Review “Shakespeare in Love” (Chicago Shakespeare Theatre): Enchanting!

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE. I loved the movie.  I loved this play. Screenwriters Marc Norman and Tom Stoppard imagined Will Shakespeare's writing process in creating his masterpiece "Romeo and Juliet." The romantic comedy has the penniless playwright (played by the charismatic Nick Rehberger) struggling to tell a story. When he falls for the ...

Review “Hookman” (Steep Theatre): Twisted Caricatures and Cruelty

Friday, April 21, 2017 Permalink

Steep Theatre presents HOOKMAN. Steep steps away from its traditional British angst for some pure campy Americana. Playwright Lauren Yee pens a gory thriller. Yee anchors her story with the urban legend of a homicidal manic with a hook for a hand.  A young gal named Lexi (played by Kiayla Ryann) has suffered personal trauma. Her ...

Review “Aladdin” (Broadway in Chicago): Summer Stay-cation Destination

Thursday, April 20, 2017 Permalink

Disney Theatrical Productions and Broadway In Chicago present the North American tour of DISNEY'S ALADDIN. Who did it better? Disney animators or Disney's creative team of Alan Menken (music), Howard Ashman (lyrics), Tim Rice (lyrics), Chad Beguelin (lyrics and book).  No contest!  This live production of the beloved cartoon has more of everything! More story, more music, more action, ...

Review “Marry Me a Little” (Porchlight Music Theatre): Entertain Me a Lot!

Porchlight Music Theatre presents MARRY ME A LITTLE. Austin Cook and Bethany Thomas star in this musical montage of a relationship.  We meet Cook and Thomas on a lonely Saturday night. They are both focusing on their passion:  his -the piano, hers- photography.  Their resignation to single-dom is interrupted by a chance meeting. This infrequently performed Stephen Sondheim ...

Review “For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday” (Shattered Globe): Missing Some Whimsy and Drama

Shattered Globe Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of FOR PETER PAN ON HER 70th BIRTHDAY. Live theatre provides its own unexpected moments of magic.  In last night's show, I sat in front of Playwright Sarah Ruhl as she watched her mom (Kathleen Ruhl) perform.  Sarah had penned this play based on an actual event in her mother's life. ...

Review “The? Unicorn? Hour?” (Neofuturists): YES!!!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 Permalink

The Neo-Futurists are proud to present a world premiere created and performed by Leah Urzendowski and Anthony Courser THE? UNICORN? HOUR? Are you feeling depressed?  Do you need a shot of joy?  Well, Urzendowski and Courser are offering up big buckets of shiny, sparkly pleasure.  As the creators and performers behind THE? UNICORN? HOUR?, Team U&C fabricate a womb ...

Review “Spamilton” (Royal George Theatre): Perfect Spoof for “Hamilton” Fans

I saw "Hamilton" this past Fall.  I fell in love...hard.  I want to see it again and again and again. Since tickets are scarce and expensive, I pacify myself with listening to the complete cast recording at least weekly. For people like me salivating for another slice of Ham, I suggest a hunk of Spam.  SPAMILTON ...

Review “Beyond Caring” (Lookingglass Theatre): Uncomfortably and Heartbreakingly Real

Wednesday, April 5, 2017 Permalink

Lookingglass Theatre Company, in association with Dark Harbor Stories, presents the U.S. premiere of BEYOND CARING. This show is uncomfortably and heartbreakingly real. It's the working poor up close and personal. Playwright and director Alexander Zeldin forces us to experience the lives of four temps on the third shift of a meat-packing company. He immediately spills us ...

Review “The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz” (House Theatre of Chicago): Good and Terrifying

The House Theatre of Chicago announces the final production in their 15th season, The Great and Terrible Wizard of Oz. To be clear, this isn't Judy Garland's "Wizard of Oz." Although House Theatre recommends this production for ages 10 and up, I'm not as certain. I don't want to spoil the dramatic roll-out so I'll just simply say witches are ...