All stories by Lauren Whalen on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: L’Imitation of Life (Hell in a Handbag Productions) by Lauren Whalen

L’Imitation of Life, which premiered in 2013 before this year’s remount, is one of Hell in a Handbag’s stronger parodies. Though it will mainly appeal to an older audience due to its s…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 03:54PM
Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: The Cake (Rivendell Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Some plays hit you right where you live. The Cake is about, well, a wedding cake, but it’s also about the pull between two worlds - the home you make as an adult, and the place you were bo…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:24PM
Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: 9 to 5: The Musical (Firebrand Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Based on the 1980 movie, the musical 9 to 5 opened on Broadway in 2009, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. Sadly, the musical has an uneven score and an inconsistent, shallow book, and d…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:42PM
Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review: The Spitfire Grill (Refuge Theatre Project) by Lauren Whalen

Performed at the Windy City Café, the production is meticulously staged by director Christopher Pazdernik and features gorgeous acoustic musical direction courtesy of Jon Schneidman, who pl…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 12:00AM
Sunday, March 25, 2018

Review: Bad Girls–The Stylists (Akvavit Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

With its US premiere, Akvavit Theatre's Bad Girls-The Stylists is absurdly funny and strangely empowering. Michael Evans’ translation of Astrid Saalbach’s script is delightfully weird, r…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:50PM

Review: Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theater Wit) by Lauren Whalen

It’s difficult to make a play based solely on a popular stock photo image turned Internet meme. That’s exactly what Theater Wit's Women Laughing Alone With Salad tries, and fails, to do.…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:52PM
Friday, March 23, 2018

Review: Schiller’s Mary Stuart (Chicago Shakespeare) by Lauren Whalen

Mary Stuart is thoughtfully executed from beginning to end, hitting it out of the park on all counts. The gowns are eye candy, the cast gifted and the production team thorough. Reimagined by…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:55PM
Monday, March 19, 2018

Review: Anna Karenina (Lifeline Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been adapted many times over the years for stage and screen, and Jessica Wright Buha’s world premiere adaptation for Lifeline Theatre effectively captures t…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:17PM
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Bunny Bunny (Mercury Theater) by Lauren Whalen

It’s helpful to know Gilda Radner’s body of work, particularly on SNL, before watching Bunny Bunny. That said, Chicago is a perfect city for this play, with its legacy of comedy and the …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:52PM
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review: Plantation! (Lookingglass Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Lookingglass Theatre's world-premiere by ensemble member Kevin Douglas, is a sharp, darkly funny 95-minute roller coaster, expertly directed by ensemble member David Schwimmer and beautifull…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:45PM
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: Kingdom (Broken Nose Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Developed over two years with Broken Nose Theatre, Playwright Michael Allen Harris’ newest work is a thoughtful, funny and a tragic meditation on a multi-generational African-American quee…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:56PM
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review: A Story Told in Seven Fights (The Neo-Futurists) by Lauren Whalen

The Neo-Futurists have an incredibly distinctive style: either you like it or you don’t. Either way, there is no other company in Chicago like them. If you like theater history and stage c…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:38PM
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Review: Southern Gothic (Windy City Playhouse) by Lauren Whalen

Creatively staged as an immersive experience where the audience is seated on the edges of different rooms and patio, Southern Gothic, by Leslie Liautaud, is a fascinating glimpse inside the …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:35PM
Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Fear and Misery of the Third Reich (Haven Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Bertolt Brecht’s series of vignettes following different characters as Germany approaches World War II is uncomfortable, sad and downright scary. It’s also important and essential viewin…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:58PM
Friday, February 2, 2018

Review: The Humans (Broadway in Chicago) by Lauren Whalen

With the national tour of Stephen Karam’s The Humans, there's a amazing melding of Karam's script, Mantello’s direction and the excellent production team and cast accurately portraying t…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 11:21PM
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review: We’re Gonna Be Okay (American Theater Co.) by Lauren Whalen

We’re Gonna Be Okay, written by playwright Basil Kreimendahl, explores America's fear and paranoia of nuclear war in the early 1960's through the eyes of two neighboring families who decid…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:05PM
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review: All My Sons (Court Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

There's a lot to love in Arthur Miller's All My Sons. Both Johanna McKenzie Miller and Abby Pierce give nuanced performances as neighborhood women, and John Judd expertly guides us through J…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 11:37PM
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review: Boy (TimeLine Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Playwright Anna Ziegler began Boy as a direct homage to David Reimer, who in1967 at 18-month-old, was left with damaged genitals due to a circumcision accident. Desperate, his parents turned…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 01:27PM
Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: For the Loyal (Interrobang Theatre Project) by Lauren Whalen

What does loyalty mean? How far does it go? And what if your loyalty (or lack of) affects your livelihood and the ability to support your family? Award-winning playwright Lee Blessing tackle…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:53PM
Friday, December 22, 2017

Review: BLKS (Steppenwolf Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Playwright and poet Aziza Barnes wrote BLKS as a self-portrait of herself and her best friends in her early 20s. Full of laugh-out-loud moments as well as dark humor and quiet poignancy, BLK…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:12PM
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Review: Potted Potter (Broadway in Chicago, 2017) by Lauren Whalen

*Potted* means condensed. *Potter,* at least in this case, means Harry Potter, a child wizard and the center of seven books that propelled J.K. Rowling from broke schoolteacher to wealthy me…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:54PM
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Red Velvet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) by Lauren Whalen

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Red Velvet chronicles Ira Aldridge’s groundbreaking but ill-timed two-day run as Othello at Covent Garden in 1833, the first African-American actor to star on…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:24PM
Saturday, December 9, 2017

Review: The Minutes (Steppenwolf Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

When Tracy Letts' newest play, The Minutes, is good, it’s very, very good, and that’s the case for the play’s first 90-95 minutes. As a small-town transplant myself, I can verify the h…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 12:18AM
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review: The Nutcracker (Joffrey Ballet, 2017) by Lauren Whalen

Now in its second glorious year, Joffrey Ballet's updated The Nutcracker, set during the construction of Chicago's 1893 Worlds Fair in an immigrant family's shack and their daughter's fantas…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 09:36PM
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: Altar Boyz (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

One of off-Broadway’s longest-running shows, the boy band parody Altar Boyz is a real-time concert of a Christian boy band who love singing and dancing - but love Jesus even more. Theo Ubi…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:12PM

Review: Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer (Hell in a Handbag Productions, 2017) by Lauren Whalen

Based on the 1967 children’s TV special, this fun Rudolph chronicles the adventures of a North Pole reindeer (Graham Thomas Heacock) who just doesn’t fit in with his peers - he just can'…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:06PM
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: Othello (Invictus Theatre Company) by Lauren Whalen

In Invictus Theatre Company's inaugural production of Othello, Iago is played as a woman. Her strong performance and a largely solid ensemble are not enough, however, to save a weak lead and…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:48PM
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review: Fade (Teatro Vista and Victory Gardens Theater) by Lauren Whalen

Victory Gardens’ latest play, Fade, a co-production with Teatro Vista, features the relationship of two very different Latinx individuals who happen to work in the same building. Fade is f…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:04PM
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review: Tick, Tick…BOOM! (The Cuckoo’s Theater Project) by Lauren Whalen

Running 90 minutes with no intermission, Tick, Tick...BOOM! is poignant but inconsistent, with a score that’s lovely and touching but also frustrating and dreary. The Cuckoo’s Theater Pr…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:04PM
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: The Pearl Fishers (Lyric Opera) by Lauren Whalen

Everyone loves a good, tragic love story, and Lyric Opera's The Pearl Fishers doesn't disappoint. Its two-and-a-half-hour running time is shorter than that of the average opera, making it a …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:42PM
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: Yasmina’s Necklace (Goodman Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Yasmina’s Necklace is very Muslim in its theme, but also very American – unique yet universal. Thoughtfully directed by Ann Filmer, and featuring a gifted ensemble, the Chicago premiere …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:48PM

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