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Showing posts with label Lucky Plush. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lucky Plush. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

OPENING: LUCKY PLUSH PRODUCTIONS BRINGS BACK THE BETTER HALF AS PART OF STEPPENWOLF’S LOOKOUT SERIES, NOVEMBER 2-17, 2018

ChiIL Live Shows On Our Radar

LUCKY PLUSH PRODUCTIONS BRINGS BACK
THE BETTER HALF


(left) Lucky Plush artistic director Julia Rhoads with Adrian Danzig (left) in The Better Half in 2011

WITH TWO WORK-IN-PROGRESS SHOWINGS OF 
RINK LIFE, 
AS PART OF STEPPENWOLF’S LOOKOUT SERIES, 
NOVEMBER 2-17 
AT STEPPENWOLF’S 1700 THEATRE 

Lucky Plush Productions is thrilled to return to Steppenwolf’s LookOut series this fall for a three-week run of The Better Half.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we adore Lucky Plush. Their creative, story based approach to dance pushes the boundaries of the medium and is as playful and fun as it is powerful. We thoroughly enjoyed their inaugural Lookout Series piece, Rooming House, in Steppenwolf's 1700 Space, last fall and we're eager to catch The Better Half, a remount of one of their past favorites we have yet to see. Their pieces have a natural, organic feel that at times plays out as much like process as performance. Improv games, warm ups, and rehearsals are all likely to wend their way into Lucky Plush's finished works. The audience is often left feeling privy to a glimpse behind the scenes. They're favorites of ours and we can't wait to see what's next. Catch a sneak peek at their newest work in progress, Rink Life, twice during the run of The Better Half on Saturday, November 10 and 17 at 5 p.m.


Last year at this time, Lucky Plush premiered Rooming House in the company’s inaugural outing as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut series, and went on to sell out its entire three-week run. Next, Rooming House will go on tour in the spring, culminating with the company’s Kennedy Center debut, May 2-4, 2019, as part of the Kennedy Center’s 2018-19 Ballet and Contemporary Dance Series.


One of the company’s most acclaimed works, The Better Half is a lively spin on the noir classic Gaslight that playfully captures the claustrophobia, escapist tendencies and resilience in domestic relationships, in a dance theater language full of surprising turns and contemporary resonance. The 2011 premiere was the first collaboration between now frequent creative collaborators Julia Rhoads, Lucky Plush founder and artistic director, and Leslie Danzig, formerly of 500 Clown.

Performances of The Better Life are November 2-17 at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, an 80-seat cabaret-style space connected to Steppenwolf’s own Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago. Show times are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. Press opening is Saturday, November 3 at 8 p.m. Industry nights are Monday, November 5 and 12 at 7:30 p.m.

Early bird tickets to The Better Life, on sale now, are $25 through October 3 only. Tickets to the November 2 preview are also $25. Regular tickets for the balance of the run are $40. Seniors 62+ and military tickets are $30. Industry Night tickets are $25. Student tickets are $15. Steppenwolf Red and Black Card holders may use their cards as per Steppenwolf policies. For tickets and information, visit Steppenwolf.org or call
(312) 335-1650.


Rink Life





 Note: Twice during the run of The Better Half – on Saturday, November 10 and 17 at 5 p.m. – Lucky Plush will also present two work-in-progress showings of Rink Life, the company’s next world premiere, and recent recipient of a prestigious National Theater Project Award.





Rink Life

Rink Life is a unique dance theater piece that nods to the visual aesthetics and social dynamics of 1970’s roller rink culture. Both performances will be followed by a post-show discussion, giving audience members a unique peek into the developmental process. Tickets to Rink Life are $25. Or, take advantage of a discounted $60 ticket to a Saturday double feature of Rink Life at 5 p.m. and The Better Half at 8 p.m.

Lucky Plush Productions at the 1700 Theatre is presented as part of LookOut, Steppenwolf’s performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form, emerging artists and performance legends, quintessential Chicago companies and young aspiring ensembles, familiar Steppenwolf faces and new friends.

For more information, visit steppenwolf.org/lookout.






More about The Better Half
 The Better Half (Promotional)
Watch Adrian Danzig and Julia Rhodes perform in The Better Half.



The Better Half (Promotional) from Lucky Plush Productions on Vimeo.

The Better Half premiered in 2011, was named to Newcity’s "Top 5 of Everything: Stage" and hailed “a piece of tremendous humor, humanity, and...smartness." Chicago Public Radio (WBEZ) included it in their Top 5 of "2011's Funniest Shows." The work was described as “skipping like a spinning stone across its surfaces like a perfect piece of pop art” by Time Out Chicago and “improvisational, funny...[with a] powerful climax” by the Chicago Tribune. The Boston Globe wrote “delicious humor and a dark, poignant undercurrent…both charming and memorably provocative." 

The 2018 return of The Better Half reunites Lucky Plush founder Julia Rhoads and Adrian Danzig, who originated their on stage roles in 2011, and is newly devised with the current Lucky Plush ensemble. Launching from the classic film Gaslight, layers of fiction and reality accumulate, revealing the elusive boundaries between performer and character, actual and scripted relationships, life versus borrowed plotlines. Ultimately a new narrative emerges, capturing the habitual patterns, escapist tendencies, and resilience in contemporary relationships through a complex mix of dance and theater languages.

The Better Half production team includes Heather Gilbert, lighting design, Mikhail Fiksel, composter/sound design, and John Boesche, video design.

The creation, presentation, and touring of the premiere version of The Better Half (2011-2014) was originally made possible through the support of many generous individuals, partners, and awards, including: National Dance Project, with support from New England Foundation for the Arts in cooperation with National Endowment for the Arts; National Performance Network Creation Fund, with commissioning partners Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; Audience Architects’ New Stages for Dance, with leadership from Dance/USA and MetLife Foundation; Pamela Crutchfield; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation; the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; and Boeing.





More about Rink Life

Rink Life
In Rink Life, Lucky Plush brings its highly integrated brand of dance-theater into a communal space that nods to the visual aesthetics and social dynamics of 1970’s roller rink culture. Launching from a collision of plot points in several one-act plays, the script-turned-libretto is both spoken and sung by the ensemble and builds upon fragments of everyday aural input—passing conversations, intimate exchanges, distant whispers, pop song ear-worms. These source inspirations come together in the delightful and moving world of Rink Life, where people navigate relationships, self-expression and rejection in real-time.

Rink Life builds upon Cadence, a work that Lucky Plush artistic director Julia Rhoads created for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2017 with music collaborator Bethany Clearfield (Grant Park Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the band Outertown). A developmental performance of Rink Life was also part of Tab Show, a Lucky Plush performance last April at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. The Chicago Tribune wrote “Rhoads is a master of comedic timing and physical humor; she expertly tugs at the idiosyncrasies of human nature and seamlessly blends dance, theater and music. Her best works easily place her on the short list of our city’s strongest and most successful choreographers.”

Concept, direction and choreography for Rink Life are by Julia Rhoads. Leslie Danzig joins as a collaborating director and production consultant. Bethany Clearfield is vocal arranger and vocal coach. Lighting design is by Heather Gilbert. Costume design is by Patrick Burns.


About Lucky Plush – Reinventing contemporary dance with humor and storytelling



About Lucky Plush Productions from Lucky Plush Productions on Vimeo.

About Lucky Plush Productions
Lucky Plush Productions (luckyplush.com) is a Chicago-based dance theater company led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads. Lucky Plush is committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with audiences. A unique hybrid of high-level dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s work is well-known for its carefully crafted dramatic and rhythmic arcs, pushing its artists to move beyond the predictable by earning the exciting slippage between – and surprising coherence of – technical choreography, casual dialogue, and humor. Though rigorously composed, much of the company’s work feels like it is generated spontaneously.

Since its founding in 2000, Lucky Plush has created 30 original dance-theater works. In addition to performing in Chicago, the company has presented in over 55 US cities from Maine to Hawaii, and its international partners span from New Zealand to Cuba. Commissioners include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Links Hall Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD) and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lucky Plush has also collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Walkabout Theater and M5.


Lucky Plush Productions is the first and only dance company to receive the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a recognition of the company’s exceptional creativity and impact. Other awards include creation, residency, and touring awards from National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, and National Performance Network; exchange awards from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund; a presentation award from MetLife Foundation; and an achievement award from the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at The Chicago Community Trust.


Lucky Plush performances have been cited in many “Best of Year” performance round-ups including in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader, Time Out Chicago, Chicago Public Radio and Boston Globe.


Lucky Plush Productions is a Harris Theater for Music and Dance resident company where its staff and sustainability initiatives are housed under the leadership of Managing Director Kim Goldman.


Biographies



















Julia Rhoads (founding artistic director) has created over 25 works with Lucky Plush Productions, several of which have toured extensively throughout the US and internationally. Additional choreography credits include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, Redmoon, and River North Dance Chicago, among others. Rhoads is the recipient of an Alpert Award in Dance and her work with Lucky Plush is supported through fellowships/awards from National Dance Project, National Theater Project, National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network, Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, Jacob K. Javits Foundation. Under her leadership, Lucky Plush has received a MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions and a Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award. Rhoads is a former member of San Francisco Ballet and ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. She received her BA in History from Northwestern University, her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute Chicago, and she has taught in the dance and theater programs of several Chicago-area colleges and universities. She is currently a part-time lecturer and dance advisor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies.




Leslie Danzig is a collaborating director with Julia Rhoads/Lucky Plush Productions, where she co-created The Better Half, The Queue and Rooming House. For over a decade, Danzig was co-founder and resident director of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown, whose shows (Macbeth, Frankenstein, Christmas and Elephant Deal) performed in Chicago at venues including Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Lookingglass Theatre, and toured throughout the U.S. Other directing credits include Quest at The Actors Gymnasium; Wild Sound, composed by Wilco’s Glenn Kotche for Third Coast Percussion, with performances at MCA Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), National Forum of Music (Wroclaw), and De Doelen (Rotterdam); Damon Kiely's The Revel with the House Theatre; Redmoon's The Elephant and the Whale with Chicago Children's Theater (with Frank Maugeri); Redmoon’s Hunchback at New Victory Theater (NYC); and Float with About Face Theater. Prior to turning to directing, she toured nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service. Danzig is Assistant Professor of Practice in Theater and Performance Studies, University of Chicago. She received her BA from Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and trained in physical theater at Écoles Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. Recent projects include creating an original circus-theater production and stage directing Paddle to the Sea with Third Coast Percussion. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Two Nights Only: LUCKY PLUSH Is Back With DANCE, THEATER, HUMOR at HARRIS With TAB SHOW, 4/26 - 4/27/18

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:

LUCKY PLUSH BRINGS SIGNATURE DANCE, THEATER, HUMOR TO THE HARRIS WITH 
TAB SHOW, 
APRIL 26 AND 27


START TAB SHOW WITH RHOADS’ NEW WORK RINK LIFE,
CHASED BY GREATEST HITS REMIX CURB CANDY

Here at ChiIL Mama and ChiIL Live Shows, we've been fans of Lucky Plush's unique brand of modern dance for years. Past shows we've seen have had a compelling mix of polished production with glimpses of process as performance art. We're excited to catch TAB Show at Harris Theater. Don't miss this 2 night only event. 




Lucky Plush Productions returns to Chicago’s Harris Theater in Millennium Park Thursday and Friday, April 26 and 27, with Tab Show, featuring two works - Rink Life and Curb Candy - that highlight the company’s signature blend of layered choreography, witty dialogue, and socially relevant storytelling. 

Tab Show takes its name from an early 20th century short - or “tabloid” - version of a musical comedy, usually performed alongside other sampler-style entertainment as part of a traveling road show.



About Lucky Plush Productions from Lucky Plush Productions on Vimeo.


Tab Show opens with Rink Life, a dance theater work loosely inspired by classic roller rink culture, where people seamlessly move between anonymity and community, individual stylings and group dynamics, movement and song. The sound design is entirely generated by the performers and builds upon disparate fragments of information - partially overheard conversations, musical scales, and pop-song earworms. Rink Life builds upon Cadence, a work that Lucky Plush artistic director Julia Rhoads created for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in 2017 with music collaborator Bethany Clearfield (Grant Park Chorus, Chicago Symphony Chorus, and the band Outertown).



The second act features Curb Candy, which includes re-mixed excerpts from Lucky Plush repertory presented in an entirely new work. Look for favorite moments from the Lucky Plush dance theater canon including Surrelium, Endplay and Punk Yankees, performed by Lucky Plush ensemble members Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Aaron R. White and Meghann Wilkinson. Guest performers Enid Smith, Jacinda Ratcliffe, and Ethan Kirschbaum join the company for this special performance.



Tab Show begins at 7:30 p.m. both nights. Tickets are $25-$70. The Harris Theater for Music and Dance is located at 205 E. Randolph St. in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Purchase tickets online at HarrisTheaterChicago.org, or call the Harris Theater Box Office,
(312) 334-7777.





On Friday, April 27, in conjunction with Tab Show, Lucky Plush will host its annual benefit bash, PLUCKY LUSH 2018. Long-time friends and new fans of Lucky Plush will enjoy a pre-show cocktail (6:30-7:30 p.m.), performance (7:30-9 p.m.) and mingle with the artists in the Level 1 Lobby for heavy appetizers and bottomless drinks (9-11 p.m.) Tickets to PLUCKY LUSH 2018 are $150 and $200 and include the best seats for the show.

For tickets, visit pluckylush18.eventbrite.com or call Kim Goldman, Managing Director, Lucky Plush Productions, (917) 903-5783.

Rink Life is supported by a project grant from the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and production residency support from Door Kinetic Arts Festival (Bailey’s Harbor, WI).

Additional support for Lucky Plush’s 2017-18 season is provided by Arts Work Fund for Organizational Development, Grover Hermann Foundation, Alphawood Foundation, MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Martha Struthers Farley & Donald C. Farley Jr. Family Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, Illinois Arts Council Agency, The
Peter G. & Elizabeth Torosian Foundation, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, Grosvenor Capital Management, L.P., Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, LinkedIn, and Melaleuca.


About Lucky Plush Productions
Reinventing contemporary dance with humor and storytelling

Now in its 18th season, Lucky Plush Productions (luckyplush.com) is a Chicago-based dance theater company led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads and managing director Kim Goldman.

Lucky Plush is committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with audiences. A unique hybrid of high-level dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s work is well-known for carefully crafting dramatic and rhythmic arcs, pushing its artists to move beyond the predictable by earning the exciting slippage between – and surprising coherence of – pedestrian action, realistic dialogue, abstract choreography and humor. Though rigorously composed, much of the company’s work feels like it is generated spontaneously.

Since its founding in 2000, Lucky Plush has created 30 original dance-theater works including 12 evening-length productions. In addition to regularly performing in Chicago, the company has presented in over 40 US cities from Maine to Hawaii, and its international partners span from New Zealand to Cuba. Commissioners include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Links Hall Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD) and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lucky Plush has also collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Walkabout Theater and M5. Most recently, Lucky Plush presented the world premiere Rooming House last fall at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre, where it ran for three weeks with 12 sold out performances.

Lucky Plush Productions is the first and only dance company to receive the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a recognition of the company’s exceptional creativity and impact. Other awards include creation, residency, and touring awards from National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, and National Performance Network; exchange awards from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund; a presentation award from MetLife Foundation; and an achievement award from the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at The Chicago Community Trust.

Press features include the Boston Globe's "10 Best Dance Performances of 2013," Chicago Public Radio's "Best of 2011"; the Chicago Reader's "Best of Chicago 2010"; Time Out Chicago's "The Decade's 10 Best Original Dance Works"; the Chicago Tribune's "Best of Dance 2008"; Chicago Sun Times' "Lasting memories in Dance" for 2005 and 2007, and a Time Out Chicago cover story "5 reasons to love dance in Chicago," among others. 

Lucky Plush Productions is a Harris Theater for Music and Dance resident company.


Lucky Plush Productions Tab Show biographies



Julia Rhoads (founding artistic director) has created more than 25 original works for Lucky Plush, several of which have toured extensively throughout the U.S. Additional choreography credits include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, Redmoon and River North Dance Chicago, among others. Rhoads is the recipient of an Alpert Award in Dance, a fellowship from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum lab award, a Cliff Dwellers Foundation choreography award, two Illinois Arts Council choreography fellowships, a Jacob K. Javits fellowship for graduate studies, and a 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for spearheading Creative Partners, an innovative nonprofit financial model shared by Lucky Plush Productions, Eighth Blackbird and Blair Thomas & Company. Rhoads is a former member of San Francisco Ballet and ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. She received her BA in History from Northwestern University, her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she has taught in the dance and theater programs of several Chicago-area colleges and universities. She is currently a part-time lecturer and dance advisor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies.



Kara Brody is in her second season with Lucky Plush Productions, where she joined the touring company of Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, and is an originating member of Rooming House. She is a native of Detroit, Michigan and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Wayne State University in 2016 with a BFA in Dance. As an undergraduate student, she performed works by Doug Varone, Dwight Rhoden, Trey McIntyre, Steffanie Batten Bland, and Ron de Jesus. In 2014, she was nationally recognized for her performance in Rhoden's Hissy Fits by ACDA/Dance Magazine. Brody recently performed in Brendan Fernandez's Art by Snapchat at the Museum of Contemporary Art. She is currently in a project with Khecari under the direction of Jonathan Meyer and Julia Antonick and is working with the Cambrians for their new project, Chicago Dances.




Michel Rodiriguez Cintra joined Lucky Plush as a touring member of The Better Half, and is an originating ensemble member for The Queue, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, and Rooming House. Born in Havana, Cintra is a former principal member of Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, and also danced with Hedwig Dances, and Concert Dance Inc., and as a guest artist with Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. As a founding member and co-choreographer with The Cambrians, Michel was named one of Dance Magazine’s “25 To Watch” in 2014. Choreography credits include works for Hedwig Dances, one of which was a finalist in the A.W.A.R.D Show 2010, Visceral Dance Chicago’s Solus and Dance in the Parks, among others. Cintra was named one of “The Men of 2010” by Time Out Chicago, and is the recipient of the 2013 3Arts Award in Dance. In addition to being an ensemble member of Lucky Plush Productions. Cintra is an adjunct faculty member at Columbia College Chicago and has taught master classes nationally and internationally.




Elizabeth Luse is originally from Orlando, Fl and began dancing at The School of Performing Arts. She holds a B.S. in Ballet Performance from Indiana University where she studied with Leslie Peck, Violette Verdy, and Guoping Wang. Since moving to Chicago, Luse has danced with Winifred Haun and Dancers, Nomi Dance Company, Dance in the Parks, and Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has worked as a guest artist with Ballet Quad Cities, Madison Ballet, Ron de Jesus Dance, and Emily Stein Dance. In addition to performing, she has taught for Visceral Dance Center, The Actors Gymnasium, and is currently on faculty at the Joffrey Academy of Dance. 



Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino was born in Cuba where he graduated from the National School of Arts Instructors and studied at the University of Arts. He was a principal dancer with Danza Teatro Retazos from 2007-2016 during which time he toured internationally to Italy, Sweden, the U.K., the U.S., Uruguay and Argentina. He has danced in choreography by Isabel Bustos, Stéphane Boko, Miguel Azcue, Pepe Hevia, Venetia Stifler, among others. In addition to working with Lucky Plush, Sarrancino is a member of Concert Dance Incorporated.




Aaron R. White, a Chicago native, earned his MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and his BFA from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both in Dance Performance and Choreography. White’s performance experience includes the Sean Curran Company, Project 44, and Trainor Dance, along with a host of other choreographers primarily based in New York City. As a choreographer, he has created work with Opera Lafayette of Washington D.C, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign’s Theater Department, Dance Africa Pittsburg, and for a variety of summer programs. As a master instructor, he has taught at The American Dance Festival, New York University Tisch School of the Arts, Point Park University, Barnard College at Columbia University, University of Hawaii – Manoa, Towson University, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Gibney Dance and Dance New Amsterdam. Most recently, White participated in the prestigious SpringBoard Danse Montreal, which invites 120 dancers from 36+ countries to work with various international dance companies and choreographers. As a Reiki Master-Teacher, White wishes to be a beacon of Light to support others, illuminate fears, and facilitate healing through Reiki, education, dance, and dialogue.



Meghann Wilkinson has been an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions since 2004, where she has originated roles in Lulu Sleeps, Cinderbox 18, The Sky Hangs Down Too Close, Punk Yankees, The Better Half, Cinderbox 2.0, The Queue, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip and Rooming House, among others. She has also been a recurring ensemble member of The Arrow with The Neo-Futurists. She is a former company member of Mordine and Company and has performed in Chicago with Smith/Wymore Disappearing Acts and Peter Carpenter Performance Project. Wilkinson has been a guest teacher and choreographer for Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, Cecchetti Council of America, and Evanston Dance Ensemble. She was Assistant Choreographer for Lookingglass Theatre’s The Great Fire and movement director for Walkabout Theater’s Crow. In 2016, she was a participant in Urban Bush Women’s Summer Leadership Institute and completed a certificate in Permaculture Design with Midwest Permaculture. Wilkinson has organized for the Chicago Seminar on Dance and Performance and the Society of Dance History Scholars. She has taught at Northwestern University, Dance Center Evanston, Thodos Dance Chicago, and Visceral Dance Chicago, as well as national and international master classes with Lucky Plush Productions. She is currently a part-time faculty member in the dance and theater programs at Columbia College Chicago.

Originally from Oakland, CA, Ethan Kirschbaum (guest performer) began his dance career as an apprentice with the Savage Jazz Dance Company while still in high school. Travelling to New York City to attend the Ailey School/Fordham University B.F.A. program, Kirschbaum graduated summa cum laude with departmental honors in dance performance. While in his junior year, he joined Hubbard Street 2, dancing and teaching workshops around the globe while concurrently completing his degree. He has performed with the Santa Fe Opera, and danced internationally including Canada, Mexico, Holland, Germany, Israel, Switzerland, Luxembourg, France, and Russia. In 2011, Ethan moved to Saarbrücken, Germany to dance with Donlon Dance Company at the Saarländisches Staatstheater under the direction of Marguerite Donlon. He is currently on faculty at the Lou Conte Dance Studio. After completing five seasons with River North Dance Chicago, Kirschbaum is a freelance artist performing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago, choreographing locally, and teaching nationally as a guest to dance studios and university programs alike.

Jacinda Ratcliffe (guest performer) graduated from Northwestern University with a BA in Dance and Psychology, then trained on scholarship at Lou Conte Dance Studio under Claire Bataille. She has received additional training through intensives at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, San Francisco Conservatory of Dance, Washington School Of Ballet, and Ballet Híspanico. While living in Chicago, she danced as an apprentice with Project Bound Dance in addition to working freelance. Most recently, she performed in Frankenstein AI: A Monster Made By Many at Sundance Film Festival. She is currently based out of New York City.

Enid Smith (guest performer) earned her BFA in contemporary dance from the North Carolina School of the Arts. In New York City, she performed with Ivy Baldwin Dance, The Merce Cunningham Repertory Understudy Group, Anita Cheng Dance, and MAC Cosmetics among others. Since moving to the Chicago area in 2007, she has presented her own work under the name enidsmithdance, collaborated with The North Shore Choral Society and the artists of Articular Facet, and worked extensively with The Evanston Dance Ensemble and ede2. She can be seen in The Retreat: One Week with Khecari in June of 2018. She currently teaches advanced modern at Dovetail Studios and Dance Center Evanston and maintains a massage therapy practice.

Bethany Clearfield (music collaborator, Rink Life) earned a masters degree from the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow, then she returned home to Chicago to quickly become a fixture on the vibrant choral scene. Specializing in early and new music, Clearfield performs as both soloist and ensemble member with the Grant Park Chorus and Orchestra, Music of the Baroque, and the William Ferris Chorale, and is also a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Clearfield also holds a jazz studies degree from Roosevelt University and remains in demand as a jazz, folk, and session singer, performing her original compositions with the band Outertown.

Friday, October 6, 2017

OPENING: NEW Lucky Plush ROOMING HOUSE Debuts in STEPPENWOLF’S 1700 THEATRE

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar:

LUCKY PLUSH PRESENTS 
ROOMING HOUSE, 
NEW DANCE THEATER WORK DEBUTS NOVEMBER 4-18 
IN STEPPENWOLF’S 1700 THEATRE

(Front, from left) Lucky Plush dancers Kara Brody and Elizabeth Luse, with (rear) Meghann Wilkinson and Aaron R. White. Photo credit: Philamonjaro


Lucky Plush Productions present Rooming House, the newest dance theater work devised by Lucky Plush, premiering in Steppenwolf’s new 1700 Theatre. 


Rooming House is presented as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series November 4-18, 2017 with 12 performances over a three-week run.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows we've adored Lucky Plush for years. We're also huge fans of Leslie Buxbaum Danzig and have covered her excellent work with 500 Clown, Actors Gymnasium, Chicago Children's Theatre and more. We can't wait to see their next new thing, Rooming House, in one of our favorite new spaces, Steppenwolf’s 80 seat, 1700 Theatre! The world needs more joy right now and I have a feeling Lucky Plush is about to bring it.

Rooming House is co-created by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads and collaborating director Leslie Buxbaum Danzig (formerly of 500 Clown). Playful and personal, the work synthesizes contemporary dance and theater to create a dynamic blueprint for exploring the question: what makes a person do something that could have life changing consequences?





Rooming House begins with an intimate conversation among friends, slipping easily between Spanish and English, as they recall stories of people who’ve taken actions with potentially devastating costs. When the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice is mentioned, varied interpretations propel the group into a physically and psychologically complex game of whodunit, taking them down a rabbit hole into the lives of everyday people who do extraordinary things—from life endangering rescues, to defecting from Cuba, to letting go of someone you love. 



Rooming House in the studio! from Lucky Plush Productions on Vimeo.

In Rooming House, the myth and game structure offer familiar anchors that allow the audience to form expectations, which then can be broken as performers follow their idiosyncratic preoccupations and wrestle with the conditions of the performance – often being a source of comedy and delight for the audience.

“Lucky Plush Productions deeply values creating a welcoming relationship between stage and audience, delivering relatable content without compromising complexity. Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre is an ideal venue to create this intimate relationship, and we are incredibly excited to being one of the first dance events on its intimate stage as part of Steppenwolf’s LookOut series,” said Lucky Plush Artistic Director and Rooming House co-creator Julia Rhoads.



“Lucky Plush also values laughter and finds that it functions as an important release, a non-precious way to tackle difficult issues and a generator of excellent energy between performers and audience,” added Rhoads’s frequent collaborator Leslie Buxbaum Danzig.


(From left) Lucky Plush dancers Meghann Wilkinson, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Elizabeth Luse and Aaron R. White perform a sneak-peek scene of Rooming House at the company’s Plucky Lush benefit in May, 2017. Photo credit: Philamonjaro

Previews of Rooming House are Saturday, November 4 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, November 5 at 4 p.m. Press openings are Monday, November 6 at 7:30 p.m. and Thursday, November 9 at 8 p.m. Performances run through November 18: Thursday-Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 4 p.m. There is an Industry Night performance on Monday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. and an added performance, Wednesday, November 15 at 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15-$40. Student tickets are $15. Industry tickets are $20 (Monday, November 13 only). Previews are $30. Seniors 62+ and active military tickets are $30. Regular performances are $40. Steppenwolf Red and Black Card holders may use their cards as per Steppenwolf policies. 

For tickets and information, visit Steppenwolf.org, LuckyPlush.com or call (312) 335-1650.


(From left) Lucky Plush dancers Meghann Wilkinson, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Aaron R. White, Michel Rodriguez Cintra and Kara Brody.
Photo credit: Philamonjaro


The 1700 Theatre, 1700 N. Halsted St., Chicago, is Steppenwolf’s casual, intimate and flexible 80-seat space dedicated to showcasing the work of its ensemble and local companies like Lucky Plush. It is located immediately behind Front Bar: Coffee and Drinks, the company’s 2,500 square ft. café & bar.

The debut of Rooming House at Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre is part of LookOut, Steppenwolf’s new multi-genre performance series, presenting a wide variety of genres and shows, from dance to live music to spoken word and beyond, from a diverse array of voices, emerging and established alike. For more information, visit Steppenwolf.com/lookout.

Rooming House features Lucky Plush ensemble members Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Aaron R. White and Meghann Wilkinson. Original music is by Michael Caskey. Lighting design by Alexander Ridgers.

Rooming House received presentation support from Steppenwolf Theatre Company and The Yard (Martha’s Vineyard, MA); production residency support from Door Kinetic Festival (Bailey’s Harbor, WI), NC State LIVE (Raleigh, NC); seminar support from University of Chicago’s Center for Theater and Performance Studies; and project grants from National Endowment for the Arts, MacArthur International Connections Fund, Network of Ensemble Theaters and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation.



Julia Rhoads is the founding artistic director of Lucky Plush Productions. She has created more than 25 original works for Lucky Plush, several of which have toured extensively throughout the U.S. Additional choreography credits include Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, Lookingglass Theatre, Walkabout Theater, Redmoon and River North Dance Chicago, among others. Rhoads is the recipient of an Alpert Award in Dance, a fellowship from the Maggie Allesee National Center for Choreography, a Chicago Dancemakers Forum lab award, a Cliff Dwellers Foundation choreography award, two Illinois Arts Council choreography fellowships, a Jacob K. Javits fellowship for graduate studies, and a 2014 Fractured Atlas Arts Entrepreneurship Award for spearheading Creative Partners, an innovative nonprofit financial model shared by Lucky Plush Productions, Eighth Blackbird and Blair Thomas & Company. Rhoads is a former member of San Francisco Ballet and ensemble member of XSIGHT! Performance Group. She received her BA in History from Northwestern University, her MFA in Performance from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and she has taught in the dance and theater programs of several Chicago-area colleges and universities. She is currently a part-time lecturer and dance advisor at the University of Chicago’s Department of Theater and Performance Studies.

 

Leslie Buxbaum Danzig is a collaborating director with Julia Rhoads/Lucky Plush Productions, where she co-created The Better Half and The Queue and is currently working on Rooming House. For over a decade, Danzig was co-founder and resident director of the Chicago-based physical theater company 500 Clown, whose shows (Macbeth, Frankenstein, Christmas and Elephant Deal) performed in Chicago at venues including Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Lookingglass Theatre, and toured throughout the U.S. Other directing credits include Quest at The Actors Gymnasium; Wild Sound, composed by Wilco’s Glenn Kotche for Third Coast Percussion, with performances at MCA Chicago, Metropolitan Museum of Art (NYC), National Forum of Music (Wroclaw), and De Doelen (Rotterdam); Damon Kiely's The Revel with the House Theatre; Redmoon's The Elephant and the Whale with Chicago Children's Theater (with Frank Maugeri); Redmoon’s Hunchback at New Victory Theater (NYC); and Float with About Face Theater. Prior to turning to directing, she toured nationally and internationally as an actor with NYC’s Elevator Repair Service. Danzig is Assistant Professor of Practice in Theater and Performance Studies, University of Chicago. She received her BA from Brown University and PhD in Performance Studies from Northwestern University, and trained in physical theater at Écoles Jacques Lecoq and Philippe Gaulier. Upcoming projects include creating an original circus-theater production and stage directing Paddle to the Sea with Third Coast Percussion.


About Lucky Plush Productions

Now entering its 18th season, Lucky Plush Productions (LuckyPlush.com) is a Chicago-based dance theater company led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads. Lucky Plush is committed to provoking and supporting an immediacy of presence – a palpable liveness – shared by performers in real-time with audiences. A unique hybrid of high-level dance and theater, Lucky Plush’s work is well-known for carefully crafting dramatic and rhythmic arcs, pushing its artists to move beyond the predictable by earning the exciting slippage between – and surprising coherence of – pedestrian action, realistic dialogue, abstract choreography and humor. Though rigorously composed, much of the company’s work feels like it is generated spontaneously.

Since its founding in 2000, Lucky Plush has created 30 original dance-theater works including 12 evening-length productions. In addition to regularly performing in Chicago, the company has presented in over 40 US cities from Maine to Hawaii, and its international partners span from New Zealand to Cuba. Commissioners include the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, Krannert Center at the University of Illinois, Flynn Center for the Performing Arts (VT), Links Hall Chicago, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center (MD) and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Lucky Plush has also collaborated with Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, Walkabout Theater and M5.

Lucky Plush Productions is the first and only dance company to receive the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions, a recognition of the company’s exceptional creativity and impact. Other awards include creation, residency, and touring awards from National Endowment for the Arts, National Dance Project, and National Performance Network; exchange awards from the MacArthur Foundation International Connections Fund; a presentation award from MetLife Foundation; and an achievement award from the Lester and Hope Abelson Fund for the Performing Arts at The Chicago Community Trust.

Press features include the Boston Globe's "10 Best Dance Performances of 2013," Chicago Public Radio's "Best of 2011"; the Chicago Reader's "Best of Chicago 2010"; Time Out Chicago's "The Decade's 10 Best Original Dance Works"; the Chicago Tribune's "Best of Dance 2008"; Chicago Sun Times' "Lasting memories in Dance" for 2005 and 2007, and a Time Out Chicago cover story "5 reasons to love dance in Chicago," among others. 

Lucky Plush managing director Kim Goldman works in tandem with artistic director Julia Rhoads to carry out the company’s mission. The current ensemble includes Kara Brody, Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Elizabeth Luse, Rodolfo Sánchez Sarracino, Aaron R. White and Meghann Wilkinson. 



Thursday, February 18, 2016

ONE NIGHT ONLY: Lucky Plush Debuts Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip

Chicago's Lucky Plush Productions is celebrating its 15th Anniversary with the creation and debut of a new dance-theater work,
Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip

 All Production Photos by Cheryl Mann, graphic design by Liviu Pasare

Commissioned by Chicago's Harris Theater for Music and Dance and the Pamela Crutchfield Dance Fund of the Imagine Campaign, this new evening-length work from Lucky Plush seamlessly blends comic book graphics, sound effects, and immersive video to create an experience like none other - contemporary dance theater meets animated graphic novel. 


Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip will premiere Thursday, 
March 3, 2016 at 7:30 p.m., marking the debut of Lucky Plush Productions at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, 205 E. Randolph St. in Chicago's Millennium Park. Tickets are $40-$10. Purchase tickets online at HarrisTheaterChicago.org, or by calling The Harris Theater Box Office, (312) 334-7777.


Featuring Lucky Plush's signature blend of nuanced dialogue, complex choreography, and off-the-cuff improvisation, SuperStrip follows a group of washed up superheroes attempting to reinvent themselves by starting a non-profit think tank for do-gooders. Complex training missions and specialized movement techniques bring structure to their collective, but the unlikely supers are unable to find a shared mission and brand. In the struggle to achieve consensus, they discover that real-world problems are far more complex than singular forces of evil, and that having power is part of the problem.


Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip is a collaboration among Lucky Plush's founder, director and choreographer Julia Rhoads, composer Michael Caskey, visual designer Liviu Pasare, lighting designer Kevin Rechner, sound designer Mikhail Fiksel and costume designer Jeff Hancock.  

Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip is commissioned and presented by the Harris Theater for Music and Dance and the Pamela Crutchfield Dance Fund of the Imagine Campaign. Krannert Center for the Performing Arts at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign supports the creation of Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip through a creative and technical residency funded by the Andrew W Mellon Foundation. SuperStrip is also supported through a production residency at Martha's Vineyard's The Yard, and preview performances at Hope College (MI) and Diana Wortham Theatre (NC).


Additional support for SuperStrip is provided by project grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation. Season support of SuperStrip is provided through operating grants from the Grover Hermann Foundation, the Alphawood Foundation, the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, the Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, the Peter G. and Elizabeth Torosian Foundation and the Illinois Arts Council Agency.



In addition to Producing Artistic Director Julia Rhoads, the Company Manager of Lucky Plush is Kim Goldman, and the current ensemble includes Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Daniel Gibson, Marc Macaranas, Elizabeth Luse, Melinda Jean Myers, Benjamin Wardell and Meghann Wilkinson.


For more information, visit LuckyPlush.com or follow them on Facebook and/or Twitter.


Trip the Light Fantastic:  The Making of SuperStrip
(pictured, from left) Lucky Plush Productions ensemble members as their “super” alter egos in Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip - Michel Rodriguez Cintra (Springster), Meghann Wilkinson (Sparky Lightstep), Benjamin Wardell (The Big Liberjinski), Elizabeth Luse (Professor Visioné), Daniel Gibson (Rapid Glitch), Melinda Myers (Mmm) and Marc Macaranas (Shadow). Photo by Cheryl Mann, graphic design by Liviu Pasare.

Kudos To Our Friends at Lucky Plush Productions On Their Prestigious MacArthur Award

Lucky Plush Productions Receives Prestigious MacArthur Award
for Extraordinary Creativity and Effectiveness



Big congrats to our friends over at Lucky Plush Productions! Here at ChiIL Live Shows & ChiIL Mama we've been fans of the creative dance stylings of Lucky Plush for years. We're thrilled to announce they were just awarded the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions. 

Through this award, the MacArthur Foundation recognizes exceptional nonprofit organizations that demonstrate creativity and impact, and invests in their long-term sustainability with sizable one-time grants. 

Led by founder and artistic director Julia Rhoads, Lucky Plush Productions creates a hybrid form of dance theater that blends nuanced dialogue, lush choreography, and unexpected humor. The company has premiered more than 30 original works, including 13 evening-length dance theater productions, and has built a national reputation for work that is both thought provoking and relatable. The company has performed in more than 40 venues, nationally and internationally, in just the past five seasons.

"Receiving the MacArthur Award is both an honor and a financial grace for Lucky Plush Productions. It validates over 15 years of dedicated risk-taking, inspires a renewed sense of responsibility and purpose in fulfilling our mission, and will deepen our efforts to create a sustainable model for our work," said Julia Rhoads, Founder and Producing Artistic Director, Lucky Plush Productions.

Lucky Plush is committed to moving the dance field forward through risk taking and innovation, coupled with consistently responsible administrative and financial practice. It collaborates widely with performance arts groups and presenters and it consistently hires and collaborates with the city's most highly sought-after talent. 

In 2009, well before it was a regular practice, Lucky Plush began inviting audiences into the creative process by building a website where people could comment, donate material, and engage in conversations about the work's content. 

In addition, Lucky Plush also led the effort to establish Creative Partners, a collaborative effort with eighth blackbird and Blair Thomas and Company to provide for a shared full time development staff to drive growth and generate new resources.



Lucky Plush also is the first Chicago dance company that the Harris Theater for Music and Dance has both commissioned and fully presented. In just two weeks at the Harris, Lucky Plush debuts Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip, Thursday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. 

In SuperStrip, the ensemble plays a group of washed up superheroes whom attempt to reinvent themselves as a non-profit think tank, complete with comic book graphics, sound effects and immersive video. For tickets and information, visit HarrisTheaterChicago.org or call (312) 334-7777.
                                                                        
In addition to Julia Rhoads, the company manager of Lucky Plush is Kim Goldman, and the current ensemble includes Michel Rodriguez Cintra, Daniel Gibson, Marc Macaranas, Elizabeth Luse, Melinda Jean Myers, Benjamin Wardell and Meghann Wilkinson. 

For more information, visit LuckyPlush.com or follow the company on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.


More about The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions

The MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions has been presented annually since 2006 to organizations across the country and around the world that demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness. Lucky Plush Productions will use the $200,000 that accompanies its MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions to increase its reserve fund, with a small portion earmarked for technology upgrades and marketing.

This year's 14 recipients are drawn exclusively from Chicago's diverse arts and culture community in order to strengthen the city's vibrant cultural life and underscore the Foundation's commitment to its hometown. 

"These superbly imaginative organizations exemplify Chicago's thriving arts and culture community, which is vibrant and economically vital to the region," said MacArthur President Julia Stasch. "Support for these diverse and leading organizations reflects our enduring commitment to Chicago and to its cultural life that enriches us all."

According to MacArthur, the Award is not only recognition for past leadership and success but also an investment in the future. For these Awards, the Foundation does not seek or accept nominations. To qualify, organizations must demonstrate exceptional creativity and effectiveness; have reached a critical or strategic point in their development; show strong leadership and stable financial management; have previously received MacArthur support; and engage in work central to one of MacArthur's core programs.


Each year, MacArthur supports more than 300 arts and culture group in Chicago, awarding more than $10 million in grants, mostly through general operating support. Additional information about this year's MacArthur Awards is at macfound.org/MacAward.

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