Showing posts with label Smokefall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Smokefall. Show all posts

Monday, October 20, 2014

ACT OUT CLOSING: Chi, IL Live Shows On Our Radar-- Fall Favorites Closing Soon #theatre #reviews

Via The League of Chicago Theatres

Fall 2014 will see Chicago continue to produce some of the most exciting theater in the country.  Offerings from the city’s more than 200 producing theaters includes a range of special fall programming, featuring everything from the latest musicals to highly anticipated world premieres.   

Be sure to check back with ChiIL Live Shows like we vote in Chi, IL... early and often. We're passionate about Chicago Theatre and we review everything from the big Broadway in Chicago touring extravaganzas to Chicago's vital and thriving storefront scene.

We've marked some of our fall top picks below in red. Catch them while you can. Many are closing soon. We're your source for fall closings, holiday openings, theatre reviews, news, video interviews, and ticket giveaways. Follow us on Facebook, like our Facebook Page, follow us on Twitter, and Google + so you don't miss out.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions including a Fall Theatre Guide, visit the League of Chicago website,  Discounted tickets are available at or at the three Hot Tix half-price ticket locations: across from the Chicago Cultural Center at Expo72 (72 E. Randolph); in the Water Works Visitor Information Center (163 E. Pearson); and the newest location at Block Thirty Seven, Shops at 108 N. State. Hot Tix offers half-price tickets to more than 200 Chicago area theatres, full price tickets to all Ticketmaster events including concerts and sports, and Play Money gift certificates.

“This fall will bring a brand new theater season to Chicago, and true to the reputation of Chicago theater, the season promises to be exciting, creative, and unique.  Theaters will present works ranging from family-friendly shows to hard-hitting dramas, and Chicago remains a leader in developing and producing new works,” says Deb Clapp, Executive Director of the League of Chicago Theatres. “We are anticipating a triumphant season filled with incomparable quality and variety.”

The following is a selection of notable work playing in Chicago throughout the fall:

New works and adaptations include:
*Goodman Theatre brings back Noah Haidle’s hit new work Smokefall, September 20 – October 26, 2014. 

ChiIL Live Shows caught opening night of Smokefall this season and last and we were blown away by this production. Smokefall is an absolute must see. I had the great pleasure of seeing it the first time around with my dad, who is a twin. It's a great production to see with relatives, as it added an extra layer to this complex and compelling family drama. Smokefall gives "Family Tree" and "baggage" a whole new twist! This production is spot on about the things that truly matter and so funny you'll hardly notice as characters'  wit and wisdom seep in and get under your skin. Highly recommended.
Isaac’s Eye, a new work by Lucas Hnath reimagines the world of a young Isaac Newton plays at Writers Theatre at Books on Vernon, September 2 – December 7, 2014.  

Musicals include:
The world premiere musical Amazing Grace, based on the awe-inspiring true story, plays at the Bank of America Theatre, October 9 – November 2, 2014.

Griffin Theatre Company presents Titanic, the Tony Award-winning musical re-imaged and re-written for the stage in its first major US Production, October 18 – December 7, 2014

*The hit modern musical Avenue Q continues at The Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave, through October 26, 2014.

Here at ChiIL Live Shows, Avenue Q is one of our all time favorite musicals, and The Mercury Theater production is every bit as wicked and witty as the Broadway version. If you still haven't seen it, what are you waiting for? Go already! This should be mandatory viewing for all older teens, recent high school and college graduates, and everyone who has ever struggled to make ends meet, had quirky neighbors, lived the urban dream, or loved muppets in childhood. Do note--these puppets are raunchy, irreverent, cynical and not particularly kid appropriate. That said, they'll crack you up and rock your reality. Highly recommended.

*Black Ensemble Theatre brings back At Last: A Tribute to Etta James, featuring 15 of Etta James’ biggest hits, October 24 – December 28, 2014.

BET's remount of At Last: A Tribute to Etta James, is a pure delight. They don't dilute the truth, and feature the tough times, addictions and attitude along with the award winning genius that is Etta James. Her multifaceted personality and life long career are creatively played by multiple Ettas of various ages. The vocal talent at Black Ensemble Theatre is stunning, and entirely impressive. Highly recommended.

Dramatic works include:
Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents a compelling new drama The Night Alive by Conor McPherson, directed by Henry Wishcamper, September 18 – November 16, 2014.

*Shakespeare’s King Lear, at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. Directed by Barbara Gaines and featuring Chicago favorite Larry Yando in the title role, September 9 – November 9, 2014.

Two words--Larry Yando! Don't let the King Lear title fool you, Yando is King Midas and his name is box office gold! This production is well worth seeing, as Yando embodies the complexities of Lear with panache. He's at once detestable yet charmingly pitiful. Chicago Shakespeare keeps the set minimalist and the costumes modern. The stage rain and thunderous clashes are particularly evocative and amazing. Recommended.

My Name is Asher Lev, adapted by Aaron Posner from the novel by Chaim Potok, premieres at TimeLine Theatre Company at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave, through October 18, 2014.

The classic Arthur Miller drama All My Sons performs at Raven Theatre in Edgewater. September 16 – November 15, 2014.

About Chicago theater
Chicago theater is the leader in the U.S. with more than 250 theaters throughout Chicagoland, comprising a rich and varied community ranging from storefront, non-union theaters to the most renowned resident theaters in the country, including 5 which have been honored with Regional Tony Awards, and the largest touring Broadway organization in the nation. Chicago’s theaters serve 5 million audience members annually and have a combined budget of more than $250 million. Chicago produces and/or presents more world premieres annually than any other city in the nation. In 2009-10 alone Chicago theater companies produced more than 130 world premiere productions and adaptations. Each year Chicago theaters send new work to resident theaters across the country, to Broadway, and around the world. 

The League of Chicago Theatres’ Mission Statement
The League of Chicago Theatres is an alliance of theaters which leverages its collective strength to promote, support and advocate for Chicago's theater industry locally, nationally and internationally. The League of Chicago Theatres Foundation is dedicated to enhancing the art of theater in the Chicago area through audience development and support services for theaters and theater professionals.

For a comprehensive list of Chicago productions, visit the League of Chicago website,  Discounted tickets are available at

Saturday, August 30, 2014

ACT OUT OPENING: Highly Acclaimed Smokefall Returns to Goodman On The Mainstage 9/20



Last year, ChiIL Live Shows was blown away by Smokefall, at the press opening, and we were not alone. Critics and audiences alike raved about this stellar drama which broke ticket sales records and will now be remounted as a mainstage production to open the fall 2014 season.

Smokefall launches the Goodman’s All-New Fall, celebrating nine decades with new inspiration: three months of new American plays, each developed in the Goodman’s new play programs.  

Exactly one year after its world premiere in the Owen Theatre, Noah Haidle’s Smokefall, directed by Anne Kauffman, makes its Albert Theatre debut—becoming the third production in Goodman Theatre’s 90-year history to transfer from the theater’s smaller stage to the mainstage in order for more audiences to experience an acclaimed new play. 

An exploration of the power and fragility of love through three generations of family life, Smokefall in its debut set the record of highest number of individual tickets sold in Owen Theatre history, and the production topped the “Best of 2013” lists among major Chicago media. The original six-member company remains intact for the play’s Albert Theatre premiere—including Chicago favorite Mike Nussbaum as The Colonel, whose performance “just weeks from his 90th birthday…had my chin on the floor” (Chris Jones, Chicago Tribune) was hailed as “miraculous…so emblematic of the play’s homage to the life force itself…a rare treat” (Hedy Weiss, Chicago Sun-Times). 

Smokefall runs September 20 – October 26 in the Albert Theatre (opening night is Monday, September 29). Tickets ($25-$81; subject to change) are on sale now at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its production supporters, including Abbott Fund, the Sponsor Partner; the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, the Foundation Partner; and Mayer Brown, the Corporate Sponsor Partner.

Smokefall is an artistic triumph. From its auspicious beginnings to an outstanding fully-realized mainstage production, this project perfectly exemplifies what we hope to achieve in our new play development efforts,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Noah’s voice is unique among American theater artists; his imagination, sense of playfulness and honest emotion are an unusual combination. To produce Smokefall again with the same fine company of artists is the rare opportunity to revisit, or experience for the first time, a singular ephemeral moment.”

Smokefall’s page-to-stage journey began in 2006 during Haidle’s production of Vigils at the Goodman, when he conceived and developed Local Time—a 12-play cycle spanning one 24-hour period in the life of a Midwestern family, each act named for the time in which it took place (11am to 1pm and 5 to 7pm, etc). Falls was drawn to the project and commissioned Haidle to develop it, including a workshop of three of the 12 plays in the Goodman’s New Stages festival. Working with the Goodman’s Director of New Play Development Tanya Palmer (for whom the play is dedicated), Haidle further reworked the project and ultimately created a single play—Smokefall, whose title refers to the time of day immediately before nightfall—that tackles thematic questions about the meaning of life and the nature of love and commitment. The Goodman’s 2013 world-premiere co-production with South Coast Repertory appeared in the Owen Theatre (October 5 – November 3) and was hailed as “achingly sad, transcendently lovely” (Chicago Sun-Times) “relentlessly honest and believable” (Chicago Tribune), “one of the best plays of the year” (New City) and “echoing of Wilder with a dram or two of whimsy” (Time Out Chicago).

“To do the play again with this remarkable group of people is a blessing in a really wonderful way,” said playwright Noah Haidle. “Annie has a true gift, and is one of the lights of her generation; she is as much a creator of this show as I am. And as a writer, I can’t imagine anyone supporting my work more than Bob Falls, Tanya Palmer and the entire Goodman.”

Change is in the air as Violet (Keberlein) prepares to bring twin boys into the world. Inside her womb, her unborn sons (Massey and Slater) contemplate life after birth, the fragility of love and the meaning of home, while outside her body her world is in transformation: her husband, Daniel (Slater) is making plans of his own, her father The Colonel (Nussbaum) is slipping into senility and her daughter, Beauty (Combs) has taken a vow of silence. In the third act, one of the twins—now an old man—reflects on his life and family when an unexpected visitor arrives. The design team includes Kevin Depinet (set), Lindsay Jones (sound), Ana Kuzmanic (costumes) and David Weiner (lighting). Joseph Drummond is the production stage manager and Briana J. Fahey is the stage manager. Tanya Palmer is the dramaturg for the production. 

More Glimpses at Goodman’s All-New Fall, celebrating nine decades with new inspiration: (three months of new American plays, each developed in the Goodman’s new play programs.)

In the Owen is Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s The World of Extreme Happiness directed by Eric Ting, September 13 – October 12 (opening night is September 22). In addition, six new plays—three workshop productions and three staged readings, all free of charge—appear as part of the annual New Stages Festival in the Owen, October 29 – November 16, with a weekend for industry professionals taking place November 14-16 (titles and artists TBA). 

The Goodman is grateful for the generosity of its New Work Sponsors, including The Davee Foundation, Major Supporter of the Expansion of New Stages; Time Warner Foundation, Lead Supporter of New Play Development; The Elizabeth F. Cheney Foundation and the Pritzker-Pucker Foundation, Major Supporters of New Play Development;  The Glasser and Rosenthal Family, the  Scenemakers Board and the Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust, Supporters of New Work Development; The Joyce Foundation, Principal Support of Artistic Development and Diversity Initiatives; Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Festival Sponsor. Edelman is the Major Corporate Sponsor for the Owen Theatre Season.

Artist Encounter at Goodman Theatre
Sunday, September 28 at 5pm |$5 general public, FREE Subscribers, Donors, students
Artist Encounters bring together audiences and Goodman artists in an intimate environment for a behind-the-scenes look at the plays and the playmaking process. Join playwright Noah Haidle and director Anne Kauffman as they discuss the process of bringing Smokefall to life.

College Night: Pizza and Play
Enjoy pizza, pop and the opportunity to mingle with other students and meet the Goodman artists before a performance.
Wednesday,October 1 at 6pm – preshow reception; 7:30pm - performance | $10 with promo code COLLEGE (must redeem with valid student ID)

Post-Show Discussions at Goodman Theatre                                 
Goodman Theatre | FREE
Stay late for discussions about the play with members of the artistic team every Wednesday and Thursday evening throughout the run of the show. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

ACT OUT: Tickets Now On Sale For NOAH HAIDLE’S SMOKEFALL at Goodman Theatre



Acclaimed playwright and screenwriter Noah Haidle returns to Chicago with his newest work, Smokefall, which examines life’s big questions through the prism of an ordinary family. Hailed by The New Yorker as “formidably talented, with a sort of freewheeling intuitive daring,” the Michigan native playwright most recently wrote the 2012 film Stand Up Guys (starring Alan Arkin, Christopher Walken and Al Pacino) and previously authored Mr. Marmalade, Vigils (at the Goodman in 2006) and Persephone for the stage.

Director Anne Kauffman, in her Goodman debut, assembles an ensemble cast for the Goodman production, including legendary Chicago actor Mike Nussbaum (Henry VIII at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre) as the Colonel; Catherine Combs (The Delling Shore at Actors Theatre of Louisville Humana Festival) in the roles of Beauty and Blessing; Katherine Keberlein (Boeing, Boeing at Drury Lane Oakbrook) as Violet; Guy Massey (Failure:  A Love Story at Victory Gardens Theater) as Footnote and Fetus Two; and Eric Slater (Gloryana at New York City’s Public Theater) as Daniel and Fetus One.  

A world-premiere co-production with South Coast Repertory, Smokefall runs October 5 – November 3 in the Owen Theatre (opening night is Monday, October 14). Tickets ($10-$40; subject to change) are on sale now at, by phone at 312.443.3800 or at the box office (170 North Dearborn). Bank of America is the 2013/2014 Owen Season Sponsor.

“The Goodman has collaborated on Smokefall since 2011, so to be able to open the Owen season with this highly theatrical, unique production is a great joy,” said Artistic Director Robert Falls. “Noah has a singular, theatrical voice, and his plays shine in a highly original, imaginative world. Smokefall is thought-provoking and entertaining at the same time, and I am thrilled to welcome him back to our home.”

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