CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.
CHICAGO – In 1972, an historic television special took place, featuring the top talents at the time at the top of their game. “Liza with a ‘Z’” featured Liza Minnelli, fresh from her Academy Award winning performance in the film “Cabaret.” The Brown Paper Box Co. will present “Mary’z with a Z,” at Mary’s Attic on May 5th and 6th, 2016, and will perform the songs from this TV special, in order and in (appropriately) cabaret style, with contributions from their ensemble and some of the biggest song talents in storefront theater in Chicago.
CHICAGO – There are few civil rights events shrouded in mystery like the Stonewall Inn Riots – a June night in 1969 in New York City, when gay liberation was born. Witnesses and participants in the riots have grown exponentially over the years (“I was there.”) and the who, what and how the riots began have also been in dispute as time goes by. All of that perspective is realized in Ike Holter’s incendiary stage play “Hit the Wall,” presented by the Chicago Commercial Collective at the Greenhouse Theater in Chicago.
HOLLYWOOD – He was the biggest star the world, the box office champion from 1939 to 1941. “Wow, spanning two decades,” Bart Simpson said. Mickey Rooney lived long enough to work on silent films, be the biggest star in the world and do a voiceover on “The Simpsons.” Not bad for one lifetime. Mickey Rooney died of natural causes in his North Hollywood home on April 6th. He was 93.
CHICAGO – What is the remedy for the holiday blues? How about a dose of “Liza with a ‘Z’!” The sparkling and funny “We Three Lizas” is back for the holiday season from About Face Theatre of Chicago, just in time for the lights and tinsel. Danielle Plisz, Mark David Kaplan and Bethany Thomas play the three title Liza Minellis, with a deft direction by Scott Ferguson.
CHICAGO – Barbra Streisand is a classic example of a genuine talent who started out big and quickly became too big for her britches. She never came close to topping her phenomenal debut in 1968’s “Funny Girl,” which presented the larger-than-life performer in all of her contrasting shades—funny and tragic, vulnerable and indomitable. Sadly, that picture marked the last time Streisand could conceivably pass for anyone other than—well, Streisand.
CHICAGO – Throughout his extensive work as a film columnist, author and journalist, Robert K. Elder has been drawn to exploring both the universality and striking diversity of the human experience. In his books, Elder is intent on capturing specific moments within the lives of his subjects, while discovering their universal truths through their juxtaposition.
CHICAGO – The Warner Brothers Blu-Ray release to mark the 70th anniversary of the beloved “The Wizard of Oz” is perhaps the most exhaustive and complete “Collector’s Edition” release to date.