Posted inArts & Culture

Albert Herring balances indie aesthetic with traditional music

Benjamin Britten’s 1947 opera Albert Herring (set in 1900) has been a perennial production for Chicago Opera Theater. But the new mounting opening tonight at the Athenaeum, helmed by director Stephen Sposito, promises to infuse Britten’s story with what the company is calling an “indie-film vibe.” Sposito—who was associate director for The Book of Mormon, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beyond Jane Eyre

Although Charlotte Brontë’s Villette has long been overshadowed by Jane Eyre—its “more popular younger sister,” in Sara Gmitter’s words—the 1853 novel takes the spotlight at Lookingglass Theatre next month in a world premiere adaptation written by Gmitter and directed by Tracy Walsh.  Based on a period of bereavement, homesickness, and unrequited love in Brontë’s own […]

Posted inArts & Culture

‘Utopia is a place that accommodates every body’

Last October, the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) and Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) appointed multidisciplinary artist Ariella Granados as its first Central West Center artist in residence. Supported by the MOPD, the National Endowment for the Arts, and DCASE, the residency offers studio space and funding for Granados […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Warholian diptych

Andy Warhol was an enigma wrapped in a mystery, a voyeur who wanted to be a superstar. Thirty-six years after his death we are still trying to suss him out. Which may be why this year we have not one but two plays about Andy Warhol being produced—one at the Buffalo Theatre Ensemble, the other […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Not your average camp

It’s July 1990, and I am summoned to the corner of Newport and Sheffield over and over again by the lure of my friend Franz’s rooftop parties. But little do I know that just half a block away, Lower Links is beginning a summer of programming that solidifies that corner as a mini-epicenter of performance […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The strength of community

At the end of September 2020, I wrote a piece for the Reader titled “Black artistic leaders take charge at several Chicago theaters,” which framed the influx of new (and preexisting) Black leadership in Chicago theater against the backdrop of a historic disruption in the industry. That disruption was powered in part by COVID-19 leading […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Collected stories

When Sharon Evans started producing solo work at Live Bait Theater in the late 1980s, storytelling hadn’t yet become a cottage industry in Chicago. “At that time it was a very unusual thing to do,” Evans says. “I remember being told that no one would pay to see a solo performer on an extended run.”  […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A whole mess of comedy

When I was in theater classes at Columbia College Chicago back in the Pleistocene era (i.e., the late 1980s), certain reverse-snob assumptions came out from time to time about the Theatre School at DePaul (which had changed its moniker a few years earlier from the Goodman School of Drama).  DePaul was, to us, the high-toned […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Stand-up tragedy

On Inauguration Day 2017, New York-based comedian Ben Wassermanʼs father died—the first in what would turn out to be a series of deaths in his life over the next three years, including his grandfather, his uncle, and four friends. Wasserman, whose past comedic work included a segment for MTV where he painted with his butt, […]