Upcoming Dance

Firebrand Theatre, the first musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage, is pleased to announce the appointment of Kimberly Lawson as Managing Director. 
 
Comments Artistic Director Harmony France, “Kimberly has vast administrative experience from her time at Victory Gardens and Lookingglass Theatres. She believes strongly in our mission of employing and empowering women and for standing up for inclusion and diversity in theatre. Not to mention she is an inspiring artist herself. I think she is a perfect fit for Firebrand Theatre and look forward to what we will be able to achieve together.”
 
About Kimberly Lawson
 
Kimberly Lawson is thrilled to be joining the team of Firebrand Theatre. Originally from St. Louis, MO, Kimberly has worked with over 20 theaters in the Chicago area as a theater administrator and performer. Currently the Manager of Audience Services of Lookingglass Theatre, she previously held the position of Director of Audience and Venue Services at Victory Gardens Theater. As performer, she was most recently seen in Andre DeShields' Confessions of a P.I.M.P at Victory Gardens Theater. Kimberly is also an active cabaret singer, and is a member of Chicago Cabaret Professionals. Her latest show, WOZ, was nominated for a BroadwayWorld Chicago award after playing sold out performances at Davenport's Piano Bar, Victory Gardens and Stage 773. She will be returning to the Davenport's stage in August with her latest show, She Plays the Violin.
 
Firebrand Theatre’s inaugural season begins this fall with the Chicago premiere of LIZZIE, a rock musical based on the true-life story of accused axe-murderess Lizzie Borden, playing November 11 – December 17, 2017. The season concludes next spring with the musical comedy 9 TO 5 THE MUSICAL, based on the hit movie of the same name about three working women fighting for equality in a sexist workplace, playing April 7 – May 20, 2018. Both productions will be presented at The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. For tickets and additional information, visit firebrandtheatre.org.
 
Mission Statement
 
FIREBRAND THEATRE is a musical theatre company committed to employing and empowering women by expanding their opportunities on and off the stage. Firebrand is a 501(c)(3) Equity theatre.
 
Company members: Artistic Director: Harmony France, Managing Director: Kimberly Lawson, Advisory Board: Lili-Anne Brown, Brenda Didier, Kate Garassino, Emjoy Gavino, Amber Mak, Danni Smith, Company Members: Kasey Alfonso, Sydney Charles, Adelina Feldman-Schultz, Amanda Horvath, Jon Martinez, Eric Martin, Amelia Jo Parrish and Andra Velis-Simon.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Pinterest fails are an internet sensation, with recognizable side by side pictures illustrating the difference between expectations and reality for the everyday crafter, baker, photographer, etc. It seems that no matter how many of these memes we see, it is still commonplace to set high expectations which risk being let down.

 

“WOZ: A Rock Cabaret” was unfortunately a case of missed expectations. The concept is a cabaret show which tells the familiar story of The Wizard of Oz through the iconic music of the 80’s and 90’s, including hits from Whitesnake, Blondie, Foreigner, Queen and Michael Jackson. Sounds awesome, right!? While the show had its moments and some strong singers, the reality was a production that felt flat, with big moments that lost their steam and performances that lacked the luster and pizzazz expected from a cabaret.

 

One of the main issues with the show was the venue. Performed on stage at Victory Gardens Theater, this cabaret style show felt out of place. The performers attempted to interact with the audience but it required them to come down off the stage where they easily got lost in this stadium style seating. Had this been set in a truer cabaret setting, where the audience could sit at tables enjoying their cocktails, it could have allowed the performance to work the space both on the stage and on the floor and perhaps made the show more engaging.

 

The creativity behind the song selection was awesome and very often the start of a new song brought smiles, laughs and a palpable energy to the audience. As the performers sang the full songs however, it often felt like things started to drag and there was not enough happening to hold attention through to the end of the song.

 

The performers themselves were mostly strong overall. The standouts of the show were the journeying buddies of the Scarecrow (Kevin Webb), the Tinman (James Nedrud) and the Cowardly Lion (Edward Fraim). All three brought different unique but powerful voices to their songs and added some great humor to the show. Heather Currie was a powerhouse and had an odd but quite funny style in how she played the Wicked Witch. The performances of Clara D’Onofrio and Kimberly Lawson, as Glinda and Dorothy respectively, left something to be desired. Both have strong voices but tend more toward the musical theater style which did not always vibe with the other performers. Andre De Shields was the special guest star of the show, bringing star power to the role of the Wizard and he certainly stole the show with his numbers.

 

While there are some high moments and tons of creativity that clearly went into this show, the performance lacks the excitement that could have turned this somewhat lackluster show into an all-out engaging and exciting cabaret performance.

 

With only 5 performances, the run of this show is already nearing completion but this was its second run in Chicago, so if you really wish you could have seen it, try clicking your heels three times and say to yourself “there’s no place like WOZ” – maybe it will be back someday, bigger and better.

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

10 Years! Fave Issue Covers

Register

Latest Articles