Get out your balls gowns and botox because the Choosie Awards are raging on. I was granted the tall task of finding the best theatre companies to watch in 2013. Since our fair city has no shortage of outstanding talent, I knew I was up against a formidable foe in the work in independent Chicago theatre. I have chosen the groups that offer innovative, exciting theatre with a creative flair.
Nominee: Lookingglass Theatre Company
Co-founded by David Schwimmer (yes, THAT David Schwimmer, of Friends fame), Lookingglass has consistently provided the theatre community with innovative shows, stocked with the finest of talent. In 2013, the company gives patrons a lot to look forward to, including a Pulitzer Prize finalist (Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo), an ensemble adaptation of a New York Times bestselling novel (Still Alice), and a much-anticipated production from 2011 Writers Guild Award winning writer, Keith Huff (Big Lake, Big City). After years of outstanding theatre, the 2013 season at Lookingglass will not disappoint.
Nominee: Steppenwolf Theatre Company
This iconic Chicago theatre was built from the ground up in the 1970s. It has boasted productions by Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy Letts (one of the finest of our time) and has consistently been heralded as the theatre company of emulate in Chicago. This season is no different with Steppenwolf producing The MotherF***er with the Hat, The Birthday Party (written by the famed Harold Pinter), Head of Passes, and Belleville.
Nominee: Redmoon Theatre
This avant-garde theatre group specializes in bringing the theatrical experience to new locations. With their intricate costumes featuring masks and productions that focus on the personification of the intangible, Redmoon truly offers a new kind of Chicago theatre. Believing in engaging the community with theatre, Redmoon has been known to appear in festivals and parades instead of just on stage. With theatrical events like Spectacle Lunatique and The Elephant and the Whale (a collaboration with Chicago Children's Theatre), Redmoon promises to keep us riveted in 2013.
Nominee: Strawdog Theatre Company
For the last 25 years, Strawdog Theatre has been producing theatrical experiences that examine the theatrical process. They offer original productions, interesting classic fusions, and creative re-workings of beloved plays. With a process focused on the ensemble, Strawdog has consistently bestowed its influence on Chicago in its Lakeview venue. The 2013 season promises no different with the critically acclaimed musical Improbable Frequency and the group's interesting take in love in Big Love.
Nominee: The Annoyance
It's no secret that this writer sees The Annoyance as something of a comedic deity. With its ever changing repertoire of improv and scripted comedy shows, The Annoyance rarely disappoints. On any given night of the week, the Annoyance will provide a look at Chicago's latest comedic talent with a flair for social commentary. With long-running favorites like Messing with a Friend (featuring powerhouse Susan Messing) and new productions like God is Gay and Wants You to Be Too and Zombie Genius, The Annoyance will continue to make audiences laugh and think in 2013.
And The Choosie Goes To...
Lookingglass Theatre. This group promises to deliver productions with heart and thought and promises to be one to watch for many years ahead.
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The Choosie Awards