Friday, September 3, 2010
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
"For Colored Girls" debuted in 1974 in a bar in Berkley, California. Since then, it has moved to theatres all over the country including a run on Broadway. And now I know why the show moved away from a bar as opposed to into a bar. Stepping into The Call on Bryn Mawr, it's apparent that it's a very nice bar. However, nice bars don't often make for nice theatres. Taking my seat on my bar stool, I knew that this wasn't going to be a situation that was going to be comfortable for too long. For other people in the audience, this solution was easily solved by getting up often throughout the performance and getting drinks. Again, fine for a bar. Not so fine for a theatre.
It's really a shame that the venue is such a let down, because there is a really great show here. While Ntozeke Shange's script has never been my favorite, and has never struck me as being as widely accessible and effective as a show like "The Vagina Monolgues," there are some real highlights here. Sherly M. Daceus (Lady in Red) and particularly Delicia Dunham (Lady in Brown) are at times funny, thrilling, inspiring, and heartbreaking. The entire ensemble of actresses bring an engaging, inspiring performance as they unveil the "coreopoems" about sex, love, heartache and fighting to survive in a world that does its best to keep you down.
One person that needs special mention in this production is Choreographer Shawn Quinlan. He may be white, and he may be male, but that white guy can sure teach some dancing. The dancing that runs throughout the production brings such a fierceness and vitality. It takes the sometimes lyrical poems into a world that is raw and gritty and sexy. Quinlan's choreography (not to mention the talented dancing by the entire cast), takes this production to an entirely different level.
"For Colored Girls" is about to get a very high profile adaptation by Tyler Perry in a film set to come out next year. I make no effort to hide my rather intense dislike for Tyler Perry. "For Colored Girls" is a show about raw intensity. About primal urges and the extreme will to survive. When put through Tyler Perry's watered down direction, I don't feel that it will come close to being what it really should be. So the bottom line is, if this show is on your radar for any reason, then InnateVolution's production is bound to be more effective than the film version will be. Plus, admission comes with 2 drinks, and that just may make the bar stools a little more comfortable.
"For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf", directed by Toma Tavares Langston, runs Thursday-Saturday through June 26, 2010. No show June 24. All performances begin at 8pm at The Call (1547 W. Bryn Mawr Ave). Tickets are $20 and include two drinks. Must be 21 or over to attend.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
-Weisun C.'s Review, YELP.com
"All 23 performers belt, hoof, and emote their hearts out in this enthusiastic production of Michael Bennett's 1975 musical about dancers auditioning for a Broadway show. Shawn Quinlan's cast are easy to love..."
-Laura Molzahn, Chicago Reader
"Shawn Quinlan directs the perennial tale of 17 auditioning dancers and what they did for love."
-Time Out Chicago
"An excellent group of dancers pulling off an incredibly tough show. The vocals hold up well which is not often the case in dance shows. This production may not be the Marriott, but it gets awfully close. Very impressed and will recommend to my other theater friends. Bravo."
"Under the fast-paced, carefully orchestrated direction and choreography of Shawn Quinlan, his 19-member cast dazzles from start to finish"
-Oak Park Oak Leaves
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas
Previews April 2, 3 & 6 April 7 - June 20
Book by Larry L. King & Peter Masterson
Music & lyrics by Carol Hall
Yee haw! Circle presents this Broadway blockbuster of small town vice and political side stepping recounting the good times and the demise of the Chicken Ranch, known since the 1850s as one of the better “pleasure palaces” in all of Texas. Governors, senators, mayors and even victorious college football teams frequented Miss Mona's bordello until puritanical hypocrites focus righteousness on the landmark. Religious zealots dictating decency and morality—sound familiar?
Kevin Bellie, Circle Theatre Artistic Director, has helmed productions of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Can-Can, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Sweet Smell of Success and more on Circle’s mainstage. In addition, his choreography has been seen in Meet Me in St. Louis, Tommy, The Secret Garden and more. He has choreographed for Light Opera Works, Porchlight Music Theatre, Nobel Fool Theatricals and many others. He is a multiple Jeff Award and After Dark Award winner.
This production has been Jeff Recommended!
Kevin Bellie, Director & Choreographer
Josh Walker, Music Director
Bob Knuth, Scenic Design/Lighting Design
Jesus Perez, Costume Design & Construction
Peter J. Storms, Sound Design
Beth Scheible, Stage Manager
Showtimes:$12 Previews: April 2, 3, & 6 at 8pm opening night: Wednesday, April 7 @ 8:00 pmFridays & Saturdays @ 8:00 pmSundays @ 3:00 pmGroup Rates for 10 or More Available.Call 708-771-0700
Friday, March 5, 2010
This production of "A Chorus Line" that I Directed and Choreographed at the Village Players Theatre in Oak Park opens next week. I was very blessed to have such a wonderful and talented group of people audition. I'm really excited for this to open, and it should be my best work yet!
Forest Park National Bank presents
A Chorus Line
book by James Kirkwood, Jr. and Nicholas Dante,
lyrics by Edward Kleban, and music by Marvin Hamlisch
Directed/Choreographed by Shawn Quinlan
Zach and Larry are ready to cast for their next upcoming Broadway production, but Zach decides to change up things at the audition for their dancing chorus. As each one hopes to become part of a singular groups, they all tell their individual life stories that make them all so very different.
Musical Direction by Julian Chin. Featuring Fiore Joseph Barbini, Christopher Lynn Carter, Marie Clawson, Loren J. Connell, Danielle Coody, Erin Elle East, Stephanie Foster, Taylor Hopkins, Reneisha Jenkins, Bobby Johnson, Kim Kass, Samuel Ladd, Alex McCrary, Will Nifong, Shynell Owen, Michael Patterson, Dewayne Perkins, Casiena Raether, Janell Rinne, Jennifer Shine, Kristen Smiley, Garrett Stibb and Tiffany Trainer.
Adult: $25.00, Senior (65 and older): $20.00, Student (with ID): $20.00
Friday and Saturday evenings at 8:00, Sunday afternoons at 3:00 p.m
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Monday, January 11, 2010
If they can make it here ...
New York exports not only shows that shine on Chicago theater scene
Yes, 2009 was the year when, for better or worse, many Chicago-bred shows (“Superior Donuts,” “A Steady Rain,” “The Lady With All the Answers”) received the “Manhattan transfer” treatment.
But the real news was not what happened in New York; it was the large crop of exciting shows that opened here — many of which enjoyed extended runs despite the economic turmoil.
Several strong new works, as well as some first-rate revivals of classic dramas and Broadway musicals, all were part of the mix. Here’s a quick look backward to some of the best (in no particular order):
“The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity” by Kristoffer Diaz (at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater): Wrestling served as a galvanic metaphor in this multiethnic, verbally brilliant, politically rambunctious play that was a bravura showcase for actor Desmin Borges. A surefire hit, the plans for a New York transfer already are afoot.
• Also at Victory Gardens, which was on a roll this season, was Michael Golamco’s “Year Zero,” a funny, touching, winningly played drama about Cambodian Americans in California. It inaugurated the theater’s studio space.
“The History Boys” by Alan Bennett (TimeLine Theatre): This monster hit, which had a six-month sold-out run, was perfection — from its young, exceptionally deft ensemble under director Nick Bowling, to its environmental set by Brian Sidney Bembridge. A tale of British lads prepping for university exams, it earned top grades.
• Also from TimeLine: A scorching revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.”
The Eugene O’Neill in the 21st Century Festival (Goodman Theatre): Of all the entries in this enormous, often revelatory, multinational project (including Robert Falls’ massive “Desire Under the Elms”), it was Brazil’s Companhia Triptal, with its environmental staging of three sea plays, and the Dutch company Toneelgroep Amsterdam, with its sexually charged take on “Mourning Becomes Electra,” that proved most electric.
• Also at the Goodman was Jose Rivera’s “Boleros for the Disenchanted,” a gorgeously rendered portrait of the long marriage between a Puerto Rican couple who spent most of their lives in the United States.
“Fake” by Eric Simonson (Steppenwolf Theatre): With its split time frames and neatly mirrored set of characters, this examination of the real and the fake (whether in science or in love) was smart, emotionally deep and superbly acted.
• Also at Steppenwolf, a most modern, imaginative, and visually and aurally ingenious version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” directed by Tina Landau.
“Beethoven as I Knew Him”
(at the Drury Lane Theatre Water Tower Place): Hershey Felder, equally talented as an actor, writer and pianist, can’t be categorized easily, and this causes him problems. But no one can deny that he holds his audiences in a state of rapt attention. The man makes you listen to every word and every note.
“Mistakes Were Made” by Craig Wright (A Red Orchid Theatre): It was all but impossible to separate the manic brilliance of the play (about an insane theater producer who comes closer and closer to selling his soul), from its performer (Michael Shannon, in a mind-boggling and hilarious tour de force). But why even try?
“The Overwhelming” by J.T. Rogers (Next Theatre): Director Kimberly Senior and her cast gave this searing play about the lead-up to the Rwanda genocide a wholly nerve-jangling rendering.
• Also at Next was Deborah Zoe Laufer’s “End Days,” an alternately hilarious and disturbing look at fear and faith in the first decade of the 21st century.
“Old Times” by Harold Pinter (Remy Bumppo Theatre): A pitch-perfect revival of this play about a married couple and a woman from their past was more perfectly choreographed than a ballet and superbly “danced” by the actors.
“Lucinda’s Bed” by Mia McCullough (Chicago Dramatists): Actress Elizabeth Laidlaw morphed from preteen to late middle-age woman in this richly insightful look at a battered heart.
“Graceland” by Ellen Fairey (Profiles Theatre): A new play marked by its memorably offbeat look at love, loss and maturity interrupted.
“The Little Foxes” (Shattered Globe Theatre): A searing revival of Lillian Hellman’s classic, ideally tuned to our recession mentality.
The world premiere of “The Minister’s Wife” (at Writers’ Theatre), which is clearly headed to New York; the amazing cabaret theater revival of “Evita” (at Theo Ubique); the blistering national touring revival of “Rent,” which reunited its two original stars; the immensely moving, beautifully crafted tour of “In the Heights,” the hit Broadway musical unique for its humanity; the bristling version of “Cabaret” at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace Theatre; Circle Theatre’s sharp storefront revival of “Tommy, The Musical,” and Chicago Children’s Theatre’s disarming “The 100 Dresses.”