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Tuesday, January 13, 2015

REVIEW: Cor Theatre's A Map of Virtue at Rivendell

Cor Theatre, the new Chicago company that made its mark with 
Skin Tight at A Red Orchid Theatre in 2012, returns with 
the Midwest premiere of 

Erin Courtney's A Map of Virtue
directed by Cor Theatre Artistic Director Tosha Fowler.

This sinister, symmetrical, and cyclical drama is a multilayered miasma of victims, abuse, love and obsessions. And woven throughout the coincidences and compulsions are the birds. Inescapably everywhere are the birds. We enjoyed the creative verbal structure of the production which has very little dialogue or action, a sentient bird statue, a lot of interconnecting monologues and a few disturbing songs. The Cor in Cor Theatre stands for Courage and this courageous cadre of actors does their theme and mission statement justice with A Map of Virtue. Check out this Obie Award winner (2012) and New York Times Critic’s Pick. Highly recommended.


Adam Benjamin is Ray and Scottie Caldwell is The Bird 
in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue. 
Cor Artistic Director Tosha Fowler directs Courtney’s psychological thriller, playing through February 14, 2015 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave, Chicago. 
For tickets and information, visit cortheatre.org or call (866) 811-4111.  Photo credit: Ryan Bourque



Scottie Caldwell plays The Bird in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue. Photo credit: Ryan Bourque

The uncanny coincidences seem almost predestined and it's a pleasure to get inside these fabulously flawed characters' heads. It's intriguing how molded and changed they are by the real and the imagined. Their obsessions and inner thought processes alter them and their trajectory as much as actual life events.

 

(standing) Scottie Caldwell (The Bird), (below, from left) Eleni Pappageorge (June), Nick Mikula (Nate), Mallory Nees (Sarah) and Will Von Vogt (Mark). Photo credit: Ryan Bourque

A Map of Virtue is a powerful and poetic look at the cyclical nature of abuse and opposites. The plot expands with the interconnectedness of people via random repeat meetings and a reoccurring bird motif in statue, tattoo, mask, story, and actual form. The bird mask terrified the protagonists and ultimately enabled their rescue. The tattoos were inked and then removed with great thought and intent. And the statue was let go and came back. 

I'm fascinated that opposite desires and motivations caused the protagonists, Mark and Sarah, to make the very same dangerous choices. Audiences will be mulling over, and circling back to the themes of this production days later. This brilliant piece speaks as loudly in the spaces between words, and the thoughts unspoken, as it does in the human interaction between characters, and that's rare to pull off on stage, in a medium where words are king. 

Act Out: Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more via ChiIL Live Shows. 


Part interview, part comedy, part middle-of-the-night horror story, 
A Map of Virtue is a hauntingly romantic play about a shared obsession 
that leaves a group of friends stranded in the woods. A bird statue is the guide through this symmetrical tale about the limits of our virtues and what we leave behind.

"one of the most terrifying plays of the past decade" 
- The New York Times 

*Free parking is available at Senn High School.*






A hauntingly romantic play with a mystery at its center, A Map of Virtue was hailed “one of the most terrifying plays of the past decade” by the New York Times. It premiered at New York’s 13P in 2012, won an Obie Award and was named a New York Times Critic’s Pick. 

Cor Theatre's Midwest premiere of A Map of Virtue will be only the play's second professional production. Cor Artistic Director Tosha Fowler will direct. The cast includes Will Von Vogt (Mark), Mallory Ness (Sarah), Nick Mikula (Nate), Ruben Adorno (Victor), Eleni Pappageorge (June), Adam Benjamin (Ray) and Scottie Caldwell  (The Bird). 

Designers are Tierra G. Novy (set), Stefin Steberl (costumes and props), Eric Vigo (lights) and Jeffrey Levin (sound). Elyse Cowles is assistant director/dramaturg. Production stage manager is Navid Afshar.

Cor Theatre will present A Map of Virtue January 8-February 14, 2015 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. Previews are Thursday and Friday, January 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Soft Opening is Saturday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m. Preview and Soft Opening tickets are $10. 

Regular performances continue January 15 through February 14: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 5 p.m. Performances are $25; $10 students and industry. Tickets to A Map of Virtue go on sale December 1. For tickets and information, visit cortheater.org or call (866) 811-4111.





Adam Benjamin is Ray and Eleni Pappageorge plays June in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue. Photo credit: Ryan Bourque


Will Von Vogt is Mark and Eleni Pappageorge plays June. Photo credit: Ryan Bourque 
  
More about Cor Theatre's A Map of Virtue
Tosha Fowler (director) is the co-founder of Cor Theatre, where she produced and acted in the critically acclaimed Skin Tight, under the direction of Victoria Delorio. Also with Cor she co-produced, wrote and performed in her original solo show, Mami, Where'd my O go? Fowler has produced theatre for almost ten years for companies including Mary-Arrchie Theatre, The Chicago Fringe Festival, The Academy Theatre in Atlanta, and her founding company, Fowl Brick in Savannah, Georgia. Her directing credits include A Doctor's Stories, Poof! and Bash and Bully Breakdown in HD. As an actress, Fowler has performed in Chicago with Lifeline Theatre, Emerald City, MPAACT, Cock & Bull and Circle Theatre. She has worked as a playwright with American Theatre Company's "Chicago Chronicle Project," the DePaul University Diversity Initiative, and the Academy Theater. Fowler is an adjunct professor in Theatre at DePaul University, and she holds an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul.

Erin Courtney (playwright) has said A Map of Virtue "is about people fantasizing about other people's lives, thinking their lives are better than their own lives, and really we are all just trying to get by." 

A Map of Virtue has been published along with her play Black Cat Lost by 53rd State Press. Courtney's other works include Honey Drop, Alice the MagnetQuiver and Twitch, and Demon Baby. Her work has been produced and developed by Clubbed Thumb, The Flea, New York Stage and Film, Adhesive Theater, Soho Rep, The Vineyard and The Public. She collaborated with Elizabeth Swados on the opera Kaspar Hauser and is starting work on a new musical with Swados on the life of Isabelle Eberhardt. She was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013, a NYSCA grant, two MAP Fund grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony. Demon Baby is published in two anthologies; New Downtown Now, edited by Mac Wellman and Young Jean Lee and published by University of Minnesota Press, and Funny, Strange, Provocative: Seven Plays by Clubbed Thumb edited by Maria Striar and Erin Detrick and published by Playscripts, Inc. She is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of 13P, and a member of New Dramatists. She teaches in the MFA playwriting program at Brooklyn College and is a co-founder of Brooklyn Writers Space. She is a graduate of Mac Wellman's MFA program at Brooklyn College in 2003, and earned her BA at Brown University in 1990.



(From left/back to front) Scottie Caldwell (The Bird), Mallory Nees (Sarah), Nick Mikula (Nate), Ruben Adorno (Victor) and Will Von Vogt (Mark). Photo credit: Ryan Bourque

About Cor Theatre
Cor Theatre (cortheater.org) is a professional theatre company committed to producing stories about courage and exploring the hidden hero within us all. The company believes that there are certain intrinsic values that connect people at the core of their being. Cor Theatre seeks to expose those values.

Cor debuted in September 2012 with its production of Skin Tight by Gary Henderson at Chicago's A Red Orchid Theatre. About a powerful, enduring love, complete with punches, laughter, knife fights, confessions and forgiveness, Skin Tight was rewarded with enthusiastic audiences, critical acclaim and made just enough money to establish a not-for-profit corporation. The company named itself Cor Theatre, deriving its name from the Latin root of courage - meaning heart.

Today, Cor is a new and ambitious Chicago professional theatre company under the leadership of Tosha Fowler, Artistic Director, and Navid Afshar, Managing Director. Company members include Chris Brickhouse, Elyse Cowles, Brian Crawford, Claire Meyers, Stefin Steberl and Will Von Vogt.With strong experience behind it, Cor is committed to produce works that provide an environment in which its audience can explore the unexplored and expect the unexpected.

Cor will return to Rivendell Theatre in the spring, June 4-July 11, 2015 with Love and Human Remains, the first Chicago professional production in nearly 20 years of the ground-breaking play originally titled Unidentified Human Remains and the Nature of True Love. Ernie Nolan will direct.




Will Von Vogt is Mark and Scottie Caldwell is The Bird in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of 
Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue. Photo credit: Ryan Bourque 


(from left) Will Von Vogt is Mark, Mallory Nees plays Sarah and Nick Mikula is Nate in Cor Theatre’s Midwest premiere of Erin Courtney’s A Map of Virtue. Photo credit: Ryan Bourque

For more information, visit cortheater.org, call (866) 811-4111, like Cor Theatre on Facebook or follow the company on Twitter, @TheatreCor.

Rivendell Theatre
5779 N. Ridge Ave
Chicago, IL 60660
Edgewater Neighborhood
Rivendell is a few short blocks away from both the Bryn Mawr Red Line el stop, as well as the Clark Street #22 bus. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

ON SALE: Circuscope Is Coming To Actors Gymnasium February 14th-March 22

Circuscope
February 14 - March 22, 2015 


Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama, we've been captivated by the stellar circus arts at Actors Gym for years. They're a ground breakingly creative collective featuring some of the top physical actors in the city. We'll be there to review opening night. In the meantime, get your tickets early for the best seats, and range of dates. Their seating area is small and fills fast! 


Enthralled by the extraordinary shapes and sizes of life, the creators of the Actors Gymnasium Winter Circus will explore a fascinating world on the other side of the microscopic lens. Directed by spectacle-theatre veteran Vanessa Stalling and featuring acclaimed Chicago clown Dean Evans, Circuscope will transport audiences through surprising acrobatics, mime, live music and other-worldly design. Circuscope also features Meredith "Tommy" Tomlins, Molly Plunk, and Leah Leor. 

Circuscope is written by Deans Evans and Vanessa Stalling with percussion choreography by Rick Kubes, musical composition by Ronnie Kuller, choral direction by Alex Balestrieri, lighting design by Nick Carroll, sound design by Connor Murray, video design by Asher White, costume design by Delia Ribenour, performance object design by Elizabeth Brietand circus choreography by Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi. 

Beat the rush - Get your tickets today at www.actorsgymnasium.org/shows 

February 14 - March 22, 2015 
Fridays at 7:30pm 
Saturdays 4:30 pm and 7:30 pm 
Sundays at 3:00 pm 

$20 for adult tickets! 
$15 for children, students and seniors! 



The Actors Gymnasium is dedicated to bringing a new physicality to the American Theatre. Encouraging ground-breaking theatrical exploration, The Actors Gymnasium teaches circus arts, physical theatre and multi-disciplinary performance to children and adults; produces original, daring works of circus-theatre; and serves as a talent resource, providing performance opportunities to our students and innovative professional event entertainment for a wider audience.  At The Actors Gymnasium, people Learn To Fly - physically, emotionally, and creatively. 

OPENING: STOMP at the Bank of America Theatre #BroadwayInChicago

THE INTERNATIONAL PERCUSSION SENSATION






 RETURNS TO CHICAGO FOR ONE WEEK ONLY
AT BANK OF AMERICA THEATRE 
FROM JANUARY 20 – 25
CHICAGO 

Get your rhythm on with STOMP. This rockin', world famous show will thaw your frozen soul and provide the perfect excuse to brave the chill and get out of the house. Here at ChiIL Mama, we can't wait to check out this infamous recycled object band gone Broadway touring extravaganza.




Chicago's Bank of America Theatre hosts the international smash hit STOMP. This famed high-energy show features a cast of eight performers, creating wildly rhythmic sounds with unconventional instruments — everything from brooms and garbage cans to matchboxes and hubcaps and more — and also features plenty of unexpected comedy and audience interaction. A true worldwide phenomenon, STOMP has won both Obie and Drama Desk Awards. Since the first performance in 1991, this thrilling production's played in over 350 cities, earning praise as one of this generation's most mesmerizing theatrical events.








STOMP returns to Chicago by popular demand for a limited one-week engagement at the Bank of America Theatre (18 W. Monroe) January 20 – 25, 2015.  From its beginnings as a street performance in the UK, STOMP has grown into an international sensation over the past 20 years, having performed in more than 50 countries and in front of more than 24 million people.

Chicago critics and audiences have raved: “A phenomenal show!  Bashing, crashing, smashing, swishing, banging and kicking – a joyous invention!” says Chris Jones with the Chicago Tribune. “A show-stopping, thrillingly dangerous, heartbeat-hiking percussive spectacle.  Full of sound and fury and fabulous fun!” exclaims Hedy Weiss with the Chicago Sun-Times.

Created by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, STOMP continues its phenomenal run with four global productions: the ongoing sell-out production at New York's Orpheum Theatre, a permanent London company, and North American and European tours.  Throughout its life, the show has continued to change by creating new material; next year, it will incorporate two new pieces.  It is safe to say you will never again look at supermarket carts  or plumbing fixtures the same way… or paint cans, or kitchen sinks or…

STOMP, an overwhelming success marked by rave reviews, numerous awards, and sell-out engagements, is the winner of an Olivier Award for Best Choreography (London's Tony Award), a New York Obie Award, a Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatre Experience, and a Special Citation from Best Plays.

In addition to the stage shows, STOMP has been an overwhelming success marked by rave reviews, numerous awards, an Academy Award nomination, four Emmy nominations and one Emmy Award for their acclaimed HBO special Stomp Out Loud, noteworthy TV appearances including The London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony, The Academy Awards (produced by Quincy Jones), Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and a series of award-winning international commercials. 

The performers “make a rhythm out of anything we can get our hands on that makes a sound,” says co-founder/director Luke Cresswell.  A unique combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, STOMP has created its own inimitable, contemporary form of rhythmic expression: both household and industrial objects find new life as musical instruments in the hands of an idiosyncratic band of body percussionists.  It is a journey through sound, a celebration of the everyday and a comic interplay of characters wordlessly communicating through dance and drum.

Synchronized stiff-bristle brooms become a sweeping orchestra, eight Zippo lighters flip open and closed to create a fiery fugue; wooden poles thump and clack in a rhythmic explosion.  STOMP uses everything but conventional percussion instruments - dustbins, tea chests, radiator hoses, boots, hub caps - to fill the stage with a compelling and unique act that is often imitated but never duplicated.

For more information, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com or www.stomponline.com.


PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
Tuesday at 7:30 PM
Wednesday at 7:30 PM
Thursday at 7:30 PM
Friday at 7:30 PM
Saturday at 2 PM and 8 PM
Sunday at 2 PM and 7:30 PM

TICKET INFORMATION
Tickets to STOMP range from $20-$65. A select number of premium seats are also available for many performances.  Tickets are available now by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.  Tickets are available at all Broadway In Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 151 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 175 E. Chestnut), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations and online at www.BroadwayInChicago.com.




Sunday, January 11, 2015

OPENING: Accidentally, Like a Martyr at A Red Orchid #Theatre

A RED ORCHID THEATRE PRESENTS 
THE CHICAGO PREMIERE OF  
ACCIDENTALLY, LIKE A MARTYR
DIRECTED BY ENSEMBLE MEMBER SHADE MURRAY

JANUARY 15 – MARCH 1, 2015


A Red Orchid Theatre continues its 22nd Season with the Chicago premiere of Accidentally, Like a Martyr, written by Grant James Varjas and directed by Ensemble Member Shade Murray and featuring Ensemble Members Steve Haggard, and Doug Vickers with David Cerda, Layne Manzer, Luce Metrius, Troy West and Dominique Worsley The production runs January 15 – March 1, 2015, at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells.

In a dive-y gay bar on Manhattan’s lower east side the regulars and the restless others do battle, joke and drink their way through a lonely winter evening. Different generations and backgrounds collide, secrets are revealed and old wounds are torn anew as these survivors come to grips with life, loss and aging in the 21st century.  Family and friendship are the focus of this humor filled drama in the tradition of The Time of Your Life and Small Craft Warnings.


Dates: Previews: January 15 – 18, 2015
Press opening: Monday, January 19 at 7 p.m.
Regular Run: January 20 – March 1, 2015
Schedule:     Thursdays: 8:00 p.m.
Fridays8:00 p.m.
Saturdays: 8:00 p.m.  
Sundays: 3:00 p.m. 

Location: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Ave.
Tickets: $15 previews, $30-$35 regular run.  ($30Thurs, $35 Fri, Sat, Sun)

Box Office: Located at 1531 N. Wells Ave, Chicago, (312) 943-8722; or online www.aredorchidtheatre.org 

The creative team for Accidentally, Like a Martyr includes John Holt (Set Designer), Karen Kawa (Costume Designer), Rachel Levy (Lighting Designer), Brando Triantafillou (Sound Designer), Arianna Soloway (Props Designer) and S. G. Heller (Stage Manager).

Accidentally, Like a Martyr premiered at The Paradise Factory in NYC, 2011

About the Artists
Grant James Varjas (Playwright) is the writer of the GLAAD nominated play 33 To Nothing which enjoyed a critically acclaimed Off-Broadway production directed by Randall Myer (Love, Janis), and Accidentally, Like A Martyr, a critic's favorite from 2012.  As an actor, Off-Broadway: The Shape Of Something Squashed (written/directed by Tom Noonan), Twelve Dreams (Lincoln Center); Franz Kafka's The Castle (Manhattan Ensemble Theater); Tesla's Letters; Killing Hand and Sockdolager (Ensemble Studio Theater); Accidentally, Like A Martyr; I Could Say More (Other Side Productions); 33 To Nothing.  Grant is a member of Moises Kaufman's Tectonic Theater and has collaborated with him on many projects, including “The Laramie Project" (HBO Films); The Common Pursuit (Roundabout Theater); and 33 Variations (CTG at the Ahmanson Theater with Jane Fonda).  Film:  "Peter and Vandy"; "Territory"; "Paradise Framed"; "Parallel Lives".  Television: "Sex and the City"; "Law & Order: Criminal Intent".  Grant is a board member of Tom Noonan's Paradise Factory Theater.

Shade Murray (Director) is a member of the artistic ensemble at A Red Orchid where he recently directed Marisa Wegrzyn’s Mud Blue Sky, Annie Baker’s The Aliens and Nick Jones’ Trevor. Also at AROT; The Butcher of Baraboo, Abigail's Party (Jeff Nomination, Director) and Kimberly Akimbo.  He recently had the pleasure of directing Mike Leigh’s Ecstasy for Cole Theatre, The Vandal at Steep Theatre, and Annie Bosh is Missing for Steppenwolf Theatre’s First Look. Other credits include End Days at Next Theatre, The Chosen (Jeff Nomination, Director), The Subject Was Roses at Writers' Theatre, Fatty Arbuckle... at Second City, The Petrified Forest, The Good Soul of SzechuanMarathon '33 and many more at Strawdog Theatre, Stupid Kids (Jeff Nomination, Director), Some Explicit Polaroids, Santaland Diaries, Never Swim Alone at Roadworks as well as productions at the MCA, Shattered Globe, About Face, Colbalt, Shakespeare's Motley Crew, Timberlake Playhouse and dance theatre in collaboration with MK and Birgitta Victorson. 

David Cerda (Scott) is the co-founder, resident playwright, and Artistic Director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, Chicago’s leading camp and parody theatre company. He was last seen on the stage as Suzanne Pleshette in his critically acclaimed adaption of Hitchcock’s The Birds. Cerda has been featured in numerous publications including NewCity’s top 50 Players in Chicago theater, and the Chicago Reader’s annual people issue and in for his body of work with Hell in a Handbag Productions.

Steve Haggard (Mark) was last seen at A Red Orchid Theatre in The Aliens and has been an ensemble member since 2007.  Other Orchid shows include Kimberly Akimbo and The Mandrake.  Chicago credits: Tribes (Steppenwolf); Wasteland (Timeline); Old Glory, The Subject Was Roses and Our Town (Writers’); Season’s Greetings and She Stoops to Conquer (Northlight Theatre); King Lear, As You Like It and Romeo and Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare).  Regional Credits: American Players, Milwaukee Repertory and Indiana Repertory.  Steve is a graduate of The Theatre School at DePaul University. Love to Kelsey, Mom and Q.

Layne Manzer (Brendan) was recently seen in Cole Theatre’s Ecstasy, by Mike Leigh directed by Shade Murray. He was in the original cast of Hit The Wall with The Inconvenience as part of Steppenwolf's 2012 Garage Rep and the remount in 2014. Other Chicago credits include The Jewels with TUTA Theatre, Assisted Living with Profiles Theatre, The Lady's Not for Burning with Theo Ubique, Our Bad Magnet with Mary-Arrchie as well as working with TimeLine Theatre, & Jackelope Theatre.  Film credits include the upcoming No Resolution and recently released feature film In Between Engagements.  Layne attended the School at Steppenwolf in 2009 and earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Luce Metrius (Jay) is making his A Red Orchid Theatre debut.  Recent Chicago credits include All Our Tragic with The Hypocrites and Buzzer at The Goodman Theatre.  Luce understudied roles in Raisin in the Sun at TimeLine Theatre Company and other Chicago credits include The March at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Iphigenia at Next Theatre Company, and Romeo & Juliet at Crowded Tub Collective. Mr. Metrius received his BA in acting from of Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.

Doug Vickers (Charles) is an ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre, where he was most recently seen in Simpatico.  Other appearances at A Red Orchid include three plays by fellow ensemble member, Brett Neveu: Four MurdersEric La Rue and The Meek, as well as Fatboy, Hunger and Thirst, The Grey Zone and more. Doug has also appeared at many other theatres around town, including Chicago Shakespeare (Comedy of Errors), Next Theatre (U.N. Inspector), Remy Bumpo (The Best Man) -Jeff Award for Cameo Performance, Famous Door, Raven, Trap Door, Hell in a Handbag, and Court Theatre. He's done various commercials over the years, and he appeared as a large red beanbag in a little known children's film.

Troy West (Edmund) has appeared previously at A Red Orchid Theatre in The Physicists, The Grey Zone, The Hothouse and BUG. Later Mr. West played in the OFF- BROADWAY run of BUG at the Barrow Street Theatre in New York. He has collaborated with Mr. Murray once before in the Roadworks production of Some Explicit Polaroids at Steppenwolf. Mr. West is an artistic associate with the Lookingglass Theatre Company in Chicago

Dominique Worsley (Jeffrey) is thrilled to make his A Red Orchid debut. He most recently performed as an understudy in Steppenwolf Theatre’s adaptation of Animal Farm. Other Chicago credits include Tartuffe  at Court Theatre, BlackTop Sky (performing understudy) at Steppenwolf Garage Rep. and Titus Andronicus with The Right Brain Project. He has a BFA from the University of Illinois where he also ran Track and Field.



About A Red Orchid 
A Red Orchid Theatre has served as an artistic focal point in the heart of the Old Town community of Chicago since 1993.  Chicago Magazine named Red Orchid Chicago’s Best Theatre Company of 2010. Over the past 22 years, its Resident Ensemble has welcomed into its fold an impressive array of award winning actors, playwrights and theatre artists with the firm belief that live theatre is the greatest sustenance for the human spirit. A Red Orchid is well known and highly acclaimed for its fearless approach to performance and design in the service of unflinchingly intimate stories. In addition to its professional season, the company also produces an annual youth project.


A Red Orchid Theatre is: Lance Baker, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Dado, Mike Durst, Jennifer Engstrom, Kirsten Fitzgerald, Joseph Fosco, Steve Haggard, Mierka Girten, Larry Grimm, Karen Kawa, Karen Kessler, Danny McCarthy, Shade Murray, Brett Neveu, Michael Shannon, Guy Van Swearingen, Doug Vickers and Natalie West

OPENING: Cor Theatre's A Map of Virtue at Rivendell Theatre 1/8-2/14


A Map of Virtue by Erin Courtney

Part interview, part comedy, part middle-of-the-night horror story, 
A Map of Virtue is a hauntingly romantic play about a shared obsession 
that leaves a group of friends stranded in the woods. A bird statue is the guide through this symmetrical tale about the limits of our virtues and what we leave behind.

ChiIL Live Shows is catching the press opening tonight, so check back like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. Our full review will be live soon.

"one of the most terrifying plays of the past decade" 
- The New York Times 


Act Out:  Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more via ChiIL Live Shows. 

ChiIL Live Shows will be there for the press opening, so check back soon for our full review. In the meantime, book your tickets now for the best selection on dates. Seating is GA.

*Free parking is available at Senn High School.*


A hauntingly romantic play with a mystery at its center, A Map of Virtue was hailed “one of the most terrifying plays of the past decade” by the New York Times. It premiered at New York’s 13P in 2012, won an Obie Award and was named a New York Times Critic’s Pick. 



Cor Theatre, the new Chicago company that made its mark with 
Skin Tight at A Red Orchid Theatre in 2012, returns with the Midwest premiere of 
Erin Courtney's A Map of Virtue
directed by Cor Theatre Artistic Director Tosha Fowler.

  
Cor Theatre's Midwest premiere of A Map of Virtue will be only the play's second professional production. Cor Artistic Director Tosha Fowler will direct. The cast includes Will Von Vogt (Mark), Mallory Ness (Sarah), Nick Mikula (Nate), Ruben Adorno (Victor), Eleni Pappageorge (June), Adam Benjamin (Ray) and Scottie Caldwell  (The Bird). 

Designers are Tierra G. Novy (set), Stefin Steberl (costumes and props), Eric Vigo (lights) and Jeffrey Levin (sound). Elyse Cowles is assistant director/dramaturg. Production stage manager is Navid Afshar.

Cor Theatre will present A Map of Virtue January 8-February 14, 2015 at Rivendell Theatre, 5779 N. Ridge Ave., in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood. Previews are Thursday and Friday, January 8 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Soft Opening is Saturday, January 10 at 7:30 p.m. Preview and Soft Opening tickets are $10. 

Regular performances continue January 15 through February 14: Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday at 5 p.m. Performances are $25; $10 students and industry. Tickets to A Map of Virtue go on sale December 1. For tickets and information, visit cortheater.org or call (866) 811-4111.



  
More about Cor Theatre's A Map of Virtue
Tosha Fowler (director) is the co-founder of Cor Theatre, where she produced and acted in the critically acclaimed Skin Tight, under the direction of Victoria Delorio. Also with Cor she co-produced, wrote and performed in her original solo show, Mami, Where'd my O go? Fowler has produced theatre for almost ten years for companies including Mary-Arrchie Theatre, The Chicago Fringe Festival, The Academy Theatre in Atlanta, and her founding company, Fowl Brick in Savannah, Georgia. Her directing credits include A Doctor's Stories, Poof! and Bash and Bully Breakdown in HD. As an actress, Fowler has performed in Chicago with Lifeline Theatre, Emerald City, MPAACT, Cock & Bull and Circle Theatre. She has worked as a playwright with American Theatre Company's "Chicago Chronicle Project," the DePaul University Diversity Initiative, and the Academy Theater. Fowler is an adjunct professor in Theatre at DePaul University, and she holds an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul.

Erin Courtney (playwright) has said A Map of Virtue "is about people fantasizing about other people's lives, thinking their lives are better than their own lives, and really we are all just trying to get by." 

A Map of Virtue has been published along with her play Black Cat Lost by 53rd State Press. Courtney's other works include Honey Drop, Alice the MagnetQuiver and Twitch, and Demon Baby. Her work has been produced and developed by Clubbed Thumb, The Flea, New York Stage and Film, Adhesive Theater, Soho Rep, The Vineyard and The Public. She collaborated with Elizabeth Swados on the opera Kaspar Hauser and is starting work on a new musical with Swados on the life of Isabelle Eberhardt. She was a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2013, a NYSCA grant, two MAP Fund grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, and has been a resident at the MacDowell Colony. Demon Baby is published in two anthologies; New Downtown Now, edited by Mac Wellman and Young Jean Lee and published by University of Minnesota Press, and Funny, Strange, Provocative: Seven Plays by Clubbed Thumb edited by Maria Striar and Erin Detrick and published by Playscripts, Inc. She is an affiliated artist with Clubbed Thumb, a member of 13P, and a member of New Dramatists. She teaches in the MFA playwriting program at Brooklyn College and is a co-founder of Brooklyn Writers Space. She is a graduate of Mac Wellman's MFA program at Brooklyn College in 2003, and earned her BA at Brown University in 1990.


  
About Cor Theatre
 Cor Theatre (cortheater.org) is a professional theatre company committed to producing stories about courage and exploring the hidden hero within us all. The company believes that there are certain intrinsic values that connect people at the core of their being. Cor Theatre seeks to expose those values.

Cor debuted in September 2012 with its production of Skin Tight by Gary Henderson at Chicago's A Red Orchid Theatre. About a powerful, enduring love, complete with punches, laughter, knife fights, confessions and forgiveness, Skin Tight was rewarded with enthusiastic audiences, critical acclaim and made just enough money to establish a not-for-profit corporation. The company named itself Cor Theatre, deriving its name from the Latin root of courage - meaning heart.

Today, Cor is a new and ambitious Chicago professional theatre company under the leadership of Tosha Fowler, Artistic Director, and Navid Afshar, Managing Director. Company members include Chris Brickhouse, Elyse Cowles, Brian Crawford, Claire Meyers, Stefin Steberl and Will Von Vogt.With strong experience behind it, Cor is committed to produce works that provide an environment in which its audience can explore the unexplored and expect the unexpected.

Cor will return to Rivendell Theatre in the spring, June 4-July 11, 2015 with Love and Human Remains, the first Chicago professional production in nearly 20 years of the ground-breaking play originally titled Unidentified Human Remains and the Nature of True Love. Ernie Nolan will direct.

For more information, visit cortheater.org, call (866) 811-4111, like Cor Theatre on Facebook or follow the company on Twitter, @TheatreCor.

Rivendell Theatre
5779 N. Ridge Ave
Chicago, IL 60660
Edgewater Neighborhood
Rivendell is a few short blocks away from both the Bryn Mawr Red Line el stop, as well as the Clark Street #22 bus. 

Saturday, January 10, 2015

OPENING: Northlight Theatre presents The World Premiere of White Guy on the Bus 1/23


 Northlight Theatre presents
The World Premiere of
White Guy on the Bus
by Bruce Graham
directed by Artistic Director BJ Jones

January 23-February 28, 2015


Act Out:  Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more via ChiIL Live Shows. 

ChiIL Live Shows will be there for opening night, so check back soon for our full review.

Northlight Theatre, under the direction of Artistic Director BJ Jones and Executive Director Timothy J. Evans, presents the world premiere of White Guy on the Bus by Bruce Graham, directed by BJ Jones. The production will run at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie Blvd in Skokie, from January 23-February 28, 2015.  

*The cast is an all-star Chicago company, including Francis Guinan, Mary Beth Fisher, Jordan Brown, Amanda Drinkall and Patrese D. McClain*

A wealthy white businessman and a struggling black single mom ride the same bus every Saturday. As they get to know each other, the threads that tie these disparate individuals together gradually unravel in a complex web of moral ambiguity, revenge, and racial biases. This world premiere play provides a candid and surprising perspective on the racial and socioeconomic divide.
        
Dates: Previews: January 23-January 29, 2015
Regular run: through February 28, 2015

Schedule: 
Tuesdays: 7:30pm (except Feb. 3, 10 and 24)

Wednesdays: 1:00pm (except Feb. 11)
and 7:30pm (except Feb 18)

Thursdays: 7:30pm

Fridays: 8:00pm (except Opening on January 30 at 7:30pm)

Saturdays: 2:30pm (except January 24) and 8:00pm

Sundays: 2:30pm and 7:00pm (except Feb. 1 and 8)

Open Captioned performance Sunday, March 22 at 7:00pm

Location: Northlight Theatre is located at the North Shore
Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd,
Skokie

Tickets: Previews: $25-$54
Regular run: $25-$78
Student tickets are $15, any performance
(subject to availability)

Box Office: The Box Office is located at 9501 Skokie Blvd, Skokie.
847.673.6300; northlight.org



Bruce Graham, the award-winning playwright and screenwriter behind Northlight’s highly successful The Outgoing Tide and Stella & Lou, has never been sharper than in this fresh, surprising, and gutsy world premiere.

*This is Bruce Graham’s third world premiere at Northlight.  His other Northlight world premieres are The Outgoing Tide and Stella & Lou, which both then transferred to the Galway Arts Festival. Graham’s relationship with Northlight has been ongoing since the production of his play Belmont Avenue Social Club in 1992.*

“The challenge of new work is always exciting, mysterious and even scary. But when I'm working with Bruce Graham, whom I’ve known for many years and worked on several of his plays, the process is familiar, well oiled, but never less than surprising,” comments BJ Jones. “With White Guy on the Bus, Bruce fearlessly plunges into the country's racial psyche, stripping away liberal hypocrisy and exposing the raw nerve that is race in America. With a blue-chip cast headed by Francis Guinan and Mary Beth Fisher, White Guy on the Bus continues Northlight's fruitful relationship with one of America's most prolific and ambitious playwrights.”

The creative team includes John Culbert (scenic), Rachel Laritz (costumes), JR Lederle (lighting) and Andrew Hansen (sound).  Rita Vreeland is the stage manager.

The Box Office is located at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Boulevard, in Skokie.  Box Office hours are Monday-Friday 10:00am-5:00pm, and Saturdays 12:00pm-5:00pm. On performance days, the box office hours are extended through showtime. The Box Office is closed on Sundays, except on performance days when it is open two hours prior to showtime.



*In the current season, Northlight is producing two world premiere works (White Guy on the Bus and Shining Lives: A Musical), the second-ever productions of two plays (The Commons of Pensacola and Outside Mullingar) and a classic rarely produced in the US (The Mousetrap).  In addition, Northlight has a number of new works in development throughInterplay, a program that has sent 25 out of 29 scripts on to full professional productions throughout the country and developed Northlight’s three best-selling plays: Better Lateby Larry Gelbart and Craig Wright, The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham and Chapatti by Christian O’Reilly.*


Northlight is continuing its popular special event series in conjunction with each production.  All events are free. 

Post-Show Discussions with a Northlight facilitator, engaging audiences in a dialogue about the play's themes, will follow every performance of White Guy on the Bus.

Backstage with BJ is a mid-day discussion with Artistic Director BJ Jones, featuring special guest artists, actors, directors and designers, offering behind-the-scenes insight into each production while it is still in rehearsal.  Backstage with BJ for White Guy on the Bus will be held on Friday, January 16 at 12:00pm and will last approximately one hour.  Reservations are required, 847.679.9501 x3605 or specialevents@northlight.org.

Community Events
Thursday, January 29, 6:00-7:30pm
Curt's Café, 2922 Central Street, Evanston
A panel of civic leaders and social service representatives will address the local impact of issues raised in the play. Panelists include representatives from: City of Evanston, Curt's Café and Literature for All of Us.

Tuesday, February 3, 3:00-4:00pm
Wilmette Public Library, 1242 Wilmette Ave, Wilmette
Northlight artists and cast members engage in audience Q&A following scene selections from the play.

Thursday, February 5, at Northlight Theatre following the 7:30pm performance (Panel is free, tickets to the preceding performance required)
A panel of civic leaders and social service representatives will address the local impact of issues raised in the play. Panelists include representatives from: Connections for the Homeless, The James B. Moran Center, Youth Job Center of Evanston and YWCA Evanston/North Shore. 

Wednesday, February 11, 10:30-11:30am
Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Ave, Highland Park
Northlight artists and cast members engage in audience Q&A following scene selections from the play. 


Northlight Theatre aspires to promote change of perspective and encourage compassion by exploring the depth of our humanity across a bold spectrum of theatrical experiences, reflecting our community to the world and the world to our community.

Now in its 40th season, the organization has mounted nearly 200 productions, including over 40 world premieres.  Northlight has earned 188 Joseph Jefferson Award nominations and 31 Awards.  As one of the area’s premier theatre companies, Northlight is a regional magnet for critical and professional acclaim, as well as talent of the highest quality.
                                                     
The 40th Anniversary is supported by season sponsor BMO Harris Bank and lighting sponsor ComEd.

White Guy on the Bus is sponsored in part by The Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, Room & Board and Tom Stringer Design Partners.

Northlight is supported in part by generous contributions from the Paul M. Angell Fund; BMO Harris Bank; Cramer-Krasselt; The  Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; ComEd, An Exelon Company; Edgerton Foundation for New American Plays Award; Evanston Community Foundation; First Bank &  Trust; Full Circle Foundation; The Homestead Hotel; Illinois Arts Council, a state agency; KinderMorgan Foundation; Kirkland & Ellis Foundation; The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation; Melvoin Award for Playwriting; Modestus Bauer Foundation; North Shore Center for the Performing Arts Foundation; NorthShore University HealthSystem; The Offield Family Foundation; The Pauls Foundation; Plante Moran; The Pritzger Pucker Family Foundation; Quince at the Homestead; The Daniel F. and Ada L. Rice Foundation; Room & Board; Sage Products; Sanborn Family Foundation; The Shubert Foundation; Skokie Fine Arts Council; The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust; The Sullivan Family Foundation; Tom Stringer Design Partners; the Venturous Theater Fund; and The Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation.







Wednesday, January 7, 2015

REVIEW: The Hypocrites' Trifecta of Gilbert & Sullivan Shows Are a Riotous Round of Hilarity Through 2/7/15 #Review #‎ChiILPicksList

Gilbert & Sullivan Rep

It was our great pleasure to catch all 3 of The Hypocrites' Gilbert and Sullivan musicals this past month and we highly recommend you hightail it over to The Den Theatre ASAP and see them. We loved The Mikado last year and couldn't wait to see it again and add H.M.S. Pinafore and Pirates of Penzance to the mix. These shows are great for theatre freaks, kids and adults of all ages, and the reluctant theatre goer as well. They have a small bar right in the performance space and a free range audience that's welcome to move about at will and sit, stand or lounge around the whole performance space or the traditional chairs. Click here and scroll down for loads of our past Hypocrites coverage.

Act Out:  Chicago Theatre openings, closings, reviews, giveaways, ticket sale dates and more via ChiIL Live Shows. 




The whole vibe begins more like a party than a play, with people with drinks in hand milling about and chatting up strangers, kids playing on the multilevel set pieces, and musicians everywhere. At all 3 shows we saw, there in the fray was director, Sean Graney, grinning ear to ear. And he had every right to beam like the Cheshire Cat. The Hypocrites are on to something magical and spectacular! 


I think Sean has the right idea. I kinda want to join him and spend the whole winter in The Hypocrites world of playful fun and light!











Here at ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama we can't think of a better way to spend the darkest, coldest days of the year than under the twinkling circus tent lights with The Hypocrites. Their trifecta of Gilbert & Sullivan musicals is a joyful celebration of light, color, music and ridiculous rhyme. We've never seen any troupe make better use of the promenade style. They don't just break down the 4th wall, they run rings around it! 





The Mikado is still our pick of the litter, but we dug all 3 and suggest you get a package deal and do it up right. I mean, come on, where else can you find a talented tribe of rag tag minstrels to serenade you in a pillow pile at the foot of a slide where you can snuggle a passel of stuffed animal cats, or on bunk beds, or in a rubber duckie filled kiddy pool sans water for cripes sake! I dare you not to grin. Perfect for a date night or fam friendly fun. 



We're also absofreakinlutely loving The Den Theatre's new performance space with no steep stairs, a bountiful bar and a spacious, open performance area! Joy. 







The Hypocrites' unique take on new and traditional works is something to see! Highly recommended. 

Do you want to come back to the show again? Do you want to see the other two in rep? Do you want to encourage others to do so and get a $6 discount per ticket? We created the code "comeback" for you to enter at checkout in order to do just that. 




Here's the Official Scoop:


Gilbert and Sullivan Rep 2014-15
November 26, 2014 – February 7, 2015
Music Direction by Andra Velis Simon Gilbert & Sullivan Rep
Directed by Sean Graney and Thrisa Hodits

featuring the world premiere adaptation of
H.M.S. Pinafore
Adaption by Sean Graney, Matt Kahler & Andra Velis Simon

along with the highly anticipated return of BOTH
Pirates of Penzance 
Adaption by Sean Graney & Kevin O'Donnell
and
Mikado
Adaption by Sean Graney

The Hypocrites’ 2014-15 Season will continue in December 2014 with another world premiere: a playful re-imaging of Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. PINAFORE, adapted and directed by Sean Graney, with new arrangements by Matt Kahler and Andra Velis Simon. In what has become an annual celebration of the Gilbert and Sullivan canon, H.M.S. PINAFORE will run in repertory with remounts of the company’s wildly popular productions of THE MIKADO and THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, also adapted and directed by Graney.

Reviews:
★★★★ (out of ★★★★)   
“The Hypocrites apply their winning formula of hip deconstruction and dark comedy to the cherished operetta”
Chicago Tribune

“Spirited, affectionate, and nearly irresistible”
Boston Globe

“Terrific…The Hypocrites’ musicianship has never sounded better.”


TimeOut Chicago







For the full schedule of the rep, click here



Missed All Our Tragic this time around?
Saw it but wanted to come back or tell your friends?
Well now you have a second chance
Buy your tickets for next summer now




Looking ahead to 2015:
Pirates of Penzance, Mikado and HMS Pinafore 
now-February 7th
(tickets on sale here)

Endgame by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Halena Kays
Feb-April 2015 (tickets on sale soon)

Three Sisters by Anton Chekhov
Directed by Geoff Button
April-June 2015 (tickets on sale soon)

Remount of All Our Tragic
June-August 2015 
(tickets on sale here)

Announcement of their 19th season
coming April 2015

plus a lot of exciting surprises  
to be announced throughout the year





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