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  The Cherry Orchard at Raven Theatre

The Cherry Orchard

Raven Theatre
6157 N. Clark St Chicago

Chekhov’s last play tapped the history of his own family’s home and the fall of the aristocracy. In "The Cherry Orchard", the Ranevsky family is facing financial ruin, largely due to the spendthrift ways of the family matriarch and her devotion to a parasitic lover. The family attempts to come up with a solution so that the estate won’t be sold, but none of the plans lead to action.

Thru - Jul 23, 2011

Price: $20-$40

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 773-338-2177

Running Time: 2hrs, 10mins; one intermission

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  The Cherry Orchard Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...It is that Manifesto that subtly animates Anton Chekhov’s drama, “The Cherry Orchard.” And in his smart, zestful take on the play for Raven Theatre, director Michael Menendian deftly suggests the intriguing correspondences between the two countries as, several decades later, they are still feeling the impact of huge social change. He does so simply by his casting of black actors in the roles of servants or other characters whose parents were peasants tied to a particular estate. Menendian also is supported in this choice by the still fresh, spirited 1977 translation of the play by Jean-Claude van Itallie."
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Hedy Weiss

Chicago Reader - Somewhat Recommended

"...The script's comic buoyancy is admirably reflected in Michael Menendian's staging for Raven Theatre Company, but the serious stuff occasionally gets lost in all the pratfalls and mugging. And Menendian's decision to have monologues addressed directly to the audience prevents intimacy from developing among the characters. Casting an African-American actor as Lopakhin, the coarse merchant descended from emancipated serfs, adds resonance for an American audience. But that choice is compromised by Frederick Harris's fussy performance."
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Zac Thompson

Talkin Broadway - Recommended

"...The production design, together with the light-hearted approach taken by Menendian, may bring to mind Bergman's Smiles of a Summer Night as much as Chekhov, but Chekhov came first and maybe he was an influence on Bergman. Like the summer night, in The Cherry Orchard, Chekov smiles on the young, the old and the foolish and if this production delivers some smiles on a hot Chicago summer night, there's nothing so wrong with that."
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John Olson

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

" this broadly acted iteration, most of Cherry Orchard’s staying power goes by the wayside. JoAnn Montemurro, as matriarch Lyubov, never seems to genuinely connect with her daughters Varya (Helen Young) and Anya (Sophia Menendian), and Frederick Harris’s Lopakhin is on a different wavelength from the rest of the cast. Michael Morgan Peters as the tutor Trofimov and Liz Fletcher as governess Ivanovna provide flashes of interest."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Somewhat Recommended

"...Basically, this is a very mediocre production. If someone has never seen Chekhov, it’s a decent enough introduction: the source material is good enough, and the production is passable enough that you’re still seeing The Cherry Orchard. And it is not the sullen affair some misinterpret the play to be. But it is by no means an outstanding or even a particularly strong production – and this, again, I lay firmly at the director’s feet. He simply mishandled the play."
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Will Fink

Chicago Stage Standard - Recommended

"...Performed 109 years ago, Chekhov's last play was written when, dying from TB at the age of 44, he knew that indeed it would be just that. It isn't so much a farewell to life as to a way of life--the feckless, drifting, aimless indulgence of Madame Lovey Ranevskaya. Elegant and vacuous as she suggests a slavic Blanche DuBois, Lovey is the absentee owner who has spent half her life in an easy, amorous Parisian exile. Now she returns to the family demesne, infuriatingly expecting that nothing has changed. Of course it has--for all of Russia. A son of serfs, the wily Lopakin now minds (and mines) the estate; by the end of the play he owns it and Ranevskaya's exile begins in earnest. Of course the plight–where what doesn’t happen is far more painful than what does-- is shot through with Chekhov’s bittersweet melancholy, just as Stanislavsky treated the play in the original production."

Lawrence Bommer

Let's Play at ChicagoNow - Highly Recommended

"... Director Michael Menendian masterfully paces it to perfection. Menendian keeps the movement tight and smooth. Beyond a scene's focal point, Menendian stages simultaneous activity. Ron Quade (Leonid) plucking air or Manny Buckley (Yasha) sophisticatedly stealing silver are mesmerizing sidelines of hilarity."
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Katy Walsh

Chicago Theater Beat - Not Recommended

"...Already hindered conceptually by an over-simple interpretation, Raven’s production is marred by basic production elements. The preview performance I attended featured confused staging and stilted action–issues that aren’t commonly solved by another few runs. As Ranevskaya and Trofimov, Joann Montemurro and Michael Peters provide some heart to the otherwise shallow production. In that respect, they’re alone. If the rest of the family doesn’t really seem to care, why should we?"

Dan Jakes

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