All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Friday, August 17, 2018

Food belongs to everyone, a truth shared by a great restaurant critic and a great chef by Chris Jones

Restaurant criticism is different from other forms of cultural reviewing. For one thing, we all have to eat every day. For another, we have an inevitably intimate relationship with anything …

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

‘Pretty Woman’ on Broadway is great fun, starring Samantha Barks with a heart of gold by Chris Jones

Samantha Barks, the truly formidable young star of “Pretty Woman: The Musical,” achieves something close to a miracle at the Nederlander Theatre. With the help of her savvy director, Jer…

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Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Bye to ‘Christmas Schooner’ and hello Gary Coleman: ‘Avenue Q’ is a hit at Mercury Theater by Chris Jones

Fifteen years after opening on Broadway, and four years after it first played at the Mercury Theater on the Southport Corridor, “Avenue Q” is a long-running hit all over again in Chicago…

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Monday, August 13, 2018

'Gettin’ the Band Back Together' on Broadway is simply head-banger nostalgia by Chris Jones

The last time I saw a bona fide warm-up comedy act at a musical was back in the 1990s at the Royal Palm Dinner Theatre in Palm Beach, Fla. (“Are you ready for ‘La Cage Aux Folles'? Did y…

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'WaistWatchers the Musical' is coming to Chicago's Royal George, costarring Martha Wash by Chris Jones

A former Weather Girl is to headline the cast of “WaistWatchers the Musical," which is coming to Chicago's Royal George Theatre this September for an open run. Martha Wash — one half of …

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Huckabee credits Trump for jump in 'Broadway $$' — ridiculous, but he's not all wrong by Chris Jones

Even in this golden age of the unfathomable and illogical tweet, it seemed bizarre. With deft abbreviation skills, a bit of snark and a pragmatic disregard of punctuation, former Arkansas Go…

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Thursday, August 9, 2018

Chicago's Amy Morton will direct an all-women 'Glengarry Glen Ross' on Broadway by Chris Jones

The Steppenwolf Theatre ensemble member Amy Morton will direct a Broadway revival of David Mamet’s “Glengarry Glen Ross.” Only there’s a difference. All of the characters will be wom…

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David Cromer will take the stage with Broadway's "The Waverly Gallery" by Chris Jones

David Cromer is returning to the Broadway stage. The Chicago-honed, Tony Award-winning director will be part of the cast of Kenneth Lonergan's dark comedy "The Waverly Gallery," slated to op…

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'Holding the Man' at Pride Arts: Gay memoir is at once messy, inconsistent and powerful by Chris Jones

The Pride Films and Plays production of “Holding the Man,” the stage adaptation of a famed 1995 memoir by Timothy Conigrave, is a low-budget affair with barely a set, let alone sophistic…

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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

What, exactly, is this Broadway Princess Party in Schaumburg? by Chris Jones

Benjamin Rauhala, a young musical director in New York, was flying home from Disney World in 2015 when he had a three-word idea: Broadway princess party. Especially if you have a budding one…

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Monday, August 6, 2018

Off-Loop theater company Polarity Ensemble shuts down by Chris Jones

After a 14-year run and 22 full productions, Chicago's Polarity Ensemble Theatre is calling it quits. In a statement Monday evening, the off-Loop theater company cited increased production c…

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Thursday, August 2, 2018

Can we trust Facebook? Why would we? It's a business, not our friend by Chris Jones

“Can We Trust Facebook and Twitter?” asked a click-baity headline in The Wall Street Journal this week. No, is the obvious answer, given all the evidence of nefarious Russian interferenc…

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

From Griffin Theatre, a sad 'Harvest' for evangelicals who can't save themselves by Chris Jones

As tens of thousands of jubilant Chicagoans partook of the bacchanal known as Lolapalooza, a few tens of we diehard melancholics shuffled into the Den Theatre in Wicker Park on Thursday for …

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Puppets, green screens: How did Manual Cinema become the toughest ticket in Wicker Park? by Chris Jones

In its greatest moments, the Chicago theater has invented entirely new forms of creative expression. In 1955, for example, David Shepherd created a comedy-cabaret group called the Compass Pl…

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Christine Ebersole at Steppenwolf: Flawless technique and a strange 'SNL' story by Chris Jones

You might recall Christine Ebersole was once on “Saturday Night Live” (same cast as Eddie Murphy and Tim Kazurinsky). You might now know that she got the gig after smoking the right join…

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Monday, July 30, 2018

'Murder for Two' review: A dead mic at the Marriott lets the fun really begin by Chris Jones

About an hour into director Scott Weinstein's production of “Murder For Two” at the Marriott Theatre on Sunday afternoon, an actor’s microphone went out. If you’ve read the title, it…

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Sunday, July 29, 2018

Do you want a night of the blues? Get to 'Rick Stone the Blues Man.' by Chris Jones

Back in 1997, I watched a guy named Rick Stone appear in a Black Ensemble Theater tribute to Otis Redding. A few weeks later, I went back to see another show there. Stone was taking my ticke…

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Friday, July 27, 2018

'Linda' review: Penelope Skinner’s rich drama takes on our blindspot of ageism by Chris Jones

In 2004, Dove launched its “Campaign for Real Beauty,” one of the most successful marketing plans in history and, inarguably, a prescient bit of Madison Avenue understanding as to how th…

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Thursday, July 26, 2018

'Head Over Heels' on Broadway has a breezy plot that can't keep up with the Go-Go's by Chris Jones

Sir Philip Sidney, a modest and courtly chap of Shakespearean vintage, self-described his 1580 heroic prose poem “Arcadia” as “a trifle, triflingly handled.” Back in the misogynistic…

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Report from Stratford Fest: The Shakes (an immortal 'Tempest') and the musicals ('Rocky Horror' anyone?) by Chris Jones

At the age of 80, the Michigan-born Martha Henry has played many of the roles in the Shakespeare canon during her 44 years at the flagship theater of her adopted Canada. As 10 artistic direc…

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

What's the early word on 'August Rush'? Look to 'Color Purple' by Chris Jones

In April, the Paramount Theatre in Aurora will stage its first pre-Broadway tryout: “August Rush," a new musical by Mark Mancina and Glen Berger, based on the Keri Russell movie about an 1…

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Monday, July 23, 2018

'The End of TV' review: With puppets, projections and a Rust Belt story, Manual Cinema works magic by Chris Jones

It’s popular to lament the isolation of the digital age. But “The End of TV,” the deeply moving show from Manual Cinema now at the Chopin Theatre mainstage for the next few days, is a …

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Sunday, July 22, 2018

'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' review: This big-picture take on Tennessee Williams still has all the sexual charge by Chris Jones

Working at the Drury Lane, director Marcia Milgrom Dodge treats Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” as if it were a spooky story of scary shadows from the all-American past. Ha…

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Friday, July 20, 2018

'Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure' review: Blink on Navy Pier and they've flown away by Chris Jones

What better company at the theater than summer campers? Especially in a show that not only asks you to be up for an adventure but to bring a fairy back to life. (Before noon.) No problem for…

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

‘The Color Purple’ review: This thrilling revival sings straight to us in the audience at the Auditorium by Chris Jones

The Broadway musical based on “The Color Purple” tried out in Atlanta in 2004. Sitting there in Georgia, I admired the zest and accessibility of the score and, in particular, the artful …

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Chance the Chicagoist and Miranda the bookwriter: Is this the new look of media? by Chris Jones

On Wednesday, Chance the Rapper announced that he had purchased a dormant news-and-culture website called Chicagoist from the New York public radio station WNYC. His means of doing so — sh…

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

'Victims of Duty' review: Michael Shannon is the smiling Detective in an absurdist trap at Red Orchid by Chris Jones

Michael Shannon, his acerbic biography in the program at A Red Orchid Theatre informs, is soon to be enshrined in wax at Madame Tussauds near Times Square. A lifetime achievement, for sure, …

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'Something in the Game' takes another run at Knute Rockne musical by Chris Jones

Ten years ago — shudder — I pointed my Honda toward Munster, Ind., to check out a new musical about one of the Hoosier State’s most vaunted citizens: Coach Knute Kenneth Rockne of the …

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

'Heartbreak Hotel' review: Elvis musical needs the real story by Chris Jones

“Heartbreak Hotel,” the biographical Elvis musical from the creator of the Broadway shows “Million Dollar Quartet” and “Baby It’s You,” begins with a spirited gospel performanc…

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Monday, July 16, 2018

'Hamilton: The Exhibition' postpones opening on Northerly Island to April by Chris Jones

“Hamilton: The Exhibition,” the ambitious, tented attraction that aims to immerse fans of the hit Broadway musical in the life and nonfictional times of its central character, is postpon…

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At Lifeline Theatre, a new artistic director by Chris Jones

Lifeline Theatre, the venerable and ensemble-based Rogers Park arts institution known for its theatrical adaptations of literary classics, has a new artistic director. It’s Ilesa Duncan, t…

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