Reefer Madness! The Musical was not only our first full-length musical back in 2010, but it also formed the creation of our 4/20 remounts at Studio BE and Stage 773 the following 2 years.
These amazing cast members have become trusted collaborators, life-long friends, and even company members.
Happy anniversary, all!
Presented at Studio BE
April 20, 2011
One night. Two performances. Total madness.
Presented at Stage 773
April 20, 2012
One performance. Audience participation. Total madness.
Full name? Michelle Kritselis
Your position/role within the A NEW BRAIN family? Dramaturg
What does that mean/what do you do? Research stuff. Write stuff. Explain stuff.
In 5 words, how do you describe A NEW BRAIN? Neurotic, exploratory, life-affirming, joyful, soaring.
How would you describe Bill's writing? Catchy but complex.
Fill in the blanks: ___central cardiac organ___ + ___melodic auditory reverberations___ = a song.
What was your must-see TV show as a kid? Mister Rogers and Sesame Street are PBS classics.
If you could be best friends with any cartoon character in the real world, who would it be? Why not Zoidberg? (Haha jk, never Zoidberg.)
Special hidden talent? I can eat, like, a SHOCKING amount of sushi in one sitting.
Something you're REALLY bad at? Finishing my senten
Most played song on your iPod? This week: the Beatles' "Baby, You're a Rich Man"
Pop culture guilty pleasure? It's over, but my answer is still American Horror Story: Coven. Stevie Nicks as a LITERAL WITCH who stops by to jam for no apparent reason? Sounds reasonable to me!
Three things you can't live without? Portillo's, yoga pants, and my iPhone.
"I'll never understand why… people wear Ugg/imitation Ugg boots in the winter. I know they're comfortable, but aren't they fabric? Don't they get ruined in the snow and salt?"
Come see Michelle's research influence on 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.
Hey, Michelle here—Brown Paper Box Co. marketing director, resident dramaturg, and performer in our upcoming cabaret!
When describing CHARACTER BREAKDOWN, I've occasionally encountered confusion from people who are unfamiliar with musical theatre. "We're all going to be 'miscast,' singing songs as characters we'd never be able to play onstage," I would explain.
"Miscast?" some would reply. "Like...what?"
The performance below is the example I often give to send the concept home. It's from our CHARACTER BREAKDOWN cabaret last spring, and it perfectly illustrates what we're doing:
It's a pretty safe bet that BPB Artistic Associate Stephanie Rohr will never get to play Joe in Show Boat. The gender, race, and voice parts of the performer and the character are completely incongruous. But that's the sheer fun of a miscast cabaret—the singers get the chance to sing something they might otherwise never get to perform, and the audience has the opportunity to enjoy both classic and contemporary musical theatre favorites in a whole new way. (And doesn't "Ol' Man River" sound surprisingly lovely coming out of a red-headed soprano?)
That's what CHARACTER BREAKDOWN is all about.
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: A MISCAST CABARET
September 7th @ 8 PM
Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret
Full given name: Michelle Elise Kritselis
Your role within the Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls family: Dramaturg
(staff) What does that mean/what do you do? Because this show has a lot of unconventional elements, I wrote up a little thematic analysis of the show and included some informational blurbs about komodo dragons, Incan mummies, etc. for the cast and production team.
In 5 words, how do you describe Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls: Funny, bizarre, poetic, wild, relatable
Something you're REALLY bad at: I have never been able to blow a bubble with bubble gum. As a kid, this drove me crazy.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood: None! Suburbs forever! (But seriously, I'm so over the notion that suburbia is this bland, culturally desolate collection of McMansions where passion and authenticity go to die. It's not.)
Your personal idols: Mister Rogers.
Most played song on your iPod: Lately, it's been "And She Was," by Talking Heads.
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie about your life: Burt Reynolds.
Pop culture guilty pleasure: I am embarrassed to tell you that I watched the whole series of TLC's Breaking Amish last year, even though it was the fakest fake that ever faked and all of them had been living "English" for like the last decade and one of them had a kid or whatever. It was somewhat engaging, despite its manufacturedness.
Three things you can't live without: Chicago Mix popcorn, my husband, and a supportive bra. (Not in that order.)
"I'll never understand why…": ...some people don't like seafood. Is this like a landlocked Midwestern thing, that so many people don't like fish? Whatevs, more for me!
One behalf of The Brown Paper Box Co. and the cast of Character Breakdown: A Miscast Cabaret - Andrew Lund, Anna Schutz, Daniel Spagnuolo, Katherine Glavin, Megan Ensley, Michelle Kritselis, Nick Shoda, Stephanie Rohr, T.J. Anderson, and M. William Panek - we'd love to thank everyone who made it out to Davenport's Piano Bar on March 23rd.
This casting is so wrong. (And yet...so right.)
CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: A MISCAST CABARET will feature appearances from BPBCo. artistic associates and past cast members performing as characters they'd never play due to age, gender, voice type, race, you name it. Yes, this event is all kinds of mixed-up wrongness, and it's happening tomorrow night, Saturday, March 23, only.
As seating has been filling up, we urge you to reserve your tickets ahead of time on Davenport's website!
Now, bring on the cat:
So there I was, taking notes while Brown Paper Box Co. co-founder and artistic associate Michelle Kritselis worked on her CHARACTER BREAKDOWN number with musical director T.J. Anderson on the piano. Then bam, artistic associate Nick Shoda's cat, Oberon, hopped on my lap and plopped down on my notebook.
I'm not sure what kind of acting notes Obie had for Michelle, but this much is clear: people and pets, friends and felines, strangers and strays alike will enjoy the miscast crooning we're serving up at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret tomorrow night, March 23. Hope you can make it!
The Brown Paper Box Co. presents CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: A Miscast Cabaret this Saturday, March 23 at 8pm. This one-night cabaret will feature appearances from The Brown Paper Box Co. artistic associates and former cast members performing as characters they would never play due to age, gender, voice type, race, etc.
We're keeping the playlist secret, but you can expect song selections from all the musicals pictured below!
As seating has been filling up, we urge you to reserve your tickets ahead of time on Davenport's website! Hope to see you there!!!
Our Facebook event can be found HERE.
Poster design by Artistic Associate Charlie Sheets.
Bailiwick Chicago presents Rock Show(tunes), an evening of classic Broadway showtunes reimagined as modern rock songs. This event takes place one day before Bailiwick officially launches its 2012/13 season with the much-anticipated rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.
Rock Show(tunes) features performances by Collective Members Lili-Anne Brown, Danny Bernardo, Harmony France, Kathleen Gibson, Michael Harnichar, Aaron Holland, Ryan Lanning and Rus Rainear with guest artists Bethany Thomas, Sharriese Hamilton and Jayson Brooks of JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound. Collective Member Aaron Benham serves as Music Director and Arranger. The evening begins with performances from our current production of Godspell, as well as Assassins and NightBlue’s Avenue Q.
The inspiration for Rock Show(tunes) came when Collective Member Danny Bernardo was working on a song from The King & I with his vocal coach and mused, “What if Green Day wrote this song?” He shared the showtune/rock song mashup with Artistic Director Lili-Anne Brown, who recalled a similar experience jamming a song from Guys & Dolls in the style of R&B artist Jill Scott. Sparked by this shared inspiration, the two collaborated on curating an evening that would give hardcore rock and musical theatre fans alike something new and innovative.
The Brown Paper Box Co. will be performing:
"Turn Back, O Man" as sung by Stephanie Rohr, Andrew Lund, and the ensemble, with Stephanie Rohr and Pavi Proczko on the piano.
"O Bless the Lord, My Soul" as sung by Michelle Limon and the ensemble, with Veronica Garza & Jeanne T. Arrigo on guitar and Jake Mahler on banjo.
It's going to rock.
When: Wednesday, October 3rd
Where: Underground Lounge, 952 West Newport Avenue
Cost: $10 advance tickets, $15 at the door
Brown Paper Blog
Making theatre. Writing about it. Maybe some hilarious Youtube cat videos in between.