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Showing posts with label Greenhouse Theater Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Greenhouse Theater Center. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

OPENING: World Premiere of N By David Alex at Greenhouse Theater Center October 24 – November 17, 2019

 ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
World Premiere!
Greenhouse Theater Center and GLP Productions Present
N
By David Alex
Directed by TaRon Patton


October 24 – November 17, 2019 at Greenhouse Theater Center

I'll be ChiILin' at Chi, IL's Greenhouse Theater Center for the press opening of the world premiere of David Alex’s political drama, N, later this month. Check back soon for my full review. David's not only a prolific, Chicago based playwright with fourteen full-length and eighteen one-acts plays to his credit, but he's also a frequent fixture at theatre openings. I'm eager to finally see one of his scripts brought to life in a Chicago production.

Greenhouse Theater Center and GLP Productions are pleased to present the world premiere of David Alex’s political drama N, directed by TaRon Patton, playing October 24 – November 17, 2019 in The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Upstairs Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. The press openings are Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm.

The cast of Greenhouse Theater Center and GLP Productions’ world premiere of “N” includes (left to right) Stacie Doublin, Reginald Hemphill and Ryan Smetana.

Mrs. Page is a 70-year-old, African-American widow; a passionate political conservative who campaigned for Barry Goldwater and strong admirer of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Her guilt for a personal decision involving astrology led her to the decision to never leave her home again. Eddy, a liberal young white struggling actor, is her caregiver. He is cast in show that is a career maker for him. During the rehearsal process the playwright adds the N-word to the script. Eddy is repulsed by what he considers the offensive and destructive nature of the N-word and refuses to say it – ever, including on stage. Mrs. Page and Eddy learn something from each other and as well as about themselves while Eddy struggles to remain the person he hopes to be. N challenges us to look at the role society has played in shaping our personal, and thus, our national attitudes and prejudices. 

Comments Director TaRon Patton, “This story is a great way to approach this very delicate topic with a focal lens of humanity versus history.”

N was given a staged reading in one of DePaul University’s Black History Month Celebrations and was a semi-finalist in the National Arts Club Playwrights First Competition.

The production team includes Grant Sabin (scenic design), Shanesia Davis (costume design, assistant director), Richard Norwood (lighting design), Shawn Wallace (sound design), Sarah Richman (props design), Dr. Alvin Goldfarb (dramaturg), Maggie Speer (associate producer, voiceover) and Razor Wintercastle (production manager).

PRODUCTION DETAILS:

Title: N
Playwright: David Alex
Director: TaRon Patton
Cast (in alphabetical order): Stacie Doublin (Mrs. Page), Reginald Hemphill (DeShawn) and Ryan Smetana (Eddy).

Undertudies: Carolyn Nelson and Jordan Tragash.

Location: The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Upstairs Studio, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago
Dates: Previews: Thursday, October 24 at 7:30 pm, Friday, October 25 at 7:30 pm and Saturday, October 26 at 3 pm
Press Performances: Saturday, October 26 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, October 27 at 3 pm
Opening: Monday, October 28 at 7:30 pm.
Regular run: Thursday, October 31 – Sunday, November 17, 2019
Curtain times: Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm, Sundays at 3 pm
Understudy Performance: Friday, November 8 at 7:30 pm.
Tickets: Previews: $15. Regular run: $25. $15 students/seniors/industry. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.

About the Artists
David Alex (Playwright) has written fourteen full-length and eighteen one-acts plays. He has received three grants from the Illinois Arts Council and one from the Pilgrim Foundation, an award for plays that deal with issues of moral significance. Full-length productions include Eroica, Azusa Productions i/a/w Redtwist Theatre; Ends, an African-American Theatre Festival Award Winner (Univ. of Louisville), New Jersey Repertory Company and Bowen Park Theatre Company; Adrift, Azusa Productions; Corpus Delicti, MadKap Productions; Onto Infinity, Azusa Productions and Bowen Park Theatre Company, By the Rivers of Babylon, Chicago Playwrights Center. Dramatic Publishing has published two of his plays. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild. www.davidalex.net.

TaRon Patton (Director) is excited to expand her talents by serving as director to this production. Directing credits include Saturday Night, Sunday Morning (Steppenwolf Garage Rep) Bulrusher (Congo Square Theatre), Nativity Tribute (Congo Square Theatre). Acting credits include: Meet Vera Stark (Goodman Theater), Hot L Baltimore (Steppenwolf); the Chicago and New York adaptation of Toni Morrison's novel The Bluest Eye (Steppenwolf), St James Infirmary and King Hedley II (Congo Square Theatre Company), Black Nativity and Joe Turner’s Come and Gone (Goodman Theater). Television credits: The Chi, Empire, Chicago PD, Chicago Fire, Chicago Med, A Different World, Misty Tanner and the Emmy award winning CBS After-School special What About Your Friends. Film credits: Of Boys and Men and Stitches. TaRon received her MFA in Acting from UCLA and is very proud of her role as Executive Director of Congo Square Theatre Company.
About the Companies

The Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC) is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

GTC began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, followed by 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. In 2017-18, the Greenhouse presented its first full subscription season, including Machinal (4 stars from Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones), a remount of the Jeff Award-winning Rose and the Chicago premiere of Birds of a Feather. 
As a performance venue, the Greenhouse complex offers two newly-remodeled 198-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, a newly-built 44-seat cabaret space, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. GTC also houses Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor the complex. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center’s mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre. GTC seeks local theatre companies and artists to partner on co-productions, offering partners a multitude of resources including an equitable split of production costs, production manager, full-service box office and front-of-house staff, artistic consultation, marketing and public relations support and a full-service bar with concessions. For additional information, call (773) 404-7336, ext. 13.

GLP Productions is a Chicago-based arts investment and production company that nationally produces theatrical new works and independent film. The GLP mission is to support artists in reaching their dreams through direct investments or management. Film credit: Road to Freedom and the web series Misty Tanner.

Thursday, May 30, 2019

CASTING ANNOUNCED: U.S. Premiere of SONS AND LOVERS August 29 – September 29, 2019 at Greenhouse Theater Center

Greenhouse Theater Center & On The Spot Theatre
Announce Casting for the U.S. Premiere of

SONS AND LOVERS
Based on the novel by D.H. Lawrence
Adapted and Directed by Mike Brayndick

August 29 – September 29, 2019 at Greenhouse Theater Center

The Greenhouse Theater Center and On The Spot Theatre are pleased to announce casting for the U.S. premiere of the full-length drama SONS AND LOVERS, based on the novel by D.H. Lawrence and adapted and directed by On The Spot Artistic Director Mike Brayndick.

SONS AND LOVERS will play August 29 – September 29, 2019 in The Greenhouse Theater Center’s (Upstairs Studio), 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. The press opening is Saturday, August 31 at 7:30 pm.

The cast includes Pete Blatchford, Brian Boller, Miles Borchard, Emma Brayndick, Baird Brutscher, Erika Caldwell, Heidi Drennan, Stephen Dunn, Amy Gray, Corrie Riedl, Andrew Rowson and Tina Shelley.


(top, l to r) Pete Blatchford, Brian Boller, Miles Borchard, Emma Brayndick, Baird Brutscher and Erika Caldwell with (bottom, l to r) Heidi Drennan, Stephen Dunn, Amy Gray, Corrie Riedl, Andrew Rowson and Tina Shelley.

Set in England during the first decade of the twentieth century, SONS AND LOVERS dramatizes the early years of the spirited and lyrically inspired writer D.H. Lawrence as he charted his course from a Midlands coal mining town into the larger world. The story portrays his parents’ turbulent, mismatched marriage, his own first affairs of the heart, and his mother’s jealousy about the women he brought into his life. In the process, Lawrence developed his views on the mystical role of sexuality in shaping the soul and the power of determined creativity to overcome dark circumstances.   

Comments Director Mike Brayndick, “D.H. Lawrence was rhapsodic about the glories of our physical and spiritual being. He also provided an unstinting vision of human flaws. Written in 1913, Sons and Lovers has a very modern resonance dynamically revealing the tension between the desire for love and the need for a fulfilled individuality. This play tells the story from the perspective of his older self who relives the past he must constantly rediscover, ruefully struggling to grow and be free in the present of a time-haunted life.”

The production team includes Emma Brayndick and Pat Henderson (scenic design), Casey Brayndick and Andy Long (sound design), Andy Long (stage manager) and Andrew Rowson (production assistant).


Location: The Greenhouse Theater Center (Upstairs Studio), 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, August 29 at 7:30 pm and Friday, August 30 at 7:30 pm
Press Performance: Saturday, August 31 at 7:30 pm
Regular run: Sunday, September 1 – Sunday, September 29, 2019
Curtain times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 pm; Sundays at 2:30 pm.

Tickets: Previews: $20 Regular run: $20 - $29. Discounts: $25 students/seniors/groups. On The Spot donates a limited number of tickets for each performance to Vet Tix, which provides free tickets to veterans. Group discounts are available. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.

About the Artists
Mike Brayndick (Adapter/Director) is the Artistic Director of On The Spot Theatre Company. He began as resident writer at the Chicago Playwrights’ Center with Fragments from the Permanent Collection, Connecting Flight, Anna Gerhardt and In the Garden of the Prison, also broadcast on WJUF. His adaptation of D.H. Lawrence’s Sons and Lovers commissioned by Traffic of the Stage in Hampstead toured the UK and was performed at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre. Smithsonian and Luce Foundation grants led to How to Make a Rainbow, developed at the Juilliard, and directed by Mike at the 2005 St. Ives Festival in the UK and the Greenhouse Theater Center in Chicago in 2013. Also at the Greenhouse, On The Spot presented his adaptations of Turgenev's Home of the Gentry and Balzac's, Pére Goriot, as well as his original works, Pieces of Klee, Lisette Dances Divine and Scenes For A Green World.  Mike's contemporary comedies Only You Could Think That, What About Martha, All About Armando, Sex Lives of the Zebra Finch and Lost and Found have all been produced in Chicago. Most recently, his full-length romance set in 1950’s Cornwall, England, Called Home By the Sea, was performed at Berger Park Coach House Theatre along with his one-act farce set in contemporary London, Rondelay.

About the Companies

The Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC) is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

GTC began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, followed by 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. In 2017-18, the Greenhouse presented its first full subscription season, including Machinal (4 stars from Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones), a remount of the Jeff Award-winning Rose and the Chicago premiere of Birds of a Feather. 

As a performance venue, the Greenhouse complex offers two newly-remodeled 198-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, a newly-built 44-seat cabaret space, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. GTC also houses Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor the complex. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center’s mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre. GTC seeks local theatre companies and artists to partner on co-productions, offering partners a multitude of resources including an equitable split of production costs, production manager, full-service box office and front-of-house staff, artistic consultation, marketing and public relations support and a full-service bar with concessions. For additional information, contact Nicholas Reinhart at (773) 404-7336, ext. 13.

On The Spot Theatre Company was created in 2003 by Mike Brayndick to develop and stage new plays for performance “on the spot” in a variety of venues. In the new play development process, Mike creates a collaborative space in which he works with actors to allow characters and stories to evolve out of a few initial scripted scenes or the exploration of a germ idea. Each week he brings in more scenes for the actors to play with as the script grows into a whole. Discussion of the play continues as it goes through multiple readings in the workshop from one draft to the next. On The Spot intends to continue to expand the ensemble and develop new plays in the evolving method outlined above. For additional information, visit onthespottheatrecompany.weebly.com

Sunday, May 19, 2019

OPENING: Václav Havel’s classic play, THE MEMO Via ORGANIC THEATER COMPANY at The Greenhouse Theater Center May 22 - June 16, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
ORGANIC THEATER COMPANY PRESENTS:
Václav Havel’s classic play,
THE MEMO


Organic Theater Company of Chicago returns to the Greenhouse Theater Center for the second play of its 2019 season with Václav Havel’s classic play, THE MEMO. The Organic is committed to staging bold, relevant productions of classic, contemporary, and adapted works with a permanent group of artists over a sustained period of time.

THE MEMO, Paul Wilson’s 21st century translation of Havel’s The Memorandum, an absurd story of shady, behind-the-scene office politics and ridiculous bureaucracy, has new relevance in our current bizarre political climate.  Havel’s absurdist plays were highly critical of communism and were eventually banned in his home country of Czechoslovakia. This led to his political activism, which resulted in several stays in prison, and eventually landed him, almost unwillingly, the role of the final president of Czechoslovakia.  A few years later, he was elected to be the first president of the newly created Czech Republic.

This Orwellian farce about language, bureaucracies, and surveillance takes place at the surprisingly real and relevant intersection of Monty Python, The Office, and 1984. THE MEMO follows Gross, the harassed managing director who unwittingly authorizes an experiment that will introduce an incomprehensible artificial language in an absurd attempt to increase efficiency. Playwright Václav Havel explores the self-deluding rationalizations and moral compromises that characterize life under a totalitarian political system, or everyday office life…

Directed by Bryan Wakefield, who directed last summer’s THE REVOLUTIONISTS and the previous summer’s EMILIE, THE MEMO features guest artist Tricia Rogers as the baffled managing director Gross who finds herself at a loss to understand how changes were made.  Company Member Joel Moses, as the clever and never-at-a-loss-for-an-explanation Balas, is a great foil against her straightforwardness, a rare commodity in Havel’s crazy workplace, where workers are more invested in reassigning responsibility, running out to buy food or heading off to lunch than actually getting work done.

OPENS: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 at 7:30 (Press Opening)
DATES: May 22 - June 16, 2019
TIMES: Wednesdays - Saturdays at 7:30 PM & Sundays at 2:30 PM
VENUE: The Greenhouse Theater Center - 2257 North Lincoln Avenue
Website: www.organictheater.org

The Cast:
Gross - Tricia Rogers
Balas - Joel Moses
Kubs/Suba – Subhash Thakrar
Director’s Assistant – Mary Mikva
J.V. Brown – Nick Bryant
Kalous – Stephanie Sullivan
Masat – Schanora Wimpie
Kunc – Kate Black-Spence
Talaura – Laura Sturm
Translation Assistant - Kris Downing
The Monitor – Colin Jackson

The Production team: Bryan Wakefield – Director, Nyssa Lowenstein - Assistant Director, Angela Kring - Stage Manager, Jeremy W. Floyd - Costume Designer, Tony Reimer - Sound Designer, Terrence McClellan - Scenic Designer, David Goodman-Edberg - Lighting Designer, Kevin Nedberg-Technical Director, Justin Torres – Props Designer

Purchase tickets online at www.organictheater.org or by calling Greenhouse at 773-404-7366.

Admission is $25 (Adults)---www.organictheater.org



Wednesday, April 3, 2019

RESCHEDULED! THE MUSHROOM CURE at Greenhouse Theater Center Now Playing May 9 – June 9, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

RESCHEDULED!
New Dates Announced for the
THE MUSHROOM CURE
at Greenhouse Theater Center

Adam Strauss. Photo by David Allen

Now Playing May 9 – June 9, 2019

The Greenhouse Theater Center today announced Adam Strauss has postponed his hit one-man show THE MUSHROOM CURE, originally scheduled for April 4 – May 5, 2019. The engagement has been rescheduled for May 9 – June 9, 2019. For ticket exchanges and refunds, please contact the Greenhouse Theater Center box office at (773) 404-7336 or boxoffice@greenhousetheater.org. The new press opening is Saturday, May 11 at 8 pm.

Written and performed by Adam Strauss and developed with and directed by Jonathan Libman. THE MUSHROOM CURE is the true story of one Strauss’s attempt to treat his severe OCD with psychedelics. The Chicago premiere of the off-Broadway hit, presented in association with The Marsh, will play in The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Downstairs Main Stage, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets for the new engagement are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.

Inspired by a scientific study showing that hallucinogenic mushrooms may cure obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Adam Strauss embarked on a program of vigilante psychopharmacology. The true tale of Strauss’ hilarious, harrowing and heartrending attempts to treat his debilitating OCD with psychedelics, THE MUSHROOM CURE was named a Critics’ Pick by Time Out New York, which praised it as “riveting… true-life tour de force” and hailed by The New York Times as “mining a great deal of laughter from disabling pain.”

THE MUSHROOM CURE first ran in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe garnering widespread acclaim. Critics called the show “hugely intelligent and incredibly engaging,” (The Scotsman) “outstanding,” (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine), and “a revelation” (Broadway Baby). Strauss’ riotous tale appeared next in the New York International Fringe Festival, winning the Fringe’s Overall Excellence Award for Solo Performance. It then was given its Off-Broadway premiere at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre, where it had a sold-out, extended run, before transferring to The Marsh in San Francisco for its West Coast premiere with a sold-out, extended run. The show then moved to Theatre 80 St. Marks in New York, where it ran for over a year before closing in January.

THE MUSHROOM CURE is produced by the Greenhouse Theater Center, in association with The Marsh, a breeding ground for new performance. 

Location: The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Downstairs Main Stage, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave, Chicago

Dates: Previews: Thursday, May 9 at 8 pm and Friday, May 10 at 8 pm

Press Performance: Saturday, May 11 at 8 pm

Regular run: Sunday, May 12 – Sunday, June 9, 2019

Curtain times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm. Please note: there will not be a performance on Thursday, May 16; there will be an added performances on Saturday, May 18 at 2:30 pm.

Tickets: Previews: $25 Regular run: $29 - $35. Discounts: $19 students, seniors, teachers, military and industry. Group discounts are available. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.

About the Artists
Adam Strauss is a writer and performer based in New York City. He won the Leffe Craft Your Character Storytelling Competition and the New York Fringe Festival’s Overall Excellence Award for Solo Performance. He is also a stand-up comedian who performs throughout the US and the UK. Strauss received his BA in psychology from Brown University. His upcoming solo show The Uncertainty Principle will receive its world premiere at The Marsh in May 2019.

Jonathan Libman is currently directing and writing for Amy Schumer's ensemble company The Collective. As a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit, Jonathan is directing Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale) in Palminteri's new play The Bench, and National Endowment for the Arts recipient David Libman’s play The Townhouse, featuring Joey Collins. He recently worked with Christina Masciotti (2016 Guggenheim Fellow) on her play Raw Bacon From Poland, featuring Sean Carvajal (2018 Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards for Best Actor). Jonathan won a scholarship to write and direct at Tony Spiridakis' Manhattan Film Institute, and has just finished writing two original television pilots, The Little People and Accidents Waiting to Happen. In 2019-20 he will be directing new work by Nicole Pandolfo (2017 Dramatist Guild Fellow), Sam Kahn (Chatter), Eli Walker (Drunk Yoga) and Daniel Mitura (The Picture of Dorian Gray).

About the Greenhouse Theater Center
The Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC) is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

GTC began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, followed by 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. In 2017-18, the Greenhouse presented its first full subscription season, including Machinal (4 stars from Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones) and the Chicago premiere of Birds of a Feather. 

As a performance venue, the Greenhouse complex offers two newly-remodeled 198-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, a newly-built 44-seat cabaret space, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. GTC also houses Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor the complex. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center’s mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre. GTC seeks local theatre companies and artists to partner on co-productions, offering partners a multitude of resources including an equitable split of production costs, production manager, full-service box office and front-of-house staff, artistic consultation, marketing and public relations support and a full-service bar with concessions. For additional information, contact Nicholas Reinhart at (773) 404-7336, ext. 13.

About The Marsh
The Marsh, known as a "breeding ground for new performance," was launched in1989 by Founder and Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman, and now annually hosts more than 600 performances of 175 shows across the company's two venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. A leading developer and outlet for solo performers, The Marsh's specialty has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “solo performances that celebrate the power of storytelling at its simplest and purest.” The East Bay Times named The Marsh one of Bay Area's best intimate theaters, calling it “one of the most thriving solo theaters in the nation. The live theatrical energy is simply irresistible.”  For more info about The Marsh, visit www.themarsh.org or email artisticdirector@themarsh.org.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Chicago Premiere of THE MUSHROOM CURE at Greenhouse Theater Center April 4 – May 5, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Chicago Premiere!
Greenhouse Theater Center,
in association with The Marsh, Presents
THE MUSHROOM CURE
Written and Performed by Adam Strauss
Developed with and Directed by Jonathan Libman
April 4 – May 5, 2019



I'll be out for the press opening April 6th, so check back soon for my full review. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center, in association with The Marsh, is pleased to present the Chicago premiere of the off-Broadway hit THE MUSHROOM CURE, the true story of one man's attempt to treat his severe OCD with psychedelics. Written and performed by Adam Strauss and developed with and directed by Jonathan Libman, THE MUSHROOM CURE will play April 4 – May 5, 2019 in The Greenhouse Theater Center’s Downstairs Main Stage, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. 

Inspired by a scientific study showing that hallucinogenic mushrooms may cure obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Adam Strauss embarked on a program of vigilante psychopharmacology. The true tale of Strauss’ hilarious, harrowing and heartrending attempts to treat his debilitating OCD with psychedelics, THE MUSHROOM CURE was named a Critics’ Pick by Time Out New York, which praised it as “riveting… true-life tour de force” and hailed by The New York Times as “mining a great deal of laughter from disabling pain.”

THE MUSHROOM CURE first ran in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe garnering widespread acclaim. Critics called the show “hugely intelligent and incredibly engaging,” (The Scotsman) “outstanding,” (Edinburgh Festivals Magazine), and “a revelation” (Broadway Baby). Strauss’ riotous tale appeared next in the New York International Fringe Festival, winning the Fringe’s Overall Excellence Award for Solo Performance. It then was given its Off-Broadway premiere at New York’s Cherry Lane Theatre, where it had a sold-out, extended run, before transferring to The Marsh in San Francisco for its West Coast premiere with a sold-out, extended run. The show then moved to Theatre 80 St. Marks in New York, where it ran for over a year before closing in January.

THE MUSHROOM CURE is produced by the Greenhouse Theater Center, in association with The Marsh, a breeding ground for new performance. 

Dates: Previews: Thursday, April 4 at 8 pm and Friday, April 5 at 8 pm
Press Performance: Saturday, April 6 at 8 pm
Regular run: Saturday, April 6 – Sunday, May 5, 2019
Curtain times: Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets: Previews: $25 Regular run: $29 - $35. Discounts: $19 students, seniors, teachers, military and industry. Group discounts are available. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the box office or by calling (773) 404-7336.

About the Artists
Adam Strauss is a writer and performer based in New York City. He won the Leffe Craft Your Character Storytelling Competition and the New York Fringe Festival’s Overall Excellence Award for Solo Performance. He is also a stand-up comedian who performs throughout the US and the UK. Strauss received his BA in psychology from Brown University. His upcoming solo show The Uncertainty Principle will receive its world premiere at The Marsh in May 2019.

Jonathan Libman is currently directing and writing for Amy Schumer's ensemble company The Collective. As a member of the Actors Studio Playwrights/Directors Unit, Jonathan is directing Chazz Palminteri (A Bronx Tale) in Palminteri's new play The Bench, and National Endowment for the Arts recipient David Libman’s play The Townhouse, featuring Joey Collins. He recently worked with Christina Masciotti (2016 Guggenheim Fellow) on her play Raw Bacon From Poland, featuring Sean Carvajal (2018 Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards for Best Actor). Jonathan won a scholarship to write and direct at Tony Spiridakis' Manhattan Film Institute, and has just finished writing two original television pilots, The Little People and Accidents Waiting to Happen. In 2019-20 he will be directing new work by Nicole Pandolfo (2017 Dramatist Guild Fellow), Sam Kahn (Chatter), Eli Walker (Drunk Yoga) and Daniel Mitura (The Picture of Dorian Gray).



About the Greenhouse Theater Center

The Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC) is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

GTC began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, followed by 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. In 2017-18, the Greenhouse presented its first full subscription season, including Machinal (4 stars from Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones) and the Chicago premiere of Birds of a Feather. 
As a performance venue, the Greenhouse complex offers two newly-remodeled 198-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, a newly-built 44-seat cabaret space, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. GTC also houses Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor the complex. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center’s mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre. GTC seeks local theatre companies and artists to partner on co-productions, offering partners a multitude of resources including an equitable split of production costs, production manager, full-service box office and front-of-house staff, artistic consultation, marketing and public relations support and a full-service bar with concessions. For additional information, contact Nicholas Reinhart at (773) 404-7336, ext. 13.
About The Marsh

The Marsh, known as a "breeding ground for new performance," was launched in1989 by Founder and Artistic Director Stephanie Weisman, and now annually hosts more than 600 performances of 175 shows across the company's two venues in San Francisco and Berkeley. A leading developer and outlet for solo performers, The Marsh's specialty has been hailed by the San Francisco Chronicle as “solo performances that celebrate the power of storytelling at its simplest and purest.” The East Bay Times named The Marsh one of Bay Area's best intimate theaters, calling it “one of the most thriving solo theaters in the nation. The live theatrical energy is simply irresistible.”  For more info about The Marsh, visit www.themarsh.org or email artisticdirector@themarsh.org.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Shows On Our Radar: BoHo Theatre Launches 15th Season with Steve Martin and Edie Brickell’s “Bright Star”

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
BRIGHT STAR
Music, lyrics, and book by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell
Directed and choreographed by Ericka Mac
Music Direction by Julie Nichols


March 16 – May 5, 2019
Performing at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N Lincoln Ave, Chicago


BoHo Theatre begins its 2019 season with BRIGHT STAR, a new musical by playwright Steve Martin and musician Edie Brickell, directed by Ericka Mac. This production marks the company’s first as a resident company at Lincoln Park’s Greenhouse Theater Center and also the first under new artistic director Stephen Schellhardt. BRIGHT STAR was nominated for five Tony Awards and called “a shining achievement” by The New York Times. It received a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Music and Outer Critics Circles Awards for Outstanding New Broadway Musical and Outstanding Score.

THE PLAY
BoHo is proud to bring to Chicago this new work from Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award-winner Steve Martin and Grammy Award-winner Edie Brickell. Inspired by a real event, BRIGHT STAR tells a sweeping tale of love and redemption set against the rich backdrop of the American South in the 1920s and ‘40s. The story follows young writer Billy Cane, recently returned from World War II, and Alice Murphy, the editor who takes a chance on him. As Billy mines his childhood home for engaging stories, Alice sets out to explore the pain and mystery of her own small-town past. The overlapping secrets they uncover lead them a startling and heart-warming connection.

“For me, BRIGHT STAR is about how unconditional love and hope can overcome obstacles,” says director Ericka Mac. “How forgiveness can redeem a person/situation and create miracles.” Similar to many recent BoHo productions, the music  in BRIGHT STAR will be fully integrated into the storytelling by having actors play their own instruments to create a seamless, up-close musical experience.

Left-right: Josiah Robinson, Missy Wise, Jeff Pierpoint, Scott Danielson, Kiersten Frumkin

PERFORMANCE TIMES
Previews: Saturday, March 16 @ 8:00pm, Sunday, March 17 @ 2:00pm, Thursday, March 21 @ 8:00pm, and Friday, March 22 @ 8:00pm
Press Opening / Opening Night: Saturday, March 23, at 8:00 pm 
Performance run: March 24 – May 5
Thursdays through Saturdays at 8:00 pm and Sundays at 2:00 pm.

TICKETS
General Tickets on sale February 19 at www.BoHoTheatre.com, (773) 975-8150, or the Greenhouse Theater Center box office. Tickets are $25 for previews and $35 for regular performances.

Steve Martin has been a prolific comedian, musician, and writer dating back to the 1960s, when he first came to public notice as a writer for THE SMOTHERS BROTHERS COMEDY HOUR. He began his playwriting career in 1993 with PICASSO AT LAPIN AGILE, and has also written THE UNDERPANTS, and METEOR SHOWER. A life-long banjo-player, he is a frequent collaborator with the bluegrass band Steep Canyon Rangers.

Edie Brickell is a singer-songwriter who first achieved fame with her band The New Bohemians in the 1980s with the single “What I Am.” She began a successful solo career beginning the in the 1990s and later founded the band The Gaddabouts in 2010. Martin and Brickell collaborated on the bluegrass/folk albums LOVE HAS COME FOR YOU and SO FAMILIAR prior to writing BRIGHT STAR. Their song “Love Has Come For You” won a Grammy Award for Best American Roots Song in 2013.

Ericka Mac is a Chicago-based director and choreographer. Her Chicagoland credits as choreographer/associate director include  MAMMA MIA! (Jeff Award nomination for Best Choreography), SCHOOLHOUSE ROCK LIVE! (Marriott Theatre), SHREW’D (First Folio Theatre), RIDE THE CYCLONE (Chicago Shakespeare, MCC Theatre (Off Broadway), & ACT Theatre (Seattle)), DIARY OF A WIMPY KID (World Premiere at The Children’s Theatre of Minneapolis), PARADE and COMPANY (Writer’s Theatre), WTTW’s NIGHT ON BROADWAY Gala featuring Heather Headley (WTTW/WFMT studios), SEUSSICAL (Drury Lane Oakbrook), MADAGASCAR and THE LITTLE MERMAID (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre), ALICE’S ROCK & ROLL ADVENTURE (Chicago Children’s Theatre), and THE POLAR EXPRESS (Warner Bro’s./Rail Events). 

CAST
Missy Wise as Alice, 
Josiah Robinson as Jimmy Ray, 
Jeff Pierpoint as Billy,
Scott Danielson as Mayor Dobbs,
Kiersten Fumkin as Margo,
Rachel Whyte as Lucy,
Dwayne Everett as Daryl,
Peter Robel as Daddy Cane
John B. Boss as Daddy Murphy
Jenny Rudnick as Mama Murphy 
with Brittany Sue Hines, Max Kramer, Jennifer Ledesma, Kelan Smith, and Mike Weaver as the ensemble.

PRODUCTION TEAM
Produced by Meg Love
Scenic Design by Lauren M. Nichols, Lighting Design by G. Max Maxin, Costume Design by Bob Kuhn, Sound Design by Joe Palermo, Properties Design by Lacie Hexom, Assistant Music Director by Andrea Swanson, Production Managed by Lindsay Brown, Stage Managed by Dalton Long.




BoHo Theatre tells stories examining and celebrating human relationships — focusing on the Bohemian pillars of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love — using bold, intimate theatrical stagings. Our vision is to create a shared community of artists and patrons in which all members are moved through art to make thoughtful, well-examined, caring relationships the highest priority in their lives.

BoHo’s 2019 mainstage season features BRIGHT STAR by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell, directed by Ericka Mac; THE RIVER by Jez Butterworth, directed by Jerrell L. Henderson; and BIG FISH by Andrew Lippa and John August, directed by Stephen Schellhardt. BoHo is a resident company at the Greenhouse Theater Center in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

OPENING: DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE Via The Comrades at Greenhouse Theater Center February 7 – March 10, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar
DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE
by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Arianna Soloway



I'm a big fan of playwright, Sarah Ruhl's work, and eager to see this "film noir' comedy with my teenage son. This will be our first time to check out The Comrades. We'll be out for the press opening February 9th, so circle back shortly for my full review.

An incessantly ringing cell phone in a quiet café. A stranger at the next table who has had enough. And a dead man – with a lot of loose ends. So begins DEAD MAN’S CELL PHONE, a wildly imaginative new comedy by MacArthur “Genius” Grant recipient and Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl. A work about how we memorialize the dead – and how that remembering changes us – it is the odyssey of a woman forced to confront her own assumptions about morality, redemption, and the need to connect in a technologically obsessed world.  The SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE said, “It's a joyride through the absurdity of trying to make simple connections in a world overwhelmed with interconnectivity.”

Arianna Soloway, who recently directed a site-specific production of PINE by Jacqui Honess-Martin and CARRIE & FRANCINE with Haven Theatre Company, will direct. Playing Jean, the young woman who retrieves the phone and makes a new, albeit deceased, friend will be Cydney Moody, whose 2018 credits include THE WOLVES at Goodman and DOWNSTATE at Steppenwolf.  Chicago veteran actress and theatre professor Caroline Latta, recently seen in 2017’s BY THE BOG OF CATS with The Artistic Home, will play the dead man’s domineering mother, Mrs. Gottlieb. Also in the cast are Bryan Breau (Gordon, the dead man), Lynnette Li  (Hermia, Gordon’s widow), Mike Newquist (Dwight, Gordon’s brother) and Valeria Rosero (Other Woman/Stranger). Cydney Moody as Jean.



Previews Thursday, February 7 and Friday, February 8
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm, Sundays at 3 pm.,
Tickets range from $15-$20 with discount for industry and students
Tickets available at : https://www.greenhousetheater.org/ or by phone at 773-404-7336.

Performances at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
For more information, www.the-comrades.com/




ABOUT THE COMRADES
 The Comrades were founded in January 2016. They are an ensemble-based theater company who create fun, vibrant, and engaging theater with a focus on revitalizing classics and producing area premieres that are relevant in today’s world.  They are a resident company at the Greenhouse Theater Center.

FEST ALERT: Greenhouse Theater Center Celebrates Chicago Theatre Week with BREAKING GROUND FEST Through February 17, 2019

ChiIL Live Shows on our radar

Greenhouse Theater Center
Celebrates Chicago Theatre Week with
BREAKING GROUND FEST

February 7 – 17, 2019


PS Burlesque.  Photo by Adam Blaszkiewicz.


The Greenhouse Theater Center celebrates Chicago Theatre Week with its BREAKING GROUND FEST, an eclectic line-up of performances including live music, plays, staged readings, improv, comedy, burlesque and more, playing February 7 – 17, 2019 on multiple stages at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago. All performances are priced at $10. Tickets are currently available at greenhousetheater.org, in person at the Greenhouse box office or by calling (773) 404-7336. Spots are still available for the Festival. For information, e-mail gm@greenhousetheater.org.



The BREAKING GROUND FEST line-up to date includes (additional acts to be announced):



Friday, February 8 at 10:30 pm
GODDESS, hosted by Kat Sass and Lucky Stiff 

Acclaimed drag performers Kat Sass and Lucky Stiff bring their visionary GODDESS out of Boystown and into the Greenhouse Theater Center for a unique performance art experience unlike anything you have ever seen.



She’s Folks. Photo by Jill Fager.

Saturday, February 9 at 8 pm
SHE’S FOLKS!

Elizabeth Morgan’s She’s Folks! is a little bit country, a little bit rock ‘n’ roll, and a lot of laughs. Journey from the city to farm country and back again through folk and country music, hilarious stories, soaring harmonies and a wry view of the folks back home.  



Saturday, February 9 at 10:30 pm
PLAN 9 BURLESQUE

Plan 9 Burlesque was founded in 2012 by a rag tag group of nerds with an affinity for nudity. They wanted to create a space where burlesque and fandom come together to produce innovative, creative and bonkers performance art. Since then they have perverted comic book heroes, sci-fi super stars, beloved children's cartoons and fantastical fairy tales.  



Sunday, February 10 at 7 pm

AUNTIE MAME
A semi-staged reading of the play by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
Directed by Nicholas Reinhart 


Based on the bestselling memoir, Auntie Mame tells the story of Patrick Dennis, newly orphaned and sent to live with his eccentric Auntie Mame in New York City. This madcap play about family, growing up, and making the most out of life has been entertaining audiences around the world for years and returns to the Greenhouse Theater Center for one night only!



Monday, February 11 at 7:30 pm
MONA Q: AGE 38
A staged reading written by Steven Strafford
Directed by Kristina Valada-Viars
Featuring Sadieh Rifai, J. Nicole Brooks, Shea Coffman and Eric Slater 


Mobs finds that life has left her sad and stuck. When she can’t seem to get off a Holocaust Trivia Distribution list, she takes a road trip to take some action. Along the way, she shapes her story and learns a bit about what she might want next. 



Tuesday, February 12 at 8 pm
SIX PACK AND A SHOT
A play written and directed by Bill Goff
Featuring Dante Charlton and Evan Henderson


Two best friends share one last six pack as one looks to resolve their friendship and the other wants to preserve it before time runs out.



Tuesday, February 12 at 8 pm
OEDIPUS IN JERUSALEM
A staged reading by Kalman Kaplan
Directed by Michael Reinstein


Oedipus in Jerusalem begins with the fictional and unexpected meeting outside of Thebes between the blinded Greek Oedipus and the biblical prophet Nathan. Although Oedipus insists on his guilt with regard to patricide and incest with his mother, Nathan is convinced that he has been entrapped by the purposely obscure responses of the Pythia to Oedipus's sincere attempts to avoid these acts and brings him to be tried in the great Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. Oedipus is acquitted because he is judged to be doing all in his power to try to avoid performing these acts, but thinking like a Greek, Oedipus refuses to emotionally accept his acquittal.

 
Falling in Love (pictured) Jack Schultz in I’m Falling in Love All The Time. Photo by Sommer Austin.


Thursday, February 14 at 8 pm
I’M FALLING IN LOVE ALL THE TIME
A solo show written and performed by Jack Schultz

Coffee. Romance. Heroin. There’s a first time for everything and a last. In his heartfelt solo show, Jack Schultz weaves together personal stories of the highs and lows of love.



Friday, February 15 at 7:30 pm
BROMANTICAL HEALING Hosted by Stoopie

Stoopie (aka improv duo Cooper Bohn and Steven Dionne) holds the title for strongest bromance in Chicago’s improv scene. Enjoy the day after Valentine’s Day with them and their funny friends! 



Friday, February 15 at 10:20 pm
PS… BURLESQUE


Ah, the day after Valentine’s Day. The heart shaped candy is 50% off, the roses are wilting, and the love-themed plush toys have been thrown into the clearance bin. But, the Unpopular Hotties have something even more enjoyable for you Valentine’s Day haters on February 15th! During the “Love Hangover” burlesque revue, we’ll be serving up all those post V-Day feels the best way we know how – by taking off our clothes!



Saturday, February 16 at 7:30 pm
FANCY MUSTARD Improv

There are times in your life where everything came before and after a single moment. Inspired by your suggestions Fancy Mustard will improvise what led up to that moment and the aftermath in The Event! Also featuring opening acts of friends and enemies (just kidding, we don’t have friends). 


For additional information, visit greenhousetheater.org/breakingground.


Following the BREAKING GROUND FEST, Greenhouse Theater Center will regularly host new performances on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday nights when space is available. For information on booking an act, please gm@greenhousetheater.org.

About the Greenhouse Theater Center
The Greenhouse Theater Center (GTC) is a producing theater company, performance venue and theatre bookstore located at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood.

GTC began its producing life in 2014 with the smash hit Churchill, followed by 2016’s much-lauded Solo Celebration!, an eight month, 16 event series highlighting the breadth and depth of the solo play form. In 2017-18, the Greenhouse presented its first full subscription season, including Machinal (4 stars from Chicago Tribune's Chris Jones) and the Chicago premiere of Birds of a Feather. 

As a performance venue, the Greenhouse complex offers two newly remodeled 190-seat main stage spaces, two 60-seat studio theaters, two high-capacity lobbies and an in-house rehearsal room. GTC also houses Chicago’s only dedicated used theatre bookstore, located on the second floor the complex. 

The Greenhouse Theater Center’s mission is first and foremost to grow local theatre. GTC seeks local theatre companies and artists to partner on co-productions, offering partners a multitude of resources including an equitable split of production costs, production manager, full-service box office and front-of-house staff, artistic consultation, marketing and public relations support and a full-service bar with concessions. For additional information, contact Bill Spatz at (312) 637-5323 or wmspatz@gmail.com.

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

Sunday, June 10, 2018

REVIEW: Tiresias Was a Weatherman by the Organic Theater Company at the Greenhouse Theater Through July 8, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:
Tiresias Was a Weatherman 
by the Organic Theater Company 
at the Greenhouse Theater 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue 



Review
By Catherine Hellmann, Guest Critic

According to the press release, “Jaime Mire’s new comedy
Tiresias Was a Weatherman deals with timely issues of today such as mental health, pharmaceuticals, predatory media, and extreme weather, in a world where a minimal scientific alteration to your brain could potentially save both you and the world.  Or at least that’s what they say…” 


John Arthur Lewis (Troy), Adam Zaininger (Sun), Laura Sturm (Joyce), Will Burdin (Wind), Colin Jackson (Thunder), and Joel Moses (Rain) in Organic Theater’s production of Tiresias Was A Weatherman, directed by Josh Anderson, associate director Anna Gelman, May 31 – July 6, 2018. 
All Production Photos by Anna Gelman.


The storyline reminded me of my favorite beach on the East side of Lake Michigan, Pier Cove. There is a pile of rocks along the beach that have inspirational quotes on them. The usual expressions of thanks, blessings, and encouragement are penned on the rocks...but one rock reads: “Take your meds,” which I think is awesome. Then all will be well, right? The emphasis on taking one’s meds is at the forefront of Mire’s play. 


Taylor Raye (Cindy) and John Arthur Lewis (Troy)

The taking of meds from “Crazy Pants Pharmaceuticals” (love that name!) can cause catastrophic meteorological effects, even deadly hurricanes. One of the main characters, a doctor named Troy, lost his only son, Paul, in the last huge storm. Troy, who seems to have no emotions, is later accused of using his dead son for publicity; he even refers to Paul’s autopsy as a “research cadaver.” Ouch. Troy needs a feelings chip...

Annie, Troy’s stepdaughter, is portrayed by Shaina Schrooten, who does a great job as the frustrated, emotionally distraught daughter of Laura Sturm’s Joyce. She misses her brother Paul terribly, and describes to her psychiatrist how losing a sibling is its own category of being orphaned. Like the character of Antigone, she just wishes for her deceased brother to be buried so he can rest in peace. “He deserves a burial,” she insists. Annie has some wonderful lines, like how she doesn’t consider pot to be a med on her health history paperwork---”it’s like toothpaste,” she explains.


John Arthur Lewis (Troy), Nyssa Lowenstein (Charlie), and Laura Sturm (Joyce)


Four actors personify the Sun, Wind, Rain, and Thunder. Some of their dialogue is expressed in rhymes like a Dr. Seuss book which makes their intentions less sinister. “We are the weather. We work well together!” But the plot is confusing. 

Was it just me being un-hip again? So I asked my date what I was missing. His response: “The Weather freaked out when meds weren't taken or taken on time, I think. I interpreted the weather as thought, like side effects ??? Does that make sense?  I say this because the weather was also encouraging Annie, a.k.a. Annabelle, to pop a pill. I wish I could be of more help but that's how I interpreted the weather.” This is one of those shows that you don’t want to take your parents to because if we were lost, mom and dad are really going to be clueless. 


Sara Copeland (Izzy) and Shaina Schrooten (Annabelle)

All of the actors are well-intentioned and do a commendable job. I was especially impressed with three actresses who are also in The Revolutionists,
which I reviewed last week. The two plays are showing in repertory at Greenhouse until July 8. Sara Copland, Laura Sturm, and Taylor Raye appear in both productions, which is admirable. As my amusing companion noted: ”How do they do that? I would be fucking up and saying my lines from the wrong play.” Taylor Raye is funny, offering some of the only humor in the show as a talk-show host who is a bit too admiring of her guest, the doctor.

John Arthur Lewis plays the doctor who has developed an experimental chip that can be implanted in a person’s brain to suppress and control emotions. Referred to as a “remote controlled brain inhibitor,” the talk show host is thrilled with the possibilities, but the doctor wants its uses to be kept in check. Troy must be his own test subject---he is so deadpan about everything.

loved the costumes, which are all black and grey for the human characters, but bright colors for the Weathermen. The Weathermen are a talented group who also sing, sometimes in harmony. They had a clever list of medications: “fuck it all, Adderall,” and “closure is overrated, just get medicated.” 


Shaina Schrooten (Annabelle) and Adam Zaininger (Sun)

The play ends with Annie’s birthday. As she observes, birthdays “make us look at ourselves---or we are just furniture.”



This show runs in repertory with The Revolutionists (check out my review here) through July 8. 




Sunday, June 3, 2018

REVIEW: "The Revolutionists" by Organic Theater at Greenhouse Theater Center, running May 29-July 8, 2018

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:


THE REVOLUTIONISTS & 

TIRESIAS WAS A WEATHERMAN 

Via Organic Theater Company of Chicago at the Greenhouse Theater Center


Sara Copeland (Charlotte Corday) in Organic Theater’s production of The Revolutionists, directed by Bryan Wakefield, assistant director Julia Rufo, May 29 – July 8, 2018. All Production Photos by Anna Gelman.

Review By Catherine Hellmann, guest critic

A play about a woman playwright, a woman Haitian rebel spy, dethroned Queen Marie Antoinette, and a tough-girl would-be rebel assassin? In the same play set in 18th Century France with female characters dropping f-bombs? Sign me up!


Playwright Lauren Gunderson uses modern language in her clever, thought-provoking play that is tough to classify. It begins in a somber mood, images of serious discord, pending beheadings...until the delightful Stephanie Sullivan as playwright Olympe de Gouges breaks the tension by asking how could a light-hearted comedy begin with a scene at a guillotine? (Or something like that...I forgot a pen and was mad at myself for not capturing more lines of dialogue verbatim. There are so many wonderful lines in this script.)



Stephanie Sullivan (Olympe de Gouges) and Laura Sturm (Marie Antoinette)

The Revolutionists explores feminism, friendships, rebelliousness, the French Revolution, and makes us feel sympathy for ousted Queen Marie Antoinette---all while making us laugh!


One of the best lines in the witty script is when the characters are debating topics for Olympe de Gouges’ next play, and musicals are discussed. “Who would want to see a musical about the French Revolution?” There is an inside-joke line about a barricade, which elicited laughs from the appreciative audience, and such banter makes The Revolutionists extra fun for theater fans. Gunderson takes advantage of having a playwright character as the others in the story discuss the impact of theater and how a play can affect society or cause change.

All four actresses are so perfect; if I had to pick a favorite, it would be the Narcissistic Queen Marie Antoinette played by Laura Sturm. She was so funny in her “It’s all about ME” mode, like how she knows it is her cue to stand up when she hears the blare of trumpets to announce her entrance! But there is a vulnerable side to her as well, when she describes her life, and how she was married off to a stranger she met on her wedding day.


Taylor Raye (Marianne Angelle) in Organic Theater’s production of The Revolutionists, directed by Bryan Wakefield, assistant director Julia Rufo, May 29 – July 8, 2018. Photo by Anna Gelman.

My companion said his favorite was Taylor Raye as rebel spy Marianne Angelle. Her character is undercover in France fighting for freedom in Haiti, where she has left her husband and two young children behind. I loved her description of her family as she recalls what she is risking for them.

Stephanie Sullivan (Olympe de Gouges)

                                                      Sara Copeland (Charlotte Corday)

Energetic and intense Sara Copeland as assassin Charlotte Corday is also excellent. I had to look up the backstory on her tale, which is fascinating. Indeed, twenty-four-year old Corday did fatally stab a very sickly Jean-Paul Marat in his own bathtub. She was persistent--it took three tries to receive admittance to his home. For her efforts, she was beheaded a mere four days after her crime. In contrast, Marat was hailed as a martyr to his cause, which is mentioned in Gunderson’s play.

As Corday is killed, Copeland ties a red ribbon around her neck to signify the beheading. She later, as an interrogator, gets to wear the coolest stage mask ever. It is unusual to see an all-female cast get to debate art, politics, andtheir destinies in a funny, entertaining way. The Revolutionists are some thought-provoking, kick-ass women. Go support them.


The Revolutionists runs from now until July 8 and is being performed in rotating repertory with Tiresias Was a Weatherman by Jaime Mire, which also sounds intriguing. Greenhouse Theater Center is located at 2257 N. Lincoln Avenue near Oz Park.

ORGANIC THEATER COMPANY – 2018 SUMMER REPERTORY SEASON:
AWE-INSPIRING WOMEN STAND UP AND FIGHT BACK; OR, 
 WHICH IS WORSE, THE REIGN OF TERROR OR THE REIGN OF BIG PHARMA?

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