WBEZ | John Malkovich http://www.wbez.org/tags/john-malkovich Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: John Malkovich performs in 'Confessions of a Serial Killer' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-john-malkovich-performs-confessions-serial-killer <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4347450049_4e9e012d0f.jpg" style="float: right; height: 300px; width: 300px; " title="(Flickr/Seth Anderson)" /><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>- John Malkovich will be performing in <a href="http://cso.org/TicketsAndEvents/EventDetails.aspx?eid=5512&amp;utm_source=mail2&amp;utm_medium=email&amp;utm_campaign=NewsRelease%3AJohnMalkovichStarsinTheInfernalComedyatSymphonyCenterFebruary1and22013"><em>The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer </em></a></strong></span></span>at the Chicago Symphony Center on February 1 and 2. Tickets are now on sale.&nbsp;The production &quot;is staged for a Baroque orchestra with period instruments, two sopranos and one actor. It tells the true story of Austrian serial murderer and writer Jack Unterweger (Malkovich) through chapters of spoken dialogue, each concluded with arias by Gluck, Vivaldi, Beethoven and others.&quot;&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>- <a href="http://ChicagoOperaTheater.org">Chicago Opera Theater</a> is holding a subscription raffle</strong></span></span> for National Opera Week, which runs from this Monday to next. If you a subscription to their entire season this week, you&#39;ll get a chance to get &quot;prime seats&quot; for all the shows.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>- <a href="http://www.blackensembletheater.org/">Black Ensemble Theater</a> </strong></span></span>has announced their new season line-up, called &quot;Treasures and Trinkets.&quot;&nbsp;Music will continue to be the dominant theme of the Season offering the exciting genres of Doo Wop, Blues, Rhythm and Blues and Soul,&rdquo;&nbsp;says Artistic Director Jackie Taylor. They&#39;ve announced, however, that they won&#39;t be extending any productions, because &quot;we think it is important to concentrate on the variety of the productions rather than the length.&nbsp; This allows us to better promote our 5 Play Card while offering even more flexibility in its use over a subscription.&rdquo; The productions are all either written and/or directed by Taylor, including <em>Doo Wop Shoo Bop</em> (which has run previously at Black Ensemble Theater);<em>&nbsp;It&rsquo;s All-Right To Have A Good Time (The Story of Curtis Mayfield)</em>; <em>Howlin At The Moon (The Story of Howlin Wolf)</em>; and Chicago&rsquo;s <em>Golden Soul.</em></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 14px; "><strong>- The <a href="http://www.neofuturists.org">Neo-Futurists</a> are adding three performances</strong></span></span> to their run of<em> 44 Plays for 44 Presidents</em>; it&#39;ll now close November 17, if at that point you&#39;re not entirely election-ed out.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 14:37:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-john-malkovich-performs-confessions-serial-killer Daily Rehearsal: Isaiah Washington cast as friend of Richard Pryor http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/daily-rehearsal-isaiah-washington-cast-friend-richard-pryor-101174 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/isaiah%20washington.jpg" style="float: left; height: 220px; width: 300px; " title="Washington visiting 'The Today Show'" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- John Malkovich</strong></span></span>, who some may not realize is an ensemble member of Steppenwolf, <a href="http://www.broadway.com/buzz/163050/john-malkovich-to-star-as-casanova-in-the-giacomo-variations-at-new-york-city-center/">will play Casanova</a> in a production of&nbsp;<em>The Giacomo Variations</em> in&nbsp;New York.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- TV star Isaiah Washington</strong></span></span> is set to take part in <em>Unspeakable</em>, a play about Illinois native and comedian Richard Pryor at the Royal George Theatre this October. The role of Pryor will be played by James Murray Jackson, Jr., who originated the role at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2005. Nowhere in these press release bios does it mention Washington&#39;s time on&nbsp;<em>Grey&#39;s Anatomy</em>, the show that most know him by, though that&#39;s <a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/arts/tv/story/2007/06/08/abc-greys-washington.html">relatively unsurprising</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Upcoming UP performers</strong></span></span> include Tommy Davidson of <em>MadTv</em>, Charlie Murphy of <em>Chappelle&#39;s Show</em> and Bobcat Goldthwait of how could you ever forget that name?</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- An <a href="http://www.theawl.com/2012/07/a-letter-from-the-theater-community-regarding-david-adjmis-3-c">interesting theater quandry</a></strong></span></span>&nbsp;happening not in Chicago, but Off-Broadway, is occurring, and it&#39;s all about <em>Three&#39;s Company</em>.<em> Three&#39;s Company</em>! I wish I could double-italicize that</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 26 Jul 2012 12:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-07/daily-rehearsal-isaiah-washington-cast-friend-richard-pryor-101174 World Theatre Day needs more than actor John Malkovich http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-19/world-theatre-day-needs-more-actor-john-malkovich-97447 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-March/2012-03-20/AP111027124804.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-March/2012-03-20/AP111027124804.jpg" style="width: 512px; height: 341px;" title="The International Theatre Institute selected actor John Malkovich as its spokesman for this year's celebration of World Theatre Day. (AP/Karel Navarro, file)"></p><p>Next Tuesday March 27 is World Theatre Day. You didn't know? You mean you are among the tiny minority of 7 billion people unfamiliar with World Theatre Day? How strange! After all, it's been celebrated for 50 years.</p><p>Truth be told, you won't get any robo-calls about World Theatre Day, but maybe you should. Because in terms of public awareness it ranks up there with Global Don't-Step-on-an-Aunt Day and International Mashed Potato Week (we mean the dance, of course). Still, it's been going on for a half-century, thanks to the International Theatre Institute (ITI), a global NGO established by UNESCO in 1948. Believe it or not, the ITI is the world's largest performing arts organization.</p><p>Each year, the ITI declares World Theatre Day, names an international spokesperson and solicits its various national sections to come up with ways to celebrate and publicize it. In the United States, that means coordinating numerous local celebrations, as theater always is a local phenomenon as opposed to a nationwide one. Unlike movies, which can be released everywhere at the same time, live theater is one production at a time in your own city, or even in your own neighborhood.</p><p>For us, the League of Chicago Theatres is the local agency promoting World Theatre Day in partnership with the Chicago Cultural Center, and several free public events are planned, some involving international theater artists who happen to be with visiting the Windy City just now.</p><p>There will be programs at the Cultural Center at 4 p.m. (panel discussion, "Artistic Dialogue Across Borders"), 5:30 p.m. (lecture/demonstration by Jaroslaw Fret of Poland's Teatr ZAR, "Pneumatics of the Actor: Theatre Out of the Spirit of Music"), and 7 p.m. (British-born playwright/director/singer Kwame Kwei-Armah in an untitled talk). These events, all in the Claudia Cassidy Theater of the Cultural Center, will be followed at 8 p.m. by a World Theatre Day Reception in GAR Hall. More info is available <a href="http://www.chicagoplays.com">here</a>.</p><p>This year there's an even stronger local tie-in, as the ITI has selected John Malkovich as author of this year's World Theatre Day Statement, "Reflections about the Art, Craft and Value of Theatre." Born and raised in Downstate Illinois, and still a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre Ensemble, Johnny joins the likes of Judi Dench, Arthur Miller and Vaclav Havel as World Theatre Day spokesperson. His words will be translated into 20-some languages.</p><p>In his statement, Malkovich addresses his brief message "to my fellow theater workers, peers and comrades." I guess that leaves audiences and critics out, which is most of us:</p><p style="margin-left: 40px;">"May your work be compelling and original. May it be profound, touching, contemplative and unique. May it help us to reflect on the question of what it means to be human, and may that reflection be blessed with heart, sincerity, candor, and grace. May you overcome adversity, censorship, poverty and nihilism, as many of you will most certainly be obliged to do. May you be blessed with the talent and rigor to teach us about the beating of the human heart in all its complexity, and the humility and curiosity to make it your life’s work. And may the best of you – for it will only be the best of you, and even then only in the rarest and briefest moments – succeed in framing that most basic of questions, 'how do we live?' Godspeed."</p><p>So, OK, World Theatre Day is all well and good and I'm all for it and it occurs to me that even, maybe, probably, Rick Santorum could support it 'cause it doesn't advocate anything political or even anything specific, just theater, and it doesn't cost the taxpayers a penny.</p><p>But it could be better. A lot better.</p><p>First of all, what the hell is it doing on Tuesday??!! It's a day when thousands of theaters around the world are dark. The only theaters with shows on Tuesdays are BIG commercial and institutional enterprises. The majority of small, local, neighborhood, youthful and experimental theater troupes only operate three or four nights a week, and Tuesday ain't one o' them. World Theatre Day should be an occasion on which theater folk, in their natural habitats, should be able to make a little curtain speech to their audiences and maybe pass out something with Johnny Malk's warm words. Tuesday is stooopid and the ITI needs to think hard about this in the future.</p><p>Next, why the hell March 27? If the ITI<em> must</em> pick a date arbitrarily, it should be—as I say above—a day when far more theaters are up-and-running. But why pick an arbitrary date? Why not leverage awareness and public interest by making it, say, Shakespeare's birthday, April 23? He won't mind, you know. Or perhaps the birthday of some other great theater artist, living or dead. Samuel Beckett's is April 13, for example, and Sarah Bernhardt's is October 22 and Wole Soyinka's is July 13 and he's still alive!!! Hey, there's an idea, honor the birthday of a great, living theater artist by making it World Theatre Day and having <em>that artist</em> as Statement Maker!</p><p>Finally, John Malkovich always has been a man of few public words and recently he has been a man of little theater. He hasn't done a play at Steppenwolf in seven years and that was only his second since 1999. Indeed, I'm not aware that he's acted or directed in live theater in quite some time. He is a great actor, a fine artist, a singular and riveting presence on stage . . . but there are many other artists of his stature who ARE still engaged as theater artists. An obvious American candidate who jumps to mind is Kevin Spacey, who remains engaged in live theater as well as film.</p><p>So, World Theatre Day, next Tuesday, y'all pay some attention! Theater is a Good Thing. World Theatre Day is a Good Thing.</p><p>But there's definitely room to improve.</p><p>PS. I'll be celebrating World Theatre Day in truly global fashion: I'll be in Warsaw, Poland as one of three U.S. delegates to the World Congress of the International Association of Theatre Critics which, like the ITI, is a UNESCO-established global NGO. Watch for my blog post from Poland!</p></p> Mon, 19 Mar 2012 23:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-03-19/world-theatre-day-needs-more-actor-john-malkovich-97447 Two arms, two arms: Why are Chicago theater seats so darn cramped? http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-03-28/two-arms-two-arms-why-are-chicago-theater-seats-so-darn-cramped-843 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-March/2011-03-28/Theater seats_Flickr_Sharyn Morrow.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img height="333" width="500" title="(Flickr/Sharyn Morrow)" src="http://www.wbez.org:2080/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-March/2011-03-28/Theater%20seats_Flickr_Sharyn%20Morrow.jpg" class="caption" alt="" /></p><p>I was at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts the other night, and as I sat watching the show I felt the arm of my companion wrap around me. This was delightful, until after the show when he attributed his behavior not to affection but to his complete inability to fit both shoulders between the people to his left and me on his right. This suggests he&rsquo;ll be tenderly curling his arm around total strangers any day now.<br /> <br /> Who can blame him, though? It&rsquo;s always been puzzling that the CTA bought El cars whose seats are too narrow for American tushes and shoulders, but in public transportation we&rsquo;re accustomed to accommodations fit for cattle. To steal from Lily Tomlin: they don&rsquo;t care, they don&rsquo;t have to, they&rsquo;re the CTA.<br /> <br /> But why should Chicago theater seats be made and placed such that they&rsquo;re comfortable only for the very trimmest among us? Tribune critic Chris Jones may be compact, and the Sun-Times&rsquo; Hedy Weiss phenomenally slender, but the rest of us need to sit down, too!&nbsp; <br /> <br /> And it&rsquo;s not just a problem among the smaller theaters (though the absolute worst seats in the entire city are in the second floor studio at the Athenaeum on Southport, where the only way to fit one&rsquo;s legs is to straddle the seat in front of you as though it were Bonnie Blue Butler&rsquo;s horse). Someone actually designed the North Shore Center, and pretty recently, so normal-sized individuals literally rub shoulders with their theater-going neighbors. I&rsquo;m all for community, but this is ridiculous!<br /> <br /> Yes, I know Americans should lose some weight; but meanwhile perhaps the next theaters to install new seats would consider simply setting them a few inches further apart so there&rsquo;s room for each member of the audience and all of his/her limbs. This will probably reduce the number of seats available for sale&ndash;of course that&rsquo;s why airplane seats are so miserable, to improve airlines&rsquo; carrying capacity and therefore profit margins&ndash;but hey, theaters ought to get something out of their nonprofit status. Some granting agency must surely be willing to make up for the loss of the half-dozen $30 seats whose removal it would take to make most Chicago theaters even faintly comfortable.</p><p><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:SplitPgBreakAndParaMark/> <w:EnableOpenTypeKerning/> <w:DontFlipMirrorIndents/> <w:OverrideTableStyleHps/> </w:Compatibility> 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Name="Medium List 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="66" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium List 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="67" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 1 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="68" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 2 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="69" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Medium Grid 3 Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="70" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Dark List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="71" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Shading Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="72" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful List Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="73" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" Name="Colorful Grid Accent 6"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="19" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="21" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Emphasis"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="31" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Subtle Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="32" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Intense Reference"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="33" SemiHidden="false" UnhideWhenUsed="false" QFormat="true" Name="Book Title"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="37" Name="Bibliography"/> <w:LsdException Locked="false" Priority="39" QFormat="true" Name="TOC Heading"/> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} </style> <![endif]-->John Malkovich would be spinning in his grave (if he were dead). I hear him shouting, &ldquo;Hey,didn&rsquo;t you used to be an intrepid, vigorous, radical revolutionary rock-n-roll scratch-n-sniff kick-ass Chicago audience member? It would have been beneath that person to complain about the width of seats!&nbsp; What happened to you?&rdquo; The sad-but-true answer: relaxed-fit jeans happened.</p><p>So let me know when your theater installs relaxed-fit theater seats. Or just ask my neighbor to elbow me from the next seat over.<span style="font-size: 12pt; font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,&quot;serif&quot;;"><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: &quot;Arial&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;"><br style="" /> <br style="" /><br /> </span><br /></span><br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 28 Mar 2011 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-03-28/two-arms-two-arms-why-are-chicago-theater-seats-so-darn-cramped-843