Thursday, February 28, 2019

Handel’s Masterpiece ARIODANTE Now Playing at Lyric Opera of Chicago Select Dates Through March 17, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Now Playing at Lyric Opera of Chicago
Six performances March 2 - 17
by George Frideric Handel
Sung in Italian with projected English translations

**This production includes mature themes**

Provocative Baroque drama about abuse and complicity
in a bold, updated staging 

New coproduction and Lyric premiere of Handel’s masterpiece

The Lyric Opera of Chicago premiere of George Frideric Handel’s Baroque masterpiece Ariodante opens Saturday, March 2 at 7:30pm in a provocative new coproduction. There are six performances March 2 through March 17 at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago. Tickets start at $39, and are available now at or at 312-827-5600. 


Sometimes opera takes you to completely unexpected, dramatically powerful places.

That’s certainly the case with the Lyric premiere of Handel’s Ariodante, on multiple levels. Some of its thrilling arias might be familiar from concerts or recordings, but the full Baroque masterpiece is terra incognita for many (even though it was wildly popular when Handel, the German expat living in London, was composing multiple Italian operas). Still, there is inviting familiarity in the bouncing beat and virtuoso vocal writing in this new-to-Lyric opera.

The original plot of Ariodante is full of Shakespearean twists, disguises, mistaken identities, wrenching misunderstandings, and eventual reconciliation (not unlike Much Ado About Nothing). Ginevra and Ariodante love each other and are about to be wed with the blessing of her father, the King of Scotland. Polinesso covets Ginevra and uses her lady-in-waiting, Dalinda (who loves Polinesso), to trick Ariodante into believing Ginevra is unfaithful and provoke his apparent suicide. Ariodante’s brother Lurcanio, meanwhile, loves and is shunned by Dalinda, and blames Ginevra for his sibling’s seeming demise. Eventually Ariodante turns up alive, Polinesso is vanquished, and the “right” couples are united. 

Richard Jones’s production moves the story from medieval times to an isolated, religiously fundamentalist Scottish island in the 1970s. Polinesso is an outsider from the mainland who penetrates this closed community in preacher’s clothes, wreaking terrible havoc on several relationships and the fabric of the village itself through acts of abuse and manipulation. Rather than ending with the reconciliation and redemption traditional in 18th-century opera, this production of Ariodante takes an intriguing detour that will resonate with contemporary audiences.

Puppets representing Ginevra and Ariodante pantomime scenes that reflect the community’s expectations and misperceptions of the central couple in this production, replacing ballet sequences used to close each act in the original opera.

Baroque opera “is radical theater,” says Anthony Freud. “Ariodante deals with abuse and complicity.” Lyric’s general director calls this production of Ariodante “a clear, immediate, powerful telling of the story that will defy preconceptions about Handel’s Baroque formality. Our production reflects many contemporary issues. Handel’s masterpiece may be over 280 years old, but is startling in its topicality and intensity.”

The creative team drew inspiration for this production of Ariodante from the dark indie film Breaking the Waves, and also the plays of Strindberg and Ibsen. There are similarities to Carlisle Floyd’s Susannah, in which an innocent young woman in Appalachia is seduced by an itinerant preacher. There are also traces of Benjamin Britten’s Peter Grimes in the community turning against one of its own. 

Lyric’s splendid cast inhabits the complex characters while singing the daunting score to great effect. Mezzo-soprano Alice Coote takes on the title role, with soprano Brenda Rae (Lyric debut) as Ariodante’s betrothed, Ginevra. Soprano Heidi Stober portrays the vulnerable Dalinda, manipulated by the evil Polinesso, played by countertenor Iestyn Davies. Bass-baritone Kyle Ketelsen is the King of Scotland. Tenor Eric Ferring portrays Lurcanio.  and tenor Josh Lovell portrays Odoardo (the latter two are Ryan Opera Center artists). 

Acclaimed Baroque specialist Harry Bicket conducts, and Benjamin Davis (Lyric debut) is revival director. The production is designed by ULTZ (Lyric debut), with lighting by Mimi Jordan Sherin. Michael Black is chorus master, Lucy Burge is choreographer, Finn Caldwell is puppetry director and designer, and Nick Barnes is puppetry designer (the latter three are Lyric debuts).  

Don't miss your chance to experience this critically-acclaimed premiere — view the trailer here and find out for yourself why critics are praising its "tight, compelling story and rich, well-developed characters" (Chicago Sun-Times).

In a small town rife with rumors, who can you trust? The highly anticipated U.S. premiere co-production of Handel's Ariodante opened Saturday night and critics are raving. With only five more performances, Ariodante must close March 17. See what people are saying about this Lyric premiere:

"Vocally, visually and dramatically arresting"
"Clarity and rhythmic verve from the Lyric Opera Orchestra and Chorus"
"An opera penned nearly three centuries ago can resonate profoundly with modern times, when staged as tellingly as this"
"★ ★ ★ ★" (out of four) 
–Chicago Tribune

"Unexpected and intriguing"
"The casting for this production could hardly have been better"
"Many vocal high points"
"★ ★ ★ ½" (out of four)
–Chicago Sun-Times

"Dazzling vocal pyrotechnics"
"A daunting tour de force"
–Stage and Cinema

What happens when someone your town trusts is actually the villain? For Ginevra and her beloved Ariodante, things may never be the same. Lyric is proud to produce the company premiere of this important Baroque masterpiece from the composer of Messiah which marries stunning vocalism and riveting drama. 

Making its U.S. debut, this critically-acclaimed Lyric coproduction from Director Richard Jones updates the story to 1970s Scotland, where a close-knit, fundamentalist community provides the thought-provoking backdrop. The Toronto Globe and Mail says, "The decisions Jones has made to update and deepen the resonances of the opera work beautifully both to preserve the integrity of the original and add to it touches and textures that only a modern audience can appreciate…If you needed one example to demonstrate why modern staging and perfectly realized music from the past need each other, this was it." 

Don't miss this highly anticipated Lyric premiere that critics are calling "dramatically complex... deliciously interesting" – (The Toronto Star). 

Handel’s Baroque masterpiece is currently playing Lyric, and there are so many reasons you can’t miss it. Here are just a few: 

1. It’s a Lyric premiere. Believe it or not, this rare gem by the composer of the beloved Messiah has never been performed on Lyric’s stage.

2. The cast is truly world-class. Our dream team of opera superstars have voices ideally suited to bring Ariodante to life.

3. It's the U.S. premiere of a production that earned rave reviews. TheToronto Star called it "deliciously interesting" and the National Post praised its "inspired and meticulous staging."

4. Handel’s music is exhilarating. You will fall in love with a score that exudes both passion and elegance.

5. It's not just great music, it's great theater. This story of true love plagued by obstacles in a small town is just as universal today as it was when the opera first premiered.

Save your seats today for Ariodante, on stage March 2-17, and experience this delightful and innovative production for yourself.


Chi, IL Live Shows on our radar




Here at ChiIL Live Shows we grew up with Chicago's punk and industrial music scene in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The story of Wax Trax! is not only an award winning doc with kickass music, but a vital piece of counter culture history that's left a lasting impact on generations. Don't miss this. 

Record Store Day and Vans, the original action sports brand rooted in art, music and street culture, are teaming up to release a special edition soundtrack for the award-winning music documentary Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records on Record Store Day, April 13, 2019.

The album, which features previously unreleased songs by Wax Trax! artists, (see track listing below) will be available at independent record stores across the United States and Canada. To coincide with the album launch, Vans will kick off a multi-city Wax Trax! experience featuring screenings of the film, live Q&A, and a performance by Ministry of a Wax Trax! era, early 90's set. 

On April 13, House of Vans Chicago located at 113 N. Elizabeth St., Chicago, IL will kick-off the first of six stops. Tickets to the Vans and Wax Trax! Events will be available through independent record stores on April 13. Partner record stores and ticket information to be announced soon.

“The story of Wax Trax! is a perfect example of the incredible importance and influence that independent record stores have not only on the music scene by selling records, but also on our culture by helping people find a home where they can express themselves through music,” said Carrie Colliton, co-founder of Record Store Day. “There’s no better day than Record Store Day to release this album with Vans, an iconic brand in the world of indie record stores.”

Wax Trax! was an influential Chicago record store and label that helped give rise to punk and industrial music of the ‘80s and ‘90s. It also served as a lifeline for people outside of the mainstream by fostering and encouraging a safe place for artists and outsiders. The soundtrack includes artists closely aligned with the label and music scene including Ministry, My Life With The Thrill Kill Kult, The Young Gods, Pankow, KMFDM, Revolting Cocks, FRONT 242, Mussolini Headkick, Laibach and Chris Connelly.

Watch the trailer for Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records HERE

“Wax Trax! is a story of artistic freedom, creativity and social acceptance of sub-culture through music,” said Brooke Burt, Senior Manager for Lifestyle Brand Marketing for Vans. “We are proud to partner with Record Store Day to release an album and celebrate a story that pays homage to the ongoing influence of independent record stores and pushes the boundaries of music genres.”

In addition to featuring music from the soundtrack, the film delivers insightful interviews with family members, former employees and musicians who worked with or were heavily influenced by Wax Trax!, including Al Jourgensen, Dave Grohl, Trent Reznor, Paul Barker, Ian MacKaye, Steve Albini, Jello Biafra and others.

As an added dimension of collaboration between Vans and Record Store Day, House of Vans Chicago will host the RSD 2019 List Launch on February 28, 2019 at noon CST.

The announcement scheduled will showcase the highly anticipated limited-edition release titles coming to record stores and will be followed by a panel discussion with artists from the Wax Trax! Soundtrack moderated by Nik Carter host of SiriusXM’s Feedback on the Volume Channel 106.

Listeners can tune-in to a special Record Store Day list launch special on SiriusXM’s Volume channel on February 28 at 7 PM ET.

Panelists include:

Paul Barker - Former Ministry bass player from 1986-2003, member of Revolting Cocks, Lard and Pigface, as well as many other bands

Chris Connelly - Former Ministry keyboard player from 1987-1991, member of KMFDM, Revolting Cocks and Pigface, as well as many other bands

Julia Nash - Director of Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records, and daughter of late Wax Trax! Co-founder Jim Nash

Rick Wojcik - Owner of Dusty Groove in Chicago. Rick spent much of his teenage years, (and his teenage dollars), at the Wax Trax! store, and that has a strong influence on his own Chicago record store, Dusty Groove.

Carrie Colliton – Co-founder/organizer of Record Store Day.

TRACK LISTING FOR Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records SOUNDTRACK:

1: MY LIFE WITH THE THRILL KILL KULT - “A Daisy Chain 4 Satan” (Acid and Flowers Mix)
2: REVOLTING COCKS - “Animal Nation”
3: THE YOUNG GODS - “Envoyé!”
4: PANKOW - “Me and My Ding-Dong”
5: MINISTRY - “Tonight We Murder (Original Version)”
6: KMFDM - “Vogue (Apart Version)”
7: FRONT 242 - “Headhunter (Live NYC)”
8: MUSSOLINI HEADKICK - “Your God is Dead”
9: LAIBACH - “Leben-Tod”
10: FINI TRIBE - “I Want More” **CD Only**
11: Mystery Track - Previously Unreleased **CD + Deluxe Only**
12: Mystery Track - Previously Unreleased **CD + Deluxe Only**
13: Mystery Track - Previously Unreleased **CD Only**
14: CHRIS CONNELLY - “Shipwreck”

For more information about Record Store Day, please visit

About Record Store Day
Record Store Day, the organization, is managed by the Department of Record Stores and is organized in partnership with the Alliance of Independent Media Stores (AIMS), the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) and promotes independent record stores year-round with events, special releases and other fun things.

 Record Store Day, the global celebration of the culture of the record store, takes place annually in April. Record Store Day 2019 is April 13.

 Record Store Day Sponsors:
ADA, Caroline, Crosley Turntables, D’Addario, Dogfish Head Brewery, Furnace Record Pressing, Glowtronics, InGrooves, Music Business Association, MVD Entertainment, The Orchard, Redeye Distribution, Sony Music, ThinkIndie, Traffic Distribution, URP Distribution, Vans, Vinyl Styl, WEA

About Vans
Vans®, a VF Corporation (NYSE: VFC) brand, is the original action sports footwear, apparel and accessories brand. Vans® authentic collections are sold in 84 countries through a network of subsidiaries, distributors and international offices. Vans®has over 2,000 retail locations globally including owned, concession and partnership doors. The Vans® brand promotes creative self-expression in youth culture across action sports, art, music and street culture and delivers progressive platforms such as the Vans Park Series, Vans Triple Crown of Surfing®, Vans Pool Party, Vans Custom Culture, and Vans’ cultural hub and international music venue, House of Vans.

Vans Presents: Industrial Accident: The Story of Wax Trax! Records Experience Events

4/13: Chicago

4/15: Brooklyn

4/17: Toronto

4/19: Austin

4/22: San Francisco

4/23: Los Angeles

Vans, “Off The Wall” Since ’66

Wednesday, February 27, 2019


ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

APRIL 24 – JUNE 29, 2019

Chicago premiere of Too Heavy for Your Pocket doubles as the Chicago debut of rising young playwright and TV writer Jiréh Breon Holder, recently named one of “Tomorrow’s Marquee Names, Now in the Making” by The New York Times.

Set during the height of the civil rights movement, Too Heavy for Your Pocket is a captivating and complicated tale about the intersection of family, responsibility, and progress. Previously seen at Atlanta’s Alliance Theatre and in an extended Off Broadway run at Roundabout Theatre, Holder’s riveting new play was hailed “an exceptional work, one that will dive-bomb into your head and your heart” (Talkin’ Broadway) and a story “that examines life on both the margins and at the epicenter of historic change” (Stage Left).

Preproduction Photos by Kenny Nakai

TimeLine Company Member Ron OJ Parson will direct TimeLine’s Chicago debut of Too Heavy for Your Pocket. Named one of Chicago’s most “in demand directors” by Chicago Magazine (February 2019), Parson’s credits at TimeLine include Brett Neveu’s To Catch a Fish, Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue and Sunset Baby, and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. Right before helming TimeLine’s Too Heavy for Your Pocket, Parson is also directing back-to-back productions of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom for Writers Theatre and Sweat by Lynn Nottage at Goodman.

Preproduction Photos by Kenny Nakai

The Too Heavy for Your Pocket cast, all making their TimeLine debuts, features Jalen Gilbert (he/him, playing Bowzie), Ayanna Bria Bakari (she/her, as Evelyn), Jennifer Latimore (she/her, as Sally Mae), and Cage Sebastian Pierre (he/him, as Tony). Gilbert was previously seen in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom and East Texas Hot Links at Writers Theatre and Mies Julie at Victory Gardens. Bakari recently co-starred in How to Catch Creation at Goodman Theatre. She also has
Both Gilbert and Bakari are graduates of The Theatre School at DePaul University. Latimore was recently seen in The Importance of Being Earnest and as Viola in Twelfth Night Or What You Will at Writers Theatre. Other local credits are Court Theatre’s Harvey and Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Love’s Labor’s Lost and Macbeth. Pierre also appeared in Macbeth, as well as Gardens, 16th Street Theatre, The New Colony, and in Stage Left’s Jeff-nominated Insurrection: Holding History. performed at Victory Q Brothers Christmas Carol and at Chicago Shakespeare, and A Short Shakes! Romeo and Juliet
Moon for the Misbegotten at Writers Theatre.

TimeLine’s production team for Too Heavy for Your Pocket includes José Manuel Díaz-Soto (Scenic Designer, he/him); Alexia Rutherford (Costume Designer, she/her); Maggie Fullilove-Nugent (Lighting Designer, she/her); Christopher Kriz (Sound Designer and Original Composition, he/him); Jermaine Hill (Music Director and Original Composition, he/him); Vivian Knouse (Properties Designer, she/her); Katie Cordts (Wig and Hair Designer, she/her), Regina Victor (Dramaturg, they/them); Dina Spoerl (Lobby Designer, she/her); Cara Parrish (Stage Manager, she/her); and Am’Ber D. Montgomery (Assistant Director, she/her).

Too Heavy for Your Pocket begins previews on April 24. Press Night is Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. Opening Night is May 2. Performances run through June 29 at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., Chicago. For tickets and information, visit or call the TimeLine Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.

Too Heavy for Your Pocket “brings the early civil rights movement up close and personal” (Deadline), resulting in a powerful look at the tenuous balance between security and risk, the bonds of love and friendship, and the personal cost of progress. Holder’s story centers on Bowzie Brandon, his wife Evelyn, and their best friends Tony and Sally, who all see happiness on the horizon when Bowzie gets a college scholarship and a chance to improve his family’s life. However, when the opportunity to become a Freedom Rider arises, Bowzie leaves his obligations as a husband and friend behind to join the fight against racism in the Deep South.

Jiréh Breon Holder (Playwright) is currently a writer on NBC's new hit show New Amsterdam. He is an Atlanta-area playwright, director, and dramaturg. His sharp yet funny and often political plays frequently include wild visual metaphors and address the magic of everyday life in the South. From 2016-2019, Holder served as the Playwriting Fellow of the Department of Theater and Creative Writing at Emory University. In 2016, he received his MFA degree in Playwriting from the Yale School of Drama, where he studied with Sarah Ruhl. He is a co-founder of Pyramid Theatre Company in Des Moines, Iowa. From 2012-13, he served as the Kenny Leon Fellow at the Tony Award-winning Alliance Theatre. He graduated cum laude with a BA degree in Theatre from Morehouse College, where he served as the artistic director of Spelman College Playwrights’ Workshop and directed several productions. His play Too Heavy for Your Pocket was the recipient of the Laurents/Hatcher Foundation Award, winner of the Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition, and had an extended off-Broadway run at the Roundabout Theatre in 2017. He was a recipient of the 2016 Edgerton Foundation New Play Awards and honored as the Fellowship of Southern Writers' 2017 Bryan Foundation Award for Drama. His other plays have received productions at the Alliance Theatre, the Yale School of Drama and Yale Cabaret. He has also received readings at the Manhattan Theatre Club, the Roundabout Theatre, the Kennedy Center, and the Old Globe Theatre. Holder is under commission with the Old Globe Theatre, the Roundabout Theatre, and the Manhattan Theatre Club. For more, visit

Ron OJ Parson (Director) became a TimeLine Company Member in 2016. His TimeLine credits include acclaimed productions of Brett Neveu’s To Catch a Fish, Dominique Morisseau’s Paradise Blue and Sunset Baby, and Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun. He is a native of Buffalo, New York, and
a graduate of the University of Michigan’s professional theater program. He is the co-founder and former Artistic Director of Onyx Theatre Ensemble of Chicago and a co-founder and co-director of Ripe ManGo Productions. Parson is a Resident Artist at Court Theatre and an Associate Artist with
Teatro Vista. Since moving to Chicago from New York in 1994, he has worked as both an actor and director. His Chicago credits include work with The Chicago Theatre Company, Victory Gardens, Goodman, Steppenwolf, Chicago Dramatists, Northlight, Court, Black Ensemble Theatre, Congo
Square, Northlight Theatre, Urban Theatre Company, City Lit Theater, ETA Creative Arts, and Writers. Regionally, Ron has directed shows at Studio Arena Theatre, Alliance Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Milwaukee Repertory, South Coast Repertory, Pasadena Playhouse, Geva
Theatre, Virginia Stage, Roundabout Theatre, Wilshire Theatre, The Mechanic Theatre, CenterStage,

TimeLine’s Chicago premiere of Too Heavy for Your Pocket is sponsored in part by the Pauls Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional support from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.

Previews of Too Heavy for Your Pocket are Wednesday, April 24 through Saturday, April 27 at 8 p.m.;
Sunday, April 28 at 2 p.m.; and Tuesday, April 30 at 7:30 p.m. Press Night is Wednesday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Opening Night is Thursday, May 2 at 7:30 p.m.
Regular performances continue through June 29: Wednesdays and Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.; Fridays at 8 p.m.; Saturdays at 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; and Sundays at 2 p.m. Exceptions: No 4 p.m. show on Saturday, May 4. There is an added performance on Tuesday, June 25 at 7:30 p.m.

Post-Show Discussions: A brief, informal post-show discussion hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and featuring the production dramaturg and members of the cast on Wednesday, May 8; Thursday, May 16; Wednesday, May 22; Thursday, May 30; Wednesday, June 5; and Sunday, June 23.
Pre-Show Discussions: Starting one hour before these performances, a 25-minute introductory conversation hosted by a TimeLine Company Member and the production dramaturg on Sunday, June 9, and Thursday, June 13.
Company Member Discussion: A post-show discussion with the collaborative team of artists who choose TimeLine’s programming and guide the company’s mission on Sunday, May 19.

Captioned Performance: An open-captioned performance with a text display of words and sounds heard during the performance on Saturday, June 1 at 4 p.m.
Sunday Scholars Panel Discussion: A one-hour post-show discussion featuring experts on the themes and issues of the play on Sunday, June 2.
All discussions are free and open to the public. For further details about all planned discussions and events, visit

Single tickets to Too Heavy for Your Pocket are now on sale. Preview tickets are $25. Single tickets to regular performances are $40 (Wednesday through Friday), $49 (Saturday evenings) and $54 (Saturday and Sunday matinees). Student discount is 35% off regular price with valid ID. TimeLine is also a member of TCG’s Blue Star Theatre Program and is offering $25 tickets to U.S. military personnel, veterans, first responders, and their spouses and family.
Discounted rates for groups of 10 or more are available. Ticket buyers age 18-35 may join TimeLine’s free MyLine program to obtain access to discounted tickets, special events and more. Visit for more about Blue Star, MyLine and other available discounts.

To purchase a FlexPass, single tickets or for more information, visit or call the Box Office at (773) 281-8463 x6.
St. Louis Black Repertory, Pittsburgh Public Theater, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Signature Theatre, and Portland Stage, among others. In Canada, he directed the world premiere of Palmer Park by Joanna McClelland Glass at the Stratford Festival. He is a member of AEA, SAG-AFTRA, and
SDC. For further information, visit
Too Heavy for Your Pocket will take place at TimeLine Theatre, 615 W. Wellington Ave., in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, near the corner of Wellington and Broadway, inside the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ building. TimeLine is served by multiple CTA trains and buses. TimeLine offers discounted parking at the Laz parking garage at Broadway Center ($8 with validation; 2846 N. Broadway, at Surf) or the Century Mall ($9 with validation; 2836 N. Clark), with other paid parking options nearby, plus limited free and metered street parking.

TimeLine Theatre is accessible to people with disabilities. Two wheelchair lifts provide access from street level to the theatre space and to lower-level restrooms. Audience members using wheelchairs or who need to avoid stairs, and others with special seating or accessibility needs should contact the TimeLine Box Office in advance to confirm arrangements. See DISCUSSION & ACCESSIBILITY EVENTS above for information about the open-captioned performance for patrons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Currently on stage at TimeLine Theatre, through March 17, is the Chicago premiere of Cardboard Piano, Hansol Jung’s powerful story of faith, love, and the human capacity for forgiveness set amidst violent conflict in northern Uganda, directed by TimeLine Company Member Mechelle Moe.
Newcity hailed Cardboard Piano as “a delicate and priceless work of theater ... the first ‘Must-See’ show of 2019.” For tickets and information, visit

Already announced as the opening production of TimeLine’s upcoming 2019-20 season is the Chicago premiere of J.T. Rogers’ internationally acclaimed and Tony Award-winning play Oslo. Directed by TimeLine Associate Artistic Director Nick Bowling, Oslo will run September 10 – October 20, 2019 at Broadway In Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place, 175 E. Chestnut St., Chicago.

Three other productions of TimeLine’s 2019-2020 season, to be performed at the company’s home at 615 W. Wellington Avenue in Chicago, are still to be announced. The best way to secure seats to Oslo is to purchase a 2019-2020 TimeLine FlexPass Subscription. Four different tiers of 4-Admission FlexPasses, priced from $97 - $235, are now on sale. For more information and to purchase a TimeLine FlexPass Subscription, call (773) 281-8463 x6 or visit

Oslo will be part of the upcoming Broadway In Chicago season on sale in Spring 2019. Individual tickets for Oslo will go on sale in July 2019 (specific date to be announced) and will range in price from $30 - $75 with a select number of premium seats. Group tickets for 10 or more are now on sale by calling Broadway In Chicago Group Sales at (312) 977-1710.

TimeLine Theatre Company is proud to be part of the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, presented by the City of Chicago and the League of Chicago Theatres. To truly fall in love with Chicago, you must go to our theatres. This is where the city bares its fearless soul. Home to a community of creators, risk-takers, and big hearts, Chicago theatre is a hotbed for exciting new work and hundreds of world premieres every year. From Broadway musicals to storefront plays and improv, there’s always a seat waiting for you at one of our 200+ theatres. Learn more at

TimeLine Theatre Company, recipient of the prestigious 2016 MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, was founded in April 1997 with a mission to present stories inspired by history that connect with today's social and political issues. Now in its 22nd season, TimeLine has presented 78 productions, including 10 world premieres and 34 Chicago premieres, and launched the Living History Education Program, now in its 12th year of bringing the company's mission to life for students in Chicago Public Schools. Recipient of the Alford-Axelson Award for Nonprofit Managerial Excellence and the Richard Goodman Strategic Planning Award from the Association for Strategic Planning, TimeLine has received 54 Jeff Awards, including an award for Outstanding Production 11 times. TimeLine is led by Artistic Director PJ Powers, Managing Director Elizabeth K. Auman and Board President Eileen LaCario. Company members are Tyla Abercrumbie, Will Allan, Nick Bowling, Janet Ulrich Brooks, Wardell Julius Clark, Behzad Dabu, Charles Andrew Gardner, Lara Goetsch, Juliet Hart, Anish Jethmalani, Mildred Marie Langford, Mechelle Moe, David Parkes, Ron OJ Parson, PJ Powers, Maren Robinson and Benjamin Thiem.
Major corporate, government and foundation supporters of TimeLine Theatre include Alphawood Foundation, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, Bayless Family Foundation, The Crown Family, Forum Fund, The Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, Laughing Acres Family Foundation, A.L. and Jennie L. Luria Foundation, MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Pauls Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, and The Shubert Foundation.

For more information, visit or Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram (@TimeLineTheatre).

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

OPENING: Chicago Premiere of HOW TO LIVE ON EARTH Via Chimera Ensemble March 8-24, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
MJ Kaufman
Directed by Gwendolyn Wiegold

“[A] beguiling subject, a piece of science fiction that isn’t so fictional after all.” –The New York Times

Chimera Ensemble is proud to present the Chicago Premiere of How to Live on Earth, written by award-winning playwright MJ Kaufman, and directed by Gwendolyn Wiegold.

How to Live on Earth tells the stories of Omar, Eleanor, Aggie, and Bill, applicants to become the first colonists of the planet Mars. The mission, should they be chosen to embark on it, would be one-way, with no possible return to Earth. As the applicants compete for the few spots available, they are forced to reckon with the cost of their dream, especially for the lovers and family they would be leaving behind. 

At a time when environmental and political catastrophe looms large, and our technological capabilities grow stronger and stronger, How to Live on Earth asks us what it really means to go and what it means to stay.

The production will go up March 8-24 in The Pentagon Theater at Collaboraction Studios in The Flat Iron Arts Building, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago IL 60622. There will be one preview performance on Friday, March 8 at 7:30 pm. Opening night, followed by a reception, will be Saturday, March 9 at 7:30 pm.

How to Live on Earth Cast
Top row: Katlynn Yost, Graham Carlson, Brian Sheridan.
Middle row should be l-r: Siddartha Rajan, Jermaine Robinson, Hannah Larson
Bottom row should be l-r: Bob Webb, Stacey Lind, Arif Yampolsky


MJ Kaufman (Playwright) MJ Kaufman is a playwright and devised theater artist. Their work has been produced and developed by The Public Theater, New York Theatre Workshop, the New Museum, WP Theater, Clubbed Thumb, New Georges, Page73, Colt Coeur, Yale School of Drama, Lark Play Development Center, InterAct Theater, Huntington Theater, and performed in Russian in Moscow. MJ’s awards include the 2013 ASCAP Cole Porter Prize in Playwriting, the 2013 Global Age Project Prize, and the 2010 Jane Chambers Prize in Feminist Theatre. MJ is a resident playwright at New Dramatists and currently a staff writer on Netflix’s The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. Originally from Portland, Oregon, MJ attended Wesleyan University and received their MFA in playwriting from Yale School of Drama. MJ also recently founded a fellowship for trans theater artists.

Gwendolyn Wiegold (Director) is a Chicago-based director and producer. She has had the pleasure of working with Chicago companies including Court Theatre, Chicago Children’s Theatre, and Chimera Ensemble, where she also serves as Managing Director, and has assistant directed productions with directors including Seret Scott, Sean Graney, Scott Westerman, and Charlie Newell. She originally hails from New York City and has her BA in Theatre and Performance Studies from the University of Chicago, where her directing credits include As You Like It, Cowboy Mouth, and The Seagull. Most recently, Gwendolyn’s directing was seen in The 9th Annual Chicago One-Minute Play Festival. She is a recipient of the Francis X. Kinahan Memorial Prize.

How to Live on Earth by MJ Kaufman
Directed by Gwendolyn Wiegold

March 8-24 at The Pentagon Theater at Collaboraction Studios, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago IL 60622. Thursdays-Saturdays at 7:30pm, Sundays at 3pm.

Pay-What-You-Can Preview: Friday, March 8 at 7:30 pm
Press Opening: Saturday, March 9 at 7:30 pm. Reception to follow.
Ticket Pricing: $23 general admission, $15 senior, $15 student/industry with valid ID (discounts subject to availability)

For additional information and to purchase tickets, visit

To create a quality innovative theatrical platform. To give back to Chicago organizations that advocate for the betterment of our community. To provide accessibility for all people. Above all, we seek out the good; we question our fears and judgments so that others may question theirs.

Access is an important part of our mission at Chimera Ensemble. Through discussions within the Ensemble and with Chimera’s amazing collaborators in the Chicago community, we attempt to create an environment in which performers, directors, designers, playwrights, and audience members feel welcome to work with us and experience our productions. Season Two marks a new chapter in our mission of access, as every performance will feature Open Captioning, rather than the norm of this programming only being offered for one performance during a production's run. By providing Open Captioning for every performance, Chimera hopes to create not only a more cohesive and inclusive theatrical process that better reflects the varied ways in which individuals experience the world, but also a model for other theater companies to follow. How to Live on Earth will also feature one Audio Described performance proceeded by a Touch Tour, date TBD. 

Part of Chimera Ensemble’s mission as a theatrical platform is to give back to the community, so for each show we produce we partner with a local organization whose work matches the themes of the production. We collect money and raise awareness for our partner organization. For How to Live on Earth, Chimera is partnering with Chicago-based Project Exploration. Project Exploration creates transformational learning opportunities for youth underrepresented in the sciences—particularly students of color and girls—by equipping them with the skills, practices, and mindset needed for a lifelong pursuit of learning.

Visit for more information. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

REVIEW: LA TRAVIATA Now Playing at Lyric Opera Chicago Through March 22, 2019

by Giuseppe Verdi
Sung in Italian with projected English translations

Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, 50 minutes with 2 intermissions

Review of Opera “La Traviata” at Lyric
By Catherine Hellmann, guest critic

Even though it was her first opera, my daughter Emily’s head was happily bobbing along with the music in Act I, recognizing the famous aria “Sempre Libera” by the lovely courtesan, Violetta Valery. (New Zealand folk band Flight of the Conchords would refer to her in their song,”The Most Beautiful Girl in the Room,” as a “High-Class Prostitute.” “Courtesan” sounds almost respectable.) I reassured Skeptical Em that she would love the opera, find the music familiar, and be impressed with the costumes especially. Yes, on all counts!

Except My Big Girl also had her own take on some plot points: “Honey, your dress costs more than a peasant’s salary for a year. Didn’t they realize this would spell trouble?” “Oh, yeah, they’re having fun now...wait a few years until the Revolution…”

As the show opens in 1860 Paris, Violetta is hosting a soiree after recovering from a serious illness (can you say “foreshadowing”?). Violetta, feeling faint, is  the Hostest with the Mostest, and encourages her friends to go ahead and celebrate without her in the next room. (And none of her guests/moochers inquire how she is feeling? Girlfriend needs new friends.)

Her pal, Gastone de Letorieres, (not to be confused with the sexist hunter from “Beauty and the Beast,” one of Em’s favorites) introduces Belle (I mean Violetta) to his friend and her admirer, Alfredo Germont. Alfredo has been vigilant about visiting Violetta every day throughout her illness. They fall in love through song; by Act II, they are living together in the country! But they are broke...Violetta is slyly selling her possessions for their expenses. (“They say our love won’t pay the rent…” Couldn’t resist...It’s not often one can get a Sonny and Cher reference in when describing Verdi!)    

Alfredo’s father arrives and wants to break up the relationship, fearing that Violetta’s past life as a ‘ho (he sings it much better in Italian!) will threaten his daughter’s marriage prospects. He is pleasantly surprised to discover Violetta’s true love for his son. But Violetta selflessly breaks things off with the love of her life by leaving him a farewell note. Alfredo misunderstands and humiliates Violetta at a party. Sigh…at least the elder Germont sees the truth and calls his son out for insulting Violetta and being a dick.

By Act III, a month later, Violetta is dying of that romantic heroine disease, Tuberculosis, also called Consumption. Alfredo learns of her sacrifice, and he arrives in time for his beloved to die in his arms. Of course. Curtain.

The music for “La Traviata” is gorgeous. The singers were marvelous, especially Russian soprano Albina Shagimuratova as our doomed goddess/hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold, and Italian tenor Giorgio Berrugi as Alfredo. Zeljko Lucic was also impressive as the father whose opinion of Violetta changes dramatically.

Whether you have seen this standard repertoire piece numerous times, like myself, or are a first-timer like Emily, you will love this gorgeous classic playing at our marvelous Lyric Opera House!

Catherine Hellmann inspires middle schoolers by day and attends as much theater as possible by night. If she could have a Super Power, it would be to never need sleep...she is getting close to this goal. 

VERDI’S MUSIC IS INCOMPARABLE, WITH ONE HEARTSTOPPINGLY BEAUTIFUL MELODY AFTER ANOTHER, in this exquisitely romantic story. Within the social whirl of sophisticated Paris, the courtesan Violetta lives purely for pleasure but longs for true love. She finds the right man in Alfredo, but their happiness is cut short: at his father’s insistence, Violetta leaves Alfredo for the sake of his family. Her spirit broken, her health shattered, Violetta now lives only with the hope that Alfredo will return to her. La traviata gives us one of opera’s most glorious heroines, a woman of boundless humanity and emotional depth.



Coproduction of Lyric Opera of Chicago, Houston Grand Opera, and Canadian Opera Company.

Follow along on social media #LyricTraviata


Violetta is the ultimate party girl, and her risqué lifestyle might cost her the love of her life. Only 7 performances remain of the critically acclaimed La traviata; here are 7 reasons La traviata is a can't-miss live theater experience:  

1. The costumes are stunning. From elaborate parties to country estates, Violetta and the rest of the cast are dressed to impress by costume designer Cait O’Connor.

2. Albina Shagimuratova shines as Violetta. The Chicago Tribune is calling her "a superb singing thrilling to hear as her acting was compelling to behold." 

3. Verdi's music is unforgettable. Opera experts and newcomers alike will recognize songs like "Sempre libera." Listen to some of our favorites!

4. Calling all culture vultures. A story as timeless as this never gets old; La traviata has inspired pop culture favorites like Pretty Woman and Moulin Rouge. 

5. Paris is beautiful this time of year. Get swept up in the social whirl of sophisticated Paris with Violetta as she discovers love, loss, and redemption.

6. Prices to fit every budget. Tickets start at just $49 you don't have to break the bank to have a special night out!

7. Critics love it. Find out for yourself why Broadway World is calling it "the best of all things opera."

La traviata must close March 22 — don't miss your chance to experience this  breathtaking production. Save your seats today online or over the phone at 312.827.5600.

Sunday, February 24, 2019



Operatic Adaptation of James Hurst’s 1960 Short Story Premieres in Chicago Having Received Rave Reviews at 2015 Prototype Festival

Guest Review
By Catherine Hellmann

Oh, how I love this city! On my way to the Studebaker Studio in the Fine Arts Building the other night, a sweet violinist on the street helped steer me in the right direction on Michigan Avenue. “What show are you seeing? The symphony?” No, Chicago Opera Theater. She was in the orchestra at the Auditorium for the Joffrey Ballet and said it is an amazing show. much culture in our world-class town. We are so spoiled.

The Chicago premiere of the contemporary opera The Scarlet Ibis was composed by Stefan Weisman with a libretto by David Cote. According to their press release: “Chicago Opera Theater presents the first full production of this operatic adaptation of James Hurst’s 1960 short story (apart from its festival debut), featuring the artistry of stage director Elizabeth Margolius and conductor David Hanlon. The opera stars Annie Rosen (who also performed in COT’s season-opening production of “Iolanta”) as Brother and Jordan Rutter as Doodle.”

Annie Rosen, mezzo-soprano, is amazing in the trouser role of Brother. Big Brother is the one who gives baby William his new nickname of “Doodle,” short for “Doodle Bug,” since the baby moves backwards. The opera opens with the mom in childbirth; Quinn Middleman sings her shrieks as the contractions continue on. William is a difficult birth, a tiny baby, and handicapped. However, he is born with a caul, “which is cut from Jesus’ nightgown,” according to his superstitious aunt. (A sheer curtain falls from the ceiling during the childbirth scene, representing the caul, which is a clever bit of staging.) It is believed that the caul will give him special abilities. Auntie is sung by a true contralto, Sharmay Musacchio, who hits the lowest notes I have ever heard from a woman. There is a great line where she insists the baby will be a boy because the mom is “carrying low, low, looooww,” with her voice hitting descending notes, playing a musical joke, resonating in that deep register.   

Because he is a sickly child, William is not expected to live. In a heartbreaking scene, his father, played by Bill McMurray, mourns his newborn as he constructs a small coffin. McMurray is so affecting in the role that his grief really moved me.  

But Wiliam not only survives, he thrives, under the guidance of his big brother. Doodle initially seems cognitively impaired. Until the day he gives Brother a huge smile; then big brother joyfully realizes “he’s all there.” Doodle is sung by countertenor Jordan Rutter. His voice is so high, I assumed the singer must be another woman in a pants role. Then I squinted at my program and saw the head shot showed a man with a beard. Wow. Having the two extremes of vocal ranges is unusual. The composer explains in the program that he wanted Doodle’s voice to sound “otherworldly” and “the female voices would be set lower than Doodle’s to allow his lines to soar above them all.”

The relationship between the brothers is so love-hate and typical. Doodle adores Brother. There are times when Brother is so big-brother mean to little Doodle, like calling him a “crippled runt,”  that I wanted Doddle to thump her with his cane!

But Doodle has too pure a heart. And he is too good for this world.

My Best Pal Mary had her reservations about the show based on the premise, but she fell in love with this unique production, as did I.

We later ran into the singer who played Auntie on Michigan Avenue. (great place to find musicians, apparently) “Weren’t you the aunt in the opera?” I called out. “Yes, I was,” replied Ms. Musacchio. She was gracious enough to stop and chat a couple minutes. I told her that she had that incredible low voice. She thanked me and said audiences don’t get to hear contraltos very often...or countertenors, either.

“Oh, a countertenor is like a unicorn!” I gushed. She laughed and agreed. They are just so rare.

Ms. Musacchio said she is from California but likes Chicago. She also said the entire cast is very tight, and it is “like a family” with Chicago Opera Theater. She had never experienced that kind of a closeness before.

What can I say? We live in a world-class city with fabulous arts and friendly folks. I can't imagine being anywhere else.  

Catherine Hellmann usually wins at “Three Truths and a Lie” because she really did walk 60 miles in three days (Avon Breast Cancer Walk), met Senator-Elect Barack Obama in the park, and sang twice at Carnegie Hall. She is a teacher by day and theater junkie by night. Her favorite job ever was leading tours at Wrigley Field

Chicago Opera Theater (COT) continues its 2018/2019 season with the Chicago premiere of the contemporary opera “The Scarlet Ibis.” Composed by Stefan Weisman with libretto by David Cote, “The Scarlet Ibis” was declared an “outstanding new chamber opera” by David Allen of The New York Times upon its debut at the 2015 Prototype Festival. Chicago Opera Theater presents the first full production of this operatic adaptation of James Hurst’s 1960 short story (apart from its festival debut), featuring the artistry of stage director Elizabeth Margolius and conductor David Hanlon. The opera stars Annie Rosen (who also performed in COT’s season-opening production of “Iolanta”) as Brother and Jordan Rutter as Doodle. 

The opening night and press performance takes place Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 p.m. at the Studebaker Theater (410 S. Michigan Ave.) Additional performances will take place Thursday, February 21 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, February 24 at 3 p.m.  

That same week, COT will present a week-long workshop culminating in the first full concert performance of “The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing” by composer Justine F. Chen and librettist David Simpatico as part of Chicago Opera Theater’s Vanguard Initiative to promote the creation of new opera.

“COT’s mission to support the creation of new operatic work is exemplified in our February programming, with the first production of ‘The Scarlet Ibis’ since its debut at the 2015 Prototype Festival, and the first concert performance of ‘The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing’ as part of our Vanguard Initiative,” said Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Douglas R. Clayton. “COT is proud to provide an opportunity for Chicago to see such new and exquisite operas for the first time.”

Based on James Hurst’s classic American short story, “The Scarlet Ibis” is a moving tale about brotherhood, nature and family, set in North Carolina against the backdrop of World War I. It tells the story of a young boy named Doodle and his relationship with his brother, exploring the ways people ‘other’ those who are different and questioning what it means to be ‘normal.’ The piece was commissioned and developed through the HERE Artist Residency Program (HARP) and Dream Music Puppetry Program and co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects, premiering at the Prototype Festival in January 2015 in New York City.

“It’s thrilling to see ‘The Scarlet Ibis’ picked up for a second production following its premiere at our Prototype Festival,” said co-producer Beth Morrison. “Chicago Opera Theater is a forward thinking opera company, truly embodying what a 21st century opera company should be.”

Composer Stefan Weisman spoke to the development process of the opera stating, “One element of creating this opera that felt really unique was that the two leads are a countertenor and mezzo-soprano, both high voices for male characters. And they are played by two different genders. We are playing around with traditional notions of gender and power—the weaker of the two is the male singer, and the stronger is the female singer.”

Librettist David Cote continued, “The story is very much in the tradition of Flannery O’Connor, Tennessee Williams, even William Faulkner. The language is lush and flowery, the emotions run high and the ending is both beautiful and tragic. I’m not a Southerner, I grew up in small-town New Hampshire, but I drew on memories of living near a lake and playing in the woods to create the sense of nature and wonder in the opera.”

In addition to Rosen and Rutter, “The Scarlet Ibis” cast includes Quinn Middleman as Mother, Sharmay Musacchio as Aunt Nicey, Bill McMurray as Father and dancer Ginny Ngo.

Creative Team for The Scarlet Ibis

Composer: Stefan Weisman

Librettist: David Cote

Conductor: David Hanlon

Stage Director: Elizabeth Margolius

Lighting Design: Charlie Cooper

Scenic Design: Jack Magaw

Costume Design: Brenda Winstead

About Stefan Weisman

Stefan Weisman’s music has been described as "personal, moody and skillfully wrought" (The New York Times). His compositions include chamber, orchestral, theater, dance and choral pieces, and he has specialized in vocal works that explore edgy and compelling topics. His operas include “Darkling” (American Opera Projects), “Fade” (Second Movement), and “The Scarlet Ibis” (produced by HERE and Beth Morrison Projects and premiered in the 2015 PROTOTYPE opera festival). He is a graduate of Bard College (BA), Yale University (MA), and Princeton University (PhD). Presently, he is on the faculty of the Bard High School Early College in Queens, New York. 

About David Cote

David Cote is a playwright, librettist and arts journalist based in New York City. His operas include “Three Way” with composer Robert Paterson (Nashville Opera and BAM); “The Scarlet Ibis” (Prototype Festival) and “Fade” with Stefan Weisman. Other works include his plays “Otherland” and “Fear of Art;” song cycle with Paterson, “In Real Life;” choral works with Paterson, “Did You Hear?” and “Snow Day.” Cote was born and adopted in New Hampshire and is a proud alum of Bard College. His fellowships include The MacDowell Colony, and he is a member of the New York Drama Critics Circle, ASCAP and the Dramatists Guild.

About David Hanlon

David Hanlon is a composer, conductor and pianist praised by Maestro Patrick Summers as “one of the major compositional voices of the young generation.” He has often written work for Houston Grand Opera, including his chamber opera “Past the Checkpoints” about undocumented immigrants, the chamber vocal piece “The Ninth November I Was Hiding,” about his grandfather's arrest during Kristallnacht and “Power,” based on a text by a high-schooler about bullying. Hanlon was recently commissioned by the Opera For All Voices consortium to write a new chamber opera with librettist Stephanie Fleischmann, and recently conducted the premiere of his and Fleischmann's chamber opera “After the Storm” at Houston Grand Opera.

About Elizabeth Margolius

Elizabeth Margolius is a Chicago-based Joseph Jefferson Award-nominated stage and movement director with a primary focus in developing and directing new and rarely produced music theater, operetta and opera. Margolius’ Chicago and regional stage and movement directorial credits include “Miss Holmes” for Peninsula Players, “Machinal” for Greenhouse Theater, “The Bridges of Madison County” for Peninsula Players, “The Boy Who Grew Too Fast” for SUNY/Albany Opera Program and “Uncle Philip’s Coat” for Greenhouse Theater. Margolius has been a guest director, master artist and guest/adjunct lecturer at numerous colleges, universities and festivals including the University of Nebraska, DePaul University and SUNY Albany.

About Chicago Opera Theater

Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is a nationally recognized opera company based in Chicago, now in its 45th season. COT expands the tradition of opera as a living art form, with an emphasis on Chicago premieres, including new contemporary operas for a 21st century audience.

In addition to its programmed mainstage season, COT is devoted to the development and production of new opera in the United States through the Vanguard Initiative, launched in the Spring of 2018. The Vanguard Initiative mentors emerging opera composers, invests time and talent in new opera at various stages of the creative process and presents the Living Opera Series to showcase new and developing work.

Since its founding in 1973 by Alan Stone, COT has staged more than 125 operas, including over 65 Chicago premieres and more than 35 operas by American composers.

COT is led by Stefan Edlis and Gael Neeson General Director Douglas R. Clayton and Orli and Bill Staley Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya. As of fall 2018, Maestro Yankovskaya is the only woman with the title Music Director at any of the top 50 opera companies in the United States. COT currently performs at the Studebaker Theater (Michigan & Congress) and the Harris Theater for Music & Dance (Michigan & Randolph).

For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit

Google Analytics