the sweep often overwhelms the gem-like smaller moments--but when nearly every member of the cast is perfect that's to a director's credit. That's the case here, with particular kudos to Alana Arenas as a con-woman desperate to rescue her disabled brother and Jacqueline Williams as a mother desperate to rescue her alcoholic son.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.elementscontemporaryballet.com/events.html#2" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">Ballet on the cheap</a>: And it’s good stuff. Get in on the ground floor with six-year-old&nbsp;<strong>Elements Contemporary Ballet</strong>, specializing in highly musical neoclassical dance in the George Balanchine line. It’s abstract, yes, but never without feeling in the hands of artistic director Mike Gosney. I can’t say the dancers are Joffrey-caliber, but they’re strong, flexible, and expressive in Gosney’s demanding choreography. All four pieces on the program are his. One night only, Saturday, at the Athenaeum Theatre; just $20-$25.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-07/BuntingHrsInMotion.jpg" title="" width="500" height="547"></p><p>Ever feel you’ve been self-helped to death? Atalee Judy of BONEdanse, formerly Breakbone DanceCo., channels vintage self-help records (yes, records) and instruction manuals in a text-heavy piece called “<strong>This Is a Damage Manual</strong>,” part of&nbsp;<a href="http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/164914" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">Chicago Moving Company’s Dance Shelter program tonight and tomorrow night only</a>. Other artists: mercurial choreographer/dancer Ayako Kato, impish Rachel Bunting, legendary dancer Bob Eisen, Barry Bennett’s Impending Behavior Orchestra, and “world-man” band Stone.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p>Next week (April 12 to be precise) marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the Civil War (1861-1865), a seminal clash from which we still feel repercussions. City Lit Theatre Company in Edgewater will mark the span of the war by producing one Civil War drama each year through 2015. They begin with "The Copperhead," set during the Civil War, and 40 years later, how the conflict affected the lives of one Illinois family. The play was written in 1918 by Augustus Thomas, a major playwright of the day, now forgotten. Let's hope City Lit is discovering long-lost gold. "<a href="http://www.citylit.org/Now-Playing.htm" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;"><strong>The Copperhead</strong></a>" runs April 8-May 15.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/HbtkMDUXAJk" title="YouTube video player" width="560" frameborder="0" height="349"></iframe></p><p>Also, this is your last weekend to squeeze into the backroom at Books-on-Vernon in Glencoe (if you can get a ticket) and see one of the most sparkling comedy events brought forth by any Chicago theater in years, "<a href="http://www.writerstheatre.org/boxoffice/production?id=0078"><strong>Travels with My Aunt</strong></a>," adapted from Graham Greene's witty and sardonic novel and presented by Writers' Theatre. All the characters are played by four men whose dazzling timing couldn't be better. At various times, each of them plays the Aunt.</p><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Thu, 07 Apr 2011 15:58:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-07/working-weekend-critics-picks-84873 Dueling Critics: 'Travels with My Aunt' http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/dueling-critics-travels-my-aunt <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/travels.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Just in time for the holiday season, when airports and highways are filled with people en route to visit family, comes &quot;<a href="http://www.writerstheatre.org/boxoffice/production?id=0078">Travels with My Aunt</a>.&quot; This black comedy&nbsp; has been adapted from Graham Greene's novel of the same name by Giles Havergal at the Writers' Theatre.</p><p>Directed by Stuart Carden, the show features four actors&mdash;LaShawn Banks, Sean Fortunato, John Hoogenakker and Jeremy Sher&mdash;who portay the 25 plus characters in the play.&nbsp;</p><p>Dueling Critics Jonathan Abarbanel and Kelly Kleiman reviewed the production, which runs at the Writers' Theatre through March 27.</p><p><iframe height="281" frameborder="0" width="500" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/17926193?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ab050d"></iframe></p></p> Fri, 17 Dec 2010 16:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/dueling-critics-travels-my-aunt Flu bug forces Writers' Theater to postpone 'Aunt' http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/flu-bug-forces-writers-theater-postpone-aunt <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/travels with my aunt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="443" width="300" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-16/travels with my aunt.jpg" alt="" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">It's the time of year when &quot;the bug&quot; seems to be making the rounds of every workplace including theater rehearsal halls. Writers' Theatre of Glencoe has postponed the opening of &quot;Travels With My Aunt&quot; by nearly two weeks due to the triumphal march of flu and sniffles through the four-person cast and the company manager.</p><p>Director Stuart Carden estimates they lost a week of rehearsals and previews as they worked towards a press opening tomorrow night (Nov. 17). A weeks' postponement would run smack into Thanksgiving, so the decision was made to delay the official opening night until Nov. 30.</p><p>We also hear the production was going to utilize sound effects created live by a Foley artist, and<span style="">&nbsp; </span>then it wasn't, and now it is again. Perhaps the technical back-and-forth also is a reason for delay. Fortunately, this adaptation of the popular Graham Greene novel is set to run through March 27, so the two-week delay won't appreciably cut the run.</p><!--[if gte mso 9]--><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 16 Nov 2010 15:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/flu-bug-forces-writers-theater-postpone-aunt