All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Friday, April 20, 2018

Even on Broadway, retail is dying before our eyes. Or is it? What does it all mean for Tribune Tower? by Chris Jones

If we all want retail to continue to be a part of our urban aesthetic landscape, we had better start buying things in shops. On Thursday, the Tribune reported that Carson’s, a department s…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

No changes of heart at all in this chilly 'My Fair Lady' at Lincoln Center on Broadway by Chris Jones

At the posh Lincoln Center, the young Cockney woman that professor Henry Higgins finds in Covent Garden is not the usual chipper and cheerily comprehensible flower girl you find in Alan Jay …

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A letter from Russia adds some interesting politics to Hershey Felder's 'Our Great Tchaikovsky' by Chris Jones

In 2013, the entrepreneurial pianist and actor Hershey Felder received a letter from Russian authorities. Felder, who has many fans in Chicago, is well known for his solo shows focused on th…

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'Jesus Christ Superstar' means 'gig theater' is coming to the Lyric Opera by Chris Jones

“Jesus Christ Superstar,” which is close to half a century old and the only show ever to contain such a gloriously ridiculous lyric as “Hosanna Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Ho" is having a he…

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

'Lettie' at Victory Gardens: A mother's years lost to prison are years she can't get back by Chris Jones

Playwright Boo Killebrew's “Lettie” begins with a woman staring at her half-sister, who just got out of jail. “This wasn’t supposed to happen for two or three years,” the woman say…

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Monday, April 16, 2018

'The Doppelganger': Rainn Wilson trades 'The Office' for a gutsy, messy 'international farce' at Steppenwolf by Chris Jones

Can you combine the post-colonial atrocities, the internal corruption, the ceaseless profiteering that still afflicts Africa, the mother continent of humanity, with the rubric of a knockdown…

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Tracy Letts' 'Minutes,' a Steppenwolf premiere, a finalist for 2018 Pulitzer Prize by Chris Jones

Tracy Letts' "The Minutes," a play about an incendiary council meeting in a small American city, was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in drama. The designation was announced Monday aft…

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Steppenwolf for Young Adults' 'The Burn' seems out of sync with this moment's teenagers by Chris Jones

Through no fault of its own, Philip Dawkins’ “The Burn” has not turned out to be well-timed. Set in a Chicago public high school and focused on a well-meaning teacher (Erik Hellman) an…

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Drury Lane’s ‘South Pacific’ has Broadway stars and layers of storytelling by Chris Jones

If you are playing Nellie Forbush in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” which opened Thursday night at the Drury Lane Theatre under the open-hearted direction of …

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jessie Mueller stars in a Broadway 'Carousel' that reminds us life is all too short by Chris Jones

God is in “Carousel.” So is human love and sexual desire, but let’s leave that aside for a moment. In 1945, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II created the greatest musical ever w…

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

'Children of a Lesser God' on Broadway: This is a powerful play, but the teacher falling for his deaf student has become problematic by Chris Jones

In its marketing materials, director Kenny Leon’s complicated new Broadway revival of “Children of a Lesser God,” which opened Wednesday night at Studio 54, justly describes itself as …

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'9 to 5 the Musical' gets the Dollywood treatment with feminist flair by Chris Jones

Harmony France, the artistic director of the feisty Firebrand Theatre, is a fountain of fabulous ideas. Her latest? Take the flop Broadway show known as “9 to 5 the Musical” and stage it…

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Chicago icon Elaine May, 85, returning to Broadway in Kenneth Lonergan play with Michael Cera by Chris Jones

Elaine May — the iconic actress, comedian, writer and director who first emerged in Chicago in the 1950s alongside her partner Mike Nichols — is to return to Broadway next season. May, 8…

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Good question: How does a play as good as 'Birdland' end up in a storefront theater? by Chris Jones

A former Tribune colleague of mine sent me a note with a question this week. He’d been with his wife to see the Steep Theatre production of Simon Stephens’ “Birdland,” a fantastic sh…

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Monday, April 9, 2018

Second City e.t.c.'s 'Gaslight District' has fun with Uber Pool and Sport Clips but goes a little light on the satire by Chris Jones

Over the years, Second City has thrown some material into its revues that is just not funny at all. I’ve always loved the awkward silence that then descends on the room — the way the par…

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Sunday, April 8, 2018

Bye bye, Lindsay Lohan. In Tina Fey's 'Mean Girls' on Broadway, the arty geeks take center stage. by Chris Jones

“Sometimes I feel like an iPhone without a case,” muses one of the teens in the new Broadway musical “Mean Girls,” written by Tina Fey and set among the cliques and geeks of what now…

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Friday, April 6, 2018

'Birdland' at Steep: You're treated like a god, women throw themselves at you — what does it mean to be a rock star? by Chris Jones

They’re nocturnal creatures. Their natural habitat is posh hotels — although, like me, you might have glimpsed the odd one preening through a casino or scurrying in their sunglasses thro…

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Thursday, April 5, 2018

'Smart People' at Writers Theatre: Can a white neurobiologist study racism? Can a black actress escape it? by Chris Jones

Does intelligence make a white person any less inherently racist? How about a white neurologist who actually does research into his own racism? Those questions — which are interesting ones…

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For the first time, the Cubs are offering a cheap-seat lottery at Wrigley. It’s a smokescreen. by Chris Jones

Taking a cue from the hit musical "Hamilton," the Chicago Cubs are offering the team's first-ever lottery for the upcoming baseball season at Wrigley Field: 60 seats in the terrace reserved …

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

'The Gentleman Caller' an engrossing story of Inge and Williams, but it needs to get messier by Chris Jones

It’s New Year’s Eve, 1944. Three days earlier, this newspaper had published a review by Claudia Cassidy admonishing each and every Chicagoan not to miss a play called “The Glass Menage…

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Talking to Rainn Wilson and Tina Landau about 'The Doppelganger' at Steppenwolf by Chris Jones

Rainn Wilson, best known for playing the mercurial character of Dwight Schrute on “The Office” (U.S. version on NBC) and intern Arthur Martin on HBO’s “Six Feet Under,” is playing …

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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

With plays like 'Hang,' Remy Bumppo seeks a risky way forward by Chris Jones

Remy Bumppo is hanging in there. This midsize Chicago theater — its budget hovers around $1 million — is in the riskiest sector of the Chicago theater, as we all learned with the loss of…

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Thursday, March 29, 2018

'Three Tall Women' on Broadway: In a masterful Albee production starring Laurie Metcalf, this trio could be you by Chris Jones

Should children be taught of the imminence of their own death in much the same way that they are taught their ABCs? Edward Albee’s “Three Tall Women” — now on Broadway in an extraord…

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A big problem with 1967's 'Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?' There's a woman at the center with so little to say by Chris Jones

In 1967, actress Katharine Houghton was cast by director Stanley Kramer in the role of Joanna in a movie called “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.” She was to play the scion of a newspaper…

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Wednesday, March 28, 2018

'Pretty Woman The Musical' opens in Chicago - In 2018, he's a mess and she's a superhero streetwalker by Chris Jones

As the movie “Pretty Woman” made a star of a young Julia Roberts, so “Pretty Woman The Musical,” likely will do the same for the sensational 27-year-old Manx actress Samantha Barks. …

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Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Review: 'A Taste of Things to Come' needs more zest by Chris Jones

Act 1 of the new musical at the Broadway Playhouse, “A Taste of Things to Come,” is set in a Winnetka kitchen in 1957, amid women bonding over (and singing about) pregnancy, cooking, thw…

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Could this be the food truck of Chicago theater? by Chris Jones

Space is a perennial crisis in the Chicago theater. There’s not enough of it obtainable for affordable rent. And when a theater decides to try and make more, the build-out costs tend to be…

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Mary Zimmerman, Frankenstein and God all on tap at Lookingglass by Chris Jones

The conceptual director Mary Zimmerman will return to the Lookingglass Theatre next season with a new family-friendly project called “The Steadfast Tin Soldier: A Christmas Pantomime,” L…

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Monday, March 26, 2018

'Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner' has racial complexity on the menu by Chris Jones

Just 17 days after the filming ended for Stanley Kramer’s beloved 1967 movie, “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” its star, Spencer Tracy, died of cancer. Tracy’s mortality is very evi…

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Sunday, March 25, 2018

Kushner's 'Angels in America' goes from London to Broadway. But where's the power of transformation? by Chris Jones

NEW YORK — We may all be fabulous creatures in our own heads but, heaven forfend, we are doomed by the brevity of our individual lifespans to keep repeating the same mistakes. How could an…

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Friday, March 23, 2018

An intense mother-daughter dynamic drives 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane' by Chris Jones

“I’d die before you’d put me in a home,” says the old Irish lady. “Aye,” says her daughter, “hopefully.” That’s not a slogan you generally read in the mailers for The Mathe…

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