Sunday Night Sondheim – “Sweatin’ to Sondheim” !!

Very funny!

‘Thank or Spank’ your Congressperson

A few weeks back I posted the 2008 Congressional Arts Report Card for Illinois. (see the post here).  Soon after this, Scarlett Swerdlow, of the Illinois Arts Alliance/Foundation, alerted me to their “Thank or Spank” campaign, which allows Illinois residents to voice approval/disappointment to their elected officials.  Via Ms. Swerdlow:

Please take a moment to “thank or spank” your congressperson based on his or her Arts Report Card score. We’ve made it easy for you to take action. If your representative scored a B or higher, our online Action Center will generate a message congratulating and thanking your member. If your representative scored a C, D, or F, our online Action Center will generate a message encouraging them to do more to support the arts and arts education. Simply enter your zip code to get started!

I urge all my readers to “Thank or Spank” their representative(s).  (and for those non-Chicagoland readers of my blog, you can do the same!). 

I just contacted my rep Jan Schakowsky, thanking her for her A+ grade.  You can do the same here.  (on a related note, if you do e-mail your rep to voice your concerns, so in a civil, respectful manner.  You never know – they may come around soon; perhaps their grandson or niece will get involved in the arts, and their eyes will open when they see how the infusion of culture in a person’s life is beneficial to the world at large)

 

Illinois Arts Banner

Closing – "No Darkness…" and "Radium Girls". Don’t miss!

 By Venus Zarris

This weekend marks the closing of a couple of shows that, if you haven’t seen them yet, you should make every effort to see because they are terrific and this is your LAST CHANCE!

No Darkness Round My Stone

nodark_front-268x300 Trap Door Theatre’s brilliantly dark and atmospheric macabre masterpiece about the fate of two gravedigger brothers is a rare and unusual treat that shouldn’t be missed as well as a bizarre addition to your Halloween celebrations.

No Darkness Around My Stone is a spellbinding, poignant, chilling and profound mix of existential destitution and sweet tenderness. Do not miss this unique opportunity to experience a challenging, chilling, peculiar and incomparably haunting production.

Rating: ««««

(“No Darkness Round My Stone” runs through October 11 at Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland Ave. 773-384-0494.)

For the full review go to

www.chicagostagereview.com

 

Radium Girls

radiumgirlsposter2-194x300 Quite simply, the Chicago premier of Radium Girls, presented by Point of Contention Theatre, raises the bar for black box theater productions. Not with dazzling effects or innovative conceptualization, but rather by doing something so simple and yet so powerfully profound. It makes you care.

This is one of those hidden treasure productions that you will be thrilled that you uncovered before the time ran out! Do not miss the opportunity to experience this deceptively spellbinding, unique and wonderful production.

 

 

Rating: ««««

(“Radium Girls” runs through October 12 at The Side Project, 1439 W. Jarvis. 630-220-0730.) *tickets ONLY $15

For the full review go to

www.chicagostagereview.com

poc_radiumgirls_pressphoto3-300x225

Also closing this weekend:

(“Weekend” runs through October 12 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington. 773-281-8463.)  See our review here.

– Timeline Theatre’s Chicago premiere of Gore Vidal’s political classic.

(“The Threepenny Opera” runs through October 12 at Steppenwolf Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St. 312-335-1650.)

The Hypocrites’ take on the Bertolt Brecht classic.

(“The U.N. Inspector” runs through October 12 at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center, 927 Noyes Street, Evanston. 847-475-1875.)

– the American Premiere by Next Theatre in Evanston.

For the full reviews go to

www.chicagostagereview.com

Congressional Arts Report Card – Illinois

Amercans for the Arts Logo Americans for the Arts Action Fund has released this year’s Congressional Arts report card.  I have posted the Illinois delegation below.   I’m very proud to say that my representative, Jan Schakowsky, possesses the top report card score of A-plus.  It’s great to be represented by such an amazing friend-of-the-arts. Way to go Jan!

 

District Representative (Party) Score Grade
    8 Melissa Bean (D)     80     B+
   13 Judy Biggert (R)     86     A
   12 Jerry Costello (D)     86     A
    7 Danny Davis (D)     98     A
    5 Rahm Emanuel     80     B+
    4 Luis Gutierrez (D)     74     B+
   17 Phil Hare (D)     86     A
    2 Jesse Jackson Jr. (D)     94     A
   15 Timothy Johnson (R)     88     A
   10 Mark Kirk (R)     86     A
   18 Ray LaHood (R)     80     B+
    3 Daniel Lipinski (D)     88     A
   16 Donald Manzullo (R)      6     F
     6 Peter Roskam (R)     20     D
     1 Bobby Rush (D)     90     A
    9 Janice Schakowsky (D)    100     A+
   19 John Shimkus (R)     80     B+
   11 Jerry Weller (R)     40     C

Note: Rep. Bill Foster (D), of the 14th District, is not listed as he did not take office until 3/11/08.

You can see the entire Congressional Arts Report Card, including tabulation methods, here.

More info on the status of arts in our nation can be found at ArtsUSA.org.

Sunday Night Sondheim – Recording Session of "Company"

Found this absolutely great video!!  It’s a clip from the cast album recording of the original production of Sondheim’s “Company” – specifically “I’m Not Getting Married Today”.  (Note the hair styles – definitely 1970’s) The clip starts out with Harold Prince talking about the show, then goes into the recording studio where we see a young Stephen Sondheim assisting in coaching the singers.  It’s thrilling to be a bug on the wall watching creative minds hard at work.

 

Review – "Portrait of Dorian Gray" at Lifeline Theatre

Reviewed by Jackie Ingram

Lifeline Theatre has proven once again, “bigger is not always better.” Their small theatre has truly captured the essence of Oscar Wilde’s play with creativity, wonderful acting, and a skillfully used two-tier set that is amazing. Through the help of Basil Hailworth, Lord Henry Wotton, Alan Campbell, and the beautiful, Sibyl Vane, the play begins with all sharing their amorous feelings for the handsomely young Dorian Gray, convincingly played by Nick Vidal.

Dorian 187 LR Following the introductions, we see Basil Hailworth presenting the finished picture to Dorian who, after viewing it, falls in love with his own image. Dorian vows to sell his soul for eternal youth if only his picture would not age himself. The role of Dorian Gray might have been a daunting task for Nick Vidal and very one-dimensional, but under the great direction of Kevin Theis, you see the evil that is beginning to spew and creep out of Dorian’s face and behavior.

The ten-cast ensemble is excellent. By taking chances, the ensemble shares and entertains us with great fortitude. Don Bender, as the elder Basil, is strong and yet – when Dorian is present – converts into the shy, rambling and insecure young Basil, played by Aaron Snook. The work of these two agile performers is truly amazing. Unlike Basil, the young Lord Henry, played by Paul S. Holmquist, manipulates his way into Dorian’s life by teasing him with his biting sense of humor. The young Lord Henry is self-assured, funny, and not ashamed to voice his opinion. As the years pass, the influence of Dorian Gray seeps in, and the elder Lord Henry, played by Sean Sinitski, becomes a darker, more demure, and his biting sense of humor seems to fade. One must not forget the Sibyl Vane played by the beautiful Melissa Nedell: she commands the stage and charms our hearts with the love she holds for Dorian Gray. We see Kyle A. Gibson and John Ferrick as the younger and elder Alan Campbell. Mr. Campbell’s love never changes and he never stops wishing that one day Dorian would feel the same. We find out later that there is nothing Alan will not do for Dorian Gray. Adam Breske and David Skvaria as James Vane, younger and elder brother of Sibyl Vane, are equally scary and fantastic to watch. Whenever on stage, you can feel their anger. The entire cast and their secondary roles are truly brilliant, working as a fine-tuned machine.

Dorian Gray Twists and turns are abundant in Robert Kauzlaric’s adaptation of Portrait of Dorian Gray – and they will keep you focused on the action throughout.  Indeed, one scene even scared me! (and I don’t scare easy – though my grandkids might say otherwise!). Unfortunately I am not going to let you know what this scene is – you’ll have to see it for yourself!

But there is a haunting line in the show that I will share, “Love is truly mankind’s greatest tragedy.” What do you think? Go to the show and find out.

As a side note – I had the pleasure of speaking to a retired woman in the audience named Ms. Phyllis Trowbridge, who was friendly yet quirky, much like the gentrifying Rogers Park neighborhood surrounding the theatre.  Phyllis relayed to me that she had gone to a number of shows at Lifeline and, to quote her, “ I have not seen any bad shows here.”  I certainly must agree with Phyllis, and encourage all to support this theatrical treasure.

If you enjoy reading the works of Oscar Wilde (and even if you don’t) then this is the play for you. The Picture of Dorian Gray, showing at the Lifeline Theatre, runs through November 2nd.

Rating: ««««

 

 Dorian 1 LR

Think Fast….

Karin_McKie Karin McKie of Tree Falls Productions has written an informative article in CAR (ChicagoArtistResource.org) regarding the best ways for a theatre company to get the word out about their production.  You can read it here.

 

 

October is National Arts & Humanities MonthGet involved!