News Column

* Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company hosts its 25th annual theater festival Abbie Hoff

August 9, 2013

YellowBrix

* Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company hosts its 25th annual theater festival Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins, taking place this weekend at The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago. Created to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Woodstock Music and Art Fair in New York, the festival showcases Chicago theater ensembles, bands and solo artists performing short plays, stand-up comedy, improvisation and mime. Participating theaters include A Red Orchid, AstonRep, Factory Theater, Hobo Junction, The Inconvenience, Mary- Arrchie and Wildclaw among others. More than 100 artists perform short works, nonstop, on three different stages following the opening ceremony at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, featuring Mary-Arrchie co- founder and artistic director Richard Cotovsky as Abbie Hoffman. The $10 one-day pass allows patrons to come and go all day and night. The $25 weekend pass offers admission all weekend. See the schedule at maryarrchie.com or call (773) 871-0442.

* Previews begin Friday, Aug. 9, for Underscore Theatre Company's world premiere, "Pr0ne: A Casting Couch Musical Comedy," with books, music and lyrics by company ensemble members. The dark comedy centers on a young woman trying to make it in film, who happens to be the unnamed young woman in a notorious "casting couch" video that has sparked a legal battle. This marks the second original world premiere from the company celebrating its second year in Chicago. The show opens Tuesday, Aug. 13, at Chicago Dramatists, 1105 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago. See underscoretheatre.org for more information.

* Redtwist theatre's late night series continues with the world premiere of "Drunk and Ready," about a woman whose fiance was killed, who returns to the dating scene with help from her two friends. Scott Woldman, resident playwright at the Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights, penned the adults-only show. It opens at 10:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at 1044 W. Bryn Mawr, Chicago. (773) 728-7529 or redtwist.org.

* Light Opera Works artistic director Rudy Hogenmiller returns to the stage to star as the Emcee in LOW's revival of John Kander and Fred Ebb's "Cabaret," opening Saturday, Aug. 10, at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston. Stacey Flaster directs and choreographs the show about the ill-fated romance between a cabaret singer and a struggling writer which unfolds at Berlin's "divinely decadent" Kit Kat Club on the eve of the Nazi's rise to power. (847) 920-5360 or lightoperaworks.com.

* The life of Alan Turing, Great Britain's pioneering computer scientist, inspired Alex Paul Young's "Pink Milk." A coproduction between Oracle Productions and White Elephant, the show combines music, movement and poetry in a fantasy tale about Alan, a lonely gay man who builds robots to replace his lost love until his life spirals out of control after he accepts a poisoned apple from a mysterious man. Performances begin Saturday, Aug. 10, at Oracle Theatre, 3809 N. Broadway, Chicago. Admission is free but donations are accepted. See publicaccesstheatre.org.

* Redmoon continues its free summer performance summer series from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, at Dvorak Park, 1119 W. Cullerton St., Chicago. The event features emcee Lamar Jordan and performers DJ Such and Such, Jose Olivarez, Noname, Fatimah and the Bucket Boys along with Redmoon's latest invention, a 16-foot-tall mobile soapbox and speaker system complete with DJ booth, drum kit, slide and other elements; redmoon.org.

* Previews begin Wednesday, Aug. 14, for Mercury Theater Chicago's revival of "The Color Purple," based on the Alice Walker novel and adapted for the stage by writer Marsha Norman, with music and lyrics by Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. Broadway veteran Trisha Jeffrey stars as the much-abused Celie in the production which features Jasondra Johnson as the defiant Sophia, and Adrienne Walker as the spirited chanteuse Shug. The show opens Aug. 26, at 3745 N. Southport Ave., Chicago. (773) 325-1700 or mercurytheaterchicago.com.

* Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company remounts its production of "Uncle Bob," Austin Pendleton's family drama about a man (Richard Cotovsky), recently diagnosed with AIDs, who is subjected to an unwelcome visit from his nephew Josh (Rudy Galvan). Cody Estle directs the production which reopens Thursday, Aug. 15, at Angel Island, 735 W. Sheridan Road, Chicago. See maryarrchie.com for more information.

-- Barbara Vitello

* Genesis Theatrical Productions presents the Chicago area premiere of "The Last Cyclist," by actor, director, composer and playwright Karel Svenk, who wrote the play in 1944 during his time at the concentration camp at Terezin. The Nazis promoted Terezin as an ideal camp where Jewish inmates where well treated and whose cultural activities served as propaganda to disguise Nazi brutality. A satire, which Jewish scholar and educator Naomi Patz reconstructed from its remaining fragments, "The Last Cyclist" is about a mad dictator who after decreeing that the world's problems result from bicycle riders, does his best to capture and kill them all. Previews begin Thursday, Aug. 15, at National Pastime Theater, in the Preston Bradley Center, 941 W. Lawrence Ave., Chicago. The show opens Aug. 17. See brownpapertickets.com or genesistheatricals.com.

* "Other People's Money," businessman-turned-playwright Jerry Sterner's dramedy about the romance between a corporate raider and the attorney attempting to defend his takeover of a small New England wire and cable company, marks Shattered Globe Theatre's first production of its 22nd season. Dennis Zacek directs the show which opens Sept. 4. The company's season 2013-14 season continues Jan. 9, 2014, with Timberlake Wertenbaker's "Our Country's Good," adapted from "The Playmaker" by Thomas Keneally, about inmates at an Australian prison rehearsing a play which authorities believe will make a better distraction than the frequent hangings which serve as prison entertainment. The season concludes April 24, 2014, with Sally Nemeth's "Mill Fire." about the aftermath of a fatal accident in Alabama that left several mill workers dead. Performances take place at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. (773) 975-8150 or shatteredglobe.org.

* UrbanTheater Coimpany announced its 8th season which begins Sept. 16 with Candido Tirado's "First Class," about the tense relationship between brothers, set in a gang-infested New York City neighborhood. It will be followed in spring 2014 with Desi Moreno- Penson's dark fairy tale "Devil Land," about a childless Latino couple. They kidnaps a young girl, who enlists her imaginary friend The Grinch to help her get away. Performances take place at Batey Urbano, 2620 W. Division St., Chicago. (312) 239-8783 or urbantheaterchicago.org.

* Theatre at the Center's Theatre for Young Audiences' 2013-14 season begins Oct. 10 with the musical "Pinocchio." It's followed by "The Velveteen Rabbit" (Dec. 2-14), a musical adaptation of Margery Williams' classic tale of a toy rabbit made real by a boy's love. The one-woman show "The MLK Project: The Fight for Civil Rights" (Jan. 27-31, 2014) examines civil rights activists. The season concludes April 9, 2014, with the original musical adaptation of "Aladdin." Performances are at 1040 Ridge Road, Munster, Ind. (219) 83603255 or theatreatthecenter.com.

-- Barbara Vitello

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