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Music Box Theatre
Dance of Reality! Ferris Bueller! The Great Dictator!
Wednesday, May 28th, 2014

Happy Thursday Music Boxers,

Opening this week is The Dance of Reality, the first film in 23 years from visionary director Alejandro Jodorowsky (Subject of the recent documentary Jodorowsky’s Dune). In the radiantly visceral autobiographical film, a young Jodorowsky is confronted by compelling characters that contributed to his burgeoning surreal consciousness.
And if that’s not enough surrealism for you, we’ll also have midnight screenings of Jodorowsky’s cult quasi-Western El Topo!

We also have another week of Ida, the powerful and intimate drama about a young nun in 1960s Poland who discovers a dark family secret dating from the terrible years of the Nazi occupation. Ida received 4 Star reviews from the Tribune, Sun-Times, Reader, and more, so come check out the film everyone is talking about!

On Sunday at Noon, The Chicago Opera Theater presents The Great Dictator! This special screening of one of Charlie Chaplin’s finest achievements will be followed by a panel discussion and a live performance of highlights from Chicago Opera Theatre’s spring productions of Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis and Orff’s The Clever One. Purchase advance tickets now.

This weekend, catch midnight screenings of the John Hughes classic (and quintessential Chicago film) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, featuring a never-better Matthew Broderick as the only person who knows what makes life worth living. Our weekend matinee is Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy, a late period masterpiece from the Master of Suspense.

See you at the movies

Wednesday, May 28th – Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014

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The Dance of Reality

A film by Alejandro Jodorowsky starring Brontis Jodorowsky, Pamela Flores, Jeremias Herskovits


After a 23-year hiatus, The Dance of Reality marks the triumphant return of Alejandro Jodorowsky, the visionary Chilean filmmaker behind cult classics El Topo and The Holy Mountain.

“Jodorowsky’s episodic jumble of restaged childhood memories conjurs up a moving biographical effect akin to Fellini, Bergman, Peter Greenway or even Gabriel Garcia Marquez”
The Hollywood Reporter

“Alive with enough images and ideas for several movies”

In the radiantly visceral autobiographical film, a young Jodorowsky is confronted by a collection of compelling characters that contributed to his burgeoning surreal consciousness. The legendary filmmaker was born in 1929 in Tocopilla, a coastal town on the edge of the Chilean desert, where the film was shot. Blending his personal history with metaphor, mythology, and poetry, The Dance of Reality reflects Jodorowsky’s philosophy that reality is not objective but rather a “dance” created by our own imaginations.



A film by Pawel Pawlikowski starring Agata Trzebuchowska, Agata Kulesza, Dawid Ogrodnik


Anna, a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland, is on the verge of taking her vows when she discovers a dark family secret dating back to the years of the Nazi occupation.

“It haunted me. I can’t wait to see it again.”
–A.O. Scott, New York Times

“Absolutely stunning, one of the year’s best films”
–Oliver Lyttleton, The Playlist

From acclaimed director Pawel Pawlikowski (Last Resort, My Summer of Love) comes Ida, a moving and intimate drama about a young novitiate nun in 1960s Poland who, on the verge of taking her vows, discovers a dark family secret dating from the terrible years of the Nazi occupation.

18-year old Anna (stunning newcomer Agata Trzebuchowska), a sheltered orphan raised in a convent, is preparing to become a nun when the Mother Superior insists she first visit her sole living relative. Naïve, innocent Anna soon finds herself in the presence of her aunt Wanda (Agata Kulesza), a worldly and cynical Communist Party insider, who shocks her with the declaration that her real name is Ida and her Jewish parents were murdered during the Nazi occupation. This revelation triggers a heart-wrenching journey into the countryside, to the family house and into the secrets of the repressed past, evoking the haunting legacy of the Holocaust and the realities of postwar Communism.

In this beautifully directed film, Pawlikowski returns to his native Poland for the first time in his career to confront some of the more contentious issues in the history of his birthplace. Powerfully written and eloquently shot, Ida is a masterly evocation of a time, a dilemma, and a defining historical moment; Ida is also personal, intimate, and human. The weight of history is everywhere, but the scale falls within the scope of a young woman learning about the secrets of her own past. This intersection of the personal with momentous historic events makes for what is surely one of the most powerful and affecting films of the year.


The Chicago Opera Theater Presents: The Great Dictator

Tickets will be available at the door

Sir Charlie Chaplin’s first feature-length “talkie”, The Great Dictator, spotlights a satirical dictator whose demise is brought about by a Jewish barber who bears a striking resemblance to the tyrannical leader. The event will feature live musical excerpts from Chicago Opera Theater’s upcoming opera, the satirical double bill including Ullmann’s The Emperor of Atlantis and Orff’s The Clever One.

Following the film there will be a discussion featuring Andreas Mitisek (Director / Production Designer, Chicago Opera Theater) and Anne Libera (Director of Comedy Studies, The Second City) paired with a live performance of highlights from Chicago Opera Theatre’s spring productions of The Emperor of Atlantis and Orff’s The Clever One.

The Chicago Opera Theater’s Viewpoints is a series of events programmed around each opera production and specially designed to enrich the audience experience at upcoming productions. Most often in collaboration with other cultural organizations in Chicago, each Viewpoint is intended to stimulate conversation, enhance contextual and conceptual understanding and further engage the curiosity of the audience. These particular films have many similarities to The Emperor of Atlantis and The Clever One, as both the operas and the films explore themes of subversion, persecution and the Nazi regime during World War II with a satirical spirit.

The Emperor of Atlantis (Der Kaiser von Atlantis) and The Clever One (Die Kluge) are two satires about oppression and dictatorship. Both operas were composed in 1943 but under vastly different circumstances:

Ullmann penned The Emperor of Atlantis from the camp-ghetto of Terezin, while Orff enjoyed privileged status as a leading German composer when he wrote The Clever One. The historical tension between these two works is obvious. On one side is Ullmann, who vanished during the Third Reich; on the other side is Orff, whose Carmina Burana is performed every day somewhere on this planet, and who paid lip service to the Nazis in the same manner as Strauss.

Written for a performance by prisoners within the walls of the Theresienstadt concentration camp, Ullmann’s work, The Emperor of Atlantis, is a satire of fascism. The story takes place in Atlantis amidst a group of comical characters where Emperor Overall advocates total war against everyone and Death retires from his duties. The score contains musical quotations ranging from blues to the German National Anthem, “Deutschland über Alles,” performed in the style of a Bach chorale. In contrast, the fairytale opera The Clever One, by Carl Orff, best known for his perennial favorite Carmina Burana, tells of a foolish, tyrannical king being bested by a clever woman, a folktale found in many cultures. The composer also wrote his own libretto, based on the Grimm’s Fairy Tale “The Peasant’s Wise Daughter” (Die Kluge Bauerntochter).

Following the film there will be a brief discussion regarding the use of satire and humor in entertainment featuring Anne Libera of The Second City and Andreas Mitisek of the Chicago Opera Theater.

Andreas Mitisek (Director / Production Designer) Mitisek has been the General Director of Chicago Opera Theater since June of 2012. He is also the Artistic and General Director of Long Beach Opera (LBO) since 2003. A native of Austria, he served as Artistic and Music Director of the Wiener Opera Theater from 1990 to 1997. He is dedicated to attracting new audiences to COT by exploring unorthodox venues and presenting new and rare works (a key attribute of his leadership at LBO). Mitisek has been named by Opera News as one of the 25 people that will be a major force in the field of opera in the coming decade. Mitisek was featured as a LA Tastemaker by LA Times Magazine in 2009, Arts Leader of the Year by the Long Beach Arts Council in 2009, and was highlighted as one of the “2012 People” by LA Weekly. Recent COT credits include: The Fall of the House of Usher; conductor, stage director, and production designer, Maria de Buenos Aires; director and production designer, and Orpheus and Euridice; stage and production director.

Anne Libera (Director of Comedy Studies, The Second City) has worked with The Second City since 1986 and has taught in The Training Center since 1991. Her book, The Second City Almanac of Improvisation is published by Northwestern University Press. For The Second City, she directed The Madness of Curious George and Computer Chips and Salsa, the Theatre on the Lake productions The Second City Goes to War and The Second City Looks at The Windy City as well as touring company productions that have appeared all over the United States, in Edinburgh, Scotland and Vienna, Austria. Outside of Second City, her directing credits include Bunny, Bunny for Illinois Theatre Center and Stephen Colbert’s one man show Describing a Circle at Live Bait. She has been an artistic consultant to Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry and is on the part-time faculty of Columbia College. She has reviewed theater on WGN radio and written for the NPR news quiz show Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me. Anne serves on the governing board for Gilda’s Club Chicago.

About The Emperor of Atlantis and The Clever One

“The Emperor of Atlantis” and “The Clever One” will be performed at the DePaul’s Merle Reskin Theatre(60 E. Balbo) Tickets are priced from $35 – $125 and can be purchased by calling 312.704.8414 or via chicagooperatheater.org. The total running time is two hours and 30 minutes including one intermission.

Opera Performance Schedule:

  • Saturday, May 31, 7:30pm
  • Wednesday, June 4, 7:30pm
  • Friday, June 6, 7:30pm
  • Sunday, June 8, 3:00pm

About Chicago Opera Theater

Chicago Opera Theater (COT) is an innovative, nationally recognized opera company that engages a curious audience through adventurous opera experiences of new and rarely performed works. COT, established in 1974 by Alan Stone, is a founding resident company of the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in Millennium Park. New General Director Andreas Mitisek is known for his adventurous repertory, visionary leadership, fundraising skills, and innovative audience-building initiatives.

Chicago Opera Theater has carved a significant place for itself in the operatic life of Chicago and has reached an audience of hundreds of thousands through its main stage performances, community engagement, education programs in Chicago Public Schools, as well as its renowned Young Artist Program. For more information on the Chicago Opera Theater and its programs please visit www.chicagooperatheater.org.

The Great Dictator

A film by Charles Chaplin


The U.S. was not yet in World War II when Chaplin leveled his comedy arsenal at Der Führer by playing the dual roles of Hitler-like Adenoid Hynkel and a Jewish barber who is a dead-ringer for der Nutsie. Puns, sight gags and slapstick abound as Chaplin skewers fascism, balancing his attack with poignant scenes of a ghetto in the clutches of storm-trooping terror.


Sun, Jun 1 12:00pm

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off

A film by John Hughes starring Matthew Broderick, Alan Ruck, Mia Sara


While the rest of us were just thinking about it…Ferris borrowed a Ferrari and did it…all in a day. Ferris Bueller is a tricky but harmless fast-talker. But he knows how to have fun, which is exactly what he sets out to do when he feigns illness and talks his parents into letting him stay home from school.


El Topo

A film by Alejandro Jodorowski


Classic Americana and avant-garde European sensibilities collide with Zen Buddhism and the Bible as master gunfighter and mystic El Topo (played by writer/director Alejandro Jodorowsky) tries to defeat four sharp-shooting rivals on a bizarre path to allegorical self-awareness and resurrection. As it seeks an alternative to the Hollywood mainstream, El Topo is also the most controversial quasi-Western head trip ever made!



A film by Alfred Hitchcock


London is terrorized by a vicious sex killer known as the neck tie murderer. Following the brutal slaying of his ex-wife, down-on-his-luck Richard Blaney is suspected by the police of being the killer. He goes on the run, determined to prove his innocence. Hitchcock’s penultimate film was his last great film before his death.


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