Monday, April 2, 2012

The Giver--Adventure Stage Opening Day With Author, Lois Lowry (photos/video feature/review) #GIVEAWAY

Opening day of The Giver, Adventure Stage's latest offering, was fantastic.   Newberry Award winning author, Lois Lowry, flew in for the first show and graciously signed books for a lengthy line of fans at the cupcake social after the show.   We have fond memories of Gossamer, another Adventure Stage/ Lois Lowry adaptation they produced in Nov./Dec. 2009.

We'd been reading The Giver out loud as a family and it was truly magical to see the book transformed to stage in such an adept way.   The baby, Gabriel, was effectively portrayed by a puppet, and the monochromatic, grey, distopia provided the perfect back drop for this cautionary tale.   Highly recommended.  Recommended for ages 9+.   Nobody under 5 will be admitted.  Playing through April 26th.   Check out a full summary, show dates and details below.

Every performance includes a post-show audience talkback with the cast. * Please note:  Out of respect for our actors and audience members, children under age 5 are not permitted in the theatre during a performance.

  • The Giver at Adventure Stage-winners' choice of any Saturday night performance pending availability (That's April 7, 14 & 21 at 7:30pm.

*Wait for Rafflecopter to load up right here (if you've gone through RSS feed or are scrolling down the blog and don't see it, click on the actual page title and it should pop right up).   Entries are easy.   Winning rocks!   Please include your whole name as you would like it to appear on the guest list/box office tickets, so there's no delay in reserving if you win.
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POST SHOW Q & A WITH THE CAST AND AWARD WINNING AUTHOR, LOIS LOWRY:  Check out our HD video of award winning author, Lois Lowry's, post show Q & A with the actors in The Giver at Adventure Stage Theatre, Chicago. She was in town for opening day and a book signing/ cupcake after party on 3/24/12.  Cupcake Social cupcakes courtesy of Kyle’s Cupcakery.

Du-Jay was a bit disappointed that Lois Lowry didn't answer his two questions, after the audience was invited to continue the Q & A at the after party.   She may have been a bit hard of hearing, as she initially said "What?   I can't hear you." He did repeat the questions.  Or maybe she though they were too esoteric to quickly address in a lengthy signing line, so she just ignored them.   No explanation was given, just silence.   So we're left wondering, "How did they take away the sun and therefore all color?" and "Why did the memories return to the people if Jonas wasn't dead, but just walked a distance away?   How far did he need to be?"  

Otherwise, she was pleasant and posed for a shot with the kids.   We purchased 7 of her books from The Book Cellar, who had a convenient table at the reception, and left our well worn thrift copy of The Giver in the car.  The kids were elated to have her sign their set of books for posterity, even if they were left hanging in the answer department.    We're presently reading and enjoying the sequel to The Giver, Gathering Blue.

CHIIL LIVE SHOWS INTERVIEW:   Tom Arvetis, Producing Artistic Director of Chicago's Adventure Stage Theatre talks with ChiIL Mama about The Giver, currently running, and their other Lois Lowry adaptation, Gossamer, from 2009.   We caught up with him during their last production, Walk Two Moons.   Hear his take on Adventure Stage, and balancing parenting and creative work. His infant daughter, Vivian, also joins us.



THE GIVER runs through April 26, 2012. (See full performance schedule below.) All shows performed at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St., Chicago.
Tickets: $12-$20. Call 773-342-4141 or visit

Adventure Stage Chicago (ASC) ends our eighth season with Lois Lowry’s THE GIVER, adapted by Eric Coble and directed by ASC Ensemble Member Brian Bell (Gossamer).

Jonas lives in a carefully constructed community of “sameness,” where individuality is discouraged and feelings like pain, fear, and love do not exist. When Jonas turns 12 and begins training with The Giver, he discovers the contradictions of his supposedly perfect world and grows determined to regain power over his own destiny. Based on the beloved Newbery Medal-winning novel by Lois Lowry, this remarkable story is recommended for ages 9 and up.

REMAINING PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE Weekends: Fridays at 7:30pm April 6, 13, 20 Saturdays at 4:00pm April 7, 14, 21 Saturdays at 7:30pm April 7, 14, 21

Weekdays: 10:30am April 5, 10, 12, 17, 19, 24, 25, 26

TICKETS 4:00pm: $17 adults, $12 kids 14 and under. 7:30pm: $20 adults, $15 kids 14 and under. 10:30am: $8 per student, with one complimentary chaperone ticket for every 10 students. Previews: $10 for single tickets, $7 for groups.

Adventure Stage has switched to reserved seating this season, so advance ticket purchase secures patrons the best available seats in the theater. For tickets, call 773-342-4141 or visit

CAST AND CREW (Asterisk denotes ASC ensemble member) THE GIVER cast is comprised of Aaron Lawson (Jonas), John Ruhaak (The Giver), Kroydell Galima (Asher), Landree Fleming (Fiona/Rosemary), Carlos Rogelio Diaz (Father), Sindy Castro (Lily), and Sarah Rose Graber* (Mother/Chief Elder).

THE GIVER production staff consists of Eric Coble (Playwright), Brian Bell* (Director), Dani Bryant* (Dramaturg), Jessie Mutz (Assistant Director), Clare Roche (Stage Manager), Morgan Gire (Asst. Stage Manager), Michael Huey (Sound Design/Composition), Andrew Wheatley (Sound Design/Composition), Jessica Kuehnau* (Scenic Design), Amy C. Gilman (Prop Design), Brandon Wardell* (Lighting Design), Laura Kollar* (Costume Design), Taylor Bibat (Puppet Design), and Matthew Buettner (Technical Director).

Eric Coble (playwright) has written many scripts for adults, including Bright Ideas, The Dead Guy, Natural Selection, For Better and Southern Rapture, which have been produced Off-Broadway, throughout the U.S., and on several continents. Other plays for young audiences include Huck Finn, Nightfall with Edgar Allen Poe and Sacagawea. Awards include the National Theatre Conference Playwriting Award and an NEA Playwright in Residence grant. Mr. Coble’s THE GIVER premiered at Oregon Children’s Theatre in 2006 and has since been performed in theatres around the country. It recently received the 2011 Distinguished Play Award for Adaptation from Existing Children’s Literature by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education.

Brian Bell (director) is an ASC teaching artist and ensemble member who earlier directed Lois Lowry’s Gossamer for ASC in 2009. Previously he completed a directing internship with the Carrousel Theater an der Parkaue in Germany and went on to direct The Retreating World by Naomi Wallace at Berlin’s Acud Theater. Brian graduated with a B.A. in Theatre Performance from the University of North Texas, where he directed and adapted Woyzeck by Georg Buechner as a final thesis. Brian is the artistic director of Chicago’s Cabaret Vagabond and has worked with Lincoln Square Theatre, Darknight Productions, Piccolo Theatre, Apple Tree Theatre, and Collaboraction. He is an alumnus of the Chicago Directors Lab.

Lois Lowry (author) has written over 30 books for children and has accumulated numerous awards and honors, including the Newbery Medal for Number the Stars in 1990 and The Giver in 1994. She made her first foray into playwriting in 2008 when she adapted her own novel Gossamer for the stage. Gossamer premiered at Oregon Children’s Theatre and Milwaukee’s First Stage Children’s Theatre before being mounted at Adventure Stage Chicago in 2009. Her books have been translated into more than 20 languages, and The Giver, called in translation Le Passeur, was chosen by the children of Belgium and France as their favorite.

Adventure Stage Chicago creates dynamic and transformative theatre for young audiences that activates the imagination, inspires dialogue and strengthens community among families, educators and artists. We strive to become Chicago's premier destination for theatrical productions and programming designed for young people and the adults in their lives; we aim to be leaders in theatre education through professional development workshops, residencies and resources that offer innovative ways to infuse theatre into the classroom; and we seek to cultivate and create challenging new work as well as produce celebrated stories. This is Adventure Stage's eighth season.

Adventure Stage has received numerous honors since its inception in 2004, including: • Recipient of a prestigious Continuing Innovation Stage II grant from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation • Selected participant in EmcArts’ Innovation Lab for the Performing Arts, a program generously funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation • Zeta Phi Eta Winifred Ward Award for Outstanding New Children's Theatre Company from the American Alliance for
Theatre and Education • Two-time Finalist for the Broadway In Chicago Emerging Theater Award • Participant in the New Visions/New Voices Festival at the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts, Washington D.C. • Four-time Recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts Access to Artistic Excellence Grant
Adventure Stage Chicago is a program of Northwestern University Settlement House, the oldest continually operating settlement house in Chicago.

Throughout its 120-year history, the Settlement has remained committed to providing resources that empower our neighbors to overcome the obstacles of poverty. Adventure Stage extends this mission by presenting Chicago's young audiences, educators and families with an affordable artistic experience rooted in performance. Last season, Adventure Stage served over 5,000 students from 76 schools throughout the Chicagoland area and over 1,500 audience members for our weekend performances.

Each Adventure Stage Chicago production presents weekday matinees primarily for school groups, as well as weekend performances for the general public. Every performance includes a post-show audience talkback with the cast. Out of respect for our actors and audience members, children under age 5 are not permitted in the theatre during a performance.

All shows are performed at Vittum Theater, 1012 N. Noble St., in the heart of Chicago’s West Town neighborhood. Street parking is available, and the theater is close to the Noble St. stop on the #56 Milwaukee bus line and the Division stop on the CTA Blue Line. The theater is wheelchair accessible.

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