1. Dionne Warwick, interior designer? The singer you know best from your easy-listening radio days in the 60s, 70s and 80s (and today!) has taken on the job of redoing the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center. “The color scheme will be in hues of reds, oranges, beiges, browns and grays,” said Warwick. “It will be a vibrant, classy, comfortable space, with a modern chandelier and memorabilia of the theater’s decades of past productions exhibited on the lobby walls.” I hope hope hope the theater isn’t singing this tune:
2. The Pavement Group has announced their 2012 season with two world premieres; “Girl You Know It’s True” and “Breaks and Bikes.” None of this will open until the spring, but Pavement’s Amuse Bouche will be at Collaboraction in December. That piece is a 24-hour play style situation, except there are 72-hours and six plays. Look for that December 9.
3. The reviews are in for Doug Stanhope‘s performances this week at Mayne Stage. Also performing at the show was one Junior Stopka, who TimeOut Chicago calls out as potentially “the biggest breakthrough right now in Chicago comedy.” And though the end of the show got a little rowdy, Jason Heidemann writes “I liked Stanhope so much that I wanted to knock on Stanhope’s door in Bisbee, Arizona holding a bottle of whiskey. I don’t think Stanhope would appreciate that, but I do think he’d let me in.”4. Remember when Chris Jones went to New York to see Follies? You know, because Follies was coming to Chicago and it’s important to do comparisons? He wasn’t overwhelmingly excited about the New York production, but he’s taken a look inside the future Chicago Shakes production helmed by Gary Griffin, and things are looking up. Though the subject matter seems to be repeatedly hitting close to home; “At the end of the night,” writes Jones, “you can stage it one way or another, play it on a dozen instruments or power up twice that number. Follies is about our inability to stop the debilitating passage of time.”
5. Tonight it’s Welts at the Annoyance, which sounds actually painful, if not metaphorically so. “Armed with a different type of weapon each week, the Welts Players inflict excruciating physical pain on one another while improvising a montage of freely associated scenes, based on a suggestion from the audience. Only two rules apply. Rule one: do not acknowledge the weapons. Rule two: use your weapon whenever you want.” I hope for everyone’s sake this is stage acting at its finest.
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