‘Motherhood the Musical’ Knows Who Is Watching

Certain shows are written for a specific audience in mind. ‘Motherhood the Musical’, written by Sue Fabisch, which opened last week at the Royal George is definitely in that category. Penned by the same producers as ‘Menopause the Musical, ‘Motherhood the Musical’ gives us a brief and somewhat unintentionally bleak look at the lives of five moms of various backgrounds who share the common ground of maternity.

Set at a baby shower, three neighborhood friends and mothers (Melody Betts, Jen Chada, Kimberly Vanbiesbrouck) give an expected mother (Madeline Duffy-Feins) a glimpse of what her life is going to be after the initial joy of birth has passed. The good, the bad and the ugly are all levied at the new mom. Read more

Drury Lane Mounts an Iconic “GYPSY”


Drury Lane Mounts an Iconic “GYPSY”

There are few roles in theatre that have become more iconic than that of Mama Rose in Gypsy. Considered one of the greatest roles ever written, it has played by almost every major Broadway powerhouse, from Ethel Merman to Patti LuPone. With a role that legendary, there is always much comparison for any leading lady that takes on the character. “Will she belt like Merman?”; ” Will she have the subtleties of Bernadette Peters?”; ” Will she bring down the house like Tyne Daley did with Rose’s Turn?”; ” And how about Bette Midler in the ABC television version in the 1990’s?” Yes, there is always someone to compare the interpretation to. Well, Mama Rose lives in an incarnation all her own, thanks to the incredible Klea Blackhurst who gives an all out, take no prisoners approach to the ultimate stage mother.  Read more

Marriott’s “Legally Blonde” A Guilty Pleasure

What makes a musical culturally popular? This is a psychological question of the highest order and one that is on display at the Marriott Lincolnshire in the form of Legally Blonde, The Musical. This little juggernaut defied its critics when it premiered on Broadway several years ago to become an audience favorite. Much credit has to be given to MTV which taped the production for its network as well as airing a “reality” show in which a replacement for Laura Bell Bundy, the original stage Elle, was sought. This allowed the public to decide for itself whether or not Legally Blonde was worthy of a hit run and the response was sensational, and for good reason. Read more

Interview With Playwright Carlos Murillo

Playwright Carlos Murillo’s ‘dark play or stories for boys’ has been produced all across the country in recent years and is now receiving its Chicago premier at Collaberaction Theatre. The play, which is based on a true story that was featured in the February 2005 issue of Vanity Fair magazine, explores the world of cyber manipulation. Mr. Murillo discusses this adventurous play and how the Vanity Fair article sparked the idea of a story love and betrayal. Tickets are $15 – $25 and can be purchased online at www.collaboraction.org or by calling 312.226.9633.  Read more

Boho’s Tartuffe

Controversy and cynicism are sure to follow any modern translation of a classic. Moliere’s “Tartuffe”, currently presented by the Bohemian Theatre Company and directed by Peter Robel has decided to tread in these waters. For their staging, the company has decided on the 1991 Ranjit Bolt very controversial translation which in many aspects, abandons wry wit for in your face comedy. In any other hands, this could end up as an artistic debacle. However, Mr. Robel never lets the piece get away from him and by understanding Moliere’s subtleties and intentions, allows his actors to explore other dimensions of these well known characters not often seen in less radical translations.

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Goodman Theatre Stages an Amazing “Race”

No modern playwright parlays such precise elegance with the English language than David Mamet. Using small casts and usually a uni-set design, Mr. Mamet consistently relies on strong, well developed characters who each has a unique way of speaking to expose the boils in humanity. The end result is usually a morality powerhouse of a production, as seen in his hits such as ‘Speed The Plow’, ‘Oleanna’ and of course ‘Glengary Glen Ross’. In, ‘Race’, which ran on Broadway in 2009-2010, and now at the Goodman, Mamet keeps his successful formula intact.  Read more

Fundamentals on Chinese Tones

Chinese tones are important to speaking the language and understanding Mandarin Chinese. Here are some details and tips that might help you.


Details about Tones


There are 4 tones and 1 “neutral” tone, spoken with no sound.

Tones are fundamentally the song of the language.

You can’t simply speak Chinese, you have to sing it.

In Mandarin, each of these four tones is different.

There are tips on how to represent the tones that make them simpler to sing.


Ways to Present the Tones


Tones can be presented graphically. They are sometimes diagrammed with the pitch on the y-axis (vertically) and time on the x-axis (horizontally). In this way, you know what to do when you are singing these tones. Though the graphic presentations can get different result, they’re also presented with little tonal marks above the “vowels” or finals.


The tonal marks, looking a lot like -,/,v,, assist you to understand whether your voice really should be level, rise, fall and rise, or fall all the time. These tonal marks are helpful when you start to learn Chinese language. Finally, you’ll be saying some particular words that you once memorized unwittingly!


Tips for Speaking Chinese Tones


The first tone is a high, level tone. Commence a little higher than your speaking voice and keep this pitch. It should be like saying “Aaaahhhh” when you are at the dentist’s office.


The second tone starts with your speaking voice and rises over time. You’ll finish on a higher pitch than when you first start. You can pretend that you are asking a question and your voice rises slightly on the end in the sentence.


The next tone is the most difficult one. Commence at your speaking voice, drop the pitch to a low pitch, then give the sound up again to a pitch that is higher than when you first began. The third tone is also known as the falling and rising tone.


The fourth tone is pretty easy. Begin with a high pitch and let your voice fall gently to a low pitch, considerably like a sigh of relief.


The Next Step after Tones


After knowing the four tones, you should do more practice in order to master these tones! Of course, you might sound very strange or make mistakes at the beginning. But you have to be persistent!


While you proceed on your journey to learn the language, you will find that soon the tones will become your 2nd nature. When you study new characters and phrases, you will realize that you have to concentrate on the tones. After memorizing and practicing, you will be stunned at how simply they come! After knowing the fundamentals of tones, you should go on learning PinYin which is the spoken sounds of the language.

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