A group of wealthy businessmen are hatching a plan to make them richer. These greedy men wish to dig for oil in the middle of Paris. It doesn’t matter to them what happens to the people and the city after they finished. And, if they have to murder a government official, so be it. As they say, “dragons must be slayed to reach the treasure”. Enter the Madwoman of Chaillot, an idealist who wishes to put an end to their evil plot. Perhaps she’ll exterminate all of them. Yes, it’s a dark comedy.
Fans of Promethean’s production of The Liar will undoubtedly enjoy this show. This production is equally witty and hilarious, along with also being set in Paris. The way in which the upper class businessman, played by Jerry Bloom, treats the lower class in this play is so terrible that it’s funny. “Waitress, please tell this woman to leave.” “Roll along now.” “No, I don’t want to read this envelope!” The excellent dialog shines with this ensemble.
Towards the end of the show, The Madwoman jokes about the show being three hours long. However, the show actually ran two and half hours, due to its dense and fast paced dialog. It could have used a slower pace at times. Still, this is a fantastic show and an excellent value at the intimate studio theatre space in the Athenaeum.
Get tickets now for The Madwoman of Chaillot through March 17th!
A man is shot on the Western Brown Line station and falls onto the tracks. Two good Samaritans help him back up to the platform just before a train arrives. However, he dies from the gunshot shortly afterwards anyways. Who shot this man? Why did these two help him? These are the questions that two Chicago detectives are trying to figure out. At first it seems simple, but it slowly unravels into a complex and gripping tale.
The audience is trying to discover the truth through the stories being told by the witnesses. Early on it is revealed that the two witnesses know each other but they want the police to believe they are strangers. What else could they be hiding? Also, the detectives have some questionable history. When they learn the victim had quite a rap sheet, it seems like they are more than happy to close the case quickly instead of seeking justice for him.
The performances in this production are excellent. Byron Glenn Willis is solid as B.J. Lyles, a character who is just trying to do the right thing in a tough situation. Lyric Sims is adorable as Yates. She embodies the innocence of youth. Peter DeFaria plays the role of detective Moroni with questionable ethics perfectly. He has great chemistry with Monica Orozco, who is playing his partner, Perez. It’s a complex relationship that they capture expertly. The same goes for the witnesses, Manny Buckley as Hutch and Brenda Barrie as Brackett. Their relationship turns out to be quite complicated. Also of note, Barrie’s performance while telling her story to the detective is emotional and powerful.
Find out the answers to this mystery now and get tickets for Six Corners through March 24!
The Wolves are an indoor soccer team of high school girls. They gossip about all the typical teenage things like crushes and their bodies. However, they also talk about more serious subjects such as genocide, abortion, and death. It’s not a story about idyllic suburban life. A lot of drama takes place in this ensemble along with a lot of comedy as the girls build comradery as a team and face the challenges of life together.
The set is a real indoor soccer practice space complete with AstroTurf, nets all the way around, ceiling fans, and stadium lights. When the girls kick the balls towards the audience, everyone can’t help but duck, even though the net is there between them. It’s clear the girls have been training as they go through the soccer drills and look like a real team.
The entire cast in this production is solid and a few of them really shine. Angela Alise is superb as #00, the goalie, who struggles with social anxiety. Isa Arciniegas is strong and forceful as #25, the captain. Natalie Joyce is intense as #7, the striker. And lastly, Meighan Gerachis as Soccer Mom has a very powerful performance.
Get tickets now for The Wolves through March 11th!
BREACH: a manifesto on Race in America through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self hate, written by Antoinette Nwandu and directed by Lisa Portes is a phenomenally funny, poignant and heart-wrenching play. It is a contemporary story of love and loss but is entrenched with comic relief, drama, a fist fight, a love triangle, tears and everything that makes for an entertaining evening. Topics of race, class and gender are written through the perspectives of the characters which causes the topics to become imperfectly human.
Lights come up on a modern stage and a couple on a date. An African American woman Margaret (played by Caren Blackmore) and a white man Nate (played by Keith D. Gallagher), are pouring a bottle of wine and playing the long term relationship game. Nate goes on a rant about work and Margaret flips her auburn wig. I think to myself, “wow she seems fake.” Later, we realized the brilliance of her performance and how she was putting on this persona for her white boyfriend. We see her code switching throughout the play depending on what world or situation she was negotiating. As we follow Margaret through her relationships and friendships we get a glimpse to the complexity of race in America while at the same time laughing out loud. Scene by scene, act by act, we see her peel away her presentation of whiteness and we fall in love with her authentic self. Because we see her push away all the people close to her in order to protect herself, some might not find her likable throughout the play. But I found it refreshingly real as the story carried on. I could relate: creating walls between important relationship in order to keep yourself safe from disappointment and abandonment. However complicated it is to negotiate a white world, the audience is taken along on her journey and they may not always agree with her rash decisions to protect herself.
The lights fade to black after the final scene. The audience gives a standing ovation to the actors. They made us cry. They made us laugh, a lot. And the playwright pointed out the layers of race in America through the eyes of Margaret in a way that pulled at the heartstrings.
As a white woman giving a review of a black joy, black grief, black wisdom, or blackness in general, seems wrong. To say that my opinion is superior to those who created the play, defies the mission of the play and it is what is wrong with the world. Therefore I say, go support local black art by seeing BREACH. This production is definitely worth your time and money.
Get tickets now for Breach through March 11th!
X-Morph Defense is a tower defense game similar to Defense Grid. However, it also has the quality of being a top down shooter as you control a flying spaceship during the battles. In the game, you play invading aliens trying to take over the world. You battle everywhere across the globe including Hawaii, Mexico, Japan, and more. Before the battle begins, you strategically place your defense towers and fences to make the enemy take the hardest path possible. You can also knock over buildings and blow up bridges to block their path in the responsive urban environment!
The game is extremely fun game to play. Most strategy games don’t translate well to the Xbox as a mouse and a keyboard are needed to precisely and quickly build (aka Warcraft and StarCraft). However, in this game, building is quite simple and the majority of time you are attacking the enemies with your very powerful spaceship. Having two joysticks is the ideal way to control the ship. Also, after completing the game, you can play again in Local co-op mode.
You may also recognize Michael McConnohie as the voice of the Earth’s leader. He was also the voice of the Agency in Crackdown and many other games.
On March 26th, a free update will add a Survival Mode to the game. On the same day, European Assault will also be released, which is a brand new mini-campaign!
Buy X-Morph: Defense now in the Microsoft Store!
Las Guitarras de España is a band that plays much more than just Spanish music. They explore music from all over the world. For example, tonight they play “Galloping Horses” as a tribute to the Chinese New Year. They also play “Su Sueño… My Reality” which is half in Spanish and half in English. It’s a Chicago Spanish blend that is unique and works really well. Also included is some excellent flamenco dancing. The crowd really gets into it by clapping along and shouting “Ole!”
All 13 musicians are having a great time. They are almost always smiling and truly enjoying playing the City Winery stage to a full house. Here is the full lineup:
Patricia Ortega – Vocals
Chiara Mangiameli – Dance/Vocals
Carlo Basile – Guitar
Diego Alonso – Guitar
Colin Bunn- Electric Guitar/Tres
Greg Nergaard – Bass
Kassandra Kososhis – Percussion
Javier Saume Mazzei – Percussion/Drum Kit
Ronnie Malley – Oud/Vocals
Victor Garcia – Trumpet
Gerald McCelndon – Vocals
Chihsuan Yang – Violin/erhu
Here is the full setlist too:
Cada Dia (Patty/Carlo)
Maria La Mariposa (Colin)
Hanoi Pho (Carlo/Chihsuan)
Alegrias (Dance- Chiara and GOS)
Mejor Me Voy Mañana (Carlo/Patty)
Mi Pulguita (Diego) *concert debut
Sevilla (Carlo/Alfonso Cid)
Nice Piece/Donde Esta Paco? (Ronnie/Carlo)
Mudanzas (Diego) *concert debut
Have you never climbed before or only a climbed a few times? Then the Intro to Climbing class is for you. Plus, it’s only $10 more than a regular day pass with gear rental. First, the instructor will teach you how to boulder. You’ll learn about the color coded holds that create specific routes.
Secondly, you’ll be introduced to the auto-belay machine. This is a fantastic machine that will handle the ropes for you. Just attach the carabiner to your harness and climb up. When you push off to go down (or fall), the rope will catch you and slowly lower you down to the ground. They have about eight of these machines which allow you to climb all the way to the ceiling, 50 ft high!
After the lesson, you are free to stay in the facility. Climb a few more walls and you are sure to be exhausted. It’s quite a workout. They also have a yoga room, a workout room with weights, and a lounge area with free WiFi. It’s a great atmosphere throughout the unique space.
Sign up for a class now!
The Four Temperaments
Choreography by George Balanchine
This is the most classical of the pieces on the evening. However, there are currents of modern movement as well. The choreography excellently matches the challenging and complex music by Paul Hindemith. It’s a difficult piece to perform and the talents of the Joffrey dancers are truly showcased in this ballet.
Body of Your Dreams
Choreography by Myles Thatcher
The music for this piece uses a bunch of infomercials about fitness programs cut and pasted together in an electronic sounding piece. The dancers are wearing a style that is a mix of workout clothes and tight ballet outfits while performing a mix of those two styles of movement. While at first it seems to be a form of pop art and fun look at exercise, it turns into a critical look at the current fitness industry.
Beyond The Shore
Choreography by Nicolas Blanc
Beyond The Shore is composed of six short stories. The third one, Gemini in the Solar Wind, is the re-imagination of the first American space walk in 1965. Excerpts from the audio of this walk are featured in the song. It gives a fully outer space feeling that matches a female dancer being held up and carried across the stage just like she is in space. The choreography fantastically captures the inspiration.
Choreography by Jerome Robbins
This piece gives the feeling of a dense urban intersection in a large city. People are moving in all directions in a sort of chaos, but yet at the same time all with a sense of order. It’s a full company piece set to the music of Phillip Glass that is full of beauty and makes for a fantastic close to the night.
Get tickets for The Joffrey Ballet’s next show, Midsummer Night’s Dream, now!
In 1910, Le Fantôme de l’Opéra was published. In 1986, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Phantom of the Opera, based on this novel, opened in London’s West End. The musical continues to run as Broadway’s longest running show with 12,502 performances to date. In 2010, Love Never Dies opened in the West End. And now, in 2018, Love Never Dies makes it’s Chicago debut!
The Phantom of the Opera lives! Apparently his death was all a lie, and now he has followed Catherine to America. She has traveled to perform at a renowned opera house. In the ten years that have passed, she has since had a child with her husband. However, this does not deter the Phantom as he attempts to win her back by having her sing his song, Love Never Dies, at his theatre.
Love Never Dies Utica, NY
Fans of the original will not be disappointed in this production. It is equally grand and spectacular. The costumes are excellent, especially those of the performers in the circus. The singing is so emotional and strong. It’s not quite opera, but it’s very close. Although there is no giant falling chandelier, the staging is very impressive. Huge sets smoothly slide on and off, completely changing the scene. It all combines for a truly engrossing experience that leads to a very exciting climax.
Get tickets now for Love Never Dies through March 4th!
Mae returns home to the Pacific Northwest to care for her father, who has just been diagnosed with cancer. She is able to do this because she just broke up her with boyfriend and lost her job. She wonders if it is convenient that all these things are happening at once, or, is her life completely falling apart? The play follows her emotional journey as she expresses her feelings and sexuality very openly with the people in her life.
Music is used very well in this show. In one scene, Mae and her father sit and listen to the Regina Spektor song, “Firewood”, in its entirety. Her dad says it is the theme song for his treatment. It’s a very touching moment. Also, “Timber” by Pitbull and Kesha is used for a dancing scene very well. However, the abrupt transition to this scene received mixed responses from the audience.
The acting in this production is absolutely world class. Caroline Neff (Linda Vista, The Fundamentals, and The Flick) is outstanding as Mae. It’s an incredibly impressive performance as she is on stage for the entire show. Gabriel Ruiz (The Rembrandt and Native Gardens at Victory Gardens Theatre) is outstandingly hilarious as the Cowboy. He absolutely has the charm required to play this great character. Francis Guinan (The Minutes, The Rembrandt, Hir) is solid as well as Dad. With his talent, he makes his performance look effortless.
Get tickets now for You Got Older through March 11th!