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New Johnston translation of Brel performed in Chicago

June 6, 2008

CHICAGO--The world premiere of "Jacques Brel's Lonesome Losers of the Night," translated by Western Michigan University's Dr. Arnold Johnston, opens tonight in Chicago with praise from critics who previewed the performance.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and at 7 p.m. Sundays through July 20 at the No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood Ave., Chicago.

"Lonesome Losers" follows the trials of two sailors at port in a bar in Amsterdam and examines how relationships bloom and wilt through the magical lyricism of Brel.

Johnston, a professor of English at WMU, has an extensive career as both a playwright and actor. He is acknowledged by many, including Brel's widow, for the authentic quality of his translations of the famed Belgian-French singer.

The production is performed by the Theo Ubique Theatre Company and directed by Fred Anzevino, the same combination the brought "A Jacques Brel Revue: Songs of Love and War," Johnston's previous translation, to the No Exit Cafe in 2006.

"Brel was in the category of Dylan or Elvis in terms of his popularity in Europe," Johnston is quoted saying in a Chicago Sun Times review. "He started out with a guitar in coffeehouses and became musically adventurous as his career advanced."

Tickets are $20 and may be reserved by calling (773) 743-3355. Special prices for students, senior citizens and groups are available. Dinner packages, including authentic French cuisine, also are available.

Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

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