Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Joan of Arc of Cherrywood (Preview by ROB KOZLOWSKI)

I’m seeing CHERRYWOOD tomorrow night, which is directed by David Cromer. I’ve never met the man, although I’ve seen him in person as the stage manager of OUR TOWN. At one point during the play, he ambled about four feet away from me, at which point I felt a kind of warm calm envelop me that I could not explain until I realized that the sinus pressure I had been feeling had miraculously disappeared. I tried to beckon him nearer so he could do something about my eyesight, but it was to no avail.

Now you may think I’m exaggerating Cromer’s effect on audiences. But critical acclaim has fallen upon Cromer’s head like an anvil in a Road Runner cartoon, and it’s gotten to the point that if one of his productions fails not only to entertain, but heal the sick, audiences and critics alike will set him on fire.

But I don’t think David Cromer wants to be the Joan of Arc of the American Theater. He’s not a woman, he’s not French and he’ll never be played on screen by Milla Jovovich (and neither will anyone else, fictional or not, for the rest of eternity, if we’re lucky).

Like I wrote in the paragraph three paragraphs before this paragraph, I’ve never met the man. He has taught at Columbia College, where I teach, which means I have something in common with him that I can bring up if I ever happen to meet him.

We also have the letter “O” in our last names.

That will be a short conversation.


CHERRYWOOD has 49 actors in it. That fact alone makes me want to see it. Add Cromer to the mix and the fact that they’re doing the damn show at Angel Island, a theater so small they’d need to grease the doorways for Audrey Hepburn to fit through, makes this show a must-see for me.

It better be good.

Cherries in the Woods and Asses in the Seats (Preview by James Anthony Zoccoli)

I don’t know much, but I know what I like. To the point where I can look at something – advertising for a movie, packaging of a candy bar, the child-bearing hips of a human female – and know instantly whether or not it’s for me.

“Crunchy peanut butter coated in a rich toasted coconut? Nice try, Zagnut. See you in hell!”

“The critics agree this film simultaneously transcends and redefines a genre? Whatever, Dark Knight!”

That’s just how I talk to the advertising, though. I’m much nicer to human females. However, it is for this aforementioned reason that I so seldom go to the theatre to see plays.

“What does a guy named Tennessee know about New Orleans? Keep on rollin’ down the line Streetcar! I’m takin’ the bus, thank you very much!!”

“A heartwarming celebration of one young boy’s triumph against the odds set in a small mining town? Piss off & top o’the mornin’ to ya’, Billy Elliot! I’ll be in the WC smoking a fag, you ponce!!”

Well, every so often something comes along that disarms my hostile retaliation to the assault of advertising.

You know what I mean. That constant onslaught of overactive superlatives and underimaginative descriptions that accosts my senses and tries to pick my pocket - like that dude at the Taste of Chicago last year, which is the only reason that I’m going back this year is so that I can find that son of a bitch and follow him around and catch him “accidentally bumping into” somebody else and “accidentally bump into” his face with my fist. Repeatedly.

But I digress. Or do I? Because that’s the way I feel about the marketing approach of most everything in the world today. Everywhere you look there’s somebody lying to you and trying to take your money.

Contrarywise, there are those rare times when you read some simple, straight forward account that touches your heart and you know that it’s the real thing, baby. A testimonial. A phrase. A font. None of us know what it is, exactly, this magically convincing sales formula but it compels you out of your seat into action. Into the line at the movie theatre or the grocery store or the technology shack. I still respond to this kind of advertising – literally, I talk to it – but with a lot less exclamation points after each line.

The other day, I’m leafing through the entertainment section of the newspaper (I didn’t think they still made newspapers but they do because what else are we gonna’ use to wrap our fish and line our bird cages) and I read: Cherrywood.

“Cherrywood?” First, I figured it was just the best porn title ever. I love puns. I love compound words! This is BOTH!!

Then, I realized it was just a stageplay and I thought, “Since when does the Admiral Theatre produce plays?”

Finally, I learned that Cherrywood was a incredible piece of experimental performance art. So, I figured I should get over my fear of the internet and read some more about this show. On their website, the marketing experts at Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company (who, in stroke of genius also call their space by a different name: Angel Island) describe the show as such: ‘A hilarious and intriguing bender loaded with great music, social commentary and cutting-edge structure. Sure to be one wild ride!’

And I’m like: “Bender? Loaded? Music? Commentary? Okay, okay! Enough!! I’m in!!! Let ME on the wild ride!!!!”

But it doesn’t stop there: “Cutting-edge structure??? UNCLE!!!!!”

Until I scream out the window: “THIS IS THE PLAY FOR ME!!! Take me, Cherrywood!! Take me now!”

(Okay, I guess there are still lots of exclamation points, but these are the joyfully-noisy kind, not the furiously-angered kind.)

Well. As if that weren’t enough, word on the street is that it’s also about Werewolves, dude. And you know where there are Werewolves, there are Werebitches. HOT. MUCH hotter than human females. (Sorry, human females, but you know it’s true.) If there is anything that can guarantee a fulfilling and cathartic theatre experience, it’s a stank-ass room full of sweatified actors under the brilliant guidance of brilliant director David “Brilliant” Cromer groping their way through an avant-garde mad-lib…and all the while you don’t know which of these Werebitches is gonna’ kill somebody.

Euripides knew it. Shakespeare would have done it himself if it wasn’t for the whole Queen thing. Brecht is green with envy and rolling over in his grave.

I’m no reviewer, but if I was, I would say something like: “This Cherrywood is truly a thing of wonder and awe which must be beheld to be believed and should be seen by all.”

Plus, I read somewhere that Cedric the Entertainer is in it and I absolutely LOVE that cat!! He be havin’ me ROLLIN’, y’all.

I haven’t even seen the thing yet and I give it 50 Stars.

GO USA:jaz.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

What Cherrywood will be like when I eventually get to go see it (which may not be for awhile) by John Alan Taflan

As an actor on America’s third coast, I’m often asked to imagine things, places, and even whole persons in an attempt to entertain and enlighten a gathering of individuals.

Having restricted my more executable mind-play to the highly glossed boards of this city’s more endowed institutions (and those deemed worthy by the Union of Acceptable Actors), I was surprised to receive a call on my Blackberry from a Mr. Anderson Lawferson (a notorious, non-acceptable actor). I usually avoid answering calls from area codes other than 312 or 212, but something told me to not ignore the ringer this time. Let this be a lesson in trusting your instincts, folks; Anderson’s gruff, will-bleed-for-the-art honesty had me hooked the from his first sharp intake of breath. The proposition was a simple one: “Go see this Cherrywood thing and let us know if there really are 49 people in it.” I had a better idea. Being that I’m currently in the pre-Broadway tryout of Vanilla Sky: A Musical over at the Oriental, there was no way I could make it to some gas station on the North Side. I said, “Anderson, you tell me what it’s about, and I’ll just use my professional imagination to fill in the details.” He wasn’t very much help.

In any case, Cherrywood, as I see it:

Cherrywood opens in total darkness. The low rumble of approaching water, starting from the back of the “theatre,” slowly overtakes the space with a massive crash. As the lights come up, we see a haphazardly-dressed pile of what we later learn are 49, twenty-something party goers (I think the water is a metaphor for something, too).

As the everyone slowly awakens, an impromptu jug-band forms stage left to accompany the evening’s festivities (and provide appropriate foley effects). As the girls of the cast (who are all named Jane Smith) begin arranging an intricate parade of glass animals, the men of Cherrywood (Joe Smiths, all of them), begin the painstaking task of hanging a dozen or so boulders above the stage and audience.

I should note that the bevy of beautiful, non-professional actors and actresses is truly an inspiring sight. You really get the feeling –and audibly hope--that they would do anything on that stage. Harnessing Kirk Lynn’s comprehensive and detailed opus (think In Search of Lost Time sans the Proustian “moralizing”) the cast delivers at every turn. In a particularly moving exchange, a 10 person daisy-chain of bros “ice” each other using that most delicious of malt beverages.

With relationships this involving, the plot is almost secondary (something to do with fundraising to save a logging permit). Relationships come together, re-form, and fall apart as the group works itself into a frenzy of dancing, dialogue and relationships. As the party reaches its climax, one of the intoxicated Joe Smiths trip over an ottoman to reveal a mysterious buried hatch. The Joe and Jane Smiths enter the hatch to find a Frenchwoman protecting some sort of clock.

Turns out, everyone is dead and the play ends with the group gathering in a church to hug their fathers.

In the event that Vanilla Sky doesn’t transfer—who are we kidding, it will—I’ll be excited to take in a showing of Cherrywood for myself. Thank you, Anderson Lawferson, for giving me this opportunity to get back to my roots. Call again, anytime.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Chicago Stage Review review of Cherrywood

Venus Zarris is getting more credit in this town. I, for one, think she has a really keen eye and her website is one of the best for theater in the city if not the universe.
So naturally, I was a little confused by her take on David Cromer's imaginative and transcendent version of the Rude Mechanicals play "Cherrywood: a play by David Cromer".
Cherrywood has changed the way Americans see theater and soon, with the world on our heels, we will control and dominate everything that theater has to offer anyone, such as I dominate ants when I am outside.
Ms. Zarris has lines in her review such as:
"It is preposterous to expect the audience to connect with Cherrywood’s ludicrous contrivances."
Well, that may be true, and nobody seems to be arguing that point. But what I'm not hearing from Venus is about how fucking totally rad werewolves are.
Have you ever SEEN a werewolf, Venus? Clearly you haven't, because if you had, you wouldn't be so worried about things making sense all the time. Werewolves bring milk to parties and bang all the good looking chicks and they go to the best parties and WHY ARE YOU FIGHTING ME ON THIS!!?
Werewolves are cool and I will accept nothing less than a different review just about werewolves and how they are awesome and maybe an apology letter to David Cromer, even though he probably won't read it because now he is in New York directing Phylicia Rashad and Rutger Hauer in "Arsenic and Old Lace" or whatever play he wants to turn into the number one summer jam play in New York.
I think your review might have some good stuff to say in it, but I can't help but wonder, what if you had seen it with a chinese menu in your hand.

Venus Zarris' review of Cherrywood

-Anderson Lawfer, Eric Roach

Thursday, June 24, 2010

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Cherrywood star Briana De Giulio

We sat down with Briana De Giulio to dish about Dereck Garner, Cherrywood, and Dereck Garner's sexuality.  Looks like Briana wants an EXCLUSIVE of her own!!  Let's CHERRYWATCH:

Are you enjoying working on Cherrywood?
Its as much work as it is trying to identify who likes boys and who likes girls in the theatre world: Easy and fun! 

What's been the most satisfying part?
The Mary-Arrchie isn't a big space. And the cast is larger than there seems to be room for. So there's a lot of "accidental groping" when trying to find space to move in on the set. So I guess its satisfying when I'm near Dereck Garner and that happens.

How would you characterize the most satisfying part?
If I could find a word that is even better than "sexy," that's what I'd characterize it as. And the closest thing I can even think to that is "Dereck Garner."

Are you enjoying that?
Who doesn't enjoy getting to spend their nights watching Dereck Garner with his shirt off?

Is Dereck Garner gay?
If Dereck Garner is gay, then I don't want to be a lady.

Do you think you are better than me?
I'm not better than you, but Dereck Garner is.

Thanks for your time. What do you think about Dereck Garner's performance?
I'd like to see someone do it better with their clothes on. Won't happen.

Have a nice life.
Are you being sarcastic because I said Dereck Garner is better than you? C'mon. Friends need to be honest with friends.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

People Corner (Rich Cotovsky)

Every show has a leader and Award winning David Cromer's Cherrywood is no exception. There is a director, in this case the award winning David Cromer, but he is not the soul of this ensemble. How could he be, for he is so small and old.
This theater production is blessed with a sage that has seen it all. A shaman of plays that has been there, and will gladly tell the youngsters how to respect their elders.
His name is Rich Cotovsky and he has done everything. Do not pretend that he hasn't banged your mom, and probably your dad too.
Don't worry though, his smooth voice and mellow tones will make you not be mad anymore because you will fall asleep and cuddle on his lap in his van.
If you touch or look at his skin, be prepared to have the best orgasm of your life, because that's what you will have.
Also, he makes good soup, and can crockpot the shit out of a brisket.
He is a pharmacist in his civilian life, but that just means that he will prescribe you an ass whoopin' if you don't stop fronting.
I can't wait to see what they do with this, the stateliest of Chicago legends in a play filled with so much hot young ass.
Godspeed, Rich Cotovsky.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Cast is Very Sick!

Sources confirmed on Friday that the entire cast is suffering from an illness that is threatening to destroy the very fabric of this once great and powerful play with no plot or characters. Sources tell us that no less than 30 members of the cast have become infected with what doctors are unable to diagnose at our human levels of technology. Symptoms have included barfing, thick, rich coughs, sneezing, wet hands, and edema (or dropsy). If you see any of these cast members, please stay away as they will ask you for cigarettes and probably hug you.
The ground zero body for the illness is Brian Hinkle, teen heartthrob and weirdo.
More news on this breaking development as it...develops.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

EXCLUSIVE Interview with Michele Gorman!!!

Hello Cherrywatchers!  Today we have an interview with Columbia College grad and Cherrywood star Michele Gorman!

Nice to Meet You!

it's 9 am eric - i'm not in the mood.

How was your weekend?

what weekend?

Let's get right to the questions.

didn't you just ask a question?

Last Meal You’d Eat Before You Die?

i'm not on death row, eric, i don't like this question.

Last Time You Sang To Katy?

i don't know who that is and i don't care.

Last Time You Were Mistaken For Another Celebrity?

every day i have to remind carlo that i'm not that chick from the oc - the skinny one w/the drug problem - i mean i guess there's some similarities...

Last Time You Saw Katy?

haven't we already been thru this? who is this katy person? nevermind, don't tell me. i don't actually care.

Last Time You were Starstruck?

last nite - did you know CARLO LORENZO GARCIA is in this show?

Last Time You Hung Out with Adam Lambert?

i don't really associate w/"those people."

Last Time You Cried?

i'm crying right now.

Last Romantic Date You Had ?

"romantic"? "date?" i'm not familiar with these terms...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

EXCLUSIVE Cherrywood BBQ Pics! The Stars Are Just Like Us!

The whole gang! They party just like US!

Rich Cotovsky learns what fire can do!

Everyone can eat!

Sexy smiles!

This cast is HIP and underage!

Smoking is pretty cool at Camp Cherrywood! Join in kids!

Even special people can have fun at BBQs!

Be on the lookout for new heartthrob Geoff Button!

Javier Bardem and Briana are ready for your questions!

Grab a hat, why don't you?

About to make out with David Cromer? EXCLUSIVE!

Briana De Giulio laughs at Kasia, which quickly turns into a sexy arm rub.

Aileen May from Factory Theatre's Hey Dancin' is so mad at her new friends!

The older folks like to sit around the grill and talk about the old theatre times when Malkovich used to do the grilling and Michael Shannon would get really drunk and try to kiss them.

Exclusive Interview with Paul Holmquist

David Cromer's Cherrywood is rapidly becoming the most successful play to be on Planet Earth since Angels in America made it's way to Broadway during the Stonewall riots.
I was able to sit down with the second most important director in Chicago to discuss the arrival of the Cherrywood bus, and what this will mean to the future of entertainment as a whole and him in particular.

Nice To See You Paul.
--Yeah, right. Like I trust you.

Why Would You Say Something Like That To Me?
--You left without even saying Goodbye! No explanation, nothing. Just left me with the flaming bag of dogshit in my hand like it all meant nothing to you.

Let's Get Started, Jerk.
--Fine. Use me. Why stop now.

Last Time I Cried:
--When I woke up and you were gone and I saw the $45 on my nightstand.

Last Time I Lied:
--When I sang "I aint missing you at all"

Last Thing I Bought:
--A fifth of Jim Beam.

Last Time I Was Angry:
--When I opened my email and saw you wanted something from me. I owe you NOTHING. You took EVERYTHING.

Last Indulgence:
--I'm indulging you right now, you heartless fuck.

My Favorite Thing About Cherrywood At Mary Arrchie:
--All of the money those fine actors will make. 49 people finally making a living wage in Storefront theatre thanks to David "Jesus Walks" Cromer bringing in the big money from New York. I can't wait to miss this one!

Last Dream:
--A small cottage in the country, just us two. You come home from a long day working on our modest farm and I've just baked an olive loaf.

Last Food I’d Like To Eat Before I Die:
--You think about that and think hard. Before I Die. Doesn't it hurt just a little?

Last thing I bought my Mom:
--Tickets to your last show. What an idiot I was.

Why I think I'm so much better than you:
--Because I don't need you! I'm better than this! If you liked it, you should have put a ring on it - I'm out the door!

What's The Attraction To Cherrywood?
--Her name is Alison Cain.

Thanks For Your Time.
--Leave me alone. For ever.