WBEZ | Raven Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/raven-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: A 30th anniversary for Raven Theatre http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/daily-rehearsal-30th-anniversary-raven-theatre-101678 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/big%20knife.jpg" style="float: left; height: 225px; width: 300px; " title="" /><span style="font-size: 14px; "><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- If you go to&nbsp;<a href="http://www.raventheatre.com">Raven Theatre</a>&#39;s&nbsp;30th Anniversary</strong></span></span> &lsquo;Raise the Curtain!&rsquo; Benefit Performance you&#39;ll get to hang out with their Board of Directors and see their first production for 2012-13, <em>The Big Knife</em>. Tickets are $50 and reservations are suggested. You&#39;ll also get some &quot;pre-play libations&quot; from Broadway Cellars, Castle Food and Liquors and Fritzy&#39;s Tavern, the last of which sounds like a delightful joint we should all go to as soon as possible.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>-&nbsp;Sideshow Theatre Company&#39;s 2012-13 season</strong></span></span> &quot;brings to light lingering secrets and apocalyptic preparations.&quot; They&#39;ll have <em>Idomeneus</em>, <em>Maria/Stuart</em> and <em>The Burden of Not Having a Tail</em>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- <em>Sordid Lives</em>&nbsp;is getting <a href="http://www.ludicroustheatre.com/Documents/Ludicrous_SordidEncoreWeekend_PR.pdf">an additional weekend</a></strong></span></span>. The playwright Del Shores will be at the midnight showing on September 7 because he&#39;ll be here for his own one-man show&nbsp;<em>Naked. Sordid. Reality.</em> which is at Mary&rsquo;s Attic. Now it&#39;ll close for sure the 8th.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- I would tell you to read</strong></span></span> <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/chi-jones-loop-annoyance-theatre-20120809,0,7249868.column">this story</a> about the Annoyance&#39;s 25 years but you have to sign in to read it which might suck.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">k</a><a href="mailto:dries@wbez.org">dries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 13 Aug 2012 12:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/daily-rehearsal-30th-anniversary-raven-theatre-101678 Daily Rehearsal: BackStage Theatre Company closes up shop http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/daily-rehearsal-backstage-theatre-company-closes-shop-101565 <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- &quot;Editor&#39;s note: </strong></span></span>As originally published, our review implied that an actor&#39;s costume contained padding. As the actor has noted in the comments below, it does not. We deeply regret the error,&quot; says <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/15585671/sordid-lives-at-ludicrous-theatre-company-theater-review">this review</a> of &nbsp;<em>Sordid Lives</em> at Ludicrous Theatre Company. The comment? From&nbsp;Suzanne Bracken, who plays&nbsp;LaVonda. She wrote, &quot;I&#39;m just fat, not wearing a fat suit. Some people are just shaped differently than others.&quot; Another commenter responds, &quot;Wow, Suzanne, you are more gracious than I would have been.&quot; In other<em> Sordid Lives</em> reviews, <a href="http://chicagotheaterbeat.com/2012/08/05/review-sordid-lives-ludicrous-theatre/">Chicago Theater Beat says</a> Bracken &quot;nearly steals the show.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/backstage%20theatre.jpg" style="height: 139px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>-&nbsp;BackStage Theatre Company</strong></span></span> is closing up shop; their current production of <em>A Scent of Flowers</em> will be their last one. Artistic Director&nbsp;Matthew Reeder&nbsp;<a href="http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Saying-Goodbye-.html?soid=1102102920174&amp;aid=OlO7DKxfAIA">called the production</a> &quot;the perfect story to celebrate these twelve enlivening years. The story of Zoe and her family&nbsp;is deeply in line with our mission, our core values and our aesthetic.&quot;&nbsp;&nbsp;He also wrote, that &quot;Twelve years is a happy life in the scope of any small arts organization.&quot;&nbsp;No specific reason was given for the end.&nbsp;<em>A Scent of Flowers</em> closes August 25.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Lifeline, Raven, the side project and Theo Ubique</strong></span></span>, all located in generally Rogers Park area, are again offering <a href="http://www.rogersparkflexpass.com">a subscription pass</a> to their plays. It&#39;s $50 for four productions and $45 if you head to the Rogers Park Glenwood Avenue Arts Festival.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email<a href="mailto: kdries@wbez.org"> kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 08 Aug 2012 10:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-08/daily-rehearsal-backstage-theatre-company-closes-shop-101565 Daily Rehearsal: Lookingglass plans a day of 'Eastland' remembrance http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/daily-rehearsal-lookingglass-plans-day-eastland-remembrance-100982 <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Ralphie May is back</strong></span></span> and he&#39;s performing at Zanies in St. Charles. It was also brought to my attention that the St. Charles location is at the Pheasant Run Resort. If everyone else knew and appreciated this already, I apologize for being late to the party. Anyway, the show is one-night-only on August 7 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p><strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; ">- Raven Theatre&#39;s welcoming new ensemble members:&nbsp;</span></span></strong>Michael Boone,&nbsp;Cathy Bowren,&nbsp;Cody Estle,&nbsp;Jason Huysman,&nbsp;Teri McCaskill,&nbsp;Sophia Menendian,&nbsp;Jen Short,&nbsp;John Weagly,&nbsp;Antione Pierre Whitfield&nbsp;and&nbsp;Kristen Williams.<strong><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; ">&nbsp;</span></span></strong>Additionally, ensemble member and&nbsp;Director of Education &amp; Outreach Kelli Strickland has won the DeVos Institute Fellowship. She&#39;ll be in D.C. for nine months at the Kennedy Center.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/070912_Eastland_MustClose.jpg" style="height: 137px; width: 300px; float: left; " title="" />-&nbsp;<a href="http://www.lookingglasstheatre.org"><strong>Lookingglass </strong></a>and the <strong>Eastland Disaster Historical Society</strong>&nbsp;are observing the anniverary of the actual Eastland disaster on July 21. &quot;The day will open with the annual wreath laying commemoration event on the Chicago River between Clark and LaSalle; the cast of <em>Eastland: A New Musical</em> will perform two musical numbers during the event and the U.S. Coast Guard will lay flowers on the site.&nbsp; Following the ceremony, Lookingglass will host a reception and program, featuring speaker Alberta Adamson from the Wheaton History Center, at Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan Ave.&nbsp; Discussions will follow both the matinee and evening performances; descendants and relatives of those impacted by the disaster are expected to attend and participate.&quot; This sounds...intense.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- &quot;You can afford your own Crowns</strong></span></span>,&quot; Hot Tix tells me in an email. Cool!</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong><span style="font-size: 14px; ">-&nbsp;<a href="http://www.tmsmail.us/t?r=1163&amp;c=507417&amp;l=119528&amp;ctl=1410847:4DE4A83246006CB44E56862546BBA083033AABF93247C536&amp;" target="_blank">The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago</a></span></strong></span>&nbsp;is opening&nbsp;<em><a href="http://www.tmsmail.us/t?r=1163&amp;c=507417&amp;l=119528&amp;ctl=1410842:4DE4A83246006CB44E56862546BBA083033AABF93247C536&amp;" target="_blank">Voices of Strength</a>&nbsp;</em>in September, &quot;celebrating the stylistic diversity and talent of African women artists.&quot;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 18 Jul 2012 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/daily-rehearsal-lookingglass-plans-day-eastland-remembrance-100982 Daily Rehearsal: Raven Theatre's 2012-13 (and 30th anniversary) season announced http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/daily-rehearsal-raven-theatres-2012-13-and-30th-anniversary-season <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Lou Manfredini </strong></span></span>will be the "Thirteenth Tenor" for opening night of <em>The Twelve Tenors</em> at&nbsp;<a href="http://www.RiverfrontTheater.com.">Riverfront Theater</a>.&nbsp;“If you listen to my show [WGN's <em>Mr. Fix-It</em>] &nbsp;you know I love to sing. Hopefully the fact that I’m a Baritone and not Irish won’t bring the whole thing down, I am very excited to be a part of this and I know it will be a lot of fun,” said Manfredini in a statement.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Theater on the Lake</strong></span></span> will get their own very special <a href="http://www.jeffawards.org">Non-Equity Jeff Award</a> for their 60th anniversary. Those are June 4 at Park West. "Festive cocktail attire is suggested, and the public is cordially invited."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <a href="http://www.howlround.com/what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-plays-how-to-lead-post-show-discussions-for-fun-and-profit-brant-russell/">How to lead post-show discussions</a></strong></span></span>, for fun and for profit from Brant Russell who works for Steppenwolf. "[L]eading post-show discussions at Steppenwolf has been a process of constant discovery," writes Russell. Some of his suggestions?&nbsp;&nbsp;"Don’t lead a discussion for a play you’ve directed or produced" and "Ignore a**holes."</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/3791033870_5b45b12607_z.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="(Flickr/Jeff Zoline)"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. The Wind Up</strong></span></span> is Comedy of Chicago approved, and rocking Thursdays at the Laugh Factory. <a href="http://www.comedyofchicago.com/2012/04/wind-up-laugh-facotry.html#more">They say it's</a> "the&nbsp;first independently produced showcase at a nationally recognized comedy club."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Raven Theatre's 2012-13 season</strong></span></span> (30th!) has been announced: <em>The Big Knife</em> by Clifford Odets starts in fall; <em>Boy Gets Girl</em> by Rebecca Gilman; <em>A Soldier's Play</em> by Charles Fuller; and Neil Simon's <em>Brighton Beach Memoirs</em>. They've also just extended&nbsp;<em>Wiggerlover [white boy+black dad=grey areas] </em>an additional three week's of Friday performances.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 07 May 2012 10:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-05/daily-rehearsal-raven-theatres-2012-13-and-30th-anniversary-season The Don't-Miss List: Shows to see with your Valentine http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-09/dont-miss-list-shows-see-your-valentine-96230 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-09/dating walter dante.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/dating walter dante.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 212px; height: 300px;" title="">It's hard to imagine a comedy based on the Drew Peterson case, but playwright Jon Steinhagen is on a roll: this will be the third of his plays to go up in the past six months. (He's also a superb actor, having given the definitive performance of Big Daddy in Raven Theatre's <em>Cat on a Hot Tin Roof</em> a year ago. Life, and the distribution of talent, is unfair.) Steinhagen returns to <a href="http://raventheatre.com/?q=2011-12-season">Raven </a>wearing his playwright's hat for the world premiere of <strong><em>Dating Walter Dante</em></strong>, opening Sunday Feb. 12th at 7 p.m. Tickets are $40 for opening night, $30 for the rest of the run, with student and senior discounts available. Raven is on Clark just south of Devon, which is North Andersonville, West Edgewater or Southeast Rogers Park, depending on your mood.&nbsp;<br> <br> But if you don't want to mark Valentine's Day with a comedy about wife-slaughter, consider going out Monday night instead, when <strong>E. Faye Butler</strong> appears at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park to sing "My Funny Valentine." This is part of the park's <a href="http://explorechicago.org/city/en/things_see_do/event_landing/events/dca_tourism/cabaret_with_a_view_presents_e__faye_butler.html">Cabaret With A View series</a>, in which audience members get to sit on the enclosed pavilion stage for a single-night concert by one of Chicago's great performers. One would be hard-pressed to find a better performer than Butler, who played the title roles in<em> Caroline or Change</em> at Court and <em>Ella</em> [Fitzgerald] at Northlight and is currently on the Northlight stage in its musical Black Pearl. Tickets to the Millennium Park concert are $25 (if you want to sit at a table and have a couple of drinks) or $15 (if you're happy to perch in the choir loft). Hear it with someone you love.&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/2012-02-09/Culture Shock Chicago.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 225px; height: 300px;" title="Culture Shock Chicago"><em>Reader&nbsp;</em>critic Justin Hayford has a little-known sideline: cabaret singer of obscure “hits.” That’s a far cry from the performance art he once did, including a piece that involved nudity, cascading flour, and speculation on how to write a dance review. For <a href="http://www.davenportspianobar.com/">“<strong>Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood</strong>” Sunday at Davenport’s</a>, Hayford will sing songs from <em>Sesame Street&nbsp;</em>and <em>Mr. Rogers</em>, accompanying himself on piano and providing his usual amusing, informative patter between tunes. The evening benefits the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, where he works.</p><p>Can’t dance, but want to feel as if you and your sweetie have been wowing the crowd on the dance floor? Live vicariously at <a href="http://www.chicagodancecrash.com/">Chicago Dance Crash’s “<strong>Duets for My Valentine</strong>” Saturday</a> at the Athenaeum: 90 minutes of stars like CDC itself, hip-hoppy Culture Shock, traditional Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-07/mark-yonally-wants-give-tap-dancing-its-due-94674">Chicago Tap Theatre</a>, and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-09/james-morrow-explodes-four-mad-humours-93883">James Morrow</a>. An alternative: <a href="http://www.harristheaterchicago.org/events/2011-2012-season/river-north-spring-p">River North at the Harris</a> Friday through Sunday in “Love Is…” They’ve got the smooth moves down.</p><p>The Dance Center presents <a href="http://www.colum.edu/dance_center/performances/margaretjenkinsdancecompany/index.php">Margaret Jenkins’s media-rich <strong><em>Light Moves</em></strong></a>, described in the <em>San Francisco Chronicle&nbsp;</em>as a “meditative, kaleidoscopic mix of human and digital” thanks to Naomie Kremer’s abstracted animations of her own paintings. A panel discussion, “Woman-Made Performance,” precedes the Saturday show.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-09/kill me.jpg" style="margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 216px; height: 300px;" title="">A young stud blows into a steamy southern town and meets a passionate older woman married to a dying, dried up prune of a man. There’s a nymphomaniac in it, too, for comic relief. This only could be the scenario for one of Tennessee Williams’s most lurid dramas, <a href="http://shatteredglobe.org/current_production.html"><strong><em>Orpheus Descending</em></strong></a>. As the title’s classical reference suggests, the young man (Valentine) is a musician, or at least a wannabe, and the southern town is his descent into Hell. Williams reworked this 1957 play from his failed 1940 play, <em>Battle of Angels</em>, and rewrote it again for the movies as <em>The Fugitive Kind</em>. This rare staging comes from Shattered Globe Theatre Company (or Shattered Globe 2.0 as they call themselves now) with the skillful Julieanne Ehre as director. <em>Orpheus Descending</em> is playing at Stage 773 through March 11.</p><p>There’s no question that various horrors make their way to local theater stages in the course of any given year, but Chicago has only one theater troupe specifically dedicated to horror as a dramatic genre, and that’s <a href="http://www.wildclawtheatre.com/">Wildclaw Theatre</a>, now offering the world premiere of <strong><em>Kill Me</em></strong> by company member Scott T. Barsotti. It’s about a woman who wakes from a coma convinced she now is immortal . . . and she doesn’t want to be. Eternal life in the here-and-now ain’t her cup o’ tea. Wildclaw promises a lyrical horror story and a multi-dimensional tale in <em>Kill Me</em>, playing at the Athenaeum Theatre Studio One through March 18.</p></p> Thu, 09 Feb 2012 15:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-09/dont-miss-list-shows-see-your-valentine-96230 Daily Rehearsal: The most influential theater critics in America http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-01/daily-rehearsal-most-influential-theater-critics-america-93656 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-01/theaterloop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1.&nbsp;Raven Theatre&nbsp;has gotten a grant from NEA</strong></span></span>&nbsp;to host <em>The Big Read</em>, a program "designed to restore reading to the center of American culture." This means they'll have events like&nbsp;read-a-thons, book discussions, lectures, movie screenings, and performances. This time around, the choice is<font color="#000000"><font face="Times New Roman, serif"><font size="3">&nbsp;</font></font></font><em>Sun, Stone, and Shadows: 20 Great Mexican Short Stories,</em> edited by&nbsp;Jorge F. Hernández. The Kick-off party is November 19 at the Rogers Park Chicago Public Library, and <em>The Big Read Big Show</em> will be December 6.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong>2. Jennifer Lim&nbsp;is getting fair praise </strong></span></span>ever since the production of <em>Chinglish </em>moved to Broadway. <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203554104577001900772520474.html?KEYWORDS=Teachout"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> said</a>, "This is Ms. Lim's Broadway debut, and she's a knockout, tough, smart and sexy. She's more than a match for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-28/daily-rehearsal-non-look-new-laugh-factory-93571">Mr. Wilmes</a>, who seems to think that Ohio businessmen talk like Garry Shandling."&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. There are some heated comments about Shakespeare</strong></span></span> <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2011/10/28/shakespeare-exposed">over at the <em>Reader</em></a>; they follow Tony Adler's piece about <em>Anonymous</em>, the new movie that heavily aligns itself with the Oxfordian theory (that Shakespeare was actually the 17th Earl of Oxford). I love how this dude who has been dead for ages is still causing so many problems.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-01/W2Mimagewithcredits.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 219px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Remember <a href="http://www.adventurestage.org/pages/walk_two_moons/195.php"><em>Walk Two Moons</em></a></strong></span></span>? Did you grow up in the 90s? Do you have children who grew up in the 90s? You know allll about Sharon Creech then. Personally, I was more of a fan of <em>Chasing Redbird</em>, though why I have no idea. Anywho, the main character Sal "ultimately realizes that things - and people - are not always what they seem" through her journies. Because if you walk a mile in another man's shoes, you'll know them, remember? It opens this weekend at Adventure Stage.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Missed this last week</strong></span></span>, but <a href="http://tcg.org/publications/at/nov11/critical_juncture.cfm">here's a list of 12 of the most influential theater critics in American theater</a>, and you've guessed it, Chris Jones is right there in the midst of it all. Jones describes the Chicago-region as "blue-collar, profane and prone to violence."&nbsp;Written by David Cote, theater critic at <em>TimeOut New York</em>,&nbsp;the list actually garnered response in the comments from someone who made the list:&nbsp;Robert Faires, the Arts Editor of <em>The Austin Chronicle</em>. What I noticed: we're talking about a lot of old white men.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Tue, 01 Nov 2011 14:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-01/daily-rehearsal-most-influential-theater-critics-america-93656 Daily Rehearsal: Fall theater previews galore http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-14/daily-rehearsal-fall-theater-previews-galore-91964 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-14/timeoutfallpreview.JPG" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. <em>Bus Stop</em>&nbsp;comes from <a href="http://www.raventheatre.com/">Raven Theatre</a> in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-02/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-62-87319">October</a></strong></span></span>, and it sounds romantic: "Trapped by a blustery winter storm, wayward travelers converge at a rural Kansas City diner. Forced to stay the night, the weary group turns the cold into heat as they discover new relationships." In a statement, director JoAnn Montemurro said,&nbsp;“Raven's mission is to present plays that illuminate the American experience and you can't get more American than cowboys and a showgirl stranded in Kansas."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2.&nbsp;</strong></span></span><span style="font-size: 10pt; line-height: 150%; font-family: 'Verdana','sans-serif';"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>Stage Left Theatre has announced the recipients</strong></span></span> of their Downstage Left playwright residencies for the 30th season. They say that "this season represents the start of a larger scale restructuring of the program's resources towards extended development opportunities." This was the first year they had an open application process, and the residencies that won include&nbsp;</span><i>Warped</i>&nbsp;by Barbara Lhota and&nbsp;<i>Witches Vanish</i>&nbsp;by Claudia Barnett. <em>Warped </em>feels a little ripped from the headlines; it's about a drunk woman who is reportedly raped by police officers that drove her home. And <em>Witches Vanish</em> retells Macbeth.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-14/timeoutfallpreview.JPG" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 402px;" title="Justin Timberlake doesn't do theater, but the people inside do"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Strawdog also opens their new season in October</strong></span></span>, with <i><a href="http://www.strawdog.org/index.php?section=history&amp;production=oldtimes">Old Times</a></i>. That may sound familiar to you, and but don't get it confused with <em>Old Town</em>, the play the company put on in October. Kimberly Senior last did <em>The Cherry Orchard</em>, which you also might recall did pretty well, review-wise.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. I'm catching up on <em>This American Life</em></strong></span></span>, so this is new news to me; their September 5 episode (originally aired in 2003, so it's really old) called "<a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/241/20-acts-in-60-minutes">20 Acts in 60 Minutes</a>" was inspired by the Neo-Futurists. TAL throws their usual structure on their heads (long-form audio stories) to bring you short short little pieces, like <em>Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind</em>, which famously performs 30 plays in 60 minutes once a week.&nbsp;Of course, lots of radio does this every week (like radio news, for example), but I guess that doesn't make the gimmick less exciting. If you'd like to listen to just this one the piece during the show, it's the last one before the first break.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">5. Fall preview season is upon us</span></strong></span>, and the latest from <em>Chicago Magazine</em> and <em>TimeOut </em>have hit my desk. <em>Chicago Magazine</em> steals a bit from <em>New York Magazine </em>and creates an "Anticipation Index" of what they're excited about, gives us "Promising Players", a look at five young people being talented, a glimpse at the difficiculties of putting on a solo show, and an interview with Patrick Andrews, the younger star of <em>Red</em>. <em>TimeOut </em>has a look at the <em>six </em>local companies with new artistic directors, the headshots of the actors for <em>Spring Awakening</em>, the story behind the new space for the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural center, and a Q&amp;A with Kate Fry, the star of Sarah Ruhl's <em>In the Next Room or the vibrator play</em>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 14 Sep 2011 14:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-14/daily-rehearsal-fall-theater-previews-galore-91964 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 6/2 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-02/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-62-87319 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-02/Bus-Stop-(Diner-Tales)-logo_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="271" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-02/Bus-Stop-%28Diner-Tales%29-logo_0.jpg" title="'Bus Stop' at Raven Theatre" width="400"></p><p>1. <a href="http://www.raventheatre.com/">Raven Theatre</a> has announced its <a href="http://www.raventheatre.com/2011-12-season">2011-12 season</a>, which they're calling "Truth." It'll include William Inge's <em>Bus Stop</em>, the world premier of Chicagoan Jon Steinhagen's play <em>Dating Walter Dante</em>, Arthur Miller's <em>The Price</em>, and Mark Harris' <em>Bang the Drum Slowly</em>, which has been adapted by Eric Simonson.</p><p>To start the annual season, there will be a benefit gala on August 5 called&nbsp;<em>Twenty-Nine, So Divine </em>(Get it? It's the 29th season) at the Swedish American Museum Gallery. The Edgewater based theater is opening <em>The Cherry Orchard</em> on June 5; Chekhov's play has been a popular one around Chicago this year, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-13/no-stereotype-zone-christina-nieves-tanya-sarachos-el-nogalar-85139">cropping up in<em> El Nogalar</em></a>, which moved it to Mexico.</p><p>2. The <a href="http://chitheatreaddict.com/2011/06/02/the-detectives-wife-at-writers-theatre-is-a-so-so-mystery-told-by-a-masterful-storyteller/">Chicago Theater Addict </a>is calling Barbara Robertson's performance in <em>The Detective's Wife</em>&nbsp;<u>the</u> reason to see this "ok" play. "Robertson is a masterful actress who has the uncanny ability to draw you in with a gravely whisper, a sly smirk, a twinkle of an eye that transforms into a tear," Bob Bullen says. "You are immediately drawn to her — which is helped by Writers’ incredibly intimate, 52-seat venue."</p><p>3. Of Margi Cole's project for Dance COLEctive members,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dancecolective.com/calendar.html"><em>COLEctive Notions</em></a>, <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/margi-cole-dance-colective/Content?oid=3966933">Laura Molzahn says</a>&nbsp;"Cole's touch for psychologically intriguing work was present in all of them." Check it out this weekend at Links Hall.</p><p>4. Your favorite grumpy dad from <em>Fraiser </em>is doing well at Northlight Theatre in <em>The Outgoing Tide</em>, with his old friend <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-20/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-520-86818">Rondi Reed</a>. That's John Mahoney, of course.</p><p>"I fear for future productions of Philadelphia playwright Graham’s new work, now seeing its premiere at Northlight," <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14782047/the-outgoing-tide-at-northlight-theatre-theater-review">said Kris Vire.</a>&nbsp;It's doing so well that Northlight has extended its run for one week; see it through June 26.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-02/The%20Absolute%20NEXT%20Best%20Friggin%27%20Time%20of%20Your%20Life.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 228px;" title=""></p><p>5. You may have seen Second City's&nbsp;<a href="http://www.secondcity.com/performances/detail/189/"><em>The Absolute Best Friggin’ Time of Your Life</em></a>, but have you seen<em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.secondcity.com/performances/detail/635/">The Absolute NEXT Best Friggin’ Time of Your Life</a>. </em>Doubtful, it starts June 19 at 7 pm.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Thu, 02 Jun 2011 14:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-02/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-62-87319 Top 5 directors of 2010 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/onstagebackstage-top-5-directors-2010 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//cat on a hot tin roof.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="476" width="450" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-15/cat on a hot tin roof.jpg" alt="" /></p><p>I already honored Ron OJ Parson for his outstanding direction of <a href="http://courttheatre.org/ ">Home at Court Theatre</a>, by honoring <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/onstagebackstage-top-5-chicago-actors-2010">every one the actors</a> he directed in that superb production. That means I get five more bites of the apple!</p><p>1. Michael Menendian, &quot;Cat on a Hot Tin Roof&quot; at <a href="http://www.raventheatre.com">Raven</a>. I don&rsquo;t understand it, actually&mdash;for some years, Raven was known as a middling producer of chestnuts. With the same company and leadership, in the last two years it&rsquo;s come roaring out as a premier interpreter of classics. Menendian&rsquo;s thoughtful and re-focused Cat . . . (not Maggie&rsquo;s play, in this rendition, but Brick&rsquo;s and Big Daddy&rsquo;s) comes on the heels of his definitive &quot;Death of a Salesman&quot; last year, literally the best production of that play I have ever seen&mdash;and I saw Dustin Hoffman do it on Broadway. It&rsquo;s a joy to see a journeyman turn into master craftsmen, and ours not to reason why.</p><p>2. Mark Ulrich, &quot;Mary&rsquo;s Wedding&quot; at <a href="http://www.rivendelltheatre.net/ ">Rivendell</a>. If instead of being &ldquo;Chicago&rsquo;s Premier Women&rsquo;s Theatre&rdquo; Rivendell were run by white men and did work focused on white men, it would long since have been acknowledged as a top-tier troupe, spoken of in the same breath with the Hypocrites and Timeline. Maybe having one man write and another direct this year&rsquo;s superb show (following hard on the heels of last year&rsquo;s unforgettable world premiere, &quot;These Shining Lives,&quot; about the women killed by their job painting radium-dial watch faces) will help overcome that reputational lag. In any case, Ulrich&rsquo;s expert handling of this delicate play about war and remembrance included one of the toughest tricks to turn in the theater: presenting a surprise ending without making the audience feel deceived by everything that came before.</p><p>3. Jaime Castañeda, &quot;Welcome to Arroyo&rsquo;s&quot; at <a href="http://www.atcweb.org/">American Theatre Company</a>. From Dallas and now based in New York, Castaneda&rsquo;s stop in Chicago should be remembered for taking a lively but overstuffed script by Kristoffer Diaz and turning it into a thrilling evening of mixed-media theater. I saw the show in the company of a class of high-school students who began the evening in the usual state of boredom, both real and assumed. Long before intermission they were completely enthralled, cheering on the characters and clearly identifying with their fates. That&rsquo;s directorial magic.</p><p>4. Ira Amyx, &quot;Shakespeare&rsquo;s King Phycus&quot; at the <a href="http://www.strangetree.org/">Strange Tree Group</a>. Amyx came up from Set Designer/Tech Director (at a company whose tech is always noticeable, for better or for worse) to do a slam-bang perfect job with this nearly bare-staged parody of every Shakespeare play ever written using every comic device ever thought of. He kept his tiny cast in constant motion and his not-as-large-as-he-deserved audience in constant laughter. Look for more from him, and from the rest of the elaborately talented and deeply peculiar Strange Trees.</p><p>5. Dale Calandra for &quot;Sweet Bird of Youth&quot; at <a href="http://www.theartistichome.org/">Artistic Home</a>. This was the other half of this fall&rsquo;s unplanned Tennessee Williams festival. Unlike Menendian, whose task was to take a play well-known for being perfect and do something knew, Calandra faced a relatively unknown and difficult script&mdash;the title metaphor nearly jumps off the page and bites you&mdash;and managed to make it feel contemporary even while keeping it in period; to share the focus between the two main characters without losing focus; and to engage the audience with the philosophical and spiritual considerations of aging without losing the visceral pleasures of one of Williams&rsquo; sexier scripts.</p><p>Runners-up: <br />Stuart Carden for &quot;Travels With My Aunt&quot; at <a href="http://www.writerstheatre.org/">Writers Theatre</a><br />Amanda Dehnert for &quot;Peter Pan (A Play)&quot; at <a href="http://www.lookingglasstheatre.org/">LookingglassTheatre Company</a><br />Robert Falls for &quot;The Seagull&quot; at the <a href="http://www.goodmantheatre.org/">Goodman Theatre</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 15 Dec 2010 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/onstagebackstage-top-5-directors-2010