Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Fall Theater & Opera Preview 2015

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HoneybunsYou know what they say: Every time a mime speaks a Dickensian orphan gets sucked into a jet turbine and blasted out the other side as just a scream. However, it is that cozy time of year when the hopes and dreams of summer die and we artists start making people go into weird rooms and watch us do and say things. Not every show can be the immersive interactive ever-changing theatrical wonderland tour de force that my show is. Newcity theater editor Zach Freeman has provided a fine fall stage preview. However, I feel I can offer a few tips—or rather “things”—to do to spice things up on a chilly fall evening at the theater (elaborate hand gesture).

If you don’t want to do my “things” I can understand. All you have to do is something that is even better. So long as you do something. Because, something must be done. Otherwise you would do nothing. Except maybe drink a box of wine, poke that old bag of mulch laying in bed next to you, and call it a night. (Honeybuns)

SEPTEMBER

Party HouseThe Party House
In this mysterious show, The Runaways Lab Theatre will take over an entire house in Pilsen (location to be revealed to ticketholders) to present “a re-enactment reimagining of a year.” We must find out what that means. Begins September 3 at a house in Pilsen.
Honeybuns: “Location to be revealed” is another way of saying “you can get drunk and take off your clothes at this show.” Pull your horny lover into a secret closet with you.

FringeChicago Fringe Festival
With forty-seven shows happening across five venues, this is the festival to go to for “emerging and boundary-pushing” performance. Titles include “On The Edge of Puberty,” “Cocooned in Kazan” and “Ladies Night of the Living Dead.” Begins September 3 in Jefferson Park.
Honeybuns: Forty-seven shows! Forty-seven chances to have your mind blown by original performance art! But also forty-seven chances to get poo flung on you too, so, watch out. Take a picture of yourself with poo on your face and tag #fringe4life

KatrinaKatrina: Mother-in-Law of ‘Em All
Marking the tenth anniversary of the infamous hurricane, Interrobang Theatre Project presents this funny and poignant piece recounting true stories of survival. Begins September 4 at The Den Theatre.
Honeybuns: Statistically speaking this show is the least likely to break out into a spontaneous orgy. But just in case, trim it up down below, Frodo.

IMG_1283Yellow Eyes
This inaugural production (and Midwest premiere) by Visión Latino Theatre Company—a company created to fill the need for Latino artists to “share the struggles and perseverance of Latinos”—examines diaspora, empowerment and culture. Begins September 4 at Chicago Dramatists Theatre.
Honeybuns: I remember the inaugural production of my self-titled show “Honeybuns.” Only one person came and it turns out they were just a collection of rats inside of a trench coat. Let’s give this new theater company a good old-fashioned Chicago theater welcome by going to their show, signing up for their mailing list, bringing a dozen roses for the actors, and discussing the show afterwards with the director and designers.

debra6bJamaica, Farewell
Directed by “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”’s Joel Zwick, this one-woman, based-on-real-life show is written and performed by Debra Ehrhardt and chronicles her escape from revolution-torn Jamaica in the 1970s. Begins September 8 at The Royal George Theatre.
Honeybuns: Before you go into the building, stand facing across the street and go “Hooooowwwllll!!” Because, tonight,  they’re not across the street from Steppenwolf. Steppenwolf is across the street from THEM.

TempestThe Tempest
Shakespeare’s island fantasy transformed into a magic show by Teller of Penn & Teller fame, featuring the music of Tom Waits, the choreography of Pilobolus and the acting chops of Larry Yando. Begins September 8 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Honeybuns: I was just reading on the internet how Shakespeare was high when he wrote his plays. Which means they can only be truly appreciated while also high. Navy Pier has all kinds of sneaky nooks in which to toke up. If you get caught just tell them you got lost looking for “Pandas: In 3D!”

Side ShowSide Show
Porchlight Music Theatre presents the first post-Broadway production of a newly revised version of this Tony Award-nominated musical inspired by the true-life story of conjoined twin circus, vaudeville and movie stars The Hilton Sisters. Begins September 15 at Stage 773.
Honeybuns: Let’s make the audience the real Side Show. Stuff yourself lumpy with throw pillows before you head out for this one.

East of EdenJohn Steinbeck’s East of Eden
Steppenwolf ensemble member Frank Galati (who adapted Steppenwolf’s much-acclaimed “Grapes of Wrath”) adapted this epic Steinbeck tale for this production featuring Kate Arrington, Francis Guinan, Tim Hopper and Alan Wilder. Begins September 17 at Steppenwolf.
Honeybuns: Before entering the building let out your loudest “Hoooowwl!” and dry hump any subordinate pack members to retain your place as Alpha.

Sucker PunchSucker Punch
Director Dexter Bullard helms the Midwest premiere of this lauded tale of race and boxing by British playwright Roy Williams. Begins September 18 at Victory Gardens Theater.
Honeybuns: Dress up in a bikini holding a large sign that says “Round 1” and you’ll probably get in free.

FeathersFeathers and Teeth
What’s that? Horror gets some legitimacy? Under the direction of Henry Godinez, Charise Castro Smith’s comedic horror play gets a world premiere on the Goodman’s Owen stage. Begins September 19 at The Goodman Theatre.
Honeybuns: Wear a Goodman Theatre Horror Splash Guard Poncho and during intermission gripe about having to pay forty bucks for it.

jtphotocurrent-copyThe Black White Love Play
Written and directed by Jackie Taylor (in collaboration with Chaz Ebert) this promises to be a moving production detailing the Eberts’ relationship. There’s also a ten-piece orchestra. Begins September 19 at Black Ensemble Theater.

LucioLucio Silla
Chicago Opera Theater stages the Chicago premiere of this powerful opera, written when Mozart was only sixteen. Begins September 26 at The Harris Theater.
Honeybuns: Speak often in juvenile scatological euphemisms because that’s what Mozart did. Especially when he was sixteen, probably. en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mozart_and_scatology

OCTOBER

MarvinMarvin’s Room
Led by Tony winner Deanna Dunagan, Shattered Globe Theatre kicks off its twenty-fifth season with playwright Scott McPherson’s acclaimed show, also celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary. Begins October 1 at Theater Wit.
Honeybuns: Hang up your own artwork in the lobby at Theater Wit. They love that.

Good for Otto
The intimate setting of The Gift Theatre is ideal for this world premiere psychological drama by Tony Award-winning playwright David Rabe. Begins October 1 at The Gift Theatre.
Honeybuns: A psychological drama in an intimate setting is the perfect scenario to gently place your hand on the knee of the person next to you at the most awkward moment.

My Mañana Comes
Teatro Vista ensemble member Sandra Márquez will direct playwright Elizabeth Irwin’s script, which gives a snapshot of the lives of four busboys in New York. Begins October 3 at Victory Gardens.

The Story of a Story (The Untold Story)
Underscore Theatre Company presents this world-premiere musical comedy from Peter Gwinn (a writer from “The Colbert Report”) which delves into the dark world of clichés. Begins October 3 at the Chopin Theatre.
Honeybuns: Make way! Make way! A professional comedy writer coming through! Sneakily put your “King Of Queens” spec script in the bathroom stall. It’ll make its way into the right hands.

My Brilliant Divorce
Irish Theatre of Chicago mounts this Midwest premiere by Geraldine Aron, one of Ireland’s leading female playwrights in a pub. How very Irish. Begins October 7 at Chief O’Neill’s Pub & Restaurant.
Honeybuns: Dare: Try to outdrink the cast. Not because they are Irish but because they are actors.

The Cheats
Count on Steep Theatre to kick their season off with a bang—specifically a world premiere of Hamish Linklater’s latest, directed by Joanie Schultz. The last collaboration between Linklater and Steep earned two Jeff nominations. Begins October 1 at Steep Theatre.

Circus in Progress: An Evening of Daring New Work
Focused on developing new acts, this show features local circus performers and advanced students from The Actors Gymnasium, the group responsible for impressive stunts around the city, including Lookingglass’ acclaimed “Moby Dick.” One night only on October 10 at The Actors Gymnasium.
Honeybuns: It is an old circus tradition that a dead mackerel be tossed upon the stage during the curtain call.

Charm-300x360Charm
Northlight artistic director BJ Jones and executive director Timothy J. Evans direct this world premiere piece about an etiquette class at an LGBTQ organization which carries a message of peace and dignity. Written by Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins. Begins October 14 at Steppenwolf Garage.

TreasureTreasure Island
Most recently, “Moby Dick” proved that Lookingglass knows how to stage for the high seas, now superstar writer/director Mary Zimmerman brings her world-premiere adaptation of the Robert Louis Stevenson classic to the water tower. Begins October 17 at Lookingglass.
Honeybuns: Every time you see orientalism onstage exclaim “Classic Zimm!”

The Terrible
The New Colony brings its signature style to Morgan McNaught’s show about a performance artist waking up “dead in a weird room.” Begins October 16 at The Den Theatre.

MariposaImageMariposa Nocturna: A Puppet Triptych
Created, conceived and performed by Stephanie Diaz, this mix of tabletop and shadow puppets explores loss, longing and rebirth. Begins October 22 at 16th Street Theater.
Honeybuns: Something tells me these aren’t the type of puppets to help you out with a cheery song when you struggle to get through the alphabet. But, try it out to be sure.

DFL511-300x300Design for Living
Pride Films and Plays presents a “sexy and seductive” revival of the Noel Coward classic, which features a love triangle and was originally banned in the UK and premiered on Broadway in 1933. Begins October 22 at Rivendell Theater.

Chapter TwoChapter Two
So far, new equity house Windy City Playhouse has launched successfully audience-approved productions. Bringing in director Jessica Thebus for this Neil Simon romantic comedy should continue the streak. Begins October 28 at Windy City Playhouse.
Honeybuns: Help them continue the streak by having your clothes on inside out and enthusiastically giving the thumbs up to everyone on the house staff.

November

Pilgrim’s Progress
Michael Shannon returns to A Red Orchid (along with Kirsten Fitzgerald) for this world premiere by Brett Neveu and directed by Shade Murray. 2013’s Shannon-starring “Simpatico” sold out quick, so get tickets now. Begins November 4 at A Red Orchid Theatre.
Honeybuns: Pretend you’re an alien spy and zap Michael Shannon with your finger zapper everytime he looks stern yet vulnerable.

Agamemnon
The second installment of Court’s Greek Cycle, this world-premiere adaptation takes the stage under the impeccable direction of Charles Newell. Begins November 5 at Court Theatre.
Honeybuns: Show up in full theatrical Greek attire. Wait for the chorus to unconventionally enter from the vom. Effortlessly slip into the choreography. Go with the flow. Then, when the show is over, bow.

HouseTheatre_TheNutcracker2014_6-1024x709The Nutcracker
The House Theatre of Chicago knows what a steady, money-making holiday hit looks like. This “ballet-free” adaptation delivers every year. Begins November 6 at the Chopin Theatre.
HoneybunsWink at the person sitting next to you and proclaim “We both know who the real Nutcracker is here. Eh?”

Mamma MiaMamma Mia!
You either already love this show or you want to see it so you can love it. Broadway In Chicago asks you to just accept that and buy a ticket. Begins November 10 at Cadillac Palace Theatre.
Honeybuns: Pop a Claritin D while wearing all white to this show and feel alive for the first time in your life.

Tell Me What You Remember
Erasing the Distance doesn’t just make theater, they produce projects. This one-hour remount draws from a year-long Depression in Families Project to reveal how depression impacts the sufferers and those around them. Begins November 12 at Filament Theatre.

Ain’t Misbehavin’
Porchlight Music Theatre remounts their multi-Jeff Award-winning hit with the original cast, direction and music direction. Begins November 14 at Stage 773.
Honeybuns: Wear a tuxedo and stuff your pockets with caviar for god’s sake, because according to their regulations, The Jeff Committee does not judge late-night performances, puppet theater, opera, performance art, children’s theater, foreign language theater, mime theater, unscripted or improvised productions, or staged readings, and this is Chicago not some cave somewhere.

No More Sad Things
Sideshow Theatre Company launches its new season with the world premiere of a surreal Hawaiian comedy. The cheapest way to get to Hawaii as fall creeps in. Begins November 15 at Victory Gardens.

2013-1-American-Blues-Theaters-Its-a-Wonderful-Life-Live-in-Chicago-vertical.-Gwendolyn-Whiteside-Kevin-R.-Kelly-photo-by-Johnny-KnightIt’s a Wonderful Life: Live in Chicago!
You love the movie. This Chicago-centric adaptation approaches that level of Christmas cheer, with milk and cookies after each performance. Begins November 20 at Greenhouse Theater Center.
Honeybuns: Bring your own almond milk in a thermos and make everyone hate you.

Robin Hood & Maid Marian
Forks & Hope’s adaptation of “The Pied Piper” was an impressive hit and this world-premiere adaptation of the familiar brigand promises to be just as entertaining. Begins November 28 at Strawdog Theatre.
Honeybuns: Dress as Robin Hood and once everybody’s seated proclaim “What? We’re not dressing up for these anymore?”

Sherlock HolmesSherlock Holmes
Everyone else has had a chance to portray the pipe-smoking detective. Broadway In Chicago wonders, why not let David Arquette have a turn in this acclaimed adaptation from 2013? Begins November 24 at Oriental Theatre.
HoneybunsSquint your eyes so that David Arquette kinda maybe looks like Benedict Cumberbatch.

The Heir Apparent
Playwright David Ives once again brings the seventeenth century into the present in this adaptation of “Le Légataire Universel.” Directed by Tony Award-winner John Rando. Begins November 29 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Honeybuns: Keep a copy of this script on your coffee table next to a glass of zinfandel next time you have people over.

Cultural Sharing: Visión Latino Theatre Company Debuts with “Yellow Eyes”

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IMG_0747

Playwright Migdalia Cruz and the Cast of “Yellow Eyes”

By Elle Metz

On a warm, sunny Tuesday night, the founders of a new theater company have retreated into the cool, dark Jackalope Theatre in Edgewater. The large storefront windows are covered with black material and rows of chairs cluster around a small stage. It is the second week of rehearsals for Visión Latino Theatre Company’s inaugural play and the show’s actors will arrive soon.

Xavier M. Custodio, Yajaira Custodio and Johnathan Nieves—the founders of Visión Latino—sit around a table onstage and tell how the company began. Their passion for the venture is palpable—all lit-up eyes and fast talking. Read the rest of this entry »

Dark Humor: The Ups and Downs, and Downs, of a Chicago Comedian’s Struggle

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Photo: Elle Metz

Photo: Elle Metz

By Elle Metz

On a bright stage in a dark room at The Annoyance Theatre in Lakeview, two men, bouncing slightly on their toes, peer into the audience. Seventeen people—mostly young and casually dressed—gaze back. One woman sips a light beer. A goateed man sits up straight in his chair. The two performers, Derek Shoemaker and Blair Britt, ask for a suggestion to start their improvisation.

“Cadaver,” someone calls out. Shoemaker and Britt immediately step back to the middle of the stage, facing each other like sparring partners.

Shoemaker has a round face framed by a dark brown buzz cut and perpetual two-day scruff. Tonight he wears maroon slacks, a short-sleeved, blue-and-white-checked button up and red Vans sneakers—a typical performance uniform for him.

In this first scene, Shoemaker plays a police detective and Britt a medical examiner. They’re trying to solve a difficult murder case. Shifting their weight forward and back, the men discuss the case and gesture toward an imaginary body lying on a morgue table in front of them. Britt rants that he can’t find anything wrong with the body. A knowing look crosses Shoemaker’s face.

“We know about your gift,” Shoemaker says. “We know that you can touch bodies…”

“No, I’m not doing that again, alright,” Britt replies. “I’m not!” Read the rest of this entry »

Transformative Stories: A Reservoir of Healing at Erasing the Distance

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Greg Geffrard, TayLar, Angela Alise, Ronnell Taylor, Tiffany Renee Johnson

Greg Geffrard, TayLar, Angela Alise, Ronnell Taylor, Tiffany Renee Johnson

By Loy Webb

“This is turning into a therapy session,” says actress Angela Alise as she wipes the tears from her eyes. “Which it always does with Erasing the Distance,” Erasing the Distance (ETD) founder Brighid O’Shaughnessy responds, laughing at the aftermath her heartfelt answer has created.

It’s that kind of sincerity and empathy that has made ETD more than a theater company and into a reservoir of healing for individuals dealing directly and indirectly with mental illness.

This “therapy session” started when O’Shaughnessy described her encounter with a young woman named Marlena. Read the rest of this entry »

The Play Is the Sing: Longtime Stephen Sondheim Collaborator Paul Gemignani on “The Shakespeare of Music”

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Photo: Courtesy of Paul Gemignani

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Gemignani

By Dennis Polkow

“You know, you should start thinking about symphonic suites from your shows because you’re going to need them someday,” conductor and longtime Stephen Sondheim collaborator Paul Gemignani recalls telling Sondheim early on. “He knew that we would need them, but he would not sit down and write them.”

Sondheim, whose initial success was as a lyricist with Leonard Bernstein in “West Side Story” and Jule Styne in “Gypsy,” composed his own music to go with his own lyrics in “A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum.” From that show on—with the exception of writing lyrics for Richard Rodgers’ “Do I Hear A Waltz?” after the death of Rodgers’ partner and Sondheim’s mentor Oscar Hammerstein II—Sondheim would be the composer and lyricist for a string of shows that managed to revolutionize the Broadway musical.

“He’s one of these people that comes along every so often, like a Gershwin or a Rodgers, someone you can learn a lot from if you’re a composer or if you’re a musician like me. And in this man’s case, not only is he a musician, but he’s a poet. That, to me, makes him very unique.”

Despite his reputation as a lyricist, Gemignani insists that Sondheim’s musical prowess is no less formidable. “I started out with him where people said, ‘He writes great lyrics, but he can’t write a melody.’ Are you kidding me? He is a dramatist who writes to character completely. If you listen to all these musicals he wrote, tell me that the same man wrote ‘Company’ that wrote ‘Into the Woods.’ Tell me that that same man who wrote ‘Follies’ wrote ‘Pacific Overtures.’ They don’t even sound alike. That is the most unique thing about him. It’s like he’s the Shakespeare of music.   Read the rest of this entry »

Mid-Life and Lost: Bringing Christopher Durang’s Tony Winner “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” to The Goodman

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Mary Beth Fisher and Janet Ulrich Brooks/Photo:  Liz Lauren

Mary Beth Fisher and Janet Ulrich Brooks/Photo: Liz Lauren

By Elle Metz

Last year saw a surge of a certain type of film, the mid-life crisis, coming-home movie (see: “The Judge,” “This is Where I Leave You,” or “Are You Here” for examples). The plot, while differing slightly from film to film, follows a similar path: a financially stable but emotionally stunted middle-aged adult is called home (usually for a parent’s funeral) where they’re faced with old romances, disgruntled siblings and a crisis of conscience. Inevitably, their time at home shows them the error of their ways and realigns their priorities.

Starting this month, this story—only fresher and funnier—is coming to the stage at the Goodman Theatre in the form of Christopher Durang’s Tony award-winning play “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.” The play’s director, Steve Scott, is a prolific Chicago-based director, whose other productions at the Goodman include “Blind Date,” “Dinner with Friends,” “Wit” and the 2011 and 2012 editions of “A Christmas Carol.” To him, “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” reflects his own increasingly confused perspective on the world. Read the rest of this entry »

Career Candor: Gloria Estefan goes Off the Cuff about “On Your Feet”

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(l to r) Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Ana Villafañe and Josh Segarra/Photo: Bruce Glikas

Emilio Estefan, Gloria Estefan, Ana Villafañe and Josh Segarra/Photo: Bruce Glikas

By Dennis Polkow

Gloria Estefan has made an international career out of singing and dancing, the very essence of what happens in a Broadway musical. As such, it might seem she would be a natural to play herself in “On Your Feet! The Story of Emilio & Gloria Estefan,” which is having its pre-Broadway world premiere performances in Chicago.

“I’m too old,” Estefan admits. “The span of time is me between seventeen and thirty-two, which is the age I was when I had my accident and broke my back and they said I would probably never walk again, let alone perform.

“And it’s kind of weird to play yourself. You know, it’s funny, my daughter is an amazing singer and she’s at Berklee College of Music and is just stepping out. Everybody is saying ‘Oh my God, she should play you,’ because she’s like my clone, this little girl. Ridiculous pipes, she plays every instrument, she’s an amazing drummer, so musical. Her reaction was, ‘Mom, I’d have to kiss Dad!’ She’s not in the play as a character because she didn’t exist at the time that we’re covering in the play. But it’s fantastic to me that she co-wrote an original tune that’s a pivotal scene in the play that is very emotional.” Read the rest of this entry »

Beyond Fable: The Evolution of Community Performance at the Pivot Arts Festival

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Honeybuns/Photo: Shari Imbo

Honeybuns/Photo: Shari Imbo

By Aaron Hunt

In May 2012, Julieanne Ehre and Katy Collins co-produced what they coined a “Fable Festival” in Edgewater. Cafes, empty storefronts and restaurants hosted such delectable, multi-discipline concoctions as puppet folklore, American mythology and ten different playwrights’ interpretations of “Little Red Riding Hood.” But what came next is anything but a fiction, although animals, mythical creatures, natural forces endowed with human qualities, and life lessons are still a part of the magnificent tale that has become Pivot Arts.

“This is a pivot of partnerships. We’re really about being a pivot-point for the arts, and bringing communities together,” Ehre, now Pivot’s director, told me over coffee in an Uptown cafe. Ehre had served as artistic director of Greasy Joan & Co. for five years, and was the NEA/TCG New Generations “Future Leaders” Fellow at the Goodman Theatre, where she served as producer on Latino Festival, New Stages Series, and conceived of and produced the Goodman’s “Artists Talk” series. Collins, (currently a Pivot artistic associate), had been the artistic director of Vintage Theater Collective, and was no stranger to production herself. Between the two, the wealth of talent on Chicago’s North Side, and the buy-in of local businesses, “Fable Festival” not only entertained and facilitated conversations both within the Edgewater/Uptown community but also “over the fence” as well, when residences of adjacent neighborhoods wandered over to see what all the fuss was about. But when the festival was over, what next? In June of 2012, the conversation began. Read the rest of this entry »

Breaking Barriers: The Chicago Inclusion Project Makes its Debut

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Top row from left: Behzad Dabu, Todd Garcia, Emjoy Gavino, Barbara Robertson Bottom row from left: Yunuen Pardo, Anthony Fleming III, Delia Kropp, Michael Patrick Thornton Middle: Charin Alvarez, Bryan Bosque

Top row from left: Behzad Dabu, Todd Garcia, Emjoy Gavino, Barbara Robertson
Bottom row from left: Yunuen Pardo, Anthony Fleming III, Delia Kropp, Michael Patrick Thornton
Middle: Charin Alvarez, Bryan Bosque

By Mary Kroeck

Emjoy Gavino, Michael Patrick Thornton and Chay Yew are familiar names in the Chicago theater circuit. Gavino is a teaching artist with Barrel of Monkeys, ensemble member of Remy Bumppo and was recently in Court Theatre’s world premiere of “The Good Book.” Thornton had a recurring role on the television show “Private Practice” and is a Jeff Award-winning actor who recently appeared in Lookingglass’ production of “Title and Deed.” Yew is an Obie Award-winning director and the artistic director of Victory Gardens. Individually, these three have impressive resumes. However, one challenge they, and many others in and out of the theater profession, have struggled with, is how to create a more inclusive and diverse environment within the city of Chicago for artists to grow. So, along with other members of the theater community, Victory Gardens and the League of Chicago Theatres are joining together to launch The Chicago Inclusion Project.

“We have exceptional African-American theater companies and Latino companies and LGBTQ companies, but it’s rare for all these different, vibrant communities to have the chance to share the same stage or even be considered for the same project,” says Gavino, The Chicago Inclusion Project’s founder and producer. “That’s our aim. That’s why this initiative is necessary.” Read the rest of this entry »

Opera or Musical? The Eclectic Sound World of Ricky Ian Gordon

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Norfolk, Virginia - March 26, 2011: Ricky Ian Gordon, 55, the ubiquitous composer at Harrison's Opera House in Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, March 26, 2011 where he is preparing for his latest opera, "Rappahannock County". Its worldwide premier is on April 12 in Norfolk.

Ricky Ian Gordon

By Dennis Polkow

Composer Ricky Ian Gordon has written instrumental music over the years, but “there’s no getting around it,” he admits, “I’m most excited by the voice. My mother was a singer, I was her accompanist and a lot of what making music is about to me is my relationship with my mother. Also, when I was eight years old, I became obsessed with opera. But then, I was also obsessed with Joni Mitchell and the Beatles: I was obsessed with words through music. I’m less inclined to go to a symphonic concert than I am to go to the opera. I’m a man of the theater.”

Gordon was writing musical theater pieces early on, “When I thought that musical theater was going in a particular direction. At one point when I was a kid, ‘The Consul’ was done on Broadway. ‘Porgy and Bess’ was done on Broadway—not the recent version that Audra McDonald did, but the actual opera was done on Broadway. Stephen Sondheim’s shows had full orchestras when they originally premiered and were very musically sophisticated. If you listen to Audra McDonald’s first CD, ‘Way Back to Paradise,’ I think it gives you a sense of where we as composers thought the musical theater was going. But that didn’t happen.” Read the rest of this entry »

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