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What Time Is This: Recreating Period Authenticity in The Time of Your Life

The Time Of Your Life ChicagoSome plays can be relocated to other periods and locales with relative ease, but others are inseparable from their original milieu. Try to imagine Of Mice and Men or Cat On a Hot Tin Roof anywhere but where their authors decided to set them.

What makes the ambience of William Saroyan's The Time of.... Read More


Spontaneous Coward (Noel, That Is): Unplanned Noel Coward Festival Welcomes in the Holidays

Design For Living"All of Noel Coward's plays feature characters in—or out of—love." observes Derek Bertelsen, director of Pride Films and Plays production of Design For Living. While no one would ever mistake Coward's flagrantly unconventional lovers for your standard-issue Jack-and-Jill sweethearts, the cheerful amorality reflected in the English author's comedies appears to be responsible for Chicago's fall season boasting.... Read More


Million Dollar Quartet To Close After 7 Year Run

Million Dollar QuartetWith almost 3,000 performances, Million Dollar Quartet, Chicago's longest-running Broadway musical, is set to close on January 17, 2016. The Tony Award winning rock 'n' roll musical has been breaking box office records at the Apollo Theater, 2540 N. Lincoln Avenue where it will run for only a short time longer.

.... Read More


Fun Home, The SpongeBob Musical, Finding Neverland Coming to Chicago

Broadway In ChicagoBroadway In Chicago announced the upcoming 2016 season line-up. Broadway In Chicago's 2016 season will include the 2015 Tony Award-Winning Best Musical FUN HOME, the Pre-Broadway World Premiere of THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL, 42ND STREET, BULLETS OVER BROADWAY, THE SOUND OF MUSIC and FINDING NEVERLAND. The Broadway In Chicago 2016 Season line-up, including performance.... Read More


Going Down Swinging: Training the Pugs in Sucker Punch

Sucker PunchDespite the conspicuous presence of athletes wearing padded gloves and silk trunks, Roy Williams' Sucker Punch is a play about fighting, and not just boxing. When the slum-dwelling citizens seeking refuge from poverty and violence in Charlie Maggs' shabby gymnasium aren't mixing it up in the ring, they're practicing in anticipation of achieving their moment of glory,.... Read More


Equity Jeff Awards 2015 Recipients

Jeff AwardsTwo theatres in their first year of Equity eligibility received the most awards at the gala 47th Annual Equity Jeff Awards held at Drury Lane Oakbrook which celebrated a season of outstanding productions.

Newly Equity eligible, The Hypocrites earned six awards for "All Our Tragic", an epic 12-hour adaptation of the 32.... Read More


Diva Stunt-Double: Vocal Shape-Shifting in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

The Rise and Fall of Little VoiceThe Rise and Fall of Little Voice is British playwright Jim Cartwright's modern-day fairy tale: its princess is a shy young woman dubbed "Little Voice"—or L.V.—by her boisterous mother, and her prison tower, the shabby public-housing apartment that they share. To muffle the sound of her careless parent's nightly carouses, Little Voice withdraws to her room and.... Read More


Singing Like A Seagull: Ukulele Music in Sideshow's Stupid F**king Bird

Stupid BirdIts technical name is "tenor archtop ukulele"—not the cigar-box toy we associate with raccoon-coated roaring-twenties college boys and backyard tiki parties, but a relative of the lute, the mandolin and a pre-World War Two jazz guitar. So why is a character from a fin-de-siècle Russian classic playing mid-eighties pop tunes on one? Well, it's because this isn't really.... Read More


Prayer and Kitchens: Cooking with Steppenwolf in Grand Concourse

Grand Concourse Steppenwolf TheatreNearly everything that happens in Heidi Schreck's Grand Concourse occurs in a kitchen—not a cozy gingham-curtained sanctuary of the kind often recreated in storefront theaters, but a stainless-steel urban-industrial scullery where meals for hoards of homeless diners are prepared daily by Sister Shelley and her assistants. Joey Wade's design for this oasis offering food for the body.... Read More


Pachydermal Puppetry: Creating the Hindu Elephant God in A Perfect Ganesh

A Perfect GaneshThe reason behind Terrence McNally's A Perfect Ganesh being so rarely performed is not its now-outdated fantasy of India, but that its story's narrator and facilitator is the Hindu deity Ganesha, remover of obstacles and, thus, patron of lovers and travelers. Why should so benevolent a spiritual icon present problems? Ganesha, you see, boasts a human body.... Read More


Angry Birds: Skyward Battle Cries in Conor McPherson's The Birds

The BirdsThe "bunker play" literary genre proposes a microcosmic society characters confined in restrictive quarters under duress arising from an outside threat. In Conor McPherson's The Birds (adapted from the short story by Daphne DuMaurier), what precipitates his three refugees securing shelter in an abandoned house on the New England coast are a series of concerted attacks by.... Read More


Gateway Theater: Windy City Playhouse Welcomes First-Time Audiences

Windy City PlayhouseIt's probably the most glamorous storefront theater in Chicago, its fašade recalling a Sinatra-era Hollywood lounge. Buildings of this vintage are nowadays most often found in the suburbs, refurbished with an eye to providing weary grandparents with nostalgic memories.

That's exactly what the Windy City Playhouse is not, though. Its quarters in what was.... Read More


The Saints Go Marching On: Indispensable Theater Volunteers Continue Their Mission

The SaintsThey are most often seen at the theaters, performing front-of-the-house chores—checking coats, dispensing refreshments, passing out playbills, tearing tickets and guiding patrons to their seats. They are usually dressed in smart black-and-white ("full penguin" jackets at the Symphony Center, business casual khakis and henleys at Theater Wit, by request of its owner, Jeremy Wechsler). The majority of them.... Read More


Back-Porch Picnic On Fire Island: Cooking With Terrence McNally in Lips Together, Teeth Apart

Lips Together, Teeth ApartTerrence McNally's Lips Together, Teeth Apart is located in and around a luxury beach house in the swankiest part of New York's Fire Island, occupied on a Fourth of July weekend by two couples sunk in their respective funks despite the revelry surrounding them. The Eclipse Theatre Company's production occupies a third-floor studio with a stage measuring.... Read More


TLC In The CCTV Room: Red Handed Otter's Night Shift

Red Handed OtterPatrons of A Red Orchid's off-the-street theater are accustomed to scenery unfolding like pop-up puzzles on a shallow stage featuring only a little over a hundred square feet of walk-around floor space. Even so, the scenic design for Ethan Lipton's Red Handed Otter, set in a basement security center for an unnamed property (most likely a mall),.... Read More


Head To Foot: Baubles, Bling and Big Hair in Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette at Steppenwolf TheatreElton John, step aside! Liberace, eat your heart out! You, too, Cher! France's last royal highness and her posse in David Adjmi's Marie Antoinette take fashionable excess to new heights—literally, with yard-high hair-dos, eight inch-high heels and dazzling mirrors on every surface.

"The goal was to create an atmosphere of extravagant luxury,".... Read More


The Birds And The Beasts Were There: Animal Puppets in The Hammer Trinity

The Hammer TrinityIn The Hammer Trinity, Chris Mathews and Nathan Allen's Tolkeinesque three-part fantasy epic, there are two scenes where the entire audience rises in unison to cheer the action transpiring on stage. The villain getting his comeuppance is one, of course, but before that climactic victory, there is the moment where July of the Seven Foxes summons forth the.... Read More


Springtime On The Frontier: Prairie Landscaping in Lifeline's One Came Home

One Came HomeYou'd never guess to look at the Baraboo/Dells region nowadays, but central Wisconsin was once a seemingly endless expanse of rocky glacial terrain teeming with wildlife and dotted with remote farming settlements barely hinting at the nearby state capitol. This is the setting of Amy Timberlake's One Came Home, a saga of feisty Georgie Burkhardt's search for.... Read More


Star-Crossed In South Asia: Nice Indian Boy's Bollywood Connection

A Nice Indian BoyDespite having been written over four hundred years ago, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is still invoked by star-crossed young romantics confronted with family opposition. The myth underscoring the courtship of the interracial same-sex sweethearts in Madhuri Shekar's A Nice Indian Boy, currently playing under the auspices of the Rasaka Theatre Company, has a shorter history, but resonates.... Read More


Mix-Master At Work: Tending Bar in Accidentally, Like a Martyr

Accidentally Like a MartyrThe frontier traditions shaping our nation's culture declare a saloon to be more than simply a liquor dispensary, instead ranking alongside the town church as a community social center, serving as ballroom, hotel, dining hall and funeral parlor as needed. Its elevated status may account for the number of American plays set in barrooms, from The Iceman Cometh.... Read More


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