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Monday, April 16, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE DOPPELGÄNGER (AN INTERNATIONAL FARCE) (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

DOUBLE VISION, OR LOST IN THE LAFFS Can a forced farce make a theater audience howl with laughter, never realizing until the very end that the joke is on them? That’s almost a rhetorical …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:07PM
Sunday, April 15, 2018

Opera Review: IL PIGMALIONE & RITA (Chicago Opera Theater at the Studebaker Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

MY FAIR SIGNORA, OR DONIZETTI, SOUP TO NUTS He didn’t just write Lucia di Lammermoor, Don Pasquale, L’Elisir d’Amore, Poliuto, The Daughter of the Regiment, Maria Stuarda, Robert Deve…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:11PM
Saturday, April 14, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: LETTIE (Victory Gardens) by Lawrence Bommer

A CON IS NEVER “EX” The nickname Lettie comes from the Greek term “Letitia” or “joy.” That’s one of many bleak ironies that stalk the anti-heroine of Boo Killebrew’s surv…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:06PM
Saturday, April 7, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: GASLIGHT DISTRICT (The Second City e.t.c.’s 42nd Revue at Piper’s Alley) by Lawrence Bommer

SCATTERSHOT SATIRE AIMS AT MOVING TARGETS It’s easy to think that humor is subjective — until an entire audience’s spontaneous guffaw undermines any such abstraction. Often enough,…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:18PM
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE GENTLEMAN CALLER (Raven Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

SWEET BIRD OF TRUTH The Gentleman Caller was the original name for a breakthrough “memory play” that, opening at Chicago’s Civic Theatre in late 1944, made Tom “Tennessee” William…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:56PM
Thursday, March 29, 2018

Theater Review: PRETTY WOMAN: THE MUSICAL (Pre-Broadway World Premiere) by Lawrence Bommer

PRETTY UNLIKELY WOMAN When worlds collide: A celluloid fantasy about an L.A. call girl suddenly thrust into affluence, the much-loved 1990 film Pretty Woman starred a suave, salt-and-peppe…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:31PM
Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: HANG (Remy Bumppo) by Lawrence Bommer

A VICTIM’S IMPACT STATEMENT Critics always worry about giving away too much — in spoilers and such. And, yes, at first that fear seemed real with hang by U.K. playwright debbie tuc…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:26AM
Sunday, March 25, 2018

Theater Review: ON YOUR FEET (National Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

DANCE DELIRIUM As jukebox musicals go, On Your Feet! really earns its exclamation point. No question, the music alone, which won 26 Grammy Awards, would justify this 2015 tribute to the fl…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:50AM
Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

CAGE-MATCH COMBAT: IBSEN VS. TRUMP Right now, the biggest prize fight in Chicago is at Randolph and Dearborn. More polemically urgent than psychologically penetrating, a new treatment of Hen…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:05PM
Monday, March 12, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE PICTURE OF DORIAN GRAY (City Lit) by Lawrence Bommer

DIFFICULT TO PICTURE The Picture of Dorian Gray is its author’s self-portrait — perversely paradoxical, sardonically aesthetic, and (necessarily) obsessed with concealment. First pu…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:55PM
Sunday, March 11, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: CYRANO (BoHo Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

WHO NOSE BEST? Edmond Rostand’s timeless love story celebrates the one-sided love between the famous 17th-century swordsman and poet — disfigured with a humongous schnoz — and …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:57PM
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: TIME IS ON OUR SIDE (About Face Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

UNLOCKING WHAT WAS NEVER HIDDEN At least Time Is On Our Side is more sex-affirmative and upbeat than Significant Other, About Face Theatre’s last offering. A Midwest premiere devotedly …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:21PM
Sunday, March 4, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: PLANTATION! (Lookingglass Theatre Company) by Lawrence Bommer

RIDICULOUS REVENGE It’s so well-intentioned that the results are doubly deplorable. Lookingglass Theatre Company’s Plantation!, a world premiere by ensemble member Kevin Douglas stag…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:55PM

Chicago Dance Review: 8TH ANNUAL WINNING WORKS (Joffrey Academy of Dance and MCA, Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

LITERAL LEAPS INTO THE FUTURE It’s all over — but this review of record is as much a promissory note as a remembrance. Worth noting as much as seeing, Winning Works, the Joffrey Bal…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:47AM
Friday, March 2, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: MARY STUART (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

A ROYAL CATFIGHT GETS A ROYAL PRODUCTION Coulda, woulda, shoulda: It’s the greatest confrontation between rival monarchs that never happened — the 1586 face-off between the “Virgin…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:06PM
Sunday, February 25, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: HAIL, HAIL CHUCK: A TRIBUTE TO CHUCK BERRY (Black Ensemble Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

JOHNNY BE BAD: A CHUCK ROAST Once more it’s homage time on Clark Street. The latest musical reclamation from Black Ensemble Theater, L. Maceo Ferris’s Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chu…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:40PM
Friday, February 23, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: SIX CORNERS (American Blues Theater at Stage 773) by Lawrence Bommer

MESSING UP MURDER The cops may be blue, the victims black, but in Six Corners the predominant color is gray. Marinating in moral relativism, this independent installment in Chicago playwri…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:17PM
Monday, February 19, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE MADWOMAN OF CHAILLOT (Promethean Theatre Ensemble) by Lawrence Bommer

AN EVERGREEN PARABLE OF RESISTANCE It’s a two-act tonic, this Madwoman of Chaillot. Life, Jean Giraudoux knew, is never safe from our constant “fever of destruction.” When decency get…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:50PM
Sunday, February 18, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE BURN (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

IN CYBER SPACE NO ONE CAN HEAR YOU SCREAM On the Internet or just IRL, there’s joy in striking back — turning the tables and trolling the bullies. But what’s rotten one way is no b…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:33PM
Friday, February 16, 2018

Theater Review: LOVE NEVER DIES (National Tour at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

THE PHANTOM NEVER DIED, BUT SHOULD HAVE Gaston Leroux knew: The original author of The Phantom of the Opera concluded his horror romance with his disfigured serial-killer as dead as Lon Ch…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:20PM
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chicago Opera Review: ELIZABETH CREE (Chicago Opera Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

A PENNY DREADFUL FOR YOUR THOUGHTS Murder will out, whether in police gazettes or chamber opera. If he hadn’t existed, the still unknown Jack the Ripper could have been invented by penny d…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:38PM
Friday, February 9, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: YOU GOT OLDER (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

IN TASTING YOUR MORTALITY, YOU GET A LOT OLDER WATCHING THIS In the bleak midwinter — appropriately — comes this dour drama. A Chicago premiere from Steppenwolf Theatre Company, this 201…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:05PM
Thursday, February 8, 2018

Chicago Dance Review: MODERN MASTERS (Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

MOVEMENTS WITHOUT DEMANDS Modern masters indeed. A splendid showcase for steps and leaps, Joffrey Ballet’s annual winter engagement always brings fresh glory to the state of their art. Mo…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:19PM
Monday, February 5, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: JEEVES IN BLOOM (ShawChicago at the Ruth Page Center) by Lawrence Bommer

SAVED BY YOUR SERVANT Like manna from the heavens, it comes when we’ve never needed to laugh more: The invaluable comic master P.G. Wodehouse returns from the Roaring Twenties to the rescu…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:12PM
Saturday, February 3, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: SKELETON CREW (Northlight) by Lawrence Bommer

THE DIS-ASSEMBLY LINE Some stories can’t stand on their own and for very good reason: They tell so many others. Much as The Wire dealt with Baltimore’s failing institutions and August …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:45PM
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: NICE GIRL (Raven Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

THE GIRL OF MY DREAMS “No one will ever love you as much as I do — so shut up and stop looking for more.” A harsher hope-killing “reassurance” should not be imagined. That’s …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:49PM
Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: BLIND DATE (Goodman) by Lawrence Bommer

REHABILITATING REAGAN Putting us backstage as history happens, Goodman Theatre’s world premiere Blind Date generously or doggedly tells audiences more than they knew (or perhaps want to)…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:13PM
Monday, January 29, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: WE THE PEOPLE: THE ANTI-TRUMP MUSICAL (Flying Elephant at Stage 773) by Lawrence Bommer

AMERICA’S COARSE ‘CORRECTION’ A huge reason that theater counts is that it can carry a club (or, as the situation warrants, a stiletto). Both an agitprop assault on the 46th President…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:52AM
Friday, January 19, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: YANK! A WWII LOVE STORY (Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center) by Lawrence Bommer

A RODGERS & HAMMERSTEIN STYLED MUSICAL THAT ASKS AND TELLS Call it the new nostalgia. In most ways, Yank! A WWII Love Story is an unashamedly conventional book musical, as predictable …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:06PM
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: BOY (TimeLine Theatre Co.) by Lawrence Bommer

THE LOST–AND FOUND–BOY What resonates in each of the 90 minutes of TimeLine Theatre Company’s Boy is the play’s total absence of rage or recrimination. As compassionately t…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:25PM
Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Chicago Theater Review: THE ANTELOPE PARTY (Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

MY LITTLE (PARANOID) PONY If you believe The Antelope Party, a Theater Wit two-act world premiere, fascism could soon be coming to a neighborhood near you. The “party” reference is poli…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:07PM

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