WBEZ | Chuck Smith http://www.wbez.org/tags/chuck-smith Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Artist Encounter: By the Way, Meet Vera Stark http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/artist-encounter-way-meet-vera-stark-107047 <p><p>Goodman Theatre Artist Encounters bring together audiences and the artists who create the work on our stages in an intimate environment, for a behind-the-scenes look at the plays and the playmaking process. Enjoy this in-depth conversation with <em>By the Way, Meet Vera Stark</em> playwright <strong>Lynn Nottage</strong> and director <strong>Chuck Smith</strong>.</p><div>This &ldquo;sharp-toothed comedy&rdquo; (<em>The Wall Street Journal</em>) offers a glimpse into the life of <strong>Vera Star</strong>k, a headstrong African American actress who begins a career in the 1930s, at a time when her only shot at success lay in stealing small scenes in big Hollywood blockbusters. Seventy years later, film buffs are left to reflect on the life and legacy of this controversial star, whose eventual fame and fortune came at the price of perpetuating dangerous stereotypes. Hilarious and poignant, <em>By the Way, Meet Vera Stark</em> paints a vivid picture of the cultural climate that shaped this mysterious screen queen&mdash;and wonders who, in another time, she might have been.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/GT-webstory_3.jpg" style="float: left;" title="" /></div></div><p><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />Recorded live Sunday, May 5, 2013 at the Goodman Theatre.</p></p> Sun, 05 May 2013 09:34:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/chicago-amplified/artist-encounter-way-meet-vera-stark-107047 'A Free Man of Color' plays the name game http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/onstagebackstage-free-man-color-plays-name-game <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/A-Free-Man-of-Color-3.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="269" width="400" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-04/A-Free-Man-of-Color-3.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">I think playwright John Guare owes playwright Charles Smith a large apology. When the New York theatrical trades announced a few months back a big Lincoln Center production of &quot;A Free Man of Color,&quot; I assumed it was the play by Charles Smith that had received its world premiere in 2004 at Victory Gardens Theater, where Smith is a member of the Playwrights Ensemble. It seemed like a great one-two combination for Smith who also had an upcoming Off-Broadway debut of his 2000 play, &quot;Knock Me A Kiss,&quot; also originally presented at Victory Gardens.<br /><br />I was surprised to find, however, that the Lincoln Center play was a new work by John Guare (&quot;Six Degrees of Separation&quot; and &quot;House of Blue Leaves&quot;) and not Smith's play, which is called &quot;Free Man of Color,&quot; without the initial &quot;A.&quot; To add to the confusion, both plays are costume dramas based on real events in African-American history taking place less than 25 years apart in the early 1800's. Of course, both titles use a common phrase of speech--once a term with a legal denotation--and therefore not subject to copyright. Still, Guare as a playwright must be aware of Smith, whose plays have been performed in New York for some years. To pick a title so close as to cause confusion is a discourtesy if unintentional, and thoroughly despicable if Guare was aware of Smith's work.<br /><br />Smith has dealt with things in a business-like way: he's changed the title of his play to &quot;Freed.&quot; It will have its New York premiere in June at 59E59. FYI: Guare's &quot;A Free Man of Color&quot; received generally disastrous reviews. It closes Jan. 9 after a run of less than two months. Karma?</p></p> Tue, 04 Jan 2011 21:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/onstagebackstage-free-man-color-plays-name-game Windy City east? Chicago's theater stars working in NYC http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/windy-city-east-chicagos-theater-stars-working-nyc <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/new york.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="335" width="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-17/new york.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>There are so many Chicago directors working in New York this season, it should be called &quot;Windy City East.&quot; <a href="http://goodmantheatre.org/">Goodman Theatre</a> resident director Chuck Smith is there now directing &quot;Knock Me a Kiss&quot; by Charles Smith (different person/no relation) for the <a href="http://www.newfederaltheatre.org/content.cfm?cntid=5">New Federal Theatre</a> (opens Nov. 21). Playwright Smith is a member of the <a href="http://www.victorygardens.org/about/charlessmith.php">Victory Gardens Playwrights Ensemble</a>. Then MacArthur &quot;Genius&quot; Fellow <a href="http://www.macfound.org/site/c.lkLXJ8MQKrH/b.6241249/k.7FC4/David_Cromer.htm">David Cromer</a> begins rehearsals in January for a Broadway revival of William Inge's &quot;Picnic&quot; (cast and opening date TBA). Next, veteran Gary Griffin returns to the Encore! series at <a href="http://www.nycitycenter.org/">New York's City Center</a> for a concert staging of &quot;Lost in the Stars&quot; by Kurt Weill and Maxwell Anderson (Feb. 3-6).</p><p>Then, Steppenwolf's Anna D. Shapiro will stage &quot;You Can't Take It With You&quot; for an April Broadway opening. Finally, it's Cromer again next fall with the Broadway production of a new musical &quot;Yank,&quot; about a gay soldier in World War II (previously seen in a successful Off-Broadway production at the <a href="http://www.yorktheatre.org/">York Theatre</a> with a different director). Cromer's attachment to &quot;Yank&quot; is surprising because (1) he isn't associated with musicals and (2) he's also committed to directing a revival of Tennessee Williams's &quot;Sweet Bird of Youth&quot; next fall, starring Nicole Kidman. Maybe all them Chicagoans finally will teach New Yawk what a decent slice of pizza should taste like.</p></p> Wed, 17 Nov 2010 18:26:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/windy-city-east-chicagos-theater-stars-working-nyc