Showing posts with label Theatre reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Theatre reviews. Show all posts

Monday, April 4, 2016

REVIEW: Christina, The Girl King

Chi, IL LIVE Shows On Our Radar

Last Call: Christina, The Girl King 
Must Close April 9th

**Note: Christina, The Girl King is for adult audiences only. Contains sex, full nudity (both female and male), violence and blood.**

Move over Game of Thrones! Cor Theatre's Christina, The Girl King has it all... smart, powerful women, plotting men, a lesbian love affair, torture, abdication, and more, live on stage, in an intimate little venue! They even have some sweet, local microbrews from Temperance Beer Company in Evanston you can take to your seat and enjoy during the show. Each purchase directly benefits the theatre! 

From the moment we entered Jackalope Theatre's territory, The Frontier Theater, to see the actors stretching and doing vocal warm ups right on stage, as the audience filtered in, we were hooked! Cor Theatre's production choice meshed so well with this quirky space and is a boon for both companies. Cor Theatre was chosen for a residence as part of Jackalope Theatre's Pioneer Series. These up and comers did their hosts proud with a daring, edgy piece of historical theatre, based on the true life of Queen Christina of Sweden, professionally and passionately enacted by Toya Turner. The entire ensemble was excellent at bringing this timely tale back to life.

Even the title "The Girl KING" speaks volumes of a gender bending, norm shattering woman, ahead of her time. This production touched on the terrible price she had to pay to be true to herself, from the bawdy barroom songs and taunts of her subjects to the torture of those she loved most. 

The writing is also superb, with plenty of thought provoking turns of phrase and situations that are still all too familiar in our current political and social climateChristina, The Girl King is highly recommended. Don't miss this!

Chicago's Cor Theatre is the first U.S. theater to present Linda Gaboriau's new translation of French playwright Michel Marc Bouchard's 2012 play Christine, la reine-garcon, which premiered in an applauded, extended run at the 2014 Stratford Festival. 

Cor Theatre, in residence with Jackalope Theatre's Pioneer Series at The Frontier, 1106 W. Thorndale in Edgewater, presents Christina, The Girl King through April 9, 2016.

Remaining show times through April 9 are Wednesday through Friday at 7:30 p.m., Saturday at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. 

Tickets are $25; $10 students and industry. For tickets and information, visit or call (866) 811-4111. 

After 30 years of war, Christina, the Girl King of Sweden, armed by the power of her crown and whip-smart intellect, is pushing her people to become a forward thinking nation. But when an unspeakable passion begins to burn underneath her androgynous visage, the Girl King's power is put to the test. Should she meet the demands of her country and birth its next heir? Should she fight the established patriarchy to rule as her own woman? Will she change? Or will she change the world around her? One thing is certain: the choice she makes will change her identity forever, and could mean certain death for the woman that she loves.

Cor Theatre, hailed for "Most Promising Debut" last season by Time Out Chicago, plans to surprise and amaze Chicago theater fans with its U.S. debut of Christina, The Girl King next month. 

Christina, The Girl King is a daring, sensitive reintroduction to the enigmatic 17th century European monarch, flamboyant intellectual and feminist before her time.

Cor Theatre Artistic Director Tosha Fowler directs the play's U.S. debut. The cast features Toya Turner as Christina, with Laura Resinger as Ebba, Adam Gutkin as Karl Gustav, Will Von Vogt as Johan, Tony Bozzuto as Axel, Meg Elliott as Maria Elenora, Danny Taylor as Descartes, Bridget Schreiber as Erika and Scott Shimizu as Chanut. 

Designers are Elyse Balogh (set and props), Alarie Hammock (costumes), Eric Vigo (lights), Jeffrey Levine (sound), Adam Gutkin (technical director), Elyse Cowles (dramaturg), Janelle Bourdreau (stage manager) and Stefin Seberl (production stage manager).

Tosha Fowler (director) is co-founder and artistic director of Cor Theatre, where she directed last season's A Map of Virtue and acted in Love and Human Remains. As a result, Fowler debuted on New City's "Player's 2016 The Fifty People who really perform for Chicago" list as "the fearless leader of Chicago's most dangerously sexy new company." Fowler also produced and starred in Cor's acclaimed Skin Tight in 2012, under the direction of Victoria Delorio, and co-produced, wrote and performed in her original solo show, Mami, Where'd my O go?  She has produced theatre for almost ten years for companies including Mary-Arrchie Theatre, The Chicago Fringe Festival, Academy Theatre in Atlanta, and her founding company, Fowl Brick in Savannah, Georgia. Other directing credits include A Doctor's Stories, Poof! and Bash and Bully Breakdown in HD. As an actress, Fowler has performed in Chicago with Lifeline Theatre, Emerald City, MPAACT, Cock & Bull and Circle Theatre. She has worked as a playwright with American Theatre Company's "Chicago Chronicle Project," the DePaul University Diversity Initiative and the Academy Theater. She is an adjunct professor in Theatre at DePaul University, and holds an MFA in Acting from The Theatre School at DePaul.

Sweden's Queen Christina has already been the subject of theatrical and cinematic speculation. Greta Garbo portrayed her in the 1933 film Queen Christina. So did Liv Ullman in 1974 in The Abdication.  History remembers her best for helping end the 30 Years War and for making Stockholm a major European capital. 

Toward the end of her reign, Queen Christina summoned René Descartes to share his new ideas about science and philosophy at the time. His radical ideas about free will and reason appealed to Christina, who was struggling to reconcile tensions between her rational self and emotions she dared not name. 

Rather than conform, the 26-year-old queen chose to abdicate her throne and convert to Catholicism, rendering her ineligible to rule. Was it an act of madness? Or a bold gesture of autonomy by a modern woman born ahead of her time? 

Christina, The Girl King underscores Cor Theatre's mission to explore the inner truth of the human experience through storytelling that defies convention, and to engage audiences by telling stories that take courage to tell.

Cor is also proud to have been selected by Jackalope Theatre Company to receive a prime time, four-week, rent-free run of Christina, The Girl King in The Frontier through The Pioneer Series, Jackalope's continuous initiative to cultivate bold new theatre in Chicago.

Up Next: The Good Person of Szechwan, August 11-September 11 at 
A Red Orchid Theatre

Cor's second production in 2016 will be The Good Person of Szechwan by Bertolt Brecht, translated by Tony Kushner. Ernie Nolan will direct, and ensemble member Will Von Vogt will defy traditional casting in the title role of Brecht's parable of good and evil. Performances are August 11 through September 11 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells Street in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood.

About Cor Theatre
Cor Theatre ( debuted in September 2012 with a vision to create theatrical experiences that are rarely presented in Chicago by artists who seek to defy expectation. 

The company's first production, Skin Tight by Gary Henderson, produced by Tosha Fowler and Victoria Delorio, was rewarded with enthusiastic audiences, critical acclaim and made just enough money to establish a not-for-profit corporation. The company named itself Cor Theatre, deriving its name from the Latin root of courage - meaning heart.

In 2015, Cor expanded to a two-show season launched by an acclaimed production of Erin Courtney's A Map of Virtue, named Most Promising Debut by Time Out Chicago, and nominated for several Time Out Chicago Theatre Awards including Best Supporting Actress (Scottie Caldwell) and Best Design (Tierra G. Novy, set; Stefin Steberl, costumes and props; Eric Vigo, lights; and Jeffrey Levin, sound.) 

Cor's second 2015 production, Love and Human Remains, the first professional staging of Brad Frasier's controversial play in Chicago in 20 years, played to numerous sold-out houses and was listed as one of the top plays to see by Windy City Times and New City.

Today, Cor is one of Chicago's newest and most ambitious Chicago professional theatre companies with a growing board and strong experience behind it. Cor Theatre company members are Chris Brickhouse, Elyse Cowles, Tosha Fowler, Adam Gutkin, Claire Meyers, Ernie Nolan, Stefin Steberl and Will Von Vogt.

For more information, visit, like Cor Theatre on Facebook, follow the company on Twitter, @CorTheatre, or call (866) 811-4111.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Talk Like Shakespeare Day TODAY-Great Contests And More #Theatre Review

Happy 448th Birthday to the bard! 

Today (Monday, April 23rd) is annual talk like Shakespeare day.
Talk Like Shakespeare Day,
an occasion for citizens from Chicago and across the globe to celebrate
Shakespeare's 448th birthday by bringing the spoken words of
Shakespeare into their daily lives. The holiday, which originated in
Chicago in 2009, became a worldwide sensation garnering extensive
national and international media coverage and more than one million hits
Celebrate by seeing Being Shakespeare:
ChiIL Live Shows had a chance to catch opening night of Simon Callow's show, and we recommend it.  Callow's strong stage presence among minimalist sets enhances the infamous words of the bard, interspersed with his life history.   Although much of the historical data he includes on Shakespeare's life is speculation, it's fascinating nonetheless to put the plays within a time frame of his life and outside influences.   

Tales of child deaths that plagued his birth family, and later
the death of his own son, Hamnet, at age 11, lend a human air and compelling back story.   As the parent of an 11 year old son, that particularly struck a chord with me.   Since we've been doing a long form exploration on how theatre people, musicians and other creatives balance their work and parenting, and how the two worlds collide and influence each other, this was an interesting angle.
   Simon Callow is a talented tale teller and a joy to spend an evening with.   The British film and stage actor is know for his roles in Shakespeare in Love, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Postcards from the Edge, A Room With a View and Amadeus.

*Tonight only, celebrated British actor Simon Callow's one-man show, Being Shakespeare will play a special Monday performance at the Broadway Playhouse, preceded by a birthday party for the Bard in the theater's lobby beginning at 5:30 p.m. 

ChiIL Mama's favorite words invented by Shakespeare: 

arouse amazement
barefaced bandit besmirch bloodstained blanket bump buzzer
cold blooded critic
dauntless dawn deafening discontent dishearten drugged dwindle

equivocal elbow exposure excitement  
epileptic eyeball
flawed frugal fixture
gnarled grovel gloomy gossip
hurried hobnob
impede impartial invulnerable
laughable lonely luggage label lackluster
madcap marketable metamorphize mimic monumental moonbeam mountaineer
obscene obsequious ode Olympian outbreak
panders premeditated puking
remorseless radiance rant
savagery scuffle swagger
tranquil torture 
unreal undress
Sure, some kids today (and adults, too, for that matter) think of Shakespearean language as stuffy, high brow and inaccessible, but nothing can be further from the truth.   It's not all thees and thous and M'Lord.  He wrote for the masses and in addition to his timeless archetypal characters, loads of word he made up are in common use today, like PUKING.   There's nothing snooty about puking.  

According to, The English language owes a great debt to Shakespeare. He invented over 1700 of our common words by changing nouns into verbs, changing verbs into adjectives, connecting words never before used together, adding prefixes and suffixes, and devising words wholly original.  

Below is a list of a few of the words Shakespeare coined, hyperlinked to the play and scene from which it comes. When the word appears in multiple plays, the link will take you to the play in which it first appears.  

Incorporate these down to earth words for Talk Like Shakespeare Day, then click the links to see the source:

academe accusedaddictionadvertisingamazement
arouse assassinationbackingbanditbedroom
beached besmirchbirthplaceblanketbloodstained
skim milksubmergesummitswaggertorture

 This graph can be found at

Other Chi-Town Talk Like Shakespeare Contests and specials: 
Shakespeare is being celebrated around the world this week, from Chicago
to London to Armenia, in recognition of the man who engineered more
than 154 sonnets, 37 plays, 1,700 original words and innumerable
On April 23 Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London will launch
its Globe to Globe Festival, part of London's Cultural Olympiad,
beginning a two month international event presenting all 37 plays from
Shakespeare's canon in 37 different languages (including Chicago
Shakespeare's Othello: The Remix, The Q Brothers' hip-hop adaptation of Othello, opening in London May 5).

Talk Like Shakespeare Day has even sparked a
movement, originating in Armenia, lobbying for the inclusion of
"Shakespearean" alongside "Pirate" and "Upside Down" as an official
language option on Facebook. 

Chicago Shakespeare Theater, 2008 recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, will be talking like Shakespeare throughout the upcoming birthday week. On the morning of April 23, Chicago Shakespeare's production of The Taming of the Shrew will be performed for Chicago Public School students at Sawyer Elementary School on the City's south side

At Chicago Shakespeare's home on Navy Pier, Artistic Director Barbara Gaines and Tony-award winning actor Ian McDiarmid begin preview performances of Timon of Athens, while the cast of Othello: The Remix prepares for the world premiere of its new work in London the following week.    ChiIL Live Shows will be there to review opening night of Timon of Athens as well.
Photo courtesy of Chicago Shakespeare Theater. "William
Shakespeare" (portrayed by David Wilhelm) celebrates his 448th Birthday
on Monday, April 23, 2012 in Chicago, as part of "Talk Like Shakespeare
Day" by taking in some of Chicago's best-known landmarks including the
Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier.

Among the many visitors to Navy Pier, the Midwest's most visited
tourist destination, on April 23 will be William Shakespeare himself.
Those who talk like Shakespeare to "the Bard" will receive free rides on
Navy Pier's iconic Ferris Wheel from 10 a.m. to noon.
Shakespeare will
dine at Harry Caray's Tavern on Navy Pier, where a special
Shakespeare-inspired menu will be available from noon to 2:00 p.m.
Diners who talk like Shakespeare at Harry Caray's Tavern will be entered
into a raffle to win a $100 Harry Caray's Gift Certificate, four Pier
Park Passes, free Navy Pier parking and four Tickets to Chicago
Shakespeare Theater's summer musical Disney's Beauty and the Beast
is the virtual home base for revelers. The site features activities for
celebrating Talk Like Shakespeare Day at school, at the office and at
home as well as videos of famous Chicagoans talking like Shakespeare. It
also contains information about a video contest for internet comedians
inspired by the Bard's words (deadline for submissions is Thursday,
April 19 at noon) and tips on how to talk like Shakespeare such as:
  • Instead of you, say thou. Instead of y'all, say thee.
  • Rhymed couplets are all the rage.
  • Men are Sirrah, ladies are Mistress, and your friends are all called Cousin.
  • Instead of cursing, try calling your tormenters jackanapes or canker-blossoms or poisonous bunch-back'd toads.
  • When in doubt, add the letters "eth" to the end of verbs (he runneth, he trippeth, he falleth).
  • To add weight to your opinions, try starting them with methinks, mayhaps, in sooth or wherefore.
  • When wooing a lady: try comparing her to a summer's day. If that fails, say "Get thee to a nunnery!"
For more information visit

"William Shakespeare" (portrayed by David Wilhelm) celebrates his 448th
Birthday on Monday, April 23, 2012 in Chicago, as part of "Talk Like
Shakespeare Day" by taking in some of Chicago's best-known landmarks
including Cloud Gate in Millennium Park and the bull
statue at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Happy World Theatre Day!

ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama celebrate Chicago's amazing, world class theatre scene year round, with original video interviews, photo filled features, show reviews and ticket give aways.    We cover adult shows and family friendly offerings and a range from elaborate Broadway in Chicago touring productions to free, quirky store front offerings.   So check in with ChiIL Live Shows/ChiIL Mama like we vote in Chi, IL...early and often.

Here's what ChiIL Live Shows has coming soon  

Original Video Interviews: 

Adventure Stage Theatre--The Giver:  Video footage and a photo filled feature on opening day of The Giver with author Lois Lowry.    
*Also check out our video interview with Tom Arvetis of Adventure Stage right here.      

We have an exclusive interview with Tom Arvetis, Adventure Stage's Producing Artistic Director, and his infant daughter, Vivian.   Check out our video above for insights into balancing creative work and parenting, life after birth with 3 girls under 6, Walk Two Moons, and The Giver.   Walk Two Moons was adapted by Tom, who also expounds on "adapting" to fatherhood & life in theatre.   We continue our series on "How Creatives Parents and How Parents Create".

The House Theatre--Death and Harry Houdini--Original Video Interview with Dennis Watkins, star of Death and Harry Houdini and Magic Parlour.

Also click the links to check out our recent Houdini Box video interviews at Chicago Children's Theatre with:

Reviews on:
  • Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's Midsummer Night's Dream 
& Taming of the Shrew

  • Lifeline Theatre-Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed (K)
  • Collaboraction's Me Tube
  •  Goodman Theatre's Camino Real
  • Step Up Productions-The Sweetest Swing in Baseball
  • Adventure Stage-The Giver (K)
  • Polarity-Tom Jones
  • UrbanTheater Company-F***KING A
 *K= kid friendly

For today's World Theatre day events in Chicago, click here.

Google Analytics