1. An extensive review of Clybourne Park reveals much less of this particular production, and more of the complexities of the play itself. Zac Thompson does write that, “The second act of Clybourne Park lacks the emotional depth that the specter of the lost son gives to the first. Still, this uncompromising, often bitterly funny play makes a convincing case that the happy ending of racial integration is still far off.”2. Strawdog has hired Patrick Rybarczyk as their new managing director; he replaces Hank Boland, who left to get a graduate degree in playwrighting, but still performs with the group. Rybarczyk has worked at a bevy of impressive Chicago theaters, such as Court, Chicago Shakes, the Goodman, and Drury Lane Water Tower, but in recent years, he’s been working at Urban Gateways, a youth arts education center. That explains his statement that it’s “with great enthusiasm that I return to a more active role in the Chicago theatre scene.” Boland’s comment: “It’s been a long two years at Strawdog, with lots of changes, but we’ve got the right people in the right positions to lead the company in the right direction.”
3. The future is now, in that there’s the first review of the work of Stephen Schwartz is the show Snapshots, opening at Northlight this weekend. This is not your usual review, and even Chris Jones remarks on the puzzling direction it’s taking: “Before I talked with Stern and Schwartz, I thought they were using the Schwartz songs, as they were originally written, in a new story, which is unusual enough. I did not realize that, in some cases, they are also going to use different lyrics. In other words, you’ll hear the melody to, say, ‘Popular’ from Wicked, but you won’t necessarily hear all the expected lyrics.”
4. Party with Collaboraction, on not one but two events. Their 2nd Annual Fashion Mash is October 8, and their Beggars’ Banquet is the following week on the 15. The difference? One’s more of a party, the other is a party-fundraiser. The Fashion Mash will have DJs, dancing and performances, as well as a catwalk. The Banquet is chaired by Founding Company Member Sandra Delgado, and a ticket is $100, and there’s food. Also did you know Collaboraction has a mission “to be Wicker Park’s artistic hub for the performing arts”? I did not.
5. Blast! comes to the Paramount Theatre, breaking down the boundaries between music and theater. You’ll see something I’m imagining as Stomp!, with more than just drums. And “As artistic director Mason observed: Nothing has ever been staged like this before. We’re truly creating a new musical genre with Blast!‘” No sign as to whether Mason is his first or last or only name, but I believe him. Two shows only, starting October 15.
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