All stories by Kelly Kleiman on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

On the Twentieth Century offers a fun and nostalgic trip by Kelly Kleiman

Rarely has a mediocre musical received as sparkling a revival as Blank Theatre Company’s current rendition of On the Twentieth Century, the Adolph Green-Betty Comden-Cy Coleman adaptation …

SOURCE: at 12:59PM
Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Popping an absurdist soap bubble by Kelly Kleiman

Tom Stoppard’s debut 1966 play could be called Waiting for Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: it matches Samuel Beckett’s meditation on the meaninglessness of existence with Shakespeare’s p…

SOURCE: at 04:48PM
Thursday, March 21, 2024

Theo’s Sondheim Tribute Revue triumphs by Kelly Kleiman

In this wonderfully satisfying revue, Theo deploys its reliably exceptional voices to give the audience a sampling both deep and broad of the works of Stephen Sondheim. The program contains …

SOURCE: at 03:31PM

Barroom stories by Kelly Kleiman

This is actually Two One-Acts On A Single Set, both directed by City Lit Theater artistic director Terry McCabe and with music direction by Shraman Ghosh. The first, Waiting for Tina Meyer b…

SOURCE: at 02:39PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2024

Greek women talking by Kelly Kleiman

Artistic director Susan V. Booth waited a good long time after rejoining the Goodman in 2022 to direct a show of her own, but it was totally worth the wait. Her production of Margaret Atwood…

SOURCE: at 10:41AM
Wednesday, March 6, 2024

Evidence of devotion by Kelly Kleiman

The title of David Auburn’s Pulitzer Prize–winning play does double duty: it refers to mathematical proofs but also to the question of what constitutes sufficient evidence of devotion to…

SOURCE: at 11:42AM
Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Stellar drama by Kelly Kleiman

This is a perfect production of Lauren Gunderson’s biographical drama about Henrietta Leavitt and her sister astronomers at Harvard in the early 20th century. Under Beth Wolf’s direction…

SOURCE: at 03:42PM
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Judy’s Life’s Work is a serious and valuable new play by Kelly Kleiman

The world premiere of Loy A. Webb’s Judy’s Life’s Work is everything a playwright could hope for. Director Michelle Renee Bester and her first-rate cast bring out every emotional nuanc…

SOURCE: at 01:43PM
Wednesday, February 7, 2024

In the Heights doesn’t quite reach the top by Kelly Kleiman

Lin-Manuel Miranda’s pre-Hamilton musical In The Heights (book by Quiara Alegría Hudes) is not a work of genius, but it deserves a better production than it’s currently receiving at Mar…

SOURCE: at 01:26PM
Tuesday, December 26, 2023

Shrek: The Musical falls short by going too long by Kelly Kleiman

The whole time I was watching Shrek: The Musical, I hoped I was witnessing a pre-Broadway tryout—something susceptible to fixing. But I should have known better—it is a final product of …

SOURCE: at 12:52PM
Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Court’s The Lion in Winter slices through the surface by Kelly Kleiman

The arch dialogue in James Goldman’s 1966 drama The Lion in Winter (turned into a 1968 film starring Katharine Hepburn and Peter O’Toole) about the eventful Christmas of 1183 at the Engl…

SOURCE: at 11:24AM
Thursday, November 9, 2023

Oh, the Places You’ll Glow hits the switch on warmhearted comedy by Kelly Kleiman

This was the first time in a long time that a Second City performance didn’t seem to be an audition for Saturday Night Live. The company of four women and two men (a refreshing change of b…

SOURCE: at 10:20AM
Thursday, October 19, 2023

Ghosts and dysfunction by Kelly Kleiman

Mia McCullough’s play, now receiving its world premiere at Theater Wit, is about the immovable object (denial) meeting the irresistible force (the past), with a family crushed in between. …

SOURCE: at 11:42AM
Tuesday, October 10, 2023

The American Dream as nightmare by Kelly Kleiman

Strong acting and a powerful theme can’t quite bring Juan Ramirez Jr.’s world premiere at Subtext Studio Theatre (part of Destinos: 6th Chicago International Latino Theater Festival) to …

SOURCE: at 02:28PM
Thursday, September 21, 2023

Lighting up the years by Kelly Kleiman

Noah Haidle’s play got absolutely savaged in New York, with the critics’ main objection being that the story of a family over time had already been told in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town a…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Thursday, September 14, 2023

A superb View by Kelly Kleiman

When it’s directed wrong, Arthur Miller’s A View From the Bridge comes off as a dated melodrama about the unthinkability of incest. Fortunately, director Louis Contey at Shattered Globe …

SOURCE: at 10:52AM

The love language of dance by Kelly Kleiman

It’s incredibly ambitious for a Chicago company to choose A Chorus Line, because although the city has a strong dance community, it’s not one with a tradition of crossing over into theat…

SOURCE: at 09:54AM
Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Theatre L’Acadie’s Today Tonight Soon wears out its welcome by Kelly Kleiman

It looks so simple: two people occupy a stage, waiting for something and talking about nothing. But Waiting for Godot works because Samuel Beckett was a genius, and because waiting itself w…

SOURCE: at 06:12PM
Tuesday, August 1, 2023

Amped-up oligarchy by Kelly Kleiman

It’s not clear that there’s anything funny about the life story or legacy of John D. Rockefeller, which raises the question of Corn Productions’ attraction to the material and goal in …

SOURCE: at 03:49PM
Thursday, June 29, 2023

Elegy for the Age of Aquarius by Kelly Kleiman

Hair is such an icon—profanity and naked people on Broadway, oh my!—that it can be hard to remember it’s an actual play with a plot (Gerome Ragni and James Rado wrote the book and lyri…

SOURCE: at 11:32AM
Thursday, June 8, 2023

A ‘miraculous’ West Side Story by Kelly Kleiman

In most productions of West Side Story (and I’ve seen half a dozen or more), Tony is the weakest link: the character just isn’t as cool as Riff or as sexy as Bernardo. He’s kind of a d…

SOURCE: at 10:18AM
Thursday, May 4, 2023

Big-box problems by Kelly Kleiman

If verisimilitude and timeliness were all it took to create a great play, Ken Green’s world premiere comedy-drama about working in big-box retail would be a home run. Its dialogue captures…

SOURCE: at 11:05AM
Friday, April 21, 2023

The broken double helix of pain by Kelly Kleiman

Donnetta Lavinia Grays’s play is about the limits of love—both in what it can accomplish, even when it feels infinite, and in what it can tolerate before it disappears. Monique (the prot…

SOURCE: at 10:33AM
Friday, April 14, 2023

A mother of a play by Kelly Kleiman

Motherhouse begins with a recently bereaved daughter struggling to write her mother’s eulogy.  Her mother’s four sisters arrive to help with the task but instead reenact every unresolve…

SOURCE: at 10:34AM
Thursday, March 23, 2023

Bed to crime to bed by Kelly Kleiman

Directors have two jobs: to help the audience understand what the play is about and to stage it so the audience can see it. Director Fred Anzevino has failed at both here. The Threepenny Ope…

SOURCE: at 09:53AM
Thursday, March 2, 2023

Hold the fireworks by Kelly Kleiman

One can imagine what inspired directors Diane Paulus and Jeffrey L. Page to rework this 1960s musical about the Continental Congress. There’s the attraction of doing a piece about the nati…

SOURCE: at 04:31PM
Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Ezekiel’s Wheel is an absorbing fable by Kelly Kleiman

Like most speculative fiction (and every original Star Trek episode), Ezekiel’s Wheel is a fable: a story whose moral applies to circumstances other than those being described. Determining…

SOURCE: at 03:40PM
Thursday, February 2, 2023

Celtic conflicts by Kelly Kleiman

Ann Noble’s play about an Irish family decompensating after the mother’s death had its premiere in Chicago nearly 30 years ago, and it’s showing its age. There are plots and subplots a…

SOURCE: at 09:22AM
Friday, January 27, 2023

Don’t miss this Birthday Party by Kelly Kleiman

If you were concerned that Chicago’s storefront theaters lost their mojo during the pandemic, get thee to Terry McCabe’s gripping production of The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. It’…

SOURCE: at 11:00AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Tick, tick . . . BOOM! embodies youth, passion, and raw talent by Kelly Kleiman

It would be hard to find a more appealing trio to embody Jonathan Larson’s autobiographical musical tick, tick . . . BOOM! than the ones in BoHo Theatre’s production—and “embody” i…

SOURCE: at 12:36PM
Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A very Austen holiday by Kelly Kleiman

Playwrights Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcon wrap up their Pride and Prejudice fan fiction trilogy with Georgiana and Kitty, once more bringing to the center of the action characters perip…

SOURCE: at 12:36PM

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