Abigail’s Party Opening at A Red Orchid Theatre

a red orchid A Red Orchid Theatre closes its 2009-2010 season with Abigail’s Party, written by Mike Leigh and directed by Shade Murray. The production will run February 12 – March 28, 2010 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells.

Abigail is having a party and none of us are invited, but do not miss the cocktail party just down the block… Beverly and Lawrence are having the “grown-ups” over and this party promises hilarity and horror the likes of which you can not imagine.  The petty competition is fierce as social relationships are laid bare exposing the obsessions, prejudices, dreams and aspirations of the guests. A sort-of comedy of manners, Abigail’s Party was developed through lengthy improvisations in which Mike Leigh and his actors explored characters and the realities of day-to-day life in all their beautiful, terrible glory.

ensemble_redOrchid “This season is about celebrating the Ensemble and the ongoing process that makes us A Red Orchid Theatre,” says Artistic Director Kirsten Fitzgerald. “Not only does Mike Leigh’s play offer the opportunity to have more than one or two Ensemble Members on stage together, it poses challenging questions to the creative team and our audiences; confronting the easy assumptions we so often make about relationships.”

Director Shade Murray adds, "On the surface, Abigail’s Party is pure British "cringe" comedy; you laugh as you recoil at the outrageous comments made by these ill-mannered folks and their complete lack of self-awareness. At the same time, it’s a timely social commentary asking us to consider the strength of the connective tissue that holds us to our spouses, our friends and our neighbors."

Tickets can be found at A Red Orchid Theatre’s website www.aredorchidtheatre.org

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Wicked is Returning to Chicago

wicked-sm-728976 Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce the return engagement of WICKED this fall, beginning Wednesday, December 1, 2010. The most successful show in Chicago history makes its triumphant return to the Cadillac Palace Theatre (151 W. Randolph) for eight weeks only, December 1, 2010 to January 23, 2011. Tickets for WICKED will go on sale to Broadway In Chicago Subscription Series holders and groups in February, 2010. Individual tickets for WICKED will be available at a later date to be announced.

“We are thrilled to host the return of WICKED. The requests from our patrons for this show to come back to Chicago have been overwhelming,” said Lou Raizin, President of Broadway In Chicago.

With music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (Godspell, Pippin, Academy Award-winner for Pocahontas and The Prince of Egypt) and book by Winnie Holzman (“My So Called Life,” “Once And Again” and “thirtysomething”), WICKED, the untold story of the witches of Oz, is directed by two-time Tony Award winner Joe Mantello (Take Me Out, Love! Valour! Compassion!, The Vagina Monologues) and features musical staging by Tony® Award winner Wayne Cilento (Aida, The Who’s Tommy, How To Succeed…).

Based on the best-selling 1995 novel by Gregory Maguire, WICKED, winner of 26 major awards, including a Grammy and three Tony Awards, is the untold story of the witches of Oz.  It is produced by Marc Platt, Universal Pictures, The Araca Group, Jon B. Platt and David Stone.

“We are absolutely thrilled to return to Chicago and play WICKED at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.  For nearly four years, the Oriental Theatre was our home, but it is about much more than a building.  It is really the City of Chicago and its audiences that are WICKED’s home.  And, of course, there’s no place like home,” said Producer David Stone.

Chandra Lee Schwartz and Donna Vivino 2 Long before Dorothy drops in, two other girls meet in the Land of Oz.  One – born with emerald-green skin – is smart, fiery and misunderstood.  The other is beautiful, ambitious and very popular.  WICKED tells the story of their remarkable odyssey, and how these two unlikely friends grow to become the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good Witch.

WICKED features set design by Tony® Award winner Eugene Lee (Ragtime, Show Boat, Candide, Sweeney Todd), costume design by Tony® winner Susan Hilferty (Into the Woods, Assassins), lighting design by Tony® winner Kenneth Posner (Hairspray, The Coast of Utopia) and sound design by Tony Meola (The Lion King).  Stephen Oremus is the show’s musical director.  Orchestrations are by William David Brohn, with dance arrangements by James Lynn Abbott.

Fuerza Bruta: Look Up is Coming to Chicago

broadway Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce the Chicago premiere of the international hit FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP (from the creators of De La Guarda), a non-stop collision of dynamic music, visceral emotion and kinetic aerial imagery that resembles nothing less than a fantastic mash-up between aerial theater and a late-night dance party.

Fuerza FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP begins May 21, 2010 at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University (50 E. Congress).  The historic landmark theatre will have its stage and lobby transformed into an alternate universe, filled with flying performers, pumping beats, engaging dream sequences and a multidimensional swimming pool above the heads of an audience who is on stage in the middle of the action.

“We are excited to bring this show to Chicago in partnership with the Auditorium Theatre,” says Lou Raizin, President of Broadway In Chicago.  “It is an extraordinary experience that may never have come to Chicago due to the unusual technical and physical requirements of this show.  Thinking out of the box was necessary to have this amazing event come to our city.”

“After amazing success with FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP in major cities around the world, we are thrilled to bring this very special show to Chicago, one of the country’s premiere cities for live theater and entertainment,” said Steve Howard, President of Exhibitions and Live Shows for S2BN Entertainment.

Tickets for FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP range from $50 – $80 and will be a part of the Broadway In Chicago Season Series that will go on sale in February. Group tickets of 15 or more are available now by calling (312) 977-1710 or visiting BroadwayInChicago.com.  The performance schedule for FUERZA BRUTA: LOOK UP is as follows: Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 PM, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 PM and 10:00 PM, and Sundays at 3:00 PM and 6:30 PM.

Fiddler On The Roof is Opening at Marriott Theatre

FiddleronRoofThe Marriott Theatre begins its 35th anniversary 2010 season with the internationally acclaimed Broadway musical FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. The production previews February 17th, opens February 24th and runs through April 25th. David H. Bell (OLIVER, SHENANDOAH, THE BOWERY BOYS) will direct and choreograph.

Winner of ten Tony Awards, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF has captured the hearts of people across the globe. A powerful and bittersweet celebration of the human spirit, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is the tale of a family struggling to maintain their balance in a changing world. It is 1905, on the eve of the Russian Revolution, as Tevye, a Jewish milkman, and his wife search for acceptable husbands for their three lively daughters. While the daughters are determined to break with tradition and marry the men they love, Tevye must choose between their happiness and his beloved traditions that keep the outside world at bay. Meanwhile, the family begins to face larger forces as Jews are being persecuted in their homeland, threatening the very life Tevye strives to preserve.

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF stars award-winning actors Ross Lehman as Tevye and Paula Scrofano as Golde and an all-star cast including Justin Berkobien as Perchik, Dara Cameron as Hodel, David Girolmo as Lazar Wolf, Andrew Keltz as Motel, Jessie Mueller as Tzeitel, Patrick Sarb as Fyedka, Laura Scheinbaum as Chava, and Craig Spidle as the Constable. Also featured are Matthew Crowle, Arielle Leigh Dayan, Rebecca Finnegan, Jennifer T. Grubb, James Harms, Gregory Hirte, Heidi Kettenring, Christian Libonati, Andy Lupp, Matt Raftery, Talia Rawitz and Katie Spelman.

Broadway’s Beauty and The Beast is Coming to Chicago

Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to present the award-winning worldwide smash-hit musical, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  Produced by NETworks Presentations, this elaborate theatrical production will come to life on stage at the Cadillac Palace Theatre March 23 – April 4, 2010.

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast features the animated film’s Academy Award®-winning score with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by the late Howard Ashman, with additional songs with music by Alan Menken and lyrics by Tim Rice. The book is written by Linda Woolverton.

The original creators of the Broadway production are together again for this new touring production. The play is directed by Rob Roth and choreographed by Matt West, with Costume Design by Ann Hould-Ward (Tony Award® winner for her work on Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), Lighting Design by Natasha Katz, Scenic Design by Stanley A. Meyer, Sound Design by John Petrafesa Jr. and Music Supervision by Michael Kosarin.

Director Rob Roth: “It has been wonderful to bring the entire original design team back together to work on this new production of Beauty and the Beast. As a director, it is rare to have the opportunity to revisit your work fifteen years later. Hopefully I’ve grown and developed as an artist, along with my collaborators, and we can bring 15 years of experience to this new production. We have remained very close as a team over the years of producing the show around the world, and it has been so much fun getting together to re-explore and re-invent the show for this new NETworks tour.  The theme of ‘Beauty’ is about seeing past the exterior into the heart of someone, and this is reflected in the design for the show, which is about transparency and layers, seeing past one thing and into another.”

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast is the classic story of Belle, a young woman in a provincial town, and the Beast, who is really a young prince trapped in a spell placed by an enchantress.  If the Beast can learn to love and be loved, the curse will end and he will be transformed to his former self. But time is running out. If the Beast does not learn his lesson soon, he and his household will be doomed for all eternity.

Tickets can be purchased at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St. and 18 W. Monroe St.), through the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000,

A Return To Haifa: A World Premiere by a Local Playwright

image001Evanston’s Next Theatre Company, continues its 29th season with the World Premiere of Return to Haifa by Evanston-based playwright M.E.H. Lewis beginning February 4 at Evanston’s Noyes Cultural Arts Center. The play was inspired by the 1968 Palestinian novella by Ghassan Kanafani. Next’s new Artistic Director Jason Southerland directs the production.

Return to Haifa tells the story of Sarah and Jakob, a young Jewish couple newly arrived in Haifa following liberation from Auschwitz and the long journey to Palestine. Simultaneously we meet Safiyeh and Ishmail, recently married and awaiting the birth of their first child (Khaldun) while settling into their new home in Haifa. But the lives of all four are soon changed forever as the Battle for Haifa in April 1948 forces Safiyeh and Ishmail to flee to Ramallah and, through a cruel twist of fate, leave their newborn child behind to face certain doom. Sarah and Jakob are given the house in Haifa and the baby to raise as they embark on a new life of their own. Nearly 20 years later as Ramallah becomes part of the Occupied Territories and the borders to Israel are once again opened, Safiyeh and Ishmail return to Haifa driven by a haunting curiosity and a need for closure. Once there however, they are faced with a realization more agonizing than the death of their son all those years before…his survival. Return to Haifa is an intensely intimate story about how we draw the lines of home, family and identity across time and politics.

I’m thrilled that I am able to bring this moving and complex story to life and to share it with audiences as our first World Premiere during my stewardship of Next,” says Southerland. “It’s an ideal first in my mind in that although the story is poignantly set against the backdrop of the birth of the Jewish state, the parabolic metaphors of displacement, identity, family, and loss will assuredly resonate with Chicagoland audiences and beyond.”

The production is a first for Next in that it pairs a local playwright along with a resident director to produce a show for the home stage at Evanston’s Noyes Arts Center.

Explore The Brother/Sister Plays at Steppenwolf

steppenwolf_box_officeSteppenwolf Theatre Company continues its 2009-2010 season, an exploration of the theme of belief, with The Brother/Sister Plays:  In the Red and Brown Water, The Brothers Size and Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet by Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by ensemble member Tina Landau from January 21 – May 23, 2010 in Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St.

BrotherSister The Brother/Sister Plays will be presented in repertory, with In the Red and Brown Water on one evening in rotation with the two shorter plays, The Brothers Size and Marcus, on the other (with marathon performances on the weekends).  The plays can be experienced in any order, although chronologically In the Red or Brown Water comes first, followed by The Brothers Size and then Marcus. 

On the banks of the bayou, a small community springs to life with stories of love, sexuality and coming-of-age.  Influenced by lively Afro-Caribbean folklore, The Brother/Sister Plays explore the struggles that arise when the quest for self-identity is at odds with community values:

In the Red and Brown Water: Fast, spirited Oya is a promising young athlete who is offered a scholarship that could jump-start her future.  Forced to choose between her dying mother and her own dreams, she makes a life-changing decision.  Oya’s subsequent path to womanhood leads her to a crossroads where she finds herself torn between settling down…and just settling.

The Brothers Size: When Oshooshi Size is released from jail, he goes to work in his brother’s car repair shop.  When his best friend from prison also shows up, a tense tug of war results.  The Brothers Size is a fierce and honest look at the complex bonds of brotherhood.

Marcus; Or the Secret of Sweet: Marcus is sixteen. He is also coming to terms with his sexuality while uncovering the mysterious secrets of his family’s past.  An entrancing coming-of-age story, Marcus is about the difficult quest for identity in an outspoken and strong-willed community.

Tickets are available at www.steppenwolf.org

Free post-show discussions are offered after every performance.