A Light In The Dark – Documentary

I’ve been documenting the making of the new story ballet A LIGHT IN THE DARK from Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos of Thodos Dance Chicago for nearly six months, and we’re less than a week a away from the preview performances at The North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (Saturday Feb 16th at 8PM).  The ballet re-imagines the early life of Helen Keller through dance, specifically focusing upon her relationship with Teacher Anne Sullivan, who helps Helen learn how to communicate despite being both blind and deaf. It’s powerful stuff, and this weekend’s preview performance, featuring Jessica Miller Tomlinson as Helen Keller, and Alisssa Tollefson as Anne Sullivan, should make be a spectacular evening of dance theatre.

The ballet is already getting some great pre-release press in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times, and the Daily Herald … but for more info and to see early behind the scenes rehearsal pics, definitely click on over to the Kai/Harding website asap, or check out our latest teaser footage below!


Chris visits Little Rock’s ALICE 107.7FM!

alice1077logoREALLY looking forwards to chatting with Heather & DC of ALICE 107.7FM about KARL DAHL AND THE GOLDEN CUBE Thursday morning (June 2nd) at 9:30am! And don’t worry… If you’re NOT in Little Rock, you can still tune in from the web tomorrow LIVE via THIS LINK!


I was lucky enough to spend some quality time with the amazing women behind THE ENTERTAINMENT CORNER  this past week, and the result is a pretty epic recorded interview, now available on their site!  Through the skillfull reporting team of Mireille Miskulin and Kristine Radford, we successfuly condensed a lifetime of design, experimentation, and filmmaking into one interview, and somehow STILL managed to connect the dots between my dance, animation, and digital interests, and how they led up to the upcoming Little Rock Premiere of KARL DAHL and the GOLDEN CUBE!  Big Thanks to Mireille and Kristine for inviting me, and I hope we get to sit down again really soon!

Check out the Interview HERE!

REPLAY! Karl Dahl on the Cutting Room Floor – 5/7/2011

In case you missed me and Casey Ryan talking about Karl Dahl, indie animation, and the coolness that is the Little Rock Film Fest on this past Saturday’s Cutting Room Floor (May 7th at 11am CST), don’t you worry… you can still hear the interview in its entirety HERE! Enjoy!

The Cutting Room Floor Interview – Part 2!

Karl Dahl and the Golden Cube

Karl Dahl and the Golden Cube

Don’t forget to tune in for the next action packed episode of Casey Ryan’s Cutting Room Floor Tomorrow, May 7th at 11am CST, where me and Casey get to go dig in on Truly Indie Animation, all things Karl Dahl, discuss the elements of cartoon comedy, and talk about the upcoming premiere of Karl Dahl and the Golden Cube at the Little Rock Film Fest in June!  Hope to see you there!

“The White City” in the Press!


Gary Chryst, Melissa Thodos, Ann Reinking, and Chris Olsen at THE WHITE CITY's North Shore premiere

Between last weeks preview at the North Shore Center for the Performing arts, and the upcoming Chicago Premiere this Friday at the Harris Theater, “The White City” has been garnering some nice press attention… So I figured I should post some links to the latest and greatest news:

From Sid Smith of The Chicago Tribune

From Hedy Weiss in the Chicago Sun-Times 

From Zach Whittenburg  in TimeOutChicago:

And… a fun interview with Ann and Melissa on the “Rogue Ballerina” Blog:

Don’t forget that tickets are still available for this Friday’s Harris Theater Preformance!

When: 8 p.m. March 4th, 2011
Where: Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph St.
Price: $20-$60; call 312-334-7777

Hope to see you there!

REPLAY from “The Cutting Room Floor”-12/5/2010

Just in case you mised today’s show, you can catch the replay of my “The Cutting Room Floor” interview with Casey Ryan HERE! The show was a BLAST, and we touched on almost everything I have going on right now from dance, animation, and arts education, to The Artsiders, ButterflyFancy, and even the upcoming animated The Karl Dahl Show (which I PROMISE to post info on really soon)… so follow the link, and I hope you enjoy the show!

The Artsiders on DVD

By the way… If you are interested in picking up a copy of THE ARTSIDERS for yourself, you can buy it HERE



Chris Olsen on “The Cutting Room Floor!”-12/5/2010


Casey Ryan of The Cutting Room Floor

Once again, I almost forgot to let everybody know I’ll be joining Casey Ryan on his “The Cutting Room Floor” podcast this coming Sunday, December 5th @ 11 CST!  I can already tell its going to be a great show, and I hope you have the chance to tune in at http://www.talkshoe.com/tc/81947

 I’ll update this post with more info as I get it, but you can find out more about Casey and the “Cutting Room Floor” Podcast HERE: http://myrealbroadcast.myrealtalent.com/Cutting_Room_Floor/


Introducing THE WHITE CITY


The White City

The Chicago press just caught wind of  THE WHITE CITY, the wonderful NEW Thodos Dance Chicago stage production featuring incredible original choreography by Ann Reinking AND Melissa Thodos, music by amazing American composer Bruce Wolosoff, and film design by… Chris Olsen!  (Wheee!)  It’s such a thrill to be involved in a full blown theatrical stage show again, and I am REALLY looking forward to this! 

From the official press release:
“Based on actual events surrounding the Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago, The White City:  Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 is an ambitious story ballet in one act complete with period costumes, film design and video projection by Chicago filmmaker Chris Olsen and a libretto in the program.  Ann Reinking and Melissa Thodos are setting the piece to composer Bruce Wolosoff’sSongs Without Words”, which will be performed live on stage by the Carpe Diem String Quartet.  All of TDC’s 12 ensemble dancers will perform to tell the story of the legendary 1893 World’s Fair through contemporary dance.  Characters range from Mayor Carter Harrison, Sr.; Harrison’s assassin, Patrick Prendergast; John Root, one of the key architects of the Chicago World’s Fair; and Dr. H.H. Holmes, the cunning serial killer who used the fair to lure Fair victims to their death in his home.   

The White City will premiere on Saturday, February 19, 2011 at 8 p.m. at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts (9501 Skokie Boulevard in Skokie, Illinois), then reprise on Friday, March 4 at 8 pm at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, (205 East Randolph Drive, Chicago.)” 

This is going to be so much fun. 

If you have a chance, check out the Dec. 3rd print editions of the Chicago Sun-Times (which features a great image of TDC dancers Brian Hare and Jessica Miller Tomlinson on Page 37), and the Chicago Tribune, or read them both online via the following links: 

Chicago Tribune, Theater Critic Chris Jones blog post, 12/2/10

Chicago Sun-Times,  in print w/large color photo 12/3/10

For info on Thodos Dance Chicago, please visit:

And as always, stay tuned for the latest info, as the fun has only just begun!


Rick, Chris, and Dead End Amelia on LA Talk Radio!

Dean DiChoso, Rick Mizuno, Chris Olsen, Krista Lee, Los Salcedo

I had a blast on LA Talk Radio’s “Indies In Motion” Program this week!  Rick Mizuno (the show’s creator and host) is an all around remarkable guy, and it was great to be part of such a fantastic show. I shared the air with Krista Lee & Dean Dichoso of the LA rock band Dead End Amelia, and the two performed an acoustic set in studio that was completely enthralling.  I always loved “unplugged” sets, so sitting two feet away from the incredible talents of Krista Lee and Dean was a real thrill.  All in all, our one hour show flew by like the wind, but it was a ton of fun, so just in case you missed it, you can listen to the entire program right here!

(For more info on “Indies in Motion”, please visit: http://www.latalkradio.com/Rick.php)

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