Review “SIX” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater): These Queens Rule!

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents the North American Premiere production of SIX. Divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived! The dynamic show starts with these six decisive words. The wives of Henry VIII announce how they became an ex. Each word stinging with assault and insult. The song’s dramatic pizzazz is reminiscent of Chicago’s “Cell Block Tango.” ...

Review “The Children” (Steppenwolf Theatre): Intriguing Story, Nonchalance Storytelling

Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents the Chicago premiere of THE CHILDREN. Playwright Lucy Kirkwood layers the intrigue in her play about the fallout from a disaster. The cautionary tale describes home life post nuclear explosion. Survivors are living in designated safe zones. Water, food, and electricity are valuable rations. Her doomsday scenario is palpable. Kirkwood drops us into a ...

Review “West Side Story” (Lyric Opera): Top-of-the-Line Staging Gleams and Dazzles

Reviewed by Tom Lawler Who should this see this: Fans of Broadway Classics, Leonard Bernstein and Doomed Teenage Love. What’s it all about: A revival of the Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim musical that transposes Shakespeare’s timeless Romeo and Juliet tragedy to a gritty 1950s New York City, replete with warring (and singing and dancing) Jets and Sharks. In ...

Check-in for March and April

Wednesday, May 1, 2019 Permalink 0

May 1st  This is a two month check-in for March and April. It’s a little different than my monthly report but I was so busy that I needed to cram two months together.  My beautiful niece-in-law Kylie asked me to be a part of a surprise 30th birthday trip for her husband (my nephew) Joey. I joined ...

Review “Othello” (Babes with Blades): Passionate and Powerful!

Babes with Blades Theatre Company presents OTHELLO. Under the skillful direction of Mignon McPherson Stewart, the Babes mount an all-female cast for OTHELLO. William Shakespeare penned this tragedy play about jealousy, betrayal, revenge and redemption. The focal point of the story is the love between Othello (played by an outstanding Brianna Buckley) and Desdemonda (played by ...

Review “Hamlet” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater): To Go Or Not To Go?

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents HAMLET. William Shakespeare penned this tragedy about a son’s revenge for his father’s murder.  The well-known Shakespeare play is the origin for the familiar ‘to be or not to be?’ It’s a question pondered by Hamlet (played by Maurice Jones) as he grapples with death and immortality. Shakespeare’s famed tale is riddled ...

Review “A Chorus Line” (Porchlight Music Theatre): Mega Singular Sensation!

Porchlight Music Theatre presents A CHORUS LINE.  The creative team of James Kirkwood, Jr. (book), Nicholas Dante (book), Edward Kleban (lyrics) and Marvin Hamlisch (music) debuted this musical in 1975. The story focuses on 17 performers trying out for a show. During the audition process, they will  not only sing and dance, the director will push ...

Review ADMISSIONS (Theater Wit): Solid A+

Monday, April 15, 2019 Permalink 0

Theater Wit presents the Midwest Premiere of ADMISSIONS. The timing couldn’t be better for this insightful look into the competitive world of college acceptance. For the last few weeks, the media has spewed out the scandal surrounding celebrities buying their kids’ way into elite colleges. The general public has been scratching their heads and wondering ‘why ...

Review “Pinocchio” (House Theatre): Puppetry Magic

House Theatre of Chicago presents the World Premiere of PINOCCHIO. ‘Pinochle.’ ‘Pistachio.’ ‘Pinocchio!’ The name, ‘Pinocchio’, gets amusingly butchered throughout this reimagined children’s classic. The mispronunciation of the name is an ongoing joke in the witty script. Adapters Joseph Steakley and Ben Lobpries have updated the well-known puppet story. Although they provide fun with plenty of spirited ...

Review “Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical” (Hell in a Handbag): Classic Handbag!

Hell in a Handbag presents POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. It was my pleasure to be in the original audience when David Cerda (book, lyrics, music*) christened his ship, POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical. That maiden voyage launched Hell in a Handbag Productions seventeen years ago. For nearly two decades, I’ve enjoyed plenty of campy fun Handbag ...