Evanston Performing Arts Collective, LevityTV & Friends, Independent Spirits — Chicago Theater Report for December 6, 2020

Below is a lightly edited transcript of the Chicago Theater Report for Playtime with Bill Turck & Kerri Kendall on WCGO radio (1590 AM, 95.9 FM in Chicago). Audio archive available on Soundcloud.


We are getting close to the end of the year, and what a year it has been: Theater companies around the world have been forced to cancel shows, pivot toward streaming, and completely rethink their business models. Many theater professionals have found themselves out of work, and others have found themselves in uncharted territory: Many thought that they’d be back in business by now, only to find out that our current crisis may extend well into 2021 or 2022. 

Theaters and theater professionals have remained resilient, however, and are working hard to keep companies afloat and are creating streamed audio and video productions for us all. Here are a few shows that will be premiering in Chicago soon:


The Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, The Musical Offering, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre announce the formation and first installation of the EVANSTON PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTIVE (EPAC), with the first installation to begin streaming on January 1st, 2021. According to the press release, the Three Evanston-based performing arts organizations – Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre, Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, and The Musical Offering – have joined forces to create the EVANSTON PERFORMING ARTS COLLECTIVE (EPAC), a consortium with the mission of “Celebrating Life, Community and the Arts.” The collective’s members will collaborate on five multi-disciplinary performing art installations combining the resources of each company: acting, music, dance, puppetry, and circus arts. s.”

 The first four installations will be recorded for streaming online during the winter and spring. The series will conclude with a grand live outdoor performance and celebration for the Evanston community in the summer of 2021. There will be no charge for the virtual performances. However, prior to and during the broadcast, donations will be requested to cover the cost of music rights and professional artists’ honorariums.  

The Collective’s initial installation, to launch on January 1, 2021, will be a multi-disciplinary performance of the song “The New World,” from the theatrical song cycle SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD by Jason Robert Brown. The performance will be hosted on YouTube beginning January 1 and there will be no charge to view the installation. More information and links to the performance at the websites of the collective members’ websites (www.theo-u.org, www.fjtheatre.com, www.themusicaloffering.org)


On Saturday, December 19th LevityTV will present the day-long stream-a-thon​ LevityTV & Friends’ Big Fat Socially Distant Holiday Adventure Show. The main event begins at 5:30 pm CST, streaming at Twitch.tv/TheLevityChannel, with panel discussions, live music and other special events beginning earlier in the day at 12 pm CST. A full schedule of events, visit www.LevityTv.com, but many participants are based right here in Chicago. The show will offer direct-to-artist payments through the Twitch platform.


One holiday tradition that seems to have taken hold in the United States is the consumption of Chinese food. This may be due to the fact that everyone is too busy to cook and thus decide to order out, or the fact that Chinese restaurants are typically open on Christmas Day. While many people recommend off-dry or sweet Rieslings with Asian food, I’m a cheerleader for a contrarian school of thought, namely the pairing of Chinese food with Nebbiolo, an Italian grape known for high tannins and deep flavors such as tar and soy. One of my favorite spirit and wine shops, Independent Spirits in Edgewater, sells a fine example of this type of wine: Azelia Langhe Nebbiolo 2017. It’s tannic-y, though, so be sure to decant at least an hour before serving. I paired it with homemade five-spice pork and it was a wonderful treat.