In the nearly 4 years since our first production of Reefer Madness!, The Brown Paper Box Co. has had a plethora of immensely talented cast members participate in our shows. And by the look of things, they're sure keeping busy! Here's a sampling of shows currently running (and some soon-to open) featuring BPBCo. friends.
Who: Pamela Mae Davis (Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls)
What: Miss Marx
Where: Strawdog Theatre Company
When: through April 5, 2014
Who: Luke Grimes (Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls)
What: Burning Rubber
Where: Vivarium Theatre Company
When: through March 23, 2014
Who: Derek Herman (Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls)
What: Good Boys and True
Where: Raven Theatre
When: through May 5, 2014
Who: Andrew Lund (Godspell)
What: Anarchy: Improvised Rock Opera and Lysistrata (in rehearsals)
Where: Studio BE and (re)discover theatre
When: Thursdays in March and April 10 - April 27, 2014
Who: Jake Mahler (Godspell)
What: Road Show
Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
When: through May 4, 2014
Who: Pavi Proczko (Godspell)
What: Dessa Rose
Where: Bailiwick Chicago
When: through April 5, 2014
Who: Sarah Sapperstein (BPBCo. board vice president, Reefer Madness!)
What: Into the Woods
Where: EDGE Theatre
When: March 27 - April 13, 2014
Who: Nick Shoda (Reefer Madness!, Godspell, A New Brain)
Where: Lost Note Theatre Company
When: through March 29, 2014
Who: Zev Steinberg (BPBCo. co-founder, Reefer Madness!)
What: Fight and Flight Directing Peter Pan (in rehearsals)
Where: Michigan State University
When: April 11 - April 20, 2014
Who: Danny Spagnuolo (Reefer Madness!, Godspell, A New Brain)
What: How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (in rehearsals)
Where: Porchlight Music Theatre
When:April 26 - June 1, 2014
Full name? Luke Michael Grimes
Where you were born/where you were raised? I was born in Hinsdale and raised in La Grange, the hopping metropolis of the south western suburbs.
Your position/role within the A NEW BRAIN family? I cast this little diddy.
What does that mean/what do you do? I worked with Will and the entire team at Brown Paper Box Co. and found out what they were looking for in each of the roles. I sorted submissions and selected actors that were diverse and could show us what we needed to see. During the casting process I offered an objective opinion on the actors auditions.
In 5 words, how do you describe A NEW BRAIN? Simultaneously heartwarming/heart wrenching pseudo realism
How would you describe Bill's writing? I would never call him Bill.
Fill in the blanks: ___sounds___ + ___heart___ = a song.
What was your must-see TV show as a kid? The Simpsons
If you could be best friends with any cartoon character in the real world, who would it be? Jake The Dog
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? People say I look like Robert Downey Jr. but he'll probably be dead by the time there's a Lifetime movie about me.
Special hidden talent? I'm an excellent cook and I can tap dance.
Something you're REALLY bad at? Working out...I never do it.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? Logan Square
Current local show you have been recommending to friends? My own! Burning Rubber at the Den Theatre opening at the end of February. I know that's not current Will, don't yell at me!
Most played song on your iPod? "National Anthem" by Lana Del Rey. I'm a true American.
Pop culture guilty pleasure? Lana Del Rey, Girls, American Horror Story
Three things you can't live without? Aurora (my roommate), music, art
"I'll never understand why… we live in a society that runs on a paper currency and that we all comply."
Come see Luke's contribution to William Finn and James Lapine's A NEW BRAIN February 21 - March 9, 2014 at Rivendell Theatre. Ticketing and performance information can be found at The Brown Paper Box Co.'s site.
The Brown Paper Box Co. is excited to announce their upcoming production, A NEW BRAIN, with music and lyrics by William Finn and book by Finn and James Lapine. The show will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM from February 21-March 9 at the Rivendell Theatre in Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood (5779 N. Ridge Ave.). Audition information and more will be posted at www.brownpaperbox.org.
Gordon Schwinn is a frustrated composer for a despotic children's television show host. When he is diagnosed with an arteriovenous malformation in his brain, he is confronted with the very real possibility that his musical legacy will be cut short. William Finn's semi-autobiographical musical is energetic, sardonic, and poignant in its exploration of anxiety, self-doubt, and the healing power of art.
"Finn and Lapine's A New Brain is a fantastic fit for The Brown Paper Box Co.," explains director M. William Panek (Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, Godspell). "It's a perfect ten-person ensemble piece that asks us to evaluate our lives-if we were gone tomorrow, what do we leave behind? As artists? As lovers? As children? We've assembled a stellar team of collaborators who are going to truly highlight A New Brain's big heart and infectious score."
Finn and Lapine's previous collaborations include the Tony Award-winning hits Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. William Finn is also the composer of In Trousers, Romance in Hard Times, and Little Miss Sunshine. Pulitzer Prize-winner James Lapine is the book writer/director of the musicals Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Passion, among others.
The production team includes M. William Panek* (director), T.J. Anderson (musical director), Jaime Giovannone (set/properties designer), Cat Wilson (lighting designer), Stephanie Rohr* (assistant director), Justin Harner (assistant musical director), Danny Spagnuolo* (choreographer), Patrick J. Butterfield* (house manager), Michelle Kritselis* (dramaturg), Charlie Sheets* (graphic designer), and Luke Michael Grimes (casting associate).
Auditions will be held in December 2013 and the cast will be announced thereafter.
*Denotes Brown Paper Box Co. company member.
Full given name: Luke Michael Grimes
Where you were born/where you were raised? I was born in Hinsdale, IL and and raised in La Grange, IL
Your role within the Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls family: Richard and Myrna
How would you describe your character? Richard is nervous and uncomfortable. His life is changing quickly and he's having trouble finding meaning. Myrna is calm and collected. Often pushing people to find simplicity ad joy in unlikely places. She moves in and out of people's lives offering guidance and good humor.
In 5 words, how do you describe Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls: Absurd Touching Smart Funny Magical
Something you're REALLY bad at: I'm terrible at saving money.
Special hidden talent: I'm a very good tap dancer.
Current local show you have been recommending to friends: The Happiest Song Plays Last @ Goodman Theatre
Favorite Chicago neighborhood: Wicker Park
Favorite play: Macbeth
Your personal idols: Neil Patrick Harris, Zachery Quinto, any one who has made a personal sacrifice for something they love.
Most played song on your iPod: "National Anthem" by Lana Del Rey
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie about your life: Chris Culfer - unfortunately.
Must-see TV show(s): Downton Abbey, Parks and Rec, Walking Dead, Veep, Newsroom
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Smash ...enough said.
Three things you can't live without: Music, theatre, and gin
"I'll never understand why..."... people think they can stop moving in the middle of streets to figure out where they're going. I'm late for work! Move!
Tickets are now on sale for The Brown Paper Box Co.'s upcoming production, ALOHA, SAY THE PRETTY GIRLS, by award-winning playwright Naomi Iizuka. The play will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM from May 30-June 16 at the Heartland Studio in Rogers Park (7016 North Glenwood Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626). Tickets can be purchased through www.brownpaperbox.org.
In this quirky comedy, a group of twentysomethings change careers, geographical borders, and even species in a quest to find a place for themselves. ALOHA, SAY THE PRETTY GIRLS questions the nature of love, identity, and evolution in this wild and wonderful world. The play received its world premiere at the 1999 Humana Festival of New American Plays at The Actors Theatre of Louisville.
"This show has some very absurd elements," explains director M. William Panek (Godspell, To Tree, The Brown Paper Box Co.). "People turning into animals and vice-versa, outlandish locales, and cross-gender casting. But the absurd is juxtaposed with these incredibly honest relationships, relatable characters, and natural dialogue. It's hilarious, but then it hits you with really poignant, poetic moments." These seemingly incongruous combinations led The Brown Paper Box Co. to produce the play.
The cast includes Pamela Mae Davis (Failure: A Love Story, Victory Gardens; Cymbeline, RIFF Collective; As You Like It, (re)discover theatre), Luke Michael Grimes (Teddy Ferrara, Goodman Theatre; Fate and Ed, ARCitext Play Festival; Macbeth, TheMASSIVE), Justin Harner (I Begin, Walkabout Theater; WILD, Kid Brooklyn Productions; Caesura: A Butchery, The Plagiarists), Christopher Hart (To Tree, The Brown Paper Box Co.; The Sandman, Oracle Theatre), Derek Herman (Almost, Maine, Chicago College of Performing Arts; Speech & Debate, Artists Repertory Theatre; Landscape of the Body, Profile Theatre), Stephanie Rohr* (Godspell, The Brown Paper Box Co.; Reservoir Dogs, Roundhouse Productions; Jesus Camp: The Musical, The Cornservatory), Anna Schutz* (Reefer Madness, The Brown Paper Box Co.; Epic Proportions, Project 891), and Bob Skosky (Sleeping with Straight Men, Ludicrous Theatre; Our Town, Blank Page Theater; Aesop's Fables, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse).
The production team comprises M. William Panek* (director), Sheila Gleason (set designer), Ian James Anthony* (properties master), Cat Wilson (lighting designer), Laura Wiley (assistant lighting designer), Patrick J. Butterfield* (production assistant), Michelle Kritselis* (dramaturg), and Charlie Sheets* (graphic designer).
About The Brown Paper Box Co.
Founded in 2010 and based in Chicago, The Brown Paper Box Co. creates thought-provoking and accessible theatrical experiences without the glitz of overproduction. This scaled-down approach allows our artists to deliver an elevated focus on the text.
*Denotes Brown Paper Box Co. company member.
Brown Paper Blog
Making theatre. Writing about it. Maybe some hilarious Youtube cat videos in between.