WBEZ | Hallie Gordon http://www.wbez.org/tags/hallie-gordon Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en 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 Choose your own ending: The new trend in Chicago theater? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/choose-your-own-ending-new-trend-chicago-theater <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Eclipsed2_pic-by-Michael-Brosilow.jpg" alt="" /><p><img src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-January/2011-01-30/Eclipsed2_pic-by-Michael-Brosilow.jpg" width="500" height="310" alt="" title="" /><p>Once, after a dose of a mind-altering drug, I spent hours passing the white silk of a hammock over my palm again and again, trying to ascertain whether the array of colors appearing in the interstices were real or an hallucination.&nbsp; I was never able to resolve the question to my satisfaction but contemplating it kept me too busy to enjoy any genuine hallucinations that might have arisen.&nbsp; There is an irony here somewhere but I&rsquo;m not drunk enough to figure out what it is.<br /> <br /> This inability to resolve something came to mind after seeing two shows in the past week which ended with a woman onstage poised between two equally likely courses of action.&nbsp; The blackouts at the end of Hallie Gordon&rsquo;s excellent Eclipsed at Northlight and Jessica Thebus&rsquo;s likewise excellent though incomparably different Sex With Strangers at Steppenwolf leave the audience to decide what happens next.&nbsp; So what I want to know is: is this a pattern, or am I just hallucinating?<br /> <br /> Are we at a time (in history, in our lives) where sad endings are just unbearable but happy<br /> endings seem too pat?&nbsp; Or has the Internet simply made us people who expect to participate in everything, including what fictional characters are going to do next?&nbsp; Is irresolution an abdication of the writer&rsquo;s or director&rsquo;s responsibility, or just an acknowledgment that everything is more or less permanently up in the air?<br /> <br /> If you figure it out, please let me know.&nbsp; I&rsquo;ll be in the hammock.</p><p><em><strong>Photo above: Actors from the Northlight production of Eclipsed. Photo by Michael Brosilow</strong></em></p></p> Mon, 31 Jan 2011 12:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/choose-your-own-ending-new-trend-chicago-theater