OFFBEAT: Lookingglass Theatre marks 25th Anniversary with "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2013-02-09T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Lookingglass Theatre marks 25th Anniversary with "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad ZooBy Philip Potempa, (219) 852-4327

Continuing its 25th Anniversary Season, Lookingglass Theatre Company is ready for tonight's opening night of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize Finalist "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo," written by Rajiv Joseph and directed by Ensemble Member Heidi Stillman.

Tickets are now on sale for the production, which started previews Jan. 30 and runs until March 17, 2013 at Lookingglass Theatre Company, located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. at Pearson.

It's the story of Two US Marines and an Iraqi translator, thrust into a world of greed, mystery and betrayal after an encounter with a now-deceased but still very angry tiger. The streets of war-torn Baghdad are filled with ghosts, riddles and wry humor in what's billed as "Joseph's groundbreaking play" exploring the power and perils of human nature.

"We were on fire about "Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" as soon as we read it, long before we knew about its Broadway production or prior pedigree," said Lookingglass Artistic Director Andy White

"It felt like an intuitive match for Lookingglass; it grapples with all the biggest issues war, religion, death, violence in a highly theatrical manner with writing that is intensely lyrical, poetic, and often just hilarious. It smashes the poetic and the profane right next to each other, and feels simultaneously realistic and surrealistic in a way that is totally original and thrilling. Although it’s about some of the gritty realities of war and therefore perhaps not for the faint-of-heart, it's also a brilliant, thoughtful, and often very funny and full exploration of the best and worst of human nature both on and off the battlefield."

The cast features Troy West as Tiger, JJ Phillips as Kev, Walter Owen Briggs as Tom, Anish Jethmalani as Musa, Kareem Bandealy as Iraqi Man/Uday, Amy J. Carle as Iraqi Woman/Leper and Atra Asdou as Hadai/Iraqi Teenager).

The designers are Ensemble Member Daniel Ostling (Scenic), Ensemble Member Mara Blumenfeld (Costumes), Christine A. Binder (Lighting), Artistic Associate Rick Sims (Sound/Composer), Maria Defabo (Properties), and Meredith Miller (Specialty Properties Designer). The Fight Choreographer is Matt Hawkins and the Stage Manager is Artistic Associate Sara Gmitter.

"Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo" contains adult themes, coarse language and provocative content.

Tickets are $36 to $70 at or by phone at (312) 337-0665.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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