The Independent

Review: ‘Bobrauschenergamerica: A Belly Full of Laughter and Candy’

Review: ‘Bobrauschenergamerica: A Belly Full of Laughter and Candy’

October 21, 2014

Charles Mee’s whimsically strange “bobrauschenbergamerica” kept the audience laughing, tapping...

Review: ‘Bobrauschenbergamerica’ Comes to Stage Center

Review: ‘Bobrauschenbergamerica’ Comes to Stage Center

September 23, 2014

NEIU’s Stage Center Theater is back to work with the latest production “Bobrauschenbergamerica,” Charles Mee’s one-act-tribute to Bob Ra...

Review: Miss Julie: Strange Bedfellows

Review: Miss Julie: Strange Bedfellows

April 29, 2014

  3.0 out of 5 Stars If there is one thing that Stage Center Theatre knows how to nail every...

Demon Barber of Fleet Street Visits NEIU

Demon Barber of Fleet Street Visits NEIU

April 23, 2013

Audience members laughed and some may have felt the shiver of goose bumps on their arms as they wa...

Joyce of Music

Joyce of Music

March 6, 2013

  The creation of a movie from a novel is a frequent occurrence these days, and movie novelizations are even more common. But how often does a book out of cla...

The Braggart Soldier

The Braggart Soldier

February 20, 2013

  “It's a comedy about love, lying, plots against characters and what happens in two househol...

Out in the Sundance

Out in the Sundance

February 20, 2013

  What could be better than spending a whole day just watching movies? This question, proposed by Stanford University student Carol Tan, ought to evoke a quick and ...

Charlie Brown and Friends at Stage Center Theatre

Melissa Brand, Staff Writer

October 3, 2012

Filed under Theatre Reviews

  Photos by Melissa Brand The Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) 2012-2013 theatre season opens on a cheerful note with “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” opening Oct. 10, 2012 in the Stage Center Theatre. Charlie Brown has been iconic and loved for generations, making this production a good time for everyone. In the beginning of the play, the Peanuts gang tells Charlie Brown how they feel about him and say that he is a good man. However, Charlie Brown sets out on a musical mission to find out if he is truly as good as his friends thinks he is. After a long search and multiple musical numbers, Charlie Brown realizes that being a good man is more about finding inner happiness and always striving to do well. NEIU alum and instructor Lisa Cantwell directs this musical, starring Isaac Samuleson as Charlie Brown. Other characters include Andrew Berlien as Linus Van Pelt, Arin Mulvaney as Lucy Van Pelt, Ellen Cribbs as Sally Brown, Jesus Matta as Schroeder and Jill Matel as Snoopy.  They are joined by an ensemble made up of Sarah Beckette, Nickolena Sellen, Michael Slas and Lily Stephens.  “It is a testament to the talent, exuberance and dedication of this wonderful cast and crew that this production is so fun to watch,” Cantwell said. “They have really captured the essence of this world and these characters and they make it look so easy.  I am thrilled to collaborate with such a fantastic team.”  Cantwell has directed other projects such as, “How He Lied to Her Husband,” “Totally RED!,” “Dead Man’s Cell Phone,” “The Love for Three Oranges,” “The Odd Couple” and “A Toby Show.” The set includes many props including Schroder’s piano and Snoopy’s doghouse, both constructed by the current Theatre Practicum class. In this lively musical, Charlie Brown shares his troubles with everything from no-one liking him, to not receiving any valentines. The dates for the show are Oct. 10 - 12 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 13 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Due to limited show times and seating, reservations are recommended and can be made by calling 773-442-4274. Ticket prices are as follows: NEIU students, faculty and staff – Free, General Admission - $10, Senior Citizens, NEIU Alumni and Students other than NEIU - $8 Children 6 to 12 - $6...

Summer Scene Recital Ends on High Notes

Jacklyn Nowotnik, Managing Editor

September 6, 2012

Filed under Theatre Reviews

  For the first time ever, the Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) music department featured a summer opera scene recital. Scenes included full-sung Italian pieces by Mozart, Bellini, Donizetti and Verdi. NEIU faculty member and director, Sasha Gerritson felt that it is “important for students to have a safe, constructive learning environment that challenges them where they are today and encourages them to grow towards the singer/actor they aspire to be.” As a way of doing so, the NEIU music department has established a production schedule that alternates between a modern opera sung in English, a modern musical theatre piece, a standard opera piece sung in its original language, and a standard musical theatre piece. In between bigger productions, the music department works with Gerritson and the students enrolled in her performance class to put on scene recitals, which the department feels adds to their students’ musical experience. Since scene recitals are not one of the four bigger productions, the recitals are performed with minimal stage furniture and props. The recitals also lack the participation of an orchestra, as well as the supertitles that most operas have on top of the stage to translate the sung language. The scene recitals at NEIU do include full costume, piano accompaniment by NEIU music faculty and a student narrator. Unlike past scene recitals, this opera scene recital had a select few undergraduates and graduates in the music department set as cast members. These students also worked with Lucia Marchi, an Italian diction coach. Before the show, Gerritson mentioned that this scene recital would be a great way for students to gain experience in performance and singing in Italian. A couple of familiar names in the program included Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro (The Marriage of Figaro) and Verdi’s La Traviata (The Fallen Woman). If the big names were not enough, a scene even had a performance by former NEIU Music Professor Ronald Combs. NEIU’s music department has not yet announced what their spring musical theatre production will be, but they do welcome fellow faculty and students to attend their annual fall scene recital in November....

The Day in the Life of a Misanthrope – NEIU Stage Center

Jacklyn Nowotnik, Arts and Life Editor

April 27, 2012

Filed under Theatre Reviews

  A wise Sir Walter Raleigh once said “I wish I loved the human race, I wish I loved its silly face, and when I’m introduced to one, I wish I thought ‘what jolly fun!’” It’s funny how well Raleigh’s quote seems to capture the essence of Moliere’s character, Alceste, in The Misanthrope. NEIU’s Stage...

RACE at the Goodman

Shantez Tolbut, Senior Staff Writer

February 26, 2012

Filed under Theatre Reviews

  While waiting for the play to be- gin at the famous Goodman Theatre, it's hard to know what to expect from a play called RACE with a picture of a red sequined dress on the front of the playbill. I made a note not to look at the synopsis beforehand because I wanted to be thoroughly surprised. Was I surprised? I was half a mile past shocked! The playwright David Mamet is a new force in the theatre world because of his intelligent dialogue, witty lines, opposing characters, and the realistic but touchy content of his plays. The plot lies in an upscale law office with two high profile lawyers: one white, one black, who take the case of a rich white man, Patrick Clear as Charles Strickland, accused of raping a black woman. "You want to tell me about black folks?" says Henry, played by Geoffrey Owens starting off a lengthy conversation with his know it all partner Jack played by Mark Grapey. The play puts forth stereotypes and underlying prejudices that no one likes to talk about. These realizations are disturbing, complex, and frank. By the end of the play, you never do find out if the client is guilty, but instead you find that the junior lawyer, a black woman named Susan, played by Tamberla Perry, gets the upper hand on them all. The complexity was as compelling as it is thought provoking. RACE was directed by theatre veteran Chuck Smith in an up close and personal examination of how we treat the subject of race in our lives. It reveals the corruption of law, the morality and naivety of the general public and how individual perceptions of others influence injustices and discrimination. RACE runs 90 minutes with one 15 min intermission from January 14th to Feb 19th at the Goodman Theatre at 7:30pm.   Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012 Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012 00:02...

Play “Unveils” Post 9/11 Experience of Muslim Women in America

Amena Ahmed, Staff Writer

February 26, 2012

Filed under Theatre Reviews

  Unveiled, a dramatization of the Muslim woman's experience after 9/11 was performed to a full house at the NEIU auditorium on Friday, Feb. 10. Written and performed by Rohina Malik, Unveiled aims to bring out the spirit and strength of Muslim women and answer many of the buzzing questions surrounding Muslims and Islam: What does it mean to be Muslim? What is the life of a Muslim woman? Are they really forced to cover? As the lights dimmed, the audience was taken up close into the living rooms, offices, and restaurants of five women. An intimate monologue ensued as each character lifted spirits with an ethnic tea and told her story. A Karachi-born fashion designer brewed chocolate chai as she recounted her best friend's wedding and an unexpected verbal assault. A lawyer entertained a client with mint tea as she told of her first love, and the tumbling chain of events that ended in a hate crime that left her assaulted and her husband dead. These women told of being harassed for being Muslim after 9/11. They spoke of finding strength in standing up to abuse, responding to hate with love, and overcoming tragedy. Laylah, a Middle Eastern restaurant owner, shared the story of the tragic day when she prayed to God that the first plane in the building she saw on TV was just a "mistake." As the day continued, she realized it was not a mistake; on that day she lost her brother and her fellow citizens turned against her. The women spoke of empowerment, especially in their decisions to wear what they chose. "Deal with my mind, not my body," said young British rapper Shabana regarding her decision to don the hijab, the Muslim head covering for women. She overcomes her mother's opposition, who says it is "ugly" and "dangerous" to look like that in modern society. Each of Malik's characters was well crafted and distinct. The performance was equally skillful. The stories raised universal issues, the biggest of which was society's tendency to stereotype and scapegoat. "It addressed universal themes of human rights and freedom. It spoke to the tendency of people to have assumptions about a group of people. These are issues for everybody," said audience member and former NEIU grad school student Cynthia Chernoff. The stories traveled from character to character in fluid and powerful language, drawing a strong response from the crowd. The audience broke into applause in mid-performance as Shabana ended her last rap line. The narratives strung at sentimental notes as the women told of loss and depression. Hearty laughter was heard as Inez, an African American woman from the Deep South said, "I'm a strong woman. When I was born, my mamma told me, ‘You better hold your head up high ‘cuz you born with two strikes against you: you're black, and you're a woman!' When at nineteen, I told [her] of my conversion to Al-Islaam she just looked at me and said, ‘Strike three!'" The show was accentuated with enough non-English words, costumes, and traditional style to bring a real taste of the East. The audience was pulled into the Muslim experience as characters made references to Quranic verses and prophetic sayings, as well as tasteful selections of poems from historical Eastern poets, Rumi and Sa'di. Brought to the forefront at moments of climatic sorrow, the theme of strength from God also carried steadily throughout the show. In the dialogue and dinner after the show, audience members were given the opportunity to speak with Malik. Asked about her inspiration for this show, she said, "It was a terrifying time [after 9/11], and I noticed that all the women I knew had a story to tell." So did all the characters represent real people? Malik said that although the characters were fictional, each story was based on true events. And what about the burning question of women's hijab? Malik spoke of her own decision to cover and how her family wasn't thrilled. She says however, there are some places in the world where some women are forced into it. "With so many women I know, who chose to wear the veil, I see that their families opposed it. I find that to be more common." Malik says there is power and freedom in a woman being able to dress the way she chooses. "I consider myself a feminist in my hijab," she said. How important was it to bring it to NEIU? Yasmin Ranney, director of the Pedroso Center, says it was essential in giving students and staff a better understanding of the post 9/11 backlash. "For the majority of women, the veil is an expression of free will and free choice, and this is a concept that needs to be digested and understood." The theme of the performance echoed most clearly as the last character, Laylah, pulled the show to a close with Sa'di's poem: "Human beings are parts of the same body. We are one family. If one part of the body hurts, all the parts are in pain. If you are not concerned about the suffering of others, then you are not worthy to be called human."   Published: Saturday, February 25, 2012 Updated: Saturday, March 3, 2012 01:03...

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