The Columbia Chronicle

Rock musical ‘Passing Strange”’ gets Midwest premier

By Matt Watson

April 11, 2011

In a rare combination of rock ’n’ roll and musical theater, “Passing Strange” forced audience members out of their seats to jam along with the music at its Broadway premiere in 2008. With rave reviews from critics and a twist on traditional theater, the show is moving on to the Second City.The Bailiwick Chicago theater company will produce the Midwest premiere of the Tony Award-winning rock musical beginning on Ap...

No small plans for BIGCOLOUR

By Matt Watson

April 4, 2011

When Brian Brissart moved to Chicago to attend Columbia in fall 2008, he started working on a solo music project he called BIGCOLOUR. After becoming bored with recording guitar loops and realizing he couldn’t perform every instrument live, Brissart said he decided to recruit friends he trusted with his sound. With Columbia students Alex Auby, on guitar and back up vocals; Jeremy Lindemulder, on drums; Jordan Vouga, on b...

Mortar Theatre creates strong foundation

By Matt Watson

April 4, 2011

With plays chronicling the struggles of minimum-wage retail workers, veterans, prisoners and Cabrini-Green tenants, the Mortar Theatre Company shines a spotlight on the untold stories of less-than-glamorous Americans. Instead of trying to connect Shakespeare’s “Richard the Third” to present day, the company puts on performances inspired by the 21st century.Mortar, which was founded in October 2009, gained momentum i...

Construction resumes on Museum of Broadcast Communications

By Matt Watson

March 28, 2011

In the shadow of the Trump International Hotel & Tower, 401 N. Wabash Ave., a half-completed concrete structure returns to life as construction crews race to complete the building that will house the memory of broadcast legends such as Oprah Winfrey, Phil Donahue and Bozo the Clown.After almost five years on hold, construction resumed at the Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St., in September 2010. The MBC ...

Conservatives need to define what they consider rich

By Matt Watson

March 14, 2011

Republicans scored victories across the U.S. in November 2010 running on a platform of fiscal conservatism and vowing to cut deficits at the state and national level. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has gained national attention in recent weeks for his proposal to do away with public employee unions. Governors in Ohio and Michigan look to him for inspiration.If Republicans honestly cared about deficits, they could have done so...

“PostSecret” comes to Loyola

By Matt Watson

March 14, 2011

A small series of postcards lines the wall, weaving up and down behind a clear plastic casing. Spectators lean close to the cards and squint to read the words printed across the colorful backdrops. A picture of a uniformed soldier tipping his hat covers one with a banner of cursive text reading, “I’m scared my husband won’t come home because I don’t believe in God.”“PostSecret: Confessions on Life, Death and Go...

Craft brewers fight for survival

By Matt Watson

March 7, 2011

In a classic David and Goliath matchup fought in the state capital, local microbreweries face off against lobbying firms and giant corporations for their right to get their product on shelves and behind bar counters.Save the Craft is a Chicago-based grassroots campaign aiming to raise awareness about legislation going through the Illinois General Assembly that will allow brewpubs and microbreweries to self-distribute a certa...

Auditorium Theatre hosts Miles Davis Festival

By Matt Watson

March 7, 2011

The trumpet blares across a smooth strumming bass, creating a melody that won’t let the audience sit still in its seats. Patrons tap their feet or snap their fingers as the drums signal an end to the song. This scene, which was common 60 years ago, has been resurrected by a festival that pays homage to one of jazz music’s most notable figures.The Miles Davis Festival, sponsored by the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt Univer...

Embracing the fear

By Matt Watson

February 28, 2011

Nancy Syburg started doing improv because she wanted to accomplish six challenging things to celebrate her 60th birthday. Sara McCarthy, 42, signed up for dance classes after she pledged to do something in 2011 that scared her. Matt Wexler, 31, wanted to go out and experience a thrill before the birth of his first child.They are all students of the Fear Experiment, an innovative performance-based project created by Saya Hillman, owne...

Three Chicagoans vie to be Oscar gown champion

By Matt Watson

February 21, 2011

Red and gold lights burst onto the runway at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, Calif., marking the start of the Oscar Designer Challenge 2011. Backstage, designers rushed to make last-minute adjustments to their models’ gowns and hair as they prepared to have their work judged by international fashion icons.The Oscar Designer Challenge is an annual fashion showcase featuring nine up-and-co...

Reclusive sisters fight reality in ‘New Electric’

By Matt Watson

February 21, 2011

Lights flood the stage, revealing three women standing in a dingy kitchen. Breda, played by Kate Buddeke, faces the wall with her hands against it, bursting into a rant and spitting her words out with the cadence of a stubborn child. “By their nature people are talkers,” Breda rambles.“You can’t deny that.”“The New Electric Ballroom,” which opened on Jan. 21 at A Red Orchid Theater, 1531 N. Wells St., and ru...

Jess Godwin returns to Chicago for Columbia stint, then off to NYC

By Matt Watson

February 14, 2011

After spending a year in Atlanta recording music, 27-year-old singer songwriter and Columbia alumna, Jess Godwin, returned to the college to teach for a semester in fall 2010. Now a solo artist, Godwin transcends genres. She began in classical, moved to musical theater and now sings pop while playing the piano. She released two EPs in the past few years and is currently recording a single and filming a music video before s...

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