Non-Equity Jeff Awards nominees announced

chicagoatnight

2010 Non-Equity Jeff Award Nominees

 

 

Production – Play
  Busman’s Honeymoon Lifeline Theatre (review ★★★)
Death of a Salesman Raven Theatre (review ★★★½)
Killer Joe Profiles Theatre (review ★★★½ )
The PillowmanRedtwist Theatre (review ★★★)
St. Crispin’s Day Strawdog Theatre Company (review ★★)
Wilson Wants It All The House Theatre of Chicago (review ★★★)

 

Production – Musical
  Chess  Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre i/a/w Michael James (review ★★½)
Evolution/Creation  -   Quest Theatre Ensemble (review ★★★)
The Glorious Ones   Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (review ★★★)
The Who’s Tommy Circle Theatre 

 

Director – Play
  Aaron Todd Douglas: Twelve Angry Men Raven Theatre  (review ★★★)
Michael Menendian: Death of a SalesmanRaven Theatre (review ★★★½)
Michael Rohd: Wilson Wants It All House Theatre of Chicago (review ★★★)
Kimberly Senior: The PillowmanRedtwist Theatre (review ★★★)
Rick Snyder: – Killer Joe Profiles Theatre  (review ★★★½)

  

Director – Musical
  Fred Anzevino & Brenda Didier: Chess – Theo Ubique Theatre (review ★★½)
Jeffrey CassThe Who’s TommyCircle Theatre
Stephen M. Genovese: The Glorious Ones Boho Rep (review ★★★)
Andrew Park: Evolution/CreationQuest Theatre Ensemble  (review ★★★)

 

Ensemble
  The Glorious Ones Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (review ★★★)
Red Noses Strawdog Theatre Company
Twelve Angry Men
Raven Theatre  (review ★★★)
Under Milk Wood  Caffeine Theatre  (review ★★)

 

Actor in a Principal Role – Play
  Tony Bozzuto: On an Average DayBackStage Theatre Company 
Darrell W. Cox: Killer Joe
Profiles Theatre  (review ★★★½)
Andrew Jessop: The PillowmanRedtwist Theatre (review ★★★)
Peter Robel: I Am My Own Wife Bohemian Theatre  (review ★★★★)
Chuck Spencer: Death of a Salesman Raven Theatre  (review ★★★½)

 

Actor in a Principle Role – Musical
  Courtney Crouse: ChessTheo Ubique Cabaret Theatre  (review ★★½)
Tom McGunn: The Who’s Tommy Circle Theatre
Eric Damon SmithThe Glorious Ones
Bohemian Theatre (review ★★★)
Jeremy Trager: Chess Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre   (review ★★½)

   

Actress in a Principle Role – Play
  Brenda BarrieMrs. CalibanLifeline Theatre  (review ★★★★)
LaNisa FrederickThe Gimmick Pegasus Players (review ★★)
Millicent HurleyLettice & Lovage Redtwist Theatre (review ★★★★)
Kendra Thulin: Harper Regan Steep Theatre  (review ★★½ )
Rebekah Ward-Hays: Aunt Dan and Lemon BackStage Theatre 

 

Actress in a Principle Role – Musical
  Danielle Brothers: Man of La Mancha Theo Ubique Theatre  (review ★★★)
Sarah Hayes: Man of La ManchaTheo Ubique Theatre   (review ★★★)
Maggie PortmanChess  Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre  (review ★★½)

 

Actor in a Supporting Role – Play
  Chance Bone: Cooperstown Theatre Seven of Chicago  (review ★★)
Jason HuysmanDeath of a Salesman Raven Theatre (review ★★★½)
Edward KuffertThe CrucibleInfamous Commonwealth (review ★★★)
Peter Oyloe: The Pillowman Redtwist Theatre   (review ★★★)
Phil TimberlakeBusman’s Honeymoon Lifeline Theatre  (review ★★★)

 

Actor in a Supporting Role – Musical
  Eric Lindahl: The Who’s Tommy Circle Theatre
Steve Kimbrough:
Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical Hell in a Handbag
John B. LeenChess Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre  (review ★★½)

 

Actress in a Supporting Role – Play
  Nancy Friedrich: The Crucible Infamous Commonwealth (review ★★★)
Vanessa Greenway: The Night SeasonVitalist Theatre i/a/w Premiere Theatre & Performance (review ★★★★)
Kelly Lynn HoganThe Night Season Vitalist Theatre i/a/w Premiere Theatre & Performance (review ★★★★)
Kristy Johnson: A Song for Coretta Eclipse Theatre  (review ★★)
Mary RedmonThe Analytical Engine  – Circle Theatre  (review ★★★)

 

Actress in a Supporting Role – Musical
  Kate GarassinoBombs Away!  – Bailiwick Repertory Theatre  
Danni Smith
The Glorious Ones  -   Bohemian Theatre (review ★★★)
Trista Smith: Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical  -  Hell in a Handbag
Dana Tretta
The Glorious Ones  Bohemian Theatre   (review ★★★)

 

New Work
  Aaron CarterFirst Words  MPAACT (review ★★★)
Ellen FaireyGraceland Profiles Theatre  (review ★★★)
Tommy Lee JohnstonAura  Redtwist Theatre
Andrew Park and Scott Lamps
Evolution/Creation  -   Quest Theatre Ensemble (review ★★★)
Michael Rohd & Phillip C. KlapperichWilson Wants It All  -  The House Theatre of Chicago  (review ★★★)

 

New Adaptation
  Bilal Dardai: The Man Who Was ThursdayNew Leaf Theatre  
Sean Graney:  –
Oedipus  The Hypocrites (review ★★★★)
Frances LimoncelliBusman’s Honeymoon Lifeline Theatre (review ★★★)
Frances Limoncelli:  – Mrs. Caliban  – Lifeline Theatre (review ★★★)
William Massolia: Little Brother  Griffin Theatre

 

Choreography
  Kevin BellieThe Who’s Tommy  Circle Theatre
Brenda Didier
Chess   Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre (review ★★½)
James Brigitte DitmarsPoseidon! An Upside Down Musical  Hell in a Handbag Productions

 

Original Incidental Music
  Andrew Hansen: Treasure Island  -  Lifeline Theatre  (review ★★★½)
Kevin O’Donnell:   -  Wilson Wants It All  -   House Theatre   (review ★★★)
Trevor WatkinThe Black Duckling  -  Dream Theatre

 

Music Direction
  Ryan BrewsterChess  – Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre (review ★★½)
Gary PowellEvolution/Creation  Quest Theatre   (review ★★★)
Nick SulaThe Glorious Ones  Bohemian Theatre   (review ★★★)

 

Scenic Design
  Tom BurchUncle Vanya Strawdog Theatre  (review ★★★)
Alan DonahueTreasure Island Lifeline Theatre (review ★★★½)
Heath HaysOn an Average Day  -   BackStage Theatre Company
Bob Knuth
The Analytical Engine  Circle Theatre (review ★★★)
Bob KnuthLittle Women  -   Circle Theatre (review ★★★)
John Zuiker:   I Am My Own Wife  -   Bohemian Theatre (review ★★★★)

 

Lighting Design
  Diane FairchildThe Gimmick  -  Pegasus Players (review ★★)
Kevin D. Gawley: Treasure Island Lifeline Theatre (review ★★★½)
Sean MallarySt. Crispin’s Day  – Strawdog Theatre Company (review ★★)
Jared B. MooreThe Man Who Was Thursday New Leaf Theatre
Katy PetersonI Am My Own Wife
Bohemian Theatre (review ★★★★)

 

Costume Design
  Theresa HamThe Glorious Ones  -  Bohemian Theatre  (review ★★★)
Branimira IvanovaTreasure Island  Lifeline Theatre (review ★★★½)
Joanna MelvilleSt. Crispin’s Day  -  Strawdog Theatre Company (review ★★) Jill Van BrusselThe Taming of the Shrew  Theo Ubique  (review  ★★★)
Elizabeth WislarThe Analytical Engine  – Circle Theatre (review ★★★)

 

Sound Design
  Mikhail FikselOedipus The Hypocrites (review ★★★★)
Michael GriggsWilson Wants It AllThe House Theatre (review ★★★)
Andrew HansenTreasure Island Lifeline Theatre  (review ★★★½)  
Joshua HorvathMrs. CalibanLifeline Theatre (review ★★★★)
Miles PolaskiMouse in a Jar Red Tape Theatre  (review ★★)

 

Artistic Specialization
  Kevin Bellie: Projection Design, The Who’s Tommy  -   Circle Theatre
Elise Kauzlaric: Dialect Coach, 
Busman’s Honeymoon  Lifeline Theatre (review ★★★)
Lucas Merino: Video Design, Wilson Wants It AllThe House Theatre of Chicago (review ★★★)
James T. Scott:  Puppets, Evolution/Creation Quest Theatre (review ★★★)

 

Fight Choreography
  Geoff Coates: On An Average Day  -  BackStage Theatre Company
Geoff Coates
Treasure Island  Lifeline Theatre   (review ★★★½)
Matt HawkinsSt. Crispin’s DayStrawdog Theatre Company (review ★★)
R & D ChoreographyKiller Joe  Profiles Theatre  (review ★★★½  )

 

More info at the Jeff Awards website.

   
   

Theater Thursday: Red Tape Theatre’s “Mouse in a Jar”

Thursday, October 22

Mouse in a Jar

by Martyna Majok
Red Tape Theatre
621 W. Belmont, Chicago

mouseinajarJoin Red Tape for an exclusive talk with set designer Bill Anderson about how he created a 360 degree experience for the world premiere of Mouse in a Jar. This dark drama, was penned by Polish-American playwright Martyna Majok and was workshopped in Red Tape’s Fresh Eyes Project. Yummy snacks will be provided for all Theater Thursday attendees so buy your tickets now!

Event begins at 7 p.m.

Show begins at 8 p.m.

TICKETS ONLY $30 

For reservations visit www.redtapetheatre.org and click on the "Theater Thursdays" link.

Review: Red Tape Theatre’s “Mouse in a Jar”

  Despite flaws, “Mouse In a Jar” is a feast of horror

 Red Tape MIJ Pic 1

Red Tape Theatre presents:

Mouse in a Jar

by Martyna Majok
directed by Daria J. Davis
thru October 31st (buy tickets)

reviewed by Paige Listerud

Red Tape Theatre’s world premiere production of Mouse In a Jar, by Martyna Majok, is just the sort of no-holds-barred, absolute commitment that always brings excitement to Chicago theatre. Majok’s play is flawed, but it is also a riveting and poetic drama, relaying the tragic story of an immigrant woman chained in a basement, forced to sexually serve a nameless man, even in the presence of two growing daughters. Recalling daily news about trafficking and domestic violence, Mouse In a Jar brings forth feminist themes, constructing their realism within a horror genre, all the more searing for asserting that there is no way out.

Red Tape MIJ Pic 3 Martyna Majok’s work still shows all the signs of a young playwright struggling to develop structure for her vision and voice. She has won awards for previous work—among them, The Merage Foundation Fellowship for the American Dream, The Olga and Paul Menn Award for Playwriting, and first place at 2009’s Big Shoulder Fest (ATC). Enough here signifies Majok as a young playwright to watch out for.

However, Mouse In a Jar still suffers from a few critical flaws. The introduction of a new character in the middle of this 80-minute one-act disrupts the dramatic tension that cast and crew have already worked to a terrifying crescendo. It’s a cold start all over again, for both play and actor, Ben Gettinger, to establish his character Fip, as an integrated element to the story. That, and the cross dialogue between Fip, Daga (Tamara Todres) and Ma (Kathleen Powers) in the second half, creates more confusion about who is addressing whom than rebuilding lost tension. What attempts to be compelling dramatic analysis on the codependence of victims, Stockholm syndrome, or repeating patterns of abuse—with all their BDSM overtones—strays into a jumbled, frantic mess.

A lesser production could flounder under these shifts, but Daria Davis’ directorial vision and her cast have a never-say-die attitude.  Both their effort and imagination are uncompromising. No doubt, the strength of Majok’s poetic language and savvy humor helps to keep the fire burning.

Through it all, Kathleen Powers centers and grounds the production with her visceral portrayal of a woman surviving day-to-day imprisonment, sexual slavery, and loving but violently compromised parenthood. Powers performance shifts so quickly from motherly affection to wickedly wry insult to terrified, hypnotic resignation, one can almost see the strands of the entangled servitude to which she has submitted.

That servitude does not spare her daughters, Daga and Zosia (Irene Kapustina), who witness every night at 9 pm, the rape and subjugation of their mother by HIM, played convincingly by Don Markus. Kapustina’s delivery of Zosia’s lines fulfills the poetry of the play, but, unfortunately, some gets lost due to the poor acoustics of the brutally realistic set. The production’s theatre-in-the-round places the audience in the same imprisoned space as the characters, but care should be taken not to lose dialogue.

The relationship between Ma and Daga forms the vital center of the play, a relationship filled with intense love and merciless scarring. “Enjoy your rape,” Daga says, frustrated by her mother’s denial of all her attempts for both of them to escape. Todres pulls out all the humor possible as the desperate, sly Daga. “I’m home,” she tells Fip, as she manipulates him into her final rescue plan, “People are different when they’re at home.” But it will take stronger technique on from both Todres and Gettinger, and cleaned up direction, to clarify their confrontation with Ma’s adamant refusal to go with them.

There certainly are things to forgive about this production, but overall, Mouse In a Jar remains a compelling achievement in terror.

Rating: «««

 

Red Tape MIJ Pic 2

show openings/closings this week

chicagoriverblast

show openings

1001 The Theatre School at DePaul University

American Psyche or a Breath of Fresh Care Gorilla Tango Theatre

Bucket of Blood Annoyance Theatre

The Castle of Otranto First Folio Theatre

Dirty Talking Amish Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity Victory Gardens Theater

Endira Aguijon Theater

The Hundred Dresses Chicago Children’s Theatre

Kill the Old, Torture Their Young Steep Theatre

The Last (and therefore Best) Comedy Show on Earth Gorilla Tango Theatre

The Mercy Seat Profiles Theatre

Mouse in a Jar Red Tape Theatre

Richard III Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Salem! The Musical Annoyance Theatre

Sleeping Beauty Big Noise Theatre

Sleepy Hollow Theatre-Hikes

A Streetcar Named Desire Polarity Ensemble Theatre

Taking Steps UIC Theater

Ten Square Pegasus Players and MPAACT

 

chicago-river-from-vietnammemorial

show closings

 

All My Sons TimeLine Theatre (our review)

Baroque and Beatles Chicago a cappella 

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Circle Theatre

Desperate Gorilla Tango Theatre

A Hampstead Hooligan in King Arthur’s Court Chicago dell’Arte

High Fidelity…The Musical Route 66 Theatre

Lorca in a Green Dress Halcyon Theatre

Merce Cunningham Dance Company – Dance Center of Columbia College

Miami City Ballet Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University

The Miracle Work Village Players Performing Arts Center

The Set Up Prop Thtr

A Shroud for Lazarus Halcyon Theatre

Texas Sheen Chemically Imbalanced Comedy

Review: Red Tape’s "Enemy of the People"

Enemy of the People
Red Tape Theatre

by Barry Eitel

In our age of Brita filters, it can be easy to take the quality of our water for granted. We trust that what comes out of our taps is safe, but that sometimes isn’t so, as recent problems uncovered in Crestwood, Illinois prove.

This situation, where authorities found that citizens were using water from a long-contaminated well, links Red Tape Theatre’s new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Enemy of the People, directed by James Palmer, to extremely current events. Ensemble member Robert Oakes moved his version of Ibsen’s classic story of individual vs. the mob from a coastal Norwegian hamlet to a modern American town. Ibsen’s basic plot works very well in a contemporary context; supposedly, Jaws is also based on the play, but with a huge shark lurking in the water rather than pollutants. Red Tape’s production, on the other hand, is plagued by disconnected performances aggravated by Oates’ clunky dialogue.

enemyofpeople2Similar to Ibsen’s Victorian-era original, this Enemy of the People focuses on the problems caused by a new spa-resort built in the rural community of Cherokee. Dr. Tammy Stockman (Courtney Bennett), one of the original supporters of the spa, finds that the pipes could be tainting the community’s water. She quickly finds that her expensive solution is not what those in charge want to hear. And as she pushes to make her report public, she begins to realize that she might be alone in her struggle to renovate the source of millions of tourism dollars for the community.

Oates’ adaptation has a certain hillbilly charm—characters discuss the merits of tofu dogs and Snuggies (probably the debut of the jacket/blanket hybrid in dramatic literature). The small town feel is furthered by costume designers Jennifer Tillery and Alycia Barohn, who dress the characters in plenty of flannel, trucker hats, and fishing-related t-shirts. The simple Americana of the production is probably its most redeeming aspect, making the characters and story easy to relate to.

Tammy and Peter However, Stockman’s journey from rebellious whistleblower to town outcast is hard to navigate. Whenever the character becomes passionate, Bennett pushes a little too hard and Stockman becomes over-the-top. It’s a shame, because Bennett can be very charismatic when she’s chilling in a Snuggie with her friends. Oates’ language doesn’t help, either, sometimes throwing out deep, metaphysical arguments about the nature of truth that just don’t gel right with the rest of the dialogue. Switching Stockman’s gender (Ibsen cast the character as a man) is an interesting choice, but the text is clumsy in exploring the gender dynamic. The relationship between Tammy and her brother/mayor of Cherokee, Peter Stockman (Robert Lynch), is also underdeveloped and misses a true sibling connection between the two.

Peter and Greg The biggest problem with the production, though, is that often the actors don’t seem to be really listening to each other. The worst offender is Lynch, who appears to have a very rehearsed and fixed performance. Lynch isn’t alone, though; April Pletcher Taylor as Connie, the abrasive leader of the Small Business Association, and Nicholas Combs as Greg Hovstad, editor of a liberal news website, have similar issues. Not everyone on stage is out-of-touch; Errol McLendon’s portrayal of the truck-driving Dan Horster is simple yet captivating and Vic May is moving as Tammy’s husband Cliff.

The production benefits from Palmer’s interesting environmental staging that cycles the audience through a few locations, including making them participants in a high-stakes town meeting. Palmer is aided by lighting designer Kyle Land’s huge projections which create some interesting environments. Weak spots in Oates’ text can’t be avoided, though, and the play becomes self-indulgent and borderline preachy. By attempting to instill high ideals to the audience, the production becomes ungrounded.

Rating: «½

Related articles:Red Tape’s blog: Meet the cast of “Enemy”