Friday, March 29, 2013

Next Stop: a new Chicago musical - at Steppenwolf Theater

music and lyrics by
Diana Lawrence

directed and co-conceived by
Erica Weiss

Adrian Aguilar, Harmony France, Emjoy Gavino, Immanuel Guest, Zach Kenney, Geoff Rice, and Blair Robertson

consulting dramaturg:
Kurt Johns

Why? Why did I start my blog like this? Well I will tell you. I love these people, their performance, the directing, the story line, everyone's ability to test changes in this script and  in front of "their peers" as it were . . . fellow citizens of Chicago.

I photographed one of the rehearsals last year, and went to see the musical the first opening night. I was blown away by Route 66 Theatre Company.

I am not going to give you details. I will let you know it is based on the El tracks of Chicago. Each part of Chicago has its own character. The El defines these parts of Chicago. Yes, if you knew more about Chicago it would be hilarious,  however, even an outsider like me understood and enjoyed the musical.

This evening we, the audience, had the pleasure to witness the "next phase of development" for this musical. Yes, there were changes from the first showing last year. The audience connected to every part this evening. Their eyes were glued to the performers, who were reading scripts on music stands, acting what they could given the space. Everyone in the audience was smiling.

Here are some photos of this evening for you to enjoy . . .

Citizen Hero (Roosevelt) by Aaron Carter

Blue Eyes Part 1 (Sox-35th) by Alice Austen

Roshambo (Addison) by Danny Bernardo

The Boy in the Thrift Store Sweater (Logan Square)
by Brett Neveu

I really liked Blair in this scene. As last year, her energy, making us feel like it was the first time crush on Adrian, made you feel part of her experience.

What I liked as well, was how the characters in the different acts would sometimes interact with Diana as in this next photo, using Diana as the 8th character on the set.

The stack of pancakes. (You had to be there.) I was glad to have captured it last year, and now.

Someday (Loyola) by Alex Lubischer

Closure (Wilson & the Clark Bus & the Addison Bus)
by Emilio Williams

The Christmas Train (Garfield) by Ike Holter

Blue Eyes Part 2 (Armitage) by Alice Austen

This is a very moving piece.  You do not see that in my one photo I took.  Perhaps taking just the one photo explains why I took just one photo - I was transfixed with emotion, also remembering last years musical.  This photo shows more communication with Diana, though be it non-verbal . . .

Mouths of Babes (Library/State & Van Buren)
by Caitlin Parrish

Please, do yourself a favor and follow the Route 66 Theatre Company, and this musical, Next Stop: a new Chicago musical.  You will be glad you did.

I greatly appreciate the Route 66 Theatre Company, and Steppenwolf Theatre's - The After Party Late-Night At The Garage.  They allowed me to photograph sitting among their guests, in their venue, to bring this to you.  I enjoy opportunities like this.  One can only feel humbled.

For more information:

Route 66 Theatre Company

Steppenwolf Theatre

For my blog on last years arrangement of this musical, click here.

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