Filming ‘Lookingglass Alice’

Scott Silberstein, the co-founder and executive producer of HMS Media, talks about filming Lookingglass Alice, the signature work of Chicago’s Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre Company, and so beautifully capturing the circus-like energy of the live theatre experience. Scott reveals the importance of responding accurately and honestly to the story being told onstage; how his team are not only great technicians but also great improvisers; the inevitably of filming a concert on your phone and missing the experience not once but twice; how to keep the live element and not spoil the surprise; how you can stream Lookingglass Alice via the PBS Passport and Digital Theatre Plus streaming services; and the definitive answer to the question of whether it’s more difficult to film live theatre or live sports. (Length 17:44) (PICTURED: Molly Hernandez as Alice in the Lookingglass Theatre production of Lookingglass Alice, directed by David Catlin.)

Asian American Renegades

Matthew C. Yee (above) wrote the book and score for Lucy and Charlie’s Honeymoon, and plays one half of the titular couple in the Lookingglass Theatre world premiere. Joined by co-star Rammel Chan, the two actors discuss the show’s origins; how they walk its tricky tonal lines; how a script with humble college beginnings became a full-fledged country western musical; the ways in which the characters are both inside and outside the law; the challenge of being not just the author and composer, but also an actor and musician; wonderful and unintended similarities to Harpo Marx; and the lasting questions of why there aren’t more country western musicals? (Length 19:58)

Celebrating ‘Lookingglass Alice’

David Catlin is a founding Ensemble Member, actor, writer, director, and former Artistic Director of the Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre in Chicago, and, whose adaptations and productions, which include Moby Dick and The Little Prince, “has sculpted the Lookingglass aesthetic.” David discusses the origins of Lookingglass Alice and the art of combining multiple skillsets; how the show is reshaped to the specific skills of its cast members; how David’s less of a director and more of an air traffic controller; the challenge (and joy!) of creating theater that shatters boundaries and explores possibilities; a proposed title for a new reduced version of a Herman Melville classic; and how Lookingglass is one of several models of college kids forming a theater and making a go of it. (Length 23:57)

692. J. Nicole Brooks

Actor, director, and playwright J. Nicole Brooks is the author and director of Her Honor Jane Byrne, which looks at the moment in Chicago history when its first woman mayor moved into the Cabrini-Green housing projects. Just three nights after it had its official world premiere opening at Chicago’s Lookingglass Theatre, the rest of the run was cancelled due to the restrictions being imposed around the world in the midst of this global pandemic. Brooks discusses how the play came together and how love letters to Chicago can be complicated; the value of Shakespearean echoes and wise fools; a fascination with corruption; shining light on haunted communities; getting laughs when you least expect them; decolonizing the space; losing revenue streams; surprising shout-outs to Shelley Winters in The Poseidon Adventure; and the brilliance of writing a dark comedy about kings and queens and guillotines. (Length 22:03)

Episode 635. Department Of Curiosity

Andrew White, the Director of Community Engagement for Chicago’s Tony-winning Lookingglass Theatre, talks about their newly-formed Department of Curiosity, which cultivates creativity, expands access, and transforms classrooms and communities while codifying and formalizing the fundamental instinct that fuels our work. Featuring the cultivation of new audiences and new theatre creators, building community coalitions, creating context around new programming, how artists can be of service, the difficulty of saying “I don’t know,” possible new titles for existing jobs and an expansion of imagination, and a special appearance from Rebecca Dumain, the program director of The Viola Project. Curiouser and curiouser! (Length 17:03)

Episode 461. Juggling For Jesus

Before he was an actor, director, master carpenter, and Jeff Award-winning rigger, Isaac Schoepp (top left) performed as a juggler with the Fitz Family Ministries, touring the country with a company made up of his father, his mother, and his siblings. Isaac talks about how he and his family managed to Read more…

Episode 395. Being Child Actors

We’ve been called childish actors, but Caroline Heffernan and John Francis Babbo, are actual child actors, two members of the six-actor cast of the Lookingglass Theatre Company world premiere production of In The Garden: A Darwinian Love Story. Hear these two young professionals discuss navigating the relatively adult worlds of theatre and television, being wrangled, surviving surprisingly healthy environments, handling inappropriate language, dealing with showmances, and offering most excellent tips on how to avoid being obnoxious. (Length 16:39)