WBEZ | White Noise http://www.wbez.org/tags/white-noise Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater news 5/12 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-12/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-512-86451 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-12/elf.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-12/elf.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 600px;" title="(K Leo)"></p><p>1. The Geek Girl Burlesque, the folks that brought you <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-18/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-418-85334"><em>BOOBS AND GOOMBAS: A Super Mario Burlesque</em></a> at the Gorilla Tango Theatre (still running, by the way) have done it again with <a href="http://www.gorillatango.com/cgi-bin/public/gttv2.cgi?location_number=2&amp;shows=yes"><em>FELLOWSHIP OF THE BOOBS: A LOTR, WoW, D&amp;D RPG BURLESQUE</em></a>. This won't be a passive experience however; prepare to go on a quest with the performers, something that boyfriend you met at the <em>Star Trek</em> convention will love.</p><p>The show draws influences from all the best fantasy sources, including Lord of the Rings, World of Warcraft, and Dungeons and Dragons, in case you can't tell from the title what those abbreviations mean because you're not of that kind. It starts June 2 which is very soon! How did that happen?</p><p>2. Desmin Borges is <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14756075/desmin-borges-returns-to-teatro-vista-in-freedom-ny">back </a>in Chicago&nbsp;for the 20th anniversary&nbsp;of&nbsp;<em>Freedom NY&nbsp;</em>by <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-01/teatro-vista-new-york-and-chicago-honors-84628">Teatro Vista</a>. &nbsp;He's currently in New York for&nbsp;<em>The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity.&nbsp;</em>Nab him while you can; the press opening is tonight, and its at <a href="https://www.theaterwit.org/boxoffice/index.php">Theater Wit</a>.</p><p>3. Sarah Ruhl, whose <em>Stage Kiss</em> is at the Goodman right now, is <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-03-22/sarah-ruhls-playwrights-work-dominates-spring-theater-84075">certainly having her moment</a> or two. <a href="http://goodman-theatre.blogspot.com/2011/05/rapid-rise-of-sarah-ruhl.html">Here's a brief picture</a> of why.</p><p>4. Yesterday at 3pm, there was theater online. <em>White Noise</em> <a href="http://www.whitenoisemusical.com/live/">streamed a live performance</a> of six songs from the musical, and included some cast commentary. Did anyone watch? It probably was not the most work appropriate....</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="390" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-February/2011-02-25/Rahm Emanuel Elex Night_Getty_Scott Olson.JPG" title="(Getty/Scott Olson)" width="594"></p><p>5. Rahm Emanuel <a href="http://www.chicago2011.org/news/mayor-elect-emanuel-announces-findings-of-the-chicago-2011-transition-report/">released his transition report</a> this week, announcing that he plans to "Conduct a review of City-organized festivals and cultural programming." The new administration also plans to "Develop a strategy for creating and supporting cultural hubs." So far, no real details as to how either of these will be executed, or what they actually entail.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Thu, 12 May 2011 14:33:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-12/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-512-86451 Random thoughts on Chay Yew; "White Noise" closes http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-10/random-thoughts-chay-yew-white-noise-closes-86307 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-May/2011-05-03/Chay Yew.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A lot of theater news has gone by in just a week since we broke the story about Lookingglass Theatre Company winning the 2011 Tony Award as outstanding regional theater. Later that same day (May 3), Victory Gardens Theater announced the name of its new artistic director, nationally-recognized playwright and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-03/what-color-your-theater-86018">director Chay Yew</a>.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="300" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-May/2011-05-03/Chay Yew.jpg" title="" width="200"></p><p>Some observers reported that he would be the first Asian-American artistic director of a Chicago theater troupe, or at least of a troupe that isn't ethnic-specific such as Stir Friday Night improv troupe (pan-Asian) or the Rasaka Theatre Company (South Asian; "rasaka" is Hindi for "new art"). They are wrong, of course. They seem to forget that actor and director Anish Jethmalani served as artistic director of the Eclipse Theatre Company from 2002-2007, and that Jamil Khoury continues in his role as founding artistic director of the Silk Road Theatre Project. Khoury is of Syrian descent, so some may exclude him from the Asian pool, but look at a map and you'll see Syria is in Asia.</p><p>The importance of Yew's appointment is that it reconfirms Victory Gardens' commitment to the playwright's voice, upon which the company has built its reputation and for which it won the regional theater Tony Award in 2001. With his important career contacts in both New York and Los Angeles, Yew, 46, will be able to expand VG's network of artists in a way that someone from Chicago may not have been able to do.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" height="336" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-15/white-noise-logo.jpg" title="" width="448"></p><p>Also in showbiz news this week was the announcement that the Broadway-bound rock musical <em>White Noise </em>would close early at the Royal George Theatre. Instead of running through June 9 as originally announced, it will close this Sunday, May 15, after a one-month run. Blog posts I've read suggest that business hasn't been great, even at the intimate (450 seats) Royal George. Reportedly the show has made many changes--as a pre-Broadway show should--and perhaps it will hunker down for a while for serious retooling.</p><p>It would be incorrect to characterize Chicago as the graveyard for pre-Broadway shows, but we DO have a tendency to cut 'em down to size. Call it a reality check. Often Chicago is the first "real world" stop for a show after lengthy development in readings, workshops and, maybe, a production at a non-profit theater. It can be rough, but if the show has any chops at all it's likely to emerge stronger after being mashed in our Windy City crucible.</p><p>At least one show has settled down for what it hopes will be a through-the-summer run: <em>Peter Pan </em>in the tent at Chicago Avenue and the Chicago River. Its next stop is in Boston come October. <em>Peter Pan</em> officially is here only through June 19, but cast members say the hope is to run through Labor Day. A third show, the Bailiwick Chicago production of <em>Passing Strange</em>, continues through May 29 at the Chicago Center for the Performing Arts. Would they like to keep it running longer? Of course. Will they? Depends on business (reviews mostly were quite positive) and whether or not something else already is booked into the space.</p></p> Tue, 10 May 2011 13:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-05-10/random-thoughts-chay-yew-white-noise-closes-86307 The Dueling Critics make noise about "White Noise" http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-15/dueling-critics-make-noise-about-white-noise-85246 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-15/white-noise-logo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-15/white-noise-logo.jpg" title="" width="448" height="336"></p><p><strong>JONATHAN:</strong> Prussian Blue was a white supremacist rock band, built around two blonde sisters, that enjoyed several years of niche-market success in the last decade and then faded away. The new rock musical <a href="http://www.whitenoisemusical.com/"><em>White Noise</em></a>, which aims for Broadway and now is shaking down at the Royal George Theatre, is inspired by Prussian Blue but with a difference. In this fictionalized version, the sisters and their skinhead Nazi brother are promoted into the musical mainstream by a driven and completely amoral producer whose promises of fame and fortune sucker everyone. Kelly, whaddaya' think? Are you in lock step with the goose step?</p><p><span lang="EN"><strong>KELLY:</strong> I'm glad to have that background, but it doesn't really help me with <em>White Noise</em>. It's a pretty conventional book (musicians sell out for commercial success while pursuing affairs of the heart) with a reasonably strong musical-theater score. (I especially like the ballad "Everybody Loves a Love Story," the straight-ahead rock of "White Trash Fairy Tale," and the joyously silly "Hip-Hop Country," which manages against all odds to combine those two genres.) But the Nazi imagery makes it almost impossible to see or hear anything else that's going on. I spent much of the show just aching to get out of the theater, and I suspect there was no intermission because the producers knew that given the option lots of people just wouldn't come back.</span></p><p><span lang="EN"><strong>JONATHAN:</strong> Yes, I think <em>White Noise </em>has a strong score, too. And, yes, I think the book is tight but wrong. What the show wants to be is an indictment of popular taste and ignorance, and the ability of mass marketing to mold--or disguise--message. However, as you point out, the focus is on the internal machinations of the music biz. Characterization and exposition are pretty much left on the floor in favor of high energy and tremendous show-biz pizazz in presentation. The opening image of a jack-booted chorus is a rock version of "Springtime for Hitler" from <em>The Producers</em>, which lead me to believe<i> </i>the show was intended as satire; a really dark "what if" proposition. But it quickly grows increasingly earnest.</span></p><p><span lang="EN"><strong>KELLY:</strong> Satire or not, the show seems to me a misreading of the cultural gestalt. Much of it manages to offend without enlightening, because the Nazis--even the sanitized ones in <em>White Noise</em><i>--</i>turn out to be something that can't be safely compassed by a standard romantic musical. West Side Story could make palatable and believable love between the Puerto Rican and the Polack, but nothing can make the love between the anti-Semite and the Jew anything but bizarre. What, she couldn't tell that a guy named Jake in the music business was Jewish? What, he was so taken by her cuteness that he forgot she wrote a song called "Welcome to Auschwitz"? Please.</span></p><p><span lang="EN"><strong>JONATHAN:</strong> Well, this ISN'T a standard romantic musical because the romance--between sister Eden and the maybe-Jewish song-writer the amoral producer attaches to the band--isn't given any focus or even a love song. We're told they're in love, but we never see them in love, and that's one of the many book shortcuts that short circuits <em>White Noise</em> with or without neo-nazis. As with many other recent Broadway shows, this one uses in-your-face attitude and elaborate presentation to compensate for what it lacks in depth. Giving the devil his due, my dear, I'd say that this 100-minute show is a slam-bang, high-tech work of theatrical wizardry that never pauses for breath, and features a cast of 21 dazzlingly-talented people. Will you go so far as to agree with that?</span></p><p><span lang="EN"><strong>KELLY:</strong> <em>White Noise </em>does exhibit the significant talents of its cast, directors and designers. I'll agree but with an additional caveat/kvetch: the two African-American characters are mere props for the redemption of the whites. The siblings Tyler and Dion seem like strays from <em>Guess Who's Coming to Dinner</em>: virtuous, equipped with Ivy League degrees and with a mainstream musical message, until the same baddie producer forces them to impersonate hip-hop street thugs. The rise of their act intersects with that of White Noise, their sellout foreshadows that of White Noise, their concerns are just as intense (and better articulated) and yet their sole function is to provide a moral object lesson to every white person they encounter.</span></p><p><span lang="EN"><strong>JONATHAN:</strong> "Redemption of the whites," Kelly? There ISN'T any redemption, only a shared loss at the end when the predictable violence claims a victim, and that moment is lifted directly from the 1949 anti-apartheid musical <em>Lost in the Stars</em>. Well, at least it's a good model from which to lift! Traditional musical theater fans will hate <em>White Noise</em>, audiences for the new generation of hardrock musicals (such as <em>American Idiot</em>) will love it, and actual rockers who stumble upon it probably will think it's real, which is a truly scarey proposition. <em>White Noise </em>continues at the Royal George through June 5.</span></p><div class="daylife_smartgalleries_container" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 400px; width: 600px;"><iframe class="daylife_smartgalleries_frame" src="http://galleries.wbez.org/gallery_slideshow/1302898215534?width=600&amp;disable_link_to_hosted_page=0&amp;height=400&amp;show_related=0" style="border: medium none; margin: 0pt; padding: 0pt; overflow: hidden; height: 100%; width: 100%;" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe></div></p> Fri, 15 Apr 2011 16:07:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-15/dueling-critics-make-noise-about-white-noise-85246 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater news 4/14 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-14/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-414-85183 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-14/Photo from There Is a Happiness That Morning Is.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>1.<em>&nbsp;"</em>I Am Montana" is in its second week of performances at the Mortar Theatre. The production, which is a thinly-veiled look at mega-marts like Walmart, looks incredibly unsettling if the GIF <a href="http://mortartheatrecompany.org/season-2/i-am-montana/">at this link</a> is any indication.</p><p>2. "White Noise", also known as the musical Whoopi Goldberg swept in and put her money behind, seems to be causing quite a hubbub. The <em>Reader </em><a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/white-noise-musical-review/Content?oid=3597013">titled their review</a> "Hate: The Musical", and described the production as making "an implausible case for tolerance." Tomorrow, WBEZ's own <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-01/combat-dueling-critics-%E2%80%9Cblack-watch%E2%80%9D-84570">Dueling Critics</a> will take it on, and tell us if there's anything behind all the vitriol.&nbsp;</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-14/Thumb_dudevista.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 323px;" title=""></p><p>3. It's the best of both world's at iO this week, for those who love theater <em>and</em> movies. The show, which is called "<a href="http://chicago.ioimprov.com/io/shows/226">The Dude Abides</a>", is a musical adapatation of the Coen Brothers' <em>The Big Lebowski</em>.&nbsp; It runs tonight and every Thursday until May 19th. Grab a White Russian and enjoy.</p><p>4.<em> </em>Babes with Blades, the all-female troupe that performs Shakespeare in a manner he definitely didn't envision, are asking&nbsp;"How Far Will You Go For Love?" with their rendition of<em>&nbsp;"</em><a href="http://www.babeswithblades.org/randj.html">Romeo and Juliet</a>." The show is in its final weeks at the Raven Theater Complex and runs Thursday through Sunday. The Babes consider themselves "the world's first known all-female stage combat theatre&nbsp;company since the late 19th century", and who are we to argue?</p><p>5. Premiere!&nbsp;<a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/bio.aspx?id=346&amp;crewId=1312">Mickle Maher</a>'s "<a href="http://www.dcatheater.org/shows/show/there_is_a_happiness_the_morning_is/">There Is a Happiness That Morning Is</a>" tears apart the comforts of middle-class academia with this play told through rhymed verse by two lovers at different times of day: "Having engaged the evening before in a highly inappropriate display of public affection on the main lawn of their rural New England campus, the two undergraduate lecturers must now, in class, either apologize for their behavior or effectively justify it if they want to keep their jobs." It opens tonight at the Storefront Theater, but if you wait until next week you can experience a post-show panel discussion featuring the playwright and&nbsp;University of Chicago faculty members Heidi Coleman and Bradin Cormak, moderated by Theater Oobleck member member Terri Kapsalis.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Thu, 14 Apr 2011 14:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-14/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-414-85183