‘Magic Mike The Musical’
Casting triple threats nationwide for the Broadway-bound musical. Pays $2,095 per week.
Casting triple threats nationwide for the Broadway-bound musical. Pays $2,095 per week.
On MARCH 7TH 8:30PM and MARCH 8TH & 9TH 8PM FASSEAS WHITEBOX THEATRE TIFFANY LAWSON DANCE PRESENTS HARMONY, a live music and dance festival
Tiffany Lawson Dance 501C3 non profit produces
HARMONY, a live music and dance
festival. HARMONY brings choreographers and
musicians from across the nation and Chicagoland area for this unique, cutting
edge festival marrying together live music and dance.
Participating artists: Kristalyn Gill Early
(Oregon), Nitya Narasimhan (California), Sarvesh Kirthivasan (California), Ajay
Ravichandran (California), Sandeep Bharadwaj (California), Lucid Banter Project
(Chicago), Andrew Lawrence (Chicago), Mikayla Karis Smith (Ohio), Alysa Craigie
(Ohio), Paige Craigie (Ohio), Desueno Dance (Chicago), Octavia Reese (Chicago),
David Mero (Chicago), Cyenthia Vijayakumar Mahesh (Wisconsin), Manpreet Bedi
(Wisconsin), Jai Sovani (Wisconsin), Chetan (Wisconsin), Footprints Tap
Ensemble (Chicago), Theory of Dance (Chicago), Amy Brophy (Chicago),
Postcompany (California), Sam Horning (Chicago), Elise Ellen Ericksen
(Chicago), Brett Feral (Chicago), Tiffany Lawson (Chicago), Sixto Franco
(Chicago), Shayna Bjerke (Chicago), Brianna Bjerke (Tennessee), Bonnie
Christine Willis (Chicago), Scott Hargis (Chicago), Molly Jo Mathe (Wisconsin),
Alex Schildgen (Wisconsin), Stephanie Unger (California), Nick Davio (Chicago),
Juan Horie (Chicago)
Something happened yesterday on the radio that strikes at what I aspire to both as a responsible broadcaster and as an artist. I cover the Arts on a fast growing radio program, Playtime with Bill Turck and Kerri Kendall, Sundays on AM1590 WCGO in Chicago. I have 5 published books including a War Memoir, had two plays that garnered critical and national attention, was a visual Artist, activist, relief worker and war photographer. As a broadcaster my focus is on building community not fracturing it for personal of political advantage.
Broadcasting is or was suppose to be a public trust. I’m a bit old school in that regard. The airwaves are in fact public, although your airwaves have been hijacked in the era of deregulation. Those public airwaves have become over-saturated with a single predatory political ideology which habitually parades garbage. Virtually anything that radio talk host Dennis Prager says on his syndicated radio show is a tragic case in point. A recent radio broadcast by Prager about Art only serves to underscore the point.
“…let’s tear down a mural of William Shakespeare,” Prager pontificated on his December 19th radio program, “to put up a picture of a Latina Lesbian Poet.”
Pager is perversely obsessed with a mural of Shakespeare at UPenn which was replaced with (Oh, god don’t let it be true) a woman. Nowhere and at no time on that show, nor any of the other programs he’s used a Poet Laureate as a whiffle bat to pummel the Left and Progressives was there any mention of Audre Lorde’s-the Latina Lesbian Poet-name. Nor was there any attempt by Prager to enlighten his audience on the merits, or lack thereof, of a woman whose Art and work resonated around the planet.
No offense to Shakespeare, whose brilliance is undisputed, but Prager alludes or ignores the fact that Shakespeare is part of the English curriculum at UPenn and every university, virtually on the planet. He also seems to be disquieted by the reality that literature and theatre did not end with Shakespeare. In fact, despite Prager, literature and Art has continued to evolve in the ensuing four hundred years. Whoa unto the abandonment of “Western” civilization that Prager decries daily, but this year, covering Chicago’s Theatre scene, I attended three Shakespeare plays by largely Millennial theatre companies. That was but a fraction of the actual number staged in Chicago.
The problem here is, apart from Prager’s skewing the mundane and everyday into some obtuse partisan argument, that Prager is deeply ridiculous and thoughtless, while posturing as an authority. Prager is in fact an authority, but only on his own hubris and insipidness.
Yesterday’s meltdown had to do with appointment of Kaywin Feldman to head the National Gallery of Art. Kaywin transformed and modernized the Minneapolis Institute of Art. “Kaywin Feldman is a dynamic and highly principled leader,” said Frederick W. Beinecke, President of the National Gallery of Art, in a statement, “a gracious collaborator, and an innovator with the skills and vision to lead the National Gallery of Art in the 21st century,”
But Prager used a celebratory announcement of a highly qualified woman as part of his tirade against anyone who dares disagree with his over-privileged top down view of American society. Thanks to the “Left,” he says, “noteriety became the chief goal of Art.” Perhaps he’s never heard of Albrecht Dürer, the 15th Century master who created the notion of “personality” by brazenly signing his own work and even rendering himself in the role of Jesus. Prager told his audience that the appointment of Feldman would “turn the Art museum into a Leftist institution.”
A news flash for the good if twisted Dennis Prager- ART IS LEFTIST! Art is humanistic by definition, nowtpower and privilege centered. His definition of Art as “excellence, greatness and beauty” is as simplistic as a 2nd Grade teacher asking 7 year olds for a definite and concise definition of liberty. Art is all of these things and none of them, as well as much, much more. Art, at its core, eschews and questions power. It transcends, not merely and often without, unyielding and purposeful structure and convention. It is, by its very essence, revolutionary. Prager’s Taliban-style views on Art reflect a deeply flawed intellect and a broken moral compass. He is part of the reason that here in the great and glorious West we immediately recognize Titian, da Vinci and Botticelli but not master female artists of the Renaissance like Plautilla Nelli or Sofonisba Anguissola.
In 1994, travelling alone as an Artist through Bosnian Serb-held territory and through combat zones, I was treated by regular folks as some sort of vagabond royalty. I travelled places where journalists were barred from going. The reason being, that in the former Yugoslavia, as well as other Eastern European and former Communist countries journalists were viewed as a function of oppressive government. Artists, by contrast were heroic dissenters and champions of the moral and ethical soul essential to universal human liberty and true.
The sad part is that Prager’s ignorance, like his sexism and racism, is so thinly veiled that I am forever astounded that his listeners fail to see through it. Then again, perhaps it reflects their own, or perhaps Prager’s success as part of a broader Rightwing effort to undermine the value of information and education in favor of doctrine.
“We know that human beings are mysterious creatures who communicate in mysterious ways,” says Watkins who has performed nearly 1,000 shows in his weekly production, The Magic Parlour. “While we all understand that human beings cannot teleport or fly, we secretly hope that it might be possible to be psychic,” he adds.
As a lifelong magician, Watkins recalls watching the legendary Frances Willard and Glen Falkenstein perform the Spirit Cabinet as it had been passed to Frances by her father, the legendary Willard the Wizard. On this very special night, Watkins will perform his version of this spiritualist spectacular and harness the collective mental energy of everyone in the room.
A cocktail hour inside a stunning Palmer House Hilton ballroom welcomes guests before the third-generation magician takes the stage for a 90-minute premiere performance. Watkins will call upon ghosts to make themselves known to the gathered crowd, inspiring wonder as guests participate in revealing the playful connections to the beyond.
Facts: Dennis Watkins’ Magic, Mysteries, and Spirits
ABOUT THE MAGIC PARLOUR, PRODUCED BY THE HOUSE THEATRE OF CHICAGO
The Magic Parlour is an intimate evening of classic magic and mind-reading starring third-generation magician Dennis Watkins. Guests to this intimate, magic-packed evening gather at Potter’s in the Palmer House lobby before Watkins personally escorts them to the performance space. Once inside, the audience participates in much of the performance as Watkins wows the room with classic sleight of hand, unbelievable mind-reading and magical wisdom passed down from his grandfather.
Since opening at The Palmer House on New Year’s Eve of 2011, Dennis Watkins’ performance of The Magic Parlour has enjoyed phenomenal success and unimagined growth. With only 44 seats available per show, The Magic Parlour has entertained over 20,000 guests in its seven-year run. Additionally, it has hosted more than 800 ticketed audiences and dozens of private groups, facilitated three truly magical wedding proposals, and has been featured in two books (Chicago Magic: A History of Stagecraft and Spectacle and 100 Things to do in Chicago Before You Die).
ABOUT THE HOUSE THEATRE OF CHICAGO, PRODUCER OF DENNIS WATKINS’ MAGIC, MYSTERY, AND SPIRITS
The House is Chicago’s premier home for intimate, original works of epic story and stagecraft. Founded in 2001, led by Artistic Director Nathan Allen, and driven by an interdisciplinary ensemble of Chicago’s next generation of great storytellers, The House aims to become a laboratory and platform for the evolution of the American theatre as an inclusive and popular art form.
Since becoming eligible in 2004, The House has been nominated for 70 Joseph Jefferson Awards (22 wins), became the first recipient of Broadway in Chicago’s Emerging Theater Award in 2007, and was awarded a 2014 National Theatre Company Grant by the American Theatre Wing, founder of the Tony Awards. The House Theatre of Chicago is thrilled to partner with The Palmer House for a seventh year in bringing one of the country’s most exciting magical entertainers to audiences in Chicago.
Nominated for Best Musical by the New York Drama League and the New York Outer Critics Circle and written as musical therapy, in real time, to songwriter Schalchlin’s own AIDS diagnosis and subsequent battle on the deathbed, The Last Session, an off-Broadway hit in its original run in 1997, reunites a group of singers, friends and band mates to record one final album, except for the unexpected arrival of a guest singer who spoils what was supposed to be a nice, quiet goodbye party. All of them are deeply connected, yet, unaware that their host carries a big secret: he plans to end his struggle with AIDS after the session.
The New York Times called this gospel/rock/pop infused musical “Exquisite” and The Los Angeles Times named it a “Critics Choice” and raved, “screamingly funny, yet love is everywhere. Written from the heart, Schalchlin’s gospel tinged pop tunes exert a rare emotional pull and Brochu‘s story telling allows them to emerge realistically out of the action. Again and again, a fierce drive takes overtakes the tunes melodic strains. It’s life taking hold again – hope rising on powerful wings.”
“As an artist living with HIV, I feel compelled to share stories from the early days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic” Artistic Director Pazdernik said. “We have to make sure we don’t lose the stories of those who fought and died so today’s generation of HIV patients could live longer. It’s too easy to take modern medicine for granted–we need to also honor the debt we owe to those who were on the front lines of this unfathomable plague.”
Refuge Theatre Project will be partnering with several Chicago social service agencies during the run of the production to bring awareness and support to organizations that continue the fight against HIV/AIDS in our communities today including AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Howard Brown Health and Season of Concern.
The cast of The Last Session includes Ryan Armstrong, “Buddy;” Erik Pearson, “Gideon;” Benjamin Baylon, “Jim;” Darilyn Burtley, “Tryshia;” Elizabeth Bollar, “Vicki;” Britain Gebhardt and Josiah Haugen, swings.
The production team includes Chris Pazdernik*, director; Erik Pearson, music director; Rueben Echoles, assistant director; Lewis Rawlinson*, assistant music director; Collin Helou*, lighting designer; Jeremy Hollis, production manager; Leslie Halverson, stage manager; Evan Frank*, set dressing/props coordinator; Isaac Mandel, sound designer/audio engineer and Amanda Vander Byl, costume designer.
*Denotes Refuge Theatre Project company member
Community Partner Organizations:
The AIDS Foundation of Chicago mobilizes communities to create equity and justice for people living with and vulnerable to HIV and related chronic diseases. AFC envisions a world in which people living with HIV and related chronic diseases will thrive, and new HIV infections will be rare. Learn more at aidschicago.org.
Howard Brown Health exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness. Howard Brown is the largest LGBTQ organization in the Midwest, providing primary and specialty healthcare, social services, and infectious disease screenings to more than 34,000 people each year. Our 10 clinics span the City of Chicago, from Englewood to Rogers Park. For more information, visit howardbrown.org.
Season of Concern is the Chicagoland theatre community’s fundraising effort in providing compassionate care to those in our community who are experiencing the effects of incapacitating illness, injury or circumstance. Artists helping artists; family helping family. seasonofconcern.org.