Spotlight: Mike Toomey brings the laughs in-person (and virtually) to the Raue stage Saturday
Mike Toomey headlines Lucy's Live, Raue Center for the Arts' ongoing comedy series. Toomey's appearance alongside stand-up comedian Fritz Nothnagel marks the Crystal Lake theater's second live performance since the easing of restrictions on public gatherings imposed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Creator and star of the one-man show "TV and Me," Toomey is also a regular on the "WGN Morning News."
7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at 26 N. Williams St., Crystal Lake. Virtual tickets start at $10 per household. Regular tickets start at $35. (815) 356-9212 or rauecenter.org.
Inside First Folio
First Folio Theatre's YouTube interview series hosted by associate artistic director Melanie Keller continues with ensemble member Christian Gray, a veteran of 20 First Folio productions. In addition to playing Bertie Wooster opposite Jim McCance's unflappable Jeeves in three adaptations of J.P. Wodehouse stories, Gray has played the titular character in the company's original production "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story." Type in "First Folio interviews" on youtube.com to access the interview. Also available online are Keller's chats with artistic associate and Remy Bumppo Theatre artistic director Nick Sandys and artistic associate and Babes With Blades artistic director Hayley Rice.
In other news
• Seating capacity will be limited to 50 people and audience members must wear face coverings at all times during Citadel Theatre's upcoming 2020-2021 season recently revised to begin Nov. 18 with "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown," a musical about the Peanuts gang. The new year brings "The Christians" (Feb. 10-March 14), Lucas Hnath's drama about a doctrinal dispute that threatens to tear apart a megachurch, and the season concludes with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' "Appropriate" (April 21-May 23), about estranged siblings who find disturbing photographs in their late father's belongings. The original season-opening production of Neil Simon's "Brighton Beach Memoirs" has been rescheduled. Dates to be announced. Note the schedule and seating may change in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, patrons and employees will be subject to temperature checks and health screenings upon entry and must wear face coverings among other precautions. Performances take place at 300 S. Waukegan Road, Lake Forest. Flexible subscription packages range from $35 to $60. See citadeltheatre.org.
• Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Shakespeare in the Park series goes virtual in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Beginning Monday, Aug. 10, CST will highlight one Chicago park at 5:30 p.m. each day on its website chicagoshakes.com. Featured parks include: Calumet Park, Columbus Park, Dvorak Park, Eckhart Park, Ellis Park, Frank J. Wilson Park, Gage Park, Garfield Park, Humboldt Park, Kelvyn Park, Loyola Park, Ogden Park, Piotrowski Park, Ridge Park, Ping Tom Memorial Park, Tuley Park, Welles Park and West Pullman Park. At 5:30 p.m. Aug. 28, WTTW Channel 11 broadcasts a 30-minute celebration of CST's free Shakespeare in the Park series incorporating memorable production moments from 2012 through 2019.
• Tellin Tales Theatre, an ensemble that showcases people with disabilities performing original stories, teams up with 16th Street Theater for a virtual production titled "Divercity." Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 7-8, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 9. See 16thstreettheater.org.
• The League of Chicago Theatres announced the establishment of the Samuel G. Roberson Jr. Resident Fellowship to fund a residency for midcareer, Chicago-based Black theater artists for one year at an area theater. The fellowship will focus on a different specialty -- directing, education, artistic leadership -- each year. The 2020 focus is on playwriting. The artist will receive $20,000 and the host theater will receive $7,500. Priority will be given to theaters whose mission is the production of works by artists who are Black, indigenous and people of color. See leagueofchicagotheatres.org for application requirements and deadlines.
• Prop Thtr announced on Saturday that on Oct. 1 the company will bid farewell to its longtime home at 3502 N. Elston Ave., Chicago, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. "We will be sad to say goodbye to a place that has been so special to so many people," wrote the staff and board members on propthtr.org. "Our community is what has kept us going for 40 years and our community will keep us going now as we step into the unknown. Prop Thtr is no stranger to the art of adaptation, and with this opportunity to re-imagine there is no telling what we can accomplish."
• About Face Theatre named Mikael Burke its associate artistic director in charge of education and new work development. "As a queer Black artist and educator, I am dedicated to building spaces for learning and creating that decenter whiteness and embrace the full spectrum of experiences and identities," said Burke in a prepared statement.
• Congo Square Theatre announced that arts administrator, performer and choreographer Charlique C. Rolle has taken over as managing director. "We are deeply committed to ensuring that Black stories are clearly and unapologetically heard through authentic Black lenses, that Black art continues to be created with excellence and embedded into the cultural landscape, and that Black communities are given space to heal and find freedom and unity through our work," said Rolle in a prepared statement.
• Actor, dialect coach and instructor Sana Selemon has been appointed BoHo Theatre's executive director. Selemon is currently curating BoHo's upcoming online cabaret The Pursuit Of Happiness: A Boho Exploration Of Freedom, which premieres later this month. It offers artists who are Black, indigenous and people of color "a platform to share the truest version of themselves doing what they do best, creating art that satisfies their soul," Selemon said in a prepared statement.
• Last month marked the debut of the Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers Alliance established to promote those artists and present their stories on U.S. stages. MENATMA's mission states its members "will take space, make opportunities, champion artists, and build relationships with other marginalized communities and allies to create a more vibrant American theater." Among the alliance's founding organizations is Chicago's Silk Road Rising, co-founded by Mount Prospect native Jamil Khoury, who also serves as the co-executive artistic director.