All stories by Irene Hsiao on BroadwayStars

Thursday, April 2, 2020

Dancing alone together by Irene Hsiao

Dancers figure out how to create in isolation. Dances are made in time and space, a minute or an hour in a dancer’s life never to be seen again. Dances do not …

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Monday, March 30, 2020

Lou Conte Dance Studio closes after 46 years by Irene Hsiao

Hubbard Street's management blames COVID-19, but Conte and others raise questions. A studio, in its essence, is nothing more than an empty room.…

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Tuesday, March 17, 2020

The Two Character Play gets the context it deserves. by Irene Hsiao

Tennessee Williams's oft-revised story delivers to arresting effect with Theatre L'Acadie. "Having the necessary arrogance to assume that a failed production of …

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman is Gorey-meets-Kafka by Irene Hsiao

Gift Theatre brings a dark fable to life. Once upon a time, in a room that looked like a fifth-grade classroom after a firebombing followed by an era of mildew, …

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Thursday, February 27, 2020

March forward, spring ahead by Irene Hsiao

Ten performance picks to blow you away this month Theater (Kerry Reid) What the Constitution Means to Me Heidi Schreck's Tony-nominated play, in which the playwr…

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Trinity Irish Dance Company plays at the intersection of American Traffic by Irene Hsiao

A new work at the Auditorium combines Irish and African American dance traditions. In the 19th century, amid social unrest, crime, and infectious disease in the …

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

The Times Are Racing has urgency, but lacks vision by Irene Hsiao

Electric performances heat up a Joffrey program that could use more coherence. Antarctica has hit a record high temperature. Sixty thousand known cases of the ne…

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Leaping into live performance for February by Irene Hsiao

Our critics suggest ten ways to fill out that slightly longer calendar this month. Theater (Kerry Reid) Sophisticated Ladies…

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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Bridging the spiritual and political divide in I Hunger for You by Irene Hsiao

Kimberly Bartosik/daela make their Chicago debut. In 2017, when choreographer and former Merce Cunningham dancer Kimberly Bartosik began working on I Hunger for …

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Monday, January 27, 2020

Caught Up: A Review of The Mousetrap at Court Theatre by Irene Hsiao

The characters in Sean Graney's production of Agatha Christie's delicious whodunit slowly come undone like so much hard candy.

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Light in Winter celebrates Unity Temple in music and movement by Irene Hsiao

Frank Lloyd Wright's recently restored “good-time place” provides a divine backdrop for Winifred Haun and Dancers. No entrance greets the eye at the intersec…

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Monday, January 20, 2020

The Art of Loss: A Review of Thirst at Strawdog Theatre Company by Irene Hsiao

Playwright C.A. Johnson's world of civil war, bombs, looting, gangs and starvation is hardly fictional. It is practically here.

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Friday, December 20, 2019

Girls in a dance troupe glimpse the pain of the adult world in Dance Nation by Irene Hsiao

Clare Barron's drama delivers flagrantly graceless dancing, but heartstopping truths. The curtain never rises on Clare Barron's ferocious, Pulitzer-finalist play…

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This list goes to 11: our critics share their best bets for chilly nights by Irene Hsiao

Break the hibernation habit with some hot choices onstage. THEATER PICKS (KERRY REID) Whisper House…

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

No one is alone by Irene Hsiao

The best moments in dance this year focused on the power of community. In the mad scene in Akram Khan's Giselle for the English National Ballet at the Harris The…

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Sara Schumann uses her dance and law background to keep Madison Ballet on pointe by Irene Hsiao

The longtime Chicago dancer and labor lawyer turns Nutcracker revenues into new initiatives. For most, the holidays mean food, family, festivities, and fits of r…

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Monday, December 16, 2019

Light Headed: A Review of The Light in the Piazza at Lyric Opera of Chicago by Irene Hsiao

By the end of this melodious but ultimately vapid production you too might feel as if you've been kicked in the head.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Bangarra Dance Theatre brings its distinctive language to Chicago by Irene Hsiao

Based in Australia, the company fuses contemporary dance with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander traditions. Bangarra Dance Theatre of Australia makes its Chi…

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Monday, November 18, 2019

Riven and Vivid: A Review of Oedipus Rex at Court Theatre by Irene Hsiao

A contemporary and timeless vision from the premiere source for classical Greek theater.

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

The music entices, but the story is corny in Sombras Tango Cabaret by Irene Hsiao

Tango 21 Dance Theater's cabaret show lacks narrative sophistication. Originating on the streets of Argentina, filtered through European high society, blending A…

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Rink Life takes us on a circular journey through collaboration by Irene Hsiao

Lucky Plush's new ensemble piece uses the roller rink as a metaphor for community. Ah, the roller rink—a community center where everyone keeps moving in circle…

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Monday, November 11, 2019

An Enduring Holiday Tradition: A Review of The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Lookingglass Theatre Company by Irene Hsiao

Directed by Mary Zimmerman, this ardent and wide-eyed holiday show returns, albeit with at least one noteworthy blind spot.

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

This, That, and the Third breaks down code-switching by Irene Hsiao

Rena Butler explores otherness and adaptation to new spaces in her contribution to Hubbard Street's Forge Forward program. This week, Hubbard Street Dance Chicag…

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Monday, November 4, 2019

Crime After Crime: A Review of Dead Man Walking at Lyric Opera of Chicago by Irene Hsiao

The characters in Jake Heggie's 2000 opera acquire charisma through the unhappiness of their situations and the obsessions that drive them.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Alexandra Bachzetsis takes stock of exchange in Chasing a Ghost by Irene Hsiao

The choreographer's duets about changing partners takes over the Art Institute's Trading Room. On the northeasternmost edge of the Art Institute of Chicago, wher…

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Monday, October 28, 2019

Sign of the Times: A Review of You Are Happy at Red Theater Chicago by Irene Hsiao

Both spoken and signed, this production plays its source material twice, spotlighting the disturbing ventriloquism of romantic relationships.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Marginalia centers on two women and their "ferocious, rambunctious way of being" by Irene Hsiao

Khecari's new duet debuts at Links Hall. Two women begin with motion that is rapid and unrelenting, fearlessly yielding to momentum, whirring limbs about the axi…

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Tuesday, October 22, 2019
Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Richard III walks into a karaoke bar . . . by Irene Hsiao

Shakespeare's villain goes flat in Eclectic Full Contact's production. Shakespeare's Richard III is the embodiment of a man with a chip on his shoulder, a hunchb…

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Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Evolutionary movement: Visceral Dance Chicago looks at the past and the future by Irene Hsiao

The company's fall series at the Athenaeum celebrates past work by artistic director Nick Pupillo and introduces a new piece by Spanish choreographer Monica Cervantes. …

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Wilfredo Rivera explores his journey from Honduras to Chicago in American Catracho by Irene Hsiao

At 20, Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre celebrates immigrant, Native, and African American identity in two programs of new work. Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre, founded …

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All that Chat

Oct 06, 2019: Slave Play
Oct 17, 2019: The Sound Inside - Studio 54
Feb 01, 2020: The Minutes
Mar 31, 2020: Diana - Longacre Theatre
Apr 19, 2020: Sing Street - Lyceum Theatre
Dec 16, 2021: Diana - Longacre Theatre