WINDY CITY TIMES
||THEATER REVIEW The Mistress Cycle
by Mary Shen Barnidge
This article shared 2828 times since Wed Jul 29, 2009
Playwright: music by Jenny Giering, lyrics by Beth Blatt. At: Apple Tree Theatre at the Auditorium, 50 E. Congress. Phone: 1-800-982-2787; $49. Runs through: Aug. 8. Photo by Michael Brosilow
It's such a clever idea, you wonder why it's not implemented more often: you've got this huge downtown theater, see, sitting empty most of the year waiting for the kind of extravaganzas that will justify its full-operation expenses. And you've got a sellout show playing in a remote neighborhood at a shoebox-sized playhouse no bigger than the stage of the aforementioned Loop arena. So you move the entire production, audience seats and all, onto the space behind the footlights in the big rooma win-win solution for all involved and a boon to automobile-challenged city theatergoers curious about a musical revue titled The Mistress Cycle.
For "mistress" is not a precise label, and the characters whose social status is nowadays defined by that term vary according to their time and place. Cultures the world over have long acknowledged the benefits of more than one person fulfilling the duties ( often including reproductive responsibilities ) associated with maintaining a household, and with few other employment options open to women, a daughter fair of face and small of prospects could do worse than to settle for the not-insubstantial security and material comfortsroom and board, an allowance and severance payof being the "number two" wife.
Those whom we meet are a medieval Chinese concubine barely out of her teens, a court lady of the early French renaissance twenty years older than her royal protector, a turn-of-the-century Storyville madam, and a belle-époque artist-journalist. They have come to instruct a modern career photographer contemplating an affair with a married man in the ways of their sorority. Over a sleek 90 minutes, Jenny Giering's lush melodies and Beth Blatt's poignant lyrics acquaint us with the risks and the rewards encountered by those who accept the opportunity to forge their own destinies independent of official recognition.
Whether you agree with every tenet of Giering and Blatt's manifesto ( they claim, for example, that there is "no male equivalent" to "mistress" ) , there's no denying the appeal of five cheerful songbirdsSusie McMonagle, Angela Ingersoll, Charissa Armon, Karen Marie Richardson and newcomer Christine Bunuanwarbling sweet/sassy serenades, accompanied by the likewise decorative Diana Lawrence at the grand piano, while they lounge sensuously in Amy Jackson's rosy-textured boudoir, clad in Erin Fast's cleavage-accentuating gowns. Summer is a lazy season, but this intimate and insightful confection only plays until Aug. 8, so don't wait too long before getting your tickets.
This article shared 2828 times since Wed Jul 29, 2009
| ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE|
|THEATER REVIEW Toni Stone at the Goodman 2023-02-07|
Review by Tracy Baim - Lydia R. Diamond's original play, Toni Stone, is simply wonderful on all levels. Directed by Ron OJ Parson in its Chicago premiere at the Goodman Theatre, the play is about the first known woman to play ...
|The Jeff Awards announces 2023 Non-Equity theater award nominations 2023-02-05|
--From a press release - ChicagoThe Joseph Jefferson Awards announces its nominations for theater excellence among Non-Equity theater. The Non-Equity awards presented in 2023 spotlight 167 theater artists across 28 categories of excellence in theater ...
|SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, Alan Cumming, Andre Leon Talley, AIDS drama 2023-02-05|
- Openly gay stand-up comic and recent Golden Globes host Jerrod Carmichael is set to star in a comedy documentary series for HBO, according to Entertainment Weekly. The yet-untitled series will center on Carmichael's personal life, following ...
|THEATER REVIEW Andy Warhol in Iran juggles art, celebrity and geopolitics 2023-02-01|
- Andy Warhol in Iran. Playwright: Brent Askari At: Northlight Theatre at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie Tickets: 847-673-6300 or www.Northlight.org; $30-$89. Runs through Feb. 19 The prolific 20th century gay ...
|Chicago theater charges on through the cold months 2023-01-31|
- The ongoing 2022-2023 theater seasonroughly September to Junewill be the first complete production season in Chicago in three years. A few troupes cautiously returned to live performances late last spring, but most companies waited until the ...
|Billy Porter discusses his fashion choices, personal ambitions 2023-01-30|
- Billy Porter—the Tony, Emmy and Grammy winner—needs no introduction—especially to the many fans of his character Pray Tell on Ryan Murphy's hit TV series Pose. Coming up exclusively in theaters Feb. 3, Porter will star as ...
|Des Plaines Theater cancels anti-LGBTQ hate group event after outcry from citizens 2023-01-20|
- DuPage County-based Awake Illinois was set to hold an event called "Out of the Echo Chamber: Coalition for Kids" at the city-owned, but not city-operated, Des Plaines Theatre Wednesday, Feb. 8. This event has now been ...
|Theater Review: tick, tick...BOOM! 2023-01-19|
- One of the wonders of live theater is that old works can be revived and reinterpreted to respond to changes in culture and society. Often a new directorial approach can make tried-and-true material feel fresh and ...
|Theater Review: Princess Ivona is a dark but comic portrait of power 2023-01-19|
- Playwright: Witold Gombrowicz. At: Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland St. Tickets: 773-384-0494 or www.trapdoortheatre.com; $25 (two-for-one admission Thursdays) Runs through Feb. 18 Trap Door Theatre is now tackling the ...
|Jordan Vasquez treats Chicago to Fosse's Chicago 2023-01-12|
- Actor and openly gay performer Jordan Vasquez, an Illinois native now living in New York City, is giving Chicago audiences "the old razzle dazzle" in the fabulous musical Chicago. This dynamically talented performer brings with him ...
|SHOWBIZ Diversity report, Dave Bautista, Leslie Jordan, greatest singers 2023-01-08|
- The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative's latest "Inclusion in the Director's Chair" report analyzes the gender and race/ethnicity of the directors behind last year's 100 highest-grossing movies in the country, while the San Diego State Center ...
|SHOWBIZ Best in theater, TV, film and music; Obama's favorites; 'Glass Onion' 2022-12-31|
- Deadline's Broadway critic revealed his picks for the best of 2022. Leopoldstadt topped his list, but other productions included Kimberly Akimbo, Some Like It Hot, Into the Woods, Hangmen, Ain't No Mo', A Strange Loop, Topdog/Underdog, ...
|PrideArts, Chicago drag artists co-produce story of a drag family's tribulations 2022-12-22|
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — PrideArts will celebrate the arrival of the year 2023 by teaming up with the Chicago drag performers Tirrany Reigns and Ramona Mirage to stage Reigns' original Queer Family Dramedy, set just after New Year's ...
|Oak Park Festival Theatre makes history with new artistic director 2022-12-20|
- The Oak Park Festival Theatre (OPFT)—the oldest professional classical theater in the Midwest—announced that Peter G. Andersen will be joining the company as its new artistic director in January 2023. It is the first time that a person ...
|SHOWBIZ Best and worst films, Broadway, Adam Lambert, 'Proud Family,' women's hockey 2022-12-18|
- IndieWire revealed its list of the best LGBTQ+ films and TV series of 2022. Just some of the selections included Benediction, Bros, Do Revenge, Fire Island, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Inspection, Los Espookys, P-Valley, ...