Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

DOUBLE REVIEW The Long Christmas Ride Home; The Lisbon Traviata
by Scott C. Morgan, Windy City Times
2015-11-18

This article shared 4627 times since Wed Nov 18, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


The Long Christmas

Ride HomePlaywright: Paula Vogel. At: Strawdog Theatre, 3829 N. Broadway Tickets: 773-528-9696; www.strawdog.org; $28 Runs through Dec. 12

The Lisbon Traviata

Playwright: Terrence McNally At: Eclipse Theatre Company at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport Ave. Tickets: 773-935-6875; www.eclipsetheatre.com; $30. Runs through Dec. 13

In two Chicago revivals of acclaimed off-Broadway works by out playwrights, bad relationship breakups drive the drama while the specter of AIDS is ominously present. Strawdog Theatre has brought back the Japanese Bunraku-style puppets written into Paula Vogel's The Long Christmas Ride Home, while Eclipse Theatre Company concludes its three-play Terrence McNally season with the obsessive opera queens of The Lisbon Traviata.

Vogel's 2003 narrative-driven drama analytically picks apart events leading to the title incident that causes a bitter interfaith marriage breakdown ( Ed Dzialo and Loretta Rezos play the sparring parents ). Vogel also explores the confused thoughts and painful legacy of that event on the couple's three kids of Rebecca ( Sarah Gitenstein ), Stephen ( Sam Hubbard ) and Claire ( Kristen Johnson ).

What makes Vogel's play so theatrical is that the children are puppets manipulated by their older selves. It's as if they're not fully-formed humans who can only speculate on the severity of their parents' bickering. Later Vogel shows them as adults brushing up against death amid their own relationship failures.

Director Josh Sobel's intimate and ominous production is top notch with funny and touching performances all around, though there are some questionable staging decisions. Sobel's use of puppetry to interact with the grown kids can come off as too laughable ( the lesbian shadow puppets being an exception ), while Peter Carpenter's solo choreography for actor John Taflan meanders on too long near the end.

Otherwise, the strong Strawdog cast serves a solid take on The Long Christmas Ride Home. It's a dramatic antidote to the cheery shows that typically crowd the holiday season.

Alas, it is questionable casting by director Steve Scott that doesn't allow Eclipse's The Lisbon Traviata to fully sing. McNally's 1989 comic drama requires an operatic outpouring of passion—particularly for the Maria Callas-obsessed characters of Mendy ( JP Pierson ) and Stephen ( Joe McCauley ).

Pierson and McCauley's banter in Act I feels studied instead of embodying gay guys who live and breathe all things opera. The fact that they mispronounced a few singer names and opera titles doesn't help.

Things become much more convincing in the second act, as Stephen confronts his open-relationship lover, Mike ( Joel Reitsma ), and his younger boy toy, Paul ( Luke Daigle, who can proudly show everything off in a nude scene ). Reitsma's rage as Mike feels very genuine, though I would have preferred more desperation from McCauley's Stephen—especially given the play's shocking conclusion.

As a late 1980s period piece, The Lisbon Traviata shines a light onto the bitchiness of opera queens' obsessions at the time while also reflecting how much AIDS terrorized people in the gay community. Eclipse's production could have been a potent reminder of all that, but the passion to get it just right isn't fully there.


This article shared 4627 times since Wed Nov 18, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

THEATER 'A Michael Martin Tribute' Nov. 11-28 2021-10-27
- Curious Theatre Branch will host a three-week celebration of the solo performance monologues of the late Michael Martin, curated by Kelly Anchors. A Michael Martin Tribute will take place Nov. 11-28 at Pride Arts Center, 4139 ...


Gay News

THEATER Melissa Gilbert joins 'Rehab' cast with Dan Butler 2021-10-25
- Melissa Gilbert—an Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-nominated actor, director, producer and New York Times best-selling author known for her role on TV's Little House on the Prairie—will join the cast of the upcoming world premiere of When ...


Gay News

REVIEW Randy Rainbow tackles politics, shows talent at The Chicago Theatre 2021-10-24
- YouTube sensation Randy Rainbow brought The Pink Glasses Tour to The Chicago Theatre on Oct. 22. Best known for videos that parody musical numbers with a focus on politics, the heavily curated show began with a ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ JoJo Siwa, Haring/Ortiz mural, Jamie Lee Curtis, Billy Porter 2021-10-24
- Dancing the foxtrot alongside partner Jenna Johnson to Olivia Newton John's "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee (Reprise)" for Dancing with the Stars' Grease night, 18-year-old social-media star JoJo Siwa received the season's first perfec ...


Gay News

Stage Left Theatre names new artistic director 2021-10-21
- Stage Left Theatre announced Bobbi Masters as its new artistic director. Masters has directed plays at theaters around the nation such as No Strings Theatre Company in Las Cruces, New Mexico (The Bald Soprano); and Kitchen ...


Gay News

THEATER E. Faye Butler to star in 'Fannie' Oct. 25-Nov. 14 2021-10-21
- Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., will host the run of Cheryl L. West's Fannie (The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer), which will run Oct. 25-Nov. 14. E. Faye Butler stars as U.S. civil-rights ...


Gay News

Hubbard Street Dance back on the stage with 'RE/TURN' 2021-10-21
- Hubbard Street Dance Chicago (HSDC) will present Fall Series: RE/TURN to herald its return to the stage at the Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St. The program will feature new premieres as well as audience favorites ...


Gay News

Lyric Opera presenting 'Florencia en el Amazonas' Nov. 13-28 2021-10-21
- During Nov. 13-28, Lyric Opera of Chicago will run the company premiere of Florencia en el Amazonas—the first Spanish-language work to be presented as part of Lyric's mainstage opera season. There will be evening performances on ...


Gay News

Theater review: This Wide Night 2021-10-17
- Title: This Wide Night. Playwright: Chloe Moss At: Shattered Globe Theatre/Interrobang Theatre Project at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. Tickets: $25-$45; SGTheatre.org. Runs through: Nov. 13 The landlord calls ...


Gay News

MUSICALS 'Pretty Woman' tickets go on sale Oct. 15 2021-10-15
- After a pre-Broadway run in Chicago and being on Broadway, Pretty Woman: The Musical, based on one of Hollywood's most beloved romantic stories of all time, returns to Chicago. The production will run at the CIBC ...


Gay News

THEATER Broken Nose presenting looter drama 'Primer' Nov. 15-Dec. 5 2021-10-15
- Broken Nose Theatre, a pay-what-you-can theater company, will run the world premiere audio drama Primer, described in a release as "a deeply honest look at the prioritization of property over people. Ensemble member Spenser Davis wrote ...


Gay News

THEATER 'A Rocky Horror Picture Party' at The Den on Oct. 30-31 2021-10-12
- Haven is presenting Science Fiction / Double Feature: A Rocky Horror Picture Party—an immersive Halloween experience that brings to life in vivid technicolor the world of the cult-classic film—directed by ...


Gay News

THEATER Rivendell's '8:46' to run Oct. 21-23, stream Nov. 1 2021-10-12
- Rivendell Theatre Ensemble (RTE)—Chicago's only Equity theater dedicated to producing new work with women at the core—announced 8:46 (Breathing Room), a new play festival of four commissioned plays each eight ...


Gay News

COMEDY Janeane Garofalo at The Den Theatre on Nov. 19-20 2021-10-12
- The Den Theatre will present comedian Janeane Garofalo for four performances on Nov. 19-20 (at 7 and 9:30 p.m. each night) on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Garofalo has had many memorable and critically ...


Gay News

DRAG Utica Queen finds a home in Chicago 2021-10-12
- Ethan Mundt rose to fame as Utica Queen in season 13 of the Emmy-winning show RuPaul's Drag Race. Ultimately placing sixth in the competition, this young, gay 25-year-old showed creativity and personality. Mundt's latest project, Homecoming ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.