Category: Cornservatory

A stockingful of holiday shows in Chicago for 2016!

 

Ariana Burks stars as Clara in The Nutcracker, House Theatre Chicago 2Jason Groff stars as Charlie Brown in A Charlie Brown Christmas, Broadway ChicagoLisa Gaye Dixon as Ghost of Christmas Present in A Christmas Carol at Goodman TheatreFrancis Guinan and Travis Turner in Twist Your Dickens or Scrooge You, Second City Goodman TheatreErica Stephan stars as Irene Roth in Crazy for You, Drury Lane TheatreJoe Foust and Larry Yando in A Christmas Carol, Goodman Theatre

The Chicago theater community will again produce a wide array of Christmas and holiday plays, musicals, ballets and comedies in 2016, all designed to put you in a festive mood.  Find the entire list of holiday offerings below

November 30, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Bat-Hamlet (Corn Productions)

Matthew Lunt stars as Hamlet in Corn Productions' "Bat-Hamlet" by Jordan Pulliam, directed by Kallie Noelle Rolison.       
      
Bat-Hamlet

Written by Jordan Pulliam  
Directed by Kallie Noelle Rolison
at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln (map)
thru April 26  |  tickets: $7-$15   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets  
         
                   Read review
     

April 11, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Forgiveness (Corn Productions)

Erin Thorn and Seth Wanta star as Forgiveness and Turk in Corn Productions' "Forgiveness" by Julia Weiss, directed by Robert Bouwman. (photo credit: Rob Corn)        
      
Forgiveness

Written by Julia Weiss  
Directed by Robert Bouwman
at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Feb 15  |  tickets: $7-$15   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review
     

January 14, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Nightmare on Lincoln Avenue IV: Welcome to the Undead City (Corn Productions)

Nightmares on Lincoln Avenue IV, Corn Productions, banner        
       
Nightmares on Lincoln Avenue:
       Welcome to Undead City
 

Written and Directed by Christian Vernon
    and Kallie Rolison
at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Oct 31  |  tickets: $7-$15   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

October 11, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Original Improv Gladiators–Season 16 (Cornservatory)

Roman Gladiators       
      
Original Improv Gladiators 

at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln (map)
thru May 12   |  tickets: $12   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 28, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Tammy: A Coming of Age Story About a Girl Who Is Part T-Rex (Cornservatory)

A scene from Corn Productions' "Tammy: A Coming of Age Story..." by Julia Weiss, directed by Annaliese Toft.      
     
Tammy: A Coming of Age Story About a Girl Who Is Part T-Rex

Written by Julia Weiss  
Directed by Anneliese Toft
at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Apr 7  |  tickets: $7-$10 (BYOB)  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
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March 2, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Improv Gladiators (The Cornservatory)

Improv Gladiators at The Cornservatory Chicago       
     
      
Improv Gladiators 

at The Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln (map)
thru Dec 3  |  tickets: $12   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
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November 12, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: Jesus Camp – The Musical (Corn Productions)

     
     

Christian camp converted into clever satire

  
  

The cast of Corn Production's "Jesus Camp - The Musical", playing at the Cornservatory

  
Corn Productions presents
   
   
Jesus Camp – The Musical
   
Written by Robert Bouwman and Julia Weiss
Music by Scott Lamberty
Directed by
Sarah Ballema
at the Cornservatory, 4210 N. Lincoln (map)
through July 16  |  tickets: $7-$15  |  more info

Reviewed by Keith Ecker 

The 2006 documentary “Jesus Camp” depicts the zealous activities of a youth Christian camp in North Dakota. The film treats its subject matter with grave earnestness, capturing the unbelievable beliefs of the adult camp leaders, parents and easily impressionable youths. To be clear, this camp is not Christian lite. It is an Evangelical brainwashing instrument where kids are coerced by omens of hellfire and speaking in tongues is considered normal.

Corn Productions, which operates out of the Cornservatory space in North Center, has taken this absurd and dark documentary and converted it into a clever comedic musical. In the fashion of the Tony-sweeping Book of Mormon, the musical leans more heavily toward critiquing certain Christians than condemning Christianity. And by incorporating a rival Muslim camp into the plot, the musical ups the ante with echoes of the modern holy war that seems to be unfolding in real life.

The cast of Corn Production's "Jesus Camp - The Musical", playing at the CornservatoryThe musical—which clocks in at about two hours but only features eight songs—opens with the ensemble tune "Rise Up!" Like much of the play’s tunes, it is catchy, upbeat and chock full of tongue-and-cheek jabs at non-believers and the perceived superiority of Christians. We soon meet our cast of oddball campers and counselors. Donna Christian (Michelle McKenzie-Voigt) runs the camp. Her pulpit-style rabble-rousing is reminiscent of a TV evangelist as is her thin veil of sincerity. Lee (George Christopher Tronsrue) is the big man on the Jesus camp campus, and his ever-eating sidekick Tongues (Jayson Acevedo) speaks in gibberish. They welcome new camper Brian (Justin Lance), a fey and petite boy. Brian is undergoing a crisis of faith, and this sense of doubt serves to make him the subject of ridicule among the more popular boys.

Meanwhile, female outcast Rachel (Anne Marie Boyer) is a spastic Jewish girl whose non-Christian roots make her an easy target for the other camper’s high-and-mighty smugness. For instance, Lee taunts Rachel by tasking her to accomplish seemingly impossible Christian chores, such as finding a pebble in the shape of forgiveness.

All hell breaks loose, so to speak, when the campers discover that the Presbyterian camp across the lake has changed hands and become a camp for Muslims. This especially infuriates Donna Christian, who vows to do God’s work and deliver the evil followers of Allah into the hands of the devil himself.

Company members Robert Bouwman and Julia Weiss crafted this very funny script. The jokes come fast and often, many landing with excellent precision. But rather than just being full of yucks, there’s a good amount of commentary and heart in here too. The want to belong, what it means to be good and standing up for what you believe in are all running themes that are nicely woven into the fabric of the play.

However, what stops this from being a four-star musical is its length. It’s just unnecessarily long. I was shocked when the lights came up for intermission given that, according to my program, there would only be two songs in the second act. And the second act sure does drag. I suspect Bouwman and Weiss had a difficult time self-editing, but some of these scenes need to be put on the chopping block for the sake of streamlining.

The cast of Corn Production's "Jesus Camp - The Musical", playing at the Cornservatory

With Scott Lamberty as composer and Pete Navis as music director, the songs are energetic and catchy. The ensemble pieces tend to work best as few in the cast (save for McKenzie-Voigt) seem to have the lung power to fill a room. Lyrics are clever and effectively serve to move the plot forward.

The acting is solid across the board. McKenzie-Voigt is devilishly villainous, while Tronsrue makes a great smug son-of-a-bitch. Whoever did the casting for this show did a spectacular job as each actor wears his or her character like a finely tailored suit.

Whether you’re a follower of the Christian God or one of the many outside His flock, you’ll find Jesus Camp – The Musical to be an entertaining and aurally pleasurable experience. Hopefully the ensemble will do another round of edits after opening weekend to condense the show. Still, even in its current two-hour incarnation, the musical finds a way to skip, step and pirouette into your heart, filling that space where – according to the production – Jesus should be.

  
  
Rating: ★★★
   
   

The cast of Corn Production's "Jesus Camp - The Musical", playing at the Cornservatory

  

June 19, 2011 | 0 Comments More