Steppenwolf’s “The Crucible” – Rave reviews!!

Steppenwolf’s first production of the season, Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, opened last night, and the rave reviews are in:

Chris Jones at the Chicago Tribune

Anna D. Shapiro’s arresting, impassioned, full-throttle Steppenwolf Theatre Company revival of The Crucible is not so much a revisionist take on Arthur Miller’s familiar 1953 allegory as an expansion and intensification of an iconic drama dulled over time by its constant classroom presence. Forget the schoolroom stupor. You’ll be snapped immediately awake by these highly theatrical manifestations of hysteria.    (Read entire review)

And Hedy Weiss over at the Sun-Times, pitches in her words of praise:

…in the hands of director Anna D. Shapiro (already Broadway-bound with Steppenwolf’s new hit, “August: Osage County”) and her fiery cast of 20, “The Crucible” takes on a whole new clarity, depth and contemporaneity, and becomes compulsively watchable. Not only has Shapiro illuminated the complex weave of causes behind the witchcraft hysteria, she and her actors have found a way to punch through the distancing formality of the Puritan locutions so that the emotional content dominates, and the play radiates an intensely modern energy. This energy is further enhanced by the presence of two superb black actors in crucial roles historically played by white actors.     (read entire review)

September 24, 2007 | 6 Comments More

Blagojovich Cuts Arts Budgets!!

An article in PerformInk, by Jonathan Abarbanel, explains the bad (but hopefully temporary) news:

Blagojovich Cuts Arts Budgets

In a high-risk game of political brinksmanship, Governor Rod Blagojevich in mid-August used his line-item veto to slash hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state budget passed by both houses of the Illinois General Assembly. Playing partisan power politics pure and simple, Blagojovich cut 100 percent—every last penny—of the usual Member’s Initiatives, many of which were intended for performing arts organizations.

But the governor only eliminated the earmarks of Democratic legislators—his own party—letting the initiatives of Republican members stand. His action was intended as a direct slap at Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, one of only two or three Democrats statewide who has as much power as the Guv, and perhaps more. In what can only be described as a game of “my clout is bigger than your clout,” the two servants of the people have measured each other for months, pushing the state to the edge of economic shut-down several times.

To read the rest of the article, go here.

September 22, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Shattered Globe announces 17th-annual season

Shattered Globe Theatre’s 2007-2008 Productions

SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER by Tennessee Williams

Directed by Shattered Globe ensemble member Kevin Hagan, running September 16 – October 27, 2007

Featuring ensemble members Brian McCaskill, Eileen Niccolai and Linda Reiter

            In SUDDENLY, LAST SUMMER, Williams’ 1958 drama, a prominent New Orleans family gathers to contend with the mysterious circumstances surrounding the loss of one of their own. In the wildly overgrown garden of a New Orleans mansion, a family seeks the truth about the life and death of one of their own. After Sebastian Venable’s mysterious death abroad, his mother Violet calls on her niece Catharine—the family misfit and sole witness to the incident—to reveal what happened that day. Catharine, who seemed to go insane following the death of her cousin, has been institutionalized since her return for insisting on a version of events so horrific that it can’t possibly be true. Set on preserving Sebastian’s memory—and erasing her own role in the unspeakable acts that led to his demise—Mrs. Venable will go to any length to discredit Catharine’s account. But when Catharine is put under the influence of truth serum, everyone must come to terms the reality of the long-buried secrets that are finally brought to light.

REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT by Rod Serling

Directed by Louis Contey, running January 13 –March 8, 2008

Featuring ensemble members Maury Cooper

In the 1956 drama REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT—also produced as a Peabody-Award-winning 1957 teleplay and a 1962 film— washed-up prizefighter Harlan Mountain McClintock faces the sudden end of his career. Having spent 14 years in the ring, Mountain faces the prospect of a life that does not include boxing and discovers that the skills that almost made him a champion don’t count for much in the wider world. Mountain is torn between the possibility of new love and a promising future offered by social worker Grace, and loyalty to his self-serving manager Maish, who wants to exploit the fighter on the lucrative professional wrestling circuit. Widely regarded as one of the greatest sports dramas of all time, REQUIEM FOR A HEAVYWEIGHT is a gut-wrenching account of the merciless prizefight game and the human wreckage it leaves in its wake. 

A TASTE OF HONEY

by Shelagh Delaney

Directed by Dado, running May 18 – July 5, 2008 

Set in 1950s Manchester England, Delaney’s poignant and comic play tells the story of Jo, a shy adolescent chafing against the constraints of her working class life and the demands of her selfish, irresponsible mother Helen. When Helen abandons Jo to take up with a much younger man, Jo falls prey to the advances of an itinerant sailor and is left pregnant and alone. Determined not to be undone by her difficult circumstances, she creates her own sort of family with gay art student Geoffrey, who moves into Jo’s flat to help her prepare for the birth of her baby. The two settle into tentative peace and happiness—until Helen’s unexpected reappearance threatens to throw Jo’s life back into upheaval.  Grammar school dropout Shelagh Delaney was only 17 years old when she started writing her first play, A TASTE OF HONEY, a work that would propel her to literary superstardom by the time she reached her twenties. 

September 15, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Princess envy from Redmoon Theatre’s “The Princess Club”

With the looks of their blog postings, it seems that the creative gang over at Red Moon Theatre have cast down-and-dirty divas for their newest production, The Princess Club.  As one princess tells us:

…..we’re in The Club and you’re not, Sucka….

Impeccable taste, sexy humps, and good shoes to name a few. Wig decorating season is about to commence and I can’t wait. Gotta go…See you on the runway.

Hmmm…I don’t know if anyone can compete with that!

September 13, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Redmoon Theatre does “Looptopia”

Speaking of Redmoon Theatre, here’s a fun little clip I found on YouTube of their puppet gymnastics at “Looptopia”. 

September 12, 2007 | 0 Comments More

“The Crucible” at Steppenwolf – planned with the city??

I just remembered that “The Crucible” will be included in Steppenwolf’s upcoming season.  As mentioned previously, this same play is Chicago’s new book club selection, which got me wondering as to whether this was a coincidence or planned.  I am leaning on the possibility that Steppenwolf worked this out with the city.  If so, my hats off to Steppenwolf for some brilliant *free* marketing!!!

September 2, 2007 | 0 Comments More

Miller’s “The Crucible” to be Chicago’s next book club selection

Chicago has chosen it’s next selection for the “One Book, One Chicago” program: Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible”.  This Tony Award-winning play about the 17th Century Salem witch hunts and trials was Arthur Miller’s response to his censorship during the McCarthy trials in the 1950’s.  In a statement, Daley rightly equates this same sype of witch hunt to the atmosphere in today’s administration. 

“After 9/11, a lot of people have looked at the Muslim community, the Arab community in a completely different way and that’s really unfortunate. Also, many people are looking at the immigrant community in a completely different way, which is really unfortunate. We can learn from our lessons in history-and maybe we haven’t,” Daley told a news conference Thursday at the Harold Washington Library.

Daley goes on to sweep the internet into this milleu, including blogs: 

Apparently referring to modern-day political witch hunts, Daley said, “In the electronic age, anyone can say anything. It’s remarkable. You listen to radio and TV and read [Internet blogs] and they’ll say anything without any justification. It’s amazing. It’s a completely different electronic age today. Home videos, everything. People say and do things. It’s amazing what can take place. That’s why we have to be very careful and review what’s happening in America.”

Hopefully he’s not including this blog in with that group!

For the complete story from the Chicago Sun-Times, click here.

September 2, 2007 | 1 Comment More

Fun video – building the set for “Osage County”

Here’s a fun clip, showing a very sped up version of building the set for Steppenwolf’s hit show “Osage County”.  Oh, if only set-building only took this long!

August 28, 2007 | 0 Comments More