CHICAGO – To close out its 2016-17 season, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre will revive its highly acclaimed original musical revue, Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night. The revue conceived by Theo Ubique’s Artistic Director Fred Anzevino and Arnold Johnston was originally produced by the company in 2008 and was nominated for the 2008-2009 Joseph Jefferson Award for Best Musical. It was remounted the summer of 2009 at Theatre on the Lake.
The revue of songs by Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel follows two soldiers at port in a shabby waterfront bar in Amsterdam. Together with the bartender and a woman in the bar, they sing Brel songs of sex, death, bruised romance and hope. Brel has been described as writing with a mix of brutal honesty and absolute beauty,” as exemplified by his song “Rosa” (featured in the show), which concludes with the observation “roses also have thorns.” Reviewing the 2008 production, the Chicago Tribune’s Chris Jones said “Anzevino’s subtly toned show still transports you to a rough, guttural ambience that feels something akin to Eugene O’Neill’s sea plays and is positively bursting with the aura of European dislocation and humanistic emotional oomph.”
Appearing as the two soldiers will be Neil Stratman and David Moreland. Stratman’s recent credits include Tomorrow Morning and Loving Repeating for Kokandy Productions, Dogfight and Myths and Hymns for Bohemian Theatre Ensemble; and productions at Paramount Theatre, Circle Theatre and Light Opera Works. Moreland is currently appearing as Will in Big Noise Theatre’s production of Big Fish. The female role will be played by Jill Sesso, remembered by Theo Ubique audiences for her work in A Kurt Weill Cabaret and coming off her recent acclaimed role as a “Diva” in Priscilla: Queen of the Desert for Pride Films and Plays. Randy Johnson will play the bartender.
The design team will include Adam Veness (set design) and James Kolditz (lighting design). Mina Slater will be stage manager and Courtney Crouse will be assistant director.
Brel was known for his literate, thoughtful, and theatrical songs. After beginning his cabaret career in 1953 at age 23 in Brussels, he soon moved to Paris and three years later began touring across Europe and North Africa. By 1960, he was an international sensation, touring in Asia, the Soviet Union and North America as well as Europe. He was widely considered a master of the modern “chanson,” (lyric-driven songs). Though he recorded most of his songs in French, he became a major influence on English-speaking songwriters and performers and English translations of his songs were recorded by many top performers in the United States. An off-Broadway revue entitled Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris ran for four and one-half years, from 1968-1972, was widely staged around the world, and recreated in a feature film version for the American Film Theatre series. The lyrics for “Lonesome Losers of the Night” have been translated into English by Arnold Johnston, a Kalamazoo, Michigan-based writer who whose many translations of Brel lyrics have been featured in revues and performances across the US and internationally. Brel’s widow has said Johnston’s translations are the most accurate versions of Brel’s lyrics.
All performances will be staged in the intimate No Exit Café., 6970 N. Glenwood Avenue in Rogers Park. Tickets are on sale now at www.theo-u.org.
Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night
Original translations by Arnold Johnston
Conceived by Fred Anzevino and Arnold Johnston
Directed by Fred Anzevino
Music Directed by Jeremy Ramey
Arrangements by Joshua Stephen Kartes, additional arrangements by Jeremy Ramey
June 15 – August 6, 2017
(No performance Sunday, June 25, 2017)
Ticket prices previews June 15-17: All seats $20.00
Ticket prices regular run: Thursdays and Sundays $29.00, Fridays and Saturdays $34.00
$4.00 discount on regular run prices for seniors and students
Dinner (optional) is $25.00. Advance reservations required
Curtain Times: Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00 pm; Sundays at 7:00 pm.
(No performance Sunday, June 25, 2017)
All performances will be held at the No Exit Café located at 6970 N Glenwood Ave.
More information at www.theo-u.com or by phone at 800-595-4849.
Student Rush All Season Long! (All unsold tickets are $15 at the door with college ID. Tickets will be sold on site, cash only, at curtain. First come, first served, subject to availability.)
Following the trials of two soldiers at port in a bar in Amsterdam, we witness how relationships bloom and wilt through the musical lyricism of the Belgian singer/songwriter Jacques Brel. Songs include “Amsterdam,” “Don’t Leave Me,” “Alone,” “Rosa” and many more.
Reviewing the original production in 2008, Chris Jones of the Chicago Tribune called it “an entirely beguiling little show… positively bursting with the aura of European dislocation and humanistic emotional oomph… It makes you experience Brel’s huge catalog of music in an entirely new way.”
Arnold Johnston (Concept, translations) lives in Kalamazoo and South Haven, Michigan. His plays, and others written in collaboration with his wife, Deborah Ann Percy, have won awards, production, and publication across the country. Their individually and collaboratively written plays have won over 100 productions, as well as numerous awards and publications across the country and internationally; and they’ve written, co-written, edited, or translated some twenty books. His poetry, fiction, non-fiction, and translations have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies. His translations of Jacques Brel’s songs have appeared in numerous musical revues nationwide (including acclaimed Chicago productions Jacques Brel: Songs of Love and War and Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night, the latter of which is due for restaging in summer 2017), and are also featured on his CD, Jacques Brel: I’m Here! A performer-singer, Arnie has played many solo concerts and some 100 roles on stage, screen, and radio. He is a member of the Dramatists Guild, Poets & Writers, the Associated Writing Programs, and the American Literary Translators Association.
Fred Anzevino (Concept, direction) continues his long-standing love affair with the songs of Jacques Brel. He was first introduced to Brel’s work in college when he performed with the Rhode Island College Cabaret in a production of Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris. Later, as a member of the DC Cabaret Company, he performed in an original revue of Brel songs featuring new translations. In Chicago, one of Fred’s early productions for Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre was an original Brel revue called Songs of Love and War. He co-created Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night with Arnold Johnston and Joshua Stephen Kartes in 2008. He is a Rogers Park resident.
Tickets available at www.theo-u.com or by phone at 800-595-4849.
ABOUT THEO UBIQUE
Theo Ubique was founded in 1997 by artistic director Fred Anzevino. Productions were first staged at the Heartland Studio Theatre, and then in 2004, at No Exit Café, where the company began focusing on musicals and revues, reigniting the cabaret theatre trend in Chicago. Since then, Theo Ubique has produced more than 50 shows and received more than 40 Jeff Awards, having received more than 100 nominations. It has also received three After Dark Awards.