WBEZ | About Face Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/about-face-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: Bonnie Metzgar leaves About Face http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-bonnie-metzgar-leaves-about-face-103441 <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- <em>TimeOut </em>critic Oliver Sava won </strong></span></span><a href="http://chicagoindieradio.org/chirplog/2765/chicago-theatre-off-book-october-26-2012-ed"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>Chicago Theatre Off Book</strong></span></span>&#39;s</a> prize of an entire episode dedicated to whatever theater company he wanted. Sava chose Strangetree Group, so this week&#39;s episode is all about them, with guests like Emily Schwartz, the playwright of their latest production <em>Funeral Wedding: The Alvin Play</em>, as well as director Jess McLeod and other members of the cast and crew.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/about%20face.jpg" style="float: left; height: 313px; width: 280px; " title="" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- About Face Theatre Company&#39;s Board of Directors</strong></span></span> announced Thursday that Artistic Director Bonnie Metzgar would be leaving at the end of their 2012-13 season. Metzgar directed acclaimed productions such as&nbsp;<em>The Homosexuals</em> by Philip Dawkins, and will direct the still-unnamed About Face production with Victory Gardens.&nbsp;&quot;I came to About Face with three goals&mdash;to create financial stability in uncertain economic times, build a vibrant core of Artistic Associates and lead the organization through a strategic plan to develop a 3-5 year vision for the company. I am so proud that during my tenure at the helm of this important artistic institution that I accomplished these goals,&rdquo; said Metzgar in a statement,&quot; with About Face thanking her for her leadership and time. They plan to conduct a national search for her replacement; the job description says they&#39;re looking for someone who &quot;who will be&nbsp;responsible for conceiving, developing, and implementing the artistic vision and&nbsp;focus for About Face Theatre&rsquo;s season of productions and educational&nbsp;programming.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The world seemed to notice that Barbara Streisand </strong></span></span>was at<em> Sweet Bird</em> on Thursday, with Diane Lane back onstage <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-end-run-sweet-bird-performance-canceled-due-lanes">after her laryngitis</a>. Streisand is in town for her performance Friday evening at the United Center; <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/15976719-421/barbra-streisand-takes-in-diane-lanes-performance-in-sweet-bird-at-goodman-theatre.html">the <em>Sun-Times</em> reminds us</a> that Streisand is sort-of Lane&#39;s stepmother-in-law, because she&#39;s married to James Brolin, and Lane is married to James&#39; son Josh.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Fri, 26 Oct 2012 11:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-bonnie-metzgar-leaves-about-face-103441 Daily Rehearsal: How to start your own theater company http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-06/daily-rehearsal-how-start-your-own-theater-company-88795 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-06/06nelson-book-articleInline.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/25118789?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" width="300" align="right" frameborder="0" height="221" scrolling="no"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">1.&nbsp;<em>Station's Lost</em></span></strong></span><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">&nbsp;is still running at Steppenwolf</span></strong></span> Thursdays through Sundays until July 24. Director Ann Filmer <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-27/16th-streets-ann-filmer-visits-boyland-85757">recently told Laura Molzahn that</a>&nbsp;while planning their upcoming 2012 season, she's "always trying to think, ‘What’s on our minds now?’ And everything’s changing so quickly! I don’t know what we’re going to be obsessed with—or what we’re gonna be ignoring and should be obsessed with—next year. I’m trying not to be a total depressive freak.”</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">2. <a href="http://aboutfacetheatre.com/">About Face Theatre</a> is having a benefit performance</span></strong></span> for their Youth Theatre program on July 28 at Victory Gardens, if you have a spare hundred lying around. The work previewed is called <em>What's the T? Examining the "T" in LGBTQ</em>, and the teens will use the work to&nbsp;explore trans identity. About Face's current production is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-16/critics-theater-picks-617-619-87964"><em>The Homosexuals</em></a>.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-06/06nelson-book-articleInline.jpg" style="width: 190px; height: 284px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Wondering how to start your own theater company?</strong></span></span> Reginald Nelson is answering your questions over at the <em>Times</em>' ArtsBeat blog, as inspired by his book <em><a href="http://www.theatrestartup.com/index.php">How to Start Your Own Theater Company</a></em>, which includes an introduction by David Schwimmer. Nelson knows what he's talking about; he was managing director of the <a href="http://congosquaretheatre.org/wordpress/">Congo Square Theater Company</a>. Thus far, he's answered questions about the importance of location, funding opportunities, and how to market your company. Nelson will continue to respond to your queries through tomorrow.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Another week, another Geek Girl Burlesque</strong></span></span>; this one is entitled <em>A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque</em>, and it combines your favorite movie with a discotheque from the 70s. The Geek Girls say, "Don't make us FORCE you to come!" which is a terrible pun, but there you go. It opens Saturday night at <a href="http://www.gorillatango.com/cgi-bin/public/gttv2.cgi?location_number=2&amp;shows=yes">Gorilla Tango</a>, and runs through summer. A note: as usual, leave the kids at home for this one.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Jane Austen isn't just being adapted into a zombie flick</strong></span></span>; every Thursday this month and next, her work will be performed as part of Chemically Imbalanced's <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Improvised-Jane-Austen/109572246055?sk=info"><em>Improvised Jane Austen</em></a>, creating "a Regency love story on the spot." These ten female comedians may not be the undead, but <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/TheMissAustens">their Twitter feed</a> is pretty entertaining.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Wed, 06 Jul 2011 19:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-06/daily-rehearsal-how-start-your-own-theater-company-88795 Critics theater picks for 6/17-6/19 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-16/critics-theater-picks-617-619-87964 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-16/TENNESSEE WILLIAMS 2010 -2015.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><u>Laura Molzahn</u></strong></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-16/TENNESSEE WILLIAMS 2010 -2015.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" title="DanszLoop/Chicago"></p><p>Tennessee Williams is ripe—some might say overripe—for dance exploration. Which is exactly what Paula Frasz of <strong><a href="http://danszloopchicago.com/">DanszLoop/Chicago</a></strong> has been doing, off and on, for the last several years at the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Festival. Her collaboration with PJ Paparelli of American Theater Company was so successful last fall that <a href="http://www.atcweb.org/bxo/subscribe.php">they’ve decided to stage their three short plays/dances at ATC</a> next spring. <a href="http://boxoffice.printtixusa.com/stage773/eventcalendar">You can see two of the dances this weekend at Stage 773</a> in an evening “celebrating the power of movement influenced by the written word.” Frasz’s choreographed “prequel” to Williams’ <em>The Escape</em>, about chain-gang convicts, is set to work chants and the sounds of “dogs, running, water, and gunfire,” she says. Her duet based on <em>Summer at the Lake</em>is also about release, this time—surprise!—from a neurotic mother-son relationship.</p><p><strong><a href="http://www.hubbardstreetdance.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=83&amp;Itemid=132">Inside/Out</a></strong>, a choreographic showcase by some 16 Hubbard Street and Hubbard Street 2 dancers, is rumored to feature one performer (male) in the nude. Even without that incentive, this freewheeling display by some of the city’s best dancers is worth checking out.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p>Chicago's unofficial David Henry Hwang festival kicks off Saturday (June 18) with <a href="http://www.srtp.org/productions.html"><strong><em>Yellow Face</em></strong></a>, a satiric self-identity comedy, at Silk Road Theatre Project, directed by Goodman Theatre associate producer Steve Scott. Hwang, best know for his play <em>M. Butterfly</em>, arguably is the nation's best-known Asian-American author (although Chicagoans soon will come to know playwright Chay Yew as well, now that he's the new Victory Gardens Theater artistic director--but I digress). Hwang will have three plays produced here over the summer, with the Goodman Theatre following June 27 with the world premiere of <em>Chinglish </em>and the small Halcyon Theatre Company staging an early Hwang work, <em>Family Devotions</em>, in August. <em>Yellow Face</em> runs through July 17.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-16/Homosexuals-3.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px;" title="Elizabeth Ledo and Patrick Andrews (Photo by Jonathan L. Green)"></p><p>About Face Theatre Company, which fought back from the brink of extinction two years ago and has slowly rebuilt its producing capacity, presents the world premiere of <strong><em>The Homosexuals</em></strong>, a serio-comic contemporary coming-of-age story by Philip Dawkins. The cast of seven features four About Face artistic associates and three guest artists, all under the direction of artistic director Bonnie Metzgar, who inherited a fiscal mess when she arrived three years ago and refused to let it stop her. Performed at the Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, <em>The Homosexuals</em> opens Sunday (June 19) and runs through July 24.</p></p> Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-16/critics-theater-picks-617-619-87964 Off-Loop theater: Endangered species list http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/loop-theater-endangered-species-list <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/PegasusTheaterEarly80s-2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img title="" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-30/PegasusTheaterEarly80s-2.jpg" style="width: 475px; height: 335px;" /></p><p>The chickens that flew the coop in 2008 are coming home to roost as 2010 winds down. We're talking about funding for non-profit theaters, of course. The economic collapse two years ago seemed to have little effect on non-profit institutions, the reason being that major foundation and corporate funding commitments are made a year or more in advance. The money for 2009 and even 2010 already was in the pipeline. But now the pipelines are running dry.</p><p>In terms of theaters (or dance troupes or musical organizations for that matter), it's often difficult to know if a company is in trouble or not. Putting on a season is the name of the game, not transparency. It's easy to announce plans for a season, and then cancel them later or quickly fold the tent as the sorely-missed Apple Tree Theatre did last year, and as <a href="http://aboutfacetheatre.com/">About Face Theatre</a> nearly did (a crash fund-raising effort saved them). On that basis, the Chicago Endangered Theater List would include <a href="http://www.pegasusplayers.org/">Pegasus Players</a>, <a href="http://congosquaretheatre.org/wordpress/">Congo Square Theatre Company</a> and <a href="http://www.npt2.com/">National Pastime Theater</a>.</p><p>Pegasus Players appears gravely moribund (<em>a picture of their theater from the 1980s, above</em>). The company&mdash;which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2009&mdash;has not announced a 2010-2011 season and has not produced a show since March. The Pegasus website hasn't been updated in a year, the telephone has been disconnected and no one from Pegasus has responded to emails from this writer asking what's up.</p><p>Congo Square Theatre Company&mdash;so hot, hot, hot just a few years ago&mdash;has gone through the departure of the founding artistic director (Derrick Sanders) and a revolving door of board members and managers. Still, Congo Square clings to life with its fifth annual Christmas show (&quot;The Nativity&quot; at the Goodman Theatre) which well may be its only income-earning proposition of the year. Word is the troupe&mdash;founded in 1999&mdash;is re-organizing again and has selected a new managing director. Meanwhile, who's running the store artistically? Congo Square's website promises a four-day festival of the arts (theater, music and dance) in February showcasing several TBA Chicago artists and companies, plus a world premiere production, &quot;Brothers of the Dust,&quot; by Darren Canady, in May. We'll see.</p><p>National Pastime Theater is in a different type of crunch. Laurence Bryan's company was a for-profit entity for much of its 20-history, relying on income from rental of its interesting, 99-seat, former speakeasy space on Broadway and Irving Park Road. Bryan himself admits that National Pastime (NP) flew under the radar of city licenses and approvals for much of that time (as did numerous other Off-Loop theaters). But NP went legit non-profit a few years ago, spending the bucks to make required capital improvements and entering the funding competition. Alas, the timing couldn't have been worse. Not only has fundraising been difficult, but Bryan reports rental income is down as well. In addition, he says NP pays a much higher rent per-square-foot than Profiles Theatre, its near neighbor in the same building. Ticket sales for NP's recent production of &quot;Doo Lister's Blues&quot; were disappointing (closed Nov. 28). Bryan fears that NP may fold its tent in mid-winter following a co-production with Clock Productions.</p></p> Tue, 30 Nov 2010 14:56:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/loop-theater-endangered-species-list About Face Theater and Silk Road Theater Project take "Wing" http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/about-face-theater-and-silk-road-theater-project-take-wing <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/logo_atw.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img height="109" width="160" align="left" alt="" style="margin-right: 10px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-17/logo_atw.jpg" />Chicago's <a href="http://www.aboutfacetheatre.com">About Face Theatre</a> and <a href="http://www.srtp.org/">Silk Road Theatre Project </a>are among the 10 recipients across the country of the first <a href="http://americantheatrewing.org/grants/recipients.php">National Theatre Awards</a> bestowed by the American Theatre Wing, best known for Broadway's annual Tony Awards. Each of the 10 companies received a $10,000 grant at Oct. 25 ceremonies in New York City, hosted by Angela Lansbury.</p><p>Since its founding in 1939, the American Theatre Wing has been almost exclusively a New York organization despite its name. The Wing's modest annual cash awards to non-profit theaters went only to New York theater companies up until now. Revamping its rules for the first time in 53 years, the American Theatre Wing finally has become nationwide in scope by instituting the National Theatre Awards.</p><p>Non-profit theaters between five and 15 years old may apply for the grants. The Wing will look for companies which have articulated a distinctive mission and have nurtured an audience and community of artists demonstrating the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre. About Face Theatre explores GLBT themes and stories, while the Silk Road Theatre Project explores the diaspora of cultures found along the ancient Silk Road, with particular emphasis on Asian and Middle Eastern peoples under-represented in mainstream American theater. About Face currently is presenting the world premiere of &quot;Float,&quot; by lesbian author Patricia Kane (at Theatre Wit through Dec. 12), while the current Silk Road production is &quot;Scorched&quot; by Lebanese-French Canadian author Wajdi Mouawad (through Nov. 21).<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 21:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/about-face-theater-and-silk-road-theater-project-take-wing