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John Mahoney interview with Hollywood 360

Written By: March 4, 2014 COMMENTS (0)  

Chapatti cast member John Mahoney sat down with Hollywood 360 recently to talk about the play as well as share fun anecdotes about his fear of playwrights, losing his British accent, and starting his acting career at 37.

Hear all that and more in this clip.

Thoughts from the cast of “Tom Jones”

Written By: February 21, 2014 COMMENTS (0)  

As Tom Jones comes to a close, we asked cast members to share parting thoughts on some of the most memorable aspects of their experience:

Sam Ashdown (Tom Jones)

I’ve had an amazing time working on this show with such a fun group!

The craziest show for me was the one where I cut my thumb open half an hour before curtain and I had to go to the emergency room to see if I needed stitches. We got in, saw a doctor, and were back in time for me to get into costume and do the show. It made me thankful for what an amazing backstage staff Northlight has! And it may have helped that the nurse who checked me in had seen the show the week before.

Marcus Truschinski (Squire Allworthy, Black George, Maclachlan)

Marcus shares the backstory on the extensive “greeting” his Scottish character ‘Maclachlan’ shares with the Irish character ‘Fitzpatrick’ played by Eric Parks.

[Director] Bill [Brown] asked us to come up with a “rah-rah” chant to accompany our greeting as old school fellows. Eric and I know each other very well and our sense of humor usually leads us to outlandish discoveries/choices that Bill usually cuts before too long. It started off as a simple salute between school mates with our swords, something we may have done in the academy. I looked up fight songs and school songs on the internet and the oldest one I could find was Eton’s boating song from the 1800s. Time was scarce and Bill wanted us to come up with something that afternoon. Eric and I decided that we thought the characters had not gotten very far in their schooling so our new search led us to children’s songs from the time period. We found a Scottish song titled” Soldier’s Joy” which included the lines “Do you want some bread and butter with your tea, young man.” Those simple lyrics made us laugh to the point of tears and we were off to the ludicrous races. The salute itself with the grade school lyrics got longer and longer. Bill finally had to reign us in and we solidified it to the point we have now. Bill’s final suggestion was that we needed a button to cap it all off and Eric and I went back to work. We looked up a place where a Scotsman and an Irishman might both have attended boarding school. We settled on Aberdeen.  The Dragons mascot was a joke but it stuck. Eric and I still laugh about it all and try to modify it to keep it fresh and fun. If you come you’ll get your own unique little salute from Maclachlan and Fitzpatrick. Go Aberdeen Dragons!

Backstage with BJ “Detroit ’67″ podcast

Written By: November 18, 2013 COMMENTS (1)  

Artistic Director BJ Jones sat down with Detroit ’67 director Ron OJ Parson and cast members Kamal Angelo Bolden and Kelvin Roston, Jr. to discuss the play’s background, music, and importance in our “Backstage with BJ” audience engagement series. Listen to three short segments below:

Track 1 - On the play’s background (2:37)

Track 2 - On the play’s music (3:05)

Track 3 - On the play’s importance (2:10)

Thoughts from the cast of “4000 Miles”

Written By: October 10, 2013 COMMENTS (0)  

Emjoy Gavino (Amanda/Lily)

No Need for Name Calling, but…

An audience member after one of the matinees last week called me a “slut.” I am hoping she was referring to my character in the show. I’ve also heard the words “skank” and “hussy” after performances. I’m not offended by it; in fact, it’s proof they were paying attention. My character, Amanda, admits “I’m usually pretty slutty.” So it is actually in the text.

What I found fascinating when I first started working on this role was how her actions in the scene go against what she says and what an outsider would assume. When in rehearsals, [director] Kimberly Senior pointed out that each person in the show has moments where they are not truthful with the person they are speaking to. In Amanda’s case, I found that in projecting this persona of being wild and crazy, she is probably just protecting herself so she doesn’t get hurt. The scariest thing in the world is to be vulnerable with another human being.

There’s No Place Like Home

I have been lucky enough to be a part of the Chicago/North Shore theater community for the past seven years, but 4000 Miles marks my debut at Northlight. One of my first jobs after moving here was teaching for Northlight’s performing arts camp in the summer. I’m sure most of those then-third graders are now incredibly tall, well-rounded individuals with tumblr accounts and addictions to hazelnut macchiatos. It’s been awhile. Stepping foot into the Rice Room (the rehearsal space at Northlight) for the first time as a performer felt immediately familiar and surreal. And the staff, many of whom I’ve known since that first year teaching at Northlight and some who I’ve worked with at other theaters, have been so welcoming, that it really does feel like coming home again.

Caroline Neff (Bec)

There’s something deeply personal about all the people portrayed in this play. It almost makes me feel like a voyeur watching scenes. The design and the dialogue create this “fly on the wall” experience that’s so rare. I love that.

Josh Salt (Leo)

I think this show has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. My enjoyment is primarily based on the overall energy of everyone involved. Namely getting to work with Mary Ann so extensively. She’s such an incredible force of her own. It’s an experience I could never have prepared for and will never be the same after having.

Working with Kimberly was something so incredibly gratifying. I call her “the seatbelt” because she buckles you up tight in the truth of the moment and she’s not afraid to tell you what is fair game to play with and what is set in stone. And once she’s buckled you in to the text, you can just drive around like crazy because you know you’ll be safe if you go awry. It creates an extreme level of trust between actor and director, and it makes for a much more enjoyable experience all around.

I’m so thankful every day to be working with this entire cast and crew at Northlight. They’re a rare breed of people; an exceptional team with an amazing attitude. That really helps.

Our audiences have been so gracious to us as well. So many people have come up to me and said “Thank you” or “You remind me of my son” or “my cousin” or “my brother”. It’s quite a treat to be able to help audiences connect with their real life family and hopefully walk away with lots of questions for them and maybe a deeper degree of understanding for them.

I feel extremely overwhelmed and so happy to have been involved in this.

Mary Ann Thebus (Vera)

It is a unique challenge and pleasure and privilege to portray this real life woman who was so close and influential to the playwright and who is so rich in honesty and humanity.

In the weeks that we have been doing the show, I have of course been aware that many of our audience members are in the same age bracket as Vera (my character) and myself, for that matter. I have found an unexpected satisfaction in this because I know they are relating, in a very real way, to the issues my character is dealing with, with regards to aging and its special demands in a way that younger people are not … though there is plenty for younger people in the play also. Many times, patrons have come up to me to tell me about a similar situation that they are dealing with, whether it be hearing or bad knees or an unexpected visit from a grandson. It’s a treat.

Photos: Michael Brosilow

Sarah Rose Graber

Northlight Teaching Artist Awarded Fulbright

Written By: May 24, 2013 COMMENTS (1)  
Sarah Rose Graber
from Sarah Rose Graber

My work with Northlight Theatre began in 2006 when I was asked to co-direct a production of Schoolhouse Rock Live Jr. Since then I’ve taught numerous residencies, workshops, master classes, directed summer camp productions and understudied for our mainstage shows. Northlight has been an artistic home for me since the moment I graduated from Northwestern University, trusting and supporting my work as an artist.

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Rhea Perlman Interviewed on WGN

Written By: April 29, 2013 COMMENTS (0)  

Rhea Perlman, who will appear in Northlight’s Stella & Lou this month, was interviewed on WGN radio and tv this week.

Listen to her conversation with Dean Richards on the broadcast of his Sunday morning show here.

On Monday, she appeared with the WGN Morning News team, and a hilarious slip-up in her interview quickly made the social media rounds. See for yourself here!

Larry and Judy Marriage Proposal

Real Life Stella and Lou: Judy Davis and Larry Glazer

Written By: April 17, 2013 COMMENTS (1)  

In the spirit of Stella & Lou, we asked our patrons to share their real-life stories of second chances and the search for companionship.  We thank Larry Glazer for sending us the following:

In the early 60s, Judy and I were friends in high school. After graduation, Judy married and after 7 years, got divorced. Her ex-husband died a few years after that. She never remarried.

I was married 24 years when I lost my wife to cancer.

We were both in our 50s when Judy and I re-met at our high school reunion. I thought she was even prettier than she was in high school. We were chatting with another classmate who lived in Florida, when he exclaimed “Hey Larry…she’s not married and you’re not married, why don’t you ask her out?” Read more of this entry ›

SVD Whipping Man

The Courage to Take the First Step

Written By: January 31, 2013 COMMENTS (0)  

Susan Van Dusen, First Lady of Skokie

from Susan Van Dusen

Slavery. Freedom. Past. Future. Hope. Despair. Religious Identity. Family Ties. These are a few of the issues thrown in our faces like the blood and guts of war in Northlight Theatre’s current show, The Whipping Man by Matthew Lopez. The playwright connects the chains of slavery that bound the Jews in Egypt thousands of years ago and Black Americans in the South before and during the Civil War. That this is being presented at the beginning of Black History Month is just. That it is presented in Skokie, a community noted for its Jewish population, is right.
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Marc Grapey and Tim Kazurinsky in "The Odd Couple"

A Very “Odd” November

Written By: November 28, 2012 COMMENTS (1)  

So how was your November? Me? Well, it was a bit hectic. We lost a leading actor, and two other actors moved up to take the vacated roles.  The cast had to adjust to the shift and they did so with grace and good humor.  Our marketing department sent out calls and e-mails telling ticket buyers that one of our stars was recuperating in the hospital, as well as e-mailing and chatting with our over 6,000 subscribers to let them know that George was going to be fine and “the show will go on.”

How did all this go?

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You Saw Them at Northlight First

Written By: October 11, 2012 COMMENTS (0)  

It’s a proud time for us here at Northlight, as two plays that you first saw here have premiered in New York to strong reviews.  Grace, a play that opened on Broadway this week, appeared here at Northlight in the 2005 season.  It was directed by Dexter Bullard and starred the gifted Chicagoan Michael Shannon, with Dexter’s wife Tiff designing the clothes.  All three have gone on to the Broadway production. It got tremendous reviews here and provoked some really wonderful responses from our audiences.
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