The Brown Paper Box Co.’s
by Theresa Rebeck
January 23 – February 8, 2015
Presented on the West Stage at the Raven Theatre Complex
The Brown Paper Box Co. is excited to announce the cast for their upcoming production, SPIKE HEELS by Theresa Rebeck. The show will run Thursdays through Saturdays at 7:30 PM and Sundays at 2:00 PM from January 23–February 8 at Raven Theatre in Chicago’s Rogers Park neighborhood (6157 N. Clark St.). Ticketing information and more will be posted at www.brownpaperbox.org.
SPIKE HEELS is a contemporary comedy of manners that pits a volatile young woman against a lawyer, an academic, and the latter's old-money fiancée as they address issues of sexual harassment and the possibility of a four-sided love triangle. This updated take on Pygmalion by award-winning playwright/screenwriter Theresa Rebeck (NBC's Smash, Seminar, Mauritius) deftly explores class and gender politics with honesty, passion, and wit.
Director Stephanie Rohr states, “SPIKE HEELS is a comedy with serious messages about feminism, class, and relationships that still ring true 25 years after it was written. It is an opportunity to showcase both a great female playwright and four strong, funny, and charismatic actors."
The cast includes Jillian Weingart (Little Shop of Horrors, Woodstock Opera House; Cabaret, Brightside Theatre; A New Brain, The Brown Paper Box Co.) as Georgie, Jesse Dornan (Both Your Houses, Remy Bumppo; Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Chicago Shakes [u/s]; Making God Laugh, Fox Valley Repertory) as Andrew, Charles Askenaizer (Run Chris Run, Stone Soup Theatre Co.; Romeo and Juliet, Teatro Vista; The Tempest, City Lit), as Edward, and Whitney Morse (The Children’s Hour, Pride Films and Plays; Down Range, Genesis Theatricals; Trafford Tanzi, Prologue Theatre Company) as Lydia.
The production team includes Stephanie Rohr* (director), Justin Harner* (assistant director), Liz Hoffman (costume designer), Kiri Palm (stage manager), Justin Castellano (lighting designer), Sara Heymann (set/properties designer), Michelle Kritselis* (dramaturg), Anna Schutz* (production manager), M. William Panek* (casting associate and box office manager), Charlie Sheets* (graphic designer), and Randolph Baldwin (production intern).
*Denotes Brown Paper Box Co. company member.
The Brown Paper Box Co.
PROUD AT MARY'S: A June Cabaret
an evening of Pride-based stories and songs
Friday, June 13 and Saturday, June 14, 2014
Mary's Attic in Andersonville
Following our successful run of William Finn's A New Brain, we're thrilled to announce our next cabaret series: PROUD AT MARY'S: A June Cabaret. Ticketing information for this evening of Pride-based stories and songs can be found at www.brownpaperbox.org. Tickets on sale now!
It's Pride month 2014 and The Brown Paper Box Co. is ready to celebrate! PROUD AT MARY'S emphasizes taking pride in our identities and sharing our personal stories during such a monumental month in Illinois—June 1st being the first day every county in the state will recognize same-sex marriages. PROUD AT MARY’S is a mix of pop songs, show tunes, personal monologues, and stories about being gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning, and straight.
"After the successes of our first two cabarets in Wicker Park, we wanted to bring a brand new show to Andersonville," says Brown Paper Box Co. executive director and show coordinator M. William Panek. "Musical Director Justin Harner and I are working with amazingly gracious past Brown Paper Box Co. participants to form a touching and fun evening of personal insight and killer musical numbers."
The set list is comprised of surprise song selections from Stephen Sondheim, Andrew Lippa, Carole King, Stephen Schwartz, and more ... as well as original numbers! Tickets for the 7:30 P.M. performances on 6/13 and 6/14 are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Additional information is posted at www.BrownPaperBox.org.
The cast includes Jeanne T. Arrigo (Godspell, The Brown Paper Box Co.; Eastland, Lookingglass Theatre), Johnny Kyle Cook (A New Brain, The Brown Paper Box Co.; Folk Bound, Duplicity Ensemble), Pamela Mae Davis (Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, The Brown Paper Box Co.; Miss Marx, Strawdog Theatre Company), Megan Ensley (Godspell and 2012's Reefer Madness!, The Brown Paper Box Co.), Justin Harner* (A New Brain and Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, The Brown Paper Box Co.; The Voodoo Chalk Circle, The State Theatre), David Lipschutz* (The Birds [currently u/s], Hell in a Handbag; The Glorious Ones, Illinois Theatre Center), M. William Panek* (A New Brain, Godspell, To Tree, The Brown Paper Box Co.), Stephanie Rohr* (Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls and Godspell, The Brown Paper Box Co; La Boheme, OperaUpClose), Anna Schutz* (A New Brain, Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls, and Reefer Madness!, The Brown Paper Box Co.; Circle Mirror Transformation, Oil Lamp Theatre), Nick Shoda* ( A New Brain and Godspell, The Brown Paper Box Co.; Pacific Overtures, Porchlight), and Daniel Spagnuolo* (Godspell and A New Brain, The Brown Paper Box Co.; How to Succeed..., Porchlight).
Justin Harner is the evening's pianist and musical director. M. William Panek serves as the evening's host. Original poster design by Charlie Sheets*
*Denotes Brown Paper Box Co. company member.
Full name? Stephanie Lynn Rohr
Where you were born/where you were raised? Born in Grosse Pointe, MI and raised in Naperville, IL
Your position/role within the A NEW BRAIN family? I am the Assistant Director
What does that mean/what do you do? This means that I assist the other members of the creative team. I work closely with Will, the Director and TJ, the Musical Director, to create our vision of the show. This can include anything from staging scenes and musical numbers to speaking with cast members about their characters, to helping with vocal technique and learning harmonies. It is also a great learning experience for me, as this is my first professional directing gig. And I am very grateful to BPBCo. for the opportunity!
In 5 words, how do you describe A NEW BRAIN? Intellectual, heartfelt, absurd, hopeful, harmonious.
How would you describe Bill's writing? His musical style has echoes of Sondheim, but with a more modern edge. Dialogue flows seamlessly into song and songs flow seamlessly from dark themes to absurd comedy.
Fill in the blanks: _____emotion______ + _____sound______ = a song.
What was your must-see TV show as a kid? Sesame Street! For a long time I thought that was the only thing the TV did. In my mind it was just the Sesame Street machine. Which was awesome.
If you could be best friends with any cartoon character in the real world, who would it be? Lana from Archer. She is a badass.
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie of your life? Deborah Ann Woll from True Blood
Special hidden talent? Cross stitch!
Something you're REALLY bad at? Any other kind of needlecraft.
Favorite Chicago neighborhood? I am loving my new home, North Center!
Current local show you have been recommending to friends? The Children's Hour by Pride Films and Plays and 42nd Street at the Paramount in Aurora. (So, not quite local....but it's great.)
Most played song on your iPod? Whatever 1960s jam I'm learning with my band, Girl Group Chicago. At the moment it's "I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself" by Dusty Springfield
Pop culture guilty pleasure? Any wedding-themed reality show on Netflix
Three things you can't live without? Friends, Family, Music
"I'll never understand why… 'The Lee of Cuttyhunk' runs in a loop in my head."
Come see Stephanie's work in 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: Stephanie Lynn Rohr
Where you were born/where you were raised? Born in Grosse Pointe, MI, raised in Naperville, IL
Your role within the Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls family: I play Wendy
How would you describe your character? She is described as weird, scary, a mammal, a fruitcake, and "kind of mean and slutty" by other characters in the show. She is fascinated by true stories, bad things, geology, and anthropology. She is a temp, an actress, and a hula dancer, but she is having trouble figuring out who she really is. Wendy can be intense and abrasive, but she has a lot of love to give and through a lot of trial and error she discovers how to give that love and who to give it to.
In 5 words, how do you describe Aloha, Say the Pretty Girls: surreal, familiar, funny, endearing, thought-provoking
Something you're REALLY bad at: Going to bed at a reasonable hour.
Special hidden talent: I will kick your ass at foosball.
Current local show you have been recommending to friends: Wayward Productions' biker-bar-themed Richard III
Favorite Chicago neighborhood: I love my 'hood, Logan Square
Favorite play: I can't pick just one!!! But I've been in a Chekhovian mood lately so I'll say Uncle Vanya.
Most played song on your iPod: Right now it's "Werewolf" by Fiona Apple
Who would play you in the Lifetime movie about your life: Hopefully myself! But really, Deborah Ann Woll
Must-see TV show(s): Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Archer, Arrested Development
Pop culture guilty pleasure: Lifetime movies, Judge Judy, True Crime documentaries
Three things you can't live without: music, friends, cheese
"I'll never understand why…": cheese is so bad for me.
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.
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.
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!!!
The Brown Paper Box Co. presents CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: A Miscast Cabaret on 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.
Get to know BPBCo. Artistic Associate Stephanie Rohr (Godspell, The Brown Paper Box Co; La Boheme, Opera Up Close; Reservoir Dogs, Roundhouse Productions).
Q) What's the first word that comes to mind when you hear 'miscast?'
Q) Have you ever been miscast?
A) I played a Egyptian slave in a new musical about Moses. Yes, you read that correctly. I also played Gollum in a stage version of The Hobbit, but that worked surprisingly well.
Q) Without giving too much away, what can our audience expect with your number?
A) A song that doesn't fit my age, gender, or race
Q) Upon first glace when you walk into an audition, what is your character 'type?'
A) It seems to vary. I'm usually cast as either "quirky," "sexy," or "evil."
Q) But what people don't know about you is .......
A) I just wanna play a doe-eyed ingenue Godamnit!
Q) Last good movie you saw.
A) Argo was pretty good.
Q) Current show running in town you're recommending to friends?
A) The Book of Mormon. Not only is it amazing, but it features one of my students, James Meredith.
Come see Stephanie in The Brown Paper Box Co.'s CHARACTER BREAKDOWN: A Miscast Cabaret on Saturday, March 23, 2013 at Davenport's Piano Bar & Cabaret. Please visit www.davenportspianobar.com for reservations and additional information. Tickets are $15 + a two-drink minimum.
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