All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

With E. Faye Butler in charge, this stunning Chicago 'Gypsy' sure did come up Rose's by Chris Jones

If you doubt that the ferocious passion of one gifted performer for one iconic role can propel an entire young cast to raise its game to the rafters, then you have not seen E. Faye Butler at…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:50PM

'Hello Dolly': Who would dare rain on Betty Buckley's new parade? by Chris Jones

When the national tour of Jerry Zaks’ hit Broadway revival of “Hello, Dolly!” arrives in Chicago next week, Betty Buckley will play the starring role of Dolly Gallagher Levi, the match…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 08:00AM
Monday, October 15, 2018

At Mercury Theater’s Venus, a cabaret-style ‘Pippin’ in search of its heart by Chris Jones

With “Avenue Q” going gangbusters on his main stage, L. Walter Stearns of the Mercury Theater is stuffing a full-blown, surround-sound “Pippin” inside his spiffy new cabaret-and-cock…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:10PM
Sunday, October 14, 2018

Fun night out? No. The cast tries, but 'WaistWatchers the Musical' is truly terrible. by Chris Jones

As 50 percent of the Weather Girls, Martha Wash is a platinum-selling recording artist responsible not only for the iconic disco anthem “It’s Raining Men” but also for many of the pote…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:25PM
Friday, October 12, 2018

Set on the Kansas frontier, 'Flyin' West' has its juicy melodrama and serious story, both by Chris Jones

I first saw Pearl Cleage’s “Flyin’ West,” a potboiler of a show set in an all-black frontier town in 1898, in Montgomery, Ala. It was 1998 and Cleage — a prolific novelist as well …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:30PM
Thursday, October 11, 2018

The strike at Lyric Opera: Should arts organizations be more like airlines? by Chris Jones

The U.S. airline industry — essentially an oligarchy — has come to love the word “discipline.” Abandoning its past practice of adding competitive routes and bigger planes on a whim, …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:20PM
Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Scene stealers on stage this fall: Dogs big and small — and an understudy chicken by Chris Jones

Chicago’s fall theater season opened in a flurry of activity in recent days. Before I talk you through what I think you should see, let me start by saying this has been a golden fall for c…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:05PM
Sunday, October 7, 2018

In 'Witch,' a wronged woman gets an offer from a handsome devil by Chris Jones

The Faustian myth — wherein some ambitious dude sells his soul to the devil to score some instant gratification — is one of literature’s most popular themes. There’s Christopher Marl…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:00PM
Friday, October 5, 2018

Peer into a 'Zurich' hotel room and watch the guests despair by Chris Jones

Ah, Switzerland. Home of chocolate, cleanliness, secret bank accounts, beautiful scenery, lonely wanderers, studied neutrality and a carefully veiled past. What might it be like to stare int…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 05:40PM

What would Christopher think of Steppenwolf's 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time'? by Chris Jones

“The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” is an atypical project for the Steppenwolf for Young Adults program, which for years has produced either original, socially conscious …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:55PM
Thursday, October 4, 2018

The circus and the American experience were always one and the same by Chris Jones

When a furious Brett Kavanaugh decried his United States Supreme Court confirmation history as a “circus,” he was using the word as a pejorative: He was describing what he believed to be…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:35PM

A fine new Wonka in troubled 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Chris Jones

Noah Weisberg, the fine young actor playing Willy Wonka in the musical version of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” has a tough gig. He has to follow the late Gene Wilder, whose twink…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:10PM
Wednesday, October 3, 2018

This intense, bloody 'Mendoza' at the Goodman moves 'Macbeth' to the Mexican Revolution by Chris Jones

On Tuesday night, the Chicago Cubs learned a tough lesson from “Macbeth”: “Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:30PM
Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Paula Vogel's 'Indecent' tells story of a Jewish playwright's Broadway debut and subsequent obscenity trial by Chris Jones

Anyone who works in the theater is familiar with struggle. But the Polish-Jewish novelist Sholem Asch had so much strife with his 1907 play, “God of Vengeance,” that he surely must have …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:45PM

On the menu for Chicago's Motor Row: Drag queens and Windy City Playhouse by Chris Jones

Drag queens are coming to Motor Row. And they will be serving you dinner. “Lips,” a for-profit, dinner-theater concept that has lasted 22 years in New York, is expected to open in March …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:00PM
Monday, October 1, 2018

In the boffo Broadway-bound 'Tootsie,' Dorothy is really funny — and can really sing by Chris Jones

The best moment in “Tootsie,” which opened its pre-Broadway tryout in Chicago on Sunday night, is not when the remarkable Santino Fontana first appears in a dress as Dorothy, the ill-adv…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:00AM
Sunday, September 30, 2018

Bruce Norris specializes in tough questions. Now visit the sex offenders in 'Downstate' by Chris Jones

As the nonprofit American theater has primarily become a gathering place for educated, like-minded progressives, those who provide its content have a sacred moral and artistic duty not just …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:30PM

'Nell Gwynn' at Chicago Shakes has its laughs, but when and when are we? by Chris Jones

A charming courtesan is plucked from her former milieu by a rich and powerful patron. Although initially reluctant, she moves into his rooms, relieving his boredom and even helping him, in h…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:00PM
Friday, September 28, 2018

Hubbard Street Dance's latest has a nod to mushrooms and a message about Mother Earth by Chris Jones

Hubbard Street’s Season 41 Fall Series asks a lot of its audience: The new environmentalist collaboration between the choreographers Emma Portner, Lil Buck and Jon Boogz runs close to 90 m…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:30PM

Chicago couple donates $10 million to local theater, especially to Night Out and Theater on the Lake by Chris Jones

On Friday afternoon, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will officially announce an estimated $10 million donation to support his Year of Chicago Theatre initiative. The private money, which comes from the …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:50AM
Thursday, September 27, 2018

It's about snooker. Broadway comedy 'The Nap' has some real playing amid the exaggerations by Chris Jones

Snooker isn’t pool, any more than it’s billiards. The widespread confusion annoys us aficionados of the noble cue sports on both sides of the Atlantic. Any number of snooty leisure activ…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 08:00PM

In daylong Senate hearings, a circus of human pain by Chris Jones

"This is a circus," roared the furious Judge Brett Kavanaugh, reflecting how we often respond when a seemingly controlled life of achievement devolves into escalating chaos that we discover …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:45PM
Wednesday, September 26, 2018

New York actress Kelly Felthous makes a brand new start of it — in Chicago by Chris Jones

Not long ago, a New York-based actress named Kelly Felthous found herself auditioning for Roxie Hart in the musical “Chicago.” The audition was in Manhattan, but the theater was the Drur…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:15AM
Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Theresa Rebeck's 'Bernhardt/Hamlet' needed to stick with the Dane and the diva by Chris Jones

One of the most thrilling developments in the American theater is a broader acceptance of women playing the great male roles of dramatic literature. Instead of the same old wizened dudes doi…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 08:00PM

Firebrand takes on the complicated musical 'Caroline, or Change' by Chris Jones

Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori’s “Caroline, or Change” is a musical that dangles the one quality common to any politician worth the time of day, and to almost every musical ever to ap…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 05:50PM

'We’re Only Alive for a Short Amount of Time' is the show of David Cale's life and how he's learned to live with it by Chris Jones

In 1988, a young humble, quirky, British-American monologuist named David Cale appeared in the studio theater in the old Goodman Theatre. His show, he said at the time, was dedicated to the …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:00PM
Friday, September 21, 2018

In 'Curve of Departure' at Northlight Theatre, a family must work things out in a hotel room by Chris Jones

One fundamental problem faced by America’s oldest Equity actor — that would be the 94-year-old Mike Nussbaum — is that directors keep casting him in age-appropriate roles. Such is his …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:00PM

Can a chef teach President Trump empathy? by Chris Jones

On CNN Monday, the remarkable Spanish-American chef Jose Andres was interviewed while feeding tens of thousands of the victims of Hurricane Florence in both Wilmington and Raleigh, North Car…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 08:00AM
Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tracy Letts and Annette Bening will star in a Broadway 'All My Sons' by Chris Jones

Tracy Letts is to star alongside Annette Bening in a spring Roundabout Theatre revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons.” The revival of the moralistic 1947 family drama, set in small-town …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:30PM
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Year of Chicago Theatre? Let's not blow the opportunity by Chris Jones

Thanks mostly to Chicago’s culture czar, Mark Kelly, and the genuine enthusiasm of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 2019 has been designated the Year of Chicago Theatre by the city of Chicago. Before I…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:00AM
Monday, September 17, 2018

Rahm Emanuel to announce 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre by Chris Jones

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is to make it official on Monday: 2019 is to be the Year of Chicago Theatre. A citywide initiative dreamed up and spearheaded by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Spe…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:00AM

All that Chat