WBEZ | Theatre Oobleck http://www.wbez.org/tags/theatre-oobleck Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Don't-Miss List November 15-21: Baudelaire and Bernstein, 500 Clowns and Frankenstein, plus war (and a cab) is hell http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-november-15-21-baudelaire-and-bernstein-500-clowns-and <p><p class="yiv1977399926MsoNormal" style="MARGIN:0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/403.th_.th_.rv_.500Clown_1.jpg" title="500 Clown Frankenstein (Courtesy of the Viaduct)" /></div><p class="yiv1977399926MsoNormal" style="MARGIN:0in 0in 0pt;">&nbsp;</p><p class="yiv1977399926MsoNormal" style="MARGIN:0in 0in 0pt;"><u><em>Possession: Baudelaire in a Box</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.theatreoobleck.org">Theatre Oobleck</a>&nbsp;at Links Hall, 3435 N. Sheffield; tickets at the door or on the Website; $15 (suggested donation); through Nov. 18 only</u><br />&nbsp;</p><p>How many composers does it take to make songs out of Baudelaire&#39;s poems? Answer: three, because they only compose with one hand while they eat madeleines with the other. Besides, Theatre Oobleck is required to give artists free rein in order to maintain its stature as one of Chicago&#39;s Oldest Established Permanent Floating Avant-Garde Theater Troupes.&nbsp;<strong><em>Possession: Baudelaire in a Box</em></strong>&nbsp;is a cycle of 16 songs written and performed by Jeff Dorchen, Ronnie Kuller and Chris Schoen, THIS WEEKEND ONLY at Links Hall.&nbsp;Oobleck says these are &quot;poems of&nbsp;<em>poison</em>,&nbsp;<em>betrayal</em>, and&nbsp;<em>shame</em>&nbsp;to be washed down with longing, lust, and liquor.&quot; Hey, sounds good to me! Mint-on-the-pillow: artist Dave Buchen provides &quot;yards and yards&quot; of painted images which will scroll by as background for the Baudelaire Slam. (JA)</p><p><u><em>One Hand, One Heart: The Musicals of Leonard Bernstein</em><strong>;&nbsp;</strong><a href="http://www.davenportspianobar.com">Davenport&#39;s,</a>&nbsp;1-773-278-1830; $13 plus two-drink minimum; Nov. 14-15, 28-29 only.</u></p><p>The musicals of Leonard Bernstein range from typical Broadway tuners such as&nbsp;<em>On the Town</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Wonderful Town</em>, to works with profound sentiments such as&nbsp;<em>Candide</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>West Side Story.</em>&nbsp;Bookending those hits are lesser-known and failed efforts as&nbsp;<em>1600 Pennsylvania Avenue</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>Peter Pan.</em>&nbsp;This cabaret show&mdash;FOUR PERFORMANCES ONLY&mdash; is titled&nbsp;<strong><em>One Hand, One Heart: The Musicals of Leonard Bernstein</em></strong>, and we earnestly hope it will include some of his lesser-known stuff. Bernstein&#39;s always-sophisticated, melodious and complex music elevated whatever genre he touched, in part because he was smart enough to partner with the best lyricists available, among them Stephen Sondheim, Comden &amp; Green and Alan&nbsp;Jay&nbsp;Lerner. Even with his failures, the problem wasn&#39;t the music and lyrics. See for yourself at Davenport&#39;s.&nbsp; (JA)</p><p><u><span id="yiv1996665171yui_3_7_2_18_1352823200308_77"><em>500 Clown Frankenstein</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://500clown.com/">500 Clown</a>&nbsp;at the Viaduct Theatre, 3111 North Western, Thursday through this Sunday,&nbsp;<a href="http://500clownfrankenstein.brownpapertickets.com/">tickets $20-$25</a></span></u></p><div id="yiv1996665171yui_3_7_2_18_1352823200308_79"><div>Before Halloween gives way completely to Christmas, stop in to see&nbsp;<em><strong>500 Clown Frankenstein</strong></em>, the physical-comedy company&#39;s rendition of Mary Shelley&#39;s classic about man playing god. The twist in this case is that the play is about an effort to put on a play, a situation in which one man gets to play God &mdash; but which one? The director, the &quot;star,&quot; the stagehand? The show creeps up on you, and the final moment is a fine kick in the ass. Closes this Sunday (the 18th), but if you miss it you can go instead to see the family-friendly&nbsp;<em><strong>500 Clown Trapped</strong></em>&nbsp;at the DCA Theater &mdash; and for free!&nbsp;<em>Trapped </em>runs&nbsp;December 7-8-9; call 312-742-TIXS for reservations. (KK)</div></div><div id="yiv1996665171yui_3_7_2_18_1352823200308_85"><p><span id="yiv1996665171yui_3_7_2_18_1352823200308_77"><u><em>Welcome Home Jenny Sutter</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://nexttheatre.org/">Next Theatre</a>,&nbsp;</u></span><u>927 Noyes Street, Evanston, 847-475-1875</u><span id="yiv1996665171yui_3_7_2_18_1352823200308_77"><u>, begins previews this Thursday (the 15th), tickets $25-40</u><br /><br />And &mdash;&nbsp;</span>before Veterans&#39; Day becomes just another memory of a Monday, spend 90 minutes in the world of a returning Marine whose experience of home has been so fractured by her experience in battle that &quot;return&quot; and &quot;home&quot; are both misnomers. Jessica Thebus directs the Chicago premiere of this play about the few who have done so much for so many. Through December 23.&nbsp;(KK)</p><p><u><em>Hellcab</em>,&nbsp;<a href="http://profilestheatre.org/">Profiles Theatre</a>, 4139 N. Broadway; 1-773-549-1815; $35-$40; through Dec. 23</u></p><p>It&#39;s Xmas Eve and some starving writer of a taxi driver is working late. Finding fares ain&#39;t a problem as every drunk, fruitcake, crackpot, addict and get-a-room couple fights to flag him down. It could only be Will Kern&#39;s&nbsp;<strong><em>Hellcab</em></strong>, the brilliant Chicago and nationwide cult hit that ran for nine years in its original production as a late-nite show at the defunct Famous Door Theatre Company. That was 20 years ago, hard to believe, y&#39;know, back when taxis were cheap. Now it returns to Chicago in a holiday-season production with a cast of 34 fronted by Konstantin Khrustov as the cabbie, and staged by Profiles Theatre co-artistic director Darrell W. Cox.&nbsp;(JA)</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 15 Nov 2012 05:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/onstagebackstage/2012-11/dont-miss-list-november-15-21-baudelaire-and-bernstein-500-clowns-and No ordinary theater weekend: What to see, when http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-20/no-ordinary-theater-weekend-what-see-when-93268 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-20/more more more...future.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>This is no ordinary weekend in the theater world (what would that look like, anyway?).&nbsp;<a href="http://theateroobleck.com/home">Theater&nbsp;Oobleck</a> presents an art form you’ve probably never heard of, while <a href="http://www.shatteredglobe.org/">Shattered Globe</a> kicks off a&nbsp;series of staged readings of the plays that made its reputation.</p><p>Oobleck is first up, with its <em><strong>Baudelaire in a Box: Death and Other Excitements</strong></em>, which opened&nbsp;last night and continues through Sunday at <a href="http://www.linkshall.org/">Links Hall</a>. The show, based on the poet’s stunningly&nbsp;twisted and troubling <em><a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/Misc/Chicago/039250.html">Les Fleurs du Mal</a></em>, consists of “7 new cantastoria . . . with crankies&nbsp;designed and illustrated by Dave Buchen and songs by Chris Schoen.” Cantastoria, it emerges in&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kEVoCsgsS0">a YouTube video posted by the company</a>, are “singing pictures,” performances in which&nbsp;illustrations on the body of performer or elsewhere on the stage are explained in song. And&nbsp;before you race in the opposite direction, remember that this is Oobleck, which never does&nbsp;anything dull. As for “crankies,” well, in the spirit of my 5th grade book reports, “If you want to&nbsp;find out you’ll have to see the show.” Sheffield and Newport in Chicago, $15, “more if you’ve&nbsp;got it, free if you’re broke.” &nbsp;<br> <br> <img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-18/bonniekoloc.jpg" style="margin: 10px; float: left; width: 150px; height: 100px;" title="Bonnie Koloc">Then Sunday afternoon (if you can tear yourself away from watching American football in&nbsp;London–speaking of twisted and troubling!), head over to <a href="http://www.stage773.com/">Stage 773</a> to watch a one-time-only&nbsp;reconstruction by the original director of Shattered Globe’s critically acclaimed <em><strong>Judgment at&nbsp;Nuremberg</strong></em>. What’s particularly cool is that every month through January the company will do&nbsp;another staged reading of another past success, and that the shows in question are <em>The&nbsp;Manchurian Candidate</em>, <em>Talk Radio</em> and <em>A View from the Bridge</em>.&nbsp; Even if you didn’t see&nbsp;Shattered Globe in its first glory days, that package of shows should prove irresistible. $12 for&nbsp;this week’s performance (reception at 1 p.m., reading at 1:30), or $35 for all four. &nbsp;</p><p>Also a one-time-only event: <em><strong>Chicago Live!</strong></em> the talk-comedy-music show hosted by Rick Kogan in the basement of the Chicago Theater and taped for broadcast on WGN Radio. Tonight's edition features a conversation with Illinois Senate President John Cullerton and a performance by Bonnie Koloc. The doings start at 6:30; tickets $20, which includes the opportunity to buy drinks for the performers afterwards at the theater's cash bar.&nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/more%20more%20more...future.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 334px;" title="'More More More...Future'"></p><p>Choreographer Faustin Linyekula comes from the bloodiest nation on the globe’s bloodiest continent. For decades the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been the battleground not only for DRC factions but for neighboring countries; though rich in minerals, it’s home to one of the poorest populations on the planet. Two engines drive Linyekula’s&nbsp;<strong><em>More More More … Future</em></strong>. One is politics. The other is ndombolo, a mix of traditional Congolese music, rumba, church fanfares, and funk—embellished here with punk music by guitarist Flamme Kapaya and his five-piece band. Supertitles translate poetry by political prisoner Antoine Vumilia Muhindo.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.mcachicago.org/performances/now/all/2011/739">Friday through Sunday at the Museum of Contemporary Art.</a></p><p>On the home front this weekend:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.giordanodance.org/company/"><strong>Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago</strong>&nbsp;does its thing at the Harris Theater</a>. Expect the upbeat, including&nbsp;<em>Alegria</em>(“Joy”) by Kiesha Lalama and&nbsp;<em>Alloy</em>, a romantic duet, by Autumn Eckman—both world premieres. Four works from the repertory round out the program.</p><p>And on the micro-dance scene: Andrea Cerniglia, a promising young choreographer, presents her&nbsp;<a href="file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/kdries/Local%20Settings/Temporary%20Internet%20Files/OLK7F/dropshiftdance.com/calendar"><strong>Dropshift Dance</strong>&nbsp;at the Holstein Park Fieldhouse</a>&nbsp;tonight through Saturday afternoon (such are the vicissitudes of performing on Park District stages…). Cerniglia’s thoughtful new&nbsp;<em>Becoming</em>is movingly inhabited by its five dancers and ingeniously staged in its unusual space.</p><p><strong><u>Jonathan Abarbanel</u></strong></p><p>First, there was a dedicated and naïve marine biologist, Dr. Randy Olson, who believed he could make a documentary film about global warming that would definitively convince all doubters and skeptics as to the truth of our deteriorating climatology. He couldn’t, and his efforts to do so resulted in the documentary film,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.newsuittheatre.com/sizzle.html"><strong><em>Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy</em></strong></a>. At least Olson recognized the absurdity of his predicament. Now Off-Loop troupe New Suit Theatre offers a stage adaptation of the film as their third production. The live version of&nbsp;<em>Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy</em>&nbsp;is performed at the Raven Theatre (Clark at Granville) through Nov. 13. FYI: the world IS getting warmer.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" height="395" src="http://www.wbez.org/sites/default/files/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/6243862906_1c0fb40838%20%281%29.jpg" title="'The Elephant Man' (Photo by OCA Photography)" width="500"></p><p style="text-align: left;"><br> Also on the boards this weekend is a new production of Bernard Pomerance’s&nbsp;<a href="http://saintsebastianplayers.org/Current_Season.html"><strong><em>The Elephant Man</em></strong></a>, the tale of John Merrick, an actual physical freak (due to a rare illness) in Victorian England who went from exploited sideshow attraction to a high scientific case study and darling of London society. The presenter, Saint Sebastian Players, says they are offering a Brechtian take on the play, which is set in a London where Jack the Ripper also is walking the streets. Among the alienation devices they are employing is cross-gender casting, with Romanian-born Simina Contras playing Merrick.&nbsp;<em>The Elephant Man</em>&nbsp;is presented at St. Bonaventure House (1625 W. Diversey) through Nov. 13.</p></p> Thu, 20 Oct 2011 14:47:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-10-20/no-ordinary-theater-weekend-what-see-when-93268 Working for the Weekend: Critics picks for 4/22-4/24 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/working-weekend-critics-picks-422-424-85497 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-April/2011-04-21/114.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><u><strong>Kelly Kleiman</strong></u></p><p>First up is <strong><a href="http://www.victorygardens.org/onstage/tree.php"><em>Tree </em></a></strong>at Victory Gardens, a perfect pairing of director Andrea J. Dymond and playwright Julie Hebert, each known for powerful yet subtle examinations of painful subjects. This very long one-act traces the family connections (hence, "Tree") of two people from entirely different worlds: a black man in Chicago and a white woman from Baton Rouge who turn out to be siblings. Anchored by the utterly truthful performances of Aaron Todd Douglas and Elaine Rivkin as the brother and sister, and soaring on the work of Celeste Williams as their now-demented now-lucid mother, the play works on both macro and micro levels: as an examination of how racism continues to poison American discourse, and as a dissection of the strains of family--any family. Jacqueline and Rick Penrod's set is as full of twists and turns and dead-ends and opportunities for disaster as the plot itself. At the Victory Gardens Biograph through May 1--which is next weekend, so move fast or you'll miss it.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-21/114.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 750px;" title="Colm O'Reilly (John Sisson)"></p><p style="text-align: left;"><br> And now for something completely different: <strong><a href="http://theateroobleck.com/plays/there-is-a-happiness-that-morning-is"><em>There Is A Happiness That Morning Is</em></a></strong>, the latest from Theatre Oobleck, whose <em>The Strangerer</em> managed to connect Albert Camus and George W. Bush without diminishing either one--at least, not any more than they deserved to be diminished. This new piece is existential in its own way, weaving William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience around the fate of a hapless pair of college teachers whose decision to have sex on the quads leads to their delivering what are very probably their last lectures.&nbsp; By the time they were done, I was (in equal parts) rooting for them and resolving to read Blake.&nbsp; Find a stranger or more thought-provoking evening and it's bound to be another Oobleck show. Through May 22 at the Storefront Theatre on Randolph Street. &nbsp;</p><p><u><strong>Laura Molzahn</strong></u></p><p>Swing your partner, do-si-do! It may sound like a square dance, but <a href="http://juliaraeatonick.com/1/events">Julia Rae Antonick’s new <strong><em>Commissura</em></strong></a><em>&nbsp;</em>is far more elevated and intellectual—though the dancing can be riotous, and some of the audience is seated on moving platforms. (Don’t worry, they move slow.) Antonick’s piece for two couples, who are also couples off the dance floor, and two musicians, who sometimes move as well as play, explores the invisible connective tissue between two people. Sometimes that tissue is stretched to the breaking point, other times it works like lightning. Two weekends at the Fine Arts Building.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-21/709076_orig.jpg" style="width: 500px; height: 400px;" title=""></p><p>Columbia College has been the gold standard for dance education for years, but Northwestern is making great strides. <a href="http://nugroup.weebly.com/index.html">A program by <strong>the NU group</strong></a>, all of them alums convened just for these performances, features new work by some outstanding choreographers and dancers: Julia Rhoads of <a href="http://www.luckyplush.com/">Lucky Plush</a> (whose new piece opens at the MCA in October), Peter Carpenter, Jeff Hancock, Annie Beserra of <a href="http://www.stridinglion.org/Home.html">Striding Lion</a>, Meghann Wilkinson of Lucky Plush, Adam Gauzza of <a href="http://www.spdwdance.org/">Same Planet Different World</a>, Michaela Stock of NYC’s Eyes of a Blue Dog, and Genevieve Garcia. Two weekends, the first at the lovely Building Stage.</p><p><u><strong>Jonathan Abarbanel</strong></u></p><p style="text-align: left; ">The nation’s leader is weak and the opposition whittles away his legislative majority vote-by-vote. There’s talk of radical reform, spend-thrift economics and vanishing surpluses as politics and health care clash. No, it’s not America in 2011, it’s England in 1793. Alan Bennett’s <a href="http://www.chicagoshakes.com/main.taf?p=2,51"><em><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">The Madness of George III</span></em></a> remains both pertinent and vastly entertaining precisely because of its rather-modern take on old history. Go see this totally fabulous new production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (through June 12), and you’ll see why. Broadway veteran Harry Groener is masterful as King George III, who was not nearly as sympathetic in real life as he is in this play!</p><p style="text-align: center; "><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="349" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/LVhv2_NLzfY" title="YouTube video player" width="560"></iframe></p><p style="text-align: left; "><br> For those unfamiliar with<span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"> <a href="http://www.oracletheatre.org/NowPlaying.htm"><em>Woyzeck</em></a></span>, it’s a never-completed early 19th Century play by German author Georg Buchner which became a tremendously influential fore-runner of realistic proletariat drama. Completed and adapted scores of times as a play, opera and ballet, there is no “true” version of the work. Right now, you can choose from several as Chicago enjoys a mini-<em><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">Woyzeck</span></em> festival. Oracle Productions just extended their interpretation of the work at Oracle’s tiny Lakeview storefront, and The Hypocrites open their version this weekend, adapted and directed by Sean Graney. Then, About Face Theatre is offering the world premiere of Sylvan Oswald’s<span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold"> <em>Pony</em></span>, inspired by <em><span style="FONT-WEIGHT: bold">Woyzeck</span> </em>and its themes. The Hypocrites and About Face are presenting their productions together in rep at the Chopin Theatre (through May 22).</p></p> Thu, 21 Apr 2011 16:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/onstagebackstage/2011-04-21/working-weekend-critics-picks-422-424-85497