Tag: Hedy Weiss
Bailiwick Chicago Announces 3-Week Extension
of Joe DiPietro’s F**KING MEN
Executive Director Kevin Mayes announced today that Bailiwick Chicago’s hit production of Joe DiPietro’s F**KING MEN will be extended for an additional three weeks due to popular demand. Performances will continue through Sunday, August 29 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont with the original cast.
We are so pleased that Chicago audiences have embraced this production,” said Mayes, “and we are excited that we’ve been able to keep the original cast together for this second extension. It’s been an amazing summer for Bailiwick Chicago, with our two hit shows Aida and F**KING MEN. We are incredibly proud of – and humbled by – the response.
F**KING MEN observes the sex lives of the modern urban gay American male. Conceived as a noir-riff on Arthur Schnitzler’s 19th century play, LA RONDE, the play examines ten men from all walks of life as they negotiate the before and after of lust, love, betrayal and the pursuit of sex and emotional connection. Funny, poignant, sometimes dramatic, always provocative and sexy, the show has been critically acclaimed by Chicago critics: “Emotionally Searing…Superb Performances…there is truth and understanding in F**KING MEN.” (Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times) “…[F**KING MEN] is serviced brilliantly by this snappy, assured Chicago production.” (Nina Metz, Chicago Tribune) “…F**KING MEN is pretty fucking solid.” (Kris Vire, TimeOut Chicago).
Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m., and Sundays at 7 p.m. General admission tickets are $25. Special Reserved seating is available for $30. Student and Industry rush tickets will be available at the door for $15 at every Sunday performance. Group (6+) tickets are $20.00. To purchase tickets, call the Stage 773 box office at 773-327-5252, or go towww.ticketmaster.com.
REMY BUMPPO THEATRE COMPANY ANNOUNCES 2010/2011 SEASON
|Night and Day|
| by Tom Stoppard
directed by James Bohnen
September 22 – October 31
|The Importance of Being Earnest|
| by Oscar Wilde
directed by Artistic Associate Shawn Douglass
November 24, 2010 – January 2, 2011
|The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?|
| by Edward Albee
directed by James Bohnen
March 30 – May 8, 2011
All shows presented at the Greenhouse Theater Center at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.
Disparate acts gracefully knitted together create a lovely distraction.
Reviewed by Catey Sullivan
The outfits evoke a Bedazzler-run-amok in Siegfried and Roy’s costume shop. The lighting is pure glitter gulch. And the acts? Picture Liberace’s long-lost Shanghai-born twin falling into a giant sloshing bucket of Cirque de Soleil and emerging with a show for audiences more accustomed to Vegas-style MTV smash cuts than the studied elegance of those artsy-fartsy French Canadians.
This is the wonderful world of Cirque Shanghai: Bright Spirit (buy tickets here), running in the Armadillo – whoops, the Skyline Stage – on Navy Pier through September 7th. The 90-minute production is a variety show on steroids – but if steroids were a good thing. Which is to say, Bright Spirit is a hopped up, mega-amplified celebration of some of the most garishly useless and entertaining skills around: Hoop divers, plate spinners, chair climbers (!), hat jugglers (!!) and unitard-clad creatures in inner tubes bouncing and rolling in ways that seem to defy more than a few fundamental laws of physics. For summer time guilty pleasures, Bright Spirit is up there with State Fair Fried Twinkies and snickering Oak Street beach’s endless preening spandex parade.
Directed by Naperville-native Dwight Jordan and choreographed by Lincolnshire native Brenda Didier, Bright Spirit – like all the Cirque Shanghai productions – is the brain child of Mike Wilson. The son of travelling magicians, Wilson followed his parents throughout China as a child, picking up a lifelong fascination with Chinese acrobatics, dance and folklore along the way. In 1990, he started bringing Chinese performers to the U.S., envisioning a sort of cross-cultural pollination between traditional Chinese art forms and high-tech Western production values. Almost 20 years later, Cirque Shanghai is the elaborate culmination of that vision. And in Navy Pier – a venue where one can find just about everything but beat baiting (though there’s lots of cotton candy for just such a purpose) – Wilson has a venue that perfectly complements Cirque Shanghai’s hybrid of populist thrill-o-rama stunts and ancient Eastern art forms.
Now in its fourth season on the Pier, Cirque Shanghai has been polished and tweaked since it initially arrived, but the core showstoppers remain intact, a splendid display of spectacularly worthless skills resplendently presented.
Plate spinners turn the stage into a dizzying, dazzling pond filled with hundreds of rapidly orbiting lily pads set twirling by elite-level gymnasts. In an inexplicable (yet laugh-out-loud amusing) non-sequitor of sorts, a giant day-glo caterpillar that looks for all the world like an outtake from “James and the Giant Peach” makes his undulating way across the stage toward the dinnerware finale.
We’ve long fancied ourselves a connoisseur of contortionists, and the seemingly boneless wonders here do not disappoint offering a gallery of body positions that, when one stops to think about it, are simply not possible.
And only at Cirque Shanghai can you catch the “bumble bee diabolo” – wherein manically smiling young ladies propel a cross between nunchucks, windmill propellers and giant yoyos in an act that perfectly captures the timeless sentiment “you’re gonna put somebody’s eye out with that thing.”
With such disparate acts gracefully knitted together by Didier’s apt choreography, Bright Spirit is a lovely distraction. Save the Serious Art for fall. Now is the summer of our deep content with the likes of plate spinners.
‘CIRQUE SHANGHAI: GOLD’
When: Through Sept. 1 (12 shows a week, including most afternoons)
Where: Pepsi Skyline Stage, Navy Pier
Running time: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Tickets: $14.50-$29.50 at 312-902-1500
Various “Cirque” Reviews:
- Chicago Tribune’s review. (“Cirque Shanghai leaves crowd cheering)
- Sun-Times’ review. (…modestly-staged acrobatics are generally neat.)
- BroadwayWorld.com’s review. (…a soaring celebration of life appearing only in Chicago)
See the entire Cirque Shanghai photo album here.
Daily Herald’s Barbara Vitello – Highly Recommended
Excited doesn’t begin to describe the audience for the opening of the long-awaited “Mary Poppins” national tour Wednesday at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Exhilarated is more like it.
Young children bounced in their seats, adults gasped with surprise and the applause that accompanied the overture’s opening notes didn’t stop until after the enigmatic Mary Poppins (the delightful Ashley Brown reprising the role she created on Broadway) flew away for the last time. (Read entire review here.)
Smart children know parents have to be trained to behave. Savvy, pint-sized domestic reformers will be thrilled with “Mary Poppins,” a rare family musical that spends most of its ample running time exhorting parents to stop working, take care of their long-suffering spouses, discover their inner supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and go fly a kite with the kids.
And parents? Speaking as someone who can always use help in that department, the ministrations of a magical nanny—emotionally inaccessible but practically perfect in every other way—sound good to me. (rest of the review here)
Chicago Sun Times’ Hedy Weiss – Highly Recommended
“Mary Poppins” audience as lucky as lucky can be in nanny’s magical hands.
The magic in “Mary Poppins” — the darkly whimsical, continually ingenious musical that opened Wednesday at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in its post-London, post-Broadway and initial national touring company engagement — is doled out in generous but carefully calibrated spoonfuls. And because that magic (some of it quite black, most of it airborne and exhilarating) is interspersed with a healthy dose of realism, it takes on a special Technicolor glow when unleashed. (Entire review here.)
Buy tickets at TicketMaster.
Related Blog Posts
Mary Poppins Extends Stay In Chicago – Theatre In Chicago
Following a sold out run at Second City e.t.c., the popular comedy review “Rod Blagojevich Superstar‘ will be playing a limited engagement Chicago Shakes on Navy Pier. The Navy Pier version has been updated with new sketches and music to include recent Blago happenings, such as his 6-figure book deal and Roland Burris’ son (and, as the Blago drama proceeds, so will Second City’s improv show!). After each performance, the famed improv theatre troupe will improvise a 20-minute political comedy set based on audience suggestions.
Superstar has book by Ed Furman, music and lyrics by T.J. Shanoff and direction by Matt Hovde. The cast includes Joey Bland as Rod Blagojvich, Mike Bradecich as Richard Mell/Pat Fitzgerald, Lauren Dowden as Lisa Madigan, Lori McClain as Patti Blagojevich and Sam Richardson as Senator Roland Burris.
According to Second City notes,
“Politics and parody take center stage Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare with the Second City’s rollicking musical parody of the rise and fall of ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich. A faux tribute to the man who compares himself to Gandhi, King and Mandela, Rod Blagojevich Superstar presents the story of the former governor in the style of a ’70s rock musical. Jesus and Mary Magdalene have been replaced by Rod and Patti Blagojevich, with appearances by Alderman Dick Mell, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald and Senator Roland Burris. The jury is still out on Blagojevich, but of the five other Illinois governors who have been charged with crimes, three have done time.”
More info at ChicagoShakes.com.
Rave reviews after the fold.
See video preview of the show here.
UPDATE – REVIEWS
Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times: Apart from its (“trussed up”) set, the Lookingglass “Our Town” — co-directed by Anna D. Shapiro and Jessica Thebus and featuring 13 members of the close-knit ensemble — is a fairly straightforward, gently elegiac interpretation of the play. (Entire review here). Rating: Recommended
Michael J. Roberts at ChicagoPride.com: Lookingglass gives us an older but wiser ‘Our Town’. It is in the third act, however,that Shapiro and Thebus strike gold with the Lookingglass actors and where the casting choice of using older actors to play George and Emily……there is a gravitas that can only come with the experience of life. Moreover, the final moments with Schwimmer collapsing on his wife’s tombstone left nary a dry eye in the house, including mine. (Entire review here.)
Chris Jones at his Chicago Tribune theater blog The Theater Loop: Iconic play mirrors Lookingglass’ Journey…Schwimmer the emotional core of ‘Our Town’ in search of a small town. (Entire review here.) Rating: «««
Cast of “Our Town”. More pics here.
Tribune photo by E. Jason Wambsgans / February 5, 2009
From YouTube: Meet the cast of “Our Town”.
In this video: David Schwimmer, Joey Slotnick, David Catlin, David Kersnar, Laura Eason, Thomas J Cox, Andy White, Heidi Stillman, Raymond Fox, Patia Bartlett, Philip R Smith, Tracy Walsh, Louise Lamson and Kevin Douglas
XANADU, the show that has surprised and delighted Broadway, is now delighting Chicago fans by offering a “Happy Sale” featuring $44 tickets. Reviews for the Chicago production have ranged mostly from good to exuberant (though there are a some naysayers). But now – with this “happy” ticket deal – it could be a perfect time for you to see this 90-minutes-of-giddiness for yourself – whether seeing it for the first time or for the fifth. Part of Broadway In Chicago 2008-2009 season, XANADU is at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower (175 E Chestnut St ).
Okay, so here’s the deal: to purchase these specially priced $44 tickets (only offered Sunday – Friday performances through March, 29), contact the box office and mention the code HAPPY. Tickets are available at the box office and www.BroadwayInChicago.com.
See a round-up of Xanadu reviews and pictures here.
UPDATE: Excerpts from Hedy Weiss’s new article regarding Ms. Torem has been added at the bottom of this post.
I am always incredibly impressed by young theatrical talent that can hold their own among a group of professional actors. Often these young prodigies easily steal the show. Past examples include Edward Heffernan in American Theatre Company‘s The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs, by William Inge, as well as Lillian Almaguer in Steppenwolf’s controversial production of The Pain and the Itch, by Bruce Norris.
One crucial reason to catch the Profiles Theatre production of Lee Blessing’s two-character play “Great Falls” is to witness the astonishing performance by Allison Torem. An actress of dazzling skill, fierce emotional honesty and breath-taking sophistication, she also just happens to be a senior at the Whitney Young Magnet High School. (emphasis mine)
Ms. Weiss goes on to say that Torem “triggers memories of the young Jodie Foster“. Wow.
Kudos to Ms.Torem, and to Profiles for presenting such an exemplary production.
She didn’t see much theater as a child, but when she broke a finger in a bowling accident at age 9, she stopped taking karate and violin lessons and enrolled in classes at Prologue Children’s Theatre. In eighth grade she took classes at the Second City, but confesses: “I was seriously insecure. It would be a whole lot more fun for me now.” She also tried her hand at musicals as part of the youth-oriented Entertainment Project.
At first I was taken aback when reading this:
Torem, a slight girl with an interesting face that can shift between beauty and something far more challenging, admits to being stunned by her glowing reviews.
But then I realized that, for the stage, an actor’s ability to manipulate their expressions is an a coveted talent. Read the entire article here.
Once again – bravo!
As reported on Playbill.com and the Chicago Tribune’s blog “The Theater Loop” by Chris Jones, David Cromer’s acclaimed Chicago production of Our Town, by Thorton Wilder, will make a reappearance in Spring 2009 at an Off-Broadway theatre. This is becoming something of a trend for David Cromer, as his production of The Adding Machine recently finished an award-winning run at Off-Broadway’s Minetta Lane Theatre.
- Auditions are currently under way
- Ont The Town will be produced by Scott Morfee (who also financially-backed Adding Machine)
- Begins in February at the Barrow Street Theatre in Greenwich Village.
- The cast is expected to be a mix of Chicago and New York actors.
- Cromer directed and played the Stage Manager in the Windy City run, but it is not yet known whether Cromer will reprise the Stage Manager role.
- In regards to the set, the Barrow Street stage will be stripped bare to echo Cromer’s earlier concept.
As for The Adding Machine, which premiered at Evanston’s Next Theatre (see my review here), Playbill relays:
Cromer’s intensely visual staging of the musical Adding Machine was one of the best-reviewed productions of the 2007-08 season in New York City. The musical by composer and co-librettist Josh Schmidt and co-librettist Jason Loewith played the Minetta Lane Theatre Feb. 8-July 20.
For its New York run Adding Machine was awarded two Outer Critics Circle Awards (Outstanding New Off-Broadway Musical, Outstanding New Score), four Lucille Lortel Awards (Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Director, Outstanding Lead Actor, Outstanding Lighting Design) and four Obie Awards as well as nominations from the Drama Desk and Drama League awards.
More links of interest:
- Informative interview with David Cromer by the podcast of TheatreinChicago.com.
- TimeOut Chicago’s article on this move to Off-Broadway
- Other reviews of “Our Town“, produced and performed by Hypocrites Theatre, including that of Hedy Weiss of the Chicago Sun-Times
- New York Times full-page profile of David Cromer.