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.

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Once Again… Noises Off at Theatre at the Center

home-bottom-blank-comingsoon The first production to ever be produced at Theatre at the Center in the summer of 1991, Noises Off will kick off the milestone 20th anniversary season for this award winning theatre. The uproarious comedy will run at Theatre at the Center, 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Indiana, February 18 through March 21.

home-top-main-logo Noises Off follows a troupe of has-been, never-was, and wanna-be actors led by a somewhat pretentious and strained-to-the-breaking-point director.  They are touring in a typical English bedroom farce called Nothing On through the hinterlands of the outer regions of Britain (the equivalent off Off OFF Broadway in America).  As the show progresses from one town to the next, the little romances, intrigues, and foibles of the cast begin to wear on them until, by the time they arrive in the last town, all semblance of the play that they were rehearsing has vanished into the mayhem of their personal and professional vendettas.  Shoelaces are tied together, plates of sardines are dumped on heads, alcohol is consumed in quantity, and sexual peccadilloes and dalliances are revealed both onstage and off.

For tickets call 219.836.3255 Theatre at the Center, visit TheatreAtTheCenter.com.

Tonya Harding Whacks The Olympic Spirit Into Chicago

gorilla_newpic With the Vancouver Winter Olympics just around the corner – February 12-28, 2010 – Gorilla Tango Theatre is proud to unveil its latest original, irreverent, parody about the figure skating ‘duo’ which put the somewhat tedious sport on the map! WHACK! THE TONYA HARDING & NANCY KERRIGAN STORY, A KARAOKE MUSICAL will perform Thursdays at 9:30pm, January 21 – February 25, 2010 at Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee Ave. 

Sixteen years ago, an event occurred which would elevate the sport of figure skating from a ho-hum Thursday afternoon to a prime-time tabloid bitchfest, and make and break the careers of two very different skaters. On January 6, 1994, an unknown assailant smashed Nancy Kerrigan’s knee after a practice session for the U.S. Figure Skating Championships at Detroit’s Cobo Arena. In the months that followed, Kerrigan’s star soared as she carried away the Silver at the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics (Ukrainian Oksana Baiul won the gold), while Tonya Harding’s fizzled. Implicated in the attack but never formally charged, Tonya sued the U.S. Olympic Committee to be able to compete at the Olympics and finished a disastrous eighth, after the infamous “broken shoelace” in the long program. Gorilla Tango Theatre’s WHACK! THE TONYA HARDING & NANCY KERRIGAN STORY, A KARAOKE MUSICAL loosely follows the events that led up to the attack and through the Olympics, weaving such unforgettable characters as Tonya, Nancy, Jeff Gillooly, and Nancy Kerrigan’s Blind Mother, among others, together with familiar Disney tunes (all with rewritten lyrics – i.e. “Whack Her Knee” in the style of Little Mermaid’s “Kiss the Girl”) and kick-ass dances choreographed by Ellen Domonkos (Veruca Venom of local burlesque group, The Flaming Dames).

Tickets are $15; to purchase tickets call 773-598-4549 or visit www.gorillatango.com.

  

A Rare Play Opening at TUTA THeatre

h_brecht_0 TUTA Theatre Chicago is proud to kick off its 2009/2010 international upcoming season of shows with the comedy The Wedding by German playwright Bertolt Brecht, featuring original music by Jesse Terrill.  In this, their eighth season in the city of Chicago, the critically acclaimed theatre company will be presenting the first of two rarely seen and early works of Brecht.  The Wedding will run Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, at 8:00pm, and Sundays at 3:00pm, from January 14 – February 14, at Chopin Theatre Studio, 1543 W. Division St.

When nine middle class self-important guests converge on a young bride and groom’s apartment, each one slowly unravels the joys and horrors of living a pretentious life.  As the guests’ uptight facades collapse, an adventure full of music, slapstick humor and social criticism is unleashed.  Featuring live original music performed by the cast, The Wedding reflects on times of moral and economic crisis in which all social manners and values such as family, tradition, marriage, virginity, decency, private property, and patriotism breakdown.

Tickets are $15 for previews, $25 for adults and $20 for Senior Citizens and Students for the regular run, and may be purchased at the door one hour before show time or online at www.tutato.com.  $12 Industry tickets are available at every Thursday and Sunday performance at the door.

Jazz Vocalist Jessie Arlen Releases Her Debut CD

Jessie_Arlen_photo_by_Tara_Chumpelik Jessie Arlen, a 22 year-old New York-based vocalist and Downbeat Student Music Award winner in the category of Best Jazz Vocalist, releases her debut recording “Certain Surprise” Tuesday, Jan. 12.  Arlen’s pure, soulful voice lends itself to multiple musical styles including jazz, folk and R&B. Arlen returns to her hometown of Evanston, Ill. for a concert to celebrate the debut at Evanston SPACE, 1245 Chicago Avenue, Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 8 p.m.

Described as a crossover artist with roots in jazz, Arlen is a classification-defying singer who embraces songs in a way that belies her relative youth.   Her interpretations both honor the composer’s style and intent and adds a very personal and contemporary relevance. 

The album features a number of standards, including versions of Cole Porter’s “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To” and Ann Ronell’s “Willow Weep for Me” that sound as though they were taped during a smoky, middle-of-the-night jam session, while her take on Mercer and Kern’s “I’m Old Fashioned” transports the listener back to the tuxedoed elegance of a 1940s night club.  By contrast, her interpretation of the Beatles’ “Oh! Darling” has a Ray Charles-like soulfulness, and two Burt Bacharach standards are performed with a in a way that salutes the pop-tune original but gives them a modern twist.  The lesser known “More Love” by J. Segal and the John Martyn’s title track are performed with a heartfelt delicacy that gives the listener the sense that they are hearing a classic tune and lyric for the first time.

Joining Arlen on the recording many of Chicago’s best musicians, including Neil Artwick, piano; Mark Beringer, acoustic bass; Phil Gratteau, drums; Ken Arlen, soprano and tenor saxophone; Mark Olen, trumpet and flugelhorn; Russ Phillips, trombone; David Young, muted trumpet; Richie Davis, acoustic and electric guitar; Steve Roberts, ukulele and electric guitar; Steve Ramsdell, nylon string and electric guitar; and Rich Stitzel, percussion.

Arlen’s debut recording, “Certain Surprise” is priced at $15 and can be purchased beginning Tuesday, Jan. 12 on Jessiearlen.com.

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Philip Seymour Hoffman Makes His Chicago Directorial Debut at Goodman Theatre

goodman_new_iconGoodman Theatre is proud to present the world premiere of Brett C. Leonard’s The Long Red Road directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman.

psh%20headshot In this raw, provocative world premiere, Sam attempts to drink away his past and exorcise his demons on an Indian reservation in South Dakota, where he has been trying to forget his role in a tragic accident involving his family. When a visitor from his past arrives on the reservation, Sam is forced to face his guilt and take a harrowing look at the man he has become. The Long Red Road is a searing play about the way one person’s anguish can tear a family apart.

The show runs February 13 – March 14, 2010 in the Goodman’s 400-seat flexible Owen Bruner Theatre. Tickets are $12 – $45 and are currently on sale at GoodmanTheatre.org or by calling 312.443.3800.

You’re Invited to a Marvelous Party!

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You’re invited to a marvelous party!  Oh Coward! celebrates one of the theatre’s greatest entertainers—Noël Coward.  Best known for his comic masterpieces Blithe Spirit, Private Lives and Hay Fever, Coward was one of the most prolific songwriters of his day.  Now, acclaimed director Jim Corti brings his effervescent music, satirical quips and witty repartee to life.  With the intimate Books on Vernon venue transformed into a nightclub, Oh Coward! is a must-see evening of the most memorable tunes of the 20th century!

 

Title:                            Oh Coward!
Words and Music by:     Noël Coward
Devised by:                   Roderick Cook
Directed by:                   Jim Corti
Musical Direction by:      Doug Peck
Featuring:                      Kate Fry, Rob Lindley and John Sanders

Writers’ Theatre announces the extension of Oh Coward!.  The production runs through March 28, 2010, at Writers’ Theatre, 664 Vernon Avenue in Glencoe.

For Tickets call 847-242-6000 or visit www.writerstheatre.org