Showing posts with label WE THREE LIZAS. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WE THREE LIZAS. Show all posts

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.

Friday, November 15, 2013

ACT OUT HOLIDAY: About Face Theatre Presents The Return of the Hit Holiday Musical WE THREE LIZAS

New Book and Expanded Score!
About Face Theatre Presents
The Return of the Hit Holiday Musical

Book & Lyrics by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Bradley
Music & Additional Lyrics by Alan Schmuckler
Directed by AFT Artistic Associate Scott Ferguson
Musical Direction by Aaron Benham
November 27, 2013 – January 5, 2014 at Stage 773

Feeling "Mary" and Gay this holiday season?   You'll be in good company at We Three Lizas!   Embrace your inner diva and come on out for a fabulous night.

WeThreeLizas-5 (left to right) Danielle Plisz and Scott Duff in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s production of WE THREE LIZAS with book & lyrics by Scott Bradley, music & additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler and directed by Scott Ferguson.  Photo by Cheryl Mann.

About Face Theatre’s sparkly, queer holiday hit musical WE THREE LIZAS is back and better than ever – with a new book and expanded score!  Featuring book and lyrics by Scott Bradley*, music and additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler, direction by Scott Ferguson*, music direction by Aaron Benham and choreography by Patrick Andrews*WE THREE LIZAS will play November 27, 2013 – January 5, 2014 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. in Chicago. Tickets are available online at or, in person at the Stage 773 Box Office (1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago) or by calling (773) 327-5252.  The press opening is Thursday, December 5 at 7:30 pm.

WE THREE LIZAS will feature many of the original cast members including Scott Duff*John Francisco*Sharriese Hamilton, Danielle Plisz (Jeff Award-nominated), Dana Tretta and Andrew Swan in addition to newcomers Mark David KaplanJames Nedrud and Bethany Thomas. Musicians include Aaron Benham (piano/conductor), Jed Feder (drums) and Debra Johnson (bass).  *Denotes AFT Artistic Associates.

Box maker Conrad Ticklebottom’s life has hit a block. Once, Conrad and his purple box ignited an entire movement in art and design, but now he finds himself alone, forgotten and teetering on ruin. The holidays bring three magical figures to his door – a trio of Liza Minnellis to escort him on a fabulous journey through what-was, what-could-be and what-the-f*?!, redeeming his lost promise and re-inventing a brand-new Conrad Ticklebottom.  It’s a quirky holiday musical tale of hope, transformation… and the power of Liza!

“Liza’s back and she’s better than ever! After having played to sold-out audiences in 2012 at the Steppenwolf Garage and in concert at Joe’s Pub in New York this summer, I’m thrilled to bring back this hilarious and moving holiday musical,” comments About Face Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff. “In this year of development at About Face, we are proud to support the continued growth of this project and the artists who’ve created it.  Artistic Associate Scott Bradley and composer Alan Schmuckler have developed a sensational new book and score and we’re delighted to share it with Chicago audiences.  If you missed it last year, get your tickets now: it’s bound to sell out again this year!  And if you saw it last year, you’ve got to see this fantastic new version and make We Three Lizas your new holiday tradition!” adds Volkoff.

The production team for WE THREE LIZAS includes: Jerre Dye (set design), Mieka van der Ploeg and Robert S. Kuhn (costume design), Mac Vaughey (lighting design), Josh Horvath (sound design), Eleanor Kahn (properties design), Davis McCarty (projections design) and Helen Lattyak (stage manager).

Book and Lyrics:  AFT Artistic Associate Scott Bradley
Music and Additional Lyrics: Alan Schmuckler
Director:  AFT Artistic Associate Scott Ferguson
Musical Director: Aaron Benham
ChoreographyAFT Artistic Associate Patrick Andrews
Featuring:  Featuring AFT Artistic Associates Scott Duff and John Francisco with Sharriese Hamilton, Mark David Kaplan, James Nedrud, Danielle Plisz, Bethany Thomas, Dana Tretta and Andrew Swan.
Musicians: Aaron Benham (piano/conductor), Jed Feder (drums) and Debra Johnson (bass).

Location:  Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago

Dates:  Previews: Wednesday, November 27 at 7:30 pm, Friday, November 29 at 7:30 pm, Saturday, November 30 at 7:30 pm, and Sunday, December 1 at 3 pm

Regular run:  Friday, December 6th, 2013 – Sunday, January 5, 2014
Curtain Times:  Thursdays and Fridays at 7:30 pm; Saturdays at 3 pm & 7:30 pm; Sundays at 3 pm
Tickets:  Previews: $20 adults/$10 students. Regular run: $45 adults/$20 students. Group discounts available. Tickets are available online at or, in person at the Stage 773 Box Office (1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago) or by calling (773) 327-5252.  Additional processing fees apply for phone and internet orders.

WeThreeLizas-3 (left to right) Scott Duff and Danielle Plisz in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s production of WE THREE LIZAS with book & lyrics by Scott Bradley, music & additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler and directed by Scott Ferguson.  Photo by Cheryl Mann.

About the Creative Team:
Scott Bradley (Book & Lyrics) is co-founder of Chicago's The Scooty & JoJo Show, for which he wrote and developed the critically-acclaimed musical works Alien Queen, Carpenters Halloween, Rosemary Clooney’s Baby, Mollywood, Tran: The Atari MusicalThe Scooty & JoJo Variety Hour, Thank God! It’s the Scooty & JoJo Show and Diva Brunch.  As a writer, director, designer and performer, he has collaborated in the development of new works at New York's PNBC/HERE (Fiona Apple Kwaanza Explosion), New Works Project (Atlantis City, RSVP), adobe theater company (The Eight, Tracker), Next Stage Theater (Adventures of Bobbi & Vaughan), HOME for Contemporary Theatre & Art (No Shame), BACA Downtown (A Child is Being Beaten) and CBGB's Galleria (I’ll Go On); Chicago's About Face Theatre (We Three Lizas, The Homosexuals), Walkabout Theatre Company (Crow), BigTop JoJo (Phenomenal Phantasmagoria), Hell In A Handbag Productions (The Birds, Caged Dames); Washington, D.C.'s Washington Shakespeare Company (Romeo & Julius Caesar); Seattle's UMO Ensemble (Maldoror), Open Circle Theater (Ballyhoo, Poona the F*ckdog, ETA: Phoenix, Little Boy, Return to the Garden of Allah) and Bald Faced Lie (Slow Children). He is an Artistic Associate with About Face Theatre, former Artistic Director of Seattle's Open Circle Theater, and served as Associate Artistic Director at BACA Downtown, Brooklyn, NY. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, AEA and SAG/AFTRA.

Alan Schmuckler (Music and Additional Lyrics) will see his new musical Days Like Today (book by Laura Eason) premiere at Chicago's Writers' Theatre in 2014. His musical The Emperor’s New Clothes (book by David Holstein) enjoyed a critically acclaimed premiere production at the Tony-winning Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and received its international debut at the Stage Artz Theatre Company in Sydney, Australia. He and Michael Mahler co-wrote book, music and lyrics for Chicago Shakespeare’s How Can You Run with a Shell on Your Back?, which premiered and remounted in 2007, and has since been produced nationwide, including at the Chicago Humanities Festival, the National Alliance for Music Theatre’s 21st Annual Festival of New Musicals, and at theaters and schools nationwide. His concert credits include Alan Schmuckler: I Miss The City (Joe’s Pub, NYC); and, with Mahler, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage (Washington, D.C.), and numerous Chicago gigs with their band, the Lincoln Squares, whose debut EP, The Lincoln Squares!, is available online. Alan’s music and lyrics have been featured in the Fourth Annual Broadway in South Africa Gala; the York Theatre Company’s NEO6 Benefit Concert; the Chicago “Monday Nights, New Voices” series; and the National Alliance for Music Theatre’s New Works Summit and Songwriters’ Showcase. Alan is a three-time Joseph Jefferson-nominated actor and recently appeared in Nikolai and the Others, (Lincoln Center Theater). He is a proud alum of Northwestern University and the School at Steppenwolf, and a member of AEA and ASCAP.

Scott Ferguson (Director) is the Co-Founder and Artistic Director of Theatrebam Chicago where he wrote and created the hit shows, Schoolhouse Rock Live!, Schoolhouse Rock Live Too! and The Main Street Kids’ Club: A MathStart Musical. Scott has directed the SRLive! National Tours (’99-’01) with Troupe American, Inc., the Off-Broadway productions at The Atlantic and the Lamb’s Little Theatre, as well as many productions across the country. Scott is a proud Artistic Associate of About Face Theatre, where he directed Xena Live! Episode One, the Jeff Nominated Xena Live! Episode Two, Xena Lives! The Musical and Say You Love Satan and last year's We Three Lizas. As a Founding Collective Member of Bailiwick Chicago, he directed the critically acclaimed Aida and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Scott has also directed for Hell in a Handbag, Filament, Chicago Children’s Theatre, Drury Lane Oakbrook and Watertower. For the former Bailiwick Repertory, Scott directed the Non-Equity Jeff Nominated A Man of No Importance as well as The Cousins Grimm. Regionally, he has directed for Playhouse On The Square in Memphis, The Fulton Opera House in Lancaster, PA, The Wohlfahrt Haus Theatre in Wytheville, Virginia, Rhodes College and New Trier High School. Favorites include; The Rocky Horror Show, Return To The Forbidden Planet, The Mystery Of Irma Vep, Evita, Bat Boy The Musical, Jekyll & Hyde, Floyd Collins, Disney’s Aida, Beauty And The Beast, Saucy Jack & The Space Vixens, Year With Frog And Toad, Big River, Altar Boyz, Xanadu and Pippin. 

Aaron Benham (Musical Director) is a local music director, conductor, arranger and composer. Chicago credits: A Cole Porter Songbook and Time After Time: The Songs of Jule Styne, Theo-Ubique; Anyone Can Whistle and Putting it Together, Porchlight Music Theatre; Sweet Charity and Days Like Today, Writer's Theatre; Avenue Q and Spamalot, NightBlue; RockShow(Tunes) and The Rise of the Numberless, Bailiwick Chicago.  He is a member of the Improvised Sondheim Project, and has performed locally and aboard the Norwegian Epic cruise ship with Second City.  Up next: The Sweet Smell of Success, Kokandy Productions, and the Chicago premiere of Carrie with Bailiwick Chicago.  BFA, Emerson College.

About Face Theatre (Andrew Volkoff, Artistic Director) is one of Chicago’s most acclaimed theatre companies, and is a national leader in the development of new work exploring gender and sexual identity.  Since its founding by Kyle Hall and Eric Rosen in 1995, the company has premiered more than 48 world premieres by writers and directors who have been recognized with several Tony Awards, The Pulitzer Prize for Drama, The MacArthur Fellowship and dozens of Joseph Jefferson Awards.

WeThreeLizas-1 (pictured) Danielle Plisz (above) and Scott Duff (below) in a publicity image for About Face Theatre’s production of WE THREE LIZAS with book & lyrics by Scott Bradley, music & additional lyrics by Alan Schmuckler and directed by Scott Ferguson.  Photo by Cheryl Mann.

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