Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Striking 12: The Perfect Holiday Show!

The holidays, for my money, are about tradition.  STRIKING 12 feels even more special to me this year, because in its second year, it is becoming a part of my personal holiday tradition. 

I think it’s interesting how, as adults, we start to create our own sense of ritual.  From “Orphan Thanksgivings”, to accompanying a significant other to a holiday meal for the first time…we begin to break through the barriers of childhood and start to discover the traditions that are truly our own.  Of course, the flips side is that we leave the safety of those light-filled, gift-laden, fuzzy around the edges memories and begin to understand the complexities of holiday emotions.  We start to realize that Aunt Betty wasn’t really all that happy. Her boisterous laughter was mostly the product of one (or six) too many glasses of eggnog.  We feel the sting of loneliness, the first time we can’t make it home for the holidays because of work or weather.  And why does heartache seem to accompany this season? Breakups always seem worse when they happen around a holiday.  More adult fun to look forward to, kids.

It’s no wonder my personal holiday punch bowl is filled with one part love, two parts cynicism, a dash of hope and several shots of rum. It’s the only way I can make it through.  And, always, ALWAYS, there is a soundtrack playing in the background.  Music is as much a part of the tradition as anything else. In my house, it was folk and rock and the great singer-songwriter music of the 70’s and 80’s.  I will take Joni Mitchell, singing “River” over the Mormon Tabernacle Choir singing, “Sleigh Ride” any day of the week.

STRIKING 12 is the perfect holiday show for me, because it is the culmination of all of the things that I embrace during this season.  It’s a little depressed but a lot hopeful.  And the depressing isn’t too depressed, and the hopeful isn’t too precious, because it’s so damn funny.  It’s genuine and a little raw in its examination of a basic, personal, contemporary story.  It also honors the tradition of great literature; but pulls out a story that is beautiful within pain and longing, ultimately ending in the understanding that love is warmth and comfort and peace. AND all of this is wrapped up in a package decorated with some of the best music you will ever hear, holiday or otherwise.

My hope is that you’ll see the show and that it fulfills both your childlike wonder and your adult longing. May Striking 12 worm its awesome little way into your heart, to become a part of your holiday tradition, as it has mine.
-- Lara Filip is a well-know Chicago Singer, Actress and Director.  Her next stage appearance will be in Legally Blonde at The Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire and her band project, Birdie Wing, is in pre-production for its debut CD.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Does Anybody Need Some Light Tonight?

Does anybody need some light tonight?
This line appears many times in STRIKING 12, BoHo’s un-holiday-musical, un-spectacular as Hans Christian Anderson’s “Little Match Girl” tries to sell matches on New Years Eve.  For me, STRIKING 12 is not about holiday spirit or Christmas miracles.  It’s about a guy realizing he isn't better off alone.  It’s about a group of people interacting onstage to make something together.  The relationships and interactions you’ll see in STRIKING 12 are real, which has been my favorite part of the process.  I have so much real fun with the other members of the cast that it just feels like I’m hanging out with friends, jamming through some songs, and we just so happen to have a great story to tell. 

Lara and Diana, our director and music director, have created this vibe from the beginning.  Our rehearsals have been as much about getting to know each other and finding new ways to play off of each other as they’ve been about cleaning the details of the show.  One leads to the other anyway, right? 
This show is as much a rock concert as it is a musical.  My continually developing relationships with the rest of the cast are as important to the cleanliness of the music and clarity of the message as anything.

So, does anybody need some light tonight?  To me this means another person, an interaction, a real relationship.  That’s what the players of STRIKING 12 are looking for, and that’s something that we find in each other over the course of each run-through.  We find it through our characters, our music, and ourselves.  
I can’t wait until we get to find it with an audience as well.  

Now the real question: do you need some light tonight?  Allow us.
-- Jed Feder is a Chicago based percussionist, actor, and composer.  He makes his BoHo debut with STRIKING 12.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Striking 12 is quite a gem!"

Serving as the music director for Boho's STRIKING 12 has been great fun.  Firstly, the show itself is a fun, well-written show, which is unfortunately hard to come by in a modern musical, especially a holiday-type.  Whatever you may think of Rogers and Hammerstein and the other grandfathers of musical theatre, you have to agree that they were consummate craftsmen who put lots of time and thought into the structure of a melody or a lyric.  As much as I love modern pop and rock (that is, I listen to it, play it and write it), it's often produced by people who don't value such craftsmanship, and that sloppiness (yeah, I said it) can bleed over into modern pop/rock musicals.  And for some reason, some amount of sloppiness can work in pop, but I just don't think it works in musicals...  but I digress...

Luckily, STRIKING 12 is definitely not a sloppy show.  GrooveLilly found a way to combine a pop, sensibility and a clever, well-crafted musical, while still keeping it light and fun to watch.

So sure, the show is great, but Boho's cast is the real thing to go see.  They are amazingly talented, as musicians, singers and actors, the new triple threat for an emerging genre of musicals.  Most importantly, they have lots of fun, with the show and with each other, and therefore, so does everyone watching them.  

This production of STRIKING 12 is quite a gem.  

Go, why don't you?

-- Diana Lawrence is a singer, songwriter, pianist and music director based in Chicago. She has performed at venues ranging from Symphony Center and the Auditorium Theatre to the Green Mill and the Double Door. She is the Musical Director for Striking 12.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Join Us for a Special New Years Eve Event

Ring in the new year with BoHo Theatre! On New Year’s Eve, BoHo will present a special holiday performance of Striking 12 featuring a post-show party. Join the performers and crew of Striking 12 onstage along with BoHo company members for a complimentary champagne toast to kick off 2012 in style.

This special performance is at 8:00pm on December 31st. Tickets are $30.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Up Next: Striking 12

 This weekend, BoHo Theatre will say a teary good-bye to Pippin. It's been an absolute privilege to share this journey with you, our audience members and we hope you enjoyed watching the production as much as we enjoy producing it. If you haven't yet had the chance to see this Jeff Recommended musical, there's still time!

Next Up: BoHo Theatre's hit holiday musical Striking 12 returns to the Heartland Studio in Rogers Park for another year of toe-tapping cheer. From the funk-rock trio GrooveLily and Rachel Sheinkin, the Tony-awarding winning writer of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Striking 12 is an inventive concert/musical that is the perfect way to spend a cold winter night in Chicago this holiday season.

This musical experience is an uplifting combination of art, performance, and celebration that embodies the four BoHo pillars of Truth, Beauty, Freedom, and Love in equal parts. Thanks to overwhelming response from our audiences at last year's production of Striking 12, BoHo is bringing the show back as an annual non-mainstage holiday production. Last year Chicago Tribune theater critic Chris Jones called BoHo's Striking 12 "a match for those who hate holiday musicals... this is a score with tunes that float around the room and lyrics that are able to get inside your head."

Tickets are on sale now and we look forward to ringing in the holiday season with an un-holiday celebration!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There's still time....

Good Morning -

Can you believe it is November already? It seems like only yesterday we were gearing up for the opening of Pippin, and now we are watching Macy's put up their holiday display.

While many are already ramping up for the holidays, there is still time to enjoy the magic of Pippin.  Check out this interview with Chicago Theatre Review, featuring our own Shaun Nathan Baer (it even includes a live performance of Corner of the Sky!)

And if that doesn't convince you just see what our critics are saying:

Don't miss your chance to see the BoHo's Jeff Recommended production of Pippin, now playing at Theater Wit.