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Veterans Of Shuttered ShawChicago Form Misalliance Repertory Theatre

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Inaugural production, an audio play of Shaw's THE MUSIC CURE, is now streaming.

Veterans Of Shuttered ShawChicago Form Misalliance Repertory Theatre

Misalliance Repertory Theatre, a new company formed by members of the former ShawChicago ensemble, has launched its first production. Their 25-minute audio play performance of Shaw's wacky and little-known one-act gem THE MUSIC CURE is now streaming on the company's website www.misalliancerepertory.org and is also available on Stitcher and Spotify.

The company of classically trained actors, all members of Actors' Equity Association, has a mission of performing the works of George Bernard Shaw and similar playwrights - honoring the work of these great writers through an exploration of text, educational outreach, and performances of the highest quality.

After ShawChicago's artistic director Robert Scogin died in October 2018 and its board of directors announced the following February that the 25-year-old company would fold in June of 2019, members of the ShawChicago acting ensemble immediately began to plan for a way to keep the plays of George Bernard Shaw and his contemporaries a regular fixture of the Chicago theatre scene. The actors organized as the Misalliance Repertory Theatre and began to reach out to the loyal audiences of ShawChicago by announcing their intentions to form a new company dedicated to the works of Shaw and his contemporaries. They collected patron names and emails during the March-April 2019 run of the final ShawChicago production, THE DOCTOR'S DILEMMA and in late summer and early fall of 2020, with a company website now in place, they began an outreach to the lovers of Shaw who had seen their previous work. Misalliance Artistic Director Mary Michell says "The response to our outreach was amazing. It was clear there was an audience hungry for the work we wanted to continue doing."

Misalliance Repertory's current production of THE MUSIC CURE, directed by Associate Artistic Director Gary Alexander, is a fast-paced, music-filled romp with a cast that includes Matt Gall, Doug MacKechnie, Kate Young, musical accompaniment by Tom Bachtell, and sound effects/audio editing by George Zahora. In it, an inept politician is unwittingly engulfed in a financial scandal, a weary doctor attempts to help his anxiety-prone patient, and a world-renowned concert pianist is called to the rescue. Shaw himself stated that THE MUSIC CURE was "a piece of utter nonsense" and "not a serious play." Nonetheless, it is filled with Shaw's biting wit, brilliant language, and keen-eyed critical characterization of the privileged British ruling class. There is no charge to listen to THE MUSIC CURE (though donations are gladly accepted) and no end date has been set.

Michell says the company will follow THE MUSIC CURE in October with another audio play - a production of James M. Barrie's one-act play THE NEW WORD - and will return to live, in-person staged readings in 2022. Michell says," We will expand our repertoire to include playwrights who, like Shaw, present language-rich, socially provocative plays, in the hope that we can start a conversation with our audiences about the kind of world we all envision." Alexander adds, "Our company is performer driven and passionate about the sort of text-driven theatre of which Shaw is the exemplar. We spend a great deal of time at the table, doing a deep dive into the texts. We were all really inspired by Bob Scogin. We felt we owed it to the audiences to carry on the tradition." Michell jokes "We are a bunch of word nerds. We absolutely love combing through text, figuring out the best way to present them to audiences."

The company plans to present their shows in venues throughout the Chicago area, and eventually have a permanent artistic venue, offering readings and full productions.

In addition to Michell and Alexander, the company members, all members of Actors' Equity, include Barbara Zahora (Associate Artistic Director), Daniel Millhouse (Managing Director), Adrianne Curry (Outreach Coordinator), Matthew Fahey (Educational Coordinator), Alison Henderson (Fundraising Coordinator). All but Henderson were members of the ShawChicago ensemble. All actors are highly experienced in working with heightened language. As many are also educators, working throughout the Chicago area in conservatories, universities and training centers, the company offers in-person or virtual classical theatre workshops at middle school, high school, college, and professional levels, and plans to establish an education program.

Additional information on the company is available at www.misalliancerepertory.org.


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