Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Tonight's the Night for AN EVENING with Eli Van Sickel (and Friends)

Illinois State University alum Eli Van Sickel is directing An Evening full of theatre. And it's in Chicago. Tonight. More specifically, An Evening is tonight at 7 pm at Lifeline Theatre.

Van Sickel has put together a program of short scenes, with selections from newer work like John Logan's Red, Neil Labute's Reasons to Be Pretty, Julia Jordan's Nightswim and Songs for a New World, Jason Robert Brown's heartfelt song cycle, along with classic pieces like Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac and Clifford Odets' Waiting for Lefty.

This is how Eli describes his Evening:
Eli Van Sickel has spent his entire life in the theatre. He holds a BS in Directing from Indiana State University and an MS in Theatre Studies from Illinois State University. He has worked professionally as a freelance sound designer for the last eight years. He has not directed a play since he was in school, five years ago. He has been too afraid to pursue a career as a theatre director...until now. In order to dust off the cobwebs and see if he’s worth a damn, Eli has put together an evening of scenes entitled AN EVENING. The performance will take place on Wednesday, April 13 at 7 pm at Lifeline Theatre.
David F. Meldman and James Martineau will perform the Red scene, with Devon Nimerfroh and Kristen Hughes in Reasons to Be Pretty, Mitch Conti, Gerrit Wilford, and Andrea Williams taking on Cyrano, Alyssa Ratkovich, Kent Nusbaum and Joe Faifer in Waiting for Lefty, Courtney Dane Mize performing part of Songs for a New World, and Gaby Fernandez and Emily Willis in Nightswim. Michael Evans is the Evening's musical director and pianist and Slick Jorgensen is the lighting designer.

Conti, Faifer, Fernandez, Martineau, Nimerfroh, Nusbaum, Ratkovich and Williams all have ISU connections, and you may remember them from work on Bloomington-Normal stages. Meldman has a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and an MFA in acting from Florida Atlantic University, Willis is a Northwestern grad, Mize has a degree from Ole Miss, Wilford studied at the other Northwestern in Iowa, and Hughes earned her BA from Indiana University in the other Bloomington.

All of which adds up to a lot of talent in one place at one time. If you're wondering why this show now, Eli offers this inspirational program note:
All of us are relatively new to Chicago. We are looking for opportunities. We are looking for artistic homes. We are looking for people to take chances on us. We have devoted our lives to our craft and we are ready to do great things within it.
You have to root for that, right? Let's hope this Evening is the first in a long line of great things for all of them!

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