Migdalia Cruz's darkly comic retelling of the Beauty & the Beast saga, called Fur, opens at Chicago's Steppenwolf Studio Theatre Jan. 19. A co-production between Steppenwolf and Latino Chicago, the show is directed by Ralph Flores. In Fur, Pet shop owner Michael falls in love with Citrona, a sideshow attraction who's part beauty, part beast. She, however, loves Nena, an animal trapper who lusts for Michael. Set in a desert landscape, Fur examines "the elusive character of beauty and the mystery of love."
"We all want to connect with someone and to find that `perfect' mate," director Ralph Flores said of the piece, "but the tragedy is that it's so rarely reciprocated. Fur takes an unflinching look at love, passion, lust and desire and examines individuals with the tenacity to go after these things at all costs, regardless of the consequences. The play asks us to be truly honest about who we are and our relationships in a way that can be quite frightening."
Appearing in Fur are Consuelo Allen, Marilyn Dodds Frank and Raul Esparza. Sets and lighting are by Patrick Kerwin, sound by Erick Leonardson, costumes by Kama Lindsey.
Latino Chicago's mission is "to present profound artistic expressions of the Latino reality which go beyond stereotypes and the folkloric;" Steppenwolf's Studio Theatre allows the company to "explore its commitment to new plays, foster the growth...of other ensemble theatres, and provide a sheltered environment for artists...where risk, experimentation and cultural diversity are embraced."
For tickets ($14.50-$19.50) and information on Fur, which begins previews Jan. 15 and runs to Feb. 9, call (312) 335-1650, or refer to the Steppenwolf regional theatre listing on Playbill On-Line.
--By David Lefkowitz