Olympia Dukakis reads for American Blues

By Leah A. Zeldes

Olympia-Dukakis Academy Award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis appears in Chicago Monday, Nov. 16, to read from an upcoming American Blues Theater production. The reading, a passage from ABT’s spring 2010 show, "RIPPED: The Living Newspaper Project" by Eduardo Machado and Rick Cleveland, takes place during a benefit for the newly-reconstituted troupe. Dennis Zacek, artistic director of Victory Gardens Theater, will also read.

Highlights of benefit, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Monday at the Bridgeview Bank, 4753 N. Broadway, also include live blues by Chicago band The Skirts, an auction of such items as local theater tickets and a walk-on Broadway role, food and drinks. Tickets are $75, $125 for VIP admission, which includes an earlier reception with Dukakis.

Dukakis, whose film credits include Steel Magnolias, Mr. Holland’s Opus and Moonstruck, for which she was named Best Supporting Actress, is a long-time friend of ABT ensemble member Carmen Roman. "I’ve watched this company continuously produce incredible, groundbreaking work," Dukakis said. "The 2009/10 season is no exception. I’m honored to be a part of their benefit celebration, and fully support this inspirational Chicago ensemble."

"Starting from scratch without staff and absolutely no money has certainly been a challenge," said ensemble member Gwendolyn Whiteside, part of the company’s executive/artistic/administrator triumvirate, along with Roman and Heather Meyers.

In March, 23 members of the ensemble left American Theater Company, leaving behind a $1 million annual budget and taking back the American Blues name under which that company formed in 1985. The group, which comprised most of ATC’s actors, departed over differences with its artistic director, P.J. Paparelli, who was hired two years ago from Perseverance Theatre in Alaska. Paparelli had reportedly expelled several members of the company and allowed members increasingly less influence on theatrical decision making.

American Blues Theater members include Cleveland, Dawn Bach, Ed Blatchford, Matthew Brumlow, Kate Buddeke, Casey Campbell, Dennis Cockrum, Lauri Dahl, Tom Geraty, Cheryl Graeff, Lindsay Jones, Kevin R. Kelly, Ed Kross, James Leaming, John Mohrlein, Jim Ortlieb, William Payne, Suzanne Petri, Tania Richard, Editha Rosario, John Sterchi and Stef Tovar.

"I believe the work of the ABT ensemble is vital and important to Chicago’s theater community and our city as a whole," Zacek said.

Nov 16: Porchlight Music Theatre will celebrate 15 years with benefit and revue

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PORCHLIGHT MUSIC THEATRE CELEBRATES ITS

15TH ANNIVERSARY WITH A

HOMECOMING BENEFIT & REVUE

On November 16th at the Theatre Building Chicago

Porchlight Music Theatre celebrates the company’s 15th Anniversary with a Homecoming Benefit & Revue showcasing alumni performers reprising their favorite roles from shows through the company’s fifteen fabulous seasons. The benefit will take place at Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 West Belmont, on Monday, November 16.

The celebration evening will begin at 6pm. as guests mingle over libations and a buffet with alumni performers sharing favorite Porchlight production stories. The anniversary performance begins at 7:30 p.m. as alumni actors will take to the stage reprising their favorite role. Suzanne Getz, who most recently starred in Elegies during the Finn Festival of the tenth anniversary season, will sing a number from William Finn’s A New Brain. Porchlight presented the Chicago premiere of this show in 2002 and revived it in the Finn Fest of 2005. Getz received an After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance for her role in the 2002 production. Heather Townsend who starred in this season’s Macabaret will reprise her show-stopping “My Husband Makes Movies” from Nine: The Musical. Presented in 2008, Nine earned five Jeff Award nominations including best production and best ensemble. Charissa Armon will sing “Back to Before” from Porchlight’s celebrated and multiple award-winning production of Ragtime. Armon received an After Dark Award for Outstanding Performance and a Jeff Award Nomination for Outstanding Actress in a principal musical role. A host of other Porchlight alums will also take to the stage for this special revue.

The benefit will feature an open bar—beer, wine, and soft drinks—along with a  buffet catered by Bespoke Cuisine. Guests and alumni will be able to bid on a variety of restaurant, spa, and cultural gift certificates at the benefit’s silent auction.

theatrebuildingTicket Information

Porchlight Music Theatre will present a Homecoming Benefit & Revue at Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 West Belmont (at Racine), on Monday, November 16. Advance tickets at $40 and $25 (actors’ rate) are currently on sale and can be purchased by calling 773.325.9884 or emailing info@porchlighttheatre.com (leave call back information). Advanced reservations must be made by 5:00 pm, November 14. At door tickets are $50.


Porchlight Theatre Mission

Porchlight is Chicago’s Music Theatre.

By uniting the arts of music, drama, dance, and design we transform stories into thrilling, passionate and relevant events, which affect the lives of artists and audiences alike.

As professionals and leaders in this field, we nurture and develop new artists and works, expanding and redefining the music theatre genre while matching artistic vision with fiscal responsibility.

See “A Steady Rain” on Broadway with Chicago Dramatists


More than 100 generous donors and friends will be joining Chicago Dramatists on Broadway for Resident Playwright Keith Huff’s A STEADY RAIN, starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman – and you can be one of them.

Although tickets for the show are virtually sold out (except for premium tickets at $375 per ticket) you’ll be able to attend the play AND a pre-show party for just $250.

The production exports a playwright (Keith Huff), whom Chicago Dramatists has nurtured for many years, to Broadway and shines a spotlight on Chicago and the other talented playwrights and plays developed here.  This upcoming benefit will go towards helping other upcoming playwrights being honed through the Dramatists’ programs.

Here’s the info:

Saturday, November 14, 2009
The Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre, 236 W. 45th Street
8:00 pm Curtain
Pre show Cocktail Party, PS 450, 5:15 – 7:15 pm

Limited Tickets Available at $250.  A  very limited number of prime seats are available at $500 each

For more information, contact Cynthia Frahm at cfrahm@chicagodramatists.org or 312.633.0630 ext: 3#

 

Cynthia and Daniel

Development Director Cynthia Frahm with A Steady Rain star Daniel Craig


Read the rave reviews of A STEADY RAIN in Time Magazine, Variety, and USA Today

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1927540,00.html
http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117941264.html?categoryid=33&cs=1
http://www.usatoday.com/life/theater/reviews/2009-09-29-steady-rain-jackman-craig_N.htm

Think Fast: Talk Like Shakespeare, Oz Ball, iPhone theatre

In honor of “Talk Like Shakespeare Day“, Chicago Public School students talk like Shakespeare…..

  • You have only until Tuesday, April 28th to pick up reduced tickets to Emerald City Theatre’s “Oz Ball” fundraiser in the Harold Washington Library Winter Garden.  

"Defying Gravity" – A cabaret performance to promote equality and civil rights

defyinginequality

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322 W. Armitage

 

JANUARY 12, 2009

On Monday, January 12, cast members from the four North American companies of WICKED will host DEFYING INEQUALITY, a special evening of benefit cabaret performances promoting equality and civil rights.

In Chicago, the event will feature cast members of the Chicago companies of WICKED and Jersey Boys, cast members from the National Tour of Grease, members of Second City, and other special guests. The even will be held at Park West, starting at 8pm. A silent and live auction will consist of memorabilia from Broadway musicals and Broadway In Chicago shows, gift certificates to area bars and restaurants and other one-of-a-kind items. Held simultaneously in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Louisville and featuring cast members from WICKED as well as special guest performers, these special one-night only events will benefit Empire State Pride Agenda, Equality California, Garden State Equality and Vermont Freedom to Marry, four charitable organizations working to legislate equality and protect civil rights for the gay and lesbian community. All proceeds will be distributed evenly among the four organizations.

Each of the DEFYING INEQUALITY events will feature different musical performances that support WICKED’S theme of acceptance and illuminate the musical’s message that people should not be judged on first impressions. Performing on their night off from the musical hit, the WICKED cast members and musicians from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Louisville will be joined by local theatre performers who also recognize that in these divisive times we must come together to support one another’s rights throughout the country and around the world.

BUY TICKETS

Other Christmas Theater and Cultural Events

lawfer_ongreen Strawdog Theatre Company is presenting their annual holiday benefit “Strawdog Yuletacular 2008” on Monday, December 8th, 7-10pm, at Morseland in Rogers Park. The evening will feature a retro-style variety show with comedic sketches, a holiday cooking demonstration, a raffle and silent auction, and live, big-band style music provided by Strawdog’s guest band, The Jenn Rhoads Project. Sounds like fun to me!  Find more info here.

 

 

Steppenwolf Theatre has announced the final extension of their Christmas hit “Dublin Carol”, by playwright Conor McPherson.  The extended closing date will be Sunday, January 4th.  More info here.

comedysportzDue to popular demand, ComedySportz Theatre, now in their new home on Belmont and Clark,  has added extra performances for during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas.  More info here.

UPDATE: ComedySportz will also be offering New Years Eve performances, at 6pm and 10pm.

 

 

 

 

On Wednesday, December 3rd, at 7:30, Loyola University will present its annual Holiday Concert, Joyola,  with performances from the Loyola Orchestra, Chamber Choir, Wind ensemble, University Chorus and Jazz band.  More info here.

JoyolaLG

Witness a Behind-the-Scenes experience of "Jersey Boys"

Now’s your chance to witness “Jersey Boys” in an entirely new way – an intimate view from backstage, featuring the stars of the mega-hit Chicago production.   You’ll even get the chance to take photos and gather autographs from the talented cast

The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University presents an Exclusive Backstage Experience with the Stars of “Jersey Boys” Sunday, Sept. 21 at 6 p.m. 

The Chicago cast of "Jersey Boys"

The evening begins at 6 p.m. in the lobby of The Center for Performing Arts at Governors State University, where guests will gather to enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.  Just prior to the performance, dessert will be served on The Center’s stage.  The “Jersey Boys” cast will serenade guests with chart topping songs from the past beginning at 7 p.m. The performance, with the audience seated at tables on The Center’s gorgeous stage, will include Top 40 hits not seen in the Broadway production of “Jersey Boys,” including “In the Still of the Night” by the Five Satins, “For the Longest Time” by Billy Joel and more.  The unforgettable evening concludes with the opportunity for autographs and photos with the cast.

From executive director of the University’s Center for Performing Arts, Burt Dikelsky: “This experience with members of the ‘Jersey Boys’ cast offers an incredible opportunity to get up close and personal with some of the largest musical stars in Chicago.”

For more information, and to buy tickets, call the Performing Arts Center at (708) 235-2222.  Proceeds support future programming at The Center.  The Center is located at 1 University Parkway (Governors Highway and University Parkway), 45 minutes south of the Loop, off I-57 at Sauk Trail.  Parking is free.