Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Help us get up to 5k TODAY- with IGIVE

Together, you and can make times a little less tough for The Factory Theater

The Factory Theater gets a dollar for each person who joins iGive using the special link below and visits one store via iGive between noon Wednesday, March 24, 2010 (Chicago time) and noon Thursday, the next day.

The Fine Print:

- Offer active between 12:00 p.m. (noon) March 24, 2010 and 11:59 a.m., March 25, 2010 (Chicago time).
- New members only (never have been an iGive member previously).
- All the normal rules of membership, searching, and purchasing apply, our site has the details.
- Once we've given away $5,000 in total, the offer ends.
- The special link and visiting a store via iGive are necessary. No link, no store visit, no $1.

Help today!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Factory Theater is a Goddamn Chicago Treasure

Check out TimeOut Chicago's Review of Hey! Dancin'!

May we all just take a moment and agree that the Factory Theater is a goddamn Chicago treasure? In the homeland of scrappy ensembles achieving longevity on their own DIY terms, the Factory’s 18-year run and uncompromisingly weirdo aesthetic deserve praise. There may be no other company that so shamelessly, and regularly, dials up to 11.

Hey! Dancin’!, the company’s latest, sounds nightmarish on paper. It’s 1986, and two silly girls sneak onto their favorite cable-access dance show to hook up with their dreamy guys of choice. The host is named after a douche, the middle-aged station manager is a pillow fetishist, and there’s a magical black girl sent by Prince to save us all. Factory member Beyer and former ensemble member Pynchon, who’ve separately penned multiple scripts for the company, push the ridiculous further than you’d think possible, taking a Saved by the Bell premise to a cocaine-punched conclusion.

First-time director Graber makes sure the plot moves but wisely focuses on the far funnier ’80s stereotypes trapped inside it. The cast is stellar, playing parodies of parodies. Catherine Dughi infuses wanna-be slut Trisha with precision ditziness, while Aileen May’s resident mean girl has a soul as acid-washed as her fringe jacket. Rachel Sypniewski’s costumes are both far too much and just right, down to the purple suede, red vinyl and $14 shades. What could have been a pop-reference death march is, in the Factory’s hands, cheap, relentless and hysterical.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Insider: Opening Weekend

I love surprises. Pleasant ones especially, and this past weekend had a couple.

Opening weekend for Hey! Dancin'! is in the bag. As expected, the cast did their work in dazzling fashion. I cannot adequately commend the wonderful attitudes, dedicated energy, and extreme hotness of every cast member with my words. They are golden. The wonderful theater they create needs to be seen and absorbed to its full effect. These beauties are supported by the smartest and sexiest crew there is. I'm so happy with all the technical elements that support the production. I love all these folks. So go see what they've made. It is a wonder to behold.

But on to the surprises. The first happy one was the huge number of people who have already seen the show. Previews were nearly (or completely) sold out every night. Previews! Opening night was sold out, and even with some attendance drop-off Saturday and Sunday, the total attendance for this weekend was astonishing. Good crowds were expected, but having to turn people away during Previews was not, nor was what came as surprise #2.

This next big surprise was the deviously executed operation of sneaking co-playwright Kirk Pynchon from Los Angeles into Chicago for Opening Night. This operation was so stealthy that even this Insider was unaware. The cast and local fan girls of Kirk Pynchon, Jet Set hottie, collectively squealed with glee upon his entrance.

Based on the loud laughter I've heard from the lobby, our audiences are enjoying themselves. As I write this, we have gotten one review so far, and it is very positive. I hope that this tremendously successful first weekend rolls into an amazing run. Part of that depends on you, dear reader, and when you see the show. Please do so, if you haven't already. You'll love it. That will come as no surprise.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Why We Love* the 80's Part I: My Hair

Hey! Dancin'! is really bringing back the good ol' 1986 memories. Out of everything that comes to mind when I think of my childhood during that great* decade, what really stands out are my epic struggles...with my hair.

Now, granted, that gorgeous* lady isn't me, but because I couldn't find any pics of my own 80's hair ("couldn't" meaning "wouldn't") she graciously donated her face for this post.

80's hair was big. And my baby-fine, heat-resistant, curl-resistant, everything-resistant coif just wasn't up to the challenge. I tried to spiral perm my hair so many times that I'm shocked it didn't simply go on strike and fall out. I remember buying bottles of Rave #4 and using an old tooth brush and a curling iron with a circumference the size of a fishing pole to coax my bangs 3 inches off my forehead -- only to watch them wilt and fall the moment I stepped out into a mild breeze.

But the ultimate futility?

Banana clips.
Other girls had curly, frosted-tip manes flowing in a perfectly centered cascade down the middle of their backs while I had long, anemic straggles, incapable of even holding the clip in. Walking down the hallway at school was inevitably too much jostling for my languid hair to handle, and the clip would simply slide all the way down and sit on my back or, worse yet, completely drop out and hit the floor.

Hey! Factory! How about doing a show that takes place in the 90's? Flannels, ripped jeans, baggy clothes...not only could I finally put away my pencil-sized curling iron and bottles of Aussie Liquid Cement spray, but also I didn't even have to wash my hair. In fact, not washing my hair made me look fashionable! Now that's my kind of decade.

*- an indication of slight sarcasm