Theatre

Brown Paper Box Co. is thrilled to announce their upcoming cabaret event, Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret, hosted by company member, Kristi Szczepanek*. This is the first occasion that the company has announced their season in full, and they are excited to do so. This cabaret will feature performers, some of which are members of Brown Paper Box Co. and some that are not! Kristi Szczepanek* first worked with the company as the female understudy in NOW. HERE. THIS. in the summer of 2016.

 

In the past couple of months, curator and host, Kristi has been thinking about what it takes for us to keep ourselves positive and focused on the present moment in the face of adversity. She says: “The current political climate is the most obvious source, but we are all living rich lives that are much more than politics. How do we balance all of this and keep ourselves sane in the process?” Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret will feature songs and stories of people trying to do just that on two nights in April at Mary’s Attic.

 

This event will feature Shalita Cake, Diego Colón, Kamille Dawkins, M. William Panek*, Deanalís Resto, Anna Schutz*, Matt Sergot*, Nick Shoda*, Brittany Stock, & Travis Austin Wright, with musical direction by Ken Jones.

 

Additional information can be found on BrownPaperBox.org and tickets are on sale now.

 

*Denotes Brown Paper Box Co. members

About Brown Paper Box Co.

Brown Paper Box Co. creates challenging and inspiring theatre that focuses on the text. By employing a smart, simple aesthetic in intimate spaces, we connect audiences directly to the heart of the story. For more information, please visit www.BrownPaperBox.org.

Who: Brown Paper Box Co.

What: Positively Present: An Uplifting Cabaret

Where: Mary’s Attic at 5400 N. Clark St. Chicago, IL 60640

Regular Run:  April 7 - April 8, 2017 at 7:30PM

 

 

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Although the idea of two gay friends, Hunter and Jeff, sitting down to write their own musical for a competition deadline in three weeks’ time may seem a little bit dated, these performers including Matt Frye, and Yando Lopez do a great job of making the piece seem vibrant and current. Hunter and Jeff who love watching their reality TV like the Bachelor and "procrasturbating" introduce two of their gal friends to help them fill out the cast with Susan (Neala Barron) and Heidi (Anna Schutz). The group decides to take things they’re actually chatting about daily and eventually come up with a play about their own lives and trying to get into the playwrights festival. This is the theme for [Title of Show] now playing at Rivendell Theatre.

Long story short, they end up getting thrilled with an invite to enter into the Fest and eventually a short Off-Broadway and even shorter Broadway run all of which is exciting and mind blowing for the friendly foursome. As it happens it brings about the usual problems with managing who gets credit for what and who is the most important or likable part of the show. 

I loved the song, 'Die, Vampire Die’ about managing all of the negative, "bloodsucking" thoughts that weigh on you mentally and emotionally when you are trying to create something new. 

Neala Barron as the "corporate by day, creative by night' - part time actress - has the funniest and most well-rounded performance in this piece. Matt Frye as Hunter is also very funny and really makes the most of his character.  

Lovers of the musical theater genre will adore this peppy, fast moving production and see themselves reflected in all the characters' struggles to be recognized and stand out including the sole musician, a very funny role for a pianist with just a few choice lines. 

The reason this show still works and is timely despite coming out in 2008, is that even today with all of the new opportunities for performers to write and star in their own projects for the  many contests held online and on national TV, is that for everyone eventually realizes that a little bit of success is just not enough.

Just appearing in a show on Broadway will not make you and your friends "stars". Nor will it secure you financially in any way for the rest of your lives. There is also a funny number in the show where the cast counts out all of the "loser” musicals that made it to Broadway and flopped. 

Yet it is essential that actors still persist in taking over their own careers and write their own projects or they run the risk of playing bit parts their entire lives without ever realizing their full potential as writers and creators, always working the "day job" and waiting helplessly for the phone to ring with a magical call from their agents.

Well-directed, this 90 minute piece flows at a quick, funny pace.

All actors should be actor/writers, that's the best message of this show, not to let the fear of criticism cripple you from putting out your own work and maintaining loyalty to the friends who help you get your work out. Because, after all the success and thrill ride for each project is over, you still need to get up and keep writing and creating something new for yourself with your friends close by your side. Never give up and never let the pressures of making a name for yourself eclipse the importance of the daily life you are actually living because in the end you may find the journey itself really was the whole play!

[Title of Show] is playing at Rivendell Theatre through August 16th.

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

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