Showing posts with label Edgar Allen Poe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Edgar Allen Poe. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

OPENING: World Premiere Immersive Theatrical Experience MASQUE MACABRE Via Strawdog Theatre Company Through October 31, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar  

Strawdog Theatre Company Presents
the World Premiere Immersive Theatrical Experience
Inspired by the Stories of Edgar Allan Poe

Written by Aly Greaves Amidei, Cara Beth Heath & 
John Henry Roberts  
Directed by Anderson Lawfer, Janet Howe & Eli Newell
October 4 – October 31, 2018

I'll be ChiILin' with Chi, IL's Strawdog Theatre Company for the press opening October 12th. I can't wait to catch this unique world premiere production where the audience travels from room to room, experiencing scenes. Check back soon for my full review.

Just in time for Halloween, Strawdog Theatre Company launches its 31st season with the world premiere of MASQUE MACABRE, a dark and bloody thrill ride inspired by the works of Edgar Allan Poe – think Carrie meets Eyes Wide Shut. The handlers of a "bad boy" entrepreneur go to extremes to give him one last big bash before his past catches up to him. An explorative immersive theatre experience a la Sleep No More, guests travel from room to room throughout the space and follow stories of revenge and murder as they play out in real time.

Written by ensemble members Aly Greaves Amidei* and John Henry Roberts* and company member Cara Beth Heath^ and directed by Co-Artistic Director Anderson Lawfer*, Janet Howe and Eli Newell, MASQUE MACABRE will play October 4 – 31, 2018 at Strawdog’s new home at 1802 W. Berenice Ave. in Chicago’s Northcenter neighborhood. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at

MASQUE MACABRE will feature Strawdog ensemble member Michael Reyes* with guest artists Andrew Bailes, Dan Cobbler, Katie Gonzalez, Henry Greenberg, Adam Hinkle, Brian Hinkle, Patrick TJ Kelly, Lisa McConnell, Laura Nelson, Ella Raymont, Collin Quinn Rice, Shaina Schrooten and Julian Stroop.

Comments Co-Artistic Director Michael Dailey, “MASQUE MACABRE is the most ambitious project in our 31 year history. We’re thrilled to share the immersive and horrifying world of MASQUE with Chicago audiences. With fourteen storylines playing out in real time throughout our entire space, you could see this show multiple times and come out with a totally different experience each time. At a haunting time of year, MASQUE delivers a modern nightmare that explores the line between revenge and justice and how what we do (or don’t do) makes us complicit in the evil and darkness of others. It may just keep you up at night.”

The production team for MASQUE MACABRE includes: Strawdog ensemble members Claire Chrzan* (co-lighting designer), Heath Hays* (sound designer) and Kyle Hamman* (video/media designer) with guest artists: Tom Burch (scenic designer), Virginia Varland (costume designer), Shelbi Arndt and Daniel Friedman (co-lighting designers), Lacie Hexom (props designer), Bobby Wilhelmson (violence designer), Kate Lass (intimacy designer), Mike Sanow (technical director) and Megan Gray (stage manager).

* Denotes Strawdog ensemble member
^ Denotes Strawdog company member

Location: Strawdog Theatre Company, 1802 W. Berenice Ave., Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, October 4 at 7 pm, Friday, October 5 at 7 pm, Sunday, October 7 at 2 pm & 5 pm and Thursday, October 11 at 7 pm & 9:30 pm

Board Night Performance: Special performance with hosted drinks and appetizers, Saturday October 6 at 7 pm.

Press performance: Friday, October 12 at 7 pm or 9:30 pm

Regular run: Saturday, October 13 – Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Curtain Times: Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7 pm & 9:30 pm, Sundays at 2 pm & 5 pm. Please note: Halloween week performances added on Monday, October 29 at 7 pm & 9:30 pm, Tuesday, October 30 at 7 pm & 9:30 pm and Wednesday, October 31 at 7 pm & 9:30 pm. 

Tickets: Previews $30. Regular run $50. Seniors: $40. Board Night: $75. Single tickets and season subscriptions are currently available at Half price Rush and Student tickets available at every performance and other discounts available. Call (773) 644-1380 for details. 

About the Artists

Aly Greaves Amidei (Co-Writer) has worked as a designer, playwright and maker based in Chicago for the last 18 years. She is an Assistant Professor of Costume Design at UNC-Charlotte. She is proud ensemble member of Strawdog Theatre Company and Lifeline Theatre. Her plays and audio dramas have been produced at Lifeline Theatre, WildClaw Theatre, Strawdog Hit Factory, College of DuPage and Cartage Theatre of Charlotte. 

Cara Beth Heath (Co-Writer) has an MFA in Playwriting from Western Michigan University and a BA in Creative Writing from the College of Charleston. She is the Literary Manager at Strawdog Theatre Company. She's also been invited to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts for dramaturgy, directing and playwriting. Her work has been read and produced in several festivals and workshops across the Midwest, including her award-winning play Good Enough about the women of the Gibson guitar factory during WWII. She's been in Chicago for a couple of years now, developing her plays and advocating for local playwrights. 

John Henry Roberts (Co-Writer) joined the Strawdog ensemble in 2004. Previous writing credits include Strawdog’s production of The Sweeter Option and the Neo-Futurists’ production of True Dreams of Annie Arbor. Recent acting credits include Pillars of the Community, Barbecue and The Night Season (Strawdog), Neverwhere and Miss Holmes (Lifeline Theatre), The Little Flower of East Orange (Eclipse Theatre, Jeff Nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role), Diamond Dogs and The Hammer Trinity (The House Theatre). He’ll next appear in Twelfth Night at Writers Theatre. He is represented by Paonessa Talent. 

Janet Howe (Co-Director) is a director, immersive theatre consultant and Co-Artistic Director of (re)discover theatre. Over the past four years, Janet’s work has focused exclusively on immersive and site-specific works. Janet directed and spearheaded projects such as FOR ONE: a series of plays built for an audience of one and Farewell My Friend, an immersive melding of Romeo & Juliet and Tristan & Iseult. Other directing credits include Lysistaratra, Fifty Shades of Shakespeare and Jason & (Medea). Starting October 2018, Janet will be studying immersive theatre at Middlesex University: London, focusing on accessibility in immersive forms.

Anderson Lawfer (Co-Director) is a Co-Artistic Director of Strawdog. He was the previous Artistic Director of Strawdog's Hugen Hall and focused on new works, adapting and directing Pontypool, Fail/Safe and Kill Shakespeare. He is the creator and host of many Strawdog late night shows including Theatre Wars!, The Direct Off! and The Game Show Show and Stuff! He will also be directing a new musical in the spring written by Mark Guarino and Jon Langford called Take Me.

Eli Newell (Co-Director) Eli Newell is thrilled to return to Strawdog after having previously assistant directed Damascus. He is a Chicago-based director from the Twin Cities, Minnesota. In Chicago, Eli has assisted at Goodman Theatre, Northlight Theatre, Raven Theatre, Strawdog Theatre Company, Haven Theatre and Windy City Playhouse. In the Twin Cities, he has worked with Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, Ordway Center and the Playwrights’ Center. Eli is a graduate of Northwestern University’s School of Communication.

Crystal Head Vodka is the official vodka of MASQUE MACABRE.

About Strawdog Theatre Company
Since its founding in 1988, Strawdog Theatre Company has offered Chicagoland the premiere storefront theatre experience and garnered numerous Non-Equity Jeff Awards with its commitment to ensemble acting and an immersive design approach. The celebrated Company develops new work, re-imagines the classics, melds music with theatre, asks provocative questions and delivers their audience the unexpected.

Strawdog Theatre Company is supported in part by The Macarthur Fund for Arts & Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation, and the Illinois Arts Council Agency. 

Saturday, February 23, 2013

ACT OUT OPENING TONIGHT: Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher 4 Shows Only

#3 – Suzan Hanson as Madeline and Ryan MacPherson as Roderick 
All photos by Keith Ian Polakoff, courtesy of Long Beach Opera.

 Chicago Opera Theater presents the Chicago Premiere of
By Philip Glass

The Chicago Opera Theater opens its 2013 season, the inaugural season of new general director Andreas Mitisek, with Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher, in four performances only February 27-March 1 This gothic tale of suspense, horror and the supernatural is based on a story by Edgar Allen Poe.  

ChiIL Live Shows will be there...will YOU?!   We've been promoting this production for months and it's finally here.   We'll be reviewing opening night, tonight, and can't wait.   We heard two numbers at a sneak peek at Facets Multimedia last weekend featuring the film, Koyaanisqatsi, with a score also by Philip Glass.   They had me at "goth-punk moving men"--four of my fav words all in one character description!

Andreas Mitisek Takes Audiences to the Edge of Madness in
His First Season as Chicago Opera Theater’s General Director

Philip Glass’ The Fall of the House of Usher, a gothic horror story which blurs the line between the real world and the supernatural, opens Chicago Opera Theater's 2013 Season, titled “Power of Love, Love of Power.”  This is Andreas Mitisek's inaugural season as General Director of Chicago Opera Theater since assuming the position in June 2012.  

Glass' haunting 1987 score for Edgar Allan Poe's macabre masterpiece, with lyrics by Arthur Yorinks, provides the perfect backdrop for this nightmarish journey to the edge of madness.  The Fall of the House of Usher, taking place at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph Drive, runs for four performances only: Saturday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, February 24 at 3 p.m., Wednesday, February 27 at 7:30 p.m. and Friday, March 1 at 7:30 p.m.  

#1 – Lee Gregory as William, Nicholas Shelton as the Servant, 
Ryan MacPherson as Roderick 

The Fall of the House of Usher is a co-production with Long Beach Opera (LBO), whose production opens January 27.  An opera in two acts, The Fall of the House of Usher takes the audience deep into the eerie realm of the House of Usher.  When William receives a letter from his long lost friend Roderick Usher, apparently suffering from illness and requesting William’s presence, he journeys to the sinister mansion where Roderick and his twin sister Madeline live as the last of the Usher bloodline.  At first William tries to aid his friend by reminding Roderick of his passion for art, music and literature, but William soon becomes swallowed up in a world where the border separating real and supernatural is blurred, and paranoia then takes control.  Taken from one of Edgar Allan Poe’s most popular tales, this unsettling story explores the line between truth and imagination, all set against Glass' haunting and suspenseful music.  COT has also performed Glass’ opera Akhnaten in 2000.

“Our 2013 Season emphasizes the tension between the power of love and the love of power,” explains Mitisek, who conducts both the COT and LBO performances.  “The Fall of the House of Usher is about internal and external collapsing worlds.  Glass’ music suspends reality and time, hypnotizing us on this journey to the edge of sanity.  It’s a 90-minute psychological roller coaster ride.”

Ken Cazan returns to COT to direct Usher after directing the acclaimed Death in Venice (2004), Bluebeard’s Castle (2007), Erwartung (2007) and Shining Brow (1997).  He is the Resident Stage Director for the Thornton School of Music at the University of Southern California.  One of America’s most sought-after directors, he has directed more than 100 productions for more than 40 opera companies, including the Santa Fe Opera, Central City Opera, Atlanta Opera, and Seattle Opera, among others.  Of Usher, Cazan says, “Things are rarely what they seem in Gothic horror tales.  What on the surface feels like a tragic and spooky story (which it is), instinctively, upon the first hearing and reading of Glass’ opera, felt like something very different to me.  William feels an unusual sense of passion for Roderick, whom he hasn’t seen since childhood.  William very forcefully speaks of taking Roderick away, of saving him.  And what of Madeleine, Roderick’s ailing ‘identical’ twin sister?  In the opera, William hears her without seeing her.  Does she really exist?”

The Fall of the House of Usher runs for four performances February 23, 24, 27, and March 1 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park.  Individual tickets to are on saleJanuary 21 and range from $45  $125.  Tickets may be purchased through Chicago Opera Theater at, by phone at 312-704-8414, or through the Harris Theater at and 312-334-7777.  COT offers half-off tickets to students in sections A, B, C and D. 

Subscriptions to all three operas in Chicago Opera Theater’s 2013 season are available through March 1 and prices range from $95  $356. Subscriptions include The Fall of the House of Usher, Astor Piazzolla’s María de Buenos Aires (April 20, 24, 26 and 28) and Giuseppe Verdi’s Joan of Arc (Giovanna d'Arco)(September 21, 25, 27 and 29).  New subscribers received 50% off in sections A, B and C. 

#2 – Lee Gregory as William, Ryan MacPherson as Roderick, 
Suzan Hanson as Madeline

COT DEBUT: Suzan Hanson (Madeline Usher) is a multi-faceted artist who combines work in opera and music-theater.  Her recent performances of Poulenc’s La Voix Humane was described as “fresh and forceful…[with] blazing dramatic fervor…” by The San Francisco Chronicle.  Hanson has performed with companies such as Arena di Verona, Arizona Opera, Carnegie Hall, Edinburgh, Long Beach Opera, Maggio Musicale (Florence), New Israeli Opera, Pittsburgh Opera Theater, and San Francisco Opera.  Often sought for new works, Hanson has originated many roles, including Hanako in Sound of a Voice.  She is a regular with LBO and has sung Pat Nixon in Nixon in China, Medea in Meda by Cherubini and Margarita inAinadamar by O. Golijov.  Hanson originated the role of Madeline in The Fall of the House of Usher in the World Premiere production by American Repertory Theater.

COT DEBUT: Lee Gregory (William) hails from Houston, Texas.  His recent performances include Silvio in I Pagliacci with Arizona Opera Company, Richard Nixon in Nixon in China with Eugene Opera, Schaunard in La bohème with Michigan Opera Theatre, and the title role in Il barbiere di Siviglia with Opera Theatre of the Rockies.  He reprises the role of William in COT’s production, having sung it with Nashville Opera.

COT DEBUT: Jonathan Mack (Physician) has performed over fifty roles during his eighteen seasons with the Los Angeles Opera, including Ferrando in Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte, Kudrjas in Janacek’s Katya Kabanova, Quint in Britten’s Turn of the Screw, and Orpheus in Offenbach’s Orpheus in the Underworld.  He has also worked with Netherlands Opera, Kentucky Opera, Vancouver Opera and Opera Columbus.

COT DEBUT: Ryan MacPherson (Roderick Usher) sings this season with Virginia Opera as Alfred in Die Fledermaus and returns to the Buxton Festival as Horace in Gounod’s La colombeand Kornélis in Saint-Saëns’ La princesse jeune.  He has performed with Dayton Opera, Utah Opera, Portland Opera and Nashville Opera, among others.  With New York City Opera he created the role of Iff, the Water Genie, in Wuorinen’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories.

COT DEBUT: Nick Shelton (Servant) has garnered unanimous accolades for his dark, piercing voice, refined musicianship, and commanding stage presence.  Recent season highlights include Jose Tripaldi in Golijov's Ainadamar with Long Beach Opera, of which raved “that is some terrific voice!” and called him “a name to remember.”

COT DEBUT: Set designer Alan E. Muraoka has been working in the entertainment industry as a production designer and art director for film and television, as well as a theatrical set designer for over 25 years.  He has been honored with two Emmy® Award nominations and three Art Directors’ Guild Award nominations.  His design credits include Dirty Girl andBaadAsssss!  He has collaborated with Mitisek at Long Beach Opera, designing Ricky Ian Gordon’s Orpheus and Euridice, staged in an Olympic swimming pool, and an opera adaptation ofThe Diary of Anne Frank staged in an underground parking garage. 

Costume designer Jacqueline Saint Anne is an Emmy Award-winning costume designer and former President of the Costume Designers Guild.  Saint Anne returns to COT with The Fall of the House of Usher, having debuted with Owen Wingrave in 2010.  This also marks Saint Anne’s second production with Long Beach Opera, where she debuted with The Cunning Little Vixen in 2009.  With Ken Cazan, she has designed for the Thornton Opera at USC: Don Giovanni, Gianni Schicchi, Three Decembers, The Rape of Lucretia and Summer and Smoke, among others.

COT DEBUT: Lighting designer David Martin Jacques’ collaborations with director Cazan include The Fall of the House of Usher with Long Beach Opera, West Side Story with the Vancouver Opera Company, and A Little Night Music, Gianni Schicchi, Oklahoma! and Seven Deadly Sins with Central City Opera.  Jacques also serves as Professor of Theatre and Head of Stage Design at California State University Long Beach.

Mitisek’s work as director, designer and conductor for site-specific productions in parking garages, swimming pools, night clubs and warehouses has become a successful hallmark of his work with Long Beach Opera, and he anticipates incorporating such innovative projects into the COT repertoire.  In addition to being named “LA Tastemaker” by LA Times Magazine in 2009and highlighted as one of “2012 People” by LA Weekly, in 2012 Mitisek was named by Opera News as one of the 25 people that will be a major force in the field of opera in the coming decade.  Recent LBO credits as director, designer and conductor include Golijov’s Ainadamar, Piazzolla’s Maria de Buenos Aires (which will be the second production of COT’s 2013 season), Lang’s Difficulty of Crossing a Field, Cherubini’s Medea and Glass’ Akhnaten. 

Through his operas, his symphonies, his compositions for his own ensemble, and his wide-ranging collaborations with artists ranging from Twyla Tharp to Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen to David Bowie, Philip Glass has had an extraordinary and unprecedented impact upon the musical and intellectual life of his times.  His operas – Einstein on the Beach, Satyagraha,Akhnaten and The Voyage, among many others – play throughout the world’s leading houses.  Glass has written music for experimental theater and for Academy Award-winning motion pictures such as “The Hours” and Martin Scorsese’s “Kundun.”  He was born in 1937, grew up in Baltimore, and studied at the University of Chicago, the Juilliard School and in Aspen with Darius Milhaud.

Founded in 1974 by Alan Stone, Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, community engagement, education programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as its renowned Young Artist Program.  Chicago Opera Theater presents first-class productions of operatic repertoire, ranging from the great works of the 17th, 18th and 20th centuries to intimate and innovative contemporary productions by top-tier, internationally renowned conductors, directors and designers.

Philip Glass
February 23, 24, 27, and March 1 at the Harris Theater for Music & Dance

Book by Arthur Yorinks and Philip Glass
Based on the Story by Edgar Allan Poe
Lyrics by Arthur Yorinks 

Conductor:                                            ANDREAS MITISEK
Director:                                               KEN CAZAN
Set Designer:                                       ALAN E. MURAOKA
Costume Designer:                               JACQUELINE SAINT ANNE
Lighting Designer:                                DAVID JACQUES

Sung in English with English supertitles.

Role                                                     Cast (Alphabetical)                                          
Madeline Usher (Soprano)                     SUZAN HANSON 
William (Baritone)                                 LEE GREGORY 
Physician (Tenor)                                 JONATHAN MACK
Roderick Usher (Tenor)                        RYAN MACPHERSON
Servant (Bass-Baritone)                                    NICHOLAS SHELTON 

GOTH-PUNK MOVING MEN:  Joshua Banks, Curtis Bannister, Nathan Gardner, Jamal Howard, Matt Messina, Jordan Phelps, Will Snyder.

The Fall of the House of Usher is generously supported by Orli & Bill Staley and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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

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