Part of what makes Jonathan Berry’s direction stay with you after the show ends is that he allows his actors the space and time to make real discoveries and connections in the moments.
When I see a play like THE CRUCIBLE slated in a theater season, I have to wonder why. Arthur Miller’s classic allegory is certainly timeless, but often-produced. What makes this production different from any other?
Steppenwolf Theatre Company announced today that it will create a new department, “Steppenwolf Education,” under which the Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) program will be housed. In addition to youth productions, the department will oversee educator training, teen programming and an expanded model for community partnerships, allowing Steppenwolf to reach neighborhoods and communities in new ways.
Over the course of Mike Bartlett’s three-hour play EARTHQUAKES IN LONDON, now in its U.S. premiere at Steep Theatre Company, he attempts to tackle themes both universal—quite literally atmospheric and cosmological—and personal.
I’d like to take you back to 2008. Eight years ago, 34-year-old director Johnathan Berry had major profiles in both Time Out Chicago and the Chicago Tribune, heralding him as the epitome of a Chicago theater director. Time Out called that upcoming season “A Berry Year,” and for good reason. The soft-voiced, genial craftsman was about to embark on four Chicago premieres, including his first Equity production at Remy Bumppo, The Marriage of Figaro. On the Shore of the Wide World at Griffin would mark the first of several plays by Olivier and Tony Award-winning British playwright Simon Stephens directed by Berry.
American Blues Theater’s triumphant LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS will have Chicago audiences clamoring to head downtown to Skid Row. This intimately staged production has a full sound (with music director Austin Cook leading a four-piece band, you can feel the vibrations of the bass in the floor) and provides an all-encompassing, fully entertaining spectacle.
In our final days in the rehearsal space, we had a sitzprobe and a designer run which were both exciting and crowded. Between the cast, the band, and the creative/production team, there are more than 35 people involved in bringing this show to life.
This week we began working with the two larger Audrey Two puppets and we were all surprised at how big they truly are. Sarah E. Ross (Puppet Designer and Producer Manager) had warned us that the largest was approximately 8 feet tall and 5 feet wide, but actually seeing a puppet that large come to life in person was both thrilling and intimidating (for comparison: Jim Henson’s Big Bird is 8 feet tall). There remain a handful of questions and concerns about how to best share the stage with the large puppets that won’t be able to be fully solved until we’re in the space. For now, it’s just exciting that they look so amazing and that Matthew Sitz is such a natural at operating them.
(Photo: Set model by Scenic Designer Grant Sabin) In this 4-part series, Assistant Director Elyse Dolan takes us behind the scenes of American Blues Theater’s production of LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, directed by Jonathan Berry. Part 1: Welcome to the Little Shop After the exchanging of quick hugs and hellos,...