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Theater 2015-16: Ever-changeable Hypocrites plan two intense musicals, three dark dramas

Aug 26, 2015 – 9:51 pm
American Idiot feature image

Fourth in a series of season previews: The Chicago theater company that now appears to be one thing, then slyly becomes completely different (and hence calls itself The Hypocrites), will serve up a typically careening season for 2015-16: two existential musicals framing three plays that peer deeply into the abyss of fate.

Role Playing: Lindsey Gavel’s distressed Masha, in ‘Three Sisters,’ began with a touch of cheer

May 21, 2015 – 7:01 am
Feature 1 Evan Hanover

Interview: Lindsey Gavel knew, heading into her performance as Chekhov’s unhappily married Masha in “Three Sisters” with The Hypocrites, that sorrow-on-sleeve was not the way she wanted to go with it. She decided instead to put a happy face on Masha’s heavy heart – and created a nuanced portrait of a woman caught between her longing for real love and the empty reality of her life.

‘Three Sisters’ at Hypocrites: Shattered hearts, vanished hopes, and Moscow a distant dream

May 2, 2015 – 3:49 pm
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Review: Two generations before Jean-Paul Sartre and his coterie of French existentialist playwrights, there was Anton Chekhov, dealing with the same core moral issue of accepting accountability for one’s own life and the hellish consequences of evading that necessity. Such is the specter that confronts the characters in Chekhov’s “Three Sisters,” which the Hypocrites have brought to the stage under the penetrating, indeed searing direction of Geoff Button, who also adapted the play. ★★★★

Hypocrites’ new ‘Pinafore’ adds third dimension to mash-up model of a modern major musical

Dec 2, 2014 – 4:20 pm
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Preview: Of all the improbable theatrical cross-cuttings, the inspiration for The Hypocrites’ singers-with-instruments spin on the Gilbert & Sullivan canon may take the prize. The model for artistic director Sean Graney’s rethinking of all that lighter-than-air G&S wackiness was a Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s dark, dark (albeit very funny) musical “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street” – where there’s nary a modern major general in sight. On Dec. 5, Graney’s plucky company opens “H.M.S. Pinafore,” then – in repertory – swiftly revives recent Hypocrites productions of “The Mikado” and “The Pirates of Penzance.”

Role Playing: Hillary Marren’s charming, rapping witch in ‘Woods’ shaped by hard work, free play

Mar 28, 2014 – 11:41 pm
Actress Hillary Marren

Interview: In creating his musical “Into the Woods,” composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim perhaps viewed the witch’s show-stopping number about her vegetable garden as a direct descendant of the patter songs long associated with Gilbert and Sullivan. But to Hillary Marren, who plays the old crone in The Hypocrites’ imaginative staging, the veggie song is exactly what it sounds like in her disarming, rapid-fire delivery — a very smart rap.

When The Hypocrites bound ‘Into the Woods,’ something special blooms from almost nothing

Feb 14, 2014 – 6:06 pm
Happily ever after proves to be short-lived in The Hypocrites' production of Stephen Sondheim's 'Into the Woods.' (Matthew Gregory Hollis)

Review: From paper and string and other found objects — in the hands of a wonderfully talented cast and a whiz of a director — The Hypocrites theater company has cobbled together a magical production of Stephen Sondheim’s fairytale mash-up musical “Into the Woods.” ★★★★★