About Face Theatre Company is pleased to announce the appointment of Dean Carpenter as its new Managing Director. Carpenter succeeds Corinne Neal, who stepped down early this year. "We are very proud to welcome Dean to the About Face Theatre staff as we head into our 20th anniversary season," comments Artistic Director Andrew Volkoff. "We're excited to have him as part of our leadership and I know that Dean's breadth of knowledge and experience will be instrumental as we look towards the future," adds Volkoff.A Chicagoland native, Carpenter recently moved from New York City where he worked in both non-profit and commercial theatre. He served as General Manager to Second StageTheatre from 2011- 2013, managing several world premiere productions including: Water by the Spoonful, All New People and Dogfight, as well as revivals of How I Learned to Drive and The Last Five Years. Prior to Second Stage Theatre, Carpenter worked on the General Management teams for the worldwide productions of Wicked and Jersey Boys. As an independent producer and manger, he has brought many new works to the stage including: 'til Divorce Do Us Part, Peninsula, Hell's Belles and (Mary) Todd among others. He is on the Board of Directors of Off-Broadway League board and serves as Secretary, as well as chair of the Marketing Committee. Prior to his career in theatre, Carpenter worked in the consumer advertising industry and has an extensive background in consumer marketing and research. He earned an undergraduate degree in Theatre fromNorthwestern University and a Master of Fine Arts in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University.
About Face Theatre creates exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays to advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity, and to challenge and entertain audiences in Chicago, across the country, and around the world.
By Nicole Martin
Despite the massive success of Will Ferrell's Elf (2003) and the cultural phenomenon it becomes every year shortly after Halloween, Elf the Musical has never really caught on. After debuting on Broadway five years ago, the three limited runs each Christmas season and subsequent national tours seemed to come and go with a whimper.
Now that I've finally seen the show for myself, it isn't hard to understand why. In fact, the show's relationship to the original source material has to be the only reason the show received whimpers instead of the truly terrible response it deserves.
Entirely immemorable and fluffy to the point of pure laziness, the plot is squished down and simplified in such a sloppy way that each song feels like a hybrid of condescending narration and ridiculous lesson-learning. Regardless of the cast and creative team's best efforts - they do seem to be having fun and there is a lot of talent involved - they simply cannot replace the irresistible charm of the movie when their vessel is as lazy as boxed stuffing. The kids may find something to enjoy here, but anyone looking for more than even the most basic of entertainment should consider looking elsewhere.
Elf runs at the Marriott Linconshire through December 31st. For more information: http://www.marriotttheatre.com/show/elf