Showing posts with label Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. Show all posts

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo at Northwestern University's Wirtz Center April 22 – May 1, 2022

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar 

Northwestern’s Wirtz Center closes season with bold dramas

“Bengal Tiger” and “Water by the Spoonful” 

provide relevant connections to our time

I'll be checking out Rajiv Joseph's Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo on the 23rd, with my son. I reviewed this play at Chicago's Lookingglass Theatre back in January of 2013 and still recall the deep impact it made. I just reviewed the world premiere of Rajiv Joseph's new smash hit at Steppenwolf last month (King James Review) and can't wait to see Northwestern's take on his award winning words.

"GROUNDBREAKING… I'm tempted to call it the most original drama written so far about the Iraq war, but why sell the work short? The imagination behind it is way too thrillingly genre-busting to be confined within such a limiting category."

—Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times

The complexities of our current times are reflected in two bold dramas set to take the stage at Virginia Wadsworth Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts on the Evanston campus this spring. “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” blends the realities of war and humor as a tiger haunts the streets of present-day Baghdad seeking the meaning of life. The second offering, “Water by the Spoonful,” is a Pulitzer prize-winning drama about forgiveness, redemption and family in a precarious, virtual world that reverberates in real life.

“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo”

April 22 – May 1

Josephine Louis Theater

“Bengal Tiger at Baghdad Zoo” is based on a real-life incident at the Baghdad Zoo involving two U.S. Marines and an Iraqi translator who encounter a tiger. The play unfolds to reveal how war influences each of these characters.

“When I picked this play, there was no war,” said director Hamid Dehghani, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Communication. “But now, we are unfortunately dealing with a terrible war in Ukraine, making this show even more relevant.”

“Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo” was written by Steppenwolf Theater ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, and appeared on Broadway in 2011 starring Robin Williams as the Tiger in the actor's Broadway debut.

“I think Rajiv Joseph realized that a play all about war and violence is a challenging play to watch — it does have its moments that are quite intense,” said Ph.D. student Keary Watts, dramaturg for the production. “Joseph layers in comedy and absurdist elements to give the audience a break, in some sense, but also to show that these characters have levity and that these characters are more than just a type. They're more than just soldiers or interpreters, or animals, they are fully formed beings capable of being serious in one moment and lighthearted in the next.”.

Performances of "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Josephine Louis Theater, 20 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.


“Water by the Spoonful”

May 20 – 29

Ethel M. Barber Theater

“‘Water by the Spoonful’ is a heartfelt, poetic meditation on people at the brink of redemption and self-discovery that takes place during a time of heightened uncertainty,” said director Ji Won Jeon, a master’s degree candidate in the School of Communication.

“This play is especially relevant given the impact of human connections and the virtual aspects related to the pandemic these past few years,” he said.

Playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, Tony-nominated for “In the Heights” and screenwriter for the film, tells the story of two families — one connected by birth, one discovered online — who struggle with human connection but reveal that honest relationships are the lifeline in our brutal world.

“‘Water by the Spoonful’ paints a vivid portrait of addicts' struggles,” said Lia Christine Dewey, dramaturg and Northwestern Ph.D. candidate. “It's all about human connections and failing the people you care most about.” 

Performances of "Water by the Spoonful" are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. in the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive, on the Evanston campus.



More information and tickets for both shows are available on the Wirtz Center website. Tickets can be purchased by phone at 847-491-7282 or in-person at the Wirtz Center box office, located in the lobby of the Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive on Northwestern's Evanston campus. Box office hours are Tuesdays through Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday’s from noon to 4 p.m.  The box office is closed Sundays and Mondays.

The Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts is a member of the Northwestern Arts Circle, which brings together film, humanities, literary arts, music, theater, dance and visual arts.

Monday, January 14, 2013

ACT OUT OPENING: Lookingglass Theatre Company presents Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

For more information, visit lookingglass theatre's main site here.



ChiIL Live Shows has been eagerly awaiting the opening of this show!   Lookingglass is one of our absolute favorites and we can't wait to see them bring this Pulitzer Prize finalist to fruition on the stage.   We'll have a full review for you after February 9th.

Continuing its 25th Anniversary Season, Lookingglass Theatre Company presents the 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo, written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Ensemble Member Heidi StillmanTickets are now on sale for the production, running January 30 – March 17, 2013 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson. 

Two US Marines and an Iraqi translator are thrust into a world of greed, mystery and betrayal after an encounter with a now-deceased but still very pissed-off tiger. The streets of war-torn Baghdad are filled with ghosts, riddles and wry humor in Rajiv Joseph's groundbreaking play that explores the power and perils of human nature.

We were on fire about Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo as soon as we read it, long before we knew about its Broadway production or prior pedigree.  It felt like an intuitive match for Lookingglass; it grapples with all the biggest issues (war, religion, death, violence) in a highly theatrical manner with writing that is intensely lyrical, poetic, and often just hilarious.  It smashes the poetic and the profane right next to each other, and feels simultaneously realistic and surrealistic in a way that is totally original and thrilling,” comments Artistic Director Andy White. “Although it’s about some of the gritty realities of war -- and therefore perhaps not for the faint-of-heart -- it’s also a brilliant, thoughtful, and often very funny and full exploration of the best and worst of human nature both on and off the battlefield.”

Dates: Previews:       January 30, 2013 – February 8, 2013
Regular run:        February 10- March 17, 2013
Times:         Tuesdays: 7:30 p.m. (2/12, 2/26, and 3/12 only)

Wednesdays:   7:30 p.m. 
                  Thursdays:       3:00 p.m. (2/21 and 3/7 only); 7:30 p.m.
                      Fridays:            7:30pm
                           Saturdays:        3:00 p.m.; 7:30 p.m
Sundays:           3:00 p.m.; 7:30 p.m. 

Location:   Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic 
Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.  

Prices: Previews are $28 - $38
Regular Run is $36 - $70

Target Saturday Matinees offer a limited number of buy one, get one free tickets which are available to all 3:00 p.m. Saturday matinees. This program is made possible with the generous support of Target, working with Lookingglass to make the arts accessible to all.

A limited number of student tickets are available the day of the show for $20 with valid student ID. 

Groups of 10 or more patrons save up to 20%. Call the box office for details.

Box Office:  
Buy online at 
or by phone at (312) 337-0665
The Lookingglass box office is located at Water Tower Water Works, 
                      821 N. Michigan Ave.

The cast features Troy West (Tiger), JJ Phillips (Kev), Walter Owen Briggs (Tom), Anish Jethmalani (Musa), Kareem Bandealy (Iraqi Man, Uday), Amy J. Carle (Iraqi Woman, Leper) and Atra Asdou (Hadai, Iraqi Teenager).

The designers are Ensemble Member Daniel Ostling (Scenic), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (Costumes), Christine A. Binder (Lighting), Artistic Associate Rick Sims (Sound/Composer), Maria Defabo (Properties), and Meredith Miller (Specialty Properties Designer).  The Fight Choreographer is Matt Hawkins and the Stage Manager is Artistic Associate Sara Gmitter.
*Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo contains adult themes, coarse language and provocative content.

About Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo artists

Heidi Stillman (Director/Artistic Director of New Work/Ensemble Member) co-created/directed Cascabel with Rick Bayless and Tony Hernandez. Other Lookingglass writing/directing credits include The Last Act of Lilka Kadison, Trust with David Schwimmer, Hephaestus with Tony Hernandez at the Goodman, The Brothers Karamazov, Hard Times (5 Jeff Awards, also traveled to the Arden in Philadelphia), and The Master and Margarita (with David Catlin). Directing credits at Lookingglass include The Wooden Breeks (by Glen Berger), and Hillbilly Antigone (book, music and lyrics by Rick Sims). She also recently staged Laura Eason’s Around the World in 80 Days at Kansas City Rep and Mary Zimmerman’s The Arabian Nights at Berkeley Rep. Other Lookingglass adaptation credits include The Old Curiosity Shop co-written with Ray Fox and Laura Eason (Jeff Award), and The Baron in the Trees with Larry DiStasi. She was last seen on stage in The Arabian Nights. Heidi was awarded the 2010 Raven Award for Excellence in Arts and Entertainment for The Brothers Karamazov. 

Atra Asdou (Hadia, Iraqi Teenager) is making her Lookingglass Theatre debut. Former Chicago theatre credits include Writers’ Theatre, The Goodman, Silk Road Rising, Victory Gardens, American Theatre Company, and most recently, The Gift. Film credits include Johnson, Night Lights, and Follow the Leader. Atra is represented by Gray Talent Group Chicago.

Kareem Bandealy (Uday) appeared previously at Lookingglass in Peter Pan and The Last Act of Lilka Kadison. Chicago credits include Rock ‘N’ Roll, Gas For Less, King Lear (Goodman Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Edward II, Romeo & Juliet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater), The Illusion (Court Theatre), Hamlet, The Caretaker, Heartbreak House (Writers’ Theatre), The Real Thing (Remy Bumppo), It’s a Wonderful Life, Oklahoma! (American Theater Company, ensemble member), Our Enemies, Back of the Throat,10 Acrobats (Silk Road Rising, associate artist), and Wedding Play (About Face). Regional credits include The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Three Musketeers, The Tempest (Illinois Shakespeare), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Notre Dame Shakespeare), Stuff Happens, Julius Caesar (Pittsburgh Irish & Classical), and four seasons at Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Film credits include The Merry Gentleman (Michael Keaton, director). In 2011, he received a 3Arts Artist Award. He will be seen next in Blood and Gifts at TimeLine.

Walter Owen Briggs (Tom) is making his Lookingglass debut with Bengal. Recent credits include Glass Menagerie (Mary-Arrchie), The Iron Stag King (The House), Romeo & Juliet (The Hypocrites), and Hit The Wall (The Inconvenience at Steppenwolf and TOTL). Walter is a founding member of The Inconvenience Artistic Syndicate, and is an ensemble member with The Hypocrites. He has worked with: A Red Orchid Theatre, Steep Theater, Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago Children’s Theater, and About Face, among others. Film credits include Possessions and Older Children. Walter earned his BFA from the CCPA at Roosevelt University. 

Amy J. Carle (Iraqi Woman) has previously at Lookingglass in Peter Pan (A Play) and Trust. Other work in Chicago includes The Book Thief, Animals Out of Paper, Sex With Strangers and Hedda Gabler (Steppenwolf Theatre); Season’s Greetings (Northlight Theatre); Orlando (Court Theatre); The Sins of Sor Juana, Rock ‘N’ Roll, Desire Under the Elms (The Goodman Theatre); Refuge (CollaborAction, Jeff nom.); SubUrbia, The Lights (Jeff nom.), Ecstasy, WAS, The Planets (Roadworks Productions). She appeared in the Off Broadway National Tour of The Vagina Monologues. Regional credits include Fully Committed and The Diary of Anne Frank (Madison Repertory Theatre); Morning Star (Kansas City Repertory Theatre). Television credits include "Boss" (STARZ), "Chicago Code" (FOX), "Law & Order" (NBC), and "The Guiding Light" (CBS).

Anish Jethmalani (Musa) returns to Lookingglass Theatre where he previously appeared in Sita Ram and Around the World in 80 Days. His other stage credits include include Wit and several seasons of A Christmas Carol at The Goodman Theatre; Titus Andronicus, Mary Stuart, The Invention of Love and Life’s a Dream at Court Theatre; Romeo and Juliet at Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Homeland Security at Victory Gardens Theater; Citizens of the World at Steppenwolf Theatre; The Caretaker and To the Green Fields Beyond at Writers’ Theatre; Omnium Gatherum, Return to Haifa and The Millionairess at Next Theatre Company; Twelfth Night at First Folio Theatre; Indian Ink and The Sign of the Four at Apple Tree Theatre; Merchant of Venice at Silk Road Rising and The Age of Cynicism or Karaoke Night at The Hog at Chicago Dramatists. He is an ensemble member of Eclipse Theatre Company. Regionally, he appeared in Henry VIII and Much Ado About Nothing at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and his television credits include "Boss" on Starz, "Leverage" on TNT and "Early Edition" on CBS. 

JJ Phillips (Kev) is making his Lookingglass debut. He most recently appeared in Griffin Theatre’s Punk Rock (Jeff Award), directed by Jonathon Berry. Other Theater credits include Treasure Island, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (First Stage Theater). TV and Film credits include "Chicago Fire" (NBC), and the short-film “Green” (Tribeca Film Academy). He studied at the School at Steppenwolf, and under Daniel Cantor at Northwestern University. 

Troy West (Tiger/Artistic Associate) has appeared with Lookingglass in Old Curiosity Shop, George, The Great Fire, Great Men of Science, Hard Times, The Idiot, The Wooden Breeks; with Steppenwolf, the original productions of Picasso at the Lapin Agile (also NY, SF and LA) and August: Osage County (also Broadway, London and Australia) and The Berlin Circle, among others; with A Red Orchid Theatre, The Grey Zone, The Physicists and Bug (also off-Broadway) among others. Other Chicago credits include Goodman, Chicago Dramatists, Remains, Roadworks, Famous Door, among others. Movies include “The Dilemma,” “Hellcab,” and “Advantage: Weinberg.” TV credits include "Pursuit of Happiness," "Nash Bridges," "Unusual Phenomena," and "Early Edition."

About Lookingglass
Lookingglass Theatre is located in the heart of the Magnificent Mile shopping district inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.  Discounted parking is available for Lookingglass patrons at both the nearby John Hancock Center and Olympia Centre Self Park (161 E. Chicago Ave.). 

About Lookingglass Theatre Company 
Inventive.  Collaborative.  Transformative.  Lookingglass Theatre Company, recipient of the 2011 Regional Theatre Tony Award, was founded in 1988 by eight Northwestern University students.  2012-2013 marks the company’s 25th anniversary season. Lookingglass is home to a multi-disciplined ensemble of artists who create story-centered theatrical work that is physical, aurally rich and visually metaphoric. Lookingglass has staged 58 world premieres at 23 venues across Chicago, and garnered 52 Joseph Jefferson Awards and Citations. 

Work premiered at Lookingglass has been produced in New York City, Los Angeles, Seattle, Berkeley, Philadelphia, Princeton, Hartford, Kansas City, Washington D.C., and St. Louis.  Lookingglass original scripts have been produced across the United States. 

The Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago's landmark Water Tower Water Works opened in June 2003.  In addition to developing and presenting ensemble work, Lookingglass Education and Community programs encourage creativity, teamwork and confidence with thousands of community members each year.

Lookingglass Theatre Company continues to expand its artistic, financial and institutional boundaries under the guidance of Artistic Director Andrew White, Executive Director Rachel Kraft, Producing Artistic Director Philip R. Smith, Artistic Director of New Work Heidi Stillman, a 22-member artistic ensemble, 15 artistic associates, 11 production affiliates, an administrative staff and a dedicated board of directors led by Chairman Richard Ditton of Incredible Technologies and President Joe Brady of Jones Lang LaSalle. 

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