Pulitzer Prize-winner, Annie Baker, dissects human behavior through the microscope of an acting class with Circle Mirror Transformation, the title of which is taken from a classroom theatre game intended to generate trust, teamwork, and connection. Instead, tiny wars of epic proportions are waged, and the six-week class transforms into a cascade of epiphanies and dashed hopes.
THE CAST (in alphabetical order)
Adam Bitterman (James), Talia Payomo (Lauren), Lynda Shadrake (Marty), Michael Sherwin (Schultz), Emily Tate (Theresa)
Understudies: Nick Dorado (Schultz), Julia Kessler (Theresa), Emma Maltby (Lauren), Robin Margolis (Marty), Jim Scholle (James) Understudy Performance: Tue, May 9, 7:30pm
Scott Weinstein (Director), Hannah Dawe (Assistant Director), Mary Brennan (Stage Manager), Kaitlin Smrcina (Assistant Stage Manager), Elyse Balogh (Set Designer), Daniel Friedman (Lighting Designer), Karli Blalock (Sound Designer), Kotryna Hilko (Costume Designer), Parker Blackston Ryan (Props Designer), Jan Ellen Graves (Graphics & Marketing), Manuel Juan Ortiz (Technical Director), Catherine Miller (Dramaturg & Casting Director), E. Malcolm Martinez (Box Office Manager), Charles Bonilla (Box Office Associate), Johnny Garcia (Box Office Associate), James Fleming, Jan Ellen Graves, & Michael Colucci (Producers)
Opens: Sat, April 15, 3pm (note: there is no evening performance on opening day)
Showtimes: Thu, Fri, Sat, 7:30pm; Sun, 3pm
Closes: Sun, May 14, 3pm
Running Time: Approximately 110 minutes, no intermission
Previews: $15; Wed, Thu, Fri, Apr 12, 13, 14, at 7:30pm
Understudy performance: Tue, May 9, 7:30pm. $20 (seniors & students $5 off)
Tickets: Thursdays, $30; Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, $35 (seniors & students $5 off)
Redtwist is located at 1044 W Bryn Mawr, 2 blks W of LSD, 2 blks E of the Red Line EL station.
Valet parking for Redtwist is available across the street in front of Francesca's Bryn Mawr for most performances-hours vary. Dining is not required.
Limited FREE street parking is available on side streets. There is metered street parking via ParkChicago.com app or 3-hour Paybox on Bryn Mawr Av and 2-hour Paybox on side streets. Free on Sundays, and after 10pm Mon thru Sat.
In the early 90’s, the now defunct supermarket tabloid Weekly World News, published a story about a creature - half boy half bat - found in a West Virginia cave. That story became the inspiration for Bat Boy: The Musical written by Keythe Farley and Brian Flemming with music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe. The first production opened in 1997 and the show made its off-Broadway premier in 2001 quickly becoming a cult hit.
The show opens as a few residents of Hope Falls happen upon the Bat Boy while spelunking. Surprised by the visitors to his cave, Bat Boy attacks Ruthie and is then captured by her brothers Ron and Rick. They turn him over to the local sheriff, who drops him off at the home of the town veterinarian, Dr. Parker, hoping he will be able to put him down humanely. The vet’s wife and teenage daughter Shelley have different plans however, somewhat to the chagrin of Dr. Parker. They feed him, get to know him and eventually come to care for him, teaching him and helping him grow into a “normal” member of society. The folks of Hope Falls however, are scared of Bat Boy but Mrs. Parker and Shelley work hard to win them over, until things start to fall apart and truths start to be revealed that shed a whole new light on Bat Boy and his family.
Falling into the genre of horror/comedy musical, this show is unique from the start. It touches on some heavier themes such as racism, bias, revenge, understanding and forgiveness but with well-timed comedic moments and campy songs it keeps things from getting too dark. The story continues to throw curveballs right up until the end, keeping the audience entertained, surprised and even touched. It challenges the audience to think about their own biases while making light of some very heavy topics with some hilarious moments that have everyone laughing out loud.
The performance was polished and well put together under the direction of Scott Weinstein. The cast of 10 actors, representing twenty-two different roles, were spectacular. They shifted from character to character perfectly, often portraying female characters in drag which felt like a perfect fit for this show. Everyone played a huge role in the show and brought both strong acting, good timing and strong vocal performances together to create an overall excellent show.
Staged in The Den Theatre, it made the most of an intimate space. The set was well designed by Jeff Kmiec and Greg Pinsoneault and the set transitions appeared seamless. With some of the seating practically on stage, and set pieces allowing for lots of movement and levels on the stage it created a very unique experience. In some scenes, the entire audience seemed to become part of the show, as the actors broke the 4th wall and interacted directly with them.
Bat Boy: The Musical is certainly a one of a kind musical. It may not be for everyone’s taste as it does include some rude humor and pretty twisted storylines but it is a hilarious and excellently executed show so if you are looking for something a bit unique to break up the monotony of cookie cutter musicals, this is it! Get your tickets and check it out before the run ends on July 24th!
Griffin Theatre Company has taken on the feat of recreating the Tony Award-winning musical Titanic. Launching this production in a much more intimate space at Theater Wit, the audience gets a real close up feel to the action and is able to capture the bevy of emotions delivered first hand. Scott Weinstein directs Griffin’s Titanic with intensity, giving this production a true feel of tragedy and humankind.
We are all familiar with Titanic’s maiden voyage that where the luxury passenger liner launched from Southampton, UK and sank in the Atlantic on April 15th 1912 after hitting an iceberg on its way to New York City. In Peter Stone’s Titanic, we join the excitement prior to the ships fateful launch where the ship is boasted as the largest and fastest passenger sea vessel that also comes with the tag “indestructible”. Families, friends and crew members are giddy with enthusiasm and anticipation as projected so well in the show’s magnificent opening number “In Every Age”. After Titanic’s triumphant departure, we are taken to both the luxurious world of the ship as well as that of the lesser class. In its five day voyage, we are taken to ballroom extravaganzas, fine dining and also to the far less glamorous galleys and crew quarters.
All the while the good Captain Edward Smith and First Officer William Murdoch look to steady the course but do so under the pressure of ship owner White Star Line to increase its speed in order to break the speed record to cross the Atlantic. Finally, on a dark and quiet night, lookout Frederick Fleet notified Murdoch of an iceberg due ahead, but it was too late to maneuver, the ship receiving a 300-foot gash in its side, doomed to sink in the frigid waters. In all the panic and commotion we learn that there are only enough lifeboats to save a third of the ship’s passengers. Ultimately only 700 or so of the Titanic’s 2224 passengers would survive, the rest condemned to a watery grave.
In Griffin’s Titanic, we get a real sense of devastation after what is at first denial (after all they are on an indestructible ship). We see the blame game shifted between architect, White Star Line and the Captain. It is an interesting dynamic as we see both unbridled selfishness and unselfishness between the passengers as some are intent on saving themselves while some are more interested in trying to help others.
The set, though simple, converts well from ship deck, to dining hall and living quarters, to ship exterior. The music is strong and heartfelt (also newly reworked). Many numbers are memorable, seizing the essence of the situation so very well such as “I Give You My Hand”, “To Be a Captain”, “I Have Danced” and “God Lift Me Up”. We also get a number of excellent acting performances in the large cast of twenty, making this a very solid production that has everything you would want in a musical tragedy.
Griffin Theatre Company’s Titanic is a high seas adventure you will not soon forget. It’s a big show in a smaller theatre. This warm and stunning production is being performed at Theater Wit (1229 W Belmont) through December 7th and tickets are priced at a very worthwhile $39. For more information, you can visit www.griffintheatre.com.
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