All stories by Kelly Kleiman on BroadwayStars

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
Wednesday, November 2, 2022

Medicine show by Kelly Kleiman

It’s hard to write a play whose hero is the American Medical Association (AMA), even as embodied by crusading Dr. Morris Fishbein (the appealing Andrew Bosworth) and his equally earnest [�…

SOURCE: at 03:07PM
Thursday, October 27, 2022

Displacement and determination by Kelly Kleiman

Refuge, the wrenching portrait of a Central American woman’s effort to reach the U.S. receiving its midwest premiere at Theo Ubique, is less a play than a ritual with music […] The post …

SOURCE: at 11:04AM
Thursday, October 13, 2022

Too many Marys by Kelly Kleiman

Playwright Jackie Sibblies Drury had too many things in mind when she wrote this play about Mary Seacole, a real-life Jamaican-born healer who improbably served in the 19th-century Crimean W…

SOURCE: at 02:49PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Elderberry wine in new bottles by Kelly Kleiman

Long before the term “meta” entered common parlance there was Arsenic and Old Lace, a 1939 play by Joseph Kesselring about how plays are ridiculous. It’s also a play about […] The po…

SOURCE: at 12:13PM
Thursday, September 8, 2022

Cool Kids vs. Normies by Kelly Kleiman

If you didn’t know that Noël Coward was an actor as well as a playwright, you’d figure it out within minutes of seeing any of his plays: how else to […] The post Cool Kids vs. Normies…

SOURCE: at 04:10PM
Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Teaching to the test by Kelly Kleiman

If National Merit had to be pitched as a movie, it would be “The Breakfast Club in a test prep class.” Competing for high scores and the scholarship that goes […] The post Teaching to …

SOURCE: at 12:16PM
Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Great Altercations needs alterations by Kelly Kleiman

There are half a dozen exceptionally talented individuals in the new Second City e.t.c. revue, Great Altercations. But that turns out to be a problem: they remain individuals rather than for…

SOURCE: at 03:35PM
Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Heat in August by Kelly Kleiman

It is a truth universally acknowledged that it’s actually harder to write a rave review than it is to write a pan. How to communicate the thrill of seeing a show that’s just exactly what…

SOURCE: at 10:28AM
Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Choice debates by Kelly Kleiman

Natalie Y. Moore’s play The Billboard, now in a world premiere with 16th Street Theater, is subtitled “A Play About Abortion.” In the spirit of Chicago improv, allow me to say: Yes, an…

SOURCE: at 11:10AM
Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Diner dialogues by Kelly Kleiman

This is an impeccable production of a play whose weaknesses outweigh its considerable strengths. It’s the 1960s episode of August Wilson’s Pittsburgh Cycle, tracing a century of life in …

SOURCE: at 01:06PM
Thursday, May 12, 2022

People who need people by Kelly Kleiman

When everyone on the stage is excellent, it shows a director fully in command of the material. That’s the case with Cody Estle’s production of The Luckiest by Melissa Ross, receiving its…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

What the Constitution Means to Me means a lot for all of us by Kelly Kleiman

Heidi Schreck weaves together civics, feminism, and personal history in this vital production. At the very start of What the Constitution Means to Me, author Hei…

SOURCE: at 05:05PM
Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Day of Absence gets a rare revival with Congo Square by Kelly Kleiman

Douglas Turner Ward's 1965 satirical one-act holds more historic than contemporary interest. Day of Absence is a show with one joke and two audiences. The joke i…

SOURCE: at 05:50PM