‘Dead Queens’ reigns again
Rehearsing for Piccolo's production of "Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry" are (from left) Berner Taylor, Amy Gorelow (top), Nicole Keating (bottom) and Vanessa Hughes.
‘Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry’
Evanston preview at Piccolo Theatre at Evanston Arts Depot, 600 Main St., 8 p.m. Aug. 23-25; 3 and 7 p.m. Aug. 26. $12.50-$25
piccolotheatre.org; (847) 424-0089
Previews Sept. 6-9 with the regular run continuing through Oct. 6 at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago
(773) 404-7336, Ext. 201; www.greenhousetheater.org
Updated: August 22, 2012 3:02PM
In a bold move, Evanston-based Piccolo Theatre company will begin its 2012-13 season with a reprisal of one of its most successful productions — “Six Dead Queens and an Inflatable Henry” in an effort to raise its visibility and broaden its audience.
“It’s an experiment,” said John Szostek, Piccolo’s artistic director. “For several years, we’ve been looking at our productions to see which show might be good to introduce to the Chicago market to increase attendance here in Evanston.”
Following a brief advance showing on its home turf, Piccolo will mount the show for a full run at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave., (the old Victory Gardens), with previews running Sept. 7-9 and the regular run continuing through Oct. 6.
Szostek said Greenhouse Theater has a 120-seat capacity compared to Piccolo’s 50-seat space in the Evanston Arts Depot.
“Six Dead Queens,” originally devised by Foursight Theatre in England, weaves history and comedy in a tale about six actual queens — three Catherines, two Annes and one Jane — who lived and died as wives of King Henry VIII in the 16th century.
The story is a simple, if silly one: The royal highnesses assemble in the oversized royal bed, where they sing, dance and fight over who is the one true queen. An inflatable Henry does make an appearance later in the proceedings, which adds to the fun.
This show, notes Szostek, is not suitable for children younger than high school.
Piccolo first staged the show in mid-2010, and it garnered audience approval and critical acclaim.
Szostek described the 90-minute show “a raucous royal romp.”
It’s also different from a standard show in that the performers are the directors. Three of the original cast members are returning for the revival: Denita Linnertz, Nidcole Keating and Amy Gorelow. Joining them are ensemble members Vanessa Hughes, Deborah Craft and Laura Berner Taylor. So there will be differences in the show.
However the set is similar to the original production, Szostek noted, but the costuming is “entirely different.” So this version should be as lively and fresh as the original.
Next in Piccolo’s “season of spirits” will be “Bah, Humbug,” a panto that parodies “A Christmas Carol.” Noel Coward’s “Blithe Spirit” will follow in late March.