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 ...

Review “Sweat” (Goodman Theatre): Don’t Sweat It

Wednesday, April 3, 2019 Permalink 0

Reviewed by Jay Worthington Goodman Theatre presents SWEAT. The play Sweat, playing now at the Goodman, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 2017. The play portrays a meeting between a parole officer and two ex-convicts, and three women who were childhood friends and had worked in the same factory.  The action takes place in a fictional bar ...

Review “Hands on a Hard Body” (Refuge Theatre): Sound Challenged

Monday, April 1, 2019 Permalink 0

Refuge Theatre presents HANDS ON A HARD BODY. The premise for this show is timely, relevant and fascinating. The creative team of Doug Wright (book), Amanda Green (lyrics and music), and Trey Anastasio (music) tell the story of survival of the fittest. In oppressed Longview, Texas, desperate citizens compete for a new Nissan “Hardbody” truck. The ...

Review “Best for Winter” (Idle Muse Theatre): Robust Storytelling

Idle Muse Theatre presents BEST FOR WINTER. Director Evan Jackson impressively adapts works by William Shakespeare, including The Winter’s Tale, into one epic tale. His storytelling is bursting with signature Shake; a mad king, a shipwreck, mistaken identities, star-crossed lovers. Jackson engages with an almost overwhelming 16 characters. Over time, his multiple storylines are weaved together  in a ...

Review “Anastasia” (Broadway in Chicago):Charming Elegance!

Thursday, March 28, 2019 Permalink 0

Broadway in Chicago presents ANASTASIA. The creative team of Terrence McNally (book), Stephen Flaherty (music) and Lynn Ahrens (lyrics), inspired by the movie, made this epic story into a musical. Anastasia is a Russian princess. Her fairytale life abruptly ends with her family being murdered. Although the country, now under communist rule, believes Anastasia perished with her ...

Review “A Bronx Tale” (Broadway in Chicago): “Sopranos” Meets “West Side Story”

Broadway in Chicago presents A BRONX TALE. It’s the Bronx 1960. Belmont Avenue is a close-knit Italian-American neighborhood of bakeries, bars and gangsters. Over on Webster Avenue, African-Americans have established their own community. Calogero (played by a charismatic Joey Barreiro) narrates his personal story about defying his father (played by Richard H. Blake). First, as as ...