WBEZ | Bruce Norris http://www.wbez.org/tags/bruce-norris Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Playwrights at Center Stage: Trap Door Premieres Vaclav Havel, Red Twist Captures Bruce Norris http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/playwrights-center-stage-trap-door-premieres-vaclav-havel-red-twist <p><p></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/RS6870_2570652-unveiling-1217121.jpg" title="" /></div><p><u><em>The Unveiling</em> and US Premiere of <em>Dozens of Cousins</em>, <a href="http://trapdoortheatre.com/">Trap Door Theatre</a>, 1655 W. Cortland; 773-384-0494; Thursdays-Saturdays 8 p.m. through January 26; tickets $20 (2 for one Thursdays, $25 Saturdays).</u><br /><br />Few theaters in the country, and none in Chicago, do the kind of work in which Trap Door Theatre specializes: the highly intellectual, deeply political and quasi-absurdist plays of contemporary Europe.&nbsp; So an evening at Trap Door is never less than an adventure, and often absolutely thrilling.&nbsp; That&rsquo;s the case with the company&rsquo;s current offering, a pair of plays by poet-dramatist Vaclav Havel. (In his spare time Havel engineered the Velvet Revolution against Soviet domination of Czechoslovakia and then became the first president of the Czech Republic.) Havel&rsquo;s bizarre comedies anatomize with surgical precision the ludicrous self-absorption of people determined to reform others, and Trap Door Artistic Director Beata Pilch captures every nuance.&nbsp; You know how some people have perfect pitch?&nbsp; Pilch and her actors have perfect rhythm for Havel&rsquo;s dialogue, and express it not only in speech but in dance and acrobatics as precise as the workings of a Swiss watch.&nbsp; It&rsquo;s impossible to describe: just go see it! (KK)<br /><br /><u><em>Purple Heart</em>, <a href="http://www.redtwist.org/">Redtwist Theatre</a>, 1044 West Bryn Mawr; 773-728-7529; Thursdays-Saturdays 7 p.m., Sundays 3 p.m. through January 27; tickets $30 ($25 Thursdays, seniors/students $5 off)</u><br /><br />Another first-rate work in a space the size of your living room.&nbsp; Redtwist Theatre in Edgewater isn&rsquo;t afraid to take on big projects, and when the project matches the company&rsquo;s very contemporary sensibility the results are outstanding.&nbsp; (Its production of <em>The Man From Nebraska</em> made brilliantly clear a play I&rsquo;d found puzzling and tedious at Steppenwolf.)&nbsp; Here again it takes on a one-time Steppenwolf commission, teasing out every layer of meaning in this early work by the Pulitzer-Prizewinning author of <em>Clybourne Park</em>.&nbsp; The four actors (including the remarkable teenager Nicholas Roget-King) strip back the surface of routine exchanges among a war widow, her mother-in-law, her son and a mysterious visitor so we can see the blood and muscle underneath.&nbsp; Director Jimmy McDermott gets the best from everybody, and Clay Sanderson takes the concept &ldquo;creepy&rdquo; to previously unknown heights.</p></p> Wed, 26 Dec 2012 19:32:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-12/playwrights-center-stage-trap-door-premieres-vaclav-havel-red-twist Daily Rehearsal: Bruce Norris revokes rights to 'Clybourne Park' for German theater http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-bruce-norris-revokes-rights-clybourne-park-german <p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>-&nbsp;Steppenwolf&#39;s excited</strong></span></span> because&nbsp;<em>Who&rsquo;s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?</em> has been extended on Broadway through February 24, 2013.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The&nbsp;2013 Lookingglass <em>gglassquerade </em></strong></span></span>(woah.) will be hosted by Stephen Colbert on March 2, 2013 at 6 pm at the Four Seasons.&nbsp;&ldquo;The fact that Stephen is uncannily brilliant, desperately funny, and irritatingly good-looking is not particularly important, or something we should hold against him (but we do so anyway),&rdquo; said&nbsp;Artistic Director Andrew White, who went on to remind us that Colbert has had a long relationship with the theater. He&#39;ll also be getting a&nbsp;Lookingglass Civic Engagement Spirit Award.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- All <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-its-getting-be-spooky-season-103077">those Halloween show</a></strong></span></span> options have a lot of reviews, <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/halloween-shows-at-various-venues/Content?oid=7626343">courtesy of the <em>Reader</em></a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- For some humor, </strong></span></span>check out these <a href="https://twitter.com/search?q=%23theatricalsitcoms&amp;src=hash">#theatricalsitcoms</a>, trending on Twitter. My personal favorite: &quot;Everybody Hates Hamlet.&quot; The internet party <a href="https://twitter.com/HESherman/status/258981743955152896">was launched by Howard Sherman</a>, unsurprisingly.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/bruce%20blackface.jpg" style="float: left; height: 168px; width: 280px; " title="(Screenshot of the petition Against Black-Face Roles in German Theatre)" /><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Bruce Norris released <a href="http://www.dramatistsguild.com/eventseducation/latestmedia.aspx">an open letter</a> </strong></span></span>via the Dramatist&#39;s League over a German theater company&#39;s decision to cast a white woman wearing blackface in a production of his play <em>Clybourne Park</em>.&nbsp;&quot;When we write plays, among other things, we are creating employment for working actors, and often we intend to employ a specific diverse body,&quot; writes Norris. &quot;Whatever rationale the German theatre establishment might offer for their brazenly discriminatory practice is of no interest to me.&quot; The entirety of his letter is worth a read, as is&nbsp;Kenneth Jones&#39; of Playbill, which includes&nbsp;<a href="http://www.playbill.com/news/article/171262-Pulitzer-Winner-Bruce-Norris-Retracts-Rights-to-German-Troupes-Clybourne-Park-Over-Blackface-Casting/pg2">some helpful context</a>&nbsp;as to how different theaters that may or may not have access to a diverse group of actors to cast in their productions make do. Additionally, the Guild explained their thought process behind publishing the letter:&quot;While we do not, as a general matter, allow members to use the Guild&rsquo;s communications network to advocate for their particular views, we are making this statement and petition available to the membership because it relates directly to an author&rsquo;s right of casting approval, which is a critical right reserved to authors and one at the heart of the Guild&rsquo;s purpose in advocating for authorial ownership and control of their work.&quot; You can sign the petition <a href="http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/Against_BlackFace_Roles_in_German_Theatre/?crleCdb">&quot;Against Black-Face Roles in German Theatre</a>&quot; at the link</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Thu, 18 Oct 2012 12:20:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-10/daily-rehearsal-bruce-norris-revokes-rights-clybourne-park-german Daily Rehearsal: Bruce Norris calls himself 'an utter nincompoop' http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-06/daily-rehearsal-bruce-norris-calls-himself-utter-nincompoop-100254 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/bruce norris.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/0BV2NBQzQ5A" width="560"></iframe></p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/13283629-421/bruce-norris-apologizes-to-steppenwolf-for-tony-clybourne-slight.html">&nbsp;</a></strong></span></span><a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/13283629-421/bruce-norris-apologizes-to-steppenwolf-for-tony-clybourne-slight.html"><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>Bruce Norris</strong></span></span> apologized</a> to Steppenwolf for leaving them out of his speech after winning<a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-06/tony-awards-mostly-disappoint-performing-their-appointed-function"> a Tony for <em>Clybourne Park</em></a>, says the <em>Sun-Times</em>, who got a copy of the letter. &quot;And for whatever combination of stupidity, early-onset Alzheimer&rsquo;s or simply naked, quivering panic, I &shy; inadvertently, I swear on my mother&rsquo;s grave &shy;left Steppenwolf off of that list, compounding the error by naming a lot of other theaters I&sup1;ve recently worked with,&quot; Norris wrote. &quot;I offer no excuse, I am an utter nincompoop, and will make myself available at dunk tanks throughout the greater Chicago area this summer, where all of&nbsp;you who deserved proper thanks in a national forum can take your best shot at me.&quot; Very nice, but too little too late Bruce!</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- Kristen Chenoweth&#39;s performance</strong></span></span> at <a href="http://www.kristin-chenoweth.com/news/kristin-chenoweth-tour-dates-rescheduled">the Chicago Cadillac Palac</a>e has found a new date; it&#39;s now Friday June 29. If you had a ticket before, you have one now.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- The <em>Chicago Reader</em>&#39;s &quot;Best in Chicago&quot;</strong></span></span> issue is out; <em>Hit the Wall</em> unsurprisingly wins <a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/best-new-play/BestOf?oid=6700846">Best New Play</a>, with runner-up going to&nbsp;<em>Peter Pan&#39;s Shadow</em>.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/best-new-theater-company/BestOf?oid=6701226">Best New Theater Company</a> goes to The Inconvenience, while Agency Theater Company comes in second. The alt-weekly&#39;s Twitter feed is chock full of other picks, some serious and some...<a href="https://twitter.com/Chicago_Reader/status/215515473352204288">not so much</a>.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family: georgia, serif; "><strong>- <a href="http://www.khecari.org/">Khecari Dance Theater</a></strong></span></span> celebrates its 10th anniversary with <a href="http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/250620">performances </a>at Links Hall of &quot;The Clinking,&nbsp;Clanking Lowesleaf&quot; and &quot;Pales&quot; the weekends of July 20 and 26. These new pieces were choreographed by Julia Rae Antonick and Jonathan Meyer.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 20 Jun 2012 10:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-06/daily-rehearsal-bruce-norris-calls-himself-utter-nincompoop-100254 Daily Rehearsal: Rift between Rudin and Norris threatens B'way run of 'Clybourne Park' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-01/daily-rehearsal-rift-between-rudin-and-norris-threatens-bway-run-cl <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-03/ClybournePark.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>1.&nbsp;The Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago</strong></span></span> has received a 2012 Joyce Award, which they'll use to pay for <em>(project) Moseses Project</em>, by choreographer Reggie Wilson. The grant is $50,000; The Dance Center says they're the only dance organization to receive two Joyce Awards. The last one they won was in 2004, for Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of Taiwan's <em>Wild Cursive</em>.&nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>2. Excellent PR copy:</strong></span></span> "For any Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, tickets to a hot night of contemporary ballet make an excellent gift from any forward-thinking romantic partner." The bottom line -- see the Joffrey Ballet' <em>Winter Fire</em> starting February 15.</p><p><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>3. Northlight Theatre will put up <em>The Odd Couple</em></strong></span></span> in November, casting Second City alums Tim Kazurinsky and George Wendt as Felix and Oscar, respectively. "My history with George and Tim goes back decades and their own particular chemistry is a national joy," says director BJ Jones. This should be good.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-03/ClybournePark.jpg" style="margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 282px; height: 400px; " title=""><span style="font-size:14px;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>4. Scott Rudin has <a href="http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/exclusive-scott-rudin-replies-to-david-denbys-embargo-break-of-dragon-tattoo-in-the-new-yorker#">done it again</a></strong></span></span> -- but this time he's brought Chicagoan Bruce Norris into the mix. <a href="http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/theater/the_wrath_of_rudin_2FsRNIorYvtJGww4L432tK">Michael Riedel</a> (who is no stranger to controversy himself) reports that according to anonymous sources, the partnership between Rudin and Norris, which was resulting in an acting gig for Norris in the HBO TV show <em>The Corrections</em>, as well as Rudin producing Clybourne Park for Broadway, has ended nastily. On Monday, Norris reportedly said he wouldn't do <em>The Corrections</em> anymore (“I don’t like to do pilots.”) and Rudin responded by refusing to produce <em>Clybourne Park</em> anymore, as well as two other planned Norris plays. Norris <a href="http://artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/01/broadway-run-for-clybourne-park-in-jeopardy/?ref=theater">told the <em>New York Times</em></a> that he wants to focus on writing, not acting, which is why he left the TV project, and that he wasn't sure what would happen to the show.</p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size:14px;"><strong>5. Timothy Douglas has written a long essay on HowlRound</strong></span></span> called "<a href="http://www.howlround.com/the-benefits-of-slavery-by-timothy-douglas/">The Benefits of Slavery</a>", which is not as controversial as it sounds, for those who need a history lesson. The former Artistic Director of Remy Bumppo, whom our own <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-01-26/black-and-white-and-read-all-over-95836">Kelly Kleiman spoke to</a> about the role of race in his relationship with the company, has some interesting insights from his years as an actor playing the "other" parts. "When pressed for details by the media and the genuinely curious here in Chicago on how race may have impacted my departure [from Remy Bumppo], I answer in this way: If you liken my creative-self to a gumbo, the specificity of my race and primary cultural influence is the equivalent of a dominant spice," writes Douglas. It's a worthy and well-thought out read.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email <a href="mailto:kdries@wbez.org">kdries@wbez.org</a>.</p></p> Wed, 01 Feb 2012 17:35:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2012-02-01/daily-rehearsal-rift-between-rudin-and-norris-threatens-bway-run-cl A Chicago theatre lens on arts in the NY Times, with omissions galore http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-07/chicago-theatre-lens-arts-nytimes-omissions-galore-90234 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-August/2011-08-08/nytimesweather.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>This <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/pages/arts/index.html">Sunday's <em>New York Times</em> Arts section</a> has a note that the new show from the creators of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urinetown"><em>Urinetown</em></a>, called <a href="http://www.yeastnation.com/"><em>Yeast Nation (the triumph of life)</em></a>, will open at the <a href="http://www.fringenyc.org/">New York Fringe Festival</a>. Omitted information: The world premiere of the show took place nearly two years ago at the <a href="http://www.atcweb.org/">American Theatre Company in Chicago</a>--a reasonable choice of venue, given that authors Greg Kotis and Mark Hollman were both educated here (at the U of C) and that Kotis was a member of the <a href="http://www.neofuturists.org/">NeoFuturists</a>, where <em>Urinetown</em> was originally slated to debut. It might have been worthwhile for the <em>Times</em> to note <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/review.php?playID=3302">that the musical's reception here in its hometown was decidedly mixed</a>.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-August/2011-08-08/nytimesweather.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 300px; height: 228px; " title="">The same issue, same section, had a big article about <a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/8460842/Bruce-Norris-profile.html">Bruce Norris's Pultizer prizewinning <em>Clybourne Park</em> </a>and its roots in <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Raisin_in_the_Sun">Lorraine Hansberry's <em>Raisin in the Sun</em></a>. Omitted information: <em>Raisin in the Sun </em>is specifically about segregation in Chicago, based as it was on the Hansberry family's struggle (and lawsuit) to achieve legal protection for open housing here. More omitted information: Not one, not two, but<em> five</em> of Norris's earlier plays had their world premieres at <a href="http://steppenwolf.org">Steppenwolf</a>, where he's also performed as an actor, and that he, too, was educated here (at Northwestern). So it's probably safe to say that <a href="http://www.steppenwolf.org/boxoffice/productions/index.aspx?id=527">the new play's production at Steppenwolf this fall</a> isn't really a stepchild to <a href="http://woollymammoth.net/performances/show_clybourne_park_2011.php">its three-week out-of-town opening at Woolly Mammoth in Washington</a> (on which the article is focused). More like a godfather.</p><p>I really try not to let East Coast parochialism get me down; but the more Chicago theater fills New York stages, the more infuriating it is to have those Chicago roots ignored. On the other hand, it's not just theater: The same issue of the <em>Times</em> had <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/07/us/07outhere.html?_r=1&amp;ref=monicadavey">an article about the weather in Chicago</a> whose kicker headline was, "Out Here."</p><p>Yes, it's really a shame to be stuck all the way Out Here in the provinces--you know, where the plays come from, instead of where they just end up.</p></p> Mon, 08 Aug 2011 14:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-08-07/chicago-theatre-lens-arts-nytimes-omissions-galore-90234 Morning Rehearsal: Chicago Theater 4/19 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-19/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-419-85388 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-19/Arms and the Man.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="594" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-19/110040783.jpg" title="(Getty/Ian Gavan)" width="395"></p><ol><li>Pulitzer's were announced yesterday, and Chicago wrapped one up! Well, Bruce Norris did, for <a href="http://timeoutchicago.com/arts-culture/theater/14725483/clybourne-park-wins-pulitzer-prize-for-drama"><em>Clybourne Park</em></a>. Surprisingly, the play has not, however, been performed here yet; after a run through several cities, including New York, it will open in September for Steppenwolf's 2011-2012 season.</li><li>Chicago Theater Addict has written "<a href="http://chitheatreaddict.com/2011/04/18/five-essential-rules-for-startup-storefront-theatre-companies/">5 Essential Rules for startup storefront theatre companies</a>." The gist is: think it through.</li><li>Director Rebecca Zellar, part of the recently dissolved <a href="http://www.greyzelda.blogspot.com/">Grey Zelda Theatre Group</a>, was <a href="http://www.2amtheatre.com/2011/04/18/spotlight-rebecca-zellar-director/">interviewed</a> by 2amt as part of their director-to-director series of interviews. She said, "I think the idea of the Director Is GOD ideal has changed as we move into experimenting on devised/collaborative work. There seems to be moresupport/respect for all the facets of a production."</li><li><a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-18/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-news-418-85334">MORE </a>George Bernhard Shaw: This past weekend, <a href="http://www.dcatheater.org/shows/show/arms_and_the_man1/"><em>Arms and the Man</em></a> premiered at DCA Theater, put on by ShawChicago. Since 1994, ShawChicago has put on every single one of Shaw's plays except for <em>Saint Joa</em>n, who is probably feeling a little left out right now. There are post-show discussions scheduled for April 23rd and 30th.</li><li>This Wednesday, combine your love of attempting to be funny to those around you and attempting to be as talented as your favorite sports stars at <a href="http://www.comedysportzchicago.com/">The Comedy Sportz Theatre</a>. They call what they do "<i><b>improv comedy played as a sport</b>"</i>, and are available for your next corporate retreat. Go see them tomorrow and make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.</li></ol><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org</p></p> Tue, 19 Apr 2011 14:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-19/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-419-85388