Go ‘Backstage’ to sample Evanston arts
Brian Lunsky (from top), Gabriel Stern and Olivia Cygan appear in”Tusk Tusk” at Piven Theatre.
3-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30
Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Dr., Northwestern University, Evanston
$20 entrance voucher, redeemable for special offers; complimentary desserts and beverages will be served
(847) 448-8260 www.BackStageEvanston.com
Updated: September 26, 2012 3:28PM
Evanston is a very entertaining place.
You can get a taste of the variety of performance companies that call that city home during BackStage Evanston, Sunday, Sept. 30 in the Ethel M. Barber Theater at Northwestern University. Seventeen music, theater and dance organizations will perform for five minutes each at this third annual event, presented by the Arts & Business Committee of the Evanston Arts Council and the City of Evanston.
“To have the ability to spotlight and showcase all of Evanston’s performing arts companies in one place is beneficial,” said Leslie Brown, executive director of Piven Theatre Workshop, which is producing the event this year. “This is an opportunity to get to know a lot of work that’s being produced in Evanston.”
The event is a real deal for attendees. Admission is $20, for which you get an equal amount in BackStage Bucks redeemable for a special offer from any of the participating organizations.
Piven will present a segment from its current show, “Tusk Tusk.” “Our understudies will have an opportunity to perform at BackStage Evanston because we are also having a performance at Piven that day,” Brown said. Piven’s special offer is two tickets to any of its productions in the coming season for $20.
Bea Rashid, a member of the Arts & Business Committee of the Evanston Arts Council, is also director of Dance Center Evanston and the founder and co-artistic director of the Evanston Dance Ensemble. Rashid said Backstage Evanston benefits her dance company because, “It exposes us to new audiences.”
Evanston Dance Ensemble will present “Family Portraits,” choreographed by Enid Smith. “It is a movement piece to a piece of poetry that is being read by Billy Collins about how to paint his face,” Rashid said. “We’re hoping that it will expose people to our dance company and they’ll buy tickets to ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ (Nov. 30-Dec. 2).”
The company will offer a ticket discount for BackStage Bucks.
The Musical Offering has participated in every BackStage Evanston. “I love the community-building aspect of it,” said Artistic Director Rick Ferguson. “It really does provide a much-needed showcase opportunity for a lot of Evanston-based arts organizations.”
Ferguson added, “I like the challenge to see what can be put together in a five-minute span of time.” This year, the Musical Offering will present a quartet of piano, harp, clarinet and voice in “a fluid performance consisting of a number of different types of music,” Ferguson said.
This is the first year that Midwest New Musicals is participating in BackStage Evanston. “One of our objectives is to develop an audience in the Evanston area,” said John Sparks, director of the workshop for development of musicals. “We are planning a series of six readings of new works this year and we’re wanting an audience to come to that series and give us their feedback.”
Midwest New Musicals will present a song from one show in development. BackStage Bucks will buy admission to two readings or a discount on the series.
Other participating organizations are Actors Gymnasium, CoCoDaCo, Evanston Symphony Orchestra, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theater, Light Opera Works, Music Institute of Chicago, Next Theatre Company, North Shore Choral Society, Northwestern University Theatre Department, Piccolo Theatre, Renovo String Orchestra, The Savoyaires and Theatre Zarko.~.