Don’t-Miss List August 30-September 5: Chicago Fringe Festival and more
Dueling Critics, between 9 and 10 a.m. Friday August 31, 91.5 FM and WBEZ.org, FREE!
Jonathan and I will review Princes of Waco at Signal Ensemble. And we’ll chat with Peter Moore of Steep Theatre about resisting (or not) the temptation to pick plays for an ensemble based on the juiciness of parts for long-time ensemble members. –KK
Stage Left beats the rest of the Chicago theater community out of the autumn starting gate with Mia McCullough’s new play about appearance and reality — specifically, the appearance of women and the reality of the pressure on them to transform themselves into some ideal of Woman as impossibly slender and eternally youthful. The playwright took the piece from synopsis through finished product in collaboration with director Greg Werstler through the company’s Downstage Left development series. Politics of all kinds is Stage Left’s specialty; in this case sexual politics takes stage center. Thursdays-Sundays through October 7; previews $20, regular run $25. –KK
A Class Act, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago at Theater Wit, opens Tuesday (September 4) at 7:30 p.m., $39
Porchlight is hot on Stage Left’s heels with this musical about musicals. If you’re a fan of Smash, the tv show about the making of a Broadway musical, then A Class Act is for you. The songs are by Edward Kleban, who collaborated in the creation of A Chorus Line, but the book is by two of his friends who used a number of his unproduced songs to weave a story about his life and untimely death. Stacey Flaster directs and choreographs, with music direction by the incomparable Beckie Menzie, who also accompanies most performances. Previews September 1-2-3, $30; regular run Fridays-Sundays through October 7 $39. –KK
Third Annual Chicago Fringe Festival, Pilsen (various venues); 1-866-441-9962; $10 (plus one-time $5 Entrance to Fest fee); through Sept. 9.
Edinburgh has one, New York has one, so why not Chicago? For the third time, the Chicago Fringe collective is presenting a heady mix of solo shows, dance, theater and performances that defy categories. The 2012 line-up features 24 Chicago-area acts, 22 more from other parts of the USA, plus artists from South Korea, Canada and France. In all, they will offer 200+ performances showcasing 180 performers. At $10 a pop (and even less with one of several Festival passes), you probably won't be trying very hard if you don't find something you like at the Chicago Fringe Festival. The Fest's website very helpfully provides not only the total Festival schedule, but a listing of shows by title and by venue. –JA
Skin Tight, Cor Theatre at A Red Orchid, 1531 N. Wells Street; 1-866-811-4111; $15; through Sept. 25.
So OK, speaking of The Fringe and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, here is the regional premiere of a hit play from that festival, Skin Tight, by Gary Henderson. It's a highly-physical two-character performance piece that's billed as "a riveting romance that endures war, unfaithfulness, wayward children, and death while its passion and humor live on." The producers promise that it will be performed "with erotic abandon" (that ought'a sell tickets) and will take only one hour. But wait, folks, there's more: not only is Skin Tight a regional debut, but Cor Theatre is a new company, formed by two veteran Chicago theatre artists, Victoria DeIorio and Tosha Fowler, "women in pursuit of risk-taking and boundary-stretching." Best known as a designer, DeIorio will direct the production. Cor is the Latin root word for both heart and courage. –JA