Bolcom’s ‘Fairy Tales’ meets Britten’s ‘Simple Symphony’ in concert
By HEDY WEISS Theater Critic January 12, 2014 11:10PM
Bill Larkin | HANDOUT PHOTO
Updated: January 24, 2014 5:28PM
For its 13th annual family concert, Chicago Shakespeare Theater is joining forces with the Chicago Chamber Musicians to present composer William Bolcom’s “Fairy Tales” and excerpts from Benjamin Britten’s “Simple Symphony.” The one-hour concert (performed at 10 and 11:30 a.m. Jan. 18 and 19) is designed to introduce families and children ages 4 and up to the joys of live performance.
Bolcom’s “Fairy Tales,” to be directed by Scott Weinstein (who recently staged Griffin Theatre’s charming production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”), will feature a cast of three (Bill Larkin as the narrator, plus child actors Madison Olszewski and Johnny Rabe), telling the stories in counterpoint to the music. Among the tales to be spun are those of the Frog Prince; Jorinda and Joringel; the Fisherman and his Wife, and the Hare and the Hedgehog, with Bolcom’s score helping children discover how instruments are played individually and together, and how the music meshes with the actors to create a theatrical event.
The excerpts from “Simple Symphony” (a piece built on themes in compositions Britten wrote during his childhood, and familiar from the soundtrack for Wes Anderson’s 2012 film “Moonrise Kingdom”) pay homage to the 100th anniversary of the composer’s birth. (This year also marks the 75th birthday of William Bolcom.)
CCM ensemble members Joseph Genualdi (violin), and Rami Solomonow (viola) will be joined by guest artists Mathias Tacke (violin) and Douglas Johnson (double bass). Between concerts each day at 11 a.m., children can explore interactive exhibits in the theater’s lobby and chat with young musicians. For tickets ($20 adults; $15 children 12 and under), call (312) 595-5600; chicagoshakes.com.