SHAW CHICAGO TO CELEBRATE THEATER ICON CORNELIA OTIS SKINNER
by Hedy Weiss
The ShawChicago Theatre Company, which devotes every breath it takes to the work of George Bernard Shaw, is staging a most intriguing benefit under the title, "The Art of Cornelia Otis Skinner."
The Chicago-born Skinner emerged from the proverbial "theater trunk" -- launched as an actress when she went to work in her father, Otis Skinner's, company at The Empire Theatre in New York in a 1921 production of "Blood and Sand." She would go on to make a career for herself--not only as an actress, but as an author, playwright, and the nation's foremost performer of modern monologues and unique costume dramas for a single actress. She carried the art of solo drama to its peak, most often portraying multiple characters with a common interest or experience -- or, as in the works to be done at the benefit -- with a common love.
The ShawChicago benefit program, starring veteran actress Barbara Zahora, will feature two of Skinner's famous monodramas -- "The Loves of Charles II" and "Paris '90." Adapted and directed by ShawChicago artistic director Robert Scogin, these unique solo performances explore the dynamic women of England's Merry Monarch and the world of French artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, respectively.
"The Art of Cornelia Otis Skinner," will be performed March 18 at 7:00 p.m. at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 N. Dearborn. Tickets range from $55 ($20 tax deductible) to $110 ($75 tax deductible) and are on sale now. For more information call (312) 587-7390 or visit www.shawchicago.org.