Dance in Review

Buzz Center Stage

Buzz Center Stage

Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to announce its 2018 season, kicking off this spring with a revival of its 2013 hit L’IMITATION OF LIFE, a dead on parody of the 1959 film Imitation of Life about race, mothers and daughters – and looking fabulous! Adapted by Ricky Graham and Running with Scissors and directed by ensemble member Stevie Love, ensemble member Ed Jones and Robert Williams reprise their roles as Lana Turner and Annie Johnson.
 
This summer, Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia return for THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2. Following last year’s sold-out, seven-month run, Handbag’s parody of the beloved TV sitcom is back with all new adventures written by Artistic Director David Cerda and directed by Becca Holloway. THE GOLDEN GIRLS will feature Chazie Bly, David Cerda, Adrian Hadlock, Ed Jones, Michael S. Miller and Grant Drager.
 
This fall, Handbag’s 16th season continues with Charles Ludlam’s comedic throwback to the age of film noir: THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE, directed by Shade Murray. The cast includes ensemble members David Cerda, Sydney Genco, Ed Jones and David Lipschutz 
 
For Halloween, Handbag conjures up a special treat: THE GOLDEN GIRLS: Bea Afraid! Our heroines return for seven spooky performances guaranteed to scare you out of your housecoat. 
 
The season will conclude with a soon-to-be-announced holiday production! 
 
Handbag’s 2018 Season will be staged at Mary’s Attic (5400 N. Clark St., Chicago) and Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago). Season subscriptions and single tickets will be available shortly at www.handbagproductions.org.
 
Hell in a Handbag Productions’ 2018 Season includes:
 
March 31 – May 6, 2018
L’IMITATION OF LIFE
By Ricky Graham and Running with Scissors
Directed by Stevie Love
Featuring ensemble member Ed Jones (Lana Turner) with Robert Williams (Annie Johnson). Additional casting to be announced.
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
 
In this hilarious parody of the1959 film Imitation of Life, Lana Turner is determined white widow and single mother with aspirations of becoming a Broadway sensation. When Lana meets Annie Johnson, a struggling single African-American mother, the two team up and take on the world as Lana does “whatever it takes” to make it in show business – while Annie takes care of the homestead and raises both daughters.
 
The two women face insurmountable challenges led by their daughters. There's the blonde, perky and “so white it's frightening" Suzie, daughter of Lana Turner, and the raven-haired rebellious light-skinned beauty, Sara Jane, daughter of Annie. Sara Jane learns the hard truth about acceptance and the color of your skin- especially when she tries to “pass” as white. 
 
June 19 – September 7, 2018
THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2
By David Cerda
Directed by Becca Holloway
Featuring ensemble members Chazie Bly (Ensemble), David Cerda (Dorothy), Adrian Hadlock (Sophia), Ed Jones (Rose), Michael S. Miller (Ensemble) and Grant Drager (Blanche).
at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St., Chicago
 
When Handbag opened THE GOLDEN GIRLS – THE LOST EPISODES in June 2017, it was supposed to be short summer treat for Handbag audiences but quickly turned into a sold-out, seven month run! Now, these lovely women from the classic TV sitcom return with new stories of friendship, love and cheesecake – all with the Handbag twist audiences have come to love!
 
September 20 – October 28, 2018
THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE
By Charles Ludlam
Directed by Shade Murray
Featuring ensemble members David Cerda (Mother Nurdiger), Sydney Genco (Roxanna), Ed Jones (Chester Nurdiger) and David Lipschutz (Zachary Slade). Additional casting to be announced.
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
 
THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE is Charles Ludlam’s last play and a perfect vehicle for Hell in a Handbag! Chester Nurdiger is a mild-mannered fellow who lives in the back of the pet shop he runs with his sultry wife Roxanna and his overly protective mother. Roxanna is bored to death, but when a handsome drifter walks into their lives, things get interesting… perhaps even deadly?! Part Double Indemnity, part The Postman Always Rings Twice, THE ARTIFICIAL JUNGLE is throwback to the classic age of film noir by the master and founder of the Ridiculous Theater movement. 
 
October 6, 2018 – November 3, 2018
The GOLDEN GIRLS: Bea Afraid – The Halloween Edition
By David Cerda
Directed by Becca Holloway
Featuring ensemble members Chazie Bly (Ensemble), David Cerda (Dorothy), Adrian Hadlock (Sophia), Ed Jones (Rose), Michael S. Miller (Ensemble) and Grant Drager (Blanche).
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
 
It’s not Halloween without a Handbag show, so Artistic Director David Cerda is conjuring up a special edition of its hit TV sitcom parody. Better get your tickets early – Dorothy, Rose, Blanche and Sophia are only back for seven wig-raising performances. Bea afraid, Bea very afraid!
 
About Hell in a Handbag Productions
 
Hell in a Handbag is dedicated to the preservation, exploration, and celebration of works ingrained in the realm of popular culture via theatrical productions through parody, music and homage. Handbag is a 501(c)(3) Not for Profit.

 

Artists from the bands Postmodern Jukebox, tUnE-yArDs and Diane Coffee join Broadway and West End talent for Lyric Opera’s North American premiere of Timothy Sheader’s explosive Olivier Award-winning production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s rock opera Jesus Christ Superstar, presented from April 27 to May 20, 2018 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago (press opening April 28).
 
The Lyric cast includes: Broadway artist Heath Saunders (Jesus); three-time GRAMMY Award-nominated soul singer Ryan Shaw (Judas); tUnE-yArDs tour vocalist Jo Lampert (Mary Magdalene); Broadway and Postmodern Jukebox crooners Michael Cunio (Pilate) and Mykal Kilgore (Simon Zealotes); Diane Coffee frontman Shaun Fleming (Herod); Chicago-based Broadway artist Joseph Anthony Byrd (Annas); West End favorite Cavin Cornwall (Caiaphas); and Chicago-based artist Andrew Mueller (Peter).
 
To guarantee a front row rock concert experience, Lyric will offer orchestra pit seating—the closest possible position to the stage—for the first time in the company's Broadway musical history. This new, up-front seating goes on sale today for students through Lyric’s NEXT discount ticket program, and will be made available to the general public at a later date.
 
Single tickets for Jesus Christ Superstar start at $44 and are on sale now at jcsuperstar.org, in person at the Lyric Opera House box office, or by calling 312-827-5600.
 
Three-time Olivier Award winner Timothy Sheader directs the North American premiere of his acclaimed 2016 production from Regent’s Park Open-Air Theatre. Sheader will be joined in Chicago by the original creative team, including music director Tom Deering, Olivier Award-winning choreographer Drew McOnie, Tony Award-nominated set & costume designer Tom Scutt, and Olivier Award-nominated lighting designer Lee Curran. The Chicago production will feature members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus.
 
Jesus Christ Superstar is an iconic rock opera that reinvented musical theater for the modern age. With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this global blockbuster tells the story of the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, from the perspective of Judas Iscariot. As Christ’s followers grow more fervent, Judas must make his fateful choice between faith and betrayal. Filled with an exciting mix of musical styles that draw upon 1970s rock, gospel, folk and funk themes, this contemporary imagining of the biblical tale features high-energy dance and powerful storytelling.

To learn more about Lyric’s current season, go to lyricopera.org.

 

First Floor Theater is pleased to continue their sixth season with the Chicago premiere of Nathan Alan Davis’s poetic and poignant drama, DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA, directed by Chika Ike. DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA will play March 4 – 31, 2018 at The Den Theatre, 1333 N Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently on sale at firstfloortheater.com. The press opening is Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm.
 
The cast includes First Floor company member Shariba Rivers, with Brianna Buckley, Jerome Beck, Kayla Raelle Holder, Brian Nelson Jr., Destiny Strothers and Jalen Gilbert as Dontrell.
 
Eighteen-year-old Dontrell Jones the Third decides it is his duty and destiny to venture into the Atlantic Ocean in search of an ancestor lost during the Middle Passage, but his family isn’t ready to abandon its prized son to the waters of a mysterious and haunting past.

Blending poetry, humor, wordplay and ritual, DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA is a modern-day hero’s quest exploring the lengths and depths we must go to redeem history’s wrongs. The play has been called “a mesmerizing blend of magical realism and poetic social comment” by The Los Angeles Times and “the most important play on DC stages” by The DC Theatre Scene.
The production team for DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA includes Eleanor Kahn (scenic design), Uriel Gomez (costume design), Rachel Levy (lighting design), Sarah D. Espinoza (sound design), Samantha Myers (props design), Breon Arzell (choreography), Bobby Huggins (technical director), Cole von Glahn (production manager) and Kayla Menz (stage manager).

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: DONTRELL, WHO KISSED THE SEA
Playwright: Nathan Alan Davis
Director: Chika Ike
Cast: First Floor company member Shariba Rivers, with Brianna Buckley, Jerome Beck, Kayla Raelle Holder, Brian Nelson Jr., Destiny Strothers and Jalen Gilbert as Dontrell.
 
Location: The Den Theatre, 1333 N Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Previews: Sunday, March 4 at 3 pm and Tuesday, March 6 at 7:30 pm
Press Performance: Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm
Regular Run: Thursday, March 8 – Saturday, March 31, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm.
Tickets: Previews: Pay What You Can. Regular Run: $10-$20. Tickets are on sale now at firstfloortheater.com.

 

Sideshow Theatre Company is pleased to launch its eleventh season with the Chicago premiere of Mia Chung’s absurdly inventive smash-hit YOU FOR ME FOR YOU, directed by ensemble member Elly Green*, playing March 4 – April 8, 2018 at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Casting will be announced shortly. Tickets are currently available at www.victorygardens.org, by calling (773) 871-3000 or in person at the Victory Gardens Box Office. The press opening is Thursday, March 8 at 8 pm.
 
YOU FOR ME FOR YOU features Sideshow ensemble member Katy Carolina Collins* with Patrick Agada, Gordon Chow, Helen Joo Lee, John Lu and Jin Park.
 
Two North Korean sisters plan an elaborate escape from the “Best Nation in the World,” only to be separated at the border. Now in two strange and separate worlds filled with outrageous characters, they must navigate barriers of language and bureaucracy, reckon with the ways that culture and country can shape us, and discover that survival requires sacrifice. Playwright Mia Chung weaves myth and striking imagery into a deeply affecting and surprisingly funny adventure, portraying the endless lengths to which two sisters will go to find one another again.
 
Artistic Director Jonathan L. Green comments, “Mia's play is one we've been chasing for a few years. You for Me for You is fast-moving, funny and daring; in the hands of Sideshow's Elly Green, it's going to be a tour de force.”
 
The production team for YOU FOR ME FOR YOU includes: William Boles* (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Cat Wilson (lighting design), Christopher M. LaPorte* (sound design), Jessica Mondres (properties design), Ben Chang (dramaturg), Chad Hain (technical director), Ellen Willett* (production manager) and Jean E. Compton (stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: YOU FOR ME FOR YOU
Playwright: Mia Chung
Director: ensemble member Elly Green*
Cast (in alphabetical order): Patrick Agada (Man from the South), Gordon Chow (Doctor, Well, Rice Musician), Katy Carolina Collins* (Liz), Helen Joo Lee (Minhee), John Lu (Smuggler, Frog, Yongsup) and Jin Park (Junhee)
 
Location: Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Previews: Sunday, March 4 at 2:30 pm and Wednesday, March 7 at 8 pm
Press Performance: Thursday, March 8 at 8 pm
Regular run: Friday, March 9 – Sunday, April 8, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm
Tickets: Previews: Pay-what-you-can (online or at the door). Regular run: $20 – $30.  Students/seniors/industry: $15 for all performances (excluding opening). Tickets go on sale Monday, January 22, 2018 at www.victorygardens.org, by calling (773) 871-3000 or in person at the Victory Gardens Box Office.
 
*Denotes Sideshow Company Member.

 

The Gift Theatre is pleased to launch its 17th season with the world premiere of Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour’s haunting and often-humorous drama HANG MAN, directed by Jess McLeod, playing March 2 – April 29, 2018 at 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting thegifttheatre.org. The press opening is Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 pm.

HANG MAN will feature ensemble members Paul D’Addario, Gregory Fenner and Martel Manning with Andy Fleischer, Jennifer Glasse, Mariah Sydnei Gordon andMariah Sydnei Gordon.
 
The community of a backwoods Southern town grapples with the murder of a black man who is found hanging in a tree. As events unfold, the hanging mystifies the people of the community, forcing them to confront their complicity in this man’s horrific demise. Osei-Kuffour’s darkly comical, heartbreaking play, which recently made the prestigious 2017 Kilroy’s List, uses absurdity to explore racism, sexuality and the parts of American history we would all like to forget.
 
Comments Artistic Director Michael Patrick Thornton, "The Gift is honored to produce the world premiere of HANG MAN. Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour's voice is singular, bold, incisive and humorous. The moment we finished her play, we were shook, terrified, and knew we had to embrace it. HANG MAN demands to be experienced right now; experiencing it in the intimacy of The Gift will simply be unforgettable." 
 
The production team for HANG MAN includes: Arnel Sancianco (scenic design), Alarie Hammock (costume design), Mike Durst (lighting design), Stephen Ptacek (sound design), John Nichols III (props design), Rachel Flesher (violence/intimacy design) and Cori James (stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
Title: HANG MAN
Playwright: Stacy Amma Osei-Kuffour
Directed by: Jess McLeod
Cast (in alphabetical order): Paul D’Addario (Archie), Gregory Fenner (Darnell), Andy Fleischer (Wipp), Jennifer Glasse (Sage), Mariah Sydnei Gordon (G), Martel Manning (Jahaad) and Angela Morris (Margarie).
 
Location: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Friday, March 2 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 pm, Sunday, March 4 at 2:30 pm and Wednesday, March 7 at 7:30 pm
Press openings: Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Friday, March 9 – Sunday, April 29, 2018
Curtain Times: Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3:30 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm. Please note: there will not be a 3:30 pm performance on Saturday, March 10.
Tickets: $30 – $40. Single and season subscriptions are currently available by calling the Gift’s box office at 773-283-7071 or visiting thegifttheatre.org

 

Broken Nose Theatre is pleased to launch its 2018 Season with the world premiere of resident playwright Michael Allen Harris’ kitchen sink comedy KINGDOM, directed by Kanome Jones. The new play about an all-LGBTQ African American family in Orlando will play March 2 – 31, 2018 at BNT’s new resident home, The Den Theatre (Upstairs Main Stage), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. Tickets for KINGDOM go on sale Monday, January 29, 2018 at brokennosetheatre.com. Tickets for all Broken Nose Theatre productions are available on a “pay-what-you-can” basis, allowing patrons to set their own price and ensuring theatre remains economically accessible for all audiences. The press opening is Monday, March 5 at 7:30 pm.
 
KINGDOM features BNT company member Johnard Washington* and artistic associates Watson Swift+ and RjW Mays+ with Byron Coolie and Christopher K. McMorris.
 
When the state of Florida legalizes same sex marriage, Arthur and Henry (his partner of fifty years) come to terms with their differing opinions on the necessity of becoming husbands, even as their son Alexander finds himself wading through some rough new waters of his own. KINGDOM is the story of an entirely-LGBTQ African American family that lives in the near-literal shadow of Orlando’s magical kingdom, as they struggle to create a life together that captures a little bit of that same magic.
 
“We’ve been in love with this script for two years, and could not think of a better way to kick off our sixth season than a homegrown world premiere by one of our resident playwrights,” says BNT Founding Artistic Director Benjamin Brownson*. “Michael’s voice is Tenessee Williams meets August Wilson with a dash of Dan Savage for good measure. He has written a new kind of family dramedy that is lyrical, queer, fresh, timely, resonant and hilarious. We can’t wait to share it with Chicago.”
 
KINGDOM was developed in conjunction with The Paper Trail, BNT’s new play development program.
 
The production team for KINGDOM includes: Caswell James (scenic design, technical director), Marci Rodriguez (costume design), Michael Joseph (lighting design), Grover Hollway (sound design) Devon Green+ (props design), Rylee Freeman (hair and make-up design), Chloe Baldwin (fight director), Elizabeth Gomez (master electrician), Rose Hamill* (production manager), and Echaka Agba* (assistant director).
 
* Denotes BNT company member
+ Denotes BNT artistic associate
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: KINGDOM
Playwright: resident playwright Michael Allen Harris
Director: Kanome Jones
Cast (in alphabetical order): Byron Coolie (Malik), RjW Mays+ (Phaedra), Christopher K. McMorris (Arthur), Watson Swift+ (Henry) and Johnard Washington* (Alexander).
 
Location: The Den Theatre (Upstairs Main Stage), 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago
Dates: Previews: Friday, March 2 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, March 3 at 7:30 pm
Opening: Sunday, March 4 at 3 pm
Press Opening: Monday, March 5 at 7:30 pm
Regular Run: Thursday, March 8 – Saturday, March 31, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Industry Night: Monday, March 12 at 7:30 pm
Understudy Night: Wednesday, March 21 at 7:30 pm
Tickets: Pay-what-you-can. Tickets go on sale Monday, January 29, 2018 at brokennosetheatre.com

 

The Greenhouse Theater Center is pleased to announce the line-up for its 2018 SOLO PERFORMANCE LAB, featuring four world premiere solo works presented in two free programs: February 17 and March 3, 2018 in the Greenhouse Theatre Center’s Downstairs Mainstage, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Each presentation is followed by a short talkback with the artists. Reservations (free) can be made in advance at www.greenhousetheater.org.  
 
Curated by GTC Literary Manager Nick Thornton and GTC Artistic Associate Kate Cuellar, the SOLO PERFORMANCE LAB underscores the Greenhouse’s institutional commitment to creating solo works by offering local artists the space and support to develop new solo performance. This year, artists were encouraged to submit 30-minute plays proposals that focused on an unexamined facet of a historical event or illuminated the life of a little-known historical figure. SOLO PERFORMANCE LAB participants will receive institutional resources including space, dramaturgical support and production resources to develop these four innovative new solo performances.
 
“We could not be more thrilled with the artists that have been selected this year’s Solo Performance Lab,” comments Greenhouse Artistic Director Jacob Harvey. “By putting the varied identities and perspectives of these ensembles into conversation we hope to celebrate and underscore the necessity of telling our singular stories to reveal broader truths about the human condition.”
 
Program 1: Saturday, February 17 at 2:30 pm:
 
THE STRANGE PALE APE WITH THE PONYTAIL
Written and performed by Aurora Real de Asua
Directed by Mara Stern
 
How was it that one untrained secretary was able to communicate with a species overlooked by an entire scientific community? Much has been said about the brilliance behind Jane Goodall's work, but this new play seeks to illuminate an often overlooked factor of this extraordinary woman: her outrageously courageous compassion. Using a mixture of clowning, puppetry and animal work, THE STRANGE PALE APE WITH THE PONYTAIL takes you through the jungle and back to unearth the heart behind one of the 20th century's most influential scientists.
 
GRANDMA SCIENCE
Written and performed by Aidaa Peerzada
Directed by Am’Ber Montgomery
 
GRANDMA SCIENCE explores the life of the first African American medical illustrator Nadia Willette Page through the eyes of her granddaughter. The piece reflects on the psychological and familial impact of rising above prejudice through poetry and interview testimony.
 
Program 2: Saturday, March 3 at 2:30 pm:
 
MISS MAJOR CUSHMAN
Written by Erin Austin
Directed by Egla Kishta
Performed by Sarah Schol
 
She’s a wife, mother, actress and a failed union spy. Tonight, Pauline Cushman takes to the stage and tells her story. But how much of it is true is anyone’s guess.
 
SQUEAKY!
Written by Nora Leahy
Directed by Gus Menary
Performed by Angela Horn
 
Lynnette "Squeaky" Fromme is notorious for her involvement with the Manson Family and her assassination attempt on President Gerald Ford, but before all of that she was a child performer who toured the country, performed at the White House, and appeared on The Lawrence Welk Show. In SQUEAKY!, we join Lynnette in her jail cell as she performs a variety show of her very own. A solo performance that is equal parts heartbreak, terror and glitter. 
 
The SOLO PERFORMANCE LAB is part of the Greenhouse's playwright-focused, professional development programming, which also includes The Trellis Residency Initiative, a professional development program for Chicago-area playwrights under 30, and the MC-10 Playwrights Ensemble, a collection of ten of the country’s most sought-after established and mid-career Chicago playwrights and theater-makers now in residence at the Greenhouse.

 

Porchlight Music Theatre continues its fifth season of Chicago’s “lost” musicals in staged concert series with Porchlight Revisits They’re Playing Our Song, starring Sharriese Hamilton and James Earl Jones II, music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Carole Bayer Sager and book by Neil Simon, with direction and choreography by Christopher Carter and musical direction by Andra Velis Simon. Porchlight Revisits They’re Playing our Song is presented for three-nights-only Tuesday, March 6 through Thursday, March 8 at 7:15 p.m. and is performed on the set of Porchlight’s Merrily We Roll Along (previews begin January 26) at Porchlight’s new home, The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn Street. Tickets for They’re Playing Our Song are $35. All tickets include access to the popular pre-performance event, Behind the Show Backstory, a multimedia presentation, created and hosted by Porchlight Music Theatre Artistic Director Michael Weber that discusses the evening’s production including the show’s creative history, juicy backstage gossip and the state of the art on Broadway that season. Single tickets to They’re Playing Our Song and subscriptions for the entire series are available at porchlightmusictheatre.org or by calling the Porchlight Music Theatre box office at 773.777.9884. 

They’re Playing Our Song is a romantic musical comedy about the affair (both professional and romantic) of a wisecracking composer and an aspiring, offbeat lyricist. Creatively, their relationship works great, but personal trials and tribulations lead them toward finding a new way to make harmonious music together in this laugh-a-minute romantic charmer. The show features musical hits “Fallin’,” “If He Really Knew Me” and “Just For Tonight.”
 
The cast of Porchlight Revisits They’re Playing Our Song includes: Sharriese Hamilton (Sonia Walsk), James Earl Jones II (Vernon Gersch) and Anastasia Arnold, (voice of Sonia Walsk); Kiersten Frumkin, (voice of Sonia Walsk); Yando Lopez,  (voice of Vernon Gersch); Billy Rude, (voice of Vernon Gersch); Tyler Symone, (voice of Sonia Walsk) and Koray Tarhan, (voice of Vernon Gersch).

The production team includes Christopher Carter, director; Andra Velis Simon, music director; Lucia Lombardi, stage manager; Joaquin Gomez, assistant stage manager and Samantha Treible, wardrobe supervisor.
 
The musicians are Chel Hernandez, bass; Tony Scandora, drums and Page Kallop, guitar. 

 

Performances began January 20th for Blind Date, Rogelio Martinez’s slyly comic, behind-the-scenes glimpse of two of the most powerful world leaders—Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev—directed by Goodman Theatre Artistic Director Robert Falls. Martinez, “a fresh and funny talent” (Backstage) who “finds new twists on old topics” (Variety), continues his multi-play exploration of the Cold War Era with this Goodman world premiere, which features as characters some of the figures who shaped the political landscapes of the 1980s and beyond. In an era before Twitter, Tinder and 24/7 news, Ronald Reagan (Rob Riley) and Mikhail Gorbachev (William Dick) seek to thaw the seemingly intractable tension between the United States and Soviet Russia. Despite their advisors’ best efforts to keep them on track, a crafty game of one-upmanship ensues, as the world’s two most powerful leaders eschew conventional protocols to discuss pop culture and old movies—while Nancy Reagan (Deanna Dunagan) and Raisa Gorbachev (Mary Beth Fisher ) mirror their husbands’ negotiations in a passive-aggressive tango over tea and fashion choices. Blind Date appears January 20 – February 25, 2018 (opening night is Monday, January 29 at 7pm). Tickets ($20 - $75; subject to change) are available at GoodmanTheatre.org/BlindDate, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 N. Dearborn). JPMorgan Chase is the Major Corporate Sponsor, Goodman Theatre Women’s Board is the Major Production Sponsor and the Chicago Tribune is the Media Partner. Blind Date earned a New Play Award by the Edgerton Foundation. Time Warner is the Lead Supporter of New Play Development for the 2017/2018 season.
 
“My interest in the Cold War is, in some ways, my desire to understand who I was before arriving here, and who I became after,” said playwright Rogelio Martinez, who grew up in Cuba not long after the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis and conducted countless hours of research to develop this production. “This is not speculative fiction, not a ‘what if’ story, the events in the play did occur, but maybe not exactly in the same way as they occur on stage. It’s my job to present a set of characters and let audiences arrive at a conclusion of their own. I hope audiences will leave the theater with some hope and not just hope but agency—they as individuals can do something about today’s problems.”
 
After receiving an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation New Science and Technology Initiative Grant, Martinez wrote When Tang Met Laika, a post-Cold War space exploration play that was subsequently produced by the Denver Center. This inspired him to bring the Cold War itself on stage in a three-play cycle about the time period—Ping Pong, the first play in the trilogy, is about U.S.-China relations during the Nixon administration and was presented at The Public Theater. The second play, Born in East Berlin, tackled the impact a Bruce Springsteen concert had on East Germans just prior to the fall of the Berlin Wall. The play was workshopped at the Atlantic Theater Company and has since been translated into both Hungarian and Romanian. The Goodman production marks the conclusion of the trilogy.
 
Falls’ cast also features Jim Ortlieb as former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz; Steve Pickering as former Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Soviet Union Eduard Shevardnadze; and Thomas J. Cox as Reagan biographer Edmund Morris. The ensemble includes Torrey Hanson, Gregory Linington and Michael Milliganand extras David Besky, McKinley Carter, Chris Daley, James D. Farruggio Sam Krey, Joe Lino, Guy Massey, Nathan Simpson, Craig Spidle and Emilio Tirri, who round out the cast as Soviet Citizens, KGB Officers, Politburo Members, White House Staff, Secret Service, American Military Officers, Journalists and others. The Creative Team includes Riccardo Hernandez (Set Designer), Amy Clark (Costume Designer), Aaron Spivey (Lighting Designer) and Richard Woodbury (Sound Designer).
 
Following Blind Date, Falls will direct a new production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People (March 10 – April 15, 2018) at the Goodman, and also remount his Lyric Opera of Chicago production of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for the Dallas Opera (April 2018). Most recently, Falls directed the world premiere of Jim McGrath’s Pamplona, starring Stacy Keach as Ernest Hemingway, and a new production of Annie Baker’s adaptation of Uncle Vanya at the Goodman.

 

Haven Theatre is pleased to continue its 2017-18 Season with Bertolt Brecht’s unsettling and unflinching drama FEAR AND MISERY IN THE THIRD REICH, translated by Eric Bentley and directed by Artistic Director Josh Sobel, playing February 8 – March 11, 2018 at The Den Theatre's Janet Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently availale at haventheatrechicago.com
 
FEAR AND MISERY IN THE THIRD REICH features Joe Bianco, Amanda De La Guardia, Alys Dickerson, Elizabeth Dowling, Simon Hedger, Niko Kourtis, Kyla Norton, Siddhartha Rajan, Alexis Randolph and Jessica Dean Turner.
 
As Germany careens toward war, an entire society begins to crack, and the seeds of chaos and tragedy take root in the minds of its citizens. Josh Sobel (We're Gonna Die) helms an ensemble-driven production of Brecht's 1938 classic with a contemporary eye – a warning of how insidiously a culture can make space for atrocity, and a call to never allow it to happen again. 
 
Comments Artistic Director Josh Sobel, "As the world finds itself in the midst of its next great cultural shift, Brecht's examination of the common citizen and how a society can be led to accept the inhumane feels strikingly immediate. Brecht wrote this play reflecting and pulling back the curtain on the news of the day as it was happening around him, providing an unnerving and – in our current moment – all too important call to confront injustice as it happens and to firmly and proudly say: No. With this production we seek to serve one of Haven's core values – the Future – through an intimate and personal look at our past and how such fatal mistakes were allowed to take place."
 
The production team for FEAR AND MISERY IN THE THIRD REICH includes Yu Shibagaki (scenic design), Izumi Inaba (costume design), Claire Chrzan (lighting design), Sarah D. Espinoza (sound design), Jeffrey Levin (original music), Sasha Smith (movement design), Abhi Shrestha (dramaturg, associate movement director), Angela Salinas (production manager), Madisen Dempsey (assistant director), Anna Sung-En Medill (assistant director) and Corbin Paulino (stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: FEAR AND MISERY IN THE THIRD REICH
Playwright: Bertolt Brecht
Translator: Eric Bentley
Director: Artistic Director Josh Sobel
Cast: Joe Bianco (Ensemble), Amanda De La Guardia (Ensemble), Alys Dickerson (Ensemble), Elizabeth Dowling (Ensemble), Simon Hedger (Ensemble), Niko Kourtis (Ensemble), Kyla Norton (Ensemble), Siddhartha Rajan (Ensemble), Alexis Randolph (Ensemble) and Jessica Dean Turner (Ensemble).
 
Location: The Den Theatre's Bookspan Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Dates: Previews: Thursday, February 8 at 8 pm, Friday, February 9 at 8 pm, Saturday, February 10 at 8 pm and Monday, February 12 at 8 pm
Regular run: Thursday, February 15 – Sunday, March 11, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets: Previews: pay-what-you-can. Regular run $18. Tickets are currently available at haventheatrechicago.com.

 

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