WBEZ | Don Quixote http://www.wbez.org/tags/don-quixote Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Critics theater picks for the weekend; 'Don Quixote', 'Mary Poppins' and 'Dancing Henry 5' http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-13/critics-theater-picks-weekend-don-quixote-mary-poppins-and-dancing- <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-12/HenryVdownload.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>The most moving moments in <a href="http://www.lookingglasstheatre.org/content/box_office/the_great_fire">Lookingglass Theatre's <strong><em>The Great Fire</em></strong></a> belong to Mr. and Mrs. O'Leary, the Irish immigrants falsely accused of causing the blaze. Watching them cringe in front of some sort of government investigative panel you get a sense of how marginalized and terrified even these English-speaking immigrants were. If the rest of the show had that level of emotional engagement or social commentary, it would be a knock-out; instead, it's a pleasant tour through familiar territory, an in-joke for Chicagoans. Its acrobatics never reach to any impressive height, nor does its story-telling. But Cheryl Lynn Bruce's turn as Alderman Hildreth, who thought to stop the fire by using gunpowder to blow up some of the buildings still standing, is equal parts hilarious and true and should be required viewing for anyone who thinks the Chicago City Council is fit to govern. Through November 20 at the Waterworks; tickets $42-$60.&nbsp;</p><p>Meanwhile, <a href="http://theartistichome.org/">The Artistic Home</a>'s <strong><em>A Touch of the Poet</em></strong> shows an Irish family from half a century earlier, struggling against being marginalized by accepting the claims of its paterfamilias to being a great gentleman and a brave soldier, though to all outward appearances he's just a tavern-keeper with a slavey wife and a pretty daughter. I saw this show some years ago with Brian Dennehy directed by Robert Falls and hated it with a passion surpassing all things because the central character, Con Melody, was so over-the-top in his delusions and hatefulness. Kathy Scambiaterra's production demonstrates that it's not the character at all: under her direction Frank Nall makes one hairpin turn after another in portraying Con's quest to escape himself. His splendid performance is complemented by that of Sally Eames, if anything stronger and subtler as the wife who knows Con for what he is and loves him nonetheless. Their performances carry the entire play, and remind us that Eugene O'Neill did, on occasion, provide a happy ending. Through November 6 at Stage 773 on Belmont; tickets $28-$32 with student and senior discounts available.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-13/HenryVdownload.jpg.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 334px; " title="'Dancing Henry Five' (Photo by Paula Court)"></p><p>And for something completely different, head to the <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Dance_Center/">Dance Center of Columbia College</a> tonight, tomorrow or Saturday for <em><strong>Dancing Henry Five</strong></em>, a dance version of Shakespeare's play choreographed by David Gordon.</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-October/2011-10-13/don quixote.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 333px; " title="(Courtesy of the Joffrey Ballet)"></p><p>A couple of big-ticket shows this weekend, both featuring world-premiere commissions, may be worth shelling out for. <a href="http://www.joffrey.com/donquixote">The Joffrey performs its first evening-length commission in 60 years</a>, a remix of <em><strong>Don Quixote</strong>&nbsp;</em>by former Bolshoi dancer Yuri Possokhov, who both riffs on the Petipa version and brings his own contemporary sensibility to the dancing. True to Cervantes’ 400-year-old story, Possokhov focuses on Don Q himself—and comic relief Sancho Panza. Animated projections help bring this 19<sup>th</sup>-century ballet into the 21<sup>st</sup> century.</p><p>Twyla Tharp hasn’t created <a href="http://www.hubbardstreetdance.com/calendar">a new piece for Hubbard Street</a> in 15 years—but she makes up for lost time in the formally and musically intricate <strong><em>Scarlatti</em></strong>, a piece for 12. Those familiar with her work in the 1978 film <em>Hair </em>or the 2010 Sinatra jukebox musical <em>Come Fly Away</em>won’t be surprised by her gift for communicating character too.</p><p><strong>It’s Alive…!</strong> at <a href="http://www.dfbrl8r.com/DEFIBRILLATOR/NEXT_NOW.html">Defibrillator Gallery’s three-week series, the ALive Installation Project</a>. A wall has been built down the middle of the space, and a dancer on one side and performance artist on the other perform simultaneously for three hours. (No worries: you can drop in.) The opening show features Michelle Kranicke of Zephyr Dance and Korean artist Gim Gwang Cheol, performing a project similar to one in Montreal that included “creating crossfire with red string” and reading a dictionary.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p>I'm mainly beholden to the Brits for my choices this week, which could not represent greater artistic and intellectual extremes.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-13/cloud9.jpg" style="margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; float: left; width: 285px; height: 400px; " title=""><em><strong>Mary Poppins</strong></em> is back in town, and if that's not reason for rejoicing I don't know what is. Beloved by some and sentimental hogwash to others, this dazzling Broadway version of the popular Disney film adaptation of the old P. L. Travers children's book is perfect for children of all ages, as advertisements like to proclaim. The familiar songs all are there and the spectacular dance numbers are even more spectacular when performed live, onstage with a few eye-popping surprises. This is a great first Broadway show for kids. <em>Mary Poppins</em> is at the Cadillac Palace Theatre through Nov. 6.</p><p>On the other hand, you'd best keep the kiddies away from <strong><em>Cloud 9</em></strong> at the Gift Theatre in Jefferson Park, unless they are extremely advanced. This 1979 play by Brit author Caryl Churchill uses cross-dressing and other meta-theatrical devices to target racism, sexism and gender identity in 19th Century British Colonial Africa and London today. Nothing sacred in this highly theatrical work of magic realism, which is quite a different sort of play for the Gift Theatre. FYI: the extremely intimated Gift storefront playhouse will put the action, some of it sexual, very much in your face. <em>Cloud 9</em> runs through Dec. 4.</p><p>Also: a fine organization, <a href="http://www.chicagocabaret.org/">Chicago Cabaret Professionals</a>, holds its annual fundraiser concert at Park West this Sunday (Oct. 16) at 7PM. <strong><em>You and the Night and the Music</em></strong> will feature a dazzling line-up of Chicago's top cabaret musical talents, with special honors bestowed upon Ann Hampton Calloway, Jimmy Damon and former Chicago Cultural Commish Lois Weisberg. Tickets begin at $27.</p></p> Thu, 13 Oct 2011 20:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-13/critics-theater-picks-weekend-don-quixote-mary-poppins-and-dancing- Morning Rehearsal: Chicago theater 4/22 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-22/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-422-85549 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-22/Alexis Armstrong, David Geinosky, PJ Samorian.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: left;">Looking ahead: On Monday, the 14th Chicago Improv Festival begins. Nina Metz at the <em>Tribune </em>has the <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/theater/ct-ott-0422-chicago-improv-fest-20110421-6,0,7110984.story">highlights</a>&nbsp;(which include some bodypainting experiments)&nbsp;but the <a href="http://www.chicagoimprovfestival.org/web/cif_home.php">full schedule</a> is also worth perusing so you don't miss a thing. Additionally,&nbsp;Bassprov members Joe Bill and Mark Sutton, former artistic director of the festival, <a href="http://vocalo.org/amp/2011-04/friday-funday-0">spoke to</a> Vocalo's Molly Adams in the Morning AMp today (and can be seen performing below).</p><p style="text-align: center;"><iframe frameborder="0" height="368" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/10026629?title=0&amp;byline=0" width="490"></iframe></p><p>2. The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg <a href="http://auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/pages/home/performances-events/performances.php?event_id=296&amp;wb_session_id=4a94a35ddbb2ad45c8371bf6f015a9cf">presents </a><em>Don Quixote, or Fantasies of a Madman. </em>The production was<i>&nbsp;</i>at Roosevelt University last night, but there will be a matinee performance on Saturday. Choreographed by the aforementioned Boris Eifman, with music by Ludwig Minkus, the ballet sounds a little bit like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112883/"><em>Don Juan Demarco</em></a> with Johnny Depp<em>:&nbsp;</em>a man locked in an asylum believes he is Don Quixote, and inspires those around him with his fantasies.</p><p>3. <a href="http://urbantheaterchicago.org/"><em>Sonnets For An Old Century</em></a> is wrapping up its run this weekend at Steppenwolf's Garage Rep. <a href="http://www.avclub.com/chicago/articles/sonnets-for-an-old-century,52247/">The A.V. Club called</a>&nbsp;<em>Sonnets</em><i>"</i>a captivating examination of life and death from a promising young company." From UrbanTheater Company, the play takes place in the waiting room of the afterlife, which I can't imagine is particularly lighthearted, but is probably enlightening.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="333" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-22/Alexis%20Armstrong%2C%20David%20Geinosky%2C%20PJ%20Samorian_0.jpg" title="Alexis Armstrong, David Geinosky, PJ Samorian " width="350"></p><p>4. Opening this weekend is <a href="http://www.bignoise.org/chaperone.html"><em>The Drowsy Chaperone </em></a>by The Big Noise Theatre Company, which if past productions count for anything, promises to be particularly feel-good. The show had a successful revival on Broadway in 2006; as musicals go, it's funny and relatively harmless.</p><p>5. It was announced just&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/stage/4957772-421/chicago-actor-director-will-head-porchlight.html">yesterday</a>&nbsp;that&nbsp;Michael Weber is the new artistic director of Porchlight Music Theatre. As you'll recall, <em>The King and I</em> <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-421-85493">just opened there</a>.&nbsp;Weber will begin his work June 1, and takes the place of L. Walter Stearns, who has moved to the Mercury Theatre.</p><p>Questions? Tips? Email kdries@wbez.org.</p></p> Fri, 22 Apr 2011 14:18:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-22/morning-rehearsal-chicago-theater-422-85549 Two dance performances give classics a twist http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-20/two-dance-performances-give-classics-twist-85436 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-April/2011-04-20/Busta Keaton.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The classics of literature, film or ballet earn their keep by remaining fresh and compelling from one generation to the next. Still a contemporary update can sometimes make even a classic more relevant. That’s the case for two dance performances currently on stage in Chicago. For <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>, Lucia Mauro tells us how.<br> <br> At first glance, break dancing and the silent movie era seem like a pretty surreal anachronism. Not so for <a href="http://chicagodancecrash.com/" target="_blank">Chicago Dance Crash</a>, a daring eclectic troupe known for unexpected mash ups. Christopher Courtney and Michael Dice, Jr., are the creative forces behind <em><a href="http://chicagodancecrash.com/productions/trials-busta-keaton" target="_blank">The Trials of Busta Keaton</a></em>, the first full-length hip-hop ballet. It’s a contemporary homage to the famous 1920s stone-faced stuntman Buster Keaton. His action-comedy films are considered classics. Chicago Dance Crash compares the silent comedian’s tortured career to the grueling lives of dancers. Courtney, a break dancer known for pushing his body to the limit, admits to performing with strained muscles a collapsed lung.</p><p>So <em>The Trials of Busta Keaton</em> parallels Keaton’s increasingly dangerous stunts with a dancer’s need to constantly challenge their physical capabilities. The large ensemble – clad in pork pie hats and Converse sneakers - often portrays multiple Buster Keatons, who smoothly vacillate between pratfalls and pop and lock. Most significantly, the cast is painted head to toe in black-and-white monotint to convey a live silent film. Yet weaving their way through the intense ensemble action are girls wearing 1960s-style shift dresses in TechniColor. They represent the advances in film technology – from sound to color – that cut short the careers of great physical actors like Keaton. One of the most high-powered numbers mixes up two tap dancers, three acrobatic B-girls, and an ensemble that joins together synchronized music-video moves, wide ballroom sweeps, and the Charleston. It’s the dance equivalent of Keaton flinging himself down a flight of stairs or dangling from a speeding train.<br> <br> ince 1869, choreographers like <a href="http://www.abt.org/education/archive/choreographers/petipa_m.html" target="_blank">Marius Petipa</a>, have been staging classical ballet versions of the 17<sup>th</sup> century novel, <em>Don Quixote</em> by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. The title idealistic knight, best known for jousting with windmills, has long symbolized hope, despite the more cynical realities of life. Russian choreographer Boris Eifman, who fuses extreme ballet with avant-garde ideas, brings to Chicago his full-length ballet, <em><a href="http://www.auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/pages/home/performances-events/performances.php?event_id=296" target="_blank">Don Quixote, or Fantasies of a Mad Man</a>.</em> He reimagines the lead character as a patient in a psychiatric ward. This Don Quixote escapes his torment by pretending to live among the villagers celebrating the wedding of Kitri and Basil from Book Two of Cervantes’ novel. He and his patients wave their bed sheets as they alternate with matadors swinging their capes. It’s a soaring, discombobulating affair – complete with gravity-defying lifts and hyper-extended legs – to convey the enduring power of the imagination.<br> <br> Both Chicago Dance Crash and Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg infuse the classics with fresh and provocative life.</p><p>Chicago Dance Crash performs <em>The Trials of Busta Keaton</em> through May 1 at the <a href="http://www.theatreinchicago.com/theatredetail.php?theatreID=170" target="_blank">Hoover-Leppen Theatre</a> in Chicago.<br> <br> The Eifman Ballet of St. Petersburg will perform <em>Don Quixote, or Fantasies of a Madman</em> at <a href="http://auditoriumtheatre.org/wb/" target="_blank">Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre</a>.</p></p> Wed, 20 Apr 2011 14:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-20/two-dance-performances-give-classics-twist-85436