WBEZ | Court Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/court-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: 'SNL' taps three Chicagoans for new season http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-09/daily-rehearsal-snl-taps-three-chicagoans-new-season-102317 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cecily strong.jpg" style="float: left; " title="Cecily Strong" /><span style="font-size: 14px; "><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Proving once again that Chicago</strong></span></span> is your city on the hill for comedy, Cecily Strong, Tim Robinson and Aidy Brant have joined the cast of <em>Saturday Night Live</em>. <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/lyapalater/meet-snls-newest-cast-members">Buzzfeed catches you up</a> on the talented trio, if you haven&#39;t seen them performing in the usual spread of&nbsp;Second City, Annoyance Theater and iO. The new season starts this Satruday night.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- &quot;For the first 35 hours they&rsquo;re on sale,</strong></span></span> tickets to Hubbard Street Dance Chicago&rsquo;s 2012&ndash;2013 season performances at the Harris Theater are $35.&quot; This offer starts on Thursday at 9 am; use the <a href="http://hubbardstreetdance.com">code &quot;35&quot; online</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Did <a href="http://openstreetschicago.org/"><em>Open Streets</em></a></strong></span></span> get in your way when traveling downtown this weekend?&nbsp;<em>Open Streets</em> event shuts down traffic in the Loop on Sept. 8</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/tim robinson.jpg" style="float: right; " title="Tim Robinson" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; ">-&nbsp;<strong>Some theater companies</strong></span></span> are offering entertainment options for those affected by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/emanuel-union-dont-take-it-out-kids-102310">this week&#39;s teachers strike</a>. <a href="http://lookingglasstheatre.org">Lookingglass </a>is offering drama workshops for 5 to 13 year olds from 9 am to 3 pm, though the classes are $65 a day.&nbsp;&ldquo;Lookingglass has long been a resource that provides quality arts-based alternatives for students &ndash; we have a history of partnering with schools and other non-profit organizations to provide residencies and after-school programs, in addition to our well-known classes and camp programs,&quot; said&nbsp;Artistic Director Andrew White in a statement.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/aidy bryant.jpg" style="float: left; " title="Aidy Bryant" />If you&#39;re interested in free things, Court Theatre lets CPS students (and one parent or guardian) into their production of <em>Jitney </em>this Thursday at 10:30 am. Just bring your CPS ID to the theater -- though its recommended that this activity be fore those above 13.&nbsp;&ldquo;Every year Court Theatre invites thousands of CPS students to attend our productions as part of its educational outreach programs,&quot; said Executive Director&nbsp;Stephen Albert. &quot;Despite the strike, we want Court to remain a place where students, teachers and parents can benefit from and enjoy classic theatre.&quot; (This last one is only happening if the strike is still happening Thursday.)</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 10 Sep 2012 15:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-09/daily-rehearsal-snl-taps-three-chicagoans-new-season-102317 How the AIDS epidemic became the first disease to give rise to a vast body of dramatic literature http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/how-aids-epidemic-because-first-disease-give-rise-vast-body-dramatic <p><p><em><span style="font-size:11px;">WBEZ theater critics Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abarbanel review the Court Theatre production of&nbsp;</span></em><span style="font-size:11px;">Angels in America</span><em><span style="font-size:11px;">, Tony Kushner's award-winning play about the AIDS crisis. Today on </span></em><span style="font-size:11px;">Eight Forty-Eight</span><em><span style="font-size:11px;">, Kleiman, Abarbanel and UIC Professor Jennifer Brier look at how theater changed the conversation about HIV/AIDS in the 80s and 90s. Brier is a cultural historian and author of&nbsp;</span></em><span style="font-size:11px;">Infectious Ideas: US Political Response to the AIDS Crisis</span><em><span style="font-size:11px;">.</span></em></p><div class="mediaelement-audio"><audio class="mediaelement-formatter-identified-1334692258-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/120417 seg b_1.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></div><hr><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/angels.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 300px; " title="Court Theatre's 'Angels in America' (Photo by Michael Brosilow)">It was a colleague, another theater critic, who first told me about AIDS, which now has been part of our lives (yes, I mean ALL our lives unless you live on Planet Nine in Outer Space) for 30 years. "Jonathan, have you heard about the gay pneumonia?" he asked me. This was the early 1980's, and he breathlessly told me there was a new type of pneumonia gay men were spreading to each other in bath houses. I didn't believe him. "How does pneumonia know who is gay and who isn't?" I said.</p><p>Already by that date, one of my best friends from high school had died of AIDS, only no one called it that yet; indeed, the illness had not been identified. Jeffrey, who was tall, dark and handsome, moved to New York with his girlfriend when he was in his late 20s, came out, and had a picture-perfect life: career success, a penthouse apartment (tiny, but with terraces) and a Victorian house in Sag Harbor. I spent two Thanksgivings there with Jeffrey, the second when he was dying of what his doctors only could identify as lymphoma.</p><p>By 1984, anyone with half-a-brain knew, although that cohort excluded President Ronald Reagan and the health care establishment he controlled. The early acronym GRID (Gay Related Immune-Deficiency Disease) has been superseded by AIDS as scientific authorities recognized it was NOT a gay illness.</p><p>Almost at once, theater communities nationwide began to produce plays that dealt with AIDS in one way or another. Just as AIDS theorists project a "Patient Zero," there was a "Play Zero" about AIDS, and it happened right here in Chicago. The play was <em>One</em>, by Jeff Hagedorn, a young Milwaukee writer (whom I first met in 1979 when I was Literary Manager for the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre) who had moved to Chicago. <em>One</em> was produced in 1983. Jeff turned out 11 plays in all, most dealing with AIDS in one way or another, before he himself died in 1995 from AIDS-related illnesses.</p><p>Death and AIDS walked in lockstep for a lot of years. I could fill the remainder of this column with the names of Chicago theater artists who died of AIDS; a handful of women but overwhelmingly men: designers David Emmons and Matthew Hoffman, directors Larry Sloane and David Perkins, writers Jeff Hagedorn and Scott McPherson, actors J. Pat Miller and Gregory Williams, composers Warren Casey and Tony Zito and on and on.</p><p>Equally, I could turn this story into a laundry list of the scores and scores of theatrical works that deal with AIDS, from Larry Kramer's <em>The Normal Heart</em> to Jonathan Larson's <em>Rent</em>, from William M. Hoffman's <em>As Is</em> to Alan Bowne's <em>Beirut</em> (a heterosexual AIDS play), from BLANK to Scott McPherson's profound <em>Marvin's Room</em>, a response to AIDS that isn't about AIDS at all. Indeed, we now are seeing our third generation of AIDS plays along with revivals of some of the earliest major works.</p><p>Here's the point, the real point: major geo-political and socio-political events spawn entire sub-categories of art (poetry, novels, plays, films, musical works, visual works, dance, etc.). Think of the vast, stand-alone bodies of literature inspired by the Civil War, World War I, World War II, Vietnam and the Civil Rights Movement. World War II, for example, inspired theater works as varied as <em>Stalag 17</em>, <em>South Pacific</em>, <em>The Diary of Anne Frank</em> and <em>This Happy Breed</em>.</p><p>But no illness, no disease, no pandemic EVER has given rise to a vast body of dramatic literature...until AIDS. There are individual works about polio or cancer or mental illness but not a continuum of works, not a cohesive and evolving and expanding collection of works as there is about AIDS now, and going forward.</p><p>The reasons why are several. First, theater always is the art form that responds most quickly and accessibly to the world around it. Plays are written in the vernacular and generally lack some of the levels of abstraction of music or dance or some works of visual arts.</p><p>Second, artists create works about their own experiences. Writers write about what they know. For whatever genetic or bio-chemical reasons there may be, the arts have a high percentage of LGBT individuals working in them; perhaps not a higher percentage than other fields of endeavor, but certainly more open about who they are.</p><p>Finally, AIDS may be the very first global pandemic in which those with the syndrome--call them patients, victims, carriers, subjects as you will--refuse simply to lay down and die, or deny and disappear. They embrace instead the dictum of Dylan Thomas: "Do not go gently into that dark night." Artists have been at the heart of AIDS-related political action organizations such as Act Up and Gay Men's Health Crisis, and also at the heart of AIDs-related charitable organizations such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS in New York and our own Season of Concern here in Chicago.</p><p>The impact of AIDS on theater reached a threshold long ago; now the relationship is about the impact of theater on AIDS. More than any other force outside of the scientific community itself, American theater has given voice to the various AIDS communities locally, nationally and among developed nations, fiercely refusing to allow those with AIDS to be disenfranchised as they were not so very long ago. Unfortunately, vast portions of the world retain benighted attitudes about AIDS and those who are HIV-positive. Whether at home or abroad, theater will continue to fight such ignorance and indifference one production at a time in one community at a time in the battle for hearts and minds.</p></p> Tue, 17 Apr 2012 08:29:50 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/how-aids-epidemic-because-first-disease-give-rise-vast-body-dramatic Daily Rehearsal: Court Theatre brings 'Proof' back to Hyde Park http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-14/daily-rehearsal-court-theatre-brings-proof-back-hyde-park-97278 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-14/courts_2012_2013_season.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;">1. <em>FML </em>on Saturday</span></span></strong> is <a href="https://twitter.com/#!/SteppenwolfThtr/status/179960103947075586">pay-what-you-will</a>. Little known fun fact: so is the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Don't let them get one over on you and cheap art.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Tony-winner Laura Benanti</strong></span></span>, last seen on <em>The Playboy Club</em>, is <a href="http://www.deadline.com/2012/03/laura-benanti-and-jenna-elfman-to-star-in-nbc-comedy-pilots/">going back to NBC</a>, this time for a pilot starring Matthew Perry.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-14/courts_2012_2013_season.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 200px; height: 200px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Court Theatre has announced</strong></span></span> their 2012-13 season; it'll be the always popular&nbsp;August Wilson’s <em>Jitney, </em>directed by Ron OJ Parson; James Joyce’s <em>The Dead</em> directed by Artistic Director Charles Newell ("a reimagining"); David Hare’s <em>Skylight</em> directed by William Brown; and David Auburn’s <em>Proof</em>, also directed by Charles Newell. Finally, Newell will direct &nbsp;Moliere’s <em>The Misanthrope </em>and&nbsp;<em>Tartuffe</em>. Wouldn't it be cool (if cool means "the worst thing ever") to have the Proof performed in front of a screening of the movie version with Gwyneth Paltrow and Jake Gyllenhaal. Just a thought.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4.&nbsp;The finalists of Chicago's August Wilson Monologue Competition </strong></span></span>have been announced; they'll perform on March 19 at the Goodman, with free admission for all. The competition is among Chicago area high school students, and "exposes [them] to the richness of Wilson’s <em>Century Cycle</em>, and incorporates the plays into the standard high school curriculum<em>."</em>&nbsp;This competition is a nation-wide thing; Chicago's will be judged by Narda Alcorn, who has stage managed August Wilson productions on Broadway, Steppenwolf's Alana Arenas, Tanera Marshall, the Chair of the Department of Theatre and Music at UIC, and actor Cedric Young. Finalists get some money and a trip to New York for the finals; "The top monolguist in Chicago will also receive a scholarship to UIC for one semester of tuition and fees."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <a href="http://fearnoartchicago.com/">Fear No Art</a>'s March 26 event include</strong></span></span>&nbsp;Naomi Beckwith, Billy Branch, Marc Smith, and food from Three Ace's chef Matt Troost. Do not confuse it<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-20/tony-award-winning-troupe-turns-dinner-theater-rick-bayless-92224"> with Lookingglass' <em>Cascabel</em></a>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 14 Mar 2012 16:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-14/daily-rehearsal-court-theatre-brings-proof-back-hyde-park-97278 Pot pourri: The NEA, tax credits (more) and other stuff http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-09/pot-pourri-nea-tax-credits-more-and-other-stuff-97134 <p><p>Seems as if I just finished reporting the Congressional stupidities over 2012 funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (after 10 months of delays and dithering, Congress approved precisely what President Obama had requested) and now here we are again, with the White House budget proposals for Fiscal 2013.</p><p>The President has proposed $154 million for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), which would be a badly-needed increase of $8 million from the Fiscal 2012 figure of $146 million. Both years' figures are substantially below the $168 million of FY 2010, which was the biggest NEA budget in over 20 years (but not an all-time high). If approved at $154 million, Federal funding for the arts would be just fifty cents per capita, among the lowest rates of support in the developed world. The White House also has requested $154 million for the National Endowment for the Humanities.</p><p>Last year, in what has become an annual event, Congressional conservatives proposed various amendments to drastically slash the NEA budget or eliminate the agency altogether. What was a different is that Republicans in the House joined most Democrats in defeating such proposals after an outpouring of public support. As this year is both a Congressional and a Presidential election year, we might actually have a budget sooner rather than later, so that members of the House and Senate can get out and politick about who's to blame for it.</p><p>Last week I wrote about the new Illinois law providing tax credits for Broadway shows playing here, each of which must receive "an accredited theater production certificate" from the state. A few of you asked, "What the hell is that?" And I wondered myself. So, here's the deal.</p><p>The live theater program is run through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and has an annual cap of $2 million in tax credits it may award (that is, $2 million in taxes that aren't collected). A production company may use this credit against its state income tax liability equal to 20% of the production's Illinois labor costs and 20% of the company's Illinois production spending. The production must spend a minimum of $100,000 in Chicago, it must play a venue of at least 1,200 seats and it must be a show that either will appear on Broadway within 12 months of its Chicago run, or will play Chicago for more than eight weeks. No doubt the State of Illinois will have some mid-level DCEO bureaucrat earning a six-figure salary overseeing the rules and granting the accredited production certificates.</p><p>Several shows coming this calendar year are taking advantage of the program. <em>Jersey Boys</em>, returning to Chicago for the third time, will play the Bank of America Theatre for nine weeks (April 5-June 2). In October, the same theater will host the pre-Broadway try-out of <em>Kinky Boots</em>, a musical based on the Brit film, featuring Cyndi Lauper hit songs and starring Lauper herself. Finally, the Tony Award winning musical, <em>The Book of Mormon</em>, will open at the Bank of American Theatre for a run of at least three months. Next year probably will see double that number, including at least one other pre-Broadway show.</p><p>Every now-and-then a brave theater troupe in town takes a crack at producing two or more shows in rotating rep. We have three such examples in the coming weeks, or two-and-a-half depending on whether you count the two parts of Tony Kushner's <em>Angels in America</em> as one play or two. Whichever, Court Theatre is offering Part I, <em>Millennium Approaches</em>, and Part II, <em>Perestroika</em>, in rep March 30-June 3. On select days you'll be able to see both parts. FYI: this will be the first production of Kushner's newly-revised version of <em>Perestroika</em>.</p><p>Days later, the Striding Lion Performance Group offers two world premiere dance theater works in rep, both featuring "historically and geographically inspired choreography" by company artistic director Anne Beserra. The two works are <em>The Jenkins Farm Project</em>, based on Besarra's own family's rural history, and <em>Remember the . . . (Alamo),</em> the resonance of which should be obvious. Striding Lion performs at The Viaduct, April 19-29.</p><p>Finally, Chicago Folks Operetta offers new translations of two forgotten operettas from the Viennese tradition, Emmerich Kalman's <em>The Circus Princess</em> (not seen locally in 85 years) and Eduard Kunneke's <em>The Cousin from Nowhere</em>. Although just a few years old, Chicago Folks Operetta has been receiving high marks from critics for its enterprising repertory and solid musical values. The two <em>schlag-acious</em> works will be performed June 8-July 1 at the Chopin Theatre.</p><p>"The time has come, the Walrus said, "to speak of many things; Of shoes and ships and sealing wax, of cabbages and kings; And why the sea is boiling hot and whether pigs have wings."</p></p> Fri, 09 Mar 2012 21:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-09/pot-pourri-nea-tax-credits-more-and-other-stuff-97134 The Don't-Miss List: BONEdanse, a 'Girl in the Yellow Dress', and 'Garage Rep' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-02/dont-miss-list-bonedanse-girl-yellow-dress-and-garage-rep-96030 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-02/bonedanse2011_7x5300dpi__photo_by_chrystyne.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://courttheatre.org/">Court Theatre</a>'s adaptation of Ralph Ellison's<strong> <em>Invisible Man</em></strong> is a scathing portrait of racism built around the observation that the central character is invisible because the people he deals with can see only his color. But its scope goes beyond race to the existential question of whether anyone&nbsp;ever sees anyone except through the observer's own needs and concerns. Thus all the characters are invisible to one another despite the hundreds of lightbulbs over the stage.</p><p>In his stunning lighting design John Culbert has captured the work’s central metaphor-- that of the character vainly fighting the darkness while buried underground like Dostoevsky's narrator–- as well as its central irony. Director Christopher McElroen and Invisible Man Teagle F. Bougere, both making their Chicago debuts, along with adapter Oren Jacoby, deserve great credit for bringing to life this ferociously current version of a 60-year-old masterwork. And the supporting cast, including A.C. Smith as Mr. Bledsoe and Lance Stuart Baker as a representative of the Brotherhood, a thinly-veiled portrait of the Communist Party, is pretty much flawless. <em>Through February 19 in Hyde Park; tickets $10-$45.</em><br> <br> <img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-02/YD-full.jpeg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 288px; height: 300px;" title="'The Girl in the Yellow Dress' at Next Theatre"><strong><em>The Girl in the Yellow Dress</em></strong> at <a href="http://nexttheatre.org/">Next Theatre </a>also touches on issues of race and invisibility, albeit only en route to portraying a couple unable to connect through a thicket of their own illusions and the other’s preconceptions. Director Joanie Schultz captures every rhythm of Craig Higginson’s taut dialogue in this U.S. premiere, and Carrie A. Coon and Austin Talley are impeccable as the ill-fated pair. <em>Through February 26 in Evanston; tickets $25-$40 with student discounts available.</em><br> <br> To complete the race/invisibility trifecta there’s <strong><em>Home/Land</em></strong> at the <a href="http://aptpchicago.org/">Albany Park Theater Project</a>. The piece was devised by the teenage company about the impact of immigration policy on the diverse families in their neighborhood, those from Eastern Europe and the Philippines as well as those&nbsp;from the Middle East and Mexico.</p><p>Though the piece overstays its welcome at nearly 2 hours with no intermission, its take on this urgent topic is clever as well as thoughtful. I especially liked the game show <em>Who wants to be an American?</em> <em>Through February 25 (with extensions likely)&nbsp;at the company’s home at Eugene Field Park, 5100 North Ridgeway; tickets $6 to $22.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</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/2012-February/2012-02-02/bonedanse2011_7x5300dpi__photo_by_chrystyne.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 396px;" title="BONEdanse in 'This Is a Damage Manual'"></p><p>BONEdanse’s <strong><em><a href="http://www.theaterwit.org/tickets/productions/79/performances#top">This Is a Damage Manual</a>&nbsp;</em></strong>takes its title from the supergroup made up of '80s punk icons—and the advice it contains from '50s-era instruction manuals and self-help records. It’s a good bet that any actual instruction delivered by this satirical dark comedy will be oblique. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/atalee-judy/atalee-judy-strikes-back-empire">Atalee Judy</a>’s choreography relies on DIY fix-it books, safety operation guides, and her own dance notes from 1994. Also on the bill: <em>The Woman Who Had It All</em>, a solo by Jyl (“Jyldo”) Fehrenkamp. <em>Thursdays through Sundays at Theater Wit through February 12.</em></p><p>And, in the category of things that are not as they seem: <strong><em><a href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/events/calendar">This Is Not a Dance Concert</a></em></strong>, by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-02-18/seldoms-must-see-stupormarket-82547">Carrie Hanson of the Seldoms</a>. A very funny metatheatrical piece, with texts culled from Yelp and other online sources, it’s one night only at the Harris. Audiences at each of the three separate shows are divided into four groups, then guided around the theater, including backstage, for site-specific performances. <em>Saturday at 7, 8:15, and 9:30 PM.</em></p><p>Meida McNeal remounts her <strong><em><a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2012/01/sweet-goddess-project.html">Sweet Goddess Project</a></em></strong>, investigating the role women play in the house scene, at Northwestern University. I saw it last fall, and it’s not only great fun but puts house, a home for outsiders, in context.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p>I have only one choice this week because my pick actually is three-three-three shows in one (to paraphrase an ancient TV commercial for a patent medicine). My endorsement goes to the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=550"><strong>Steppenwolf Garage Rep</strong></a>&nbsp;at the Merle Reskin Garage Theatre.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-02/image003.jpeg" style="width: 300px; height: 361px; float: left; margin: 5px;" title="">Each year, Steppenwolf invites three smaller and younger Off-Loop theater troupes to stage a wintertime rotating repertory of new productions in its Garage space. Typically, the troupes have production values and techniques radically different from the realism for which the Steppenwolf Ensemble is famous. Thus, the Garage Rep has hosted wildly imaginative works featuring puppets, robots, other-worldly oddities and who-knows-what-all. It’s precisely what a troupe of Steppenwolf’s size, stature and resources&nbsp;should&nbsp;be doing to support theater arts and crafts here in Chicago.</p><div><div>This year’s Garage Rep features Bekah Brunstetter’s&nbsp;<em>Oohrah!</em>&nbsp;By LiveWire (sic) Theatre Company, the world premiere of&nbsp;<em>Hit the Wall</em>&nbsp;by Ike Holter, presented by The InConvenience (sic) and Michael Montenegro’s&nbsp;<em>He Who</em>&nbsp;offered by Theatre Zarko. It’s OK if you’ve never heard of the authors or theater troupes; it’s even as it should be. All three companies work in engaging and non-realistic styles of presentation. The darkly comic&nbsp;<em>Oohrah!&nbsp;</em>(a Marines expression) concerns the unexpected return of an Iraq vet.&nbsp;<em>Hit the Wall</em>&nbsp;uses a live rock band to explore the death of Judy Garland and the myth of the 1969 Stonewall Riots.&nbsp;<em>He Who</em>&nbsp;employs puppets, masks and live actors to explore the legacy of a life. The shows open, respectively, tonight (Feb. 2), tomorrow and Saturday and then run in rotating rep through April 8.</div></div></p> Thu, 02 Feb 2012 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-02/dont-miss-list-bonedanse-girl-yellow-dress-and-garage-rep-96030 The Don't-Miss List: 'Invisible Man', 'Pina' and 'Mark Twain' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-19/dont-miss-list-invisible-man-pina-and-mark-twain-95638 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-19/STILL 2 pina.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>Tomorrow (Friday) night, <a href="http://www.shawchicago.org/">Shaw Chicago</a> will present the sole and only local performance of <strong><a href="http://richardhenzel.com/mtipage.html"><em>Mark Twain in Person</em></a></strong>. Richard Henzel, a Shaw Chicago stalwart, has been touring this one-man show for years now, to great acclaim. He'll give the home-town folks their chance for a mere $75, which buys a ticket to the show at the Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan, and a post-show reception. Curtain's at 7 p.m. Tickets online at <a href="http://brownpapertickets.com/event/215611">Brown Paper Tickets</a>.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/gAQiya6u834" width="560" frameborder="0" height="410"></iframe></p><p>On Monday night (the 23rd), <a href="http://erasingthedistance.org/">Erasing the Distance</a> will open <strong><em>Finding Peace in this House</em></strong>, a play based on true stories of half-a-dozen people struggling with mental health issues. The company created the work in collaboration with the <a href="http://www.thechicagoschool.edu/Home">Chicago School of Professional Psychology</a>. Erasing the Distance works through theater to expand and enlighten the dialogue about mental illness and its impact on individuals and society. Curtain at the Hoover-Leppen Theatre (at the Center on Halsted) is 7:30 p.m.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-19/STILL 2 pina.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 491px;" title="A still from 'Pina'"></p><p>Arts lovers, unite! Beginning this weekend you can catch the work of dance-theater pioneer Pina Bausch—which never seemed to travel to flyover country—and arguably in a more intense form than onstage. <em>New Yorker&nbsp;</em>critic Anthony Lane called Wim Wenders’ 3D documentary <a href="http://www.wim-wenders.com/movies/movies_spec/pina/pina.htm"><em><strong>Pina</strong>&nbsp;</em></a>“less a polite memorial than a palpitating act of resurrection.” (Having now seen the film, I'm afraid I can give it only a qualified recommendation. <a href="http://seechicagodance.com/newsletter/article/321">Here's my review.</a>)</p><p>The works themselves (some of which I saw here during a 1999 film festival on Bausch) can be harrowing. She excelled at capturing the war between the sexes and the unique qualities of those generally considered too old to be onstage. And she adored bizarre sets. In her 1975 <em>Le Sacre du Printemps</em>, she piled peat on the floor.</p><p>That’s one of the four dances she and Wenders chose for filming. But just before the first 3D test shoot, in June 2009, Bausch died unexpectedly. Wenders cut the project short, but eventually decided it was more important than ever to record her amazing work. <em>Pina</em>, opening Friday at River East 21 and Century 12/CineArts 6 in Evanston, includes archival footage of Bausch, interviews with her dancers, and excerpts from her pieces, three of them filmed in their entirety onstage at the Wuppertal Opera House.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-19/invisible_man.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 300px;" title="Teagle F. Bougere as the Invisible Man (Photo by Michael Brosilow)">Many have tried, but none have succeeded in securing rights for a stage adaptation of Ralph Ellison’s seminal novel, <a href="http://www.courttheatre.org/season/show/invisible_man/"><strong><em>Invisible Man</em></strong></a>, that is until now. Court Theatre, under artistic director Charles Newell and executive director Stephen J. Albert, have achieved what heretofore has been impossible, winning approval from the Ellison estate for a stage adaptation by writer Oren Jacoby, directed by Christopher McElroen. Ellison’s 1952 debut novel—the only novel he published in his lifetime—won the National Book Award in part for its unpredictable, jazz-influenced narrative style and radical shifts in tone. Along with works by authors such as Richard Wright, Langston Hughes and James Baldwin, <em>Invisible Man</em> successfully broke the color bar in bringing a tale of a Black American to a vast mainstream readership. <em>Invisible Man</em> continues at Court Theatre through Feb. 19.</p><p><strong>Theater of War&nbsp;</strong>is, by any measure, a curiosity: a public health project that stages readings of ancient Greek tragedies as a catalyst for facilitated discussions about the challenges faced by service members, veterans, their families, caregivers and communities. The upcoming program, next Wednesday (Jan. 25, 7PM) at the National Veterans Arts Museum, will feature the Rivendell Theatre Ensemble in selections from Sophocles’ <em>Ajax</em> and <em>Philoctetes</em>. The Goodman Theatre hosted a similar program on Jan. 18, also with Rivendell. The director, actors and producers of Theatre of War all are top-notch theater veterans. The program is free, but <a href="http://www.rivendelltheatre.org">reservations are suggested</a>.</p></p> Thu, 19 Jan 2012 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-19/dont-miss-list-invisible-man-pina-and-mark-twain-95638 Daily Rehearsal: Timothy Douglas suddenly resigns from Remy Bumppo http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-18/daily-rehearsal-timothy-douglas-suddenly-resigns-remy-bumppo-95628 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2010-November/2010-11-03/timothy_douglas.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2012/Court-Theatre-Scored-the-Stage-Debut-of-Invisible-Man/"><em>Chicago Magazine</em> talks to</a> the director of Court Theatre's upcoming <em>Invisible Man</em></strong></span></span>,&nbsp;Christopher McElroen, and the&nbsp;University of Chicago’s resident Ellison scholar&nbsp;Kenneth Warren. "As excited as I was when I heard Court was doing this project, I was also dismayed, because how in the world could you pull it off? asked Warren. "But I’ve been surprised and impressed by how much the script manages to get in while maintaining a clear dramatic arc."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. "A gala reunion</strong></span></span> is being held for those who worked at America's first Dinner Theater, Candlelight Dinner Playhouse on Saturday, Feb. 4, from 6:30pm to 12:30am at the European Chalet." Where is the European Chalet, that place sounds amazing. $50 admission, but it includes dinner, an open bar, and no embarassing wedding toasts (but a commorative gift). Candlelight closed in 1997; does anyone remember it?&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Cirque du Soleil's <em><a href="http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/quidam/tickets/hoffman.aspx">Quidan</a></em></strong></span></span><a href="http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/quidam/tickets/hoffman.aspx">&nbsp;</a>hits Hoffman Estates, IL and the Sears Centre Arena on February 8.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-November/2010-11-03/timothy_douglas.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 166px; height: 251px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Have you seen the show&nbsp;<em>Clutter</em>?</strong></span></span><em> <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/9949685-421/lives-of-wealthy-hoarding-collyer-brothers-provides-rich-material-for-new-production.html">Sun-Times</a></em><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/9949685-421/lives-of-wealthy-hoarding-collyer-brothers-provides-rich-material-for-new-production.html"> critic Hedy Weiss </a>felt like it was a little bit too close to home.&nbsp;"Full disclosure: On some level I fully empathize with the Collyer brothers, those fabled New York siblings from a well-to-do family who, over the course of several decades, engaged in compulsive hoarding, filling to capacity the Fifth Avenue brownstone home in Harlem where they were found dead in 1947.Like many writers, even in this cyberspace age, I have a serious paper problem. Newspapers, magazines, books, press kits, programs and printouts pile up with astonishing speed." Hedy, I feel you.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Timothy Douglas has resigned as Artistic Director of Remy Bumpo</strong></span></span> -- at least, he did two months ago. In a <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/15090035/timothy-douglas-resigns-at-remy-bumppo">conversation with <em>TimeOut</em>'s Kris Vire</a>, Douglas said, "What I came to realize was that in this wonderful experiment that we all decided to do, the company had not seen my work and I had never seen anything that Remy Bumppo had done before I agreed to come on as artistic director." In <a href="http://remybumppo.blogspot.com/2012/01/artistic-director-change-at-remy-bumppo.html">a letter to the Remy Bumppo board of directors</a>, Douglas said that he thought he was "ultimately not a good match for the organization." But Board President Karen Randolph wrote "Over the course of several meetings we hoped to find a&nbsp;solution for keeping Timothy successfully and confidently engaged, but his resignation was ultimately accepted." When Douglas was hired, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/about-damn-time-loop-theater-hires-african-american-artistic-director">Kelly Kleiman wrote</a> that he was&nbsp;"the first African-American to run a mainstream–that is, white–theater company in Chicago."&nbsp;He's&nbsp;being replaced with Nick Sandys, a member of the ensemble.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email<a href="mailto:%20kdries@wbez.org"> kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jan 2012 19:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-18/daily-rehearsal-timothy-douglas-suddenly-resigns-remy-bumppo-95628 The You-Missed List: Top Shows of 2011 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-19/you-missed-list-top-shows-2011-94979 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-19/follies.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-19/follies.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 354px; height: 240px;" title="'Follies' at Chicago Shakes (Photo by Liz Lauren)"><strong>Best show of the year in any category:</strong> Gary Griffin’s <em>Follies</em> at <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/">Chicago Shakespeare</a>. This flawless version of an underappreciated early Sondheim should be remounted somewhere and run forever; there’s not a false note or step anywhere in it. In short: absolutely brilliant.</p><p><strong>Best one-man show of this or any other year:</strong> <a href="http://www.courttheatre.org/season/show/an_iliad/"><em>An Iliad</em> at Court Theatre</a>, by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, as performed by the extraordinary Timothy Edward Kane. Again, won’t director Charles Newell seek out another site for an open-ended run? The city is full of people who wanted to see it and couldn’t. &nbsp;<br> <br> And now on to our regularly-scheduled list, already in progress.<br> <br> <strong>Best musical we’ve seen in years:</strong> Life is unfair. Only a perfect <em>Follies</em> could eclipse two other superb productions in this category, <em>Sweeney Todd</em> at <a href="http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/">Drury Lane</a> and <a href="http://themusictheatrecompany.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=25&amp;Itemid=12"><em>Merrily We Roll Along</em> at The Music Theatre Company</a> (starring <a href="http://www.broadway.com/shows/clear-day-you-can-see-forever/buzz/159007/on-a-clear-days-breakout-star-jessie-mueller-on-flirting-with-harry-connick-jr-and-belting-on-broadway/">Jessie Mueller, now knocking them dead in <em>On A Clear Day</em> on Broadway</a>). Sondheim was everywhere this year, but in the race for attention these three are a deserved win, place and show.&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br> <br> <strong>Best plays about monarchs (including any Shakespeare play you care to name):</strong> So who’da thunk Chicago Shakespeare would win this category, too, and with two non-Bard productions? No one who saw Harry Groener in <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,19,3,36,1,15"><em>The Madness of George III </em></a>will ever forget his hilarious, pathetic, tragic and deeply human character, and the same can be said for Diane D’Aquila’s powerful, hearthbroken&nbsp; and heartbreaking <em><a href="https://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,62,5,1,11">Elizabeth Rex</a>.</em>&nbsp;And with its offstage gods and kings manipulating its onstage warriors and fools, let’s count <em>An Iliad</em> once again–just because it was so amazing. &nbsp;<br> <br> <strong>Best plays about racism:</strong> <a href="http://www.theartistichome.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=130&amp;Itemid=250">Artistic Home’s revival of Alice Childress's Obie-winning <em>Trouble in Mind</em></a> anatomized discrimination within the theater itself, while–-speaking of painfully close to home-–<a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=527">Bruce Norris’s Pulitzer-winning Clybourne Park</a> called out gentrification in Steppenwolf’s own neighborhood. It take some nerve to raise the ghost of <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/lorraine-hansberry-9327823">Lorraine Hansberry,</a> and a top-notch intellect to confront it on equal terms. Fortunately, Norris shows himself as able a combatant as we’ve seen since <a href="http://gwt.scripturetext.com/genesis/32.htm">Jacob wrestled with the angel til dawn</a>. &nbsp;<br> <br> <strong>Best avant-garde plays, even for those of us skeptical about the very concept:</strong> Trap Door took a play that is literally revolting, featuring a character with an intimate relationship with excrement –&nbsp;<a href="http://trapdoortheatre.com/performance-history/first-ladies/">Werner Schwab's <em>First Ladies</em></a>&nbsp;--&nbsp;and made it into a savage and inescapable commentary on the dregs which constitute contemporary life. Nicole Wiesner’s performance as the obsessed plumber was first among equals, and deserved a much wider audience than it got. Kudos to her and to the entire company for deciding that doing the work they believe in is more important than the commercial success they could all surely have.</p><p>Meanwhile, <a href="http://theateroobleck.com/plays/there-is-a-happiness-that-morning-is">Mickle Maher's <em>There is a Happiness That Morning Is</em></a>, which Theatre Oobleck did at the DCA Theatre, broke the fourth wall while making <a href="http://www.online-literature.com/blake/songs-of-innocence-and-experie">William Blake's <em>Songs of Innocence and Experience</em></a> into a surrogate for all conflicts between Apollo and Dionysius, between head and heart, between conformity and individuality. Performed as a pair of dueling lectures, with a few comments from the peanut gallery, the piece is Impossible to describe but was thrilling to observe.&nbsp;<br> <br> <strong>Best adaptations from other media:</strong> honors are shared here by Marilyn Campbell's <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/seasonfour/thebeats.html"><em>The Beats</em> at 16th Street Theatre</a>, which makes the 1950s poets seem our contemporaries; <a href="http://buildingstage.com/bxo_show_mobydick.php"><em>Moby Dick</em> at the Building Stage</a>, in which everyone onstage takes a turn as Ahab, reminding the audience that anyone is capable of cruelty, obsession and insanity; <a href="http://thehousetheatre.com/seasons/x/shows/cyrano">The House Theatre’s version of <em>Cyrano</em></a>, which rescued the tale of love and chivalry from the musty cloth in which it’s been swaddled (not to say suffocated); and <a href="http://www.courttheatre.org/season/show/spunk/"><em>Spunk</em> at Court Theatre, a delightful musical adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston short stories</a>. And speaking of Court, did I mention its one-man adaptation of Homer?<br> <br> <strong>Best plays with an Irish lilt (always a crowded category in Chicago):</strong> a tie between <a href="http://www.seanachai.org/productions/shadow.html"><em>Shadow of a Gunman</em> at Seanachai</a> (directed by John Mossman) and <a href="http://www.theartistichome.org/index.php?option=com_content&amp;task=view&amp;id=136&amp;Itemid=261"><em>A Touch of the Poet</em> at the Artistic Home's new space at Stage 773</a> (directed by Mossman's wife, AH's Artistic Director Kathy Scambiatterra). Whether it’s O’Neill or O’Casey, you can count on a true feel of the Ould Sod from these two.<br> <br> <strong>Best plays about escaping from reality:</strong> There were a lot of these this year–--and, looking at the world as it is, can you blame us?&nbsp; <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/2010-2011Season.html#Neb">Red Twist’s <em>Man from Nebraska</em></a> heads the list, with a production of the Tracy Letts play that outdid its world premiere at Steppenwolf.&nbsp; <a href="http://www.strawdog.org/index.php?section=history&amp;production=conquest">Strawdog’s <em>Conquest of the South Pole</em> </a>(the <a href="http://www.timelinetheatre.com/pitmen_painters/">other play about unemployed miners</a>) showed us a group of East Germans whose fantasies of liberation involve death on the ice.&nbsp;<a href="http://eclipsetheatre.com/season/2011/">At Eclipse</a>, playwright Naomi Wallace limned the constraints of poverty, isolation, and gender in <em>The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek</em>, while the <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/news.detail/object_id/a3d49bc1-3d30-4d73-b050-c4ecafb365fb.cfm">same company’s revival of Arthur Miller’s <em>After the Fall</em></a> demonstrated that even people married to Marilyn Monroe occasionally need a break.</p><p>I realize I've spoken about companies more often than directors, so permit me a shout-out to Kimberly Senior, Jonathan Berry, Andrew Jessop, Seret Scott, Matt Hawkins, Blake Montgomery, Ann Filmer, Zeljko Djukic, Amy Morton, Vaun Monroe, Barbara Gaines, Penny Metropulos, Jessica Redish and Rachel Rockwell. And may I happily note an equal number of men and women in this group of those responsible for the great work here described?</p><p>Happy New Year.&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 19 Dec 2011 15:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-19/you-missed-list-top-shows-2011-94979 The Don't-Miss List: Luna Negra in 'Moniquilla and the Thief of Laughter' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-30/dont-miss-list-luna-negra-moniquilla-and-thief-laughter-94458 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-01/Moniquilla (2), photo by German Anton.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>I guess I shouldn't be surprised at a brilliant one-man <strong><em>Iliad</em></strong>--after all, the bardic tradition is precisely of one man telling an epic story. But <a href="http://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/273376">Timothy Edward Kane</a>'s embodiment of all the characters in the agonizing finale of the Trojan War is amazing nonetheless. With only a handful of contemporary references, the script (by Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson) and performance make clear that wars of conquest are all the same, and all more costly than worthwhile. The <a href="http://www.courttheatre.org/">Court Theatre</a> production runs only through next weekend (December 11); hop on the Metra and see it. Tickets are from $10 to $60.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6veWKP6PIuE" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe></p><p>And while you're venturing out of downtown, head to Berwyn for Saturday's sneak preview of the upcoming 5th season at <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/scripts/now_at_16thstreet.asp">16th Street Theater</a>. The season's theme is "<strong>Love, Faith and the Unknown</strong>," and the FREE preview will include excerpts from each of the upcoming plays. The festivities begin at 5 p.m.&nbsp; While you're out there, see if there's a seat left for <em>Holiday Stories</em> (a seasonal tryptych by company-affiliated playwrights Elizabeth Berg, Rohina Malik and Tanya Saracho), which closes on Sunday. Tickets are $18.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/210093">Try on <strong><em>Paper Shoes</em></strong></a><strong> </strong>tonight, tomorrow night, and next Thursday and Friday with Rachel Bunting’s <em>The Humans</em>. She describes her dance-theater project on memory and loss, two years in the making, as “something like a twisted and crinkled map in my hands that refuses to be folded up… ever, ever again.” Thursdays and Fridays through Dec. 9 at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse.</p><p>There are two, count them, two! kids’ dance shows this weekend that are not <em>The Nutcracker</em>. Luna Negra Dance Theater launches its family series, Luna Niños, with <a href="http://www.lunanegra.org/">Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s <strong><em>Moniquilla and the Thief of Laughter</em></strong></a> at Stage 773, Saturday and Sunday with two shows each day. Expect “flying pendulums, jungle spies, bursting water balloons, and secret laboratories.” Also this weekend: Hubbard Street 2’s <strong><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-30/harold-and-purple-crayon-returns-94448">Harold and the Purple Crayon</a></em></strong>, in matinees at the Harris Saturday and Sunday.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/Moniquilla%20%282%29%2C%20photo%20by%20German%20Anton.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 387px;" title="Luna Negra"></p><p><a href="http://linkshall.org/">At Link’s Hall, <strong>Synapse Arts</strong></a> presents new works by Suzy Grant, Samantha Spriggs, and artistic director Rachel Damon. <a href="http://www.muntu.com/">At the DuSable Museum of African American History, Muntu Dance Theatre</a> of Chicago presents its fall series, this year titled “<strong>Spice It Up!</strong>” And <a href="http://mordine.org/events.cfm?hdr=events">at Architectural Artifacts, Mordine &amp; Co.</a> hosts a free “<strong>fête champagne</strong>,” which includes performances of excerpts from Shirley Mordine’s <em>LifeSpeak </em>and work in progress.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p>Bah! Humbug! Eff the Xmas cheer and--for one night only—indulge your darkest fantasies and desires with <a href="http://www.wildclawtheatre.com/wc_html/deathscribe11.html"><strong><em>DEATHSCRIBE</em></strong></a>, next Monday, Dec. 5, 8PM at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park (1328 W. Morse). This chilling night out offers five horror-genre radio plays, staged with a live Foley artist to ensure that every bone-crunching, gut-wrenching, squeaky-doored, blood-splashing moment sounds—uh—accurate . . . and then some. Deathscribe is an annual presentation of WildClaw (sic) Theatre, the only Chicago troupe devoted entirely to horror (not just at Halloween). We trust that Deathscribe will be much more than horrible.</p><p>Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and its new artistic director, Timothy Douglas, offer their take on Pierre de Marivaux’s elegant 18th Century French romantic comedy, <a href="http://www.remybumppo.org/changes-of-heart-pages-364.php"><strong><em>Changes of Heart</em></strong></a>, in a heralded English version by Stephen Wadsworth. The original play has characters derived from the Renaissance Italian commedia dell’arte, such as Harlequin. It’s anyone’s guess if they will survive Douglas’s update to 1960’s Chicago, and whether Harlequin will appear in hippie beads and bell-bottoms. Changes of Heartruns through Jan. 8 at The Greenhouse in Lincoln Park.</p></p> Wed, 30 Nov 2011 16:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-30/dont-miss-list-luna-negra-moniquilla-and-thief-laughter-94458 Daily Rehearsal: Casting for 'Angels in America' finished http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-16/daily-rehearsal-casting-angels-america-finished-94109 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-16/angels_show2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.atcweb.org/bxo/iawl.php"><em>It’s A Wonderful Life: The Radio Play</em></a></strong></span></span>, adapted from Frank Capra’s iconic film, and to be broadcast on WBEZ, will open November 26 at ATC. Milk and cookies in the lobby afterwards.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-16/angels_show2.jpg" style="margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 250px; height: 250px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2.&nbsp;The League of Chicago Theatres has launched a new website</strong></span></span> called <a href="http://chicagospaces.org/">ChicagoSpaces.org</a>, what they call "<span style="color: black; ">a comprehensive, searchable database of performing arts venues and rehearsal facilities in Chicagoland</span>" that are available to rent. And it's free to use. The non-profit Fractured Atlas helped design the website.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. The cast for<em> Angels in America</em> at Court Theatre</strong></span></span> in March has been announced. Directed by Charles Newell, that cast is as follows:&nbsp;Eddie Bennett&nbsp;(Louis Ironson),&nbsp;Mary Beth Fisher&nbsp;(Angel),&nbsp;Heidi Kettenring&nbsp;(Harper),&nbsp;Rob Lindley&nbsp;(Prior),&nbsp;Geoff Packard&nbsp;(Joseph Porter Pitt),&nbsp;Michael Pogue&nbsp;(Belize),&nbsp;Hollis Resnik&nbsp;(Hannah) and&nbsp;Larry Yando&nbsp;(Roy Cohn). The production is actually two - <em>Millenium Approaches</em> and&nbsp;Perestroika - the latter of which has been revised.&nbsp;Newell also directed everybody's favorite Court production <em>Caroline, or Change</em>, another Kushner show, so he knows what he's doing.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-16/225.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 152px; height: 225px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. <a href="http://www.appetitetheatre.com/"><em>Bruschetta </em></a>opened this past weekend at Appetite Theatre</strong></span></span>. It's a set of appetizers (GET IT?) or short plays directed by a variety of strong Chicago directors.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;For the holiday season, the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotap.org/" title="http://www.chicagotap.org/">Chicago Human Rhythm Project (CHRP)</a></strong></span></span>&nbsp;is helping you save money on your ticket to their Global Rhythms shows while donating to a good cause. It's 10 percent off tickets, and then 50 percent off the remaining price, and that money goes to whatever your favorite nonprofit is. A list of the participating nonprofits is <a href="http://www.chicagotap.org/CommunityDetail/Thanks-4-Giving.aspx">here</a>. They want to sell at least half of their tickets this way and raise $60,000.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 16 Nov 2011 19:14:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-16/daily-rehearsal-casting-angels-america-finished-94109