All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Column: Michael Riedel’s latest book ‘Singular Sensation’ is about Broadway in the ’90s — the decade when the Great White Way took on a life by Chris Jones

In his previous book “Razzle Dazzle,” the writer Michael Riedel claims 1980s Broadway saved New York City. In his new sequel, '90s Broadway comes into its own. Shows like "Rent" and "Ang…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:57PM

Second City hires Jon Carr as new executive producer by Chris Jones

Second City said Wednesday that it has hired a new executive producer: Jon Carr, a writer and artistic director with roots in Atlanta improv and theater.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:37PM
Tuesday, November 24, 2020

In memory of Congo Square’s Samuel Roberson, a major new annual gift for Chicago playwrights of color by Chris Jones

The first of what will be an annual fellowship totaling $27,500 will go to the Chicago playwright Kristiana Rae Colón and, aptly enough, Congo Square.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:22PM
Sunday, November 22, 2020

Review: American Blues Theater’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ is the don’t-miss show this lonely holiday season by Chris Jones

American Blues is presenting its long-running, old time radio-style show via Zoom this year, performed live each night for the audience from the actors' homes.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:00PM
Thursday, November 19, 2020

Review: In Porchlight’s ‘New Faces Sing Broadway,’ 10 talented newcomers have the gorgeous, empty Studebaker as a stage by Chris Jones

Porchlight Music Theatre found young performers you haven't seen before and the historic Studebaker Theater as a venue, then added hits ("Les Miz," "Phantom") and forgotten songs from Broadw…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:34PM

Column: In an extraordinary letter, Chicago’s Newberry Library delves into its own past support of racially restrictive covenants by Chris Jones

When Chicago's Newberry Library opened a 2016 exhibition entitled “Civil War to Civil Rights: African American Chicago in the Newberry Collection,” the artifacts on display included a sa…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:49AM
Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The same holiday show will stream in Chicago, Kansas and Montana — a pandemic-era lesson from Trader Joe’s? by Chris Jones

A streaming video of “Eleanor’s Merry Christmas Wish — The Musical" is being repackaged and offered to theater audiences all over the country. And it's not the only one. Is this a new …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:30AM
Monday, November 16, 2020

Steppenwolf’s ‘The Minutes’ suffers an epic Broadway postponement by Chris Jones

When Broadway closed down due to the pandemic, Tracy Letts' play “The Minutes” was on the cusp of its opening night.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:29AM
Sunday, November 15, 2020

Review: ‘What is Left, Burns’ from Steppenwolf is a short, gripping video play about a professor and his former lover by Chris Jones

Set during the pandemic, when some people have been tempted to look up old flames, James Ijames' play stars K. Todd Freeman and Jon Michael Hill and clocks in at just 20 minutes.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:19PM
Friday, November 13, 2020

Joffrey Ballet’s 'Nutcracker’ is part of an Art on theMart video projection — and draws a COVID-weary crowd looking for a holiday show by Chris Jones

We've got to have something for live, downtown holiday entertainment in 2020. Art on theMart video projections are shown nightly through Dec. 30.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:50PM
Thursday, November 12, 2020

Rising in a pandemic: Steppenwolf’s new theater campus is a $54 million bet on returning to normalcy by Chris Jones

Other theaters are in retreat. But Steppenwolf is proud to show off the progress on its interconnected lobbies and intimate new theater-in-the-round in its campus on Halsted Street. Remember…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:58AM
Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Pride Films and Plays faces fresh turmoil as new artistic director resigns by Chris Jones

Chicago actor and director Donterrio Johnson was hired to take over from David Zak. Now he's resigning, saying Zak is still exerting influence on the theater.

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Monday, November 9, 2020

Drury Lane is a big winner at the virtual 2020 Jeff Awards; Court Theatre wins for ‘King Hedley II’ by Chris Jones

The suburban musical house wins for “An American in Paris” and “The Color Purple.” Plus Carrie Coon gets an acting trophy for "Bug" at Steppenwolf Theatre.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:30PM
Sunday, November 8, 2020

Column: How do you celebrate in the middle of a pandemic? A dog and a man outside in Chicago, wondering what they are seeing. by Chris Jones

Taking a walk on a warm Saturday in the North Side and suddenly hearing the sounds of cars horns and cheering. But healing after this election will be no simple process.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:38PM
Friday, November 6, 2020

Review: Interrobang Theatre’s ‘The Spin’ is a wickedly satirical Zoom world wrapped in the Zoom world on your own computer by Chris Jones

Do not adjust your computer. An unusual and intense Zoom play from Interrobang Theatre replicates pandemic politics and the kind of online exchanges we're suddenly so familiar with.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:15PM
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Live 'Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol’ in Milwaukee is canceled by Chris Jones

Rising COVID numbers and new City of Milwaukee restrictions mean plans for the live holiday solo show must be scrapped ... "heartbreaking."

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:13PM
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Column: Will we ever learn? Hubris by both a president and the news media on a tense Tuesday election night by Chris Jones

The echo chamber strikes again. The New York Times deletes a tweet saying the news media declares election victories, and Trump may be planning to become a media channel all his own.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:40PM

Only ‘For You’: A match-making program at Court Theatre pairs up artists and seniors by Chris Jones

As spread to Chicago by choreographer Erika Chong Shuch, the program pairs up artists and elders and lets the creativity exchange begin. You could call it a new way of defining "audience."

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:00AM
Thursday, October 29, 2020

Review: Ike Holter’s new audio play 'Put Your House in Order’ is a scary story set among Evanston’s lakefront liberals by Chris Jones

As presented by Chicago theater company The Roustabouts, this new audio play is about a virus, a liberal community and the present moment. Very scary for your Halloween listening.

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Playwright August Wilson’s archive headed home to Pittsburgh by Chris Jones

August Wilson archive headed home to Pittsburgh

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Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Column: As we head into a winter lockdown, who will win? Netflix and DoorDash again? Don’t be so sure. by Chris Jones

What will happen during this likely locked-down winter? Will we stay on our screens and spend on Big Tech? Or is there hope for local culture, if we try?

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:30PM
Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Magician Teller will do ‘Chicago Shakesfear,' but even he can’t make live magic reappear by Chris Jones

Talking with Teller (of Penn & Teller) about his frequent collaborations with Chicago Shakespeare and what he thinks of magic over Zoom.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:25PM
Friday, October 23, 2020

Column: An early debate lead for Donald J. Trump but, in the end, he couldn’t help his own cause by Chris Jones

At the beginning of the final presidential debate in Nashville, Tenn., President Trump kept his earlier bluster in check and outscored Joe Biden. It couldn't last forever, though.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:25AM
Thursday, October 22, 2020

Second City accepting applications for ‘Saturday Night Live' scholarship by Chris Jones

The Chicago comedy theater, along with troupes in New York and Los Angeles, are taking applications for an 'SNL' scholarship with the aim to diversify comedy.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:34PM

Review: Brian Dennehy and the great Chicago ‘Death of a Salesman' are back to haunt us anew by Chris Jones

The Goodman Theatre's powerful staging of Arthur Miller's classic would go on to Broadway and win four Tony Awards. A Showtime film of that production is now available to watch for free thro…

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Column: Tragic presidency of Donald J. Trump may be nearing an end. What will be the final scene? by Chris Jones

Analyzing the trajectory of a presidency is not unlike inhabiting a writer’s room at Netflix or HBO. Or reading one's Shakespeare.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:00AM
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Writers Theatre adjusts season again; About Face hopes to return to live performance in the spring by Chris Jones

The theater in Glencoe has a new play with blues music, adds a Christmas play and the digital play "Ride Share."

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:26AM
Monday, October 19, 2020

Review: In the latest Collaboraction ‘Peacebook,’ Riad Ismat’s son puts the pain of losing his dad while quarantined on the screen. Plus other p by Chris Jones

As "Peacebook" turns to video, we get authentic stories set in North Lawndale, a brave account from performance artist Sami Ismat and others, about two hours in all.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 07:12PM
Thursday, October 15, 2020

Goodman Theatre will stream its iconic 1998 ‘Death of a Salesman’ with Brian Dennehy by Chris Jones

As a fundraiser for Chicago's Actors Fund, the Goodman will stream the Chicago production that went on to Broadway. Here's how to watch.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:57PM

‘Jagged Little Pill’ leads Tony Award nominations with 15, honoring shortened season on Broadway by Chris Jones

In a strange year for Broadway, the 2020 Tony Award nominations have been announced. The last theater season was cut short by the pandemic, which forced Broadway to shut down on March 12, le…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:29PM

Column: For actors and other arts professionals, the healthcare safety net has been ripped to pieces by Chris Jones

Whether they work on stage or screen, actors rely on their unions for health insurance. Those systems rely on a real, live working theater, or Broadway, or on Hollywood movie making. But thi…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:30AM

All that Chat

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