A Twist of Water

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Another mention by the Mayor, and more fantastic reviews of TWIST at The Mercury!

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 13, 2011

It’s an exciting week in Chicago, as one era ends and another begins. Our new Mayor Rahm Emanuel was interviewed by Time Out Chicago and talked about all the great performances he’s seen in Chicago since the election ended, including A Twist of Water when it was still playing at Theater Wit! Thanks, Mayor Emanuel! We’re so glad you came and that you had a memorable experience!!

Read the whole interview HERE.

Meanwhile, the reviews keep rolling in for the transferred production of TWIST at The Mercury Theater!

Colin Douglas of Centerstage Chicago recommends A Twist of Water as a MUST SEE:

“…a heart-rending, eloquent new play by Caitlin Montanye Parrish, collaborating with Erica Weiss, the production’s director. An homage to the perseverance of this “City of Big Shoulders,” it is also a tribute to every stalwart citizen who calls Chicago his home. Named for the ocean-like Lake Michigan upon whose shores it is located, the very nature of water shapes this story of love and survival. Played upon a simple set enveloped in rippled canvas, upon which John Boesche’s marvelous, sometimes animated historical projections flow, this play touches the heart with its spirit…Altogether, this exquisite cast bathes in the waters of truth.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Dan Zeff of Chicagoland Theater Reviews says:

I missed the original run and finally caught up with the transfer at the Mercury to see if all the original excitement was justified. It is! What is most admirable about “A Twist of Water” is its honesty… Parrish has written a splendid script and found a sensitive and insightful director in Erica Weiss… Stef Tovar’s performance as Noah elevates the evening to the exceptional…a master class in nuanced character exploration the viewer receives with wonder and gratitude.”

Read the whole review HERE.

Al Bresloff of Around The Town Chicago re-visited TWIST at The Mercury after raving about the show at Theater Wit:

“As a theater reviewer, attending 5-7 productions a week, it is not often that I find myself wanting to go back to a play that I just saw, one with the same cast, just a different house, but I am extremely glad that I did. They say that love is even better the second time around, and viewing this highly emotional story about love, love lost and love regained; about family and about how people, like a city can come back from almost fatal destruction to be strong once more; a story of hope and  truth- filled with marvelous dialog, some of which escaped on first viewing was a tremendous experience. I feel even stronger about this production than I did before!”

Read the original review and the whole updated rave HERE.

Then get your tickets now for performances through June 26th!! go to www.mercurytheaterchicago.com or call 773 325 1700!!

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Patch.com gives “Twist” another rave!

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 5, 2011

“The production, directed by Erica Weiss, serves as a brilliant example of just how bright Chicago’s theatrical star shines and just how much this city’s storytellers can innovate.”Daniel P. Smith, Patch.com

Read the whole review below or HERE.

Though New York captures much of the nation’s attention when it comes to live theater and stage originality — Chicago once again falling into its “Second City” moniker — there’s little denying the strength of Chicago’s theatrical heritage and the boom of its voice. From cutting edge theaters such as The Second City and Lookingglass to original works that have achieved commercial and critical acclaim — Grease and A Steady Rainbeing a historical and recent example, respectively — Chicago has the talent and ingenuity to match any of the nation’s marquee theater scenes.

Count A Twist of Water as a current example.

Originally opened by the Route 66 Theatre Company at Theater Wit in February, Twist has found new life — and a bigger home for its crafty, spirited show — at the reopened Mercury Theater in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood where it will run through June 5. The production, directed by Erica Weiss, serves as a brilliant example of just how bright Chicago’s theatrical star shines and just how much this city’s storytellers can innovate.

Caitlin Montanye Parrish’s original work shares the story of Noah (played by Route 66 founder and artistic director Stef Tovar), a widowed, 39-year-old, gay high school teacher and his adopted daughter, Jira (Falashay Pearson). A year after the sudden death of Richard, Noah’s husband and Jira’s preferred dad, the father-daughter tandem struggles with the realities of life in transition. The plot complicates when Jira pushes to find her birth mother for “more family” and Noah pursues a romantic relationship with Liam (Alex Hugh Brown), Noah’s colleague, Jira’s English teacher, and a character filled with sarcasm and wit to balance out the play’s weighty issues.

Thought provoking and insightful, Twist touches upon issues central to the human existence — grief, family, love, and personal reinvention — with tact, depth and humanity. In Noah, it’s the delicate situation of entering into new love after heartbreak; in Jira, it’s the teen’s quest to find the unknown and the self as she navigates the choppy waters of loss and uncertainty.

All of this is set against the backdrop of Chicago, a city that has encountered the parallel issues of turbulence and reinvention. Indeed, Twist offers a history lesson of a city far from second, personifying the city’s resilience and persistence throughout its history — not so unlike the individual quest Noah and Jira encounter in the wake of Richard’s sudden passing. For the city and its inhabitants, life moves much like water: onward.

Above all, Twist showcases the depth and power of the original work to be found on Chicago area stages and confirms what we Chicagoans have long known: Chicago is second to none.

 A Twist of Water, at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave. in Chicago, through June 5, 2011. Shows are scheduled at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; 8:00 p.m. on Friday; 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. on Saturday; and 4:00 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $38.50-44.50. For additional information, call the box office at 773-325-1700 or visit www.mercurytheaterchicago.com.

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Pictures from Twist’s Grand Re-Opening at The Mercury Theater!

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 4, 2011

A Twist of Water on the marquee at The Mercury Theater

The cast of A Twist of Water (Falashay Pearson, Stef Tovar, Lili-Anne Brown, and Alex Hugh Brown) pose outside the The Mercury on opening night.

The Director (Erica Weiss), cast (Falashay Pearson, Stef Tovar, Lili-Anne Brown, and Alex Hugh Brown), and playwright (Caitlin Montanye Parrish) pose outside the The Mercury on opening night.

Walter Stearns, Executive Director of The Mercury, with Route 66 Artistic Director Stef Tovar

Director/Co-Creator Erica Weiss and Mercury Theater Exec Director Walter Stearns

CHECK OUT MORE PICTURES AT BROADWAYWORLD.COM

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Praise for “A Twist of Water” from Chicago NOW.

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 2, 2011

“Caitlin Montanye Parrish writes an original and loving tribute to the Second City.  With the help of co-creator and Director Erica Weiss, Chicago has a well-deserved starring role in this show….” – – Katy Walsh, Chicago Now

Read the full review HERE.

“It’s a second chance to drink in A TWIST OF WATER.  This WATER runs deep with comedy bridging the drama.  And it’s one more reason to be proud of living in Chicago… original theatrical productions!” 

Buy tickets at www.mercurytheaterchicago.com


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Chicago Theatre Addict has high praise for TWIST at The Mercury

Posted by A Twist of Water on May 2, 2011

“Seeing this artfully drawn family drama in this newly rechristened venue was such a communal experience. People coming together to support an important new work and a vital space reborn.” – Bob Bullen, ChicagoTheatreAddict. 

READ THE WHOLE REVIEW HERE.

“A Twist of Water is a play about rebuilding and new beginnings, Chicago style. This stunning new work, written by Caitlin Montanye Parrish and directed by Erica Weiss who is also the co-creator, perfectly sets the tone for the re-opening of the Mercury Theater”

Thanks to Bob Bullen at www.chitheatreaddict.com for joining us for a wonderful opening night last evening at The Mercury Theater! Check out his review and then buy your tickets HERE.

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Theater In Chicago feature article and interview!

Posted by A Twist of Water on April 26, 2011

Lawrence Bommer of TheatreInChicago.Com interviewed playwright (and Route 66’s newest Company Member!) Caitlin Montanye Parrish and director/co-creator Erica Weiss about A Twist of Water as a distinctly Chicago play and the process of creating this world premiere production.

“A huge hit when it opened at Theater Wit as a vibrnat world premiere by Caitlin Montayne Parrish, A Twist of Water has made a major move. This just triumph reopens at Lakeview’s Mercury Theater on May 1 to deliver even more shocks of recognition to appreciative audiences. The biggest one is that cities and families are just a matter of degree.
A Twist of Water
The success is no surprise: It’s appropriate that, shortly after his election, Mayor-elect Rahm Emmanuel saw and praised this very Chicago piece, a play that goes beyond the genre of domestic drama to make connections with the city that shapes its story. Perfectly shaped by Erica Weiss, Route 66 Theatre Company’s staging is as much a labor of love as the script that inspires it… Few plays become their own civic commentary, let alone redefine how we feel the place where we live…Like two other Chicago icons, The Front Page in the 1920s or A Raisin in the Sun in the 1950s, A Twist of Water is the right story in the right place at the right time.”

READ THE WHOLE ARTICLE HERE, THEN PURCHASE YOUR TICKETS NOW

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Twist is moving to The Mercury Theater and running until June!

Posted by A Twist of Water on March 28, 2011

From Chris Jones’ Theater Loop blog at The Chicago Tribune:

 

The Route 66 Theatre Company production of “A Twist of Water” is transfering to the Mercury Theatre. This very successful show will start performances on Apr. 14 and re-open officially on May 1.  Tickets are already on sale.

It will be the first production at the 300-seat Mercury Theatre since Walter Stearns took over the theater. This is not a straight rental deal; Stearns’ theater is sharing the burden of producing with Route 66.

The deal came together quickly, and when “A Twist of Water” closed at Theatre Wit Saturday night, the set was moved over directly to the Mercury on 3745 N. Southport Ave.

Penned by the young writer Caitlin Montanye Parrish and directed by Erica Weiss, “A Twist of Water” sold out virtually every seat at Theatre Wit. It deals both with the history and spirit of Chicago, and with the lives of a group of struggling modern-day Chicagoans.

An early performance was attended by Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s mayor elect.

 

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“Twist” announces an extended run, extra performances, and rave reviews!

Posted by A Twist of Water on March 4, 2011

DUE TO OVERWHELMING TICKET SALES, ROUTE 66 ANNOUNCES THE EXTENSION OF A TWIST OF WATER

AN ADDITIONAL WEEK AND EXTRA PERFORMANCES HAVE BEEN ADDED THROUGH MARCH 26

“INDUSTRY NIGHT” ON MONDAY MARCH 21 BENEFITING “SEASON OF CONCERN”

MUST CLOSE MARCH 26!

Tickets for the one-week extension are now on sale through the Theater Wit box office or by calling 773-975-8150

Get all the info you need HERE.

The critics are raving about A Twist of Water! Here is a sampling of some of the reviews:

Chicago Tribune – Highly Recommended (Four Stars out of Four)
“Parrish’s play — which reaches with more passion, wisdom and lyricism towards civic definition (and redefinition) than any Chicago work I’ve seen in a long, long time — captures this precise moment of Chicago’s re-invention with such astonishing alacrity …This is a piece that does for Chicago something like what Armistead Maupin (“Tales of the City”) did for San Francisco a generation ago.” – Chris Jones Read Full Review

Time Out Chicago – Highly Recommended
“…This is compelling work, well worth sitting through a bit of history.” – Julienne Bilker Read Full Review

NewCity Chicago – Highly Recommended
“…Caitlin Montanye Parrish’s script is a provocative mix of history, obstacle and longing that insists you root for all the characters. Tovar’s performance is solid and sympathetic as Noah tries to rebuild his life; Pearson makes her character’s abandonment palpable. But the highlight is Brown, whose crack timing and dry wit enable him to walk off with every scene. His work is a cool drink.” – Lisa Buscani Read Full Review
Windy City Times – Highly Recommended
“…Stef Tovar is well-versed at playing all-American middle-aged Nice Guys, acquitting himself capably as the grieving Noah (who wasn’t allowed to say goodbye to his husband). Alex Hugh Brown lends Liam a refreshing candor, as does Lili-Anne Brown as the fairy godmama bred of orphans’ fantasies, both of whom suffer misleading introductions before transcending cliché to become plausible and individualized personalities. What focuses our sympathies, however, is Falashay Pearson’s performance as the lonely Jira, whom you want to sweep up in your arms—or at least offer your scarf—along with assurances that everything will get better. Really.” – Mary Shen Barnidge Read Full Review
Centerstage – Highly Recommended
“…Stef Tovar bares his soul as Noah, a middle-aged parent trying desperately to reconnect with Jira, his adopted daughter (touching teenage actress Falashay Pearson) while beginning a new relationship with Liam (brilliant newcomer Alex Hugh Brown), the young English teacher who brings poetry, humor and wisdom to their world. Lili-Anne Brown is strong as Tia, the mother who gave up Jira because she was just a baby herself. Altogether, this exquisite cast bathes in the waters of truth.” – Colin Douglas Read Full Review
Chicago Theater Blog – Highly Recommended

“A contemporary masterpiece…A Twist of Water is an important play that speaks to our time. Hopefully it will see an extended run because it deserves a large audience. Just remember to bring a tissue because, when I saw it, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.” – Keith Ecker Read Full Review


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Thank you and Congratulations to our Mayor-Elect…

Posted by Erica Weiss on March 1, 2011

On Saturday morning, the front page of The Chicago Tribune featured Chris Jones’ Four-Star review of A Twist of Water. In his write-up, Jones made a point of encouraging our recently elected Mayor to attend.

“Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and those jockeying to share his power to put down the reports, resumes and briefing books this Saturday night and head, not to party with the Bulls, but over to Belmont Avenue where they might ponder the living soul of the paradoxical town they will soon be leading, and to whose citizens they will need to articulate a vision that goes deeper than parking meters.”

He added:

“Since Parrish’s starting point is as much Abraham Lincoln as Sandburg, they could pick up the governor on the way. They would witness one of Chicago’s greatest assets: artistic self-examination moving from generation to generation. Performed intimately, affordably, to whoever cares to show up.”

That afternoon, Mr Emanuel called the box office and made reservations for the evening performance. You can read the scoop on The Chicago Tribune HERE, and The Wall Street Journal’s pickup of the story HERE.

Our first impulse, after the immediate giddiness in hearing the news of his ticket purchase, was to make sure not to tell the cast. Why put them under added pressure when they’re already delivering such solid shows night after night? Also, it gave me a chance to practice my acting skills – for I am nothing if not a terrible liar, and had to come up with a reason I was so dressed up when I visited backstage. I think it was something like, “I’m giving the curtain speech tonight!” It never hurts to tell the truth when you’re trying to conceal part of it.

We were stunned and honored to have Mr Emanuel there, and very impressed that Mr Jones sent such a resounding message. The Mayor-Elect showed up in the Theater Wit lobby with two friends, in an untucked shirt, jeans, and a bomber jacket, to many “congratulations!” from folks in the lobby, and some photo requests. There were three shows running at Theater Wit that night – in addition to Twist, Stage Left’s Enemy of the People and Wit’s This were in previews. His presence excited everyone. I do not report the details this way to be sycophantic or fawning (though, let’s be honest – he was President Obama’s right-hand man. I might have been a little fawn-y), but because I believe that his showing up at this Chicago storefront theatre sends a signal that all theatre artists in this city should be looking forward to his term – that we may see in Daley’s successor an Arts Mayor who puts his (fingers crossed) money where his mouth is.

Mayor-Elect Emanuel was a fantastic audience member. He was engaged, responsive, and quite friendly. After curtain call, before we brought up the house lights and opened the doors, I got up onstage (which is not my natural habitat) to acknowledge our special guest. The cast’s reaction, having no idea, was so priceless I wish I could have bottled it. Falashay Pearson, who plays Jira, and is also amongst the world’s most entertaining human beings, actually jumped in the air and made a sound which is probably not reproducible. It was a really wonderful shared experience between artists and audience. A commenter on The Chicago Tribune’s story, Jason R, who was at the show that night, says:

“Absolutely one of the most magical nights of my theater going life in Chicago. The play, probably the best new script to hit this town since August Osage, and Rahm being present in this intimate audience made for live theater experience that was not only enjoyable…but important. It said that the man who is going to run this city feels as though what is being done on that stage is vital. Astounding.”

We should, all of us in the Chicago arts community, be excited by this story. It shows us that he cares, and acknowledges the value of the small theatres as well as the larger institutions. I am very much looking forward to seeing what the Emanuel Era brings for The Windy City.

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Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune gives “Twist” 4 Stars!

Posted by A Twist of Water on February 25, 2011

“Parrish’s play — which reaches with more passion, wisdom and lyricism towards civic definition (and redefinition) than any Chicago work I’ve seen in a long, long time — captures this precise moment of Chicago’s re-invention with such astonishing alacrity that you want Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and those jockeying to share his power to put down the reports, resumes and briefing books this Saturday night and head, not to party with the Bulls, but over to Belmont Avenue where they might ponder the living soul of the paradoxical town they will soon be leading, and to whose citizens they will need to articulate a vision that goes deeper than parking meters.”

“This is a piece that does for Chicago something like what Armistead Maupin (“Tales of the City”) did for San Francisco a generation ago.”

Read the entire rave review HERE.

Then buy your tickets now! You can purchase them online at mercurytheaterchicago.com or by calling 773-325-1700.  Check out all the info you need about seeing the show HERE.


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