Review “The Boys in the Band” (Windy City Playhouse): Cool Aesthetics and Thought-provoking Turmoil

Sunday, February 16, 2020 Permalink 0

Windy City Playhouse presents THE BOYS IN THE BAND. On the heels of its Southern Gothic immersion success, WCP gives us another cultural virtual reality. This experience is set in a high-rise in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in 1968 for a birthday party.    Audience members, in groups of 5-6, are directed by the house ...

Review “Emma” (Chicago Shakespeare Theater): Winsome!

Chicago Shakespeare Theater presents EMMA a new musical. Jane Austen’s beloved tale of a young woman of privilege and her questionable matchmaking skills gets a musical makeover. Paul Gordon (book, music, lyrics) deftly adapts the classic. Gordon serving as playwright and composer aids the ongoing seamless transitions. Characters’ musings go from spoken to sung with a breath ...

Review “Sheepdog” (Shattered Globe Theatre): Powerful Storytelling!

Shattered Globe Theatre presents the Chicago Premiere of SHEEPDOG. Playwright Kevin Artigue dissects an interracial relationship of cops turned lovers. Artigue's story starts with Leslie Ann Sheppard (Amina) coming home to confront Drew Schad (Ryan). Schad playfully announces the dinner he cooked isn't the greatest. A somber Sheppard utters the wince-worthy words, 'we need to talk.' This pivotal moment is supported by a ...

Review “Verböten” (The House Theatre): It so Rocks !

The House Theatre of Chicago presents the World Premiere of Verböten.  I’m always curious to the inspiration behind a play. What’s the story behind the story? Well, after watching HBO’s “Sonic Highway” Chicago Playwright Brett Neveu was motivated to tell this story of Verböten. Foo Fighter’s David Grohl spotlighted the band in the HBO documentary. His ...

Review “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies” (Porchlight Music Theatre): The Duke’s Treasure!

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 Permalink 0

Porchlight Music Theatre presents DUKE ELLINGTON’S SOPHISTICATED LADIES. Step into Porchlight Music Theatre, step into a different era. The design team (Angela Weber Miller - scenic and Denise Karczewski - lighting) have transformed the stage into a swank nightclub. Soft pink lighting illuminates art deco-style cut-outs. In between columns, long sweeping curtains line the backdrop. The ...

Review “Top Girls” (Remy Bumppo): Thought-provoking Tale of Girl Power

Wednesday, February 5, 2020 Permalink 0

Remy Bumppo Theatre presents TOP GIRLS. Playwright Caryl Churchill pens a quirky yet thought-provoking tale of girl power. Churchill tells her story in three acts. In the first act, Marlene (played by Linda Gillum) celebrates her recent promotion at a dinner party. The fantasy feast brings together women throughout history. They are drinking in each other’s ...

Review “Bunny’s Book Club” (Lifeline Theatre): Hop to It!

Sunday, January 26, 2020 Permalink 0

Lifeline Theatre’s KidSeries presents BUNNY’S BOOK CLUB, based on the children’s book by Annie Silvestro; illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. Adapter Aly Renee Amidei skillfully translates Silvestro’s learn-to-love-reading story. A bunny (played by u/s LaRose Washington at my performance) is encouraged by her woodland creature friends to find a hobby. They (Tyra Bullock -Mole, Jose M. Cervantes - Porcupine, & Matt Patrick -Bear) nudge ...

November and December Check-in!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020 Permalink 0

January 1st Today, I didn’t just celebrate the start of a new year and a new decade. I geeked out over new insurance kicking in…. employer-paid insurance!  It is one of the many perks in my newly employed state. Because of the job, I also benefitted from holiday pay on days I didn’t actually work ...

Review “Dance Nation” (Steppenwolf Theatre): Dreams. Hopes. Desires. Needs.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019 Permalink 0

Reviewed by Kevin Porter Steppenwolf Theatre Company presents DANCE NATION. Dreams.  Hopes.  Desires.  Needs.  Is there ever a time where these concerns are of greater import than age 13? The required casting of actors all across the age spectrum in Dance Nation made me think Clare Barron believes these concerns are just as towering, dramatic, and exciting at each point of ...