WBEZ | Chicago Dramatists http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-dramatists Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don't-Miss List July 5-11: A pair of worthy rivals, and a pair of worthy revivals http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/dont-miss-list-july-5-11-pair-worthy-rivals-and-pair-worthy-revivals <p><p><u><strong><em>A Steady Rain</em></strong>, The Chicago Commercial Collective at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 West Chicago Avenue; first preview this Saturday (the 7th) at 8 pm, opening night Tuesday (the 10th) at 8; tickets $35-$40.</u><br /><br />The original cast and crew reunite to stage Keith Huff&rsquo;s powerful two-character police drama, which investigates the nature and extent of friendship as well as the impact of crime on the people whose job it is to solve it. The piece had its 15 minutes of fame when Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) and Daniel Craig (007) did it on Broadway; but having seen both that production and the original in Chicago, I strongly recommend this one. Director Russ Tutterow understands every nuance of the piece and actors Randy Steinmeyer and Peter de Faria are so authentic as to be terrifying. Through September 2; the perfect play for our long hot summer. -KK<br /><br /><u><strong><em>Crowns</em></strong>, The Goodman Theatre, 170 North Dearborn Street, opens this Monday (the 9th) at 7 pm; tickets $29-$88.</u><br /><br />The press for <strong><em>Crowns</em></strong> describes it as &ldquo;the most-produced new musical in the US over the past decade.&rdquo;&nbsp; Now the show returns to its roots at the Goodman, with author Regina Taylor at the helm, bringing Gospel music and a sure feel for the world of the African-American church and the Southern ladies who keep it going.&nbsp; Any show featuring E. Faye Butler and Felicia Fields is worth watching for them alone. Through August 5. -KK</p><div><u><strong><em>Electra</em></strong>, <a href="http://www.maryarrchie.com">Mary-Arrchie Theatre</a>, 735 W. Sheridan Road (at Broadway), second floor;&nbsp;through July 29; tickets $15-$20.</u></div><div>Of the hundreds of Greek tragedies written over the centuries of the Athenian Golden Age, only 32 survive. We presume that those 32 are among the finest and most popular of their kind, so it&#39;s good that several of them still are performed fairly frequently. But why-oh-why can&#39;t directors leave them alone? Are they so afraid of history and antiquity&mdash;or ignorant of them&mdash;that they can&#39;t find an honest translation of a play and stage it as it is? Why must they always &quot;re-imagine&quot; or update or&mdash;worse still&mdash;pretend they are poets and classical scholars and &quot;adapt&quot; the texts?&nbsp;&nbsp;Do they think modern audiences won&#39;t get it otherwise? Hey, audiences&nbsp;will&nbsp;get it if a Greek tragedy is staged with the simplicity, directness and vigor of the original. Be that as it may, our long and hot summer is bringing re-conceptions of three of the most famous Greek tragedies.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Mary-Arrchie Theater, going strong after 26 years, is presenting Euripides&#39;&nbsp;<strong><em>Electra</em></strong>, adapted by notable director Sonja Moser, and staged with an ensemble of undergraduate theater students from Illinois State University, which has a highly-regarded School of Theatre. Moser sets&nbsp;<em>Electra</em>&nbsp;&quot;in John Deere country,&quot; which actually is Moline, IL, and is bringing rock music, meta-theatrics and teen angst to this tale of daughter-and-son revenge on Mom. Since the real John Deere started the company in 1837 when American still was an agrarian nation, the rock music might be unnecessary. And pure Greek tragedy, by definition, is meta-theatrical (hey, masks, music, chant, dance, verse, etc.), so are we reinventing the wheel here? -JA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/pp-oedipus-nu.png" style="float: left; " title="'Oedipus el Rey' at Victory Gardens Theater" /><u><strong><em>Oedipus el Rey</em></strong>, <a href="http://www.victorygardens.org">Victory Gardens Theater</a>, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.;&nbsp;through July 29; tickets $15-$50.</u></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Victory Gardens is the venue for a broader re-conception, this one based on the most famous of all Greek plays, Sophocles&#39;&nbsp;<em>Oedipus the King</em>. Latino playwright Luis Alfaro has not adapted any translation of the play, but uses the well-known story as the basis for his original work,&nbsp;<strong><em>Oedipus el Rey</em></strong>, in which the city-state of Thebes becomes the Los Angeles barrio, and Oedipus is an ex-con gangbanger who rises to power. Alfaro achieved considerable national success in 2004 doing something similar with&nbsp;Electra, retitled&nbsp;Electricidad&nbsp;(performed locally at the Goodman Theatre). Victory Gardens artistic director Chay Yew has staged&nbsp;<em>Oedipus el Rey</em>. - JA</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><u><strong><em>Antigone</em></strong>, <a href="http://www.coldbasement.org">Cold Basement Dramatics</a>, Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway;&nbsp;Aug. 2-19; inquire for tickets.</u></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Although it won&#39;t overlap the first two plays, down the road apiece we&#39;ll see an update of Sophocles&#39;&nbsp;<strong><em>Antigone</em></strong>, a stand-alone play that nonetheless functions as a sequel to&nbsp;<em>Oedipus the King</em>&nbsp;(even though it was written earlier), and focuses on the fate of Oedipus&#39;s children in the form of a metaphysical argument about obedience to the law vs. obedience to the gods. It will be presented by Cold Basement Dramatics as staged and&mdash;what else&mdash;adapted by the troupe&#39;s artistic director, Jack Bourgeois, who is setting it in 1964; an era several decades before he was born. Warning: those who are nostalgic about the 1960&#39;s either don&#39;t remember them or weren&#39;t there. It will be an extremely intimate production in the tiny Oracle storefront space. - JA</div><br /></p> Thu, 05 Jul 2012 11:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/dont-miss-list-july-5-11-pair-worthy-rivals-and-pair-worthy-revivals Don’t-Miss List April 19-25: The Bard's birthday and more http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/don%E2%80%99t-miss-list-april-19-25-bards-birthday-and-more-98320 <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/AP11042207082_0.jpg" style="height: 903px; width: 620px;" title="Chicagoans celebrate the Bard's birthday in 2011. (AP/Nam Y. Huh) "></div><p><u><a href="http://www.salomeespeelt.be/">SALOMEE SPEELT</a>’S <em>La Musica</em>, 7:30 p.m. Thursday at <a href="http://chicagodramatists.org/">Chicago Dramatists</a>, 1105<br>W. Chicago Avenue; tickets $25</u><br><br>A Belgian theater company, a French author, French wine, even performances at <a href="http://www.af-chicago.org/app/homepage.php">Alliance<br>Francaise</a>: Who says Chicago ain’t a global city? Marguerite Duras, whose novels and plays<br>explore politics, eros and the politics of eros, wrote a 60-minute conversation between a pair of lovers who are breaking up–or perhaps not. Now Alice Austen, one of Chicago Dramatists’ resident playwrights, has written a new translation of Duras’ work, and the Belgian company Salomee Speelt is coming to town to perform it. This weekend (Thursday-Friday-Saturday) performances take place at Chicago Dramatists; the rest of the run (Fridays and Saturdays through May 12) is at Alliance Francaise, a mile or so closer to the lake at 54 W. Chicago Avenue. If you’re in the theater biz, attend a special $10 performance on Monday, May 7. -KK<br><br><u><a href="http://breakbone.com/">BONEdanse/Breakbone DanceCo</a>, <em>5-5-5</em>, 9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday April 20 &amp; 21 at The Viaduct, 3111 N. Western Avenue; tickets $5</u><br><br>Breakbone, the brainchild of Chicago dancer-choreographer extraordinaire Atalee Judy,<br>celebrates the 15th anniversary of its take-no-prisoners style of dance with a quartet of<br>performances–two this weekend and two next. This time around five fashion designers will have five minutes to make something coherent out of whatever they can grab from an onstage clothing rack, at which point dancers will don the results and improvise for five minutes. If there could be such a thing as an avant-garde <em>Project Runway</em> meets <em>Dancing With the Stars</em>, this would be it. -KK</p><p>Or, if you prefer something slightly more conventional, show up same day/time/location next week for the full-length <em>This is a Damage Manual</em> (tickets a still-reasonable $15). Less a dance concert than a high-speed festival of ideas in motion, Judy’s work is always provocative and often thrilling.<br><br><u>Shakespeare’s Birthday, 5-9 p.m. Sunday April 22 at the Red Lion Lincoln Square, 4749 N.<br>Rockwell, FREE.</u> -KK<br><br>So the actual birthday isn’t til Monday, but that’s no reason to skip Sunday’s Open Mic celebration of the Bard of Avon. Come prepared with a quote, sonnet or speech by the birthday boy. You’ll also get a glimpse of <a href="http://www.prometheantheatre.org/">Promethean Theatre Ensemble</a>’s production of <em>Henry V</em>, which opens (appropriately enough) on 5/5. -KK</p><p><u>The Second City, <em>Who Do We Think We Are?; </em>8 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday, 1616 N. Wells Street; tickets $23</u></p><p>In the first half of the 20th Century, the single greatest influence shaping American comedy was vaudeville. Since 1959, the greatest shaper of American comedy—without a hint of a shadow of a doubt—has been The Second City. The nearly-endless list of Second City alums (including its predecessor companies) penetrates to the heart of comedy on TV, in movies, nightclubs and theater. We’re not talking merely comic actors here, but writers, directors and producers as well from Mike Nichols to John Belushi to Betty Thomas to David Steinberg to Tina Fey to Del Close to Joan Rivers and on and on and on. Last week, the original and still home-base Second City here in Chicago opened its 100th satirical comedy revue, <em>Who Do We Think We Are?</em>, created by the company as always. It’s set for an open run. It should be noted, too, that Bernard Sahlins, one of the three co-founders, still is alive and making theater in Chicago. -JA</p><p><u><a href="http://www.stridinglion.org/Home.html">Striding Lion Performance Group</a>, <em>The Jenkins Farm Projec</em>t and <em>Remember the . . . (Alamo)</em>, times and dates vary at The Viaduct, 3111 N. Western Avenue; tickets $20 for one show or $30 for both</u></p><p>Striding Lion Performance Group has been around for the better part of a decade creating singular work that draws on virtually all disciplines of live performance, and sometimes incorporates visual media as well. Although still a low-profile company, Striding Lion is notable for its artistic ambitions, clearly in evidence in two new pieces to be performed in repertory, <em>The Jenkins Farm Projec</em><em>t</em> and <em>Remember the . . . (Alamo)</em>. Performed to original music, the works feature choreography (by artistic director Annie Beserra) inspired by history and geography, so think family farm as it was Back Then and Mexican and American buckaroos. The Striding Lion rep is presented at The Viaduct through April 29. -JA</p></p> Tue, 17 Apr 2012 15:58:35 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-04/don%E2%80%99t-miss-list-april-19-25-bards-birthday-and-more-98320 Brevity is the soul of wit, but . . . http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-16/brevity-soul-wit-96475 <p><div class="inset"><div class="insetContent"><p><span style="font-size: 10px;">Listen to the Dueling Critics on&nbsp;<em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332735873-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/120217 Dueling Critics.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></div></div><p>We've recently seen a spate of shows running between 75 and 90 minutes, no intermission. At first I greeted this trend with joy: Intermission has always galled me by interrupting the fictive dream, and I'm not averse to being home in time for<em> The Daily Show</em>. But I've started to notice the downside of all this expeditiousness: The plays often seem unfinished, like sketches rather than full-fledged pieces. Perhaps this is the result of our theaters' intense hunger for new work, and the concomitant pressure on playwrights to finish up this thing so they can start on the next thing. But a number of recent openings have demonstrated the drawbacks of this speed-dating version of playwriting.</p><p><em>Hesperia,</em> at <a href="http://writerstheatre.org/">Writers' Theatre</a>, captures its mise-en-scene perfectly, portraying a town dominated by an old-fashioned Evangelical Christianity with respect rather than ridicule while examining its impact on the archetypal strangers who come to town, a pair of porn stars. And playwright Randall Colburn takes care to demonstrate that the impact is mutual, and to probe the fragility of what at first seem to be rock-solid beliefs and principles. Unfortunately, Colburn sets up this situation and then fast-forwards to the conclusion, so that when our pro- and antagonists make their final decisions they seem to have come from nowhere---or, more precisely, to have happened during a scene we'll never see. A friend asked wherther all the dramaturgs in town had gone on strike, but Colburn's work had the benefit of development at <a href="http://chicagodramatists.org/">Chicago Dramatists</a>, whose fine reputation for honing plays is well-deserved. Still, <em>Hesperia</em> managed to come out of the oven without being fully baked.</p><p>Of course the first impulse of any writer when confronted with what's not working is simply to cut it out. I saw this demonstrated at the old Wisdom Bridge by no less a figure than David Mamet, who offered up a version of <em>Speed-the-Plow</em> so truncated by his own red pencil that the point of the play disappeared. He must have known he had a problem making the female catalyst believable (a problem he's had with women ever since: See <em>Oleanna</em> et seq. ) so he simply cut most of her part, leaving the audience to wonder what the two men on the stage were blathering and scheming about. Mamet did something similar with <em>Race</em> (notwithstanding the intermission). The betrayals and counter-betrayals come so rapidly, and to such an abrupt end, that I was left wondering what actually happened and why.&nbsp; It's fine to take a scalpel to one's work, but simple amputation is rarely sufficient surgery.&nbsp;</p><p>Other shows that could have benefitted from being longer: <a href="http://www.atcweb.org/"><em>Disgraced</em>, at ATC</a>, which sped from cosy domesticity to violent collapse in 80 minutes leaving the audience gasping in its wake; Simon Stephens' <a href="http://griffintheatre.com/"><em>Punk Rock</em> at Griffin</a>; and <a href="http://www.steeptheatre.com/">Love and Money at Steep</a>. The case of Stephens is particularly instructive, because he's had four plays done in Chicago in the past four years. Perhaps the playwright is over-busy, leaping from project to project in an attempt to cobble together a living. He's hardly the first to encounter this dilemma---there was a period when Rebecca Gilman was turning out plays faster than she could finish them---but the result leaves the audience slightly undernourished. Even Conor McPherson, perhaps the premiere English-language playwright of this generation, falls into the trap of declaring a play finished when it's merely through its second draft. <em>Shining City</em>, a neo-realist tale concluding with an unpersuasive ghost-story bang, would have been far stronger if the playwright had waited until the muses brought him a genuine ending.</p><p>Again: This may be the inevitable consequence of contemporary theater economics, a system which also frequently dictates the choice of two- or three-character plays rather than the crowds required by Miller or Shakespeare. But let's try to figure out a way for playwrights to incubate their works a bit longer. That should reduce the likelihood of their laying an egg.&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 16 Feb 2012 17:52:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-16/brevity-soul-wit-96475 The Don't-Miss List: Get historical with 'Nuremberg' revisted, MLK day and 'Blizzard '67' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-12/dont-miss-list-get-historical-nuremberg-revisted-mlk-day-and-blizza <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-January/2012-01-12/REDance Inhabitants.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/MLK-Project_Images2.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 231px; " title="">Lest we forget that this Monday's holiday is actually about something, Writers' Theatre will present a performance of&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.writerstheatre.org/education?id=0003"><em>The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights</em></a></strong>.&nbsp;This one-woman show starring Melanie Brezill explores the history of the civil rights movement, and Dr. King's place in it, through poetry, hip-hop and excerpts from interviews with movement leaders and participants. The show will tour to area schools through February, as it has for the past several years, but this is the only scheduled public presentation. Come see it&nbsp;free&nbsp;at the Chicago History Museum on Monday at 11 a.m. Just show up---but show up early, as plenty of people will be trying to do the same thing.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>To me, party or club dancing is a hoot. On Friday night, check out the <a href="http://oldtownschool.org/55days/list/">first-ever <strong>Global Dance Party</strong> at the Old Town School of Folk Music’s brand-new building</a>, right across the street from the old one on Lincoln. The theme is Brazilian music and dance—always welcome in wintry weather. The model for these events is the city’s SummerDance program, so there’s a 30-minute dance class at 8:30 taught by OTSFM instructor Dill Costa, then music by the Old Town Samba School and Swing Brasileiro. Tim Harkins, who’s heading up the dance parties, assures me that “no one will feel out of place if they come without a partner.” And for all you crazy samba dancers out there, the fold-away stadium seating <em>will </em>be folded away.</p><p><a href="http://www.danceworkschicago.org/events.aspx"><strong>DanceWorks Chicago</strong> is busy, busy.</a> Today at noon they perform in the Harris Theater’s “Eat to the Beat” series. Friday they present a “Dance Flight” performance. And Saturday afternoon this company devoted partly to drawing audiences into the artistic process offers a user-friendly look at their own audition. It’s free, runs 1-4 PM at the Dance Center of Columbia College, and observers can come and go as they please.</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/REDance Inhabitants.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px; " title="RE|Dance brings 'Flight Patterns' to Link's Hall"></p><p><a href="http://www.linkshall.org/">RE|Dance presents “<strong>Flight Patterns</strong>” at Link’s</a> Hall this weekend, featuring two works set in <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/redance-performs-flight-patterns-at-links-hall/Content?oid=5393389">its trademark evocative environments</a>. One piece is set amid tall grasses—<em>really&nbsp;</em>tall grasses—personally harvested by choreographer Michael Estanich.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-January/2012-01-12/blizzard-67.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 260px; height: 167px; " title="">This is the first really big theater and dance weekend of the year with a dozen events and openings packed into four days. I’ll miss them all because I’m fighting my first (and only, I hope) ferocious head cold of 2012. But if I were going to be out an about, I’d head<strong> </strong>for Chicago Dramatists for the world premiere of<a href="http://www.chicagodramatists.org/production_blizzard-67"> <strong><em>Blizzard ’67</em></strong></a> by Jon Steinhagen, a recounting of what still is Chicago’s largest-ever snow storm, a 23” whopper in late January, 1967. My father, returning from Rockford, had to abandon his car on the shoulder of the road and was given a ride home by a trucker. Jon Steinhagen is a gifted playwright, composer and performer although I hardly think he’s old enough to remember the storm himself. <em>Blizzard ’67</em> runs through Feb. 12.</p><p>In an unusual one-off event at 12:30PM this Sunday (Jan. 15),<a href="http://www.shatteredglobe.org/current_production.html"> Shattered Globe Theatre</a> is joining forces with the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center (in Skokie) to present a staged reading of <strong><em>Judgment at Nuremburg</em></strong> by Abby Mann. Shattered Globe had a big hit in 2003 with a stage version adapted from Mann’s screenplay, and for this event the troupe has reassembled nine veterans of that production, among them director Louis Contey. What makes the event especially noteworthy is that post-show discussion will include observations from an eyewitness to the Nuremburg Trials, Peter Less, who was a translator in the courtroom.</p><p><o:p></o:p></p></p> Thu, 12 Jan 2012 16:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-12/dont-miss-list-get-historical-nuremberg-revisted-mlk-day-and-blizza New artistic model for Theater on the Lake http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-20/new-artistic-model-theater-lake-95056 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-20/26493842.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-20/26493842.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 225px; " title="(Photo via Google Maps)">An almost-end-of-the-year press release from the Chicago Park District—the kind that often is lost or buried—has announced a most interesting change in the artistic structure of <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/312df49f-8fbf-4e35-8da1-443a4a50e3e8.cfm">Theater on the Lake</a>, the annual Lincoln Park summer theater program which will be 60 years old in 2012.</p><p>For quite a few years now, what officially is called the Chicago Summer Theater Festival has presented one-week revivals of eight Off-Loop theater productions from the regular season, running late-summer through mid-spring. Those shows have been selected by the Festival artistic director, who has been Hallie Gordon for the last six years (Gordon also is director of the Steppenwolf for Young Adults program).</p><p>This year, however, the Park District is adopting a new model for the Festival, replacing the artistic director with two “co-artistic curators” brought on for one season only, and who will be chosen annually through an application process with the Chicago Park District. The pair will select the season, presumably assist in producing the remounts and also will be involved in support and outreach programs, such as proposed post-show talks with the audience.</p><p>The first two co-artistic curators are actor/director Michael Patrick Thornton and director/dramaturge Meghan Beals McCarthy. Thornton is co-founder/artistic director of the storefront Gift Theatre in Jefferson Park, and also an actor well-known for his recurring role on ABC’s <em>Private Practice</em> TV series. McCarthy is the associate artistic director of Chicago Dramatists, with previous literary management experience at the Northlight and Steppenwolf theater companies locally (and with several New York companies before that).</p><p>The 2012 60<sup>th</sup> anniversary season will be announced in the spring. As always, performances are in the little pavilion at the eastern foot of Fullerton Avenue at the lakefront. Now called Theater on the Lake, the historic structure was built in 1910 as a recuperation ward for tubercular babies (there’s nothing like some dry lake air, eh?) and later was used as a USO facility and for barn dances. It’s been used as a summer theater since 1952. The acoustics are terrible and the lighting isn’t very good, but the lake breeze on a hot night <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-13/critics-theater-picks-715-717-89111">can be a delight</a> and ticket prices always are modest. A proposal floated several years ago to remodel the pavilion into a truly serviceable theater was shelved without ever becoming an actual plan when the economy tanked.</p></p> Tue, 20 Dec 2011 16:51:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-12-20/new-artistic-model-theater-lake-95056 Dueling Critics: 'The Kid Thing' delves into family issues with a modern twist http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/dueling-critics-kid-thing-delves-family-issues-modern-twist-92069 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-September/2011-09-16/the kid thing.png" alt="" /><p><p>Many couples have confronted the same fundamental question of whether or not they really want kids. The answers often involve pondering major life and possible personality changes. One such Q &amp; A session is at the heart of a new play, <a href="http://www.chicagodramatists.org/production_the-kid-thing" target="_blank"><em>The Kid Thing</em></a>, a co-production of Chicago Dramatists and <a href="http://aboutfacetheatre.com/" target="_blank">About Face Theatre</a>. But <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> had other questions too; like – does the play work?&nbsp; Are central characters, Leigh and Darcy, believable? For answesr to those questions and no doubt more, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> turned to<a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics" target="_blank"> the <em>Dueling Critics</em></a>, <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/adpa/facultybios/faculty-staff_abarbenel.htm" target="_blank">Jonathan Abarbanel</a> and Kelly Kleiman.</p><p><em>The Kid Thing</em>, runs at Chicago Dramatists through Oct. 16th.</p><p><em>Music Button: It's Our Turn, "Project 4007 Remixes", (Emotive)<br> Music today provided by our guest DJ, DJ Frique</em></p><p><br> &nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 16 Sep 2011 13:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-09-16/dueling-critics-kid-thing-delves-family-issues-modern-twist-92069 Daily Rehearsal: Adapting Sophocles for modern times http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-15/daily-rehearsal-adapting-sophocles-modern-times-92028 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-15/Sophocles%20600x300%20web%20image%20v2(1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-15/Sophocles%2520600x300%2520web%2520image%2520v2%281%29.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 150px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Man-about-town Sean Graney is doing well adapting classic texts</strong></span></span>; <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14940787/sophocles-seven-sicknesses-at-the-hypocrites-theater-review">Kris Vire says</a> his style could be described as "an indifference to language and context but with a consummate reverence for theme." But Graney's <em>Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses </em>at the <a href="http://www.the-hypocrites.com/">Hypocrties </a>is reportedly equipped with a "phenomenal 12-person ensemble" and an evening that is almost four hours long. Ouch.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. The Chicago Dramatists have announced</strong></span></span> their new Resident Playwrights. They include Reginald Edmund, Rohina Malik, Jayme McGhan, and Martín Zimmerman. Those are <em>some</em> names. They'll keep 11 residents going in a three-year term, to work with the company on original plays. Some past writers-in-residence include Tina Fey and Sarah Ruhl, so you're in good company.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Don't know what to do?</strong></span></span> <em>Be a Good Little Widow</em>&nbsp;at Collaboraction this weekend. It's a funny play about death by Bekah Brunstetter that did well in New York in May, when <a href="http://theater.nytimes.com/2011/05/03/theater/reviews/be-a-good-little-widow-at-ars-nova-review.html">David Rooney wrote</a>, "Written when Ms. Brunstetter was a 2009 playwright in residence at Ars Nova, this modest but delicately satisfying serio-comedy keeps threatening to get cute, yet always chooses a more unexpected direction."</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-15/the reader arts preview.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 174px; height: 200px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Oracle (or "public access theater")</strong></span></span> has released the listings for their 2012 season. They'll have <em>Ironmistress </em>by April De Angelis, <em>The Maids</em> by Jean Genet, and <em>The Sandman</em> by E.T.A. Hoffmann. And <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-05/daily-rehearsal-marc-maron-takes-over-chicago-and-interview-show-90"><em>Radio Goggles</em></a> is back, for a round two. It all starts in early January.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. More fall performance previews</strong></span></span>, <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/fall-arts-season-preview-listings-shows/Content?oid=4622139">today courtesy of the <em>Reader </em></a>on their usual Thursday. They'll tell you about directors, comedians and choreographers to watch (all of whom are male; take note).</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 15 Sep 2011 14:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-15/daily-rehearsal-adapting-sophocles-modern-times-92028 Daily Rehearsal: New York cast of 'Chinglish' has one surprise http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-01/daily-rehearsal-new-york-cast-chinglish-has-one-surprise-91392 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-01/augustosagecounty-in-sydney-05.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. For a deeper look into the Fringe festival</strong></span></span> than <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-31/daily-rehearsal-get-ready-october-and-lots-free-theater-91235">what </a>we've <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2011-08-08/daily-rehearsal-tim-j-macmillan-bikes-theater-90252">given </a>you so <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-01/look-out-wienermobile-and-alice-wonderland-weekend-theater-91396">far</a>, go to the <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/fringe-festival-second-year-pilsen-plays-dance/Content?oid=4528112">Reader</a>, which highlights some of our picks, as well as some new options, like&nbsp;Rie Shontel's&nbsp;<i>Mama Juggs</i>&nbsp;and&nbsp;MelnColly Theatre Company's <i>Nearly Naked. </i>Am I sensing a theme here?&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-01/augustosagecounty-in-sydney-05.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 300px; height: 200px;" title="Wilmes on the left, in 'August: Osage County' in Sydney (Photo by: Grant Sparkes-Carroll)"><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. The New York cast of <em>Chinglish </em></strong></span></span>will look basically the same as what you saw here in Chicago, sans one of the lead characters Daniel, who was played by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0914209/">James Waterston</a>, but will now be taken over by <a href="http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1675596/">Gary Wilmes</a>. <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/chi-chinglish-20110831,0,7236657.column">Chris Jones writes</a>, "The replacement of Waterson (sic)&nbsp;was expected. More surprising is the decision to go with a well-respected actor (who appeared in the Elevator Repair Service production of <em>Gatz </em>and has several Chicago credits) rather than a ticket-selling star." I get the last part, but I totally missed the memo on Waterson being dropped as "expected." Anyone out there in the know want to fill me in? Wilmes has also been seen in the tour&nbsp;<em>August: Osage County</em>&nbsp;made of Austraila.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <a href="http://www.profilestheatre.org/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 12px; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 153, 204);" target="_blank">Profiles Theatre</a>&nbsp;is pushing back</strong></span></span>&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 12px;"><em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 12px; background-color: transparent;">A Behanding in Spokane</em></span>&nbsp;<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14922149/profiles-postpones-a-behanding-in-spokane">again</a>, due to Darrell W. Cox's emergency surgery for a detached retina. The play will now run from October 16 to December 4. Because this interferes with Assisted Living by Deirdre O'Connor, they'll be moving to the Second Stage. Best of luck Darrell.&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-01/the-kid-thing.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 249px; height: 300px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Opening tonight in previews</strong></span></span> is a play about yuppies who are worried about kids and having them and life changes. Yup, it's <a href="http://www.chicagodramatists.org/production_the-kid-thing"><em>The Kid Thing</em></a> by the Chicago Dramatists. This set of yuppies has a bit of a twist; they're two lesbian couples at a dinner party.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Hershey Felder (yes, real name)</strong></span></span> is coming to Chicago again with&nbsp;<em>Maestro: The Art of Leonard Bernstein</em>, his first-person account of Leonard Bernstein's life, complete with music.<strong><em>&nbsp;</em></strong>&nbsp;Director Joel Zwick takes it on at the Royal George. The show begins previews November 1 and plays through December. When it played in Los Angeles, <a href="http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117944046">Variety said</a>, "Deftly and amusingly, Felder explores the roots of Bernstein's themes in the great composers of the past, as well as the Jewish folk tunes, which forged a bond between a willful son and stubborn Old World father."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 01 Sep 2011 14:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-01/daily-rehearsal-new-york-cast-chinglish-has-one-surprise-91392 Daily Rehearsal: Trib redesigns their theater section http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-07/daily-rehearsal-trib-redesigns-their-theater-section-88824 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-07/theaterloop.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. The <a href="http://www.neofuturists.org/">Neo-Futurists</a> have announced their 23rd season</strong></span></span>. They'll be running&nbsp;<i>Chalk and Saltwater: The Ladder Project</i>&nbsp;by&nbsp;John Pierson,&nbsp;<i>Burning Bluebeard</i>&nbsp;by&nbsp;Jay Torrence, and&nbsp;<i>The Strange and Terrible True Story of Pinocchio (the wooden boy) as Told by Frankenstein's Monster (the wretched creature)</i>&nbsp;by&nbsp;Greg Allen. The most promising looks to be <em>Chalk and Saltwater</em>, which "dissects the failure of Edgar Davis’ 1926 Broadway production of <em>The Ladder</em>, the longest running flop in American theatre history."&nbsp; It all starts in September, and of course, <em>Too Much Light</em> is still running, forever and a day.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-07/Hamlet.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 201px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <a href="http://www.oracletheatre.org/Hamlet_free.htm"><em>Hamlet </em></a>opened at the Oracle last night</strong></span></span>, and features a motley crew of actors, some of whom have performed at Shakespeare in the Park, and others of whom have just graduated college. Can YOU tell who's who? (Well maybe, but only by age.)</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. <em>Here's the Story</em>,<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-29/daily-rehearsal-start-planning-your-4th-july-88498"> The Moth</a>-with-food show</strong></span></span> where people tell stories, <a href="http://heresthestory.org/2011/06/july-6ths-show-featuring/">was last night</a>, and is every first Wednesday of the month at Theater Wit. This months performance included Susan Messing, who remarked on how rare it was for her to be telling a <em>true </em>story (<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-22/daily-rehearsal-chicago-theater-622-88196"><em>Messing With a Friend</em></a> is not so autobiographical), and she jokingly passed out non-disclosure agreements to those present.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">4. Meghan Beals McCarthy was chosen out of a nationwide search</span></strong></span> as the Chicago Dramatists new Associate Artistic Director. Her position was originally created via a grant, and because that money is ending, McCarthy will also be part-time Director of Youth and Community Programming.&nbsp;</p><p>5.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>The Trib has redesigned their Theater section</strong></span></span>, dubbed "<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/theaterloop/" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">The Theater Loop</a>." You'll get: "News. Criticism. Commentary. The shows not to be missed — and the showso avoid at all costs." It looks like its all part of the Trib's new redesign&nbsp;that&nbsp;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-06-16/news/chi-reaction-to-the-chicago-tribune-redesign-20110616_1_gerould-w-kern-readers-special-report" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">launched a few weeks ago</a>.</p><p><span style="font-family: 'Arial','sans-serif';"><o:p></o:p></span></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-07/theaterloop.jpg" style="border-style: none; width: 500px; height: 267px; margin: 10px;" title=""></p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="http://kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 07 Jul 2011 14:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-07/daily-rehearsal-trib-redesigns-their-theater-section-88824 Daily Rehearsal: Chicago theater 6/22 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-22/daily-rehearsal-chicago-theater-622-88196 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-22/educatingrita.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1. Steppenwolf's oh-so-frequent blog has <a href="http://blog.steppenwolf.org/2011/06/21/public-and-private-through-the-architects-eyes/">a new post</a>! It's by Steppenwolf patron and architect&nbsp;Joseph Altshuler. He's written about public and private spaces, his de[FENCING] project for his firm, and <em>Detriot</em>, which closed in November. Let me know if you understand the rest of it, because it's a little esoteric and it's going over my head.</p><p>2.&nbsp;<em>WE LIVE HERE</em> starts rehearsals this weekend; Margot Bordelon and Cassy Sanders of <a href="http://theatreseven.org/index.php">Theatre Seven</a>&nbsp;culled together stories from writers in Chicago to shape their play. It was workshopped at&nbsp;<a href="http://lookingglasstheatre.org/content/box_office/11-12-season" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none; ">Lookingglass</a>&nbsp;last year, and they're bringing it back starting in August, at least <a href="http://scottbarsotti.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/3-plays-coming-up-year-of-the-short-continues/">according to Scott Barsotti</a>, whose piece is part of the eight author series.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" height="261" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-22/educatingrita.jpg" title="" width="455"></p><p>3.&nbsp;<em>Educating Rita</em> opened in previews yesterday at Chicago Dramatists, and opens for real this weekend. Presented by <a href="http://www.shatteredglobe.org/index.html">Shattered Globe Theatre</a>, which works to bring global theater to the US, Willy Russell's play looks at a British student who finds an interest for her professor and in school at the same time.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/PQrKXzZwiQo" width="560"></iframe></p><p>4. If you missed <em>Avenue Q</em>, see <a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/io/shows/10"><em>Felt </em></a>at iO tonight -- more puppets, and it's also not suitable for children.</p><p>5. Tomorrow at Annoyance is&nbsp;<i>Messing With A Friend</i>, and it's literally Susan Messing with a different friend every time. You'll see "a fearless long-form show inspired by a single audience suggestion," <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/events/messing-with-a-friend,233897/">says The A.V. Club</a>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Wed, 22 Jun 2011 15:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-22/daily-rehearsal-chicago-theater-622-88196