All stories by Dan Jakes on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

When boy bands meet action films by Dan Jakes

During a decade for Chicago theater that has largely felt like an endless in memoriam reel for retiring or shuttered companies, there’s something reassuring about Factory Theater—a compa…

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Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Goofs, glorious goofs by Dan Jakes

Could you call Chris Dritsas’s and Zach Hacker’s musical comedy a parody? They probably wouldn’t fight you on it, but I might—the gags, send-ups, and compositions here (music by John…

SOURCE: at 03:49PM
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Hat trick by Dan Jakes

Forgetting a hookup’s name? Bad. Forgetting your spouse’s name? So bad it requires Old Testament intervention.   Hetchman (Scott Danielson) is on a mission to find his lost partner (Da…

SOURCE: at 11:43AM
Wednesday, February 21, 2024

High on mythology by Dan Jakes

Despite my years of research in the fields of using cannabis and watching funny things, I have to confess: I have no idea what qualifies as “stoner comedy.” Is it when the characters are…

SOURCE: at 11:33AM
Friday, February 16, 2024

Crossing political bloodlines by Dan Jakes

Billionaires take up so much oxygen in today’s political and cultural dialogue that it’s easy to forget how few of them there really are. Over $12 trillion of the world’s total spendin…

SOURCE: at 08:53AM
Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Sunsets in a basement by Dan Jakes

The term storefront gets tossed around as a catchall for modestly budgeted performance spaces. But Chicago stage artists and viewers are likely familiar with an even more shoestring venue ca…

SOURCE: at 01:49PM
Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Lycan it rough by Dan Jakes

The roommates in Steve Yockey’s 2013 one-act “Little Red Riding Hood” redux are too young to be spending their weekends hunkered down like grannies in a cabin, but that’s exactly wha…

SOURCE: at 11:51AM
Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Between the lines by Dan Jakes

The title of writer/director Mark Pracht’s second installment to his Four-Color Trilogy, a series about the comic books publishing industry, could easily be mistaken for one of the real-wo…

SOURCE: at 02:37PM
Thursday, August 31, 2023

Members only by Dan Jakes

“If the Internet taught me anything,” says Logan, a shaggy-haired, newly-out incoming college freshman played by Ben Ballmer, “it was that gay people are awesome.” He’s blessed in …

SOURCE: at 11:17AM
Friday, June 23, 2023

Sales floor Stockholm syndrome by Kerry Reid and Dan Jakes

Remote work, for those fortunate enough to enjoy it, has killed off many aspects of professional life that were long overdue to be put down: Agonizing commutes. $18 cafeteria salads. Ramblin…

SOURCE: at 10:37AM
Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Queer Singapore stories by Dan Jakes

Last year, speaking to a BBC reporter about the Singapore government repealing Section 377A, a colonialist-era holdover that criminalized gay sex, local LGBTQ+ historian Isaac Tng paraphrase…

SOURCE: at 01:45PM
Friday, April 21, 2023

Satirical Race Theory makes comedy look easy by Dan Jakes

The phrase “white spaces” evokes quite a few strong images. Kohl’s. The LDS Church. Late-night talk show desks. Bar Harbor, Maine. And, for too many comics, improv clubs. It’s no sec…

SOURCE: at 10:54AM
Thursday, March 30, 2023

Out in orbit by Dan Jakes

Originally developed by the Philadelphia-based Pig Iron Theatre Company in 2015, this queer adventure drag alt-comedy feels both like a natural fit for Hell in a Handbag Productions and a re…

SOURCE: at 12:23PM
Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Teenage traumas by Dan Jakes

Ask any middle-aged person about their first romantic breakup, and there’s a good chance they’ll laugh. Ask about their first friend breakup, on the other hand: no laughter. Director Eri…

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Friday, January 27, 2023

An emotional willkommen by Dan Jakes

Like many of the American musical theater greats, Cabaret is one of those shows that can suffer from style-creep, wherein an unwritten but generally agreed-upon aesthetic tradition grows int…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Doff we now our gay apparel by Dan Jakes

There are two Christmas pantomimes based upon 19th-century fables currently playing on Chicago stages, and unless Mary Zimmerman has been up to some dramatic retooling, it’s safe to assume…

SOURCE: at 12:19PM
Wednesday, November 30, 2022

American Blues plants a whole holiday garden by Dan Jakes

Frank Capra’s 1946 Christmas classic film is packed frame-by-frame with small moments of storytelling perfection, and as I get older, there’s one that just guts me like a fish. Exhausted…

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Thursday, November 3, 2022

Riot grrrl witch hunt by Dan Jakes

The surrealist, sometimes anarchic style of British playwright Caryl Churchill’s prose invites a lot of directorial interpretation and creativity from the theater artists who’ve been dra…

SOURCE: at 04:58PM
Friday, September 16, 2022

Chris Gethard tiptoes into uncharted territory by Dan Jakes

Comedian, author, and volunteer ambulance driver Chris Gethard may be a fully Boylan-blooded New Jerseyan, but he’s not shy about the extent to which his improv and stand-up DNA has […] …

SOURCE: at 10:40AM
Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Sci-fi head-scratcher by Dan Jakes

Organizational consulting is like a cube of lard: it looks like a sweet bite of white chocolate but sits heavy in the stomach. Stupid people are to be avoided, like […] The post Sci-fi hea…

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Wednesday, August 10, 2022

A musical class clown at 20 by Dan Jakes

In the 20 years since Mark Hollmann and Greg Kotis’s gently irreverent and thoroughly catchy musical premiered, it’s become such a beloved staple among professional and amateur companies…

SOURCE: at 03:54PM
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Flying feathers by Dan Jakes

There are a lot of substantive and weighty criticisms to be levied at the RuPaul’s Drag Race franchise and its global juggernaut influence over drag culture. Then there are petty ones, lik…

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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Southern spells by Dan Jakes

A good play, suggests Tony Kushner in his 1995 anthology Thinking About the Longstanding Problems of Virtue, “should be overstuffed.” Memorably comparing well-constructed theater to lasa…

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Teddy Roosevelt: The Man in the Arena reminds us what a leader looks like by Dan Jakes

A solo show about the man behind Bull Moose stands alone. By the time I had the opportunity to see Derek Evans’s 75-minute solo biographical lecture enactment,…

SOURCE: at 05:45PM
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Mrs. Warren's Profession confronts our hypocrisies about sex work by Dan Jakes

Elaine Carlson delivers a biting title performance for Promethean Theatre. To get an idea of just how convoluted the legal and moral attitudes toward sex work ar…

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Poison concocts a lethal mix of comedy and drama by Dan Jakes

A woman chemist helps wives dispatch their plutocratic husbands. In 2013, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum wrote an article for Wired magazine titl…

SOURCE: at 07:30PM
Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Spoken Word muddies the issue of consent by Dan Jakes

MPAACT's campus drama pushes some hot buttons, but casts an ugly pall. Playwright and MPAACT founding member Shepsu Aakhu was inspired to write this campus sexua…

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Tasters pictures dystopia—with a gourmet twist by Dan Jakes

Political prisoners swallow their pride (and maybe some poison) in Rivendell's world premiere. The gulags in Meghan Brown's world-premiere dystopian fable, The T…

SOURCE: at 12:50PM

Stop Kiss still feels (sadly) current by Dan Jakes

A brutal homophobic assault tests the love between two women in Diana Son's drama. To be queer and in love in a 90s play is a pitiable fate. At best, characters …

SOURCE: at 12:25PM
Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Todd Barry marks three decades in stand-up with Stadium Tour by Dan Jakes

Call him “bone dry” if you must, but don't call him “alt.” The laid-back, unassuming, eminently cool aesthetic of Pilsen's Thalia Hall is such a harmonio…

SOURCE: at 05:50PM
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Mystery of Edwin Drood provides a music-hall take on Charles Dickens by Dan Jakes

Blank Theatre Company shows off some chops in this Rupert Holmes musical. One of the easier riddles to solve in Rupert Holmes's 1985 musical comedy is why so few…

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All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards