WBEZ | Circle Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/circle-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don't-Miss List: New musical approaches and an African-American classic http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-new-musical-approaches-and-african-american-classic <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/suitcases%20flickr%20masochism%20tango.jpg" style="height: 414px; width: 620px; " title="(Flickr/Tom Godber)" /></div><p><u><em>The Suitcase Opera Project</em>, <a href="http://www.chicagovanguard.org">Chicago Opera Vanguard</a> at Pritzker Pavilion, 201 E. Randolph; free (donation suggested); Nov. 8-10 only, 7:30 p.m.</u></p><p>&quot;People tell me in 10 years I will be in the gutter. I&#39;m almost looking forward to the prospect,&quot; Jimmy writes to his friend Howard in 1948. Jimmy is eighteen, gay, dishonorably discharged from the Marines, and living in New York.&nbsp; In 49 letters he documents his pre-Stonewall life of cruising the bars and streets and partying with Gore Vidal, Anais Nin, and Truman Capote, while rhapsodizing on art, love, and sexuality. Sixty years later, famed monologist David Kodeski buys the letters at random in an online auction and discovers Jimmy&#39;s lost world. For two years Kodeski has been turning the material into a non-fiction chamber opera, <strong><em>The Suitcase Opera Project</em></strong>, with composer Eric Reda, artistic director of Chicago Opera Vanguard. These weekend performances at Pritzker Pavilion are the culminating workshops in the development of the piece. FYI: in the cold-weather off-season, the Pritzker Pavilion is sealed off from the rest of Millennium Park and you and the performers all will sit in cozy comfort on the Pavilion stage.</p><p><u><em>Ceremonies in Dark Old Men</em>, <a href="http://www.etacreativearts.org">eta Creative Arts Foundation</a>, 7558 S. South Chicago Avenue;&nbsp;1-773-792-3955; $30; through Dec. 23</u></p><p>Lonnie Elder III (1927-1996) was the first African-American writer nominated for an Academy Award (for the 1973 film <em>Sounder</em>), but before that this actor-turned-author had scored on Broadway in 1969 with <strong><em>Ceremonies in Dark Old Men</em></strong>, which ranks close to <em>A Raisin in the Sun</em> as &nbsp;a seminal drama of urban African-American life. Set in and around a Harlem barbershop, the play chronicles the disintegration of a Black family in the midst of the 1960&#39;s social revolution, with a particular focus on the disenfranchisement &mdash; real or imagined &mdash; of African-American men within their own community. Vaun Monroe is the director of this American classic. FYI: Be sure to check out the gallery exhibit at eta Creative Arts.</p><p><u><em>Pippin: A Bollywood Spectacular</em>, <a href="http://www.circle-theatre.org">Circle Theatre</a>, 1010 W. Madison, Oak Park; 1-708-660-9540; $27.90-$29.97 (with service fee); runs through Dec. 23</u></p><p>A young man goes in search of the world or at least some good sex and, like Candide, ultimately finds more satisfaction in simple things, perhaps. With a pop score by Stephen Schwartz and a polyglot, meta-theatrical book by Roger O. Hirson, <em>Pippin</em>, was a huge Broadway hit of the 1970s (ran for five years), bringing a contemporary anti-authoritarian vibe to its fictionalized story of the son of Charlemagne in the 9th Century. Many feel the show hasn&#39;t aged well, especially without the hip-grinding original staging of the legendary Bob Fosse. Circle Theatre proposed to restore the show&#39;s oomph by making it a Bollywood spectacular. Circle artistic director Kevin Bellie has successfully re-burnished many other shows after their luster has dulled, and he is both director and choreographers of <strong><em>Pippin: A Bollywood Spectacular</em></strong>.</p></p> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-new-musical-approaches-and-african-american-classic Don’t Miss List July 19-25: From the sublime to the ridiculous http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/%EF%BB%BFdon%E2%80%99t-miss-list-july-19-25-sublime-ridiculous-100987 <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/three%20sisters%202.jpg" title="Caroline Neff and Carrie Coon star in Steppenwolf’s production of ‘Three Sisters.’ (Steppenwolf/Michael Brosilow)" /></div><p><u><em><strong>Three Sisters</strong></em><u>, </u>Tuesday through Sunday at 7:30 plus matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 3; through August 26 at&nbsp;<a href="http://Steppenwolf.org/">Steppenwolf</a>; tickets $20-$78.&nbsp;</u></p><p><br />If you feel like you&rsquo;ve never grasped Chekhov, this is not the production to provide you with sudden illumination (like, say, a version of the play I once saw at Stratford).&nbsp;But if you&rsquo;ve always wondered why people say his plays are funny, this adaptation by Tracy Letts directed by Anna D. Shapiro will make that clear.&nbsp;Yasen Peyankov as the cuckolded schoolmaster and Scott Jaeck as the drunken doctor are particularly strong in the comic bits.&nbsp;All the play is missing is the powerful sexual energy that underlies all those aimless conversations; for, as Chekhov translator (and erstwhile Steppenwolf Artistic Associate) Curt Columbus explained, &ldquo;[It&rsquo;s not] some chaste and tepid attraction . . . . The people in Chekhov&rsquo;s plays want to f**k each other.&rdquo; &ndash;KK<br /><br /><u><em><strong>Reefer Madness</strong></em><u>,</u> opens Friday July 20 at 8; Fridays and Saturdays at 8 plus a matinee on Sunday at 3; through August 26 at&nbsp;<a href="http://circle-theatre.org/">Circle Theatre</a>, 1010 W. Madison in Oak Park; tickets $26-30.</u><br /><br />Though I haven&rsquo;t had the pleasure of seeing this yet, any musical adaptation of the old drug-scare movie has to be worth an evening.&nbsp;Circle has done many successful musicals, but I admit it&rsquo;s less the music than the likelihood of ludicrous dialogue that attracts me to the show.&nbsp;Remember, though: Marijuana is still against the law in old-fashioned Oak Park.&nbsp;But I wouldn&rsquo;t smoke in Chicago, either: You can get a ticket for that. &ndash;KK<br /><br />* * *</p><p>It won&#39;t help if you get out of the kitchen this summer; you&#39;ll still have to deal with the heat. It&#39;s the perfect time to see a show that&#39;s fun or familiar or both, and I have some suggestions that are camp or classic (or both, depending on the attitude of the producers).&nbsp;&ndash;JA</p><p><u><strong><em>Richard III</em></strong>, <a href="http://www.tickets@oakparkfestival.com">Oak Park Festival</a>, Austin Gardens, Oak Park;&nbsp;through Aug. 25; $25. </u></p><p><u><strong><em>The Merchant of Venice</em></strong>, <a href="http://www.firstfolio.org">First Folio Theatre</a>, Mayslake Forest Preserve (1717 31st Street) Oak Brook;&nbsp;through Aug. 19;&nbsp;$30-$37.</u></p><p><strong><em>Richard III</em></strong> and <strong><em>The Merchant of Venice</em></strong> are among Shakespeare&#39;s most familiar plays, the latter a dark comedy with a happy ending (unless you&#39;re Shylock) and the former a real boo-the-villain costume drama. My dad used to call <em>Richard III</em> &quot;Dick da&#39; shit&quot; because he was &quot;Richard da&#39; Turd.&quot; In any case, treat them as popular entertainment, which is precisely what they were in Shakespeare&#39;s day, and you&#39;ll have a good time. <em>The Merchant of Venice</em> is outdoors at the Mayslake Forest Preserve in Oak Brook and <em>Richard III</em> is outdoors in Oak Park. Remember: those West Suburban nights are COOLER than in-the-city nights.&nbsp;&ndash;JA</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Tony%20Etching.jpg" style="float: left; height: 200px; width: 300px; " title="Anna Fermin and John Rice in 'Nickel History' (Photo by Johnny Knight)" /><u><strong><em>Little Shop of Horrors</em></strong>, Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind.; $20-$40; through Aug. 19. </u></p><p><u><strong><em>Reefer Madness</em></strong>, <a href="http://www.circle-theatre.org">Circle Theatre</a>, 1010 Madison Street, Oak Park; $26-$30 (plus service fee); through Aug. 26.</u></p><p>For pure campiness, you can&#39;t do much better than <strong><em>Little Shop of Horrors</em></strong> and <strong><em>Reefer Madness</em>,</strong> both successful Off-Broadway musicals based on cult classic non-musical films. <em>Little Shop</em>, with its man-eating antagonist, Audrey, is a cautionary tale about wild flowers while <em>Reefer Madness</em> pokes fun at America&#39;s decades-long criminalization of marijuana (use of which, the government tried to convince us, leads directly to promiscuity and insanity; well one outta&#39; two ain&#39;t bad). Both shows are presented in air conditioned comfort, <em>Reefer Madness</em> by Circle Theatre in Oak Park (yeah, again Oak Park) and <em>Little Shop</em> at Theatre at the Center, just around the tip of the lake in Munster, IN (a good stop going to/from a Saugatuck weekend, say).&nbsp;&ndash;JA</p></p> Thu, 19 Jul 2012 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/%EF%BB%BFdon%E2%80%99t-miss-list-july-19-25-sublime-ridiculous-100987 The Don't-Miss List: Putting on 'The Ritz', 'Winter Fire' and 'Man Boobs' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-15/dont-miss-list-putting-ritz-winter-fire-and-man-boobs-96425 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-16/manboobs.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-16/the ritz.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 254px; height: 300px; " title="'The Ritz' at Circle Theatre">Solo performers have a hard time finding outlets for their work; African-American solo performers have a doubly hard time. This is the theory behind <a href="http://MPAACT.org/">MPAACT's <strong>Solo Jam</strong> series</a>, a late-night showcase of performance pieces at the Greenhouse in Lincoln Park. Every Friday and Saturday through March 10, a different artist will present a piece of his/her own devising. A preview of the work showed a wide range of styles and themes: I was particularly taken with next weekend's pairing, Osiris Khepera's <em>The Fag-tionary</em> and Jonathan Kitt's <em>Superman, Black Man, Me! A Stage Essay</em>, but there doesn't seem to be a bad one in the bunch. The shows begin at 11 p.m. (after MPAACT's mainstage production <em>Sweet Home</em>; a ticket to that will get you a discount to the Solo Jam); tickets $12 for a single show or $20 for the weekend.</p><p>And if you think the world of solo performance is daunting for actors of color, consider the nearly monochromatic world of sketch comedy.&nbsp; Taco Flavored Eggrolls storms those alabaster barricades with the irresistably-named <strong><em>It Takes Juan To Know Wong (a colored commentary)</em></strong>, which begins an 8-week run at the <a href="http://www.propthtr.org/">PROP THTR</a>&nbsp;Friday. 10:30 every Friday through April 6 at 3502 N. Elston Avenue; tickets are $12, $10 for students and seniors (though really, what senior stays up that late?)</p><p>Or, if you're in the mood for an actual comic play, check out <a href="http://www.circle-theatre.org/">Circle Theater's newly-opened production of <strong><em>The Ritz</em></strong></a>, a very early farce by Terrence McNally. (Early enough that the words "gay bathhouse" had no over- or undertones.) Fridays and Saturdays at 8, Sundays at 3; tickets $24-$28 with various discounts; performances at 1010 West Madison Street in Oak Park.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-16/trey mcintyre.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px; " title="(Photo courtesy of Preservation Hall Jazz Band)"></p><p>Fat Tuesday is right around the corner—and so is New Orleans on Friday night, when the <a href="http://www.cso.org/"><strong>Trey McIntyre Project</strong> dances to the swinging Preservation Hall Jazz Band</a> at Symphony Center. Don’t expect cheek-to-cheek, though. In McIntyre’s macabre <em>Ma Maison</em>, the dancers cavort in skull masks. And as Lewis Segal of the LA Times describes <em>The Sweeter End</em>, it’s a “high-speed amalgam of ballet steps, gymnastic feats, ballroom fragments and eruptions of snake-hips undulation.”</p><p>The <a href="http://www.auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/pages/home/performances-events/performances.php?event_id=353">Joffrey Ballet heats up with “<strong>Winter Fire</strong>,”</a> a program of three works by contemporary names-you-can-drop: William Forsythe, Christopher Wheeldon, and Wayne McGregor—who’s moved seamlessly from modern dance into the classical world as resident choreographer of London’s Royal Ballet. On video, McGregor’s spiky <em>Infra</em>—a U.S. premiere for the Joffrey—looks spectacular: technically challenging, tech-savvy, and moving to boot. This weekend and next, plus next Thursday, at the Auditorium.</p><p>Chicago Dance Crash reinstates its KTF (“Keeper of the Floor”) dance battles with a <a href="http://www.maynestage.com/Dance-Crash-Feb.aspx">post-Valentine’s show, “<strong>Love Is a (Dance) Battlefield</strong>,”</a> reportedly dedicated to “the hopelessly single, recent dumpees, and generally jaded demographic.” Friday at 8 PM at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-16/manboobs.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 386px; " title=""></p><p>Since the demise of the original Bailiwick Repertory Theater in 2009, director David Zak has re-emerged as head of Pride Films and Plays, a Chicago-based organization&nbsp;that reaches nation-wide to find and develop writing for screen and stage on LGBT subjects. Some of the works are serious and some are not. I’m not certain about the current project, J. Julian Christopher’s self-described “dark comedy” entitled <a href="http://www.pridefilmsandplays.com/manboobs.html"><strong><em>Man Boobs</em></strong></a>. Well, now, I’ll bet THAT got your attention! I’m fairly certain <em>Man Boobs</em> isn’t a medical drama about gynecomastia, but may be about love, body image and acceptance both by oneself and others. Previously produced in New York, Los Angeles, Montreal and Australia, <em>Man Boobs</em> launches Pride Films and Plays’ 2012 season, running through March 10 at Mary’s Attic in Andersonville.</p><p>Porchlight Music Theatre has not built its reputation by spinning gold from dross, but currently is attempting just that with the regional premiere of <a href="http://porchlightmusictheatre.org/a-catered-affair/"><strong><em>A Catered Affair</em></strong></a>, a failed 2008 Broadway musical based on the 1956 film (script by Gore Vidal) and the 1955 live TV drama (by Paddy Chayefsky) before that. Set in the 1950’s Bronx, it concerns a lower-middle-class family planning a lavish wedding for their only daughter. <em>A Catered Affair</em> is composer John Bucchino’s first Broadway show, but features a book by multiple Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein, who created a role for himself, that of the bride’s gay uncle. The Broadway reviews called it restrained and almost like a chamber musical, which may work well in Porchlight’s intimate production at Stage 773 in Wrigleyville. The artistic team of Nick Bowling (director) and Douglas Peck (musical director) is impeccable. <em>A Catered Affair</em> runs through April 1.</p></p> Thu, 16 Feb 2012 15:38:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-15/dont-miss-list-putting-ritz-winter-fire-and-man-boobs-96425 Critics theater picks for 6/30-7/3 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-30/critics-theater-picks-for-630-73 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-30/Lucky Plush.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Updated at: 2:45pm on 6/30/11 - Now with Jonathan Abarbanel!</em></p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-30/womenarecrazy.jpg" style="width: 232px; height: 300px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="">Start the weekend right by listening to the Dueling Critics as Jonathan and I debate David Henry Hwang's <em>Chinglish</em>, the latest missile being guided from the Goodman to Broadway. Is the show more or less true to the Asian-American experience than the production of Hwang's <em>Yellow Face</em> now running at the culturally specific Silk Road Theatre Project? Can a pair of highly diverse Jewish theater critics (he's Sephardic and I'm Ashkenazi) accurately assess that kind of authenticity? Is "authenticity" even relevant anymore? Listen and decide whether <em>Chinglish </em>measures up to Chicago standards or whether it's only good enough for New York.<br> <br> We're on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight">848 </a>between 9 and 10 a.m. tomorrow (Friday), or you'll find the recorded segment posted shortly thereafter on the 848 page of this site. Catch us now or dig us later.<br> <br> This weekend only, another out-of-town tryout: live from L.A., the superbly-named <strong><a href="http://www.mercurytheaterchicago.com/"><em>Women Are Crazy Because Men Are A**holes</em></a></strong>. I haven't seen it because it only opened its five-performance run last night; but if you're up for gender-role comedy check it out at 6 o'clock on Saturday, when tickets are only $19. At the Mercury on Southport in Lakeview.&nbsp;<br> <br> And finally, on Sunday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. join a cast of 100 or so of the city's top actors, directors, playwrights and designers--and, for some reason, me--as we <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-29/daily-rehearsal-start-planning-your-4th-july-88498">read the <strong>Declaration of Independence</strong></a> from the stage of the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. That's right: no fireworks on the Third of July, just the reading with Grant Park Concert to follow. Think of it this way: no fireworks means no nightmare crowds means plenty of room for you to see and hear and remember what the whole thing's supposed to be about. Free.<br> <br> And a Glorious Fourth to all.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-30/Lucky Plush.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 267px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="Lucky Plush/500 Clown in 'The Better Half'">Catch two of Chicago’s funniest groups in a free preview tonight, Thursday. <a href="http://www.luckyplush.com/">Lucky Plush Productions</a> and members of <a href="http://www.500clown.com/">500 Clown</a> are putting their heads together to create <strong><em>The Better Half</em></strong>, a take-off on Patrick Hamilton’s 1938 play <em>Gaslight</em>, produced on Broadway in 1941 (under the title <em>Angel Street</em>) and made into a film in 1944. Set in 1880, this melodrama involves a husband who schemes to convince his wife she’s mad—but Lucky Plush and 500 Clown are playing it anything but straight. A preview I saw in April had people on the floor. The finished product is scheduled to open at the MCA in October, but you can get a glimpse of the creative process at a one-night-only work-in-progress showing, <a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/performances/perf_detail.php?id=732">6 PM in the MCA theater</a>.</p><p>Lots of theater romanticizes old age. Not Bruce Graham’s <em>The Outgoing Tide</em>. Directed by BJ Jones and starring John Mahoney and Rondi Reed—funny and horrifying as a long-married couple—it has, not the ring of truth, but the clamorous cacophony of truth. <a href="http://www.northlight.org/pages/the_outgoing_tide/145.php">Extended through July 3 at Northlight Theatre</a>, it’s also a true pleasure. I’ll never forget (unless I fall into dementia) the guy shuffling out behind us when it ended, decked out in his WWII veteran’s cap, who called after us, “Hey, kids! Have a wonderful day!”&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-30/cirque.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 231px; margin: 10px; float: right;" title="">"Jungle Red!" The very words raise the hair on the necks of those who love bitch wit and revenge served cold (as it should be) and Upper Crust 1930's women's fashion. They are (1) the color of a lipstick and (2) a catch phrase from Clare Booth's quintessential 1936 comedy-of-manners, <a href="http://www.circle-theatre.org/shows/the-women.shtml"><b><i>The Women</i></b></a>, and it's onstage now at Circle Theatre in Oak Park. Given Circle's sense of production values, one may expect gorgeous gowns. The question is how they will treat the play itself, with its large, all-female cast. Will they serve it up as high camp, as has sometimes been the case? Or as an earnest period piece? Ironically, author Clare Booth was a powerful, independent career woman quite unlike the women of her play, who rely on the unseen men in their lives for validation. <i>The Women </i>runs at Circle Theatre through Aug. 14.</p><p>The cirques are back in town, both of them. <a href="http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/ovo/default.aspx"><b>Cirque du Soleil </b></a>has pitched its iconic blue-and-yellow air-conditioned tent next to the United Center with its latest lavishly costumed and scored opus, <i>Ovo</i>, a fanciful interpretation of insect life, playing through Aug. 21. Meanwhile, <a href="http://www.navypier.com/cirqueshanghai/"><strong>Cirque Shanghai</strong></a> is back for another summer-long run at Navy Pier's Skyline Stage, featuring the best highly physical acts from China's seemingly-endless supply of tumblers, jugglers, acrobats, aerialists and cyclists through Sept. 5. If Cirque Shanghai is less of a high-concept and unique environment, it counteracts that with truly family-friendly ticket prices. Best four-person family package at Cirque du Soleil is $150, while a four-person family can see Cirque Shanghai for as little as $65.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 14:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-30/critics-theater-picks-for-630-73 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 4/21 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-421-85493 <p><p>1. Alan Cumming is <a href="http://chitheatreaddict.com/2011/04/15/tony-award-winner-alan-cumming-brings-his-blue-car-to-harris-theater/">coming to Chicago</a> (how many times has that pun been made?)! He'll be performing his one man cabaret show <em>I Bought a Blue Car Today</em> <a href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/calendar/performance?id=2770&amp;mos=7">on May 28th</a>. Yes, that's a long time from now, but he's a big deal, so get on it. Cumming was actually in the Broadway production of <em>Cabaret </em>in 1994, and his television show <em>The Good Wife</em> is set in Chicago (though disappointingly&nbsp;not filmed here) so this seems like a natural melding of the two.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img border="0" height="0" src="http://c.gigcount.com/wildfire/IMP/CXNID=2000002.0NXC/bT*xJmx*PTEzMDM*MDA1Mzc4NzYmcHQ9MTMwMzQwMDU*MTg4OCZwPTEyNTg*MTEmZD1BQkNOZXdzX1NGUF9Mb2NrZV9FbWJlZCZn/PTImbz1iMzJlMTgxODBkOGU*OTQ*YTY1YTZiNTg5NzAzYmFiNyZvZj*w.gif" style="visibility: hidden; width: 0px; height: 0px;" width="0"><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,124,0" height="278" id="ABCESNWID" width="344"><param name="movie" value="http://abcnews.go.com/assets/player/walt2.6/flash/SFP_Walt_2_65.swf"><param name="quality" value="high"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><param name="allowNetworking" value="all"><param name="flashvars" value="configUrl=http://abcnews.go.com/video/sfp/embedPlayerConfig&amp;configId=406732&amp;clipId=8891789&amp;showId=8891789&amp;gig_lt=1303400537876&amp;gig_pt=1303400541888&amp;gig_g=2"><param name="allowfullscreen" value="true"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allownetworking="all" allowscriptaccess="always" flashvars="configUrl=http://abcnews.go.com/video/sfp/embedPlayerConfig&amp;configId=406732&amp;clipId=8891789&amp;showId=8891789&amp;gig_lt=1303400537876&amp;gig_pt=1303400541888&amp;gig_g=2" height="278" name="ABCESNWID" pluginspage="http://www.adobe.com/shockwave/download/download.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" quality="high" src="http://abcnews.go.com/assets/player/walt2.6/flash/SFP_Walt_2_65.swf" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="344"></object></p><p>2.&nbsp;<em>Merrily We Roll Along</em> is getting consistently consistent reviews; Onstage/Backstage's own Kelly Kleiman <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-07/working-weekend-critics-picks-84873">was looking forward to it</a> a few weeks ago, the Hedy Weiss of the <em>Sun-Times</em> <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/4872653-421/merrily-we-roll-along-a-worthwhile-time.html">calls it</a> "a worthwhile time", and Chris Jones of the <em>Tribune</em> <a href="http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2011/04/merrily-youthful-creativity-invigorates-sondheim-production.html">says </a>"The vibe is young and fresh." So it's not blowing anyone out of the water, but it is plodding comfortably with a warm glow about it.</p><p>3. Another Sondheim classic, <a href="http://www.circle-theatre.org/shows/little-night-music.shtml"><em>A Little Night Music</em></a> is set to open in previews tomorrow night at the Circle Theatre, which has had a particularly exciting season - they've done everything from <em>Kiss Me, Kate</em> to <em>The Wedding Singer</em>, and after <em>A Little Night Music</em> will have <em>The Women</em>, and <em>Urinetown </em>later in the year. A word to the wise: Don't brush up on the plot of <em>The Women</em> by seeing the movie. Meg Ryan's face isn't the same since <em>When Harry Met Sally</em>, Annette Bening doesn't save it, and I'm pretty sure we all hate change.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-21/King_and_I.jpg" style="width: 250px; height: 288px;" title=""></p><p>4. <a href="http://www.stage773.org/showDetail.aspx?uniqshow=46"><em>The King and I</em></a> opens at Stage 773 tomorrow night as presented by Porchlight Music Theatre. So it's not Sondheim, but Rogers and Hammerstein will probably do the trick.&nbsp;</p><p>5. Blink and you missed it (until next month): <a href="http://ww.belmontburlesque.com/home.">The Belmont Burlesque Revue</a> is sold out this Saturday. Why so popular? After May 28th, they'll be retiring their monthly open run of shows at the Playground Theater. In a note from the director and founding member of the troupe, Paris Green emphasized that they are "*not* breaking up, closing down or otherwise ending our time together as a troupe - we're simply moving on to other burlesque projects as a group."</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 14:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-421-85493 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