WBEZ | A Christmas Carol http://www.wbez.org/tags/christmas-carol Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Q Brothers do Dickens http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/dont-miss-list-december-13-19-inside-pritzker-pavilion-and-round <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS6807_345.unb_.th_.qbrothers.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="338" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/erQ8zJpuWVo" width="601"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image "><u><em>A Christmas Carol</em>, a work in progress by the Q Brothers; inside the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, tomorrow (Friday the 14th) through Sunday (the 16th); Friday and Saturday at 7, Sunday at 2; FREE!</u><p>The Q Brothers are a pair of actual brothers from the North Side who&#39;ve carved out an unlikely niche: They turn Shakespeare plays into hip-hop musicals, thereby managing to horrify both Shakespeare aficianadoes and hip-hop fans. And yet &mdash; speaking from the Shakespeare side, at least &mdash; it absolutely works. The Brothers&#39; verbal and physical inventiveness, coupled with complete understanding of the plays, made <em>The Bomb-itty of Errors</em> and <em>Funk It Up About Nuthin&#39; </em>not just fun but faithful to the originals in every way that matters.</p><p>Now they take on another classic that could use a good shaking-up: Charles Dickens&#39; nearly exhausted <em>A Christmas Carol</em>. While it&#39;s still a work in progress, the Brothers are spicing up this year&#39;s holidays by sharing their reinvention of the work we think we all know. The audience will sit safe and warm in the choir lofts of the Pritzker Pavilion stage and see what new changes can be rung on the familiar story. Believer me, if there are any changes left, the Qs will find them!&nbsp;Tickets are free, but RSVPs are strongly recommended. To RSVP, please contact <a href="mailto:qbrotherschristmas@gmail.com" target="_blank">qbrotherschristmas@gmail.com</a>.&nbsp;And when that&#39;s over . . .</p><div class="image-insert-image "><p><u><em>The Second City That Never Sleeps</em>, a benefit for Onward Neighborhood House, Tuesday (the 18th) at 6 pm at <a href="http://secondcity.com/">The Second City</a> e.t.c. Theatre, 1608 North Wells, 2nd floor; 312-337-3992; tickets $20 at the door throughout the 24-hour event.</u></p><p>The Second City may be a for-profit company (unlike most Chicago theaters) but its heart is apparently in the nonprofit world. For 24 hours beginning Tuesday evening, Second City company members, alumni and friends will present improv, music, stand-up comedy and even an interview with political stats maven (and University of Chicago graduate) Nate Silver. Proceeds will benefit Onward Neighborhood House, a broad-spectrum social service agency (or what Jane Addams would have called a settlement house). If you can&#39;t imagine rising and shining to see Fred Armisen perform at 1:30 in the morning, there are plenty of offerings at reasonable hours, including Jeff Tweedy at 9 p.m. Tuesday, the aforementioned Nate Silver at 10 a.m. Wednesday, and others too numerous to mention: find details on the <a href="https://www.facebook.com/search/results.php?q=The%20Second%20City%20That%20Never%20Sleeps&amp;init=quick&amp;tas=0.56148045176595">Second City That Never Sleeps Facebook event page</a>.</p></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Dec 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/dont-miss-list-december-13-19-inside-pritzker-pavilion-and-round Eggnog, grog and a holiday theater blog http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/eggnog-grog-and-holiday-theater-blog-103911 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/christmas%20carol%202.jpg" style="height: 348px; width: 620px;" title="The Goodman Theatre reprises their classic production of 'A Christmas Carol' (Courtesy of the Goodman Theatre)" /></div><p><em>Jonathan writes:&nbsp;</em></p><p>I call it &quot;the sugarplums-and-treacle time of year.&quot; Kelly calls it &quot;another chance for Jonathan to spout off.&quot;</p><p>Obviously, we&#39;re talking about the same thing: that six-week hiatus &mdash; from mid-November through the New Year&mdash; during which theaters large and small abandon art in favor of Yuletide commerce, raking in dollars with a Holiday Season show.</p><p>We know they are successful because there are more and more of them every twelfth month, and they never disappear: Just like a seasonal allergy the same shows&mdash;and generally the very same productions of them &mdash; come back year after year. Some have been around for decades now. According to our careful calculations, Chicago area theaters and dance companies are offering&nbsp;<em>no fewer than 40 Holiday Season shows</em>&nbsp;in theaters throughout the city and suburbs.</p><p>The two oldest Holiday Season theater &quot;traditions&quot; are&nbsp;<strong><em>The Nutcracker</em></strong>&nbsp;ballet danced to Tchaikovsky&#39;s ever-tasty roasted chestnut of a score, and&nbsp;<strong><em>A Christmas Carol</em></strong>. Both always are available in numerous versions presented with varying degrees of opulence and fidelity to the originals.</p><p>As far back as I can remember (and that&#39;s 60 years, rounded to the nearest decade),&nbsp;<em>The Nutcracker</em>&nbsp;has been presented as a family-friendly Holiday Season special event. For eons (it seems) it was the province of the Chicago Tribune Charities in a version staged by the late Ruth Page. However, for the last 17 years&nbsp;<em>The Nutcracker</em>&nbsp;has been owned and operated (one might say) by The Joffrey Ballet in a lavish version which even curmudgeonly critics openly can enjoy (Dec. 7-27, Auditorium Theatre). The Joffrey production features live musical accompaniment by the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra.</p><p>As for&nbsp;<em>A Christmas Carol</em>, the Mother of All Local Productions is the big one at the Goodman Theatre, now in its 35th year (through Dec. 29). The Goodman version not only is lavish but it&rsquo;s also true to the tone and spirit of Charles Dickens&#39;s 1843 novella.</p><p>Y&#39;see, Dickens didn&#39;t write&nbsp;<em>A Christmas Carol</em>&nbsp;for kids and families. His target was the adult populace who made Christmas happen, or not. It&#39;s a ghost story intended to scare the bejesus out of people or, more correctly, scare the be-Jesus back into folks at a time when Christmas, in Dickens&#39;s view, had grown crassly commercial and non-spiritual. The Goodman version is NOT suitable for very young children (say, under six or seven) because it IS scary and also because it&#39;s not short. Those who prefer a 75-minute musical reduction of the tale, suitable for wee ones, will find several of them around town.</p><p>Now that I&#39;ve gotten all of that off my chest, Ms. Kleiman and I offer some ideas of the range of Holiday Season fare available to those with varying tastes. The productions below are&nbsp;<em>far from a comprehensive list</em>. We offer merely a stuffed stocking of choices in four categories: Family-Friendly Traditional, Adult Traditional, Alternative/Weird (generally for adults) and New.</p><p><strong>Adult Traditional</strong></p><p>You don&rsquo;t have to be earnest, but these are plays about the season that will reward the un-ironic attention of grownups as well as older children.</p><p><strong><em>It&rsquo;s a Wonderful Life</em></strong>&nbsp;(x 2). After the divorce between American Theater Company and&nbsp;American Blues Theater, each got (or took) custody of this crowd-pleaser, an old-time radio script version of the famous Frank Capra film. The American Blues version is at Victory Gardens Biograph Theatre (Downtown, Nov. 23-Dec. 30). The American Theater Company&#39;s version, part of its &ldquo;Radio Rep&rdquo; (<em>The Wizard of Oz</em>&nbsp;is on deck), plays at the troupe&#39;s Northcenter location (also Nov. 23-Dec. 30) and will actually be recorded for broadcast on WBEZ. Before you take small children to either one, remember that it&rsquo;s about suicide.</p><p>The reconstituted Congo Square Theatre offers&nbsp;<strong><em>The Nativity,&nbsp;</em></strong>McKinley Johnson&rsquo;s story of the journey of Joseph and Mary, with music and lyrics by Jaret Landon. Add gospel music and modern dance and it should be a delightful evening (Kennedy-King College Theatre, Dec. 13th-23rd).</p><p>The House Theatre of Chicago, always first-rate storytellers, repeats its version of&nbsp;<strong><em>The Nutcracker</em></strong>, more closely adapted from the E.T.A. Hoffman German original about spooky magic on Christmas night (at the Chopin Theatre through Dec. 30). It has original music in it and dance, but it&#39;s NOT the traditional ballet. Not a note of Tchaikovsky to be heard. The House says it&#39;s a family show, and why not? After all, the villain is a rodent and city kids probably are used to rats.</p><p><strong>Alternative/Weird</strong></p><p>The gang at ComedySportz is offering&nbsp;<strong><em>It&#39;s a Bierberful Life</em></strong>&nbsp;(Fridays at Midnight, through Dec. 29) in which Justin is &quot;saved&quot; by an angel who looks like Robert Pattinson, and Profiles Theatre is presenting a 20th anniversary new production of Will Kern&#39;s&nbsp;<strong><em>Hellcab</em></strong>&nbsp;(Profiles mainstage through Dec. 23) in which a put-upon Chicago cabbie deals with a collection of Christmas Eve crazies, and Chemically Imbalanced Comedy stages&nbsp;<strong><em>Dirty 30&#39;s Christmas</em></strong>&nbsp;(Dec. 7-Jan.12) featuring guns, booze, dames, deadbeats, gangsters and bank robbers in Depression Era Kansas (yes, it&#39;s a comedy).</p><p>Tongue-in-cheek or outright cynical, a few alternative choices have entered the realm of Chicago holiday &quot;tradition.&quot; Consider&nbsp;<strong><em>The Santaland Diaries</em></strong>, the tart and funny reflections of David Sedaris on seasonal employment as a department store elf. It&#39;s been done by Theater Wit for eight years now (Nov. 23-Dec. 29 in its still-new Belmont Avenue digs), with Mitchell Fain once again the star. Mr. Fain has made this elf role so much his own, we hear his ears now are permanently pointed.</p><p>Also returning for its 12th year, courtesy of Hell in a Handbag Productions (Nov. 29-Dec. 30 at Mary&#39;s Attic in Andersonville), is the annually-updated&nbsp;<strong><em>Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer</em></strong>, about a darling little transvestite quadruped.</p><p>One more choice is&nbsp;<strong><em>Charles Dickens Begrudgingly Performs &quot;A Christmas Carol.&quot; Again</em></strong>, which nicely straddles the line between world-weary and inspiring as Dickens himself, whom most supposed to have died in 1870, proves he is alive, if not quite well. Blake&nbsp;Montgomery is as cranky as one could wish as he essays the 200-year-old Dickens,&nbsp;reduced to a one-trick pony, at the Building Stage (Nov. 29-Dec. 24 at the Building Stage in the Randolph Market area).</p><p><strong>Family-Friendly Traditional</strong></p><p>We&rsquo;ve already noted the Goodman Theatre production of&nbsp;<strong><em>A Christmas Carol</em></strong>, but at least two other takes on the tale are catering to suburban family audiences: the&nbsp;Drury Lane Theatre Oakbrook Terrace presents daily matinees of an hour-long musical version clearly intended for children (Nov. 23-Dec. 22), and Piccolo Theatre in Evanston adapts the tale as an English-style Xmas panto under the title&nbsp;<strong><em>Bah, Humbug!&nbsp;</em></strong>(Evanston Arts Depot, through Dec. 22).</p><p><strong><em>The Christmas Schooner</em></strong>, long a local holiday tradition, now is in the second year of a new production at a different theater, the Mercury Theater (Nov. 23-Dec. 30). This original, lyrical musical by John Reeger and the late Julie Shannon is a fact-based, Chicago-specific musical about the sailing ship that brought Christmas trees to Chicago from Michigan every year&ndash;until one year it didn&rsquo;t.&nbsp; In fact, this is the 100th anniversary of the wreck of the &quot;Rouse Simmons,&quot; the actual Xmas tree ship.</p><p>Now in its spiffy new home in Uptown, the Black Ensemble Theatre remounts its Christmas show of many years,&nbsp;<strong><em>The Other Cinderella</em></strong>, a take on the fairy tale so vibrant and&nbsp;sweet and wonderfully sung that you&rsquo;ll almost forget it&rsquo;s not actually a Christmas story.</p><p><strong><em>The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey</em></strong>, an original adaptation of an award-winning children&#39;s book, is back for a second year at Provision Theater, a troupe dedicated to&nbsp;advancing Christian values. The tale of a boy and a grumpy woodcarver who bond in the spirit of the season is presented at the Chernin Arts Center (Nov. 21-Dec. 23) near UIC.</p><p><strong>New</strong></p><p>Trying to find a new Holiday Season show actually is difficult, although the earnest but light-hearted&nbsp;<strong><em>Hannukatz the Musical</em></strong>&nbsp;comes close as it&#39;s only in its second year. National Pastime Theater (in the Preston Bradley Center in Uptown) presents this brief easy-rock exploration of the Jewish Feast of Lights, suitable for the family (Nov. 29-Dec. 30).</p><p>For really new, however, consider&nbsp;<strong><em>The Gifts of the Magi</em></strong>&nbsp;at Porchlight Music Theatre (through Dec. 23), the Chicago premiere of an 85-minute musical by Mark St. Germain and Randy Courts that combines two classic O&#39;Henry short stories, the familiar tale of impoverished newlyweds Jim and Della, and the story of street bum Soapy Smith who wants only cozy jail cell for Xmas. Sounds like another Holiday Season &quot;tradition&quot; in the making.</p><p>Also, there&#39;s the multi-cultural, all-inclusive&nbsp;<strong><em>It&#39;s a Wonderful Santa Land Miracle Nut-Cracking Christmas Story . . . Jews Welcome</em></strong>&nbsp;at Stage 773 (through Dec. 30), promising singing, dancing, stories, audience-interactive games and &quot;non-holiday specific eggnog.&quot; They say it&#39;s an all-holiday show for all ages.</p><p>Finally, The Agency Collective offers&nbsp;<strong><em>Out of Tune Confessional</em></strong>, a new musical &ldquo;holiday show for the holiday wary,&quot; at the Underground Wonder Bar (Nov. 23-Dec. 15). The holidays somehow bring together a trio of musicians whose between-song patter reveals more angst than the torchiest torch song.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly listed the venue for the American Blues Theatre production of </em>It&#39;s a Wonderful Life.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 19 Nov 2012 09:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/eggnog-grog-and-holiday-theater-blog-103911 Daily Rehearsal: a Twitter theater holiday poem http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-15/daily-rehearsal-twitter-theater-holiday-poem-94931 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-15/twitter holiday.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Didn't get <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-16/dueling-critics-guide-holiday-theater-tinsel-and-treacle-triumph-94">enough holiday</a></strong></span></span> with the Dueling Critics online? Listen to them talk about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-12-15/dueling-critics-unwrap-box-full-holiday-theater-94924">what holiday shows</a> you should attend during their appearance on <em>848 </em>this morning (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-15/there-are-over-50-holiday-shows-chicago-year-whos-profiting-them-94">if you want to attend any at all</a>).</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. This is a match made in once-in-a-lifetime experiences</strong></span></span>: Chicago White Sox Manager Robin Ventura and nine-year-old Emily Beazley&nbsp;will be in <em>A Christmas Carol</em> next Wednesday night, courtesy of the Make-A-Wish foundation. This is the fifth year the Goodman has done this with the foundation, but it doesn't get any less cute.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-15/twitter holiday.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 322px; height: 262px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Tonight's show of <em>Million Dollar Quartet</em></strong></span></span> will have an encore that's even less of a surprise than most; W.S. "Fluke" Holland is scheduled to perform after attending the show, and there will also be a Q &amp; A -- we love those. In case you're not familiar with Holland's work, he's a drummer best known for working with Johnny Cash.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. I was not a childhood fan</strong></span></span> of <em>A Christmas Story</em>, but it's still a bit of a thrill to see a grown-up Ralphie producing the musical version. The most surprising, non-theater related news from <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/9310247-421/speaking-with-peter-billinsgley-120911.html">this interview in the <em>Sun-Times</em></a> reveals that&nbsp;Peter Billinsgley was also the producer of <em>Iron Man</em>?! That's a real Hollywood fairytale.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. And read <a href="http://www.hesherman.com/2011/12/14/a-twitter-poem-for-the-holidays/">an amazing Twitter poem</a></strong></span></span> (who knew there could be such a thing?) from Howard Sherman. Either he's a genius and this took like an hour, or he's been brainstorming all year. You be the judge.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 15 Dec 2011 16:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-15/daily-rehearsal-twitter-theater-holiday-poem-94931 Daily Rehearsal: Children on children's theater http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-05/daily-rehearsal-children-childrens-theater-94607 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-05/Junie B.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. The <a href="http://www.chicagosketchfest.com/2012-schedule/">Sketch Comedy Festival</a> line-up is here</strong></span></span>. It runs over two weekend between January 5 and 15th, and includes one day of comedy for the kids. They proclaim themselves to be "the largest sketch comedy festival America has ever seen." If you go and feel clastrophobic, I guess they've succeeded.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Following up <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-30/stamp-approval-texting-tweeting-theaters-94460">on the debates we've been having about cell phone</a></strong></span></span> use during performances, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/arts-post/post/theater-tweet-seats-good-idea-or-bad-etiquette/2011/12/05/gIQAODTcWO_blog.html"><em>Washington Post</em> readers agree</a> that it's rude to live tweet during a play, and that theaters shouldn't allow that. 43 percent of readers said "People should be able to turn off their phones for two hours" and other 43 percent agreed, except for a different reason: "it's just plain rude."</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-05/Junie B.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 320px; height: 214px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. A real child has reviewed a show for children</strong></span></span>, making her opinion basically valid over all the rest. <a href="http://adagrey.blogspot.com/2011/12/review-of-junie-b-jones-in-jingle-bells.html">Ada has shined</a> a generally favorable light on&nbsp;<em>Junie B Jones in Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!</em> from Emerald City. Among some of her best criticisms, Ada chastises Emerald City for always putting on musicals (which she doesn't favor) because they make "a short story longer", praises a character that can burp the Star Spangled Banner "because that is one of the hardest songs in the whole world to burp" and says that no one under three should see this show: "I think this show should be for ages 4 and up. I'll tell you why I said that: because there was a three-year-old boy kicking me in the back the whole show."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. More children:<a href="http://goodman-theatre.blogspot.com/2011/12/my-first-christmas-carol.html"> Hear from Shanequa Beal</a></strong></span></span>, an eighth grader currently starring in <em>A Christmas Carol</em> at the Goodman. She says she likes the play because she gets to work with kids her own age, and "surprisingly we all get along pretty well!" Additionally, the Goodman is probably glad Beal has some union backing her, with comments like these: "<em>A Christmas Carol</em>&nbsp;was not a piece of cake. It required a lot of hours of work, memorizing and tons energy! At one point we worked a 50 hour week. Yes, I was really tired and missed school often but it was totally worth it."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. The latest conversations about theater</strong></span></span> on the Talk Theatre in Chicago podcast include an interview<a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/talk/interior.php?podshowID=346"> with Timothy Edward Kane from <em>An Iliad</em></a>, and <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/talk/interior.php?podshowID=345">some insights</a> into the Neo-Futurists <em>Too Much Light</em> with Bilal Dardai and Greg Allen.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 05 Dec 2011 19:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-05/daily-rehearsal-children-childrens-theater-94607 Daily Rehearsal: the 'Good Wife' actually comes to Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-17/daily-rehearsal-good-wife-actually-comes-chicago-94149 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-17/4300606173_d5080eab0d.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Debates over how good <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-01/daily-rehearsal-new-york-cast-chinglish-has-one-surprise-91392"><em>Maestro </em></a>is</strong></span></span> continue among the major media outlets, with votes all over the place. The <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/hershey-felders-maestro-at-royal-george-theatre/Content?oid=5011710"><em>Reader </em>says that</a> Hershey Felder "succeeds on every level". The<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/weiss/8741203-452/hershey-felder-is-brilliant-in-his-personification-of-composer-leonard-bernstein.html"> <em>Sun-Times</em> says</a> he's "a genius." But <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/15023275/maestro-the-art-of-leonard-bernstein-at-royal-george-theatre-theater-r"><em>TimeOut </em>qualifies that</a> the show"doesn’t really reach a roof-blowing emotional intensity," though the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-11-11/entertainment/ct-ent-1112-bernstein-review-20111112_1_art-of-leonard-bernstein-hershey-felder-maestro"><em>Trib </em>writes</a> that it's "the best of [Felder's] self-composed entertainments to date."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. The cast of <em>Crowns </em>at the Goodman </strong></span></span>has been announced, with E. Faye Butler and Felicia Fields taking the leading roles of Mabel and Mother Shaw, respectively. Jasondra Johnson (described as a "newcomer") will play Velma. It opens in June, so we've got a long season or two to wait.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-17/4300606173_d5080eab0d.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 275px; height: 399px;" title="Margulies accepts her SAG award (Flickr/Cinema em Séries)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Julianna Margulies, star of the excellent show <em>The Good Wife</em></strong></span></span>, (which is all about Chicago though not actually filmed in Chicago) will be honored by Steppenwolf at their third annual <em>Steppenwolf Salutes WOMEN IN THE ARTS</em> luncheon&nbsp;in March. Margulies will be interviewed on stage by Martha Lavey; the award has previously gone to<a href="http://www.playbill.com/news/article/135825-Martha-Lavey-Will-Interview-Joan-Allen-at-Steppenwolf-Benefit-Event">&nbsp;Joan Allen</a> and<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-14/daily-rehearsal-steppenwolf-sends-emmy-congrats-martha-plimpton-891"> Martha Plimpton</a>, both of whom were ensemble members with the company. The event will raise money for the company's Professional Leadership Program, which trains "young professionals seeking hands-on experience in theater administration, production and technology" through Steppenwolf's internships and apprenticeships. I'll be real: This sounds like something Margulies' character Alicia Florrick would be forced to go to in her "good wifing."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Performing in the play of a book they've probably never read</strong></span></span>, students that are in Chicago-area choirs will be performing at the Goodman in their 34th annual <em>A Christmas Carol</em>. They'll be doing 30-minutes of singing holiday tunes before the show starts; it would be wise to avoid catching up on your holiday shopping downtown before the show, as that's a lot of the same stuff and I've read it can make you go crazy. It opens November 18; the participating schools are Barrington High, Benet Academy, Walter Payton, Lincoln Park,&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Denis O'Hare won't be <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-15/daily-rehearsal-offensive-comments-about-not-vulgar-enough-musical-">one of the crazies at<em> The Homerathon</em></a></strong></span></span>, but he will be doing<em> An Iliad</em> at the Public Theatre in New York, after talks to come back to Chicago for a variety of plays, including Court's production of the show,<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/ct-ott-1118-jones-loop-20111116,0,6238510.story"> fell through</a> because of his TV schedule.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 18:28:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-17/daily-rehearsal-good-wife-actually-comes-chicago-94149 Scrooge R Us: Is 'A Christmas Carol' still relevant? http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/scrooge-r-us-christmas-carol-still-relevant <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/scrooge.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="291" width="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-06/scrooge.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>It&rsquo;s hard to imagine how children reared on PlayStation and Wii, and plugged into the world and each other every minute of the day, can make sense of the theater, where you have to go when they tell you, sit where they tell you and shut up while others talk. It&rsquo;s even harder to imagine how those same children can make sense of &quot;A Christmas Carol,&quot; set two centuries ago, when keeping warm and fed and not dying of nameless crippling diseases were the concerns of daily life.</p><p>To be sure, the message of &quot;A Christmas Carol&quot;&ndash;that generosity is better than stinginess&ndash;can seem timeless, or even affirmatively timely. Those who are constantly connected can observe what connection might really mean: taking responsibility for your fellow creatures, listening to their concerns as well as airing your own, staying part of the community in which we and they all suffer and enjoy and live and die.</p><p>Which somber note is utterly (and properly!) counteracted by the Goodman Theatre&rsquo;s latest method for bringing &quot;<a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/Production.aspx?prod=110">A Christmas Carol</a>&quot; into the realm of the conceivable for wired-in young people: compelling a reluctant and truculent Scrooge to tweet several times a day. Scrooge&rsquo;s feed began on November 19, the day of the show&rsquo;s first preview, and will continue until the show, the character and the season end their reign on New Year&rsquo;s Eve. So for the past few weeks the 2000-some Goodman followers on Twitter have had their conversations enlivened or highjacked&ndash;depending on your point of view&ndash;by <a href="http://twitter.com/GoodmanTheatre">Ebenezer the Emphatic</a>.</p><p>Some followers are enthusiastic&ndash;one wrote, &ldquo;Following the Goodman Theatre became a lot more interesting since they started tweeting as Scrooge&rdquo;&ndash;while others disdain the entire concept. One complained that the tweeting is &ldquo;turning me off the theatre &amp; Scrooge. . . . too arch &amp; doesn't fit the show or character.&rdquo; For those of us a bit less serious about our encounters with comic promotional efforts, Scrooge&rsquo;s comments bring tidings of great joy to all people.</p><p>Certainly the tweets aren&rsquo;t true to period&ndash;Scrooge admits a weakness for the tv show &ldquo;Glee,&rdquo; and for watching reruns of &quot;It&rsquo;s A Wonderful Life&quot; so he can root for Potter&ndash;but they seem to be pretty much true to character. They&rsquo;re focused on business (&ldquo;Tonight is the Opening Night of A CHRISTMAS CAROL&rdquo;), defiantly sour (&ldquo;Before you see it, just know the rumors of my holiday redemption seem to be exaggerated&rdquo;) and relentlessly crabbed (&ldquo;If I had a nickel for every time someone said, &lsquo;Happy holidays,&rsquo; I'd throw the bag of nickels at the next person who said, &lsquo;Happy holidays.&rsquo;&rdquo;) At the same time, Scrooge tweets for all of us whose patience has worn thin for certain holiday traditions: &ldquo;I swear, if my nephew Fred sends me one more Christmas card with his dog dressed as a person on the cover, I will go right out of my mind.&rdquo;</p><p>And Scrooge&rsquo;s economical nature comes in handy for followers daunted by the show&rsquo;s expense. (With tickets as high as $81 apiece, is &quot;A Christmas Carol&quot; supposed to be a child&rsquo;s introduction to theater or his/her only encounter with it all year?) &ldquo;I applaud your thrift, sir,&rdquo; he responded to one inquiry about cost. &ldquo;Promo code TINYTIM will get you $10 off tickets after Christmas.&rdquo; Characteristically, the financier couldn&rsquo;t help adding, &ldquo;If, however, you decide to pay full price I&rsquo;ll gladly lend you the full sum. At 18% interest.&rdquo;</p><p>The modern American cult of &quot;A Christmas Carol&quot; has always been a strange one: a highly political work morphed into a feel-good story about how a single person and a simple change of heart can solve all the world&rsquo;s problems; a portrait of structural inequality and grinding poverty transformed into a suggestion that once-a-year generosity can overcome year-long need and hardship. (Yes, I can hear you hissing, but really! Ask any social-services agency about the thousands of volunteers who want to serve Christmas dinner to the homeless but can&rsquo;t be bothered to supply equally necessary meals on any other day.) So if Scrooge&rsquo;s Twitter voice is inconsistent, that in itself is perfectly consistent with our half-assed approach to Dickens&rsquo; work, and to the holidays.</p><p>As Walt Kelly might have written: We have met Scrooge, and he is us. <br /> <br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 06 Dec 2010 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/scrooge-r-us-christmas-carol-still-relevant Dueling Critics: 'Kiss Me Kate' http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/dueling-critics-kiss-me-kate <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/kiss me kate.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="375" width="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-02/kiss me kate.JPG" alt="" /></p><p style="text-align: left;">Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew factors heavily into &quot;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.circle-theatre.org/shows/kiss-me-kate.shtml">Kiss Me, Kate</a>.&quot; Cole Porter's play-within-a-play is not only an adaptation of the classic, but is actually about a theatre company putting on a production of Taming of the Shrew. Dueling Critics Kelly Kleiman&nbsp;and Jonathan Abarbanel weigh in on Circle Theatre's rendition of the musical.&nbsp;</p><p>Jonathan's picks of the week:</p><p>&quot;<a href="http://lookingglasstheatre.org/content/box_office/peter_pan">Peter Pan</a>&quot; at The Looking Glass Theatre through January 23.<br />&quot;<a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/season/Production.aspx?prod=110">A Christmas Carol</a>&quot; at The Goodman through December 31.</p><p>Kelly's pick of the week:</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="332" width="500" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-03/TNC Pancake 1.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>&quot;<a href="http://thenewcolony.org/view/pancake">Pancake Breakfast</a>&quot; at The New Colony through December 19.</p></p> Fri, 03 Dec 2010 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/dueling-critics-kiss-me-kate Bobby Hull to perform in Goodman Theatre production of 'A Christmas Carol' http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/bobby-hull-perform-goodman-theatre-production-christmas-carol <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/bobby-hull.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img style="width: 448px; height: 577px;" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-17/bobby-hull.jpg" alt="" title="" /></p><p>Legendary Chicago Blackhawks hockey hero Bobby Hull, &quot;the Golden Jet,&quot; will make a one-night-only appearance in the Goodman Theatre's lavish annual production of &quot;A Christmas Carol.&quot; The great star of the 1961 Hawks Stanely Cup team will don him now some gay apparel (in the Christmas sense) on Dec. 14, appearing in selected scenes on behalf of the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Hull will accompany Charles Finch, 11, helping the Make-A-Wish kid fulfill his dream of acting onstage. Both Hull and Finch will wear special costumes, created just for them by he Goodman design team. This is the fourth consecutive year that the Goodman and the Make-A-Wish Foundation have made a young person's dream of appearing on stage come true. Following the performance, Hull will meet and greet audiences in the theater&rsquo;s lobby, where signed copies of his book, The Golden Jet,&quot; will be available for purchase.</p></p> Thu, 18 Nov 2010 04:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/bobby-hull-perform-goodman-theatre-production-christmas-carol