The Beginning: 9/11 – 9/15 (Preview and Chart)

20 shows arranged in a chart formation for your show selection needs!
20 shows arranged in a chart formation for your show selection needs!

This last week was a great one for us here at Theatre By Numbers.  We saw a total of 3 shows, and two of them were terrific!  That’s a good feeling.  In fact, looking back at the shows we’ve reviewed this year, very few of them fall in the bottom half of our ranking levels.  Way to go, Chicago!

So, this week we’ve got both Jackie and me reviewing, and Maggie is taking the week off.  We’re looking at shows at one of the big boys, one by an itinerant group, and one that seems to be an annual event now.  Fun!

(Back, L to R)  Gavin Donnellan and Jake Farrington; (Front, L to R) Natalie Mueller, Lou Leonardo, Dan Wright, Tristan Tanner and Jess Herron. Photo by Jason Geis
(Back, L to R) Gavin Donnellan and Jake Farrington; (Front, L to R) Natalie Mueller, Lou Leonardo, Dan Wright, Tristan Tanner and Jess Herron.
Photo by Jason Geis

Looking at this week’s chart, you might notice a play at #19 called “Don’t Pass Go!”  pH Productions is putting forth a show that is close to my heart.  It is defined by its own randomosity, and by the act of rolling dice!  You see, it’s a musical (four musicals, really… more on that in a moment) that is controlled by the audience’s roll of the dice.  As I mentioned, there are 4 musicals.  Each one is themed for one side of a Monopoly board.  When the die is cast each night, it determines which side of the board the audience will experience.  Personally, my favorite side of the Monopoly board is the one with Marvin Gardens on it.  Never have known why, but I find it most appealing.  Anyway… I encourage you to check out the fun at pH Productions.  Not that I’m encouraging you to skip over our random chart above, but let’s just say that if you make the choice to attend “Don’t Pass Go!”, we’ll accept that die roll there in lieu of the one here.

Another show of personal interest to me, which we did not end up rolling, and I believe will be off the chart next week (due to length of run) is “Women Beware Women”.  Two Pence Theatre Company is a group I’m keeping my eye on.  They’ve done some interesting things for a new company.  One of which was a Shakespearean translation of Reservoir Dogs entitled “The Merry Dogs of Reservoir”.  Since I, myself, directed a production of “Bard Fiction” here in town a couple of years ago, I have a soft spot for troupes doing work such as that.  Now, “Women Beware Women” is not of that parody ilk.  However, it is a brilliant piece of literature that I would love to see on the stage.  And, it features one of the actors who I’ve enjoyed working with the most here in Chicago, Josh Zagoren.  Josh takes on interesting projects and throws himself into them more fully than most other actors I know.  This show will be worth his performance alone.  If the others are as good, this show will rock!

And now, without any further ado, some randomness:

  • Three smashed pennies sit upon my desk.  Two from Six Flags Great America.  One from the Smithsonian.  My daughter collects these souvenirs. Or, at least, she used to.  As a little kid, finding a penny press at a place we were visiting seemed to bring more joy than almost anything else.  Well, except the opportunity to throw a penny into a fountain and making a wish.  I guess I keep going to the penny presses as a way to try to keep that feeling/memory fresh.
  • So… more tangential than random, per se, but… I was at the Smithsonian last week.  And in the Nation Museum of Natural History there are a couple of anglerfish on display.  You know the ones: fierce, spiky teeth and the glowing doodad coming off it’s from like a lantern on a long stick?  So, as you’ll see in the link there, these things can get to be pretty big.  Which, due to its scary appearance was obviously how I’d imagined them.  But the specimens that they have at the Smithsonian are tiny.  I suddenly had my world rocked.  I was confused.  I realized that something on TV may not be anywhere close to the size that I’d imagined.  In this case, the camera would have actually added 10 pounds!  Anyway… apparently the samples they have at the NMNH are on the small end of the spectrum.  And thank goodness for the internet that we can find links that confirm our need to know that scary fish are as big as we might think they are!
  • My wife just added this to our kitchen.  What is she trying to say?
  • Clams are great because you can wear them as shoes.
  • Nice try!
  • “Beyond the rim of the star-light
    My love is wand’ring in star-flight”
  • Ozma, Tik-Tok, and Billina