Theater Holiday Gift Guide
Show off your love for the Earth and for Martha and the gang with RetroActif messenger bags and totes (messenger $60, tote $45), made from repurposed PVC street-pole banners like the ones Steppenwolf hangs around its Lincoln Park environs. Just don’t take them with you to see American Buffalo—that’d be as lame as wearing the band T-shirt you just bought at the merch table. Available at Steppenwolf Theatre Company (1650 N Halsted St, 312-335-1650).
Two of Lookingglass Theatre Company’s highest-flying shows return in 2010. You can catch both Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale, playing the Goodman’s Owen Theatre in April, and the latest iteration of Lookingglass Alice, which features Molly Brennan as the Red Queen, with a Lookingglass Circus Subscription ($48–$86 for both shows). Available at lookingglasscircus.org.
Kris’s wish list
In 1986, legendary theater impresario Joe Papp commissioned Kenneth Turan, now film critic for The Los Angeles Times, to write a definitive history of Papp’s Public Theater. Two years and 160 interviews later, the mercurial Papp spiked the project with no explanation to Turan. Now, with the blessing of Papp’s widow, Turan has finally published Free for All: Joe Papp, the Public, and the Greatest Theater Story Ever Told (Doubleday, $39.95). I can’t wait to see what got Papp so worked up. Available at Borders (locations around the city, borders.com).—Kris Vire
John’s wish list
Thornton Wilder’s always been one of American theater’s underrated heroes, the victim of his popularity among high-school drama departments and community theaters. Director David Cromer has done a good deal to change that in the last couple of years. But Wilder’s Selected Letters, out in paperback December 1 (HarperCollins, $19.99), should cement the Our Town author’s standing. Sending off missives to Hemingway, the Fitzgeralds, Laurence Olivier and mentor Gertrude Stein, among countless other cultural icons, Wilder discusses literature and provides sketches of midcentury life. Available at amazon.com.—John Beer