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Thursday, November 7, 2019

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

HE’S BACK ON DUTY It’s now become a holiday classic, Mary Zimmerman’s gorgeous The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Lookingglass Theatre. It was glorious last year. It’s lost no luster since…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 05:10PM
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Theater Review: HOODOO LOVE (Raven Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

A SHOW THAT CASTS A SPELL Whether it really works or it’s just self-fulfilling wishful thinking, magic can misfire.  Detailing a downhome tragedy set in Memphis during the Depression, Hoo…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:24PM
Monday, October 28, 2019

Theater Review: N (Greenhouse Theatre Center & GLP Productions in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

THE HURT OF HATE Dirty laundry demands an airing. Given the disunion afflicting our republic, a play like N (short for the “N word”) has healing to share. A provocative world premiere …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:55PM
Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Theater Review: THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Invictus Theatre Co. in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

HATE CRIMES ROCK A SUBVERSIVE COMEDY This show can never be nice: Along with The Taming of the Shrew, a comedy built squarely on misogyny, The Merchant of Venice, a tragicomedy festering w…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:56PM
Sunday, October 20, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: GREY HOUSE (A Red Orchid) by Lawrence Bommer

CABIN FEVER AT ITS CRAZIEST Make of this what you will. All too predictably, every review that Grey House receives will be different. Because this new work by Red Orchid Theatre ensemble m…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:55PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Theater Review: SUNSET BOULEVARD (Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts) by Lawrence Bommer

UP CLOSE, SHE’S BIGGER THAN EVEN PEANUT BUTTER From the start it seemed strange that anyone would make a musical out of a movie that embodies its medium so completely. Yes, the film All A…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:06PM
Friday, October 11, 2019

Theater Review: SUNDOWN, YELLOW MOON (Raven Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

A FAMILY IN KEY SIGNATURES As she showed in Five Mile Lake, Rachel Bonds works with a small brush. She lays low before her subject in order to convey tender, unassuming connections between…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:25PM
Monday, October 7, 2019

Theater Review: THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES (City Lit in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

THE CURIOUS CASE OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME Terry McCabe, artistic director of City Lit Theater, knows Sherlock Holmes and his shadow sleuth Dr. Watson almost as well as author Sir Arthur …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:45PM
Saturday, October 5, 2019

Theater Review: LERNER AND LOEWE’S GREATEST HITS (Music Theater Works) by Lawrence Bommer

WELL, LERNER & LOEWE ME DOWN Seldom has a dream team had a shorter span: It was all over in only 13 years. But between 1947 and 1960 Alan J. Lerner and Frederick Loewe ran a glorious gam…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:18PM
Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Theater Review: BERNHARDT/HAMLET (Goodman Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

TO BE OR NOT TO BE SARAH BERNHARDT Well, with “Bernhardt” and “Hamlet” sharing the marquee, Goodman Theatre’s season-opener must be larger than life if not literature. Sprawling an…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:06PM
Monday, September 23, 2019

Theater Review: HELLO AGAIN (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre in Evanston) by Lawrence Bommer

A MUSICAL CIRCLE JERK You could call it a daisy chain of horizontal encounters, this chronicle of sexual partisans whose sleeping around creates a sort of chain letter of lust. A ton of tale…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:19PM
Saturday, September 21, 2019

Theater Review: THE KING’S SPEECH (The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare) by Lawrence Bommer

MY FAIR MONARCH We love levelling. Mark Twain’s prince and the pauper, Queen Victoria and her Scottish and Indian boyfriends, Queen Anne and her favorites, a British schoolteacher and the …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:59PM
Thursday, September 19, 2019

Theater Review: OSLO (TimeLine Theatre at Broadway Playhouse in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

DANCE OF DIPLOMACY Clandestine and volatile, high-stakes diplomacy can be as taut as any courtroom drama. It’s hard to imagine a story more intrinsically theatrical than the real-life cris…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:18PM
Monday, September 16, 2019

Theater Review: THE GREAT LEAP (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

HOOP DREAMS IN THE CELESTIAL KINGDOM No question, Lauren Yee is a wonderful new voice in theater. With Cambodian Rock Band she made crucial connections between iconic survivors and unspeaka…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:03PM
Saturday, September 14, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS (Victory Gardens) by Lawrence Bommer

CAPSULE CURES Not to be confused with anything else, Tiny Beautiful Things is a theatrical curiosity, fluidly blocked but dramatically static as it unleashes a swirling cascade of question…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:10PM
Friday, September 13, 2019

Theater Review: FIVE PRESIDENTS (American Blues Theater at Stage 773 in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

A CONVERGENCE OF HISTORY It was supposedly the “end of an era,” the memorial service for Richard Nixon in the Nixon Library in his birthplace Yorba Linda, California, on April 27, 1994. …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:56PM
Monday, September 9, 2019

Theater Review: SPAMALOT (Mercury Theater Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

NOT DEAD YET It’s at least a chuckle a minute. Half the hilarity is verbal sallies, half sight gags. This cheeky, subversive, and unashamedly sidesplitting Spamalot, described in the pres…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:02PM
Sunday, September 8, 2019

Theater Review: MIDSUMMER [A PLAY WITH SONGS] (Greenhouse Theatre Center) by Lawrence Bommer

LOVE IN THE FAST LANE “Love will break your heart; sometimes you want it to.” That curious contradiction is the opening shot in MIDSUMMER (A Play with Songs). This theatrical roller coa…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:26PM
Monday, September 2, 2019

Theater Review: HOWARDS END (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

MAY HOWARDS END NEVER END “Only connect..! Only connect the prose and the passion, and both will be exalted, and human love will be seen at its height. Live in fragments no longer.” Seld…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:25PM
Sunday, September 1, 2019

Theater Review: SONS AND LOVERS (Greenhouse Theatre Center & On The Spot Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

THE SON ALSO RISES It’s always fascinating to be present at the creation of a crucial writer. Like James Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day�…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:08PM
Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Theater Review: CASA VALENTINA (Pride Films and Plays in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

THE WRONG WARDROBE? Clothes make the man — even if he dresses as a woman. An entire individuality, it seems, can hang in a closet, as transvestites have proven across the centuries. Casa V…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 09:32PM
Monday, August 19, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME (Music Theater Works in Evanston) by Lawrence Bommer

A SERMON IN FLESH WOW spelled backwards! In almost forty seasons it’s their biggest show, with full orchestra and a cast of over 40, including a seated choir. It sprawls with spectacle bu…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:11PM
Saturday, August 17, 2019

Theater Review: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT (Red Tape Theatre and Greenhouse Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

ALL QUIET MAKES A BIG NOISE One of the saddest truths about humanity is that we always need to be warned against war, so tempting is its license to kill. All Quiet on the Western Front, Eri…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:43PM
Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: ALL THAT HE WAS (Pride Films and Plays) by Lawrence Bommer

MEMORIES IN MUSIC FORGE A GREATER WHOLE We’re witnesses to an aftermath and its collateral healing, the unsought legacy of a gay guy who died too soon: Newly revised after its 1993 incepti…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:16PM
Saturday, August 10, 2019

Theater Review: BOOGIEBAN (Chicago Dramatists and 13th Street Repertory Theatre in New York) by Lawrence Bommer

COLLATERAL HEALING It’s a justified transfer. A very enterprising theater called none too fragile from Akron, Ohio has come to Chicago (and later to New York City) to offer a pretty powerf…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:26AM
Monday, July 29, 2019

Theater Review: YOU CAN’T FAKE THE FUNK (A JOURNEY THROUGH FUNK MUSIC) (Black Ensemble Theater in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

PUTTING THE FUN IN FUNK Taking us as far from death as is humanly possible, some shows just reward you for being alive. In perhaps their most joyous musical celebration yet, the 43-year-old …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:23PM
Sunday, July 21, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: GHOST QUARTET (Black Button Eyes Productions at Stage 773) by Lawrence Bommer

SEEING RIGHT THROUGH THIS MACABRE MASHUP It’s a roller coaster journey to the dark side of almost everything: Ghost Quartet, now haunting Stage 773 in a Chicago premiere from Black Button…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:46PM
Saturday, July 20, 2019

Theater Review: THE SPITFIRE GRILL (American Blues Theater at Stage 773 in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

SECOND CHANCES NEED SECOND ACTS Sit — and calm — down and make yourself at show. A captivating work extolling rural redemption, The Spitfire Grill, a 2001 musical of the 1995 film, shows…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:43PM
Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Theater Review: TRUE WEST (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

SIBLING WARFARE Can lightning strike again after 37 years? In 1982 Steppenwolf Theatre Company put itself on the map with a landmark staging of Sam Shepard’s domestic disruption True West…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 09:12PM
Sunday, July 14, 2019

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

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

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 08:17PM
Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Theater Review: THE MUSIC MAN (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

MAN, OH MUSIC MAN If ever a show spelled out summer, it’s Meredith Willson’s 1957 masterpiece The Music Man. Throughout the rollicking story, the title character exudes sunny optimism,…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:53PM

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