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Theater Interview: Going Mad With ‘Lookingglass Alice’ Director David Catlin

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CHICAGO – Most adolescent boys do away with their freshly-acquired Bar Mitzvah money before you can say “Haftorah”. But not David Schwimmer. Instead, the Lookingglass Theatre Company co-founder and “Friends” superstar mounted what was to become his theatre company’s most illustrious and withstanding production, “Lookingglass Alice”, based on the cherished novels of Lewis Carroll. The company’s Artistic Director David Catlin recently caught up with HollywoodChicago.com to discuss the adaptation and production process for Alice’s latest journey (now playing through August 1, 2010 at the Water Tower), and why this fourth trip down the rabbit hole just may be the best yet.

Theater Interview: Playwright Charles Grippo Puts the ‘Sex’ in Comedy

"Sex Marks the Spot"

CHICAGO – Charles Grippo doesn’t have much sympathy for politicians who put themselves in hot, scandal-infused water. In fact, he has taken to a platform he knows well, the Chicago theatre scene, to share his satirical insight into the recent trend of sexual enmeshment that has plagued many of the nation’s top pundits and officeholders. Grippo recently caught up with HollywoodChicago.com to discuss how personal disastisifaction with government can beget the most acidic of farce.

Theater Review: ‘Sugar’ is an Artificial Sweetener

"Sugar" at Drury Lane Oakbrook

CHICAGO – Few but the most professorial of Broadway aficionados recall with clarity the short-lived “Sugar,” which is one of the first film-to-stage transfers that premiered on the Great White Way in 1972 to lowly acclaim and even lower financial prowess. Though serving as a harbinger for the soon-to-be endowed trend of film derivatives, “Sugar” debuted in the throws of an era thirsty for the provocation of Michael Bennett and the insight of Stephen Sondheim.

Theater Review: Ellen DeGeneres Brings Laughs, Magic to Chicago Theatre

Ellen DeGeneres

CHICAGO – “I like the word ‘somewhat’”, mused Ellen DeGeneres Wednesday night onstage at the Chicago Theatre in front of what is now her standard roused audience. “Like you can say, ‘I’m somewhat gay. But my girlfriend’s really gay.’”

Theater Interview: Looking ‘Up’ With ‘Fuerza Bruta’ Creator Diqui James

Martin Buzzo in Fuerza Bruta

CHICAGO – The confetti-filled, fist-pumping import “Fuerza Bruta: Look Up” recently stormed into Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre stage. Lauded by audiences as an experience the bridges the gap between the fervor of a night club and the aesthetics of traditional theatre, the production is known for its use of 360 degree spectacle. Diqui James, the co-creator and Artistic Director of the piece, recently caught of with ShowBiz Chicago to discuss the concept of the hands-on “Fuerza Bruta”, and why the art may just be in the discovery.

Theater Review: Northlight Goes For Zest in Sultry ‘Low Down Dirty Blues’

'Low Down Dirty Blues'

CHICAGO – “I been in the blues all my life. I’m still delivering ‘cause I got a long memory,” Muddy Waters once recounted to a reporter. Although the narrative catharsis once offered by the likes of Charlie Patton and Bo Carter may have given way to the stylized pulse of R&B, its placement in America’s ever-ripening counterculture is worth the recollection. And luckily for Chicago, it is a stronghold that is now making a timely wake-up call on the Northlight stage, with enough sweat and sizzle to heat a bass line.

Theater Interview: Still at Large With Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes

CHICAGO – Wanda Sykes wants you to know that she still has a mind and a mouth and she’s not afraid to use either. The Emmy Award-winning comedienne known for her work on “The Wanda Sykes Show,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as well as several HBO specials is back on the road after a year that has seen much in the way of personal and professional advances.

Theater Review: Summer’s ‘Fuerza Bruta’ Parties On

'Fuerza Bruta' at the Auditorium Theatre

CHICAGO – During the climactic sequence in the new amp-infused, celebrity-verified production “Fuerza Bruta”, hundreds of expectant hands reach toward the transparent Mylar pool descending upon them. Four bathing coryphees, exploring the tank as a child would a slip-n-slide, peer through the translucent water with the same anticipation as their onlookers. In the moments that proceed, hands reach body, giving rise to manifest excitement. The audience has not only viewed the art, it has experienced it.

Footless ‘Body Awareness’ Asks the Tough Questions

"Body Awareness" at Profiles Theatre

CHICAGO – It is a quandary that has plagued the minds of the nations foremost feminists, and even those who would better prefer the perspired mirrors of strippercize classes to the contents of “The Feminine Mystique”. Yet from Betty Friedan to Hillary Clinton, Susan B. Anthony to Katy Perry, the question regarding the often thinly drawn crease between sexual empowerment and objectification still wants for absolution..

Theater Review: ‘The 39 Steps’ is Frolicsome, Hollow Hitchcock

The cast of 'The 39 Steps'

CHICAGO – The stage may is noticeably stripped, and the absence of technical advancement well-viewed. But the brass creativity emanating from “The 39 Steps”, the rollicking adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s quieted film, is consummately endowed. In a certain albeit undeniable sense, the Master of Suspense’s screen canon has always been ripe for the satirical plucking.

Spirited ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ Dusts Off Broadway Scrapbook

"The Drowsy Chaperone" at the Marriott Theatre

CHICAGO – There are few plot archetypes that receive as much in the way of production funding as that which examines- and often heralds- the business of Broadway. From the trying personal life of Fanny Brice to the eruption of a chorus player on 42nd Street, musicals have often reveled to the avidity of their own founts.

Theater Interview: Back on the Street With Lisa Helmi Johanson of ‘Avenue Q’

The new touring cast of "Avenue Q"

CHICAGO – The puppets are back in town. Those R-rated, sexually-inclined, potty-mouthed denizens of Avenue Q have once again taken over the neighborhood where they are appearing at Broadway in Chicago’s Bank of America Theater. Now in its seventh year Off-Broadway (where the production recently transferred from its previous home on the Great White Way), the Tony Award-winning musical by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx continues to tempt and tickle its Sesame Street fanbase on the road.

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  • Monica Raymund on set for 'Tanya'

    CHICAGOTV fans know Monica Raymund as paramedic Gabby Dawson on the long-running “Chicago Fire.” But the talented actor is expanding her range, debuting her first film as director, “Tanya,” at the Midwest Independent Film Festival on Tuesday, August 1st, 2017. The short film – written by Sam Forman – will be part of “Female Filmmakers Night” at the Midwest Indie, and is part of Raymund’s involvement with Hidden Tears Project, an organization dedicated to raising consciousness by creating media on gender inequality, sexual abuse and human trafficking.

  • They're Playing Our Song

    CHICAGO – During the late disco era of the 1970s, an unusual musical opened on Broadway. Essentially a two person stage play, “They’re Playing Our Song” involved a songwriter and a lyricist who develop a stronger connection than just writing partners. The always passionate Brown Paper Box Co. of Chicago has unearthed this chestnut with a bright and fun revival at the Rivendell Theatre through August 20th, 2017.

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