All stories by Lawrence Bommer on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2 (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

A SEQUEL WITHOUT A SOUL Some nerve. It takes chutzpah on top of arrogance to dare to continue, let alone complete, another playwright’s stand-alone masterpiece. Lucas Hnath has the temerit…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:38PM
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Theater Review: HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Raven Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE THEATER Some plays take time to come into their own, But they’re well worth a wait. Over two decades after its Off-Broadway debut, Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to D…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:21PM
Sunday, February 10, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: PIPELINE (Victory Gardens) by Lawrence Bommer

A PIPELINE TO GREAT THEATER The title of Pipeline refers to the much-reviled “school-to-prison” conduit that keeps minority kids from any outcome but incarceration, soft or hard. It’…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:06PM

Theater Review: THE FATHER (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

THE SOUND OF A BRAIN BREAKING Uncertainty is the default drive behind the 95 excruciating minutes of French playwright Florian Zeller’s The Father. Seldom has a staged mystery shifted so …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:48PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Theater Review: A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER (Porchlight Music Theatre; Ruth Page Center) by Lawrence Bommer

A DEATH OF FRESH AIR It’s a tour de force times ten as Monty Navarro, distant heir to the D’Ysquith fortune, slaughters his way to an earldom and marriage, for better or worse, with a do…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:33PM
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: HOW TO CATCH CREATION (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

CONSIDER CREATION CAUGHT IN THIS SEMINAL WORLD PREMIERE It’s a tour-de-force to take home and reverently recall: A Goodman Theatre world premiere, How To Catch Creation lives up to a lov…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:36PM
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Theater Review: US/THEM (Chicago Shakespeare) by Lawrence Bommer

OUT OF THE BLOOD OF BABES It’s a probably thankless and certainly unsettling undertaking: Us/Them is an hour-long performance piece by two young members of the Belgian troupe BRONKS. It …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:00PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Theater Review: THE REALISTIC JONESES (Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

IS IT TOO REALISTIC, OR NOT REALISTIC ENOUGH? Is it smoke and mirrors or a trick of the light? No matter — the fact that nothing urgent is at stake in the 100 minutes of Will Leno’s…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:46PM
Saturday, January 19, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL (Black Button Eyes Productions) by Lawrence Bommer

BRINGING DEAD TO LIFE An import from our neighbor to the north that’s almost as inebriating as Canadian Club, Evil Dead The Musical is a blood-splattering, silly-ass, ham-acting confecti…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:08PM
Friday, January 18, 2019

Theater Review: DADA WOOF PAPA HOT (About Face Theatre at Theater Wit in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

FRIENDS WITH CHILDREN Gay parents — for centuries that seemed a contradiction in terms. How could promiscuity engender anything beyond itself? But, if, as Delmore Schwartz said, “Wit…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:39PM
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Theater Review: CARDBOARD PIANO (TimeLine) by Lawrence Bommer

THEATER AND RECONCILIATION Love never seems greater than when hate sets it off. Then, as if to prove its power, it finds so much to rise above. A huge hit at the 2016 Humana Festival of New …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:28PM
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: FUENTE OVEJUNA (City Lit) by Lawrence Bommer

#ME TOO, 15th-CENTURY STYLE If it didn’t actually happen, this play would not be believed. Its climax soars as, tortured by the Inquisition to reveal the murderer of the evil-doing Command…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:58AM
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Theater Review: THE LIGHTNING THIEF: THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL (North American Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE, OR AN EMPOWER SHORTAGE? Holy Hades! It’s an all-purpose victim’s ur-dream of getting even: Every misunderstood teenager secretly imagines he was born better than l…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:23PM
Saturday, December 22, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: LA RUTA (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

A RUTA WAKENING A play can be a cry for help — against a persistent peril, a former and future danger, a mindset that makes heartbreak. La Ruta, a Steppenwolf Theatre world premiere b…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:55PM
Thursday, December 20, 2018

Theater Review: FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

AS RELEVANT AND CELEBRATORY AS EVER, FIDDLER GETS A POWERFUL REVIVAL It takes a musical to make a village: At nearly three hours, this very replete revival, which plays the Cadillac Palace T…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:53PM
Saturday, December 15, 2018

Theater Review: A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM (Chicago Shakespeare) by Lawrence Bommer

A SPORADIC DREAM There’s an epiphany near the end of Shakespeare’s celebration A Midsummer Night’s Dream when the mixed-up quartet of wayward lovers who’ve been confoundedly mashe…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:14PM
Thursday, December 13, 2018

Tour Theater Review: CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE (Chicago Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

IT’LL LEAVE YOU DAZED AND CIRQUE-FUSED Neil Goldberg has a fine formula for his fantastic franchise. His eleven Cirque Dreams spectaculars feature ever-changing processions of dazzling…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:30PM
Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Theater Review: THE FULL MONTY (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre in Evanston) by Lawrence Bommer

GET YOUR FULL For the sake of the butterfly we love the cocoon. The Fully Monty, a musical version by David Yazbek and Terrence McNally, is industriously inspired by the popular 1997 film a…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:22PM
Saturday, December 8, 2018

Chicago Dance Review: HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO (Season 41 Winter Series at the Harris) by Lawrence Bommer

GROUP DYNAMICS SURGE AT HUBBARD STREET DANCE CHICAGO Four world premieres, especially crafted by in-house choreographers for the skills and needs of their company colleagues, display a tales…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:33AM
Thursday, December 6, 2018

Theater Review: THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG (National Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

THE PLAY ABOUT THE PLAY THAT GOES WRONG GOES WRONG The title is brutally honest — and you can’t say you weren’t warned. In the style of Monty Python and Michael Frayn’s self-dest…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:33PM
Sunday, December 2, 2018

Chicago Dance Review: Christopher Wheeldon’s THE NUTCRACKER (The Joffrey Ballet) by Lawrence Bommer

TAKING ANOTHER CRACK: AN UPDATE ON MARIE AND THE GREAT IMPRESARIO No matter how many times you see it, you will ALWAYS be amazed by the gorgeous Nutcracker that Christopher Wheeldon imagin…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:07PM
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: FAMILIAR (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

STRIDENTLY SILLY, THEN SUDDENLY SERIOUS The title Familiar alludes to family—and, when loved ones squabble over who they are and where they come from, this title questions just what is…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:19PM
Sunday, November 25, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: HELA (Sideshow Theatre and Greenhouse Productions) by Lawrence Bommer

FROM CANCER TO THE COSMOS, OR TO HELA AND BACK There’s cold fusion and then there’s hot fusion–the theatrical kind. In the world-premiere HeLa, an awesome co-production by Sidesho…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:21AM
Thursday, November 22, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER: A CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME (Lookingglass) by Lawrence Bommer

A PERFECT TEN OUT OF TIN, OR YOURS, MIME, AND OURS This “soldier” is well worth saluting: There’s an enchanting Christmas Pantomime on Michigan Avenue — Lookingglass Theatre Comp…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:49PM
Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE DARK AT THE TOP OF THE STAIRS (Eclipse Theatre Company) by Lawrence Bommer

INGE’S NOISY DESPERATION Mission accomplished: Eclipse Theatre Company characteristically concludes its season with a play that wears a big heart on an open sleeve. The troupe, which culti…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:38PM
Sunday, November 11, 2018

Opera Review: IOLANTA (Chicago Opera Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

HOT IOLANTA, OR LOVE REALLY IS BLIND A glorious 126-year-old discovery just happened again. First performed at Saint Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theater in 1892 (on a double-bill with The Nutc…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:18PM
Friday, November 9, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THIS BITTER EARTH (About Face Theatre at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

BITTER END The gulf is clear from the start. Joe Schermoly’s set consists of interconnected boxes that create shelves which suggest two apartments separated by a crosswalk. It’s an apt d…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:29PM
Sunday, November 4, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: 110 IN THE SHADE (BoHo Theatre at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

A SHOW TO END ANY THEATER DROUGHT It’s a “big sky” story with a ton of heart, this other musical created by Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones, composer and lyricist of The Fantasticks a…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:31PM
Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: LADY IN DENMARK (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

WHEN REALISM IS NOT ENOUGH, SOMETHING IS ROTTEN IN DENMARK It’s strange that an enterprise as lavishly bounteous as Goodman Theatre should seem to shrink itself: Currently it’s hosting t…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:45PM
Monday, October 29, 2018

Theater Review: WOMEN OF SOUL (WITH A TRIBUTE TO THE QUEEN) (Black Ensemble Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

A CELEBRATION OF DIVAS Three years ago, Black Ensemble Theater’s associate director Daryl D. Brooks created a kinetic tribute called Men of Soul. The revue embraced solid singers whose he…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:11PM
Sunday, October 28, 2018

Theater Review: CIRCOLOMBIA: ACÉLÉRÉ (The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare on Navy Pier) by Lawrence Bommer

A COLOSSAL CIRCUS CARAVAN FROM COLOMBIA Three rings do not make a circus, any more than “two boards and a passion” make a play. Sometimes all you need is fifteen performers for for sixty…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:46PM

All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue