Chicago Top Ten

2017 wasn’t as big a dumpster fire as 2016, and I think for the most part the majority of the artistic community was ready to dig in and do the work amidst gigantic forces of oppression, as encompassed by a tiny-handed orange Lucifer-in-office. Yet for as much work as we had cut out for us in this, the first year in the Age of the Ice King, the theatre community stood up in solidarity and created some really fantastic art. Chris Jones recently came out with his Top Ten Theatre Shows in Chicago for 2017, which --predictably-- involved a lot of white noise and money, so I’m here to give you my Top Ten Things that Happened in Chicago Theatre in 2017, including shows, moments, and movements; new

My Top 10 Moments

1. The captioning screens explaining their relationship to the audience in Red Theatre's Little Red Cyrano. We need more of this please! Anything that makes inclusion and adaptive measures into "a feature, not a bug" of a performance fills me with joy, as a disabled performer who constantly has to hear how much trouble accommodation is and how distracting it’s going to be. Little Red Cyrano let the audience know right away, "this is the elephant in the room, we're going to talk about it, we're going to immerse you in it, we put it here because it needs to be here." We shouldn't have to apologize for inclusion and accessibility, and there are also ways to work it into performances without

Ten of my Favorite Things…Onstage

2017 is coming to a close and I don’t know about you, but I definitely spent a majority of the year getting lost in the variety of stories being told on stages throughout Chicago. Some of the stories provided a nice escape from the harsh realities of the world. Other stories forced us all to take a long, hard look at the current state of our society, and work to challenge it. I’m delighted to share 10 of my favorite shows (or performance moments) from 2017. 10. Blue Man Group - Drummers are KEWL I had to throw this one on here for the sake of pure, uninhibited joy at the theater. And Goddess knows we all needed a little joy this year. Not a traditional play of course, but this was definitely

Chicago Top 10

In my Top 10 list, I chose to explore plays and events that were innovative or extra-inclusive, that contributed to the vision I have for the types of theatre I aim to create, and that exemplify what I believe the future of theatre will be. This list includes a mix of plays that I worked on directly and plays that I attended. Top 10 Theatre Moments of 2017: 1. WeFest at the Pride Arts Center with Center on Halsted In my second time curating this fest (formerly known as LezFest and SheFest), I realized exactly what I loved about it when a performer approached me afterwards to personally thank me for creating a genuinely “safe space.” WeFest, this time hosted by Malic White and Molly Bre

Top Ten Experiences of 2017

Azar’s Top Ten Theatre Experiences of 2017: Meet Juan(ito) Doe – Free Street, Created by Free Street Resident Artist Ricardo Gamboa, in collaboration with Ana Velasquez and an ensemble of “brown and down Chi-towners” Meet Jaun(ito) Doe was by far the best theatrical experience of 2017 for me. The beating heart of the ensemble and the stories being told of the Mexican immigrant and Mexican-American experience moved me beyond belief. A production created by, for, and with the community. So many moments floored me during the show but the one that gripped me the most was when a character described feeling that life was a test and that they had somehow failed. It instantly brought to light how th

The Best of 2017

As the 2017 Chicago Theatre season comes to a close, what a lovely year it was for talent and stories across the board. Particularly for artists of color and the diversity that is inherent in our great city. Here is a top 10 list, in no particular order, of my favorite shows, moments, and performances from this past season: 10. Lizzie: The Musical Firebrand’s production of LIZZIE: The Musical. This stunning debut by the feminist theatre company, which boasts a rare but incredibly powerful all-woman-led, produced, and designed show. A whirlwind that is filled with fiercely charged energy all the way through by a tight, grounded, deft ensemble of actors. Liz Childester’s climatic Act 1 finale

My Top 10 Moments of Chicago Theatre 2017

#10 The Last Fight of Macedonio Guerra: The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Red Theater Company Photo by M. Freer Photography The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity by Kristoffer Diaz Directed by Jeremy Aluma Fight Choreography by Kyle Encinas If you know me, you know I am a complete sucker for plays about Puerto Ricans or being Puerto Rican: it’s an instant connection for me. After reading about a white actor unapologetically playing Usnavi in In the Heights at Porchlight last year (I wasn’t going to pay money to see that story whitewashed), I had been itching for a play about a fight for Latinx representation. A play that encapsulated that frustration and had some badass, cathartic figh

2018 Call to Action

Hello Theater friends, peers, and collaborators. 2017 was expectedly awful. I could list a lot of reasons why, but we all know them. Some of us are talking to therapists about them. Some of us are seeing friends more often. Some of us are diving hard into self-medication. Some of us are working to exhaustion. Some of us have run out of fucks to give. That is not to say that there was no light this year. 2017 was also filled with moments of strength, bravery, and camaraderie. We’re all dealing how we’re dealing and the one place that we should find support, exciting challenges, and solace is in our community: The Chicago Theater Community. The Chicago Theater Community has a lot of wo

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