Showing posts with label Gene Weygandt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gene Weygandt. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 7, 2016


Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:


Chicago/Broadway Actor and 
Three-Time Jeff Award Winner Gene Weygandt 
Stars in this Personal Journey 
of Self-Discovery

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows we've adored Gene Weygandt's work since long before we had the chance to catch him for a video interview during his stint as Jean Shepherd in “A Christmas Story, The Musical.”at Chicago Theatre. We can't wait to see his take on “Uncle Philip’s Coat” for Solo Celebration! at Greenhouse.

The Chicago Premiere of playwright Matty Selman’s “Uncle Philip’s Coat” will run at the Greenhouse Theater Center (2257 N. Lincoln Ave) Nov. 27 – Dec. 31. Directed by Elizabeth Margolius and starring Gene Weygandt (best known as The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in “Wicked” in Chicago and on Broadway), “Uncle Philip’s Coat” follows Matty on his humorous and heartfelt journey of personal discovery, sparked by his inheritance of a tattered coat from his eccentric Russian-Jewish immigrant uncle Philip. The press opening will be on Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. 

When Matty, an unemployed actor, is given an old, decrepit coat from his recently deceased great-uncle Philip, he is unsure whether he has been given an heirloom or a heap of rags. Through his attempts to find the answer, he travels across time, territories and tragedies in an effort to uncover the history of an unfaltering dreamer. “Uncle Philip’s Coat” poses larger questions of family, mythology and the inheritance of a Jewish son. How did a man who made it to the land of opportunity become a homeless wanderer, and what can he teach us about the stories that we tell to surround ourselves and keep away the cold?

“This play questions the ways in which we inherit our history, and asks us to follow Matty as he discovers a past that his parents would rather remain a distant yesterday,” said Greenhouse Artistic Director Jacob Harvey.  “I am thrilled to have the incomparable Gene Weygandt in this series and with Elizabeth Margolius at the helm, ‘Uncle Philip’s Coat’ promises to be a vibrant and haunting production.”

Lawrence Van Gelder, reviewing the play for The New York Times, called “Uncle Philip’s Coat”  “funny, insightful and often touching.”  Clive Barnes, reviewing “Uncle Philip’s Coat” in the New York Post called it "a remarkable and virtuosic one-man, one-act play.”  Miriam Rinn, reviewing for The Jewish Standard, called it “riveting and touching, an evocation of a man who deserves our attention, and a poignant assertion of the value of a life.”

The performance schedule for “Uncle Philip’s Coat” is as follows: Wednesday – Saturdays at 8 p.m.  and Saturdays and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Previews begin Nov. 27, and the opening night is Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. Performances continue through Dec. 31.  The press opening will be on Friday, December 2 at 7:30 p.m. 

Flex passes to the Solo Celebration! series, which offers admissions to three plays for $99 or five plays for $164, are now on sale.  Preview tickets are $34.  Single tickets range in price from $42 – 48.  Flex passes and tickets can be purchased by contacting the box office at 773-404-7336 or by visiting

Gene Weygandt is one of Chicago’s most acclaimed actors, perhaps best known for his portrayal of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in “Wicked” in Chicago, and on Broadway. He also starred as Jean Shepherd in “A Christmas Story, The Musical.” Also on Broadway, Weygandt originated the role of Paul in “Big: The Musical.” He is a three-time Jeff Award recipient for “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in The Ukraine,” and “Me and My Girl” at The Marriott Theatre, and for “Little Shop of Horrors.” He received an After Dark Award for his role as Max in the long-running hit, “Lend Me a Tenor” at The Royal George Theatre. Other credits include “Inspecting Carol” at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, “The Taming of the Shrew” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and principal roles in “Old Jews Telling Jokes,” “The Miser,” “Arthur: the Musical,” “The Light In The Piazza,” “Hairspray,” “The Music Man,” Don’t Dress for Dinner,” “Little Me,” and “The Man Who Came To Dinner.” Weygandt’s TV and film credits include “The Birdcage,” “The Babe,” and “The Pager,” “Chicago Fire,” “Betrayal,” “Boss,” “Mind Games,” “The Beast,” “Home Improvement,” “Cybill,” “Murphy Brown,” “Drew Carey” and more.

Elizabeth Margolius has worked with theaters and universities in various capacities throughout the country, including the Santa Fe Opera, Florida Studio Theatre, the Virginia Shakespeare Festival, New York’s Encompass New Opera Theatre, Millikin University, the University of Northern Iowa, and the University of Nebraska. In 2015, Margolius was invited back to her alma mater, Converse School of Music in Spartanburg, SC, to direct the world premiere of a new opera/oratorio, “Troiades.” Her Chicago directorial credits include “Sitayana” (Gift Theatre's TEN Festival), “L'Occasione Fa Il Ladro (A Thief by Chance)” and “Twelfth Night” (DePaul Opera Theatre), “The Girl in the Train,” “The Land of Smiles” and “The Cousin from Nowhere” (Chicago Folks Operetta), “Goldstar, Ohio” (American Theater Company), “The Ballad of Baby Doe (North Park University), “The Merry Wives of Windsor” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater; Assistant Director to Barbara Gaines), “The Mikado” (Savoyaires), “The Last Cyclist” (Genesis Theatrical Productions), “Death Takes a Holiday” for Circle Theatre and “Opus 1861” (City Lit Theater; nominated for three Joseph Jefferson Awards) “Violet” (Bailiwick Chicago; nominated for five Joseph Jefferson Awards), “Broadway Sings the Silk Road” (Silk Road Theatre Project) and “Bernarda Alba” and “Songs for a New World” (Bohemian Theatre Ensemble). Margolius has also directed works at Harper College, Theatre Building Chicago/New Musical Development, Theatre on the Lake, Stage Left Theatre, Live Bait Theater and the Center for Cultural Interchange. Margolius is an alumna of the 2004 and 2005 Lincoln Center Theater Directors Lab in New York, a 2007 recipient of a full directorial scholarship at the Wesley Balk Opera-Music Theater Institute in Minneapolis, a 2009 respondent and workshop artist for the Kennedy Center’s American College Theatre Festival, and a 2010 finalist for the Charles Abbott Fellowship. She is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of DirectorsLabChicago, a forum for emerging nationally and internationally based stage directors.

Matty Selman is the author of “Uncle Philip’s Coat,” a Herbert Berghof Memorial Play, which is included in the permanent collection of the National Foundation for Jewish Culture. Selman has written three musicals in collaboration with “Agnes of God” playwright John Pielmeier, including “Young Rube” (music and lyrics) “Steeplechase The Funny Place” (music and lyrics) and “Slow Dance with a Hot Pickup” (music and lyrics). Selman was selected by A.R.T. Founder and Artistic Director, Robert Brustein, to write the lyrics for “Lysistrata,” with music by “HAIR” composer, Galt MacDermot, and starring Tony Award winner Cherry Jones. “Lysistrata” was a co-production of A.R.T. in Cambridge, MA and The Prince Music Theatre, Philadelphia, PA.  Galt and Selman then wrote “Goddess Wheel” developed at CAP21 (Collaborative Arts Project 21) and currently, “The Tinderbox,” which had its premiere performance at Carnegie Hall’s Weil Hall.  Selman’s Irish musical, “Parcel From America,” was produced in at the Oregon Cabaret Theatre in Ashland, Oregon. Selman received the Emmy Award for writing and producing the theme and incidental music for “Martha Stewart Living” on CBS and “B. Smith with Style.” Other awards include a playwriting grant from BACA (Brooklyn Arts and Cultural Association). Selman is a writer/publisher member of ASCAP, a member of the Dramatists Guild and serves on the Board of Directors/Script Selection Committee for the New Harmony Project, a not-for-profit organization that supports writers whose work explores the journey of the human spirit.

About Solo Celebration! 
“Uncle Philip’s Coat” is one of 12 plays featured in Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!,” which includes ten full productions, two limited engagements and other special events running June 2016 through February 2017. Among the other directors connected to solo series are Goodman Theatre Producer and Artistic Collective Member Steve Scott, Writer’s Theatre Resident Director Kimberly Senior, Directors Lab Chicago Artistic Director Elizabeth Margolius and Remy Bumppo Artistic Associate Linda Gillum. Some of the performers confirmed to star in solo works include Jeff Award-winners Kate Buddeke, Gene Weygandt, Linda Reiter acclaimed British actor Simon Slater, Will Allan and Carin Silkaitis. Most productions will be produced in their entirety by Greenhouse, while other plays will be stated with co-producers including Sideshow Theatre Company and The Other Theatre Company. Greenhouse’s “Solo Celebration!” is co-produced by Forum Productions and underwritten by the Wendy and William Spatz Charitable Foundation.

About the Greenhouse Theater Center. 
The Greenhouse Theater Center is a nonprofit performance venue located at 2257 N Lincoln Ave, in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Our complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, an in-house rehearsal room, and Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre book store.

Our mission at the Greenhouse is first and foremost to grow local theatre. We strive to cultivate a fertile environment for local artists, from individual renters to our bevy of resident companies, to develop and produce their work. In 2014 alone, The Greenhouse Theater Center provided space for almost 1,000 ticketed performances, serving more than 54,000 patrons. Among these events were at least 30 productions by our resident companies, including the celebrated American Blues Theater and Remy Bumpo Theatre Company. Through our Trellis Program, we offer the community affordable access to our work by housing Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor of our complex, as well as offering a free reading series each Tuesday night where local artists workshop their latest scripts. Additionally, we also continue to play an active role in cultivating and nurturing our community through continued partnerships with the League of Chicago Theaters and local Chambers of Commerce.

As of 2016, the Greenhouse Theater Center embraced the true spirit of growth and launched its producing entity. With the announcement of our 8 month long Solo Celebration Series, helmed by Artistic Director Jacob Harvey, we will produce 12 solo plays from June 2016 to February 2017. Through this inaugural effort, we hope to expand the solo play cannon while also cultivating a larger conversation about the possibilities of the one-person play.

With new ideas always incubating, the Greenhouse Theater Center is flourishing. Come grow with us!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

ACT OUT CLOSING: Barnum at Mercury Theater (ages 7+) Closing June 16th

Barnum has been high on our must see list and it's days are numbered.   If you haven't caught this Jeff recommended extravaganza yet, go already!   Barnum closes June 16th.   If you're one of our regular readers you know that both of my kids have taken circus arts for close to 3 years and are on the pre-team track at CircEsteem.  

We special in covering circus arts and have done original interviews with a number of Cirque du Soleil performers, and shots stills and reviewed numerous circus shows from Cirque Shanghai and Cirque Eloize, to Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey for years.   

We are even giving away 5 gorgeous, hard back copies of The Ordinary Acrobat by Duncan Wall, A journey into the wondrous world of circus, this month ($26.95 each)!   Even if you aren't quite as up to your eyeballs in circus arts as we are, we highly recommend you catch Barnum while you still can.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows and ChiIL Mama also we're huge fans of Chi-town pro and star of this show, Gene Weygandt.   Check out our original interview with him right here, during a rehearsal for A Christmas Story which played at The Chicago Theatre.

Gene not only shared the inside scoop on A Christmas Story but also contributed sweet insights to ChiIL Mama's long running series on How Creatives Parent & How Parents Create.   At the time of our interview two years ago, his son was 13.

**Click here for ChiIL Mama's YouTube Channel with ALL original content (226+ videos).   We've had over 67,573 views!**

BARNUM runs 2 hours and 10 minutes, including a 15 minute intermission

Recommended for ages 7 and up. NO CHILDREN UNDER 5 ADMITTED.

Celebrating its Chicago professional premiere, BARNUM sets this colorful personality inside the center ring of his own circus. Audiences will be thrilled with high flying acrobatics as BARNUM tells the story of America’s greatest showman. This show bursts with toe tapping melodies; ballads, marches, and ragtime tunes by Cy Coleman andMichael Stewart.

Seniors receive $10 off $45 and $55 seats at all Wednesday & Thursday shows by calling 773-325-1700


“One of this season’s best productions on any stage!”

-Al Bresloff, Around Town Chicago

“bounces with infectious life and enthusiasm”

“a big, fat, family-friendly show”

-Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune
“An expertly mounted, talent-filled revival”

“You can almost feel the large, polished cast pumping its last best breath into the material”

-Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times 
“One of the finest shows mounted in Chicago in years!”

“Barnum is a must see theatrical event.”

“An eye-popping, toe-tapping and thoroughly entertaining musical spectacle”

- Tom Williams, Chicago Critic
“whimsical, exhilarating, fresh”

“A genuine must see!”

-Chicago Now
“Ebullient and gorgeous”

“Not only will you want to “Join the Circus,” you’ll want to run away to join the stage”

Group and Student discounts are available for all performances over the phone at 773-325-1700

The award-winning cast is led by Chicago native and Broadway, TV, and film actor Gene Weygandt as legendary showman P.T. Barnum, with Cory Goodrich as his wife Charity, and Summer Naomi Smart as the “‘Swedish Nightingale” Jenny Lind.  The Mercury’s production is the first major Chicago revival of the show in over 20 years, led by multiple Jeff Award winners L. Walter Stearns (Director) Eugene Dizon (Musical Director), Brenda Didier and Andrew Waters (Co-Choreographers) and Sylvia Hernandez-DiStasi of the Actor’s Gymnasium (Circus Director).

The “Greatest Show on Earth” is the setting for this riveting musical, which traces the life and loves of colorful impresario Phineas Taylor Barnum. The tale of the American Museum, the smallest man, the oldest woman, the largest elephant and more is told through stunning acrobatics, hilarious variety acts, whimsical magic and puppetry.  BARNUM was originally produced on Broadway in 1980 and ran for 854 performances.  The score is a pastiche of toe-tapping marches, ballads and ragtime tunes, including “There’s a Sucker Born Ev’ry Minute” and “Come Follow the Band.” It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Book of a Musical (Mark Bramble) and Best Original Score (Michael Stewart and Cy Coleman performances with Jim Dale taking home the Tony for the title role, followed by a West End run starring Michael Crawford. A Cameron Mackintosh-produced London revival of BARNUM is slated for later this year.

Gene Weygandt (P.T. Barnum) is best known for his role as “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in Wicked in Chicago and on Broadway. More recently, he starred as Jean Shepherd in A Christmas Story: The Musical. Weygandt originated the role of Paul in Big: The Musical on Broadway. He is a three-time Jeff Award recipient for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in The Ukraine, Me and My Girl and Little Shop of Horrors, and received an After Dark Award for his role as “Max” in the long-running hit Lend Me a Tenor at The Royal George Theatre. He has been seen in the films The Birdcage, The Babe, and The Pager, and on television on Home Improvement, Cybill, Murphy Brown, The Drew Carey Show, Ellen, and Coach.

Cory Goodrich (Charity Barnum)

Summer Naomi Smart (Jenny Lind)
Actress and recording artist Cory Goodrich(Charity Barnum) is a four-time Jeff nominee who was honored with the award for her portrayal of “Mother” in Ragtime at Drury Lane Theatre. She has appeared as “Alma Stossel” in The Mercury Theater’s The Christmas Schooner for the past two seasons and was recently seen in the critically acclaimed production of A Little Night Music at Writer’s Theatre. Goodrich has recorded two award-winning children’s albums, and has performed in concert at Ravina Festival, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the Auditorium Theatre.

The Barnum’s marriage is tested by the affections of Swedish opera singer Jenny Lind, depicted by two-time Jeff Award winner Summer Naomi Smart. Smart made her Chicago debut as “Nessarose” in the first national sit-down production of Wicked, and received a Jeff Award for her portrayal of “Charity Hope Valentine” in Sweet Charity at Drury Lane Theatre. She has recently been seen in leading roles in My One and Only, Hero and Legally Blonde at Marriott Theatre where she earned a Jeff Award for her role in The Light in the Piazza.

The cast also features Kevin McKillip as “the Ringmaster and Christian Libonati as the world’s smallest man, “General Tom Thumb.”  The circus performers are Karissa Barney, Nathan Drackett, Kris Hyland, Taylor Krasne-Wilton, Jeremy Sonkin, Ryan Westwood and J. Tyler Whitmer.  Scenic Design is by Jacqueline and Richard Penrod, Costume Design is by Carol Blanchard, Lighting Design is by Jason Epperson and Sound Design is byMike Ross.
The Mercury Theater recently kicked off its first full season, launching the largest musical theater company in Chicago. The rest of the season includes the critically acclaimed production of A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING(running through March 10th), the regional premiere of THE COLOR PURPLE (August-November), and the perennial holiday hit THE CHRISTMAS SCHOONER (November-December).

BARNUM runs from March 27 through June 16, 2013.  The performance schedule is: Wednesdays at 7:30 p.m., Thursdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.  Tickets range from $25-$59, and are available online, over the phone at 773-325-1700, or in person at 3745 N. Southport Avenue, Chicago. Discounts of up to 50% are available for groups of 10 or more.

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