TODAY

Tuesday, September 2

Gapers Block
Search

Gapers Block on Facebook Gapers Block on Flickr Gapers Block on Twitter The Gapers Block Tumblr


A/C
« Walking Lawrence Avenue She-nanigans' Comedy Challenge »

Theater Tue Dec 14 2010

Bus Stop Breaks In The Den Theatre & Defrosts Our Cold Hearts

Theater is one of the best ways to warm up on these oppressively wintery Chicago evenings. Better yet, how about a story about people looking for other people to keep them warm? Bus Stop, William Inge's heartwarming, all-American tale of human connections and social blunders in the face of a brutal Midwestern snowstorm certainly fits the bill, although some may find it brutally old-fashioned.

Bus Stop, a collaborative directorial debut by veteran actors Lia Mortensen and Ryan Martin, is the first show at The Den Theatre-- a promising new venue capable of seating about 100 with a spacious stage and a cavernous lobby. It is a solid first show with an inviting small-town diner set by Caleb McAndrew and Aimee Plant.

TheDen-1.jpg

the set, pictured not quite finished



This traditional, 50's-era single-set play, takes place at a bus stop 30 miles outside Kansas City. It opens with a gorgeous, voluptuous 40-something diner owner, Grace (Liz Zweifler), and a sweet and impressively booksmart teenage waitress named Elma (Elise Walter) preparing the diner for the Greyhound to stop out front and the travelers to come streaming in for coffee and day-old doughnuts. First off the bus comes a pretty, 19-year-old nightclub singer named Cherie (Arianne Ellison), who is frantically seeking sanctuary from her obnoxiously virile cowboy fiance who doesn't take no for an answer-- or rather-- doesn't read signals, and probably wouldn't know what 'no' means if he did. Props to Jessica Nemczuk, the make-up artist, by the way-- Cherie's 50's hair is fabulous.

We also meet Carl the busdriver, Elma's hookup interest, and, of course, the town Sheriff, Will. Carl and Will pretty much fit the busdriver and sheriff archetypes, and Inge has chosen to let them be supportive characters, but they are played with great spirit by Ed Smaron (Will) and Karl Pothoff (Carl).

At some point an erudite ex-professor who calls himself Dr. Lyman saunters in looking for rye whiskey, pulls out a flask when he's denied, and begins charming the pants off naieve little Elma with eloquent regurgitations of classic poetry. Ron Wells plays Dr. Lyman, the most interesting character in the play, magnificently. When Dr. Lyman (a.k.a. "The Professor") is not being a sleazy playground-loiterer, his quips and rants are really bright, touching, and often funny.

Soon after Dr. Lyman has slumped into his chair with his spiked pop, the door slams open and the aforementioned virile cowboy "Bo" (Brian Kavanaugh) stomps in, followed by his sidekick/mentor, the much older and wiser Virgil (gracefully played by Will Kinnear). Bo throws off his cowboy hat and tasseled leather jacket and paces around the diner for a few minutes like a caged hyena, yelling out boasts and threats, jumping over furniture like a little kid with ADD. He got lucky with Cherie, decided because this is the 50's that she loves him and he's gonna marry her and has thrown her on a bus back to his ranch in Montana. Now she's realized he's a pig and she's not going with him and Will the sheriff is gonna see to that. But it's not that simple, see, because there's a blizzard and their bus is stuck at the terminal. So they have to stay there, in the little diner, and work through all their demons.

Bus_Stop5555.jpg

Liz Zweifler, Brian Kavanaugh, and Will Kinnear



After a cabaret, just a little one-way dryhumping, plenty of girl talk, and a fistfight, we learn that Bo has a soft side and Cherie's a ho (big surprise!) and everyone has a capacity to love and be loved and so on and so forth, and the happy ending commences. It's really a lot like The Breakfast Club. Or rather, The Breakfast Club is like Bus Stop, since it was a film 30 years earlier. Just replace Marilyn Monroe with Molly Ringwald.

Anyway, Bus Stop a good ole-fashioned feel-good play in a really nice new theater. Bring your family. Just keep your daughters away from Dr. Lyman.

Bus Stop runs now through Jan. 22, Thursdays through Saturdays at 8pm; Sundays at 3pm. NO SHOWS Dec. 23-26, 31, and Jan. 1. The Den in located at 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Wicker Park, accessible by CTA Blue Line and bus routes. Tickets are $20 with reservations and $25 at the door. For general information, reservations, and group rates contact Ryan Martin at ryanmartin79@hotmail.com.

 

Kelly Reaves / January 24, 2011 1:18 PM

After a brief hiatus following the January 22 performance, BUS STOP will resume on February 10, with two weekends of performances. (NO PERFORMANCES JAN. 27-30; FEB. 3-6). Show times will remain Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm and Sundays at 3pm at The Den Theatre.

Add a Comment




Please enter the letter z in the field below:



Live Comment Preview


Notes & Tags

Items marked with a * are required fields. Please respect each other. We reserve the right to delete any comments borne out of douchebaggery or that deal in asshattery.

Permitted tags and how to use them:

To link: <a href="http://blahblahblah.com">Link text</a>
To italicize: <em>Your text</em>
To bold: <strong>Your text</strong>

Theater Wed Aug 13 2014

An Epic, Tragic Win: All Our Tragic

By Benjamin Cannon & Mike Ewing

What then is to be made of the Hypocrites' new stage production, All Our Tragic? This massive opus, comprising all 32 surviving Greek tragedy plays re-written and directed by Sean Graney, lasts a staggering 12 hours, including intermissions and meal breaks. Ben and Mike go the distance.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Aug 29 2014

The November Man, Frank, As Above/So Below, Love Is Strange, Life of Crime, Bound By Flesh, To Be Takei & Me and You

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »

Blogroll

ACRE
An Angry White Guy
Antena
AREA Chicago
ArchitectureChicago Plus
Arts Engagement Exchange
The Art Letter
Art or Idiocy?
Art Slant Chicago
Art Talk Chicago
Bad at Sports
Bite and Smile
Brian Dickie of COT
Bridgeport International
Carrie Secrist Gallery
Chainsaw Calligraphy
Chicago Art Blog
Chicago Art Department
Chicago Art Examiner
Chicago Art Journal
Chicago Artists Resource
Chicago Art Map
Chicago Art Review
Chicago Classical Music
Chicago Comedy Examiner
Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Daily Views
Chicago Film Examiner
Chicago Film Archives
Chicago Gallery News
Chicago Uncommon
Collaboraction
Contemporary Art Space
Co-op Image Group
Co-Prosperity Sphere
Chicago Urban Art Society
Creative Control
Defibrillator
Devening Projects
Digressions
DIY Film
ebersmoore
The Exhibition Agency
The Flatiron Project
F newsmagazine
The Gallery Crawl...
Galerie F
The Gaudy God
Happy Dog Gallery
HollywoodChicago
Homeroom Chicago
I, Homunculus
Hyde Park Artcenter Blog
InCUBATE
Joyce Owens: Artist on Art
J-Pointe
Julius Caesar
Kasia Kay Gallery
Kavi Gupta Gallery
Rob Kozlowski
Lookingglass Theatre Blog
Lumpen Blog
Marquee
Mess Hall
N'DIGO
Neoteric Art
NewcityArt
NewcityFilm
NewcityStage
Not If But When
Noun and Verb
On Film
On the Make
Onstage
Peanut Gallery
Peregrine Program
Performink
The Poor Choices Show
Pop Up Art Loop
The Post Family
The Recycled Film
Reversible Eye
Rhona Hoffman Gallery
Roots & Culture Gallery
SAIC Blog
The Seen
Sharkforum
Sisterman Vintage
Site of Big Shoulders
Sixty Inches From Center
Soleil's To-Do's
Sometimes Store
Steppenwolf.blog
Stop Go Stop
Storefront Rebellion
TOC Blog
Theater for the Future
Theatre in Chicago
The Franklin
The Mission
The Theater Loop
Thomas Robertello Gallery
threewalls
Time Tells Tony Wight Gallery
Uncommon Photographers
The Unscene Chicago
The Visualist
Vocalo
Western Exhibitions
What's Going On?
What to Wear During an Orange Alert?
You, Me, Them, Everybody
Zg Gallery

 

Events

Mon Sep 1 2014
Impress These Apes @ ComedySportz

Mon Sep 1 2014
The Unauthorized "Saved by the Bell" Story @ East Room

Mon Sep 1 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Mon Sep 1 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Tue Sep 2 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Wed Sep 3 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Thu Sep 4 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Thu Sep 4 2014
Strictly Ballroom @ Millennium Park

Thu Sep 4 2014
Noir City Film Festival @ Music Box

Fri Sep 5 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Fri Sep 5 2014
Life Itself @ Film Center

Fri Sep 5 2014
The Hideout Block Party & Onion AV Fest

Fri Sep 5 2014
Luiz Gonz╬Člez Palma Reception & Exhibit @ Schneider Gallery

Fri Sep 5 2014
Zoovie: Best in Show @ Lincoln Park Zoo

Fri Sep 5 2014
First Friday @ Flat Iron Building

Sat Sep 6 2014
Eugene Sun Park's Film Self Deportation @ Chicago Filmmakers

Sat Sep 6 2014
Filipino Cinema series @ Film Center

Sat Sep 6 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival

Sat Sep 6 2014
Internet Cat Video Festival @ Metro

Sun Sep 7 2014
Chicago Fringe Festival


A/C on Flickr

Join the A/C Flickr Pool.



About A/C

A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
Please see our submission guidelines.

Editor: LaShawn Williams, ldw@gapersblock.com
A/C staff inbox: ac@gapersblock.com

Archives

 

A/C Flickr Pool
 Subscribe in a reader.

GB Store

GB Buttons $1.50

GB T-Shirt $12

I ✶ Chi T-Shirts $15

Newsletter

Sign up for our free email newsletter I Star Chi and get a weekly round-up of the best of Gapers Block, plus our picks for must-do events each weekend!

istarchi

Preferred format    Preferred format