Showing posts with label Oscar Wilde. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Oscar Wilde. Show all posts

Thursday, November 9, 2017

OPENING: Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Ernest at Writers Theatre 11/8-12/23/17

Chi IL Live Shows On Our Radar:


Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Artistic Director Michael Halberstam
November 8 – December 23, 2017
Press Opening: Wednesday, November 15 at 7:30 pm
Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glenco

November 8 – December 23, 2017
**Run Time: 2 hours 30 minutes/ 2 intermissions**

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, we can't wait to catch this Oscar Wilde classic. I first read it way back in the day, in high school, and adored the witty wordplay, but I've never caught it on stage. We'll be out November 21st, so check back soon for my full review.

The cast includes: Anita Chandwaney (Miss Prism), Shannon Cochran (Lady Bracknell), Aaron Todd Douglas (Rev. Canon Chasuble), Alex Goodrich (Jack Worthing), Steve Haggard (Algernon Moncreif), Rebecca Hurd (Cecily Cardew), Jennifer Latimore (Gwendolyn Fairfax) and Ross Lehman (Lane/Merriman).

One of the cleverest comedies by one of the greatest writers in the English language, The Importance of Being Earnest introduces us to Jack and Algernon, two charming bachelors who are each living a double life, aided by a fictional alter ego called “Ernest.” But when they fall truly in love with a pair of proper young women, will they be able to bring an end to the charade and convince the formidable Lady Bracknell that they are suitable candidates for marriage? After all, “the one charm about marriage is that it makes a life of deception absolutely necessary for both parties.”

Oscar Wilde (Writer) 
Michael Halberstam (Director)
Pedro Castillo Garcia (Dramaturg) 
Mara Blumenfeld  (Costume Designer)
John Culbert (Lighting Designer)
Josh Schmidt (Sound Designer)
Scott Dickens  (Properties Master)
David Castellanos (Production Stage Manager)
Peter Andersen (Assistant Director)
Janelle Boudreau (Assistant Stage Manager) 

Artistic Director Michael Halberstam brings his talent for refreshing the classics to this effervescent comedy of manners. Filled with Wilde’s sparkling wit, piercing social satire and trademark wordplay, this well-loved classic is certain to delight this holiday season!

Alexandra C. and John D. Nichols Theatre | 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe
Tickets: $35 - $80
(847) 242-6000

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SAVE THE DATES: Dead Writers Theatre Collective Gets WILDE With “LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN” At STAGE 773 April 17-June 7


Wild about Oscar Wilde? Don't despair now that Chicago Children's Theatre's incredible rendition based on Wilde's Selfish Giant and Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest: Concert Reading at Ruth Page have closed. Fans, there's more Wilde about to light up Chicago's Stage 773 via Dead Writers Theatre Collective! Save the dates. Previews begin 4/17-21.

Dead Writers Theatre Collective opens their season with Oscar Wilde’s four-act comedy of morals “Lady Windermere’s Fan,” directed by Dead Writers Artistic Director Jim Schneider at Stage 773 located at 1225 W. Belmont Ave., April 17-June 7. Previews are April 17-21.

“Lady Windermere's Fan” subtitled “A Play About a Good Woman” was first produced in 1892 at London’s St James's Theatre in London. Married into the peak of London high society, rich, titled, beautiful and proper Lady Margaret Windermere is 21 years old and without a care in the world. Before the next sunrise, malicious gossip, a glamorous woman with a dangerous past, a charming gentleman with a wicked reputation, and a misplaced fan will threaten to destroy everything she holds dear and change her forever.

“This play has always been near and dear to my heart,” says Schneider. “We did three performances of the play in our 2013 Chamber Series and it was so successful that many of our patrons asked if we would do a full production of it. The Collective is extremely pleased to include it in our 2015 season because it gives us the opportunity to fulfill the request from our fans and it is the perfect vehicle to show off what Dead Writers Theatre Collective has come to be known for: presenting theater with premier production values, fine acting and the highest caliber of period authenticity. Add in our wonderful cast and a treasure trove of designer talent and you get a deliciously rich, must-see theater experience, guaranteed to be a highlight of the spring theater season.”

The cast includes Megan Delay* (Lady Windermere), Edward Fraim (Lord Windermere), Joanna Riopelle* (Mrs. Erlynne), Doug Reed (Lord Darlington), Michael Graham* (Lord Augustus Lorton), Linda Roberts* (The Duchess of Berwick), Travis Barnhart* (Mr. Cecil Graham), Rob Cramer* (Mr. Dumby), Shawn Hansen (Mr. Hopper), Christina Rene Jones (Lady Agatha), Mindy Barber (Lady Plymdale), Joyce Saxon*  and Julie Mitre (Lady Jedburgh), Elliott Fredland (Parker), Sara Minton* (Mrs. Cowper-Cowper), Maggie Speer (Lady Stutfield), Bev Coscarelli (Miss graham), Melanie Vitaterna (Rosalie). Understudies are Mary Anne Bowman and Ben Muller*.

The design team includes Jim Schneider* (director), Moon Jung Kim (set designer), Patti Roeder* (costume designer), Erik Barry (lighting designer), Jeffrey Levin (sound designer)  and Sarah Jo White (hair and makeup designer). Stage manager is Shannon Desmond; assistant stage managers are Matthew Bonaccorso* and Alison Ennis. Assistant director is Brenda Kilianski*.

Oscar Wilde (1854 -1900) was a successful poet and journalist, though his greatest talent was for writing plays. His first successful play, “Lady Windermere's Fan,” opened in February 1892, followed by a string of extremely popular comedies including “A Woman of No Importance” (1893), “An Ideal Husband” (1895), and “The Importance of Being Earnest” (1895). In 1891, at the peak of his career, Wilde began an ill-fated affair with Lord Alfred Douglas, nicknamed “Bosie.” When Bosie’s disapproving father insulted Wilde, Wilde sued for defamation of character. Bosie’s father’s counter suit for “depravity” resulted in Wilde’s conviction for sodomy and Wilde’s two-year jail sentence. After serving his sentence, Wilde emerged from jail bankrupt and spiritually broken. He died of cerebral meningitis on Nov. 30, 1900. Wilde’s story is at the heart of David Hare’s “The Judas Kiss” which will have a chamber production by Dead Writers Theatre Collective at the Stage 773 Cabaret Aug. 8-10.

Jim Schneider* (Director/Dead Writers Theatre Collective Artistic Director) directed last season’s staging of the Chicago premiere of Michael Bloom’s adaptation of Jane Austen’s “Emma,” at Stage 773. Other Collective directing credits include the professional world premiere of Adam Pasen's “Tea with Edie & Fitz” and Noel Coward's “The Vortex.” Additional Chicago directing credits include the critically acclaimed, Jeff Recommended productions of Clare Booth Luce’s “The Women,” Philip Barry’s “The Philadelphia Story,” Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever,”  “Design for Living” and “An Ideal Husband,” all at Circle Theatre. To date Schneider’s productions have garnered a total of five Jeff Recommendations and 11 Jeff Nominations, winning two for Best Costume Design. His 2010 production of “The Philadelphia Story” won three Broadway World Awards (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Revival of a Classic) and “Tea with Eddie & Fitz” recently won the Broadway World Award for Best New Play of 2013. Originally from Houston, Texas, Schneider founded Houston’s Horizon’s Showcase Theatre where he premiered Horton Foote’s “Courtship” with the assistance of Foote, produced and directed Edward Albee’s “The Zoo Story” and “The American Dream” (with the assistance of Albee) among others. Schneider holds an M.F.A. from University of Houston.

Dead Writers Theatre Collective presents Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” April 17 – June 7 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. Previews are Friday, April 17, 7:30 p.m.; Saturday, April 18, 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 19 2:30 p.m. and Tuesday, April 21 at 7:30 p.m. Press opening is Wednesday, April 22 at 7:30 p.m. Post-opening performances are Thursdays-Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday Matinee at 2:30 p.m.  Tickets are $20 for previews; $40 for all other performances. Group, senior and student discounts are available. For tickets call 773.327.5252 or visit

* Denotes Dead Writers Theatre Collective Member

Dead Writers Theatre Collective seeks to transport audiences into the original world of the play through extensively studied period appropriate settings, props and costumes.  This strict attention to detail and high level of aesthetics is a hallmark of the Collective.

The Collective, under the leadership of Artistic Director Jim Schneider and Managing Director Bob Douglas, is a Chicago-based 501 (c ) 3 non-profit arts collective comprised of directors, designers, actors and playwrights and educators with a mission is to produce works either by or about dead writers. Past productions have included Jane Austen’s “Emma,” Noel Coward’s “The Vortex,” Brenda Kilianski’s “Loos Ends: A Hollywood Memoir,” Adam Pasen “Tea with Eddie and Fitz,” (winner of the Broadway World Award for Best New Play of 2013) and Chamber productions of Oscar Wilde’s “Lady Windermere’s Fan” and Pierre de  Marivaux’s “The Game of Love and Chance.”

The Collective’s 2015 season, “A Wilde Affair” features three works: ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan” (April 17-June 7), David Hare’s “The Judas Kiss” (Aug. 8-10) and David Grimm’s “The Learned Ladies of Park Avenue” translated and freely adapted from Moliere’s “Les Femmes Savantes” (Oct. 8-10). Three-show subscriptions are still available for Dead Writers Theatre Collective’s 2015 three-play season for $90 per person. For more information visit

Dead Writers Theatre Collective 2015 productions are supported in part by The Service Club of Chicago, Lois Siegel, Dr. and Mrs. James Hannigan and Joyce Saxon. 

Thursday, May 8, 2014

REVIEW: House Theatre's Dorian & Post Show Dance Party May 10th #Theatre

This Saturday 5/10:

DJ Bouncy Castle (aka Zeke Sulkes) will be spinning the best of the best in techno, disco, hip-hop, and house music! Come ready to play, and be prepared to leave your clothes on the dance floor.

The party starts at 8pm with a performance of DORIAN, with its onstage cash bar and lush, dance-fueled, promenade staging.

At 10pm, DJ Bouncy Castle takes the stage for a dance party with the cast and crew of the show. The cash bar remains and the dancing continues!

Admission is FREE with your ticket to DORIAN, and you're welcome to come when the party starts at 10:00 PM!

Industry folks get half price anytime with code "IMAKEART" and a proof of industry at will call.

Dorian Review:

ChiIL Live Shows had a chance to check out Dorian on opening night and this unique production is well worth a look. Do note, there is brief nudity, and stage violence, so this show is recommended for mature audiences and not appropriate for those under 16.  

Now for the rest of you... 

The set of DORIAN is like an art gallery opening, and to reflect this, DORIAN is staged in promenade. Audience members experience the show by walking and standing with the actors throughout the stage space. There will be places to perch during scenes, but not regular theatre seats. With promenade staging you are encouraged to move about the stage however you like, which gives you some exciting choice in exactly how you experience this show. 

For this show there's also a large bar on stage, which means during intermissions you won't have to go far for a drink! If you know you won't be able to stand for a duration, just let the theatre know and they'll arrange seating for you. Other limited seating is available... first come first served.

Current run time for DORIAN is 2 hours including one intermission.

Doors open 30 minutes before showtime, and The House Theatre encourages you to come early and enjoy the on-stage cash bar, and mingle with the performers.  (Do note, unfortunately only 2 specialty show drinks are available at the on stage bar. For good Polish beer & other options, purchase in the lobby and bring it in with you!)

It's become all the rage and sometimes rightfully so. Promenade staging (or shows where the audience stands and mingles in the performance space and follows the action, moving as needed) was used to great effect for The Hypocrites runaway hit, The Mikado (coming back again this winter--yay).  We've honestly never seen the 3rd wall so effectively broken down. The Mikado was playful, fun, interactive and highly effective as a promenade style piece.  There's currently a promenade style Midsummer Night's Dream at Strange Loop Theatre and Red Moon Theatre's latest, Bellboys, Bears and Baggage, is billed as a promenade style spectacle, too.

Now for Dorian... We have mixed feelings about the success of this style here. On the up side, most of the action is in the New York art party scene so it makes sense to have the audience included as party goers & every night the audience is different & can truly alter the show. 

Yet, promenade style can be intimidating for those more reticent audience members, and a cast of art snobs is not the most welcoming by nature. The cast in character was rude and snobbish, pushing through the audience to get to their hot, new favorite, leaving the party guests/audience members feeling brushed off at best and excluded and in the way, at worst.  The sight lines were also bad for shorter people in much of the space.

Maybe they've tweaked it since the opening and this isn't such an issue, but a big percentage of the audience literally fled for the minimal seating after the first couple scenes. The sight lines looked better there (although I can't be sure as we stuck it out on the floor), but the behind the bar seating seemed problematic and a bit blocked off and detached from the action as well.  
An even bigger obstacle to the Dorian promenade success is the big obstacles... ie: large set pieces. There are huge chunks of stage being shifted in and out of the space routinely, so that we were completely distracted from the dialogue and action on stage.  It felt like we were constantly in the way and every few minutes someone was saying excuse me and barreling down on us with a big, rolling hunk of set.  

Plot & Characters
Dorian starts slow and for all the sordid plot points, it is a stylized piece without a lot of action. We dug the giant, evolving portrait and thought that was highly effective. Otherwise the set and costumes were fairly unremarkable.

There seemed to be a lot of extraneous rushing about from the art snobs, that didn't appear organic or seem to have much point.  Last December we saw We Three Lizas by About Face Theatre at Stage 773. It's been over 4 months and I'm STILL laughing about Andy Warhol's entourage club scene, and replaying it in my head. It was incredibly spot on hilarious!  Dorian left me wishing for this level of pretentiousness and parody. That said, it's an interesting enough piece. Though not one of our favorites from The House, Dorian is macabre, dark, refreshingly new, and worth a look.


By Ben Lobpries and Tommy Rapley
Directed and Choreographed by Tommy Rapley
Adapted from the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

PRICE: $20-$39 for Regular Run.
TIMES: Thursdays, Fridays, & Saturdays at 8:00pm, Sundays at 7:00pm
RUN TIME: 2 hours, including one intermission

New to the big city, a young, beautiful, and fragile Dorian Gray is greedily embraced by a group of artists and art critics. Frustrated and sensitive painter Basil Howard creates a stunning portrait of the young Dorian.  But wild gallery parties, heart-broken lovers, and desperate violence wreak havoc on the portrait, reflecting the scars on Dorian’s soul. Yet the man himself remains flawless for decades. What crime can ultimately break the spell?

This boldly modern adaptation reveals depth, pain, and longing beneath the surface of Wilde’s morality tale. Just like Dorian’s picture, this classic story about the creation of a masterpiece is transformed into a lush, dance-fueled stage production.

DORIAN is staged in promenade, with actors and audience sharing the stage space. If you want to join us, but won't be able to stand and move easliy, just let us know and we'll work it out.

DORIAN contains brief nudity, adult topics, and a bar on stage. Leave the kids at home on this one! Thinking about bringing your teen? Check out our Parent's Guide for more content info. 

“A stunning achievement” -Windy City Times

“No question, Rapley’s appropriately stylized revision is THRILLING stuff, aesthetically consistent with Wilde… while PERFECTLY TUNED into the overkill of American affluence.” -Chicago Free Press

Show Dates: Apr 4 2014 to May 18 2014 
Location:  The Chopin Theatre
1543 W. Division St., Chicago, IL

Click or call 773-769-3832, use Industry code IMAKEART

Can't make it this Saturday?

Advance Industry tickets for ANY performance are HALF-PRICE!  Use code IMAKEART.

Performed in promenade, driven by dance, and with a bar right on stage.

DORIAN performs Thursdays - Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 7pm at The House Theatre's home, The Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. in Chicago.

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