Theatre

Following its hit production of FOXFINDER, Interrobang Theatre Project is pleased to continue its 2017-18 Season, exploring the urgent question “What is Truth?,” with Lee Blessing's shocking and thought-provoking new play FOR THE LOYAL, directed by Co-Artistic Director James Yost*. FOR THE LOYAL will play January 6 – February 4, 2018 at The Athenaeum Theatre (Studio 1), 2936 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at www.interrobangtheatre.org, by calling (773) 935-6875 or in person at The Athenaeum Theatre Box Office. The press opening is Monday, January 8 at 7:30 pm.
 
FOR THE LOYAL features ensemble members Sarah Gise* as Mia and Matthew Nerber* as Toby with Rob Frankel as Carlson, Richard Hatcher as The Boy and Josh Zagoren as Hale.
 
For Toby and Mia, college football and family are one and the same; he has a new coaching job for a top team, and they are happily expecting their first born. But when Toby gets Mia enmeshed in an unseemly team secret, she is forced to decide where her loyalties truly lie. Inspired by the Penn State sexual abuse scandal, FOR THE LOYAL takes an unconventional and provocative look at how one woman traverses a no-win situation. 
 
FOR THE LOYAL is presented as part of Interrobang's RAW Series. Think of it a bit like theatrical sashimi. Big ideas, bold flavors – everything you’ve come to expect from Interrobang Theatre Project – without the trimmings. We’ve stripped down the classic stage elements to put the story front and center. The RAW Series features passion-projects and bucket-list productions spearheaded by our talented ensemble. In addition to our regularly scheduled plays, the RAW Series aims to bring concise, actor-driven theater to the Chicago stage. 
 
In Conversation with The Playwright
Interrobang Theatre Project with host a talkback with playwright Lee Blessing on Saturday, January 6, 2018 from 4 – 5 pm. Tickets cost $10 (discussion only) or $20 (discussion plus 7:30 pm performance. For additional information, visit www.interrobangtheatre.org.
 
The production team for FOR THE LOYAL includes: Pauline Olesky (scenic design), Rebecca Bartle (lighting design), Christopher Aaron Knarr* (original music), Hannah Wolff (asst. director) and Devonte Washington (stage manager).
 
*Denotes Interrobang Theatre Project Company Member. 
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: FOR THE LOYAL
Playwright: Lee Blessing
Director: Co-Artistic Director James Yost
Cast: Sarah Gise (Mia) and Matthew Nerber (Toby) with Rob Frankel (Carlson), Richard Hatcher (The Boy) and Josh Zagoren (Hale).
 
Location: The Athenaeum Theatre (Studio 1), 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Saturday, January 6 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, January 7 at 2 pm
Press opening: Monday, January 8 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Thursday, January 11 – Sunday, February 4, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 2 pm & 7:30 pm: Sundays at 2 pm. 
Tickets: Previews: $17. Regular run: $32. Students $17 with ID. (Ticket prices include $2 Athenaeum Theatre restoration fee). 
In Conversation with Playwright Lee Blessing: Saturday, January 6 from 4 – 5 pm $10 (discussion only) or $20 (discussion plus 7:30 pm performance).
Tickets are currently available at www.interrobangtheatre.org, by calling (773) 935-6875 or in person at The Athenaeum Theatre Box Office.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Black Button Eyes Productions is pleased to present the Chicago storefront premiere of SHOCKHEADED PETER, the silly and sinister musical based on Heinrich Hoffmann's popular German children’s book The Struwwelpeter. Directed by Producing Artistic Director Ed Rutherford with music direction by T.J. Anderson, SHOCKHEADED PETER was created for the stage by Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott with original music and lyrics by The Tiger Lillies. SHOCKHEADED PETER will play August 11 – September 16, 2017 at The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at athenaeumtheatre.org, by calling (773) 935-6875 or in person at The Athenaeum Theatre Box Office. The press opening is Saturday, August 12 at 7:30 pm. Note: recommended for ages 13+.
 
SHOCKHEADED PETER features Ellen DeSitter, Kat Evans, Jessica Lauren Fisher, Caitlin Jackson, Cody Jolly, Josh Kemper, Genevieve Lerner, Pavi Proczko, Stephanie Stockstill, Gwen Tulin, Kevin Webb and Anthony Whitaker.
 
A sinister but incompetent master of ceremonies leads the audience through the tale of a childless couple that has their fondest wish granted in the most delightfully dreadful way imaginable, accompanied by vignettes in which the hilariously horrible fates that befall naughty children everywhere are brought to darkly comedic life.
 
The production team for SHOCKHEADED PETER includes: Jeremiah Barr (scenic design, props design, puppetry and technical director), Beth Laske-Miller (costume design), Liz Cooper (lighting design), John Mathias (sound design), Derek Van Barham (movement director) and Alexa Berkowitz (stage manager).
 
PRODUCTION DETAILS:
 
Title: SHOCKHEADED PETER
Created for the stage by: Julian Crouch and Phelim McDermott
Original Music and Lyrics by: The Tiger Lillies
Adapted from: Heinrich Hoffmann's The Struwwelpeter
Director: Ed Rutherford
Music Director: T.J. Anderson
Cast: Ellen DeSitter, Kat Evans, Jessica Lauren Fisher, Caitlin Jackson, Cody Jolly, Josh Kemper, Genevieve Lerner, Pavi Proczko, Stephanie Stockstill, Gwen Tulin, Kevin Webb and Anthony Whitaker.
 
Location: The Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
Dates: Preview: Friday, August 11 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Sunday, August 13 – Saturday, September 16, 2017
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2 pm. 
Tickets: $32. Students $17 (includes $2 Athenaeum Theatre restoration fee). Tickets are currently available at athenaeumtheatre.org, by calling (773) 935-6875 or in person at The Athenaeum Theatre Box Office. Note: recommended for ages 13+.

 

Published in Upcoming Theatre

Neil Simon's "Barefoot in the Park" is one of my favorite comedies. 

 

Simon so perfectly captures the dynamics of a new couple moving in together as newlyweds and the pressures that begin to erode or test their love as soon as they move in. Cory and Paul's lack of money for a proper New York apartment presents all sorts of great comedy as they end up in a sixth floor walk up with a hole in the skylight and no heat or bathtub in the dead of winter.

 

Alex Fisher, as the young bride has a great frenetic and appropriately sexy, horny energy as she is faced with challenge after challenge to please her new husband who is a temporarily broke new lawyer. 

 

Colin Sphar, as her husband is funny in places but by the time he gets to his drunk scene, which has a lot of good physical comedy in it by him, we hear a full out lisp in his portrayal that distracts from his performance. The kissing and hugging chemistry between these two is not as white hot as you'd expect in roles that were originally played in the film by super sexy Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. 

 

The scene-stealers in this production turn out to be in the two mature character actors Sarah Minton, as Cory's aging but game for anything single mother and their upstairs, crazy neighbor played by Michael Pascas. 

 

Minton and Pascas are so good at their comic timing and so full of rich character and chemistry we ended up rooting for them to get together more than we were hoping for Cory and Paul, the leads, to STAY together. 

 

Also, Randolph Johnson, as the ATT phone installer, has an adorable, compassionate, calming quality that helps ground the piece every time he enters the scene.

 

The set design is great, with each part of the aging apartment clearly visible and very realistic.

 

Overall the play, which is long and includes two ten minute intermissions, has a lot of good energy and fun, especially if you grew up back in the day when the new wife was supposed to make everything nice and happy at home while the new husband goes out into the world to have all the fun and challenge of a real job.

 

“Barefoot in the Park” is being performed at The Athenaeum through November 1st. For tickets, performance times and other show info, visit www.athenaeumtheatre.org.  

 

Published in Theatre Reviews

With Jaws having just swam back into theaters for its fortieth anniversary and recent shark attacks in North Carolina, The Ruckus' world premiere of 'Matawan' comes at a perfect time. Playwright Dan Caffrey set out to write a play that captures the time period of the early 1900s, an era he always felt was glossed over in school. This new work tells the story of a small New England town dealing with a killer shark. Sound familiar? The 1916 great white shark attacks off the coast of New Jersey were the basis for Peter Benchly's novel Jaws. Until 1916 very little was known about sharks and most people believed they did not attack bathers.

At it's core 'Matawan' is less a play about a man-eating shark and more about fear. Even the shark has a fear-soaked narrative throughout the show. The large cast of characters and well-written vignettes all deal with anxieties concerning war, globalization, disease and life happiness. For the first time in history, Americans were economically comfortable enough to have the luxury to look outside themselves and Caffrey captures this ever-relevant sense of impending doom that seems to consume most people today too.

One might wonder how it's possible to depict a shark attack on stage. Director Allison Shoemaker makes really bold choices with her production. Instead of gruesome displays of blood and guts, Shoemaker's attacks are almost sexual in nature. In fact, the entire production is so very craftily done. Actors play instruments to simulate sound effects and the result is genuinly creepy.

Caffrey delivers a truly unique script. The subject matter poses some obvious logistical problems but the creative team at The Ruckus show they're more than capable of taking on this challenge. Not only was the production insightful but also exceedingly well acted. How often can a shark make you misty? (John J Accrocco)

Through July 26th at The Athenaeum Theatre. 2963 N Southport Ave. 773-935-6860

Published in Theatre Reviews

 

 

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