WBEZ | 16th Street Theater http://www.wbez.org/tags/16th-street-theater Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Berwyn's Jolly Green Giant (Laundromat) and local theater http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/berwyns-jolly-green-giant-laundromat-and-local-theater-105355 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/laundromat.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>We&#39;re exploring Chicago suburbs and put out calls via <a href="http://twitter.com/wbez">Twitter</a>, <a href="http://www.facebook.com/wbez915?fref=ts">Facebook</a> and <a href="http://instagram.com/wbezchicago">Instagram</a> to get your ideas for our day looking for <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/day-berwyn-105207">stories in Berwyn</a>. And you gave us <a href="http://www.facebook.com/wbez915/posts/10151457987906000">so many ideas</a>, we had to enlist the help of some of our bloggers to answer your questions.</em></p><p><em>We have a <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/diversity-spawns-creativity-berwyn-105351">story about the World&#39;s Largest Laundromat</a> and the unconventional ways it&#39;s building community in Berwyn. But it&#39;s also an interesting test case in using green technology to cut energy costs. WBEZ Environmental blogger <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/chris-bentley">Chris Bentley</a> talked with Tom Benson, the owner, about his solar-powered laundromat:</em></p><h2><strong>Solar-powered suds</strong></h2><p>World&#39;s Largest Laundromat owner Tom Benton first installed solar panels in 2002 after <a href="http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/servicerpt/natgas/chapter1.html">an unprecedented spike</a> in natural gas prices.</p><p>These are solar thermal panels, not photovoltaics, so they make hot water, not electricity. Depending on the season, his 36 solar panels can shave as much as 15 percent off his natural gas bill. That is one of his main expenses &mdash; all those washers use a lot of hot water.</p><p>The laundromat burned down in 2004, and Benson rebuilt the $175,000 solar panel system along with the rest of the building, receiving a minor contribution from the state for the renewable energy.</p><p>(The first time around, a state grant kicked in nearly half of the solar panel&#39;s costs). Interestingly that price signal that drove Benson to look at solar in the first place has not only subsided &mdash; natural gas is now one sixth the price it was in the early 2000s. Thanks to unconventional extraction techniques like fracking, massive domestic reserves of the fossil fuel have been discovered, which have prolonged Benson&#39;s payback period.</p><p>Though the solar panels still haven&#39;t paid for themselves, despite next to no maintenance costs, he is still glad he has them. Given the new economics of natural gas, he said he would have to think long and hard about whether he&#39;d install them again if asked to start over today.</p><p>They are scouting a new location in Chicago, which Benson said would likely include solar photovoltaic. It might also include efficient LED lighting, at least for the building&#39;s exterior. He isn&#39;t the only solar laundromat &mdash; in fact, he said one nearby on Ogden Ave. had solar panels &mdash; but he is one of few. Crain&#39;s <a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20071117/ISSUE02/100028874/worlds-largest-green-laundromat">reported</a> that fewer than 5 percent of the 35,000 laundries nationwide use solar power, according to the Coin Laundry Association.</p><h2><strong>Theater in Berwyn</strong></h2><p><em>Lots of folks on Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/wbez915/posts/10151457987906000">suggested</a> we explore the <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/scripts/now_at_16thstreet.asp">16th Street Theater</a> in Berwyn. WBEZ&#39;s <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics">Dueling Critic</a> Kelly Kleiman offered her two cents about the budding theater scene:</em></p><p>Ann Filmer founded 16th Street Theater to bring not just professional theater but new plays to Berwyn. It&#39;s becoming the affordable alternative to Oak Park for literate parents. Filmer has worked with other theaters (Teatro Luna) and with visiting artists</p><p>(Michael Fosberg, who performed his own compelling monologue about discovering in his mid-30s that he was black) but her real strong suit is discovering new plays with believable protagonists dealing with contemporary issues. &quot;Contemporary&quot; can be a pretty broad category--16th Street&#39;s production of The Beats focused on poets of the 1950s--but don&#39;t expect any costume dramas.</p><p>Right now 16th Street is working with visiting artist Lance Baker as he presents Mike Daisey&#39;s monologue The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, a &quot;J&#39;Accuse!&quot; about Apple&#39;s manufacturing partners in China and their mistreatment of their workers. Daisey originally presented the monologue on This American Life as reportage, but was soon forced to admit that it contained significant elements of fiction, and Ira Glass and his crew <a href="http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/460/retraction">retracted the story</a>.</p><p>Baker is presenting what purports to be a de-fictionalized version of the piece, but the shadow of Daisey&#39;s deception hangs over it. Interestingly, though, that makes the piece more resonant instead of less--obviously some portions of it are true, and the effort of trying to decide which those are makes the audience more engaged in--and, sad to say, more complicit with--the business decisions which produce our affordable iThings.</p></p> Tue, 05 Feb 2013 12:01:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/media/berwyns-jolly-green-giant-laundromat-and-local-theater-105355 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: Luna Negra in 'Moniquilla and the Thief of Laughter' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-30/dont-miss-list-luna-negra-moniquilla-and-thief-laughter-94458 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-December/2011-12-01/Moniquilla (2), photo by German Anton.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>I guess I shouldn't be surprised at a brilliant one-man <strong><em>Iliad</em></strong>--after all, the bardic tradition is precisely of one man telling an epic story. But <a href="http://www.abouttheartists.com/artists/273376">Timothy Edward Kane</a>'s embodiment of all the characters in the agonizing finale of the Trojan War is amazing nonetheless. With only a handful of contemporary references, the script (by Denis O'Hare and Lisa Peterson) and performance make clear that wars of conquest are all the same, and all more costly than worthwhile. The <a href="http://www.courttheatre.org/">Court Theatre</a> production runs only through next weekend (December 11); hop on the Metra and see it. Tickets are from $10 to $60.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/6veWKP6PIuE" frameborder="0" height="315" width="560"></iframe></p><p>And while you're venturing out of downtown, head to Berwyn for Saturday's sneak preview of the upcoming 5th season at <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/scripts/now_at_16thstreet.asp">16th Street Theater</a>. The season's theme is "<strong>Love, Faith and the Unknown</strong>," and the FREE preview will include excerpts from each of the upcoming plays. The festivities begin at 5 p.m.&nbsp; While you're out there, see if there's a seat left for <em>Holiday Stories</em> (a seasonal tryptych by company-affiliated playwrights Elizabeth Berg, Rohina Malik and Tanya Saracho), which closes on Sunday. Tickets are $18.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/210093">Try on <strong><em>Paper Shoes</em></strong></a><strong> </strong>tonight, tomorrow night, and next Thursday and Friday with Rachel Bunting’s <em>The Humans</em>. She describes her dance-theater project on memory and loss, two years in the making, as “something like a twisted and crinkled map in my hands that refuses to be folded up… ever, ever again.” Thursdays and Fridays through Dec. 9 at Hamlin Park Fieldhouse.</p><p>There are two, count them, two! kids’ dance shows this weekend that are not <em>The Nutcracker</em>. Luna Negra Dance Theater launches its family series, Luna Niños, with <a href="http://www.lunanegra.org/">Gustavo Ramirez Sansano’s <strong><em>Moniquilla and the Thief of Laughter</em></strong></a> at Stage 773, Saturday and Sunday with two shows each day. Expect “flying pendulums, jungle spies, bursting water balloons, and secret laboratories.” Also this weekend: Hubbard Street 2’s <strong><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-30/harold-and-purple-crayon-returns-94448">Harold and the Purple Crayon</a></em></strong>, in matinees at the Harris Saturday and Sunday.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-December/2011-12-01/Moniquilla%20%282%29%2C%20photo%20by%20German%20Anton.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 387px;" title="Luna Negra"></p><p><a href="http://linkshall.org/">At Link’s Hall, <strong>Synapse Arts</strong></a> presents new works by Suzy Grant, Samantha Spriggs, and artistic director Rachel Damon. <a href="http://www.muntu.com/">At the DuSable Museum of African American History, Muntu Dance Theatre</a> of Chicago presents its fall series, this year titled “<strong>Spice It Up!</strong>” And <a href="http://mordine.org/events.cfm?hdr=events">at Architectural Artifacts, Mordine &amp; Co.</a> hosts a free “<strong>fête champagne</strong>,” which includes performances of excerpts from Shirley Mordine’s <em>LifeSpeak </em>and work in progress.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p>Bah! Humbug! Eff the Xmas cheer and--for one night only—indulge your darkest fantasies and desires with <a href="http://www.wildclawtheatre.com/wc_html/deathscribe11.html"><strong><em>DEATHSCRIBE</em></strong></a>, next Monday, Dec. 5, 8PM at the Mayne Stage in Rogers Park (1328 W. Morse). This chilling night out offers five horror-genre radio plays, staged with a live Foley artist to ensure that every bone-crunching, gut-wrenching, squeaky-doored, blood-splashing moment sounds—uh—accurate . . . and then some. Deathscribe is an annual presentation of WildClaw (sic) Theatre, the only Chicago troupe devoted entirely to horror (not just at Halloween). We trust that Deathscribe will be much more than horrible.</p><p>Remy Bumppo Theatre Company and its new artistic director, Timothy Douglas, offer their take on Pierre de Marivaux’s elegant 18th Century French romantic comedy, <a href="http://www.remybumppo.org/changes-of-heart-pages-364.php"><strong><em>Changes of Heart</em></strong></a>, in a heralded English version by Stephen Wadsworth. The original play has characters derived from the Renaissance Italian commedia dell’arte, such as Harlequin. It’s anyone’s guess if they will survive Douglas’s update to 1960’s Chicago, and whether Harlequin will appear in hippie beads and bell-bottoms. Changes of Heartruns through Jan. 8 at The Greenhouse in Lincoln Park.</p></p> Wed, 30 Nov 2011 16:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-11-30/dont-miss-list-luna-negra-moniquilla-and-thief-laughter-94458 Stephanie Diaz multitasks as a puppeteer and as an actor in 'The Great Fire' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-26/stephanie-diaz-multitasks-puppeteer-and-actor-great-fire-93483 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-26/stephanie diaz.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-26/stephanie diaz.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 306px; height: 400px;" title="">You think there's no upside to multiple-personality disorder? Check out Stephanie Diaz in <a href="http://www.lookingglasstheatre.org/content/box_office/the_great_fire">Lookingglass Theatre’s dizzying <em>The Great Fire</em></a> (now extended through December 4). True, most of the actors play more than one role, but Diaz’s seven include three big ones in a broad range: a widowed Polish mother of five, the wealthy Mrs. Tree, and a male archivist who, in this re-imagined production of John Musial’s 1999 original, also stages a high-spirited puppet show.</p><p>Diaz’s favorite? The archivist. “John sent me a new version of the script,” says Diaz, 37. “And he wrote, ‘The archivist has been added to your track. I hope you will find it amusing.’ And when I read it, I cried—with gratitude! I thought, ‘I can’t believe I get to do this. I get to play an old dude, and then do a puppet show!’”</p><p>Originally from California, Diaz trained as a puppeteer in Seattle, where she specialized in bunraku puppetry.</p><p>But when Musial wanted her to build the puppets, one being Marquette and the other Joliet, “I thought of saying no,” she says, “because I’d never built hand puppets. I was going to have to sculpt faces.” But friends told her to “man up,” and after buying two papier-mache skulls from Michael’s (“That’s not cheating!” her puppetry teacher told her), she “just started slapping papier-mache pulp on them, and they became what they were.”</p><p>“The characters came after I made the puppets,” she says. “And when they were done, they came out so funny. I tried to make the priest kind of fat, but he didn’t come out fat—he came out sweet and hapless, and I gave him a gin-blossom nose, but nobody picks up on that. I tried to make Joliet look like a dick, an a**hole.”</p><p>Copying the puppet Marquette’s slightly superior, quizzical look, Diaz tells me she had to give him a “fluty, hooty voice.” For her, the key to any character is finding the voice.&nbsp;</p><p>Talking to me, she drops effortlessly into the West Indian accent of the cabbie who brought her from Midway to Andersonville when she first moved to Chicago in 2004. Little old ladies wait for her after <em>The Great Fire</em>, she says, to congratulate her on her Polish. For Mrs. Tree, dialect coach Eva Breneman helped her decide on something “in the neighborhood of Katharine Hepburn.” (“The Katharine Hepburn sort of thing, don’t you know…” Diaz says in an upper-crust drawl.) The archivist, she says, is a blend of her dad—who reportedly sounds like Bill Clinton—and Christopher Lloyd in <em>Back to the Future</em>. (Musial suggested Lloyd after noting that the archivist was starting to feel “a touch Mr. Rogers.”)</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-26/LTC Great Fire 057.CR2_.p.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" title="Diaz in 'The Great Fire'"></p><p>Diaz is a huge fan of Lookingglass, who remind her of the Muppets. “If you watch them do a song,” she says, “the ones in the background are always doing <em>something</em>—something funny or specific or cute. So if somebody happens to be looking at me, I want it to be interesting. I want all parts of the canvas filled in. And Lookingglass shows do that.”</p><p>Diaz calls performing in this play “a dream come true.” When she found out she’d gotten in, she was so excited she started screaming to her husband, “I got it, I got <em>The Great Fire</em>!!!” she says. “And my neighbors upstairs heard me scream ‘Fire!’ and came running downstairs….”</p><p>Next up for her is the “awesome” <em>Accidental Rapture</em>, <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/">at 16th Street Theater</a> in January. Penned by Eric Pfeffinger and last seen in Chicago in 2003, it brings together old friends—two of whom have become hardcore Christians. Diaz describes her character as “one of the not-saved. She’s like a punk bike-messenger actress. She’s the white elephant in the room because she’s so out-there.”</p><p>Though Diaz says she could never be a director, she’s done some writing and in fact recently applied for a Hedgebrook residency to work on a novel. “But a playwright,” she says, “I am not. I’ve tried my hand at it, and it’s so hard.”</p><p>“I tried doing other things” besides acting, she says, “and I can’t. I was very unhappy. I like to be in plays.”</p></p> Wed, 26 Oct 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-26/stephanie-diaz-multitasks-puppeteer-and-actor-great-fire-93483 Daily Rehearsal: Carrie Fisher is still 'Wishful Drinking' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-28/daily-rehearsal-carrie-fisher-still-wishful-drinking-92541 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-28/wishful_drinking.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-28/wishful_drinking.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 259px; height: 400px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Carrie Fisher is still <em>Wishful Drinking</em></strong></span></span>, and thank god. The show opens in Chicago at the Bank of America Theatre next week, and chock full of juicy details from Fisher's very full life. In fact, a preview story in <em>TimeOut Chicago </em><a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14960175/carrie-fisher%E2%80%99s-wishful-drinking">includes the sentence</a>, "A decade later, her daughter’s father left her for a man."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/seasonfour/thebeats.html"><em>The Beats</em></a>&nbsp;continues to run at 16th Street Theater</strong></span></span>, with performances on Thursday and Friday followed by at Q&amp;A. The play unsurprisingly follows the stories of visionaries like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, and Lawrence Ferlinghetti. Live jazz by Grant Stromeck and Doug Lofstrom. When it ran last winter, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/beat-generation-remix-comes-berwyn">Kelly Kleiman called it</a> "a thrilling immersion in the headwaters of contemporary American culture."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Glen Ellyn's <a href="http://atthemac.org/">New Philharmonic</a></strong></span></span> starts the new season (the 35th) with "Joy! Beethoven" this weekend. It's not your usual fare; there will be performances by guests like Michelle Areyzaga (soprano), Denise Gamez (mezzo), John Sumners (tenor) and Corey Crider (baritone), all joined by the Northwest Indiana Symphony Chorus. Tickets are resonably priced, depending of course, on what you consider reasonable (around $38).</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. <a href="http://www.aredorchidtheatre.org/season.html">Red Orchid</a> has <em>Becky Shaw</em></strong></span></span>, about a blind date that goes very, very wrong. “I was interested in the scenario of a disastrous first date,”&nbsp;writer&nbsp;Gina Gionfriddo <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/weekend/7775346-421/red-orchid-theatres-becky-shaw-explores-fallout-of-bad-date-gone-bad.html">told the <em>Sun-Times</em></a>.&nbsp;“How, when something is important to you, a simple thing like a wrong dress can shift the power in the room out of your favor.” Gionfriddo has written extensively for television, but apparently wasn't getting an outlet for "existential-philosophical things."</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Deanna Isaacs at the <em>Reader </em></strong></span></span>had some harsh words about <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-27/daily-rehearsal-dan-savage-spotted-steppenwolf-92490">yesterday's "Paint the Town RED Day."</a> "you can dip your hand in red paint, slap it on a giant canvas, and help make painter Mark Rothko — who hung out in the dark, winced when his paintings were shown, and didn't want to be a commodity — roll in his grave," <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2011/09/26/tuesday-is-red-day#more">wrote Isaacs</a>.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 28 Sep 2011 14:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-28/daily-rehearsal-carrie-fisher-still-wishful-drinking-92541 Dueling Critics unite in praise for 'The Crowd You're In With' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-15/dueling-critics-unite-praise-crowd-youre-89204 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-July/2011-07-15/CROWD 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Friends and neighbors often influence one's choices--in big and small ways. Sometimes its eager advice on restaurants or vacations. Other times, opinions creep toward the bigger questions - like whether or not to have a child. That's the reality for two couples at the center of Rebecca Gilman's <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/seasonfour/thecrowdyourinwith.html" target="_blank"><em>The Crowd You're In With</em></a>. Berwyn’s <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/" target="_blank">16<sup>th</sup> Street Theater</a> is revisiting the play, which opened at the Goodman in 2009. <em>Dueling Critics</em>, Jonathan Abarbanel and Kelly Kleiman joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight </em>to share what to expect from the production.</p><p><em>The Crowd You're In With</em> runs at the <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/" target="_blank">16<sup>th</sup> Street Theater</a> through August 13.</p></p> Fri, 15 Jul 2011 14:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-07-15/dueling-critics-unite-praise-crowd-youre-89204 Daily Rehearsal: How to start your own theater company http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-06/daily-rehearsal-how-start-your-own-theater-company-88795 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-06/06nelson-book-articleInline.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/25118789?title=0&amp;byline=0&amp;portrait=0&amp;color=ff0000" width="300" align="right" frameborder="0" height="221" scrolling="no"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">1.&nbsp;<em>Station's Lost</em></span></strong></span><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">&nbsp;is still running at Steppenwolf</span></strong></span> Thursdays through Sundays until July 24. Director Ann Filmer <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-27/16th-streets-ann-filmer-visits-boyland-85757">recently told Laura Molzahn that</a>&nbsp;while planning their upcoming 2012 season, she's "always trying to think, ‘What’s on our minds now?’ And everything’s changing so quickly! I don’t know what we’re going to be obsessed with—or what we’re gonna be ignoring and should be obsessed with—next year. I’m trying not to be a total depressive freak.”</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><strong><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;">2. <a href="http://aboutfacetheatre.com/">About Face Theatre</a> is having a benefit performance</span></strong></span> for their Youth Theatre program on July 28 at Victory Gardens, if you have a spare hundred lying around. The work previewed is called <em>What's the T? Examining the "T" in LGBTQ</em>, and the teens will use the work to&nbsp;explore trans identity. About Face's current production is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-16/critics-theater-picks-617-619-87964"><em>The Homosexuals</em></a>.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-06/06nelson-book-articleInline.jpg" style="width: 190px; height: 284px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Wondering how to start your own theater company?</strong></span></span> Reginald Nelson is answering your questions over at the <em>Times</em>' ArtsBeat blog, as inspired by his book <em><a href="http://www.theatrestartup.com/index.php">How to Start Your Own Theater Company</a></em>, which includes an introduction by David Schwimmer. Nelson knows what he's talking about; he was managing director of the <a href="http://congosquaretheatre.org/wordpress/">Congo Square Theater Company</a>. Thus far, he's answered questions about the importance of location, funding opportunities, and how to market your company. Nelson will continue to respond to your queries through tomorrow.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Another week, another Geek Girl Burlesque</strong></span></span>; this one is entitled <em>A Nude Hope: A Star Wars Burlesque</em>, and it combines your favorite movie with a discotheque from the 70s. The Geek Girls say, "Don't make us FORCE you to come!" which is a terrible pun, but there you go. It opens Saturday night at <a href="http://www.gorillatango.com/cgi-bin/public/gttv2.cgi?location_number=2&amp;shows=yes">Gorilla Tango</a>, and runs through summer. A note: as usual, leave the kids at home for this one.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5. Jane Austen isn't just being adapted into a zombie flick</strong></span></span>; every Thursday this month and next, her work will be performed as part of Chemically Imbalanced's <a href="https://www.facebook.com/pages/Improvised-Jane-Austen/109572246055?sk=info"><em>Improvised Jane Austen</em></a>, creating "a Regency love story on the spot." These ten female comedians may not be the undead, but <a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/TheMissAustens">their Twitter feed</a> is pretty entertaining.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Wed, 06 Jul 2011 19:13:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-06/daily-rehearsal-how-start-your-own-theater-company-88795 Daily Rehearsal: Bring out the Eagle Scout within http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-30/daily-rehearsal-bring-out-eagle-scout-within-88562 <p><p> <style type="text/css"> p { font-size:10pt} #s1 {font-size:13pt; color:#494646; font-family:georgia}</style> </p><p><span id="s1">1. ComedySportz America is celebrating its namesake this weekend</span> with a performance on Monday called <a href="http://www.comedysportzchicago.com/index.php?option=com_content&amp;view=article&amp;id=562:july-4th-stand-up-for-america&amp;catid=1:latest-news&amp;Itemid=99"><em>Stand Up America!</em></a> Both TimeOut and the Reader are vouching for&nbsp;for this veritable who's-who of Chicago comedy players. But most important are the drink offerings:&nbsp;$3 Old Style Cans, $4 Stars &amp; Stripes Shots, and $7 for 16oz Independence Teas.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-30/showposter.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 500px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><span id="s1">2. After the holiday weekend,&nbsp;<a href="http://16thstreettheater.org/scripts/now_at_16thstreet.asp" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">16th Street Theater</a>&nbsp;has&nbsp;<em>The Crowd You're With</em>&nbsp;opening</span>&nbsp;in previews. Perfect for the Yuppie within, the tagline asks"To breed or not to breed....." Rebecca Gilman's play was last seen at the Goodman in 2009, but it spurred&nbsp;<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/64361/the-crowd-youre-in-with" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">Kris Vire to say</a>&nbsp;that "references don’t add up to drama, and&nbsp;<em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 12px; background-color: transparent;">Crowd</em>&nbsp;feels less like a play than the kind of personal essay we’d find in&nbsp;<em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 12px; background-color: transparent;">The New Yorker</em>&nbsp;or maybe even&nbsp;<em style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 12px; background-color: transparent;">O: The Oprah Magazine</em>."</p><p><span id="s1">3.<a href="http://www.citylit.org/" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;">&nbsp;City Lit</a>'s&nbsp;<a href="http://www.citylit.org/ArtofAdaptation.htm" style="color: rgb(2, 122, 198); text-decoration: none;"><em>The Art of Adaptation</em></a>&nbsp;runs July 8 through 10</span>, as&nbsp;<em>The Sign of Four</em>&nbsp;(a Sherlock Holmes tale) closes this weekend. On Friday and Saturday the productions are different, but Sunday you can see them all. It'll all part of the company's festival of world premieres of non-dramatic literature adapted into plays. They'll be judged, and the best one will win $500.</p><p><span id="s1">4. <a href="http://www.annoyanceproductions.com/tinyfascists/index.shtml"><em>Tiny Fascists</em></a> is still in previews</span>, so catch it tomorrow at the Annoyance, where real live Eagle Scouts have shaped their experiences into a tale with intrigue. A pair of troops head to Philmont Scout Ranch, but are derailed when they discover a plane crash, in this show directed by Second City collaborator Mick Napier.</p><p><span id="s1">5. And looking ahead to cooler weather already</span>; Steppenwolf's <em>First Look Reperatory of New Works</em> will start in October, where scripts are worked through in a more low-key development process. There will be three works, and expect them to cover things like drug and sex addicts in therapy, Brooklyn parents dealing with a teenager, and murders in the 1930s.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 30 Jun 2011 15:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-30/daily-rehearsal-bring-out-eagle-scout-within-88562 16th Street's Ann Filmer visits Boyland http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-27/16th-streets-ann-filmer-visits-boyland-85757 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-27/Ann Filmer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; ">&nbsp;</p><div style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-27/Our Dad in desert.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 335px; " title=""></div><div style="text-align: left; ">Imagine “Waiting for Godot: The Nickelodeon Version,” and you’ve got some idea of <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/seasonfour/ourdadisinatlantis.html">Javier Malpica’s two-hander <em>Our Dad Is in Atlantis</em>.</a>&nbsp;Two Mexico City brothers, 8 and 11, who’ve been abruptly moved to the country wonder where their father has gone and when he’ll be back. Their mother is dead. The set is minimal, the dialogue spare and packed with non sequiturs. Much about the situation must be inferred. Everything is funny and devastating at once.</div><p>Asked about the Beckett-ian minimalism, <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/people/annFilmer.html">16th Street Theater director Ann Filmer</a> says, “I’m a director who doesn’t like anything unnecessary. For me, it was the only way to do the play, to have as little as possible to tell the story.” She also chose not to use child actors. “I’m a big fan of Anna Deavere Smith,” says Filmer. “And she says, ‘If a woman can’t speak for a man, if a white person can’t speak for a black person, we inhibit the spirit of theater.’”</p><p>In directing the two actors, both in their early 20s, Filmer relied partly on her experience with her daughter, who’s about to turn six. “But we were clear,” she says. “It’s already written in the voice of a young person. So, it will work as long as you are fully engaged in that one moment, right THEN!” She laughs. “The thing that makes us adults is we analyze, and we hem and we haw, and we’re polite. We do all these weird things, because our minds are always spinning: ‘What’s the right thing to do?’ But with kids it’s like: ‘I want that game! Give me that game! I’m cold! I’m thirsty! Get away from me, you’re bugging me! I hate you! … Ooooo, a thousand milkshakes!’”</p><p>“That’s a challenge for the actors. You’re supposed to have this through line, and you have your super-objective, and you’re supposed to know where you’re going at all times and what you want. But if you’re a kid, you want THIS, and then you’re crying, and then you’re watching TV. And you cannot let the crying bleed into the watching TV—it’s a totally new moment.”</p><p>Filmer drew on her background in movement—she majored in dance—to bring the child characters to life. At first, she says, the performers were uncomfortable with that. “You’re told as an actor: ‘Be still, don’t move around too much, you want to be solid and grounded and disciplined.’ And those are all very good things, but when you’re playing a younger person you need to show more in your body.” Part of the interest of the piece is watching the “boys” fidget, slump, dart around, and roll their eyes. They’re kids, but <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/people/ToddGarcia.html">Todd Garcia</a> also conveys the older brother’s anxiety, sadness, and premature burden of responsibility, while <a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/people/RemyOrtiz.html">Remy Ortiz</a> delivers the younger child’s intermittent but boundless sense of loss.</p><p>Filmer fell in love with the play as soon as she read it, she says. “I was drawn to these two boys. I was just sucked in, then devastated at the end. And it was so nice to get a perspective outside my own little worldview, a perspective on the dream of crossing the border, coming to America—and done in such an intimate and personal way.”</p><p>Filmer, now in the throes of determining 16th Street’s 2012 season, says, “I’m always trying to think, ‘What’s on our minds now?’ And everything’s changing so quickly! I don’t know what we’re going to be obsessed with—or what we’re gonna be ignoring and should be obsessed with—next year. I’m trying not to be a total depressive freak.”</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-27/Ann Filmer.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 328px; " title="Director Ann Filmer"></p></p> Wed, 27 Apr 2011 19:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-27/16th-streets-ann-filmer-visits-boyland-85757 Beat Generation remix comes to Berwyn http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/beat-generation-remix-comes-berwyn <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/the beats.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="301" width="450" alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-14/the beats.jpg" /><br /><em>(Photo courtesy of 16th Street Theater/Anthony Aicardi)</em><br />&nbsp;</p><p>16th Street Theater has opened its 2011 season with &quot;<a href="http://www.16thstreettheater.org/seasonfour/thebeats.html">The Beats</a>,&quot; an amazing adaptation of the words, particularly the poems, of the Beat Generation. Whether or not writers Jack Kerouac, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg were influential enough to give their name to a whole generation&mdash;an issue considered with comic skepticism in the show&mdash;the work itself certainly was. And adapter Marilyn Campbell has conspired with director Ann Filmer to demonstrate once for all how well that work has stood the test of time. There&rsquo;s nothing musty or nostalgic about this portrait of a world now nearly 60 years gone,&nbsp; nor is there anything that even faintly matches your preconceptions of a poetry reading.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <br /><br />A cast of five young actors, aided and abetted by a pair of veteran jazz men who are the embodiment of hip, recreate the world of the Beats, from its fear of the Bomb to its obsession with &ldquo;negroes&rdquo; to its defiance of conventions regarding drug use and sex&mdash;whether having it or just talking about it. The four men are very strong, particularly John Taflan, charged with the daunting task of re-creating Ginsberg&rsquo;s iconic &quot;Howl&quot; (&ldquo;I&rsquo;ve seen the best minds of my generation .. .&rdquo;).&nbsp; He gets the feel exactly right&mdash;a tone somewhere between jubilant and frantic, language somewhere between lyrical and incoherent, life right on the border between terrifying hallucination and equally terrifying reality. The adaptation is so fresh and faithful and its selections so well-chosen that it can dare to include an Act II scene in which the company presents some really bad Beat work, in full confidence that by that time the audience can tell the difference between it and the stuff that changed American language and consciousness.<br /><br />The only weakness in this extraordinary evening is the work of Carly Ciarrocchi. Some of that is unavoidable given the Beats&rsquo; marginalization of women, a topic handled without squeamishness by Campbell. But the actress is apparently so steeped in the ethos of contemporary performance poetry that she can&rsquo;t manage to recite without importing hip-hop moves which are simply out of period. Rap&rsquo;s shoulder shrugs and cocked hand gestures are heirs of the Beat style, not copies of it. The [white] Beats&rsquo; hit-or-miss forms of homage to black people are cousins of the work now created by African-Americans themselves, but cousins several times removed. So Ciarrocchi&rsquo;s movements are as distracting in the jazz-soaked atmosphere as an aria would be.<br /><br />Nonetheless, &ldquo;The Beats&rdquo; is a thrilling immersion in the headwaters of contemporary American culture, just as Campbell&rsquo;s adaptation (with Curt Columbus) of &quot;Crime and Punishment&quot; was an unforgettable plunge into Dostoevsky. Whether you already know the poems or can barely place the writers&rsquo; names, for this one evening you will share in their ecstatic communion.&nbsp; <br /><br />The Beats is bound to sell out: it plays only through February 6 in the 50-seat house at the Berwyn Cultural Center. Get your tickets now.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 17 Jan 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/beat-generation-remix-comes-berwyn