Friday, January 22, 2016

Eurydice to replace Uncle Vanya in 2016 Season

Since the beginning, BoHo Theatre has always looked to include the most contemporary plays and musicals in our seasons to complement our classics. We’ve even been lucky enough to stage a few regional and city premieres in our day (such as The Wild Party and The Glorious Ones). We were thrilled when we announced that we would be producing Annie Baker’s new translation of Uncle Vanya in our 2016 season.

BoHo is a storefront theatre. We do amazing productions given our size and budget, but we are still a relatively small fish in the pond of Chicago theatre. And sometimes that means having to get out of the way for larger fish. At the end of 2015, we were approached by a much larger theatre in Chicago that wanted to produce Uncle Vanya in their upcoming season. Given the choice between us and a large theatre, the licensing company asked that we relinquish the rights. It’s just business, nothing personal. At the same time, this theatre (who we won’t name because we want them to announce their season in their own time) was extremely gracious and supportive about the incident, a testament to how much of a family Chicago theatre is, from the largest union theatre to the smallest storefront. We wish them well on their production and can’t wait to see it ourselves.

We were then left in a position to quickly fill a hole in our season. After substantial debate amongst our company, we chose Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice. This play is a beautiful, heartbreaking work that is a playground for designers and directors. And at its core, true to our mission, it is a story about relationships. Eurydice is in love with her musician husband Orpheus, but when she dies on their wedding day, she meets her father in the Underworld, who still loves her and dotes on her. She is torn between staying with her father and returning to the world of the living with her husband—an impossible choice. It is poetic and absurd and hilarious and speaks to very real emotions. It is truly a BoHo (and bohemian) show, and we feel it is a story that our community needs to experience.

We’re already beginning preliminary work on Eurydice, but most of our focus right now is on our upcoming production of Fugitive Songs. Fugitive Songs is a moving song cycle about running away from your problems and finding your way back. The cast already sounds amazing, and we can’t wait to share rehearsal photos and videos with you next week! Memberships for our entire 2016 season are still available. Here’s to a wonderful and artistic 2016!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Being Bohemian: Eleanor Katz

BoHo Theatre Company Member and Studio Liaison Eleanor Katz explores what it means to be bohemian:

Our Chicago theatre community is special in many ways. Since moving here six years ago, I have found it to be welcoming, generous, loving and creative beyond measure. I have lived all around the world and consistently find my true home and comfort when I am with my fellow magic makers. In Chicago, this happened amongst a group of artists with the biggest hearts on their broad shoulders – my Bohemians.

I remember being in callbacks for Hauptmann and having the opportunity to explore and really play with the role for which I was reading. It was my first glimpse into BoHo as a company and how things operated. During the rehearsal process, we were taken care of, treated with the utmost respect and our imaginations were given the opportunity to flourish.

Flash forward to a coffee shop in the dead of winter about a year later, and my conversation with Executive Director Kaela Altman, about my desire to become a company member. It wasn’t just the experience that I had had on stage in a wonderful production, it was the sense of community that made me want to have my artistic home in Chicago be with BoHo. I was willing to help anywhere I was needed and be a pretty loud cheerleader as well! What I found was that I wasn’t unique in my enthusiasm. That is our entire company’s mantra. Being bohemian is having an open and free spirit that is full of kindness and commitment. We are small but mighty and everyone is willing to do their part, whether it be picking up a last minute item and running it over to the space for a renter, buying toilet paper and paper towels for our studio when we’ve run out or covering a box office shift because one of our company members went into labor 2 weeks early.

OK, full disclosure, that last one was me.

In early June of this year, I gave birth to our first child, Zev Miguel. My husband, Justin, and I had struggled to conceive for two and a half years but, in the end, we had the kiddo we were supposed to have. We firmly believe that. That span of time was one of the most difficult chapters in our lives and my fellow company members were with me every step of the way. They hurt when I hurt, helped me laugh through that pain and, ultimately, celebrated his arrival with the kind of joy and support that is characteristically BoHo. As a family, being bohemian means not having to ask or explain why our baby has to attend company meetings, audition monitoring or strikes. He’s a part of me and, therefore, a part of BoHo. He will know what it is like to be raised by a theatre family. It’s the best upbringing we can imagine. It is filled with originality, acceptance, diversity, joy and magnificent stories! We are so very lucky.

The "Being Bohemian" blog series first appeared during BoHo's celebrated 10th season. What does Bohemianism and BoHo Theatre mean to you? Let us know in the comments or on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Most Important Things

It's very easy to get caught up in the day-to-day activities of running a theater company: who's going to go to the bank? Can someone check the mail? Did anyone get toilet paper for the theater? We need to schedule a meeting - who's available? Some days, it can be overwhelming and other days, incredibly humbling. But as we reflect on another year gone, Peter and I both find ourselves so genuinely grateful for every single moment that 2015 have provided.

Speaking from our hearts, it's been such a wonderful year: the Company celebrated two weddings and welcomed two beautiful babies who will now be considered lifelong Bohemians. Some company members branched out, pursuing higher education and seeking promotions while others sought new employment opportunities all together. Most days, I remind myself to mindfully stop, breathe, and soak in the fact that every single day is spent sharing and creating theatre with the most passionate group of people I've had the pleasure of knowing.

Gratitude comes from memories, built from a wealth of single moments. In the video below, we share some of those single moments with you. While many of them may not fully resonate to an outside observer the way they do for us, we believe they capture the spirit of our company and what continues to bring us together every year.

A few highlights:

  • We're grateful for being able to support our local minor league baseball team, the Schaumburg Boomers! It wouldn't be summer without least one BoHo outing drinking beer, eating hot dogs and tacos, and finishing the evening with the running of the bases.
  • We're grateful for being able to celebrate milestones with dear friends including their own opening nights outside of BoHo, new jobs, new relationships, new jobs, all while balancing a wonderful and special relationship as a Volunteer for us.
  • We're grateful we welcomed new board members: Sara, Jelani, Nancy, Silvia, and Hatice into our leadership team. The work they are already doing alongside Jean, Dick, and Bob is extraordinary and they are truly the backbone of BoHo's future.
  • We're grateful for three outstanding shows: Ordinary Days, a show we have tried to produce multiple times and finally brought to its feet this year; Scotland Road, which finally made it out of Season Selection and into the Heartland; and Dogfight, the sleeper candidate we weren't even sure we'd secure rights to.
  • We're so incredibly grateful for the Chicago Theatre Community, who welcomes us into their camp year-over-year, supporting us, loving us, and creating new artistic voices to influence our productions.
  • Last, but certainly not least, we are grateful for you - our patrons - whom the art is for. Thank you for taking the time, for buying a ticket, for sparing a dollar, and for coming out to rejoice in the beauty of BoHo and being a part of our artistic family.

We hope you'll consider sharing your personal favorite BoHo moment with us - or even a non-BoHo moment for which you are grateful.

Kaela Altman, Executive Director
Peter Marston Sullivan, Artistic Director