Friday, July 29, 2011

Getting Ready for Red

The 2010/2010 Season comes to a close on Sunday with the final performance of Chinglish, which is completely sold out (not a bad way to end the season, if you ask us). Next up we have a bit of a break ahead before John Logan’s Red takes over the Albert stage in mid-September. Tickets go on sale next Friday, August 5.

We’ll have lots of Red-related content on the blog in the weeks to come, but for now, let’s start at the beginning: John Logan’s source of inspiration for this ferocious beast of a play, an exhibition featuring Mark Rothko’s Seagram Murals that the playwright stumbled on during a visit to London’s Tate Modern Museum several years ago. (For those of you unfamiliar with Red, the play is a fictional account of two years in Rothko's life during which he labored on those very paintings.) Though the Tate's exhibition closed in early 2009, the museum’s website still houses extensive information on Rothko and the exhibition; you can even go on a video tour (fourth clip from the top) of the Rothko rooms with the show’s curator, Achim Borchardt-Hume, for a look at the actual work that inspired this play.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Christmas in July

Chinglish is wrapping up this week, and with its final performance this Sunday night, our 2010/2011 season comes to a close. (Above: Chinglish's Johnny Wu and Jennifer Lim, waving goodbye to us. Best of luck, guys! We'll miss you. Photo by Eric Y. Exit.) In a few short weeks Red will start rehearsals in the Healy before taking over the Albert with its ferocious splatterings of red paint and roaring Rothkoisms, followed New Stages Amplified in the Owen, and, soon after that, A Christmas Carol.

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Stages, New Format

In an appropriate feat of timing, yesterday—the hottest day of the year—we announced the final plays in our upcoming Red Hot season: Dartmoor Prison, by Carlyle Brown; Chicago Boys, by Kathleen Tolan; and Ask Aunt Susan, by Seth Bockley. Together, these new plays make up what we’re calling New Stages Amplified; each work will receive 12 performances which will be fully staged, but on more pared-down sets than we’re used to, as these are still works in progress. Following each performance, we’ll host open discussions with the artists on the work, where audiences will be encouraged to share their thoughts, insights, and observations. For more information on the plays and their respective dates, check out the New Stages Amplified page on our website.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

With Love and Gratitude, Chinglish Sweeps Chicago

By Johnny Wu, Bing and Judge Xu Geming in Chinglish

I sit at my half hour call in my dressing room awaiting the beginning of another eight-show week—our second to last one. The last time I wrote an entry, we hadn't even left the rehearsal room to see the stage. Since then, we've conquered a tech week where Leigh and our brilliant designers led us through two turntables, projections, sight-lines, and demanding quick changes. A preview week where David expertly trimmed the fat from the script; we would rehearse the changes during the day and perform a tighter show each night. Then a glorious opening night, complete with a decadent reception at Petterino's. Then the Broadway announcement for the fall. Then the extension announcement for the final week of July here at the Goodman. And now, with wild laughter and mid-scene outbursts of applause blaring out of my dressing room speaker, I smile for what sheer delight it is to give this story away to a full house every night.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Coming Soon...

Big news hit the theaterwebs late yesterday afternoon: next spring, Robert Falls will direct Nathan Lane and Brian Dennehy in The Iceman Cometh here at the Goodman! April 22 to June 10; be there.

[ Above: Dazzling show art; get excited!]

Meanwhile, our current production, Chinglish, is still going strong in the Albert and has been extended through July 31, which is good news for anyone who still hasn’t seen the show yet, as it’s been selling out on a nightly basis. After it closes here it’s headed to Broadway, so unless you’ll be spending your autumn in New York I’d advise you to see it now, in all of its original glory.

For now though, check out this week’s links!

Jules Feiffer brings back his tiny dancer. (The New York Times)

Stumbling on art in the streets of Prague. (The New York Times)

Upstaging the stage in Shakespearean remounts. (The New York Times)

Testing high-tech theater seats in London. (The Guardian)

Brahms and Smetana, in the heart of Texas. (Los Angeles Times)

Barbie goes to the museum. (Los Angeles Times)

And the Mona Lisa finally speaks up—in Mandarin. (Los Angeles Times)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Sounds of Chinglish

By Lesley Gibson, Publications Coordinator

As Chinglish audiences stream out of the Albert after each performance, one of the most talked-about topics inevitably is the arresting music that pumps into the theater propelling each of the play's transitions. Devised by Sound Designer Darron L. West, Chinglish’s soundtrack of contemporary Chinese music plays double duty in the sleek production, creating a riveting theatrical experience while accurately evoking the play’s setting—present-day Guiyang, a provincial capital of 4 million people in southwestern China.

West, who was called on to help create the sound for the play by Playwright David Henry Hwang and Director Leigh Silverman after working with them on Hwang’s 2007 comedy, Yellow Face, started his career as a resident sound designer at Actors Theatre of Louisville, and has since spent almost 20 years as a freelance sound designer working regularly at theaters in New York and around the country. Shortly after Chinglish opened, he talked to me about the current state of Chinese pop music, Celine Dion, and the process that went into conceiving the soundtrack for this world-premiere production.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Summer of Hwang

We’re two weeks into the run of Chinglish, and the excitement around this production is showing no sign of letting up soon. The press is abuzz with abundant praise; shows are selling out; Broadway is waiting impatiently.

Now that the rehearsal and preview period is over, the playwright, director, consultants, and designers have all left town, leaving only the cast and crew to run the show on a nightly basis. You can read all about the last hurrah of the full creative team—and other opening night shenanigans—in playwright David Henry Hwang’s final blog post of his series over at You Offend Me You Offend My Family.

Meanwhile, Chicago’s unofficial David Henry Hwang Festival (or Summer of Hwang, which ever you prefer) continues down the street at Silk Road Theatre Project, where another Hwang comedy, Yellow Face (directed by the Goodman’s Associate Producer, Steve Scott) will be showing through July 31. Check out Silk Road’s website for behind-the-scenes videos, and buy tickets for both shows on the Goodman’s website.

Top: Chinglish cast members Stephen Pucci and Larry Zhang on opening night. Right: Chinglish cast members Angela Lin and Christine Line on opening night. Photos by Eric Y. Exit.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Scene and Heard

Happy long weekend everyone! While we're busy performing random acts of patriotism, the Chinglish crew will be at theater navigating their way through the tricky customs of modern-day China. If you haven't bought your tickets yet do so now; seriously, this show is selling out scary fast.

Meanwhile, here are this week's links!

Can the Mormons take on the Mormons? (Fox 13 Now)

Everyone talks about the separation between church and state, but what about church and theater? (OC Weekly)

The '60s through the eyes of Linda McCartney (London Evening Standard)

In present day London, a principal dancer with a background in drag racing dazzles at the Royal Ballet. (The Telegraph)

An iconic recording studio looks for the next great anthem. (Los Angeles Times)

The shifting standards of lewdness over time, as demonstrated in a painting. (The Guardian)

In New York, Central Park falls silent this summer (as much as it can). (The New York Times)

The New York Times
notices that Broadway is starting to look like a boy's town. (The New York Times)