Thursday, March 22, 2018

Removing the Pretention and Finding the Truth In "Cyrano"

Somewhere in the midst of an incoherent ramble, I stopped talking. I had nothing left to say and everything left to say. I was tongue-tied and tired, and four weeks into rehearsing Cyrano for BoHo Theatre, the largest show I had ever directed.

My ramble came courtesy of a question that was asked of me by BoHo Marketing Director Charles Riffenburg during an interview that was (supposed) to be used for marketing purposes. (Look for it on the DVD extras!) Chuck’s question dealt with the amount of theatre being produced in Chicago and wondered, with all the choices that the Chicago theatergoing public had, why someone should come and see Cyrano.

I immediately dug into a word salad full of themes and platitudes about the importance of Chicago Theatre, it’s aesthetic and how this adaptation of Cyrano seemed to be tailor-made for Chicago (9 actors, playing 20 roles over the span of 15 years). I had just finished reading Richard Christiansen’s fantastic book on the history of Chicago Theatre, A Theatre Of Our Own: A History and Memoir of 1001 Nights In Chicago and I was all hopped up on the idea of Chicago Theatre and what that idea represented: honesty, passion, scrappiness, innovation, intelligence. Cyrano has all these traits, so why not make Cyrano a direct reflection of what it means to make theatre in this city! I was going to honor BoHo and Chicago and all those that came before me. With this production of Cyrano, I was going to honor my idea of Chicago Theatre!

Friday, January 26, 2018

Join Our Board and Become Part of BoHo's Future

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Have you always wanted to an integral part of a growing arts organization? Well BoHo Theatre needs you.

We are currently on the hunt for enthusiastic and skilled people to join our Board of Directors. The Board of Directors supports the work of BoHo and provides mission-based leadership and strategic governance, partnering with the Company Directors to achieve their goals. The core duties of board member are creating, leading, and/or actively participating in key strategic initiatives to drive the organization forward.

Board candidates must possess a willingness to actively participate in these strategic initiatives, bring a personal and/or professional network to introduce to BoHo, have strong business acumen, and thrive in a family oriented, highly collaborative environment.

BoHo Theatre is now beginning its 14th season. The Company is unique in the Chicago area producing a mix of genres and is recognized for its strong artistic network and ability to recruit a high caliber of talent to its productions. Beloved by audiences and critics alike, BoHo has received over 80 Jeff nominations and rave reviews from the Chicago Tribune, Chicago sun-Times, and the Wall Street Journal. Looking ahead, our strategic plan calls for investing in production quality, producing larger shows, continuing to grow the strong fundraising infrastructure, strengthening awareness and outreach, ensuring a sustainable organizational structure, and preparing the company to transition to a larger home theatre.

To discuss how you can help steward BoHo into the future or for more information, please contact:

Sara Coffou,
Board President
OR Meg Love,
Executive Director

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Thursday, November 30, 2017

Highlights From BoHo's Talkback With Michael John LaChiusa

On November 17th, BoHo Theatre held a talkback with writer/composer Michael John LaChiusa and our artists following a performance of Marie Christine. Presented here are edited selections from that event.

Moderator: What possessed you to write this show?

Michael John LaChiusa: A series of things. One was working with Graciela Daniele. We were talking about our favorite plays of all time and we both agreed that one of the greatest plays ever written was Medea, the Greek play.

And then a young lady came to audition for me for a show I was writing at the time called Hello Again, and she was amazing, she blew my mind, but I couldn’t cast her in the show because she was too young. She had just graduated from Juliard. Her name was Audra McDonald. But at that moment, I said, “I must write a play for her one day.”

And then my brother sent me a book of myths and legends of old New Orleans, particularly of Marie Laveau. And I was sitting there reading that book and there was one line that said, “Marie Laveau had a daughter who ran away north with a white man.” And the pieces fell into place. And I wrote it.

It all just came together. I thought, I can transpose Medea into latter century New Orleans and really explore something I didn’t know a lot about. Also politically, I got to be a murderer too, theatrically, because there is the trope of the tragic mulatto, which is something that I despise, and I thought maybe with Marie Christine, I could kill the tragic mulatto stereotype. So that’s one of the reasons why I wrote it.

It’s all loaded, why I wrote the show, why it’s never really done-- its dark stuff. But it’s one of my most precious scores because it means so much.