THE BIG BOMBSHELL this past week involves celebrated monologist Mike Daisey, whose The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs was pulled from a planned presentation at the Chicago Theatre on April 7, in partnership with WBEZ and “This American Life.”
Revelations that Daisey had fabricated several elements in his excoriating examination of labor conditions at Foxconn (the Chinese company that manufactures most of Apple’s products) led to a retraction on “This American Life” last Friday and scads of debate on the nature of truth in art and journalism.
All tickets purchased for the April 7 show will be refunded. The debate will undoubtedly march on.
MEANTIME, CHICAGO-BASED WRITERS who embrace the role of “truthiness” in satire should polish up their resumes: The Onion is coming to town. And with all due respect to the unnamed staffer in this Atlantic piece who is worried that moving from “the center of everything” would mean that there wouldn’t be anyone to “carry the torch” – finding great comedy writers hasn’t really been a problem in Chicago for the past several decades.
The Atlantic also reports that chief operating officer Mike McEvoy plans to take advantage of Illinois’ film tax incentives and build a new studio to create web videos.
MORE COMEDY NEWS: ComedySportz marks 25 years (excuse me, “yearz”) of competitive improv with a three-month celebration. It starts in July with the “ComedySportz World Championship” at the Athenaeum Theatre involving all 21 licensed “ComedySportz” franchises around the globe. It continues in August with a salute to the “family” of alums and a fundraising drive for community organizations in September.
DIRECTORSLAB CHICAGO is now accepting applications for the 2012 program, running August 5-10 at the Chicago Cultural Center and other locations. The Lab provides an intensive environment to stretch the creative muscles, and this year’s theme is “Left Brain, Right Brain.” Deadline is April 22 and applications are available online.
EMERGING DIRECTORS also get a leg up from Steppenwolf Theatre with the second annual “Next Up” repertory, featuring three plays in rotating rep directed and designed by MFA candidates at Northwestern University.
The plays include Keith Reddin’s Life and Limb, directed by Emily Campbell; Emily Schwend’s South of Settling, directed by Adam Goldstein; and The Glass Menagerie, directed by Laley Lippard. The shows run June 5-24.
FROM EMERGING ARTISTS to eminence grise: Stephen Sondheim is the guest of honor for the Music Institute of Chicago’s 82nd-anniversary gala on May 1. (Appropriate, since Sondheim just turned 82 this week.)
Sondheim will receive the Dushkin Award, and local visual arts philanthropist Marilynn Alsdorf receives the “Cultural Visionary Award for Chicago.”
PERFORMANCES FROM STUDENTS at the Music Institute (including musical theater students, of course) and Axiom Brass, the ensemble-in-residence, round out the evening. The tickets for the event benefits the Institute’s music scholarship and outreach programs – and are an admittedly pricey $600. (But I suspect we all know diehard Sondheim fans who would consider that a steal.) Call 847-448-8327 for information.
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