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Monday, January 9, 2017

Impact Statement gives rape victims a chance to speak out

Posted By on 01.09.17 at 03:00 PM

BEN BENTLEY
  • Ben Bentley

From the time she was nine until she was 13, Sasha Hatfield's stepfather repeatedly raped her. Her case had a more satisfying conclusion than most: this past summer, after a long and drawn-out legal process, including a jury trial during which she testified and read an impact statement about how the rapes had affected her, he was convicted and sentenced to 15 to 40 years in prison.

"It was a surreal experience," Hatfield, who is now 29, says about the trial. "The scariest part was talking about the gory details while he was in speaking distance. There was a seed of doubt about whether it was worth doing. But I went up and said what I had to say."

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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Lyric Opera’s restaged The Magic Flute says ‘Hey, kids, let’s put on a show!’

Posted By on 12.14.16 at 07:00 AM

Die Zauberflöte comes to—Oak Park? - ANDREW CIOFFI
  • Andrew Cioffi
  • Die Zauberflöte comes to—Oak Park?

I loved Lyric Opera's 30-year-old production of The Magic Flute, with its 18th-century costumes and storybook sets.

So I was skeptical about the new production the company opened Saturday night, ready to be grouchy about change for change's sake.
As it turned out, no need. I was won over almost as soon as the curtain went up on what proved to be a clever and joyful reimagining of Mozart's much-loved 225-year-old singspiel (opera with spoken dialogue) as a backyard production by a bunch of American kids for an audience of neighbors.

The opera is performed outside a "typical" suburban house, in someplace like Oak Park, probably around 1960. And the entire house is there: an idyllic, life-size Cape Cod, planted center stage on Lyric's giant new toy—er, turntable. As the story unfolds, the house rotates to show us its patio, front stoop, or side-yard cellar entrance.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Lyric Opera’s big, long, first-ever Les Troyens delivers on an epic score

Posted By on 11.17.16 at 09:00 AM

Lyric Opera's Les Troyens - TODD ROSENBERG
  • Todd Rosenberg
  • Lyric Opera's Les Troyens

Hector Berlioz died in 1869 without ever seeing a full production of the project dearest to his heart—his grand opera, Les Troyens, which he had completed in 1858.

There was a reason he couldn't get it produced: the five-act, two-part work, based on parts of Virgil's epic poem the Aeneid, runs about five hours (with cuts), and calls for a chorus of 100 voices, along with 22 featured characters, a ballet troupe, and an enormous orchestra—all able to navigate a demanding score.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

‘Unfortunately, I am the villain’: Profiles Theatre artistic director Darrell W. Cox responds to Reader abuse investigation

Posted By on 06.10.16 at 09:33 PM

Demonstrators this week plastered Profiles Theatre with copies of the Reader. - EILEEN TULL
  • Eileen Tull
  • Demonstrators this week plastered Profiles Theatre with copies of the Reader.

In a Facebook post published Friday evening, Profiles Theatre artistic director Darrell W. Cox dismisses allegations of workplace abuse documented by the Reader during a yearlong investigation of the acclaimed storefront theater.  

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Performing arts paper PerformInk to get digital relaunch

Posted By on 03.22.16 at 04:23 PM

PerformInk covered Chicago's theater scene in analog form. Now it's getting a digital reboot. - FLICKR/MARZ K
  • Flickr/Marz K
  • PerformInk covered Chicago's theater scene in analog form. Now it's getting a digital reboot.

Spring! The season of buds and rebirth and free-floating optimism. It's the perfect time for this piece of back-from-the-dead news: PerformInk is being resurrected.

That's according to Jason Epperson, who's behind the reboot. The once-indispensable biweekly trade paper for the Chicago theater community, which went from print to digital-only in 2009 and ceased publication in 2011, will now be a rolling-news website with a weekly e-mail edition. 

Look for it to pop back to life online this week—maybe as early as Wednesday, Epperson says. 

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Thursday, January 21, 2016

What to see at Shakespeare 400 Chicago

Posted By on 01.21.16 at 04:30 PM

The melancholy Hamlet as you've never seen him before: Shanghai Peking Opera’s The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan. - XINHUA/ZOU ZHENG
  • Xinhua/Zou Zheng
  • The melancholy Hamlet as you've never seen him before: Shanghai Peking Opera’s The Revenge of Prince Zi Dan.

The catalog for Shakespeare 400 Chicago is officially out now, both online and in print. As festival producer Doreen Sayegh promised when I talked to her the other day, it is, indeed, possible to experience Shakespeare in some form every day from now until December.

You could do that, I suppose, simply by finding a complete Shakespeare somewhere and digging in, one play at a time, but to do this would miss the point of Shakespeare 400, which intends to do what Chris Jones suggested in a Tribune column a few weeks ago, to bring our entire divided city together in the service of art. These plays give us a way to talk about racism; sexism; treatment of minorities, immigrants, the elderly, and the mentally ill; and the abuse of power. Plus, seeing Shakespeare on stage reminds you of the original purpose of the plays: to entertain. Now I will stop channeling your high school English teacher and list some of the festival's highlights:

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Brush up your Shakespeare all year long at Shakespeare 400 Chicago

Posted By on 01.19.16 at 03:00 PM

Alexander Matrosov, Peter Rykov and Alexander Arsentyev in the Cheek by Jowl/Puskin Theatre production of Measure for Measure, which kicks off Shakespeare 400 Chicago - JOHAN PERSSON
  • Johan Persson
  • Alexander Matrosov, Peter Rykov and Alexander Arsentyev in the Cheek by Jowl/Puskin Theatre production of Measure for Measure, which kicks off Shakespeare 400 Chicago

If you like Shakespeare, well, 2016 is your year. From January 27 on, you’ll be able to attend a Bard-related event nearly every day if you so desire, courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare’s Shakespeare 400 Festival.

One thousand actors, artists, dancers, musicians, professors, and chefs from all over the world, performing in 120 locations across the city’s neighborhoods in just about every language spoken by Chicagoans, will pay tribute to the playwright. Many of the city’s cultural institutions have partnered with Chicago Shakespeare, and there will be visiting performers from Great Britain, Belgium, India, China, Poland, and Russia; the festival’s opening performance will be a contemporary Russian-language Measure for Measure from Cheek by Jowl and the Moscow Pushkin Drama Theatre. The full catalog of events is out this week.

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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Redmoon Theater's demise offers a cautionary tale about contradictory impulses

Posted By on 12.24.15 at 11:44 AM

The drama of 2005's Loves Me . . . Loves Me Not played out in Jackson Park lagoon on the roofs of flooded houses. - COURTESY REDMOON THEATER
  • Courtesy Redmoon Theater
  • The drama of 2005's Loves Me . . . Loves Me Not played out in Jackson Park lagoon on the roofs of flooded houses.

Wander the Reader clips on Redmoon Theater for a little while, and a distinct pattern emerges.

Lewis Lazare, 1996: "Last winter Redmoon Theater was contemplating a rosy future. . . . Now almost a year later Redmoon is still trying to figure out how to make the difficult transition from a small neighborhood theater to a much bigger enterprise."

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Friday, December 18, 2015

Redmoon Theater closes shop

Posted By on 12.18.15 at 01:59 PM

Will Redmoon Theater overcome this? - ALEX FRIEDLAND
  • Alex Friedland
  • Will Redmoon Theater overcome this?

Update 12/21
: That was no temporary blip at Redmoon Theater last week: the company announced Monday that it has closed its doors, after 25 years in which it grew from a Logan Square puppet studio to a high-profile producer of massive, free, urban spectacles.

In a letter to its supporters, and a media statement, Redmoon apologized for the abruptness of the closure, but said "there is no funding model" for its "civic and social artistic vision." Once it had decided to "operate at the Scale of the City," neither the ticketed events it hosted in its huge Pilsen headquarters nor its private party entertainment rental service generated enough revenue to support it.



Redmoon Theater appears to have been eclipsed—at least for the moment.

Redmoon's annual New Year's Eve "Revolution" bash, which dropped off the calendar this week, was the latest in a series of disappointments that began with the fizzle of its inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival last year. 

And nobody seems to be at home at Redmoon Central. Midweek calls to the office and box office in the company's Pilsen home went to voice mail; the online box office deflected would-be ticket buyers.

So what happened?

The company is “having some problems with our building," according to coartistic director Frank Maugeri, who responded to a few questions by e-mail, and who runs Redmoon with executive artistic director Jim Lasko.

He wasn't more specific, but if you're thinking a broken furnace or plumbing issues at the huge complex at 2120 S. Jefferson, you're probably on the wrong track.

Redmoon's landlord, Phillip Mumford, filed suit against the company in Cook County Court in October, charging it with breach of contract for unpaid rent for September and October, and with occupying the property after its right to possession had been terminated.

The bill was hefty: $62,082 as of October 7. There's a court date scheduled for December 23.
  
Maugeri did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit, but wrote that ticket holders for the New Year's Eve event were notified of the cancellation by e-mail on Monday, December 14, and were assured that refunds were in process and should be received within seven business days.

Mumford's attorney also declined to comment. 

As for the future, according to Maugeri, "Redmoon is currently evaluating a restructuring plan."  

Read the full complaint here: 


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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The secret to Congrats on Your Success's success as a stand-up showcase

Posted By on 11.03.15 at 08:00 AM

The home of Congrats on Your Success is Logan Square's Uncharted Books - PATRICK ALLAN
  • Patrick Allan
  • The home of Congrats on Your Success is Logan Square's Uncharted Books

Three years ago, Rebecca O'Neal was a fresh face on the Chicago comedy scene looking for a new open mike. What she came across instead was a bookstore: Logan Square's Uncharted Books, the owner of which was interested in hosting a show. So she called up some of her funniest friends, and the monthly stand-up showcase Congrats on Your Success was born.

For this week's three-year anniversary event, O'Neal and the rest of the show's producers (Bill Bullock, Justin Covington, Sonia Denis, Odinaka Ezeokoli, and Charlie Rohrer) perform. There will also be free beer from Powell Brew House, as well as untold surprises. During the first anniversary, regulars in the audience got cheap champagne; last year's affair included an audience roast. 

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Agenda Teaser

Performing Arts
Twelfth Night Lincoln Park Conservatory
November 30
Performing Arts
Breath, Boom Athenaeum Theatre
November 09

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