WBEZ | Piccolo Theatre http://www.wbez.org/tags/piccolo-theatre Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The 'Nutcracker' is back, without the ballet but with puppets http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-10/nutcracker-back-without-ballet-puppets-93884 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-November/2011-11-09/NutcrakerPoster_2011_300w.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-10/NutcrakerPoster_2011_300w.jpg.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 400px;" title="">If you just can't wait for the frigid days to come, check out tonight's opening of <a href="http://www.maryarrchie.com/">Adam Rapp's icy drama <strong><em>Red Light Winter</em></strong> at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company</a>. Rapp, who on the basis of this Obie Award-winning offering might be competing with Neil LaBute for the Contemporary Misanthropic Playwright prize, is nonetheless a smart and agile writer whose bleak view of the world can't be dismissed.&nbsp; Through December 18 at Angel Island, the upstairs theater at 735 West (note, <em>West</em>) Sheridan Road; tickets $18-$22 but only $11 tomorrow (11/11/11). No one under 18 will be admitted.</p><p>Something a bit more pleasantly in keeping with the season, you say? Try <a href="http://www.annoyanceproductions.com"><strong><em>Fa-La-La-La F*ck It!</em></strong> at Annoyance</a>, opening Saturday at 10 p.m. and running in that slot through December 23. This comedy of family breakdown brought on by the holidays---which succeeds, though it probably can't replace, Annoyance's beloved long-running <em>Co-Ed Prison Sluts</em>---is only one of many which will grace our stages in the weeks to come, but Annoyance gets points for being first. And there's something to be said for getting your Xmas angst out of the way before Thanksgiving. The theater's at 4830 N. Broadway; tickets are $15, $10 for students. All ages admitted, but parents shouldn't blame the theater if the kiddies hear something crude.</p><p>And on Sunday comes the formal opening of <a href="http://thehousetheatre.com/">House Theatre's version of <strong><em>The Nutcracker</em></strong></a><em>,</em> a ballet-free rendition of the weird tale of the kitchen implement which becomes a prince (or whatever the hell the story is). This reprise of last year's human-puppet collaboration features original music and "spellbinding spectacle," or so says the press release. Thursdays-Sundays through December 30 at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division; tickets are $25, but only $10 for students. &nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/dancer-choreographer-adam-rose-holocene-overkill/Content?oid=4624044">Adam Rose is not your everyday choreographer</a>—or your everyday guy. A quintessential soloist, he delivers no-holds-barred performances based on apocalyptic scenarios. “The human is about to mutate to something other,” he says on <a href="http://www.antibodycorp.org/">his website</a> about his newest piece, a trio, <strong><em>Holocene Overkill (Phase 2)</em></strong>. “It’s our own choice as individuals whether we want to jump off the cliff with humankind or take our chances with whatever biological escape plan we can scrape together.” Friday and Saturday at <a href="http://www.dfbrl8r.com/DEFIBRILLATOR/NEXT_NOW.html">Defibrillator gallery</a>.</p><p>Ever lost yourself on the dance floor? If not, it belongs on your bucket list. <a href="http://honeypotperformance.com/">Meida McNeal’s <strong><em>The Sweet Goddess Project</em></strong></a> explores that transcendental state as well as the sensual role that women play in the culture of house music and dance. Four performers and DJ Jo de Presser perform Thursday, Friday, and Sunday at Experimental Station.</p><p style="text-align: left;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-10/Liz Lerman Dance Exchange in The Matter of Origins.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 397px;" title="Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, 'The Matter of Origins'"></p><p>Choreographer Liz Lerman never pulls her punches, never backs off a subject. In <strong><em><a href="http://mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/741">The Matter of Origins</a></em></strong>, she tackles nothing less than the physical and philosophical beginnings of the universe. The second act is a sort of salon, or “tea,” that seats audiences at tables for conversation. And chocolate cake, using a recipe from Edith Warner, who hosted atomic-bomb scientists at her Los Alamos roadhouse restaurant. Thursday through Sunday at the MCA.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-November/2011-11-10/David-and-Brian.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; width: 199px; height: 300px;" title="Seven Doors">“May the Farce be with you,” and with Mark Sleepwalker as well. This mantra indicates that Evanston’s Piccolo Theatre once again is presenting a <strong>British-style panto</strong> for the holiday season, this time <a href="http://www.piccolotheatre.com/The-Plays/space-wars-the-panto.html"><strong><em>Space Wars</em></strong></a>, a world premiere by Jessica Puller. It’s not a pantomime, mind you, but an audience-interactive fantasy musical comedy with particular traditions which originated in English 19<sup>th</sup> Century family entertainment. Those traditions may include a “britches role” in which a girl plays the lead boy, and a “Dame” in which a man plays a Gorgon of an old woman. Pack up the kids (even ones as young as four) for <em>Space Wars</em>, which continues at the Evanston Arts Depot through Dec. 17.</p><p>Premiere Theatre and Performance is offering a new staging of its 2008 hit, <a href="https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/40401"><strong><em>Seven Doors</em></strong></a>, by prolific contemporary German playwright Botho Strauss, translated by Peter K. Jansen. Usually described as a dark comedy, the play offers nine vignettes of contemporary life and, most significantly, what may lie beyond. Remember, seven always has been a number with particular spiritual and mystical potency. Premiere Theatre and Performance is one of the few local troupes (Trap Door is a significant other) dedicated to bringing Chicago audiences contemporary European drama beyond London’s West End or the boulevard theatres of Paris. <em>Seven Doors</em> is performed at DANK Haus, 4740 N. Western, through Dec. 11.</p></p> Thu, 10 Nov 2011 16:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-10/nutcracker-back-without-ballet-puppets-93884 Top 5 overlooked shows of 2010 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/onstagebackstage-top-5-overlooked-shows-2010 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Thebetterdoctor.jpg" alt="" /><p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><img height="364" width="485" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2010-December/2010-12-28/Thebetterdoctor.jpg" title="" alt="" /></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: left;">With the burgeoning number of theater blogs, Chicago productions are rarely overlooked completely. But a few that I saw in 2010 weren&rsquo;t given the props they deserved. When creative productions go unnoticed, that&rsquo;s bad news for both the industry and the theatergoing public.&nbsp;</p> <p>1) <a href="http://www.tellintalestheatre.org/">Tellin&rsquo; Tales Theatre</a>&rsquo;s &ldquo;A Midsummer Night&rsquo;s Dreamers&rdquo; ran just two weekends in June, but it was a find. This evening of four monologues on the subject of insomnia, curated by Tekki Lomnicki, was often hilarious and/or disconcertingly up-front and true. I don&rsquo;t know why this particular, highly personal brand of performance&mdash;a cross between stand-up and autobiographical confession&mdash;seems to have gone out of style.</p> <p>2) Despite its attention-grabbing title, &ldquo;Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry!&rdquo; was neglected by both the Trib and TimeOut in April. <a href="http://www.piccolotheatre.com/index.html">Piccolo Theatre</a>&rsquo;s freewheeling take on Foursight Theatre&rsquo;s 1999 show had a manic charm from the get-go, when all six of Henry&rsquo;s dead wives roiled beneath the covers of a giant raked bed. Heavily caricatured yet poignant, the queens bickered jealously over their standing with the king&mdash;never mind that he&rsquo;d had them all murdered. Ultimately they formed an odd, likable little community of losers.</p> <p>3) In June, newcomer <a href="http://bootstrapscomedy.com/">Bootstraps Comedy Theatre</a> joined forces with the Silent Theatre Company in &ldquo;The Better Doctor,&rdquo; a wordless spoof of/homage to silent film. In a loopy way, writer-director Matt Lyle lavished attention on his very funny show, which included a live two-man band and humorous projected titles. Bootstraps&rsquo; impressive debut, which looked at health care reform through the lens of a more innocent era, made me wish for more from them, especially spot-on physical comedian Samuel Zelitch. So far the company hasn&rsquo;t resurfaced.</p> <p>4) <a href="http://www.katettheatre.org/">Ka-Tet Theatre</a>&rsquo;s &ldquo;In the Jungle of Cities&rdquo; wasn&rsquo;t exactly neglected when it opened in late October. But it didn&rsquo;t get the respect it deserved, including from me. Bertolt Brecht&rsquo;s early play raises plenty of barriers to appreciation, including but not limited to an inexplicable plot and unsympathetic, inexplicable characters. But under the direction of Max Truax, Ka-Tet not only remained true to Brecht&rsquo;s difficult vision but expanded on it. One made-up character&mdash;the Barker, played by Rory Jobst&mdash;recited the same boxing anecdote into a wall several times. And made it funny. Tracy Otwell&rsquo;s brilliant set transformed Red Tape&rsquo;s ancient, pedestrian church gym/theater into a surreal hell.&nbsp;</p> <p>5) <a href="http://chicagotaptheatre.com/">Chicago Tap Theatre</a> does tap-dance, but artistic director Mark Yonally also has a gift for theater&mdash;including tap-danced narratives. His endearing, satirical wordless comedy about online dating, &ldquo;LoveTaps,&rdquo; played two weekends in March at Stage 773, but did anyone but dance fans go? In a genius ploy, audiences got to vote on who&rsquo;d hook up with whom in Act 2. And in June, Yonally&rsquo;s shamelessly theatrical &ldquo;Queen Suite&rdquo; closed the &ldquo;Tap Out Loud&rdquo; showcase with a choir, an opera singer, a marching band, and dozens of tap professionals and students of all ages coming up onstage (and spilling off it&hellip;) to freely interpret six songs by Queen.</p><p><strong>(Photo credit: The Better&nbsp;Doctor, featuring Kim Lyle and Samuel Zelitch)</strong></p></p> Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/onstagebackstage-top-5-overlooked-shows-2010