All stories by John Olson on BroadwayStars

Monday, May 25, 2015

The Story of My Life - Chicago Review by John Olson

Not only is it a chamber musical and character-focused, without production values like choreography or elaborate visuals that are expected of a Broadway production, but it's an emotionally c…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 05:58PM
Monday, May 4, 2015

Chicago Shakes Premieres' Gordon "Sense and Sensibility" by John Olson

[Paul Gordon's] Sense and Sensibility (he wrote book, music and lyrics, so it is indeed "his") boasts a strong score and an absolutely first-rate production.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 04:39PM
Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Goodman World Premiere of Kristoffer Diaz' "The Upstairs Concierge" by John Olson

What The Upstairs Concierge lacks though, is high stakes.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 04:37PM

"Louis and Keely Live at the Sahara" at Chicago's Royal George by John Olson

Tony Award-winning actor Anthony Crivello (Kiss of the Spider Woman) delivers all the crazy, manic energy Prima gave to his act and matches his performance style most effectively.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 04:36PM
Sunday, April 12, 2015

"Carousel" at Lyric Opera of Chicago by John Olson

Ashford mixes presentationalism with realism, musical theater with opera and takes a chance on an artist with no theatrical resume to design the sets. It all comes together to make this 70-y…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 04:33PM
Sunday, March 15, 2015

"First Wives Club" at the Oriental Theatre by John Olson

... though the performances are strong, the piece never gels as a musical and there's no apparent reason for it to be one.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 05:21PM
Friday, February 20, 2015

"First Date" in Open-Ended Production at Chicago's Royal George by John Olson

Those of us who love the art form appreciate efforts like this to make the musical relevant and appealing to new generations, and it may well be that those who have more recently experienced…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 04:34PM
Friday, December 19, 2014

Pre-Broadway "Airline Highway" at Steppenwolf by John Olson

Those who see Airline Highway will never look at New Orleans locals the same way again. Even more importantly, though, it shows just how fragile life can be�what a difference a few wrong cho…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 10:29AM
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

American Theatre Company Premieres Stephen Karam's "The Humans" by John Olson

The play's message�that in times of trouble, no one will be more helpful or essential than family�is hardly a new one. Delivered with such honesty as it is here, though, it feels fresh and r…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 08:53AM
Monday, October 20, 2014

"Amazing Grace" by John Olson

This engagement is billed as "pre-Broadway," but no Broadway opening date or theatre has been announced, so time will tell about that. The caliber of talent hired for the cast and creative t…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 01:20PM
Saturday, October 11, 2014

Bailiwick Chicago "The Wild Party" by John Olson

. The four-year-old Bailiwick Chicago has added LaChiusa's Wild Party to the list of little-seen, but exceedingly worthy, musicals it has lovingly performed for Chicago audiences.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 02:44PM
Sunday, October 5, 2014

"Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown" Returns by John Olson

I missed the production of Jeffrey Lane and David Yazbek's musical when it ran on Broadway for just two months at the end of 2010, but The Theatre at the Center, in northwest Indiana section…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 02:05PM
Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Much Ado About Nothing" at American Players Theatre by John Olson

One of the jewels of the southern Wisconsin/northern Illinois region ... especially for lovers of classical theater, is the American Players Theatre in Spring Green, about 35 miles west of M…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 11:45AM
Friday, July 18, 2014

Steppenwolf "The Qualms" by John Olson

Though Norris is a funny and fearless writer, this play risks falling into a formulaic trap.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 08:50AM
Friday, July 11, 2014

"Brigadoon" at the Goodman by John Olson

The good news in Brigadoon's revised book by Brian Hill is that it's respectful to Alan Jay Lerner's original rather than a rethinking of it. No new or deleted characters�no additional plotl…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 09:40AM
Thursday, June 26, 2014

"The Last Ship" at Chicago's Bank of America Theatre by John Olson

"The Last Ship" ... though it employs some rather familiar plot lines, is an affectionate memoir of Sting's northeast England home town, Wallsend. Despite a story that's improbable and contr…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 05:39PM
Monday, June 23, 2014

"This Is Our Youth" at Steppenwolf by John Olson

Given the similarity of Cera's usual on screen persona to Warren, it's unlikely anyone will be surprised by his performance, but it's a good one nonetheless.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 01:52PM
Monday, June 16, 2014

"Carrie" in Chicago by John Olson

... we can thank Bailiwick Chicago for its smart, well-sung and imaginatively produced presentation of this notorious musical that deserves a place in musical theater literature.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 10:26AM
Tuesday, May 13, 2014

"Jack Lemmon Returns" at Chicago's Royal George by John Olson

Jack Lemmon that has returned, through the performance of his son Chris Lemmon, working under the direction of Hershey Felder.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 03:22PM
Friday, May 9, 2014

TImeLine's "Juno" by John Olson

... delivers a musical performance without compromise while admirably serving the script of this significant play.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 02:19PM

"Hit the Wall" in Chicago by John Olson

While Holter�s characters may or may not resemble those who really were there, they sure look and feel like a representative sampling of the sorts of young people one might find around the g…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 02:18PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Profiles Theatre "Cock" by John Olson

Mike Bartlett's play is not what you'd expect. It does concern sexuality and sexual identity, but it's more about emotion than sex and, despite the short, harsh-sounding when said aloud titl…

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 08:32PM
Monday, February 24, 2014

Steppenwolf "Russian Transport" by John Olson

These all feel like real, believable characters and�even more to the credit of playwright Sheffer and this cast�like people we haven't met before.

SOURCE: TalkinBroadway at 05:08PM

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