Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Join Together With The Bands

The Mary-Arrchie Theatre is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of its Abbie Hoffman Died For Our Sins Festival by moving it to the larger Den Theater, which has three separate stages. One of the stages will be devoted to bands; the first time Abbie will have an entire schedule of live music. The festival was first organized in 1989 by Artistic Director Rich Cotovsky, as a way to commemorate the freewheeling spirit of the original Woodstock concert. Each year, Cotovsky channels the spirit of Hoffman as the host of the Abbie Fest.

Mary-Arrchie counts on this three-day, virtually non-stop event to help fund its productions for the upcoming season. As a member of the Famous In The Future comedy group, I took part for 20 years, and always found it to be a blast. I left FIF after 2008, but still count on the Abbie Fest as being one of the highlights of summer in Chicago.

Some of the groups that have already signed up include The Abbeys, whitewolfsonicprincess, Nashville The Band, Lola Balatro (they’ve already played The Abbie in the past), The Jacqueline Sylvie Band, Digital Gnosis, and Cpt. Captain. Most of the night-time slots are filled, but there are still openings for the afternoon hours. Musicians interested in taking part can contact the theatre at info@maryarrchie.com

I finally had a chance to catch the Mary-Arrchie’s production of Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, which sold out its previous run at the theatre’s home space, and has now been re-mounted at Theater Wit, with the original Mary-Arrchie cast. This experimental version is directed by longtime member Hans Fleischmann, who also portrays the character, Tom. Fleischmann, Maggie Cain (as Amanda), Joanne Dubach (as Laura), and Andy Lutz (understudy to Walter Briggs as Jim), were all extremely convincing.

Mary-Arrchie Theatre has been on a winning streak over the past few years, with critical and commercial successes like The Glass Menagerie, and Superior Donuts by Tracy Letts. Rich Cotovsky was a Special Award Recipient at this year’s Jeff Awards ceremony for his years of serving the Chicago theatre community. 


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