WBEZ | Collaboraction http://www.wbez.org/tags/collaboraction Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Daily Rehearsal: This summer, turn off your cell phone at The Second City http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/daily-rehearsal-summer-turn-your-cell-phone-second-city-100183 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/120607_etc_cast_2.jpg" style="float: left; width: 300px; height: 424px; " title="The cast of 'We're All in This Room Together' (The Second City)" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Just for Laughs happened!</strong></span></span> It must have been an exhausting week for those of us who weren&#39;t on vacation. Check out review round-ups<a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/comedy"> from <em>TimeOut</em></a>, who seemed to be all over the place.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- <em>The A.V. Club</em></strong></span></span> <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/that-guy-looks-like-nick-offerman-and-6-other-thin,81383/">took the Second City walking tour</a> and learned a lot of things.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px; "><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Plus, the e.t.c.&#39;s</strong></span></span>&nbsp;new summer show&nbsp;is called&nbsp;<a href="http://www.secondcity.com/about/news/detail/1548692134423998525/8126454325100188685/"><em>We&#39;re All in This Room Together</em></a>. They&#39;d like you &quot;to turn off your cell phone, log off Facebook and stop tweeting to attend a unique 21st century event featuring a diverse group of live people in one room physically interacting with one another. For two extraordinary hours, we will resist the compulsion to check our text messages, status updates and twitter feeds knowing that this special group of people will never come back together as one audience again - physically, philosophically or politically.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The Waltzing Mechanics&#39;&nbsp;<em>EL Stories</em> </strong></span></span>continues at the <a href="http://www.greenhousetheater.org/">Greenhouse Theater</a>, this time with a new cast of twelve actors through August 18.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Teatro Vista and Collaboraction</strong></span></span> are collaborating, like Collaboraction does, on&nbsp;<em>Yo Solo Festival of Latino Solo Shows</em>, which features six pieces by the following Latino writers:&nbsp;Rey Andujar, Sandra Delgado, KJ Sanchez, Lisandra Tena, Juan Francisco Villa and Febronio Zatarain. Previews start July 26 and the show closes August 12.&nbsp;&quot;From historic land battles in New Mexico, to Chicago through the eyes of Mexican immigrants, to Colombia in the 1940&#39;s, <em>Yo Solo</em> is an event that will display the breadth of talent and the rich complexity of each individual performer as they bring their own personal experiences to the stage, collectively creating a beautiful collage about the Latino experience. In addition to six terrific solo performance pieces, live music and visual art installations will add to <em>Yo Solo</em>&#39;s festival vibe.&quot;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Mon, 18 Jun 2012 11:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-06/daily-rehearsal-summer-turn-your-cell-phone-second-city-100183 Dueling Critics: 'Dark Play or Stories for Boys' http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-20/dueling-critics-dark-play-or-stories-boys-95679 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2012-January/2012-01-20/ch.png" alt="" /><p><p>The <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics" target="_blank"><em>Dueling Critics</em></a>, Kelly Kleiman and Jonathan Abrabanel, joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to discuss the departure of Timothy Douglas as artistic director of Chicago's <a href="http://www.remybumppo.org/">Remy Bumppo Theatre</a> Company after less than a year on the job. He was the first African American director to head a non-black Chicago theater company.</p><p>Then, the <em>Dueling Critics</em> dissected <a href="http://collaboraction.org/" target="_blank">Collaboraction's</a> <a href="https://collaboraction.secure.force.com/ticket#details_a0OA00000045jxoMAA"><em>Dark Play or Stories for Boys </em></a>by Carlos Murillo<em>, </em>which runs through Feb. 26.</p></p> Fri, 20 Jan 2012 15:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2012-01-20/dueling-critics-dark-play-or-stories-boys-95679 Daily Rehearsal: Sketchbook is now accepting submissions http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-05/daily-rehearsal-sketchbook-now-accepting-submissions-92858 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-05/collaboraction sketch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-05/TheArgument_revised_Poster_10-2.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: right; width: 162px; height: 250px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>1. Interrobang's <a href="http://interrobangtheatreproject.org/"><em>The Argument</em></a> opens this weekend </strong></span></span>at the Viaduct. As is unfortunately too usual, it's not uplifting, but is instead "the story of twin sisters, Mia and Ana, who are separated by death when the levees break and the city floods. Devastated by guilt for having survived, her sister Mia carts her sister’s corpse through a post-apocalyptic landscape of anarchy and desperation seeking love and happiness for her lifeless twin." Carting a corpse around: <em>So </em>the latest thing.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Get <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/newswire.php?newsID=597">super close</a> to the stars of <em>Love, Loss and What I Wore</em></strong></span></span>, if you're not <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-20/daily-rehearsal-help-out-friend-judy-fabjance-second-city-92214">entirely sick of them already</a>. They'll be at&nbsp;Petterino's, called "the downtown theater district go-to restaurant" &nbsp;for "Monday Night Live" this coming Monday. Dinner theater at it's finest, hoested by Denise McGowan Tracy and Beckie Menzie.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Drury Lane has extended <em>The Sound of Music</em></strong></span></span> before it's even opened, to January 8, 2012. Previews start October 20, the real deal is the 27th. It seems that moral is high and buzz is good.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-05/collaboraction sketch.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 170px; height: 250px;" title=""><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Submit your stuff to <em>Sketchbook now</em></strong></span></span>, Collaboraction's very well-reviewed annual festival. The <a href="http://www.sketchbooksubmissions.org/">deadline </a>is November 1 for the June 2012 festival. You can submit a piece that's super short (under 7 minutes) and one that's a bit longer (over 8, under 80). And directors without work are welcome to apply as well. Works that have started at Sketchbook have gone on to do pretty well after they start short, like the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-27/daily-rehearsal-5-lesbians-eating-quiche-88391">Daily Rehearsal-approved </a><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-27/daily-rehearsal-5-lesbians-eating-quiche-88391">5 Lesbians Eating A Quiche</a></em>, which moved on to a fully-fleshed out performance under the wing of The New Colony.</p><p><span style="font-size: 14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia,serif;"><strong>5.&nbsp;<a href="http://eclipsetheatre.com/" style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border-width: 0px; outline-width: 0px; font-size: 12px; background-color: transparent; color: rgb(0, 153, 204);" target="_blank">Eclipse Theatre Company</a>&nbsp;is <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14972075/eclipse-theatre-company-plans-eugene-oneill-season-moves-to-athenaeum">dedicating </a>it's 2012 season</strong></span></span> to Eugene O'Neill. This is a consistent practice for the company -- well, not the O'Neill, but the decision to devote an entire season to one playwright. It'll also be moving from its home at the Greenhouse to the Athenaeum. This past season was all about Naomi Wallace, with productions like <em>The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek</em>, which the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-26/dueling-critics-get-tense-over-trestle-pope-lick-creek-91035">Dueling Critics found to be</a> "a lovely, if puzzling, evening in the theater."</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 05 Oct 2011 18:27:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-05/daily-rehearsal-sketchbook-now-accepting-submissions-92858 Daily Rehearsal: Strawdog finds a new managing director http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-22/daily-rehearsal-strawdog-finds-new-managing-director-92332 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-September/2011-09-22/patrick r.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1. An extensive review of <em>Clybourne Park</em> </strong></span></span>reveals much less of this particular production, and more of the complexities of the play itself. Zac Thompson <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/clybourne-park-at-steppenwolf-theatre-company/Content?oid=4668963">does write that</a>, "The second act of&nbsp;<i>Clybourne Park</i>&nbsp;lacks the emotional depth that the specter of the lost son gives to the first. Still, this uncompromising, often bitterly funny play makes a convincing case that the happy ending of racial integration is still far off."</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-September/2011-09-22/patrick r.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 303px; height: 300px; " title="Patrick Rybarczyk"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Strawdog has hired Patrick Rybarczyk </strong></span></span>as their new managing director; he replaces Hank Boland, who left to get a graduate degree in playwrighting, but still performs with the group. Rybarczyk&nbsp;has worked at a bevy of impressive Chicago theaters, such as Court, Chicago Shakes, the Goodman, and Drury Lane Water Tower, but in recent years, he's been working at <a href="http://www.urbangateways.org/">Urban Gateways</a>, a youth arts education center. That explains his statement that it's&nbsp;"with great enthusiasm that I return to a more active role in the Chicago theatre scene." Boland's comment: "It's been a long two years at Strawdog, with lots of changes, but we've got the right people in the right positions to lead the company in the right direction."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. The future is now</strong></span></span>, in that there's the first review of the work of Stephen Schwartz is the show <a href="http://www.northlight.org/pages/snapshots/170.php"><em>Snapshots</em></a>, opening at Northlight this weekend. This is not your usual review, and even Chris Jones <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/ct-ott-0923-jones-loop-20110922,0,694446.story">remarks </a>on the puzzling direction it's taking: "Before I talked with Stern and Schwartz, I thought they were using the Schwartz songs, as they were originally written, in a new story, which is unusual enough. I did not realize that, in some cases, they are also going to use different lyrics. In other words, you'll hear the melody to, say, 'Popular' from <em>Wicked</em>, but you won't necessarily hear all the expected lyrics."</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Party with <a href="http://www.collaboraction.org">Collaboraction</a></strong></span></span>, on not one but two events. Their 2nd Annual Fashion Mash is October 8, and their Beggars' Banquet is the following week on the 15. The difference? One's more of a party, the other is a party-fundraiser. The Fashion Mash will have DJs, dancing and performances, as well as a catwalk. The Banquet is chaired by Founding Company Member Sandra Delgado, and a ticket is $100, and there's <em>food</em>. Also did you know Collaboraction has a mission "to be Wicker Park's artistic hub for the performing arts"? I did not.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>5. <a href="http://www.blasttheshow.com/"><em>Blast!</em></a> comes to the Paramount Theatre</strong></span></span>, breaking down the boundaries between music and theater. You'll see something I'm imagining as <em>Stomp!</em>, with more than just drums. And "As artistic director Mason observed:&nbsp;Nothing has ever been staged like this before. We’re truly creating a new musical genre with&nbsp;<em>Blast!'"</em>&nbsp;No sign as to whether Mason is his first or last or only name, but I believe him. Two shows only, starting October 15.</p><p class="BasicParagraph" style="LINE-HEIGHT: normal"><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Calibri, sans-serif; "><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 22 Sep 2011 15:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-09-22/daily-rehearsal-strawdog-finds-new-managing-director-92332 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 The Dueling Critics clash over '1001' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-05/dueling-critics-clash-over-1001-90065 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-05/1001.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Editors’ note: Is Jonathan checking in from vacation in the Southwest, or is Kelly putting words in his mouth as he did to her while she was out of the country? Your guess is as good as ours. &nbsp;</em></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-05/1001.jpg" title="Joel Gross and Mouzam Makkar in '1001' in Fall 2010 (Photo by Saverio Truglia)" height="328" width="492"></p><p style="text-align: left; "><br> <strong>JONATHAN:</strong> Here’s another fine mess you’ve gotten us into, Kelly. I’m sure you were the one who decided we should review <a href="http://collaboraction.org/">Collaboraction</a>’s remount of its hit show. But when I attend a show called <em>1001</em>, I expect to see <em>The Arabian Nights</em> as transcribed by Sir Richard Burton. (Not the actor, the explorer. When we roamed Araby together he told me to skip the formality and just call him “Dick.”)&nbsp; Instead, here’s some sort of postmodern foo-faw-raw which switches back and forth between the central tale of Scheherazade–even you must be familiar with that story as well as the eponymous music by Rimsky-Korsakov (or, as he preferred I call him, “Rim”)–and some sort of encounter set in contemporary New York/London/Gaza between a Palestinian woman and her Jewish boyfriend whom she eventually throws over for someone more acceptable to her parents. Or does she?<br> <br> <strong>KELLY:</strong> I don’t know, Jonathan, does she? Your summary of the show makes clear that you missed the entire point, which is that we are all defined by the stories we tell ourselves–whether they’re “I’m a good liberal Jew so I’ll defend the Arab woman in a public forum and that will provide adequate foundation for an enduring love,” or “I’m a modern Arab woman who doesn’t care about ethnic loyalties,” or “I’m a prince who lacks the only power I want, the power to make a woman love me faithfully, so I’m going to despoil and kill every woman I see.” The specifics of the story matter less than the fact that each of us occupies his/her own story and therefore has a hard time communicating with, much less connecting to, everyone else, all equally trapped in their own stories.<br> <br> <strong> JONATHAN:</strong> And your story is that you don’t know as much about theater as I do and attempt to conceal it by borrowing terms from a graduate-school English curriculum. What matters in the theater is <u><strong>a</strong></u> story, not the concept of stories; and what really works in this production of New York playwright Jason Grote’s script is the contemporary love affair between Dahna the Arab and Alan the Jew, played with touching innocence by Mouzam Makkar and Joel Gross. Their relationship is the realest thing on the stage, in every sense of real: both naturalistic and genuine.<br> <br> <strong>KELLY:</strong> I can’t dispute that; but I think their love affair derives some of its power from the fact that Makkar and Gross also play Scheherazade and the wicked prince Shahriyar. In the Scheherazade sections, it’s clear that stories are being used deliberately to distance and dehumanize the characters; so that when they’re driven apart by their stories in the modern section, it’s all the more moving. &nbsp;<br> <br> But you’ve managed to make the show sound conventional, Jonathan, when it’s anything but: its six-member cast plays everyone from Alan Dershowitz to Osama bin Laden, and does a superb low-key mockery of the kind of awestruck approach to classic stories on which Mary Zimmerman has made her reputation. It’s just as physical, just as lively, just as clever; but it’s also funny.<br> <br> <strong>JONATHAN:</strong> I’m not sure I enjoy Collaboraction's jazzed-up version of old tales as much as the respectful versions Zimmerman produces; but they’re not actually in the same category at all. This <em>1001 </em>is frankly trying to tell us about contemporary life–in fact, I thought the title was intended to evoke 2001, as in September 11–while other versions are more concerned with the actual tales of the Arabian Nights.&nbsp; There’s plenty of room on Chicago stages for both. And here Collaboraction, in the persons of director Seth Bockley and a crackerjack cast and design team, has shown how deserving it is of a portion of that room.<br> <br> <strong>KELLY:</strong> “Crackerjack”? Did you get that from Burton, or from Rim the Russian, or are you just stuck in the 1920s? However it’s said, though, I’m compelled to agree: the Collaboraction iteration of <em>The Arabian Nights</em>, like all the company’s shows, is smart, current, technology-rich without losing the human touch, and all in all a pleasure to behold. &nbsp;<br> <br> The show continues just through August 28 at the company’s new space upstairs at the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park. Warning: if it’s hot outside, it will be hot in the theater lobby, which is up a couple of flights of stairs; but the theater itself is pretty comfortable, as well as intimate. Thursday through Sunday plus a couple of extra performances, including this coming Monday (8/8); tickets from $15.</p><p style="text-align: left; ">Listen below to a scene from <em>1001</em>:</p><p style="text-align: left; "><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483588-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/WBEZ scene 080111.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></p> Fri, 05 Aug 2011 17:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-05/dueling-critics-clash-over-1001-90065 Critics theater picks; 'Pornography', 'Bigger!' and being a 'Side Man' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-21/critics-theater-picks-pornography-bigger-and-being-side-man-89465 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-28/aerial dance.jpg" alt="" /><p><div><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></div><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-28/cuttothequick.jpg" style="width: 400px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; height: 269px; float: left; " title="">First up: site-specific work from <a href="http://www.thesideproject.net/">the side project</a>, whose theater is so minute that any other venue must seem palatial. That, in any case, is my reading of their decision to kick off a festival of site-specific one-acts this Saturday in the office of <a href="http://www.ward49.com/">Alderman Joe Moore</a>.</p><p>side project (lower-case theirs) is celebrating its tenth anniversary and its ties to the 'hood it calls Jarvis Square (Jarvis at Greenview in what I'd style mid-Rogers Park). Alderman Moore's office isn't the only unusual venue for this series, called <em>Cut to the Quick: On Location</em>; neighborhood bars and restaurants, and even a local body shop, are turning themselves into theaters for its brief duration. It starts this Saturday at the Alderman's office at 12:30 (with a piece about lawyers' ethics and other oxymorons), and continues through August 17 in various locales. Tickets are $10.</p><p>If the goings-on in Washington mean you've had your fill of politicans, perhaps you'd prefer to consider the comforting topic of terrorism in other countries. Name the play <em>Pornography</em>, and you're all set for another evening of summertime fluff. It opens tonight at <a href="http://www.steeptheatre.com/">Steep Theatre</a>, whose space is nearly as tiny as side project's (what is this, some kind of competition? "Narrowest space that is not a single bowling lane?" "Shallowest space that is not a bus shelter?") and whose reputation is stellar enough that advance reservations are a must. Tonight's opening is sold out but tickets are available for the rest of the run (through September 3) and are $22 tops. Hard by the Berwyn Red Line stop in Edgewater--or maybe that should be "Berwyn Square."</p><p>And, as previously mentioned, <a href="http://collaboraction.org/">Collaboraction </a>re-opens <strong><em>1001 </em></strong>at the Flatiron Building, vacating Theatre on the Lake so Bohemian Theatre Ensemble can take its turn with <a href="http://bohotheatre.com/"><em>Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn</em></a>.</p><p>I keep mentioning <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/312df49f-8fbf-4e35-8da1-443a4a50e3e8.cfm">ToL </a>because it's really a remarkable resource: a way to see the cream (or at least some of the cream) of last season's theater crop. Those of us who remember its incarnation as the place where community theaters based in Park District fieldhouses had their moment of glory before returning to well-deserved obscurity know what enormous effort it took to change ToL into a showcase for Chicago's professional companies, and what an incredible contribution it's made and continues to make to the city's summer entertainment options.</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-28/aerial dance.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 334px; " title="'Bigger!' at Aloft Loft"></p><p><a href="http://www.aloftloft.com/">“<strong>Bigger!</strong>”</a> might sound like a porno, but in some ways it’s the opposite: this Aloft Loft party celebrates that staple of G-rated entertainment, aerial dance. Expect “extreme circus performances,” giant cupcakes, and monster popcorn balls. While <a href="http://www.facebook.com/planetclaireband">B-52s tribute band Planet Claire</a> plays, you can eat the dress off a “towering cotton-candy princess” or maximize your hair at the Gigantic Hair Styling Station. The event, Saturday from 8 PM to midnight near Damen and Fulton, inaugurates and helps support Aloft’s new digs, the largest circus training space in the Midwest—and the third largest in the country. Guests must be 21 or older. NO tickets at the door; sign up <a href="https://www.fracturedatlas.org/s/campaign/310">here</a> to get a ticket and register for a tax-deductible contribution.</p><p>Ever considered taking “a highly athletic look at the number 3” or thought of David Byrne as speaking in tongues? You can see these and other thoughts tackled in <a href="http://www.thodosdancechicago.org/">Thodos Dance Chicago’s 11<sup>th</sup> annual <strong>“New Dances” showcase</strong>.</a> This time around there are nine world premieres, most by company dancers, set to music that runs the gamut from Sufjan Stevens to Talking Heads to Shostakovich. Guest choreographer Rebecca Lemme contributes a piece about loss, <em>Effigy</em>. <a href="http://www.thodosdancechicago.org/NewDances2009TicketPurchase.html">Friday through Sunday at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts</a>.</p><p>Next Monday could be the most exciting evening of <a href="http://www.chicagotap.org/pg.120.149.873_793_802.aspx">the Chicago Human Rhythm Project’s <strong>JUBA!</strong> performance series</a>. It’s hard to say for sure because stuff will be improvised. Happening at the Jazz Showcase on the very first night of the series, it features Rhythm World tap-dance faculty and students performing with jazz musicians. And this year’s crowd of faculty/performers definitely seems focused on live improv with live musicians. Literally, a once-in-a-lifetime experience.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><span lang="EN"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-28/side man.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 268px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: right; " title="">Warren Leight's Tony Award-winning 1998 play, <a href="http://katettheatre.org/"><b><i>Side Man</i></b></a>, may be the best dramatic work ever written about the soul and spirit of a musician. Balancing humor and darkness, Leight's autobiographical play is warm yet pointed and always compelling. A new production is being mounted by Ka-Tet Theatre, an ensemble-driven troupe formed three years ago and still in the process of making its mark locally; this is only their fourth production. Ka-Tet believes theater should be felt first and intellectualized later, and <i>Side Man </i>is an excellent choice for that experience. <i>Side Man </i>plays at City Lit Theatre in Edgewater and runs through Aug. 20.</span></p><p><span lang="EN">We're taking a plunge off a high tower in highlighting <a href="http://www.newrocktheater.com/schedule.html"><b><i>The Swordsman of San Gimignano</i></b></a>, a swashbuckling comedy set in 16th Century Italy. That's the Cinquecento, if you're Italian. It's presented by New Rock Theater and On the Spot Theatre Company and, frankly, we don't know a thing about either troupe except that they're relatively new. They describe <i>The Swordsman of San Gimignano</i> as a "family-friendly full-length production, for adults and children eight and older with parental supervision." It's performed through Aug. 21 at the New Rock Theater, 3933 N. Elston.&nbsp;</span></p></p> Thu, 21 Jul 2011 15:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-21/critics-theater-picks-pornography-bigger-and-being-side-man-89465 Critics theater picks 7/22-7/24 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-21/critics-theater-picks-722-724-89455 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-21/lasguitarrasdeespana.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>So you have two choices: in, or out.&nbsp; Being an air-conditioning girl myself, I'm planning to see <a href="http://collaboraction.org/">Collaboraction's <strong><em>1001</em></strong></a> when it re-opens at the Flatiron Building next week (in fact, the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dueling-critics">Dueling Critics</a> will debate the re-mount); but if you can't wait, it's at <a href="http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/index.cfm/fuseaction/parks.detail/object_id/312df49f-8fbf-4e35-8da1-443a4a50e3e8.cfm">Theatre on the Lake</a> this weekend. A word of warning--about the venue, not the show--ToL isn't air-conditioned and if there's any set at all (not always a given with Collaboraction) it prevents the lake breeze from getting through.&nbsp; Last weekend's ToL was a study in suffering for one's art, as the actors mopped their taped-on microphones constantly lest they short out from sweat, meanwhile struggling to give performances both nuanced and high-energy. (Not merely struggling: succeeding.) The audience was luckier: ToL provides us with fans.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-21/blackandblue landscape.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 170px; margin: 10px; float: left;" title="">Another in-or-out choice: you can go to the Cubs game, or you can watch the Sox on tv. No, what I meant to say was, you can go to an actual game or you can check out <a href="http://www.thefactorytheater.com/shows/Black%20And%20Blue.html">Factory Theatre's <strong><em>Black and Blue</em></strong></a>, in previews at the Prop Theater on Elston. I had been hoping for a tale of football's Black-and-Blue Division, just to remind us that autumn will eventually come; but in fact it's about baseball rivalries, and a long-running bar bet between brothers. Can't get more Chicago than that--and half-price tickets are available this weekend.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>You’d expect a piece called <em><strong>Myth &amp; Continent</strong>&nbsp;</em>to sprawl. But this hour-long movement-theater work for five, created and directed by SAIC faculty member Ginger Krebs and <a href="http://gingerkrebs.com/home.html">opening this Friday at a Park District field house</a>, is distinctly unpretentious and DIY. It only has huge ambitions. Channeling Chicago’s internationally known Goat Island Performance Group (now defunct), Krebs rambles along multiple intellectual pathways; she says movement for the piece was inspired by “the pacing of zoo animals, romantic ideas about the landscape, road trips, road rage, office cubicle culture, and the voluntary confinement of spiritual seekers.” A kind of Rorschach test with a deeply buried but consistent subtext, <em>Myth &amp; Continent&nbsp;</em>is great exercise for the imagination.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-21/lasguitarrasdeespana.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 400px;" title=""></p><p>Flamenco dancers are more apt to pound their message home. Just kidding: the nuanced rhythms of flamenco music and dance are striking for their subtlety. At <a href="http://www.maynestage.com/d60ef670-7dd6-4ee4-add6-aef62ed68a21.aspx">Mayne Stage this Saturday</a>, <strong>Las Guitarras de Espana</strong>—which includes innovative flamenco dancer Wendy Clinard—shares an evening with dancer Chiara Mangiameli and her ensemble as part of a “Flamenco Collaborations Series” uncovering the form’s roots in Indian, African, and Arabic traditions.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p><a href="http://www.eclipsetheatre.com/" target="_blank"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-21/CST_Pinocchio_1.jpg" style="width: 300px; height: 420px; margin: 7px; float: left;" title="Photo by Michael Brosilow.">Eclipse Theatre</a>, which devotes itself each year to the works of a single playwright, continues its 2011 Naomi Wallace season with <strong><em>The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek</em></strong>, opening this Sunday (July 24). Wallace, a Macarthur "Genius Grant" recipient, often uses lyrical language, historical settings and large metaphors to comment on the present. <em>One Flea Spare</em>, staged by Eclipse in the spring, is set during the London Plague of the 1660s. <em>The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek</em> is set in impoverished, rural America in 1936, and concerns the coming-of-age of a 15-year-old boy, his parents and a 17-year-old adventuress who captures the boy's fancy, if not his heart. <em>The Trestle at Pope Lick Creek </em>is presented at The Greenhouse Theater and runs through Sept. 4.</p><p><a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Shakespeare Theater</a> always offers something for the entire family during the summer, and this year it's <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,61" target="_blank"><strong><em>The Adventures of Pinocchio</em></strong></a>, a world premiere new musical version of the classic tale, featuring—what else?—giant marionette puppets. Perhaps best of all, it's presented in the AIR CONDITIONED comfort of Chicago Shakes's indoor Courtyard Theater at Navy Pier. <em>The Adventures of Pinocchio </em>runs 75 minutes and is offered at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Wed.-Sun., through Aug. 28.</p></p> Thu, 21 Jul 2011 14:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-07-21/critics-theater-picks-722-724-89455 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 6/16 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-16/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-616-87929 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-16/The Wiz.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1.<strong> Big news:</strong> <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,21,13"><em>One Thousand and One Nights</em></a> has been posponed indefinitely due to Visa problems on behalf of the cast coming from the Middle East. It was to be the U.S. premiere at Chicago Shakes. Don't get this confused with Collaboraction's <em>1001 </em>that went up at the <a href="http://www.chopintheatre.com/event.php?id=2026">Chopin Theater</a> this past fall, which is being rebooted in <a href="http://www.collaboraction.org/calendar.html">July</a> after a well-reviewed previous run. Both are based off of <em>Arabian Nights </em>though<em>, </em>so it would sort of make sense if you did get them confused.</p><p>2. The Reader's Lauri Apple <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2011/06/15/chatting-with-bobcat-goldthwait">interviewed</a> comedian Bobcat Goldthwait, but it's not a lovefest for Chicago. "Chicago has never really embraced me as a stand-up comedian," said Goldthwait. "Even in the 1980s, I couldn't sell tickets in Chicago. The city's big on sarcasm, and maybe when you're just screaming at the top of your lungs, there's no irony there. But it has supported me as a guy who makes movies. I'll take that—it's fine."</p><p>3. Speaking of comedians, don't miss <em>Eight-Forty-Eight</em>'s interview with&nbsp;<a href="http://www.stevemazan.com/" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); " target="_blank">Steve Mazan</a>, whose new documentary&nbsp;<em style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); "><a href="http://www.dyingtodoletterman.com/tag/steve-mazan" style="text-decoration: none; color: rgb(0, 104, 150); " target="_blank">Dying to do Letterman</a>&nbsp;</em>chronciles his quest after a diagnosis with cancer to...well, get on <em>The David Letterman Show</em>.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Lgy2XiNB4Hc" width="560"></iframe></p><p>4. <a href="http://laerslastprayer.blogspot.com"><em>Laer's Last Prayer</em></a>&nbsp;(at City Lit) has switched up its cast a little; the role of Jack will now be played by Nick Lake. The character was previously to be performed by Matthew Bivins, and no word has been given to why a switch has taken place. The show opens July 14, and is described as a "minimalist retelling of <em>King Lear</em>."</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="295" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-16/The Wiz.jpg" title="" width="432"></p><p>5. If you fancy a trip to Munster, Indiana, head to Theater at the Center starting July 7. They're putting on <a href="http://www.theatreatthecenter.com/"><em>The Wiz</em></a>, lead by Felicia Fields in the title role of Evillene. Fields has been nominated for a Tony for Best Featured Actress for her role in <em>The Color Purpl</em>e.&nbsp;</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Thu, 16 Jun 2011 14:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-16/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-616-87929 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 6/14 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-14/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-614-87824 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-June/2011-06-14/CST_Gala_3_adj.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1. Expect a little blood and gore this summer; Drury Lane Theatre has a production of <a href="http://www.drurylaneoakbrook.com/live_theatre/full_season.php"><em>Sweeney Todd</em></a> starting previews August 11. Tony nominated Gregg Edelman plays our title character, and the production is choreographed and directed by Jeff Award winner Rachel Rockwell. Also part of the 2011-12 season is <em>The Sound of Music</em>, <em>Broadway Bound</em>, <em>Gypsy </em>and <em>Aida</em>.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-June/2011-06-14/CST_Gala_3_adj.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 332px; " title="Rick Boynton, Heather Headley, Barbara Gaines, Gary Griffin,Sir Derek Jacobi, Michael Cerveris, Criss Henderson (Photo by Joan Hackett) "></p><p>2. Shakespeare is still very much alive in Chicago; last week, WBEZ's neighbor, the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, celebrated its 25th season during their <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=14,2">Silver Jubilee Gala</a>. They honored "those who keep the spirit of Shakespeare alive through community service and artistic leadership," which meant performances by past and present ensemble members. Tony Award winners Heather Headley and Michael Cerveris were there, as well as the usual motley crew of CST actors, old and new.</p><p>3. Strawdog and A Red Orchid <a href="http://leisureblogs.chicagotribune.com/the_theater_loop/2011/06/new-seasons-at-a-red-orchid-strawdog.html">have announced their 2011-12 seasons</a>. Strawdog also has a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136288243112816&amp;ref=mf">fundraising event</a> this Saturday with entertainment provided by their very own ensemble members at the William H. Reid house, a <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/chicagogeek/5566055095/">mansion on Prairie Avenue</a> that was built in the 1800s.</p><p>4. Sneak in to Northwestern's graduation this weekend and hear <a href="http://www.northwestern.edu/newscenter/stories/2011/01/stephen-colbert-northwestern-commencement.html">Stephen Colbert's commencement speech</a>. Colbert's a graduate of the University; no word on whether his alter-ego, or himself, will be giving the speech. And for a preview, remind yourself of the potential for hilarity/disaster and rewatch his White House Correspondents' dinner speech.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="390" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/qa-4E8ZDj9s" width="480"></iframe></p><p>5. Collaboraction's <a href="https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=136156076461493"><em>Workbook: Devolve</em></a> is this Friday and Saturday nights. In conjunction with <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-02/working-weekend-critics-picks-63-65-87333"><em>Sketchbook: Evolution</em></a>, the show is, as usual, a few shorter works by different theater troupes.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Tue, 14 Jun 2011 14:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-06-14/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-614-87824