Holiday Events!!

The holidays are a crazy, busy time full of events and get-togethers. To help you keep it all straight, Bravo, Bloomington! has added an events calendar listing the multitude of performance events going on around town. You will find everything to help get you in the holiday mood. Bloomington had musicals, ballets, choirs, concerts, plays, and scary monsters? Check out the events calendar on the Bravo, Bloomington! homepage.

If you have or know of an event that you want added to the calendar, please message me here or through the blog site. I want to make this calendar as comprehensive as possible, and your help is absolutely necessary for that.

Wishing you a happy holidays!

“Do We Not Bleed?”: Liz Pazik on Being Shylock

It’s the Friday after the Cubs won the World Series. “I’m wearing Cubbie blue,” the text reads as I am walking the last few blocks to the coffee shop where I am supposed to meet Liz Pazik, Shylock from Cardinal’s Merchant of Venice.

I chuckle. “Well she is from Chicago,” I think to myself. I knew about the Cubs win; how could I not? Every form of media was inundated with Cubs frenzy. Friends I didn’t even know liked baseball were showing their Cubbie pride. While I grew up in a house full of baseball fans, my relationship with the sport is distant at best. I understood their excitement, but I was not part of it.

At the coffee shop, Liz’s Cubbie shirt, coat, and phone case made her stand out in the sea of student chic (the typical garb of any Bloomington coffee house crowd). She turned towards me, tears in her eyes. “I’m watching my Cubbies celebrate.” Liz is not just a Cubs fan; she is a super-fan from a family of Cubs fans. Her Cubbie love is almost genetic, and it was so infectious. As I listened to her talk about trips to Wrigley Field with her grandfather, the series games she watched with her cast mates, and the celebration parade in Chicago, I was sucked in. She made me not only understand her excitement, but her total immersion and investment in that moment made me feel (even if for just that little bit) like part of her Cubbie blue world.

In that moment, I realized just how much she had given up for being here in Bloomington. I almost felt bad for pulling her away from the Cub’s celebration to talk about Shylock. Yet that same immersion and investment was evident as she spoke about her relationship with theater, Shakespeare, and Shylock. Read more

Theater of Solace

Tonight I went to Cardinal’s Merchant of Venice a second time for a spotlight piece on the production’s Shylock. My teenage son joined me this time. I raised him on Shakespeare, and I wanted him to see this production. He loved it, and my love grew deeper.

This theater experience was different than the first. I could feel it. The room seemed heavy with worry and sadness about the current political and social situation. The words “distraction” and “escape” kept chiming in my ears, “I though this would be a nice distraction. I needed to escape for awhile.”

As I caught these half-overheard conversations, I thought to myself, “Escape? Distraction? Do these people not know what this play is about?” I walked into the theater, raw emotions exposed knowing that my experience here would hurt. Merchant is about hate, race, revenge, and violence. It is a mirror for our current experience. I knew that going in, but somewhere deep inside I knew I needed that pain.  Read more

“Seems to Me a Strange Thing, Mystifying”: IU’s Jesus Christ Superstar

For the first time in the short history of Bravo, Bloomington!, I got an unprompted invitation to come see and write about a show. This felt great! I had previously decided that due to an overly-full schedule and an overly-empty pocket book I was probably not going to be able to see IU’s JCS. The invitation and the free ticket excited me beyond all measure.

From as early as I can remember, Jesus Christ Superstar has been my favorite musical of all time. I blame my mother. She had the original cast recording from 1970 on vinyl. Even as a little girl, I’d get all giddy when I saw her going to our record collection hoping beyond hope that I would get to hear the combination of trippy guitar solos and screaming rock vocals. I’d bug her incessantly until she would finally just give in and let me listen. I would jump and dance around the house belting out every word. I didn’t (don’t) just sing along with JCS; I embody, embrace it. I get so consumed by the music and lyrics that I can’t do much else (I can’t even write a review of JCS while listening to JCS because I’d rather just sing along). Read more