The 29th Annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival, co-produced by Curious Theatre Branch and Prop Thtr, opens Saturday, Jan. 13 and runs Wednesdays through Mondays until Sunday, February 25. This year, the Rhino features 32 shows, 6 nights a week, for 6 weeks. Rhino opens on Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8 pm with Full Moon Vaudeville, hosted by The Crooked Mouth with special guest performer Ian Belknap.
More than ever before, Rhino is focused on showcasing a growing cadre of new and up-and-coming artists and their new works. New plays by new artists include: Charlotte Interviews Narcissists by Charlotte Hamilton, Subjective is Beauty by Paul Brennan, King Arthur: The Fall of Camelot, written by Jake Green and directed by Olivia Lilley, The Institution, written and directed by Lee Peters, Heartbleed by Lon West, and Breaking Rules, Broken Hearts: Loving Across Borders, written and performed by Ada Cheng and directed by Jonald Reyes.
New works by returning Rhino artists include: The Near Future, by Reader-recommended, Curious Theatre Branch writer Julia Williams, Sink or Swim by KellyAnn Corcoran (Hillary, The Musical!), The Shupps by Zeb Eaton and Sebastian French, The Belle of Austin, written and performed by Rory Jobst, and Accidents by Prop Thtr member Karen O. Fort.
By the Deep Blue Sea is a family-friendly musical written and directed by Giselle Greenberg of the PinkElephant Performing Troupe. Starring Chicago teens, the show tells the story of Sebell, who ends up at an orphanage yet remembers nothing of her life before she got there. The Rhinoceros Lecture Series runs Mondays at 7 pm throughout the festival. The lectures series showcases Ira Murfin’s ongoing performance work, An Interview, which features a rotating cast of artists and activists in conversation, including Amy England, Robin Cline, and Prop Thtr Artistic Director Stefan Brün. Every Saturday at 10 am, CreativePush Collective (Jenny Magnus and Sherry Antonini) offers creative encouragement workshops for interested artists from all disciplines.
Cabaret Prop’d, Prop Thtr’s cabaret series produced by Diane Hamm, features various bands and musical guests, variety performers (including dancers and performance artists), juggling, burlesque and Eastern style dance. Featured musical guests include vocalist Kyra Leigh (Saturday, Jan. 20) hosting a drag and variety show, alt-rockers The Push Push (Saturday, Feb. 10) and jazz & blues presented by Improper Behavior (Saturday, Feb. 17). All shows run at 10:30 pm.
On Saturday, February 24 at 9 pm, songs from Brecht and Weill’s The Threepenny Opera features translation by Rick Burkhardt, with performances by Colm O’Reilly, T-Roy Martin, KellyAnn Corcoran, Janet Sayre, Julia Williams, Jen Moniz, Matt Test, Elizabeth Bagby, Beau O’Reilly and Jenny Magnus (as Pirate Jenny), with piano accompaniment by Jeff Kowalkowski.
All performances will be staged at Prop Thtr, 3502 N Elston Ave, in Avondale.
Rhino Fest 2018
Opens Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8 pm with Full Moon Vaudeville
Jan. 13–Feb. 25, 2018
Shows 6 Days a Week (Wednesday–Monday)
Closes Sunday, Feb. 25
All tickets are $15 or pay what you can (Door).
Tickets purchased in advance (Online) are $12.
About Prop Thtr
The Prop Thtr is a DIY incubator for new performance work in all disciplines, and is a charter member of both The League of Chicago Theaters and the National New Play Network. Prop Thtr produces new plays, special events, rolling world premieres with their NNPN members; they also helped launch The New Play Exchange and co-produce the annual Rhinoceros Theater Festival. Prop Thtr is a renter of performance and rehearsal space and camp/class space and collaborates with productions on location and around the city. Prop Thtr is an Illinois Not-For-Profit 501c3 Organization that benefits from support by the MacArthur Fund of the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and The Illinois Arts Council, in addition to being supported by artists and audiences of Illinois.
About Curious Theatre Branch
Founded in 1988 by Jenny Magnus and Beau O’Reilly—as the Curious Theatre “Branch” of the alt-rock cabaret act Maestro Subgum and the Whole—Curious has consistently worked with an ensemble of artists in a non-hierarchical decision-making process, through which the philosophy of collaboration as a social force is explored on every level.
Curious Theatre Branch has produced more than 100 full productions of world-premiere shows in nearly 30 years. Curious has developed its own recognizable style, using an economy of means and production to make deeper and deeper, rather than larger and larger, work.
In 1995, Beau O’Reilly was named one of the 50 most influential people in Chicago theater by Chicago Magazine. In 1998, O’Reilly and Magnus were named among the Artists of the Year by the Chicago Tribune, and nearly every year since 1998, Newcity has included them among the 50 most influential people in Chicago theater.
Curious Theatre’s Waiting for Godot and The Caretaker were named among the top five theater productions of 2006 and 2009, respectively, by Newcity. In 2007, Curious Theatre Branch won an Orgie Award for Original Theater for the year-long Samuel Beckett festival, No Danger of the Spiritual Thing: 100 Years of Beckett (best ensemble), and in 2011 Curious was granted a season-long residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art, culminating in Magnus’s Still in Play: A Performance of Getting Ready.