‘Cavalia” extends thru August 23rd

Last Chance to see Cavalia in Chicago

The summer equestrian smash, Cavalia, will now conclude its Chicago engagement on August 23. 


Cavalia-stunt With more than 45,000 tickets sold to date, the next few week are the last chance Chicagoans will have to spend an evening or afternoon with the two-and four-legged stars of Cavalia.  The equestrian odyssey has extended its run in Chicago ’s West Loop for the final time through Sunday, August 23.  The production, which made its Chicago debut Tuesday, July 14, is presented under its towering White Big Top, which is pitched at Racine and Jackson in Chicago’s West Loop. After Chicago, Cavalia and its village will be returning to the Washington DC area where the show will open in September.

About Cavalia

This multimedia extravaganza brings together more than 100 two-and four-legged artists in a visually exquisite, inspiring and poetic multi-disciplinary spectacular that pushes the boundaries of what is possible between humans and horses.  The mix of horses, acrobats, aerialists, dancers, riders and musicians transports spectators to dream-like settings while celebrating the timeless bond between horses and humans.

Cavalia-stunt2 Normand Latourelle, founder and artistic director of Cavalia, is the visionary behind the show.  Through Latourelle’s passionate vision, Cavalia revolutionizes equestrian and performing arts. Latourelle has become renowned for adventurous, mammoth and innovative productions that transport spectators to new realms of imagination.

Cavalia is a show unlike any other, a lavish orchestration blending multimedia theatrical spectacle with equestrian and performing arts. Acrobats, aerialists, dancers, musicians and riders are showcased on an enormous, 160-foot-wide stage; a space so expansive that it allows the horses sufficient space to gallop and cavort, at times completely unbridled. Recognized for their expertise in the realm of multimedia, Cavalia’s creators have used cutting-edge technology to create dream-like fantasy world. Large, panoramic images are projected on to a 210-foot-wide curved screen, while stunning special and lighting effects illuminate the action on the stage and in the air. Original live music and vocals accompany this feast for the senses.

Cavalia-white Cavalia is presented under North America ’s largest touring tent, a pristine white structure rising some 100 feet above the ground and spanning more than 26,264 square feet. The stage alone is the equivalent to the width of a regulation NFL football field.

Juxtaposed with the vibrancy of the lavish production is a subtle thematic line that tells the story of the evolution of horses and their bond with human beings, beginning with their unbridled life in the wilderness, to early domestication and ultimately to a rapport with people based on mutual respect.

Cavalia-2horses Featured in Cavalia are 13 different breeds of horses, including Arabians, Spanish Pure Breeds, Lusitanos, Quarter Horses, Appaloosas and Paint horses from France, Canada, Spain and the United States. The featured artists represent talented individuals from such nations as the United States Australia, Belgium , Canada , France , Kyrgyzstan , Mexico , Morocco , Portugal , and Russia .


Tickets are priced from $50.50 – $108.50. Special pricing is available for children and seniors. In addition, special packages including an exclusive visit to the Cavalia stables and other amenities are also available. Prices do not include service fees. For more information, a detailed list of show dates and reservations, call 1-866-999-8111 or visit www.cavalia.net.

Performance schedule after the fold:

cavalia tent

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Review: Point of Contention’s “The Wonder: A Woman Keeps a Secret”

Hilarity Truly Ensues in Point of Contention’s

“The Wonder: a Woman Keeps a Secret”


Point of Contention Theatre presents:

The Wonder: A Woman Keeps A Secret

by Susanna Centlivre
Directed by Margo Gray
Running thru August 26th (buy tickets)
Location: BoHo Theatre at Heartland Studio (map)

Review by Paige Listerud

This is what Chicago’s theater scene is all about: around a corner, in a little space one could easily pass by, a small theater company is doing great things. Director Margo Gray has assembled a lively and gifted cast for Point of Contention’s production of The Wonder: a Woman Keeps a Secret. This 18th century play by Susanna Centlivre, considered second only to Aphra Behn in her time, receives light and fast modern flare, while staying true to its ribald, audacious, and feminist origins. Step into that little black box–an evening of 295 year-old fun awaits you.

Set in colonial Brazil, the clever and virtuous Violante (Megan Faye Schutt) hides the daring Isabella (Lisa Siciliano) who has escaped from her father, Don Lopez (Jeff McLane), to keep from being married against her will for money and station. Trouble is, Violante is also in love with Isabella’s brother, Don Felix (Jason Nykiel). Every attempt to keep Isabella’s secret and help her on to true love puts Violante’s relationship with Don Felix in jeopardy. Her intrigues on Isabella’s behalf spark Don Felix’s suspicions, manly pride, and jealousy, and could ruin her own chances at happiness.

Of course, even given all the intrigues and mishaps between principle players, the bawdiest comedy comes from the servants; each player cast in these roles invests them with vigor, relish, and imagination. Ready for a three-way? Don Felix’s servant Lissardo (Justin Warren) certainly is–and attempts to negotiate between his dalliances with Isabella’s maid, Inis (Morgan Manasa) and Voilante’s maid, Flora (Hayley L. Rice). Warren skillfully wrings laughs out of every situation. Of course, he’s lucky; he has lines like, “Methinks I have a hankering kindness after the slut.” Drunken carousing with the Scotsman Gibby (Eric S. Prahl), servant to smooth Colonel Britton (Sean Patrick Ward), is a surefire way to pass the time while the girls’ tempers cool down.

Jeff McLane’s anxiety-ridden and compulsive Don Lopez is nothing short of hilarious. Point of Contention may want to put a ball and chain on him to keep him from getting away. Morgan Manasa does quadruple duty bringing bright, distinctive comic turns to each role she plays. Rice’s Flora is the perfect hearty, buxom foil to Schutt’s vivacious, intelligent Violante. The feminist moments of the play are enjoyable because the expressions of loyalty and boldness between women occur naturally within the context of the women’s choices.

As for the guys, where did POC find these smart, good-looking men—I mean, actors? Seriously, it’s impressive to see a work like this taken on and cast so evenly. Brett Lee’s Frederick is such a solidly good guy that one’s heart breaks in the end when he’s the only character who isn’t hooked up with anyone. Is it too late for a rewrite?

One soft spot remains, which could be worked out in the course of the run. In the second act, a relatively long scene between the two principle lovers, Don Lopez and Violante, shifts from romantic quarrel to reconciliation to comedic free-for-all over Felix’s reawakened suspicions. Schutt and Nykiel have not quite mastered the transitions between romantic moment and farce, which would be an essential skill for any 18th-century leading comic actor.

Special nods go to set design (Amanda Bobbitt and Allyson Baisden), lighting design (Brandon Boler), and costumes (Carrie Harden). This company follows the principle of doing a lot with a little. The ability to suggest colonial Brazil with precise touches and avoid drowning the cast in stuffy frippery must be commended.

Rating: «««½

Review: “Put My Finger In Your Mouth”

Slouching Toward the Theater of the Ridiculous

Put your Finger in my Mouth

The Right Brain Project presents

Put My Finger In Your Mouth
by Bob Fisher
Directed by Nathan Robbel
Runs thru August 29th (773.750.2033 for tickets)

Reviewed by Paige Listerud

Is everything old new again? If Right Brain Project succeeds at anything with its production of Put My Finger In Your Mouth, a new play by Bob Fisher, it’s in evoking a nostalgic, psychedelic, Rocky Horror-like vibe.

Like so many before it, this production’s roots lay the work of New York transgender playwright Jackie Curtis, Andy Warhol film star and creator of The Theater of the Ridiculous. Always on the outside, always fringe, Curtis’s influence prevails to this day through shows like Annoyance Theatre’s Co-ed Prison Sluts or, my old favorites, Cannibal Cheerleaders On Crack or The Vampire Lesbians of Sodom.

finger in my mouth Under Nathan Robbel’s direction, with a sound design that culls tunes from the 60s, 80s, and 00s, Put My Finger In Your Mouth is a much softer, gentler show intent on generating a dream world that its characters inhabit and pull the audience into, rather than shock or outrage it. But the audience can only receive minor moments of dreamlike satisfaction from themes that are worn, trite and underdeveloped.

The play is a club-kid fable about two sisters, Birdy (Erin Elizabeth Orr) and Turtle (Stacie Hauenstein) whose conflicts revolve around the competing claims of pleasure and security. Birdy wants to risk all for discovery and new experiences, while Turtle clings to a safe, co-dependent existence at home. The risks become greater for Birdy upon entry into the bizarre club world of the androgynous Snailman (Emily Mark), whose fingers secrete a hallucinogenic substance that enslaves all who taste it.

Orr and Hauenstein generate sympathy as the two sisters, but a script that repeats the risk vs. security theme ad nauseum hampers their performances. Sadly, Turtle’s hidden past is telegraphed so far in advance, it has no impact at all once finally revealed. The sultry androgyny of the Snailman and the hold s/he has on her willing minions, create the appropriate otherworldly space for Birdy to be ensnared in, but there is something to be aware of in the play’s limitations regarding gender identity difference.

How Victorian the play is in the portrayal of its leading transgender or intersex character as Other, dangerous, and suspect. Snailman still ends up being the coolest thing aroundit’s just disappointing that, once again, the clichéd dangers of gender transgression get a tired, unimaginative, and unthinking rehash here. Right Brain Project clearly wants to go beyond the predictable. More careful consideration or development of material before production would serve it well.

For all that, the cast certainly creates a “scene” with its performance. From time to time, glimmers of poetry strike up from the script. The Battle of the Furries that takes place in the nightclub finally achieves the psychedelic effect the play has been promising all the while. If one could exhort the playwright and the company to anything, it would be this: be bolder. Be even more right brain. Don’t hang back in the safe zone.

Rating: «½



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