Brown Paper Box Co. is founded on the love of engaging, innovative and simple theatre. Their recent production, POSITIVELY PRESENT: An Uplifting Cabaret, is a shining example of this mission. One by one, local theatre lovers and performers took the stage to perform a song they feel embodies the themes of being positive and being present. The result was an intimate evening that felt like a room full of close friends enjoying music together.
Each performer brought his or her own interpretation to the theme of the evening. Some were performers around Chicago, while others were staff members of Brown Paper Box Co. No matter the background, the performance was pleasurable and heartwarming. Some told stories of their childhood theatre going experiences. Others told of their current struggles and what they have attempted to do to remain positive.
M. William Panek, a founding member of Brown Paper Box Co., performed a song called “(Stupid) Things I Won’t Do,” while interspersing anecdotes from his childhood. It felt as if he were simply having a conversation with each audience member, while still making the song a room-filling performance.
Kristi Szczepanek, the host of the evening as well as a performer, shared her personal experience of being diagnosed with a mental disorder over the past year. The courage of each performer to share these personal anecdotes seemed to culminate with her story. Her struggle to remain positive was a scene-setter for the finale she began of the well-known “Tomorrow” from ANNIE. By this time, the audience felt so comfortable with each performer, now all on stage, that the sing-a-long felt like a natural progression.
Photos by Zach Dries
Top Pick For: Lovers of Musical Theatre and Positivity
Not recommended for: Those Intent on Being Miserable
Info on Upcoming Productions:
Online at http://www.brownpaperbox.org/