All stories by Dan Jakes on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Teddy Roosevelt: The Man in the Arena reminds us what a leader looks like by Dan Jakes

A solo show about the man behind Bull Moose stands alone. By the time I had the opportunity to see Derek Evans’s 75-minute solo biographical lecture enactment,…

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Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Mrs. Warren's Profession confronts our hypocrisies about sex work by Dan Jakes

Elaine Carlson delivers a biting title performance for Promethean Theatre. To get an idea of just how convoluted the legal and moral attitudes toward sex work ar…

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Poison concocts a lethal mix of comedy and drama by Dan Jakes

A woman chemist helps wives dispatch their plutocratic husbands. In 2013, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Deborah Blum wrote an article for Wired magazine titl…

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Spoken Word muddies the issue of consent by Dan Jakes

MPAACT's campus drama pushes some hot buttons, but casts an ugly pall. Playwright and MPAACT founding member Shepsu Aakhu was inspired to write this campus sexua…

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

The Tasters pictures dystopia—with a gourmet twist by Dan Jakes

Political prisoners swallow their pride (and maybe some poison) in Rivendell's world premiere. The gulags in Meghan Brown's world-premiere dystopian fable, The T…

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Stop Kiss still feels (sadly) current by Dan Jakes

A brutal homophobic assault tests the love between two women in Diana Son's drama. To be queer and in love in a 90s play is a pitiable fate. At best, characters …

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Todd Barry marks three decades in stand-up with Stadium Tour by Dan Jakes

Call him “bone dry” if you must, but don't call him “alt.” The laid-back, unassuming, eminently cool aesthetic of Pilsen's Thalia Hall is such a harmonio…

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

The Mystery of Edwin Drood provides a music-hall take on Charles Dickens by Dan Jakes

Blank Theatre Company shows off some chops in this Rupert Holmes musical. One of the easier riddles to solve in Rupert Holmes's 1985 musical comedy is why so few…

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Tuesday, December 10, 2019

The Christmas Foundling mines Bret Harte for holiday inspiration by Dan Jakes

The unconventional family structures of 19th-century mining camps widen the lens for LGBTQ history. Neither Tom Selleck nor Steve Guttenberg nor Ted Danson have …

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Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Packing follows one gay man's journey to confront his midwestern ghosts by Dan Jakes

Scott Bradley's solo show for About Face creates an important document of queer life. Living out and proud in a coastal queer mecca full of historic gayborhoods,…

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Tru shows promise, but misses the mark by Dan Jakes

The songs are strong, but the story needs work in this new musical about depression. In David Gosz and Leo Fotos's clinically subtitled new show, Tru: A Musical …

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Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Live! From Chicago! It’s your favorite podcast by Dan Jakes

Part hangout, part celebration, part theater of the mind, live podcast recordings are a performance medium all their own. Sometime next month, Action Boyz podca…

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Hell Followed With Her is less gory than advertised by Dan Jakes

A ghost-town saloon sets the stage for this zombie-spaghetti western hybrid. Open up any horror auteur's toolbox, and you'll likely see some recurring devices: t…

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The Facts of Life—Satan's School for Girls provides a Halloween showcase by Dan Jakes

Hell in a Handbag's spoof of Mrs. Garrett and 21 Jump Street is far from a drag. As luck would have it, the most expedient way to describe vanguard camp comic an…

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Equivocation is a revisionist Shakespearean tale that goes on too long by Dan Jakes

Mixing the Bard up with the Gunpowder Plot doesn't help Bill Cain's play ignite dramatically. The setup to Bill Cain's revisionist Shakespearean fairy tale is th…

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Murder mystery meets buddy comedy in Whose Body? by Dan Jakes

Lifeline's revival of this 2002 Dorothy Sayers adaptation could use more breathing room to fully come alive. Lifeline Theatre's stage has been something of a hom…

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Pop Magic connects Medusa with MeToo by Dan Jakes

The snake-haired Gorgon gets a narrative makeover in this touring devised piece. Despite sporting the most recognizable hairdo in all of literature, general know…

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Wednesday, August 7, 2019

The One: The Matrix Musical Parody is a show behind the times by Dan Jakes

The sight gags score, but the music falls short in this spoof/homage of the Wachowskis’ sci-fi classic. Ready to feel old? The Matrix—a movie that, upon its …

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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Speaking ill of the dead in Roast by Dan Jakes

A comedian requests a roast in lieu of a wake in Harry Wood’s debut play. In lieu of a traditional funeral service, a young comedian asks for a livestreamed, n…

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Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Ms. Blakk for President celebrates a great queer pioneer by Dan Jakes

When Joan Jett Blakk told us to lick Bush in '92 Neon shades of violet—not rainbows—radiate from Tarell Alvin McCraney and Tina Landau's world-premiere docu-…

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Organic Theater takes a bold stab at The Memo, Václav Havel's absurdist satire by Dan Jakes

Bureaucracy, sweet bureaucracy! Despite having one of the most radical and inspiring biographies of any theater artist, playwright-turned- prisoner-turned-Czech …

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

The Crowd You're in With is trapped in 2007, both dramatically and politically by Dan Jakes

Why do people always turn into sneering jackasses during dinner parties in plays? A group of politically engaged Chicago north siders gets together for a casual …

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Set on a Metra train, Amicable picks up steam as it chugs along by Dan Jakes

Thankfully, the plot and performances become more compelling halfway through. Ross Compton’s world premiere one-act dramedy ends as a wholly different play tha…

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Djembe! The Show works much better as theater for kids than inspiration for adults by Dan Jakes

The drumming is fun, but the corporate-speak is not. Everything about Djembe! The Show starts to make more sense when you imagine it out of its current context…

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Small World imagines a disaster on Disney’s most annoying ride by Dan Jakes

New Colony's production dances around juicy subjects without fully committing to any of them. Three Disney World cast members find themselves trapped in the smol…

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Despite the legally mandated nudity, there’s no happily-ever-after in Afterglow by Dan Jakes

"No one ever wrote a fairy tale about polyamory!" Inclusion of full and frequent nudity is so vital to the gay throuple drama Afterglow that, according to playwr…

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

For 30 years, puppeteer Blair Thomas has been creating visual spectacle on and off Chicago’s stages by Dan Jakes

“If you’re doing something associated with puppetry in Chicago, you have to think about Blair.” If anybody knows puppets—like really knows puppets—it'…

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

This Melancholy Play is also twee as hell by Dan Jakes

Sarah Ruhl’s contemporary farce crosses the line from self-awareness to self-parody. Playwright Sarah Ruhl is on the record as not loving the words "quirky" or…

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Remember the Alamo has more quirks than purpose by Dan Jakes

Where true confessions meet Texas history and Phil Collins trivia It's a dubious honorific, but the press release for Nick Hart's metatheatrical, deadpan, quirkt…

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All that Chat

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