All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Understanding the agonies of Manchester, our fellow Second City by Chris Jones

Manchester — whose big Lancashire heart was broken into pieces Monday night — is England's Second City. It's not the second-biggest city in terms of population: Birmingham, in the Midlan…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:17PM
Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Samuel Roberson, actor and Congo Square artistic director, dies by Chris Jones

Actor Samuel G. Roberson Jr., who died of pneumonia Sunday at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 8 years old. That experience, said his father, Samuel Ro…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:26PM

Audra McDonald spends an up-close-and-personal evening at Steppenwolf by Chris Jones

On Monday night at the Steppenwolf Theatre — a rare chance to see such a talent in an intimate setting — Audra McDonald ordered up a little singalong to "I Could Have Danced All Night," …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:17PM
Monday, May 22, 2017

Play about Elwood and his unseen rabbit is a story we need to believe in by Chris Jones

Mary Chase's "Harvey" — a Colorado journalist's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1944 Broadway play about a man with an imaginary lapine friend — actually has a good deal in common with Ken Kesey'…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:34PM
Sunday, May 21, 2017

At Northlight, Mike Nussbaum is as unique as Einstein by Chris Jones

Albert Einstein is an ideal role for Mike Nussbaum, the new show, "Relativity," at the Northlight Theatre reveals. I speak not merely of the fusion of extraordinary mental capability, althou…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:18PM

Ringling Bros. Circus awaits its final show Sunday night by Chris Jones

Aging clowns were buying aerialists drinks at the bar. Publicists of four decades standing stood shoulder-to-shoulder with retired jugglers. Jackets read "The Medeiros Troupe," long-faded…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:00AM
Friday, May 19, 2017

End of Ringling Bros. Circus: Ladies and gentlemen, the final time for the Greatest Show on Earth by Chris Jones

Come with the Theater Loop to the circus: The Tribune's Chris Jones and photographer Zbigniew Bzdak will be at the final performances by the Ringling Bros. in New York, backstage and ringsi…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 05:30PM

New Josephine Baker musical is the best Black Ensemble show in years by Chris Jones

In 1925, the 19-year-old Josephine Baker moved to France to appear in "La Revue Negre" at the Theatre des Champs-Elysees. For a hugely talented young American who was born poor and stymied b…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:34PM

Delivering a commencement address? No stealing jokes, please by Chris Jones

Time for the lofty to ascend the podium and offer a few words of speechified wisdom to the restless class of 2017, all ready, willing and eager to rectify a nation currently in chaos. At lea…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:00AM
Thursday, May 18, 2017

David Cerda and the hilarious, taste-free career behind his Non-Equity Jeff by Chris Jones

Before there was Hell in a Handbag Productions, there was Sweetcorn Playhouse in Andersonville, the 60-seat home of Sweetback Productions where a young man named David Cerda once frolicked i…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:00AM
Tuesday, May 16, 2017

'Little Miss Sunshine' wanders all over the road by Chris Jones

Despite a tryout trek out West, a book and direction by no less than James Lapine and a mid-process rebooting that replaced much of the cast and most of William Finn's initial score, the mus…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:15PM
Monday, May 15, 2017

Lesson 1 of 'Dance for Beginners': Hang up the phone by Chris Jones

Few things are as vexing in the theater as plays wherein the characters spend all their time on the phone. Unless you have some kind of exceptionally smart or distinctive metaphor for relati…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:29PM
Friday, May 12, 2017

Hubbard Street's 'Dance(e)volve' plays with rehearsal time notions - and cyborgs by Chris Jones

Is there such a thing as a third space for company dancers, and what might that be? I speak not here of Starbucks but of a place somewhere between the sanctuary of the rehearsal room — whe…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:44PM

Minnesota measles outbreak and play at the Goodman show endless risks for refugees by Chris Jones

Health officials in Minnesota have been dealing in recent days with a costly and dangerous outbreak of measles in children, centered in the large community of Somali immigrants in and around…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:16AM
Thursday, May 11, 2017

On the busiest theater weekend of the year, what to see? by Chris Jones

Downtown Chicago is bursting with shows this spring weekend. More than 15,000 people will be in or around the Loop on Friday and Saturday night, watching a show. There's more on offer than a…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:00AM
Wednesday, May 10, 2017

This time, 'Rent' is about talented first-timers finding their way on 20th anniversary tour by Chris Jones

Jonathan Larson was not much interested in legacy: His gorgeous masterpiece "Rent" is an ode to living for the moment. "There is no future. There is no past," its characters sing. "I live th…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:58PM
Tuesday, May 9, 2017

'Objects in the Mirror': An African teen's place in the world is made grippingly clear by Chris Jones

At one point in "Objects in the Mirror," the gripping story of an African refugee who somehow makes it out of a Guinean refugee camp that held 90,000 hopefuls in a petri dish of malaria, dys…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:46PM
Monday, May 8, 2017

In 'Hookman,' college freshman copes with grief, horror movie monsters by Chris Jones

Dating back to the days of Nick Offerman and the late, lamented Defiant Theatre, Chicago has a long and tortured history with slasher theater. But although the desire to bring some of the ic…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:51PM
Friday, May 5, 2017

Rich 'Paradise Blue' is set in a faltering jazz club in east Detroit by Chris Jones

There once were more than 350 black-owned clubs and other businesses in the jazz-infused Black Bottom (the term derived from the color of the soil), the east side neighborhood of Detroit tha…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:58PM

James Beard group discusses the power of restaurants — plus a comment from the waitstaff by Chris Jones

Last Sunday night, a group of America's most prominent chefs, restaurateurs and marketing executives gathered at Vermilion, the remarkable River North restaurant renowned for owner Rohini De…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:00AM
Thursday, May 4, 2017

'She Loves Me' keeps it real in this little perfume shop by Chris Jones

Prolonged emotional intimacy can be tricky at the Marriott Theatre — an in-the-round auditorium where the physical stillness of a scene always is limited by the audience's tolerance for wa…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:06PM

'Objects in the Mirror': Charles Smith writes about the ghosts of Liberia by Chris Jones

Surely no playwright has penned more works about African-American history — especially about the black intellectuals of the 19th and early 20th centuries — than Charles Smith. I've been …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:00AM
Tuesday, May 2, 2017

'La Havana Madrid' is musical tribute to Puerto Ricans of 1960s Lincoln Park by Chris Jones

In the middle of the 1940s, an employment agency named Castle, Baron and Associates began advertising Chicago factory jobs in Puerto Rico; those who made the move north were mostly single. A…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:02PM
Monday, May 1, 2017

2017 Tony Awards nominations: 'Hello, Dolly!' 'Natasha, Pierre' and Laurie Metcalf by Chris Jones

The new musicals "Dear Evan Hansen," "Come From Away," "Groundhog Day the Musical," and "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812" all scored their expected Tony Award nominations in New Yo…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 05:07PM

All that caged-up energy is set free as 'Chicago' comes home by Chris Jones

William Osetek, the director of the highly entertaining new production of "Chicago" at the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, has been trying to get the rights to this most deliciously …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:59PM
Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Lyric's 'My Fair Lady' has an Eliza who deserves better by Chris Jones

What — beyond a better understanding of the social and economic consequences of English phonology — does Eliza Doolittle actually get from Henry Higgins? That question has long hung over…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:40PM
Friday, April 28, 2017

For Martha Lavey, it was always about her colleagues and the work on her stages by Chris Jones

Writing an appreciation of Martha Lavey is far from easy, not least because Lavey, whose death this week at the age of 60 plunged all who love Chicago theater into a deep state of mourning, …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:00AM
Thursday, April 27, 2017

In ‘Doll’s House, Part 2,’ Laurie Metcalf’s Nora comes back through slammed door by Chris Jones

The sudden exit of a spouse can clear the stubborn male mind, as can the well-timed slam of a door. Thus scholars and students have argued for years over whether Henrik Ibsen, the author of …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:35PM

Drury Lane snags 'Chicago' for Chicago for the first time since '83 by Chris Jones

A quiz for you, theater-loving reader: When was the last time a professional Chicago theater company produced "Chicago," a musical that burnishes the city's scandalous reputation each and ev…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:00AM
Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Broadway 'Bandstand' for the Greatest Generation by Chris Jones

Most works of art dealing with the post-traumatic stress suffered by those who served and saw action overseas have dealt with the war in Vietnam or the wars in Iraq. The so-called Greatest G…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 08:00PM
Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Martha Lavey, longtime leader of Steppenwolf Theatre, is dead at 60 by Chris Jones

An indefatigable, unstinting and intellectually voracious artistic director who reinvented Chicago’s most audacious and aggressive theater for a new era, Martha Lavey wrestled the Steppenw…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:39PM

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