All stories by Lawrence Bommer on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: THE CROWD YOU’RE IN WITH (AstonRep Theatre Company at The Raven) by Lawrence Bommer

RETHINKING REPRODUCTION A very pointed question arrives near the end of Rebecca Gilman’s useful 2007 drama The Crowd You’re in With, first produced in Chicago ten years ago by Goodman …

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Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: THE WINTER’S TALE (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

A FRACTURED FAIRY TALE Shakespeare’s strange romance, which begins with gratuitous jealousy and ends with gratuitous forgiveness, is best savored as a fairy tale for grownups: A virtuous q…

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Theater Review: MAD BEAT HIP & GONE (Promethean Theatre Ensemble) by Lawrence Bommer

TAKE TO THE ROAD Walt Whitman may have patented the “song of the open road,” but the Beat Generation gave it their own course correction and made it into a map. These writers of the Eise…

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Theater Review: THE UNDENIABLE SOUND OF RIGHT NOW (Raven Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

KEEPING ROCK REAL Letting a good thing go is a hard fate: Change is always constant but it’s never guaranteed to be good. A tough transition in Chicago’s indie rock scene is feelingly ch…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:36PM

Theater Review: TOO HEAVY FOR YOUR POCKET (TimeLine Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

ANOTHER DREAM DEFERRED The price of progress is no abstraction, not during the fully-freighted 160 minutes of Jiréh Breon Holder’s civil rights drama Too Heavy for Your Pocket. A TimeLine…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:36PM
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Theater Review: THE CHILDREN (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

 THE PARENTS CRUSADE The setting is the story in The Children, Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s Chicago premiere. Set designer Chelsea M. Warren depicts a cluttered seaside cottage off th…

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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Theater Review: HAMLET (Chicago Shakespeare) by Lawrence Bommer

THE PARALYZED PRINCE Century after century, thespian tyro after marquee headliner, something remains rotten in the state of Denmark. A defining challenge for thousands of careers, Hamlet pe…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:14PM
Friday, April 26, 2019

Opera Review: MOBY-DICK (Chicago Opera Theater at the Harris Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

THE WHALE WINS There’s only one more performance — on Sunday at 3 at the Harris Theatre — of Chicago Opera Theater’s awesomely ambitious Moby-Dick, a nearly-three-hour 2010 epic with…

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Thursday, April 25, 2019

Dance Review: ACROSS THE POND (Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

BRITAIN’S BALLET FINDS CHICAGO Springing into the season, the Joffrey Ballet’s current visit to the Auditorium Theatre delivers very welcome art — two world premieres and a Chicago fir…

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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Theater Review: TWO DAYS IN COURT: Benet’s THE DEVIL AND DANIEL WEBSTER and Gilbert and Sullivan’s TRIAL BY JURY (City Lit) by Lawrence Bommer

TWIN TRAVESTIES (OF JUSTICE) ARE DOUBLE THE FUN Order in the court! Closing its season with dueling gavels, City Lit Theater offers Two Days in Court in only 90 minutes. Merrily combining G…

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: HANNAH AND MARTIN (Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

CAN LOVE ENABLE EVIL? There is no last supper or cross on Golgotha but, yes, Hannah and Martin is a true passion play. What makes this even stranger is that it’s as much about clashing i…

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: A CHORUS LINE (Porchlight) by Lawrence Bommer

GOTTA DANCE! Now 44 years old, which means that a third generation of hoofers is now recreating it, A Chorus Line remains the late Michael Bennett’s breakthrough backstage musical, winner…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:00PM
Saturday, April 13, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: CAMBODIAN ROCK BAND (Victory Gardens) by Lawrence Bommer

HATE VS. MUSIC It’s impossible to grasp a monster evil like genocide as a whole, to weigh it as so many calculable, tangible acts of human failure that yield a vast vileness and a terrible…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:30PM
Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Theater Review: JERSEY BOYS (2018-19 National Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

THE BOYFRIENDS ARE BACK Back by popular demand but for only one week at the Auditorium Theatre, the mega-jukebox musical Jersey Boys continues to stir up a perfect storm of industrial-stre…

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: ADMISSIONS (Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

AFFIRMATIVE RE-ACTION Don’t let the title fool you. Produced last year at Lincoln Center Theater, Admissions arrived too early to address the recent scandal involving illegal offenses in c…

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Theater Review: AFTERGLOW (Pride Films and Plays) by Lawrence Bommer

DOES LOVE NEED A LEASH? “The heart wants what the heart wants.” Emily Dickinson’s seemingly simple saying (akin to Gertrude Stein’s “A rose is a rose is a rose”) in fact packs a …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:33PM
Thursday, March 28, 2019

Theater Review: YEN (Raven Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

TODAY’S LOST BOYS Theater takes us places and shows us stuff that we might never freely choose to go or see. Exhibits A-Z areYen, a 2013 visit to Gorki’s “lower depths” by British pl…

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Sunday, March 24, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: BRIGHT STAR (BoHo Theatre at Greenhouse Theater Center) by Lawrence Bommer

A BRIGHT STAR ISN’T ON THE HORIZON; IT’S RIGHT HERE You can savor heart and hope in every scene in Bright Star, BoHo Theatre’s new triumph in their upstairs home at the Greenhouse Th…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:50PM
Thursday, March 21, 2019

Theater Review: MELANCHOLY PLAY (Organic Theater Company at The Greenhouse Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

PRECIOUS NONSENSE MAKES MELANCHOLY PLAY A FORTRESS OF ARTIFICE If you ever feel “slightly dead,” you may be prey to the humor of melancholy. Melancholy Play: A Contemporary Farce, a 2002…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:33PM
Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: SWEAT (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

DIVIDED AND CONQUERED If the American dream needs an obituary, Lynn Nottage’s 2017 Pulitzer winner is it. If Clifford Odets’ Waiting for Lefty celebrated the power and promise of labor …

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Thursday, March 14, 2019

Theater Review: A BRONX TALE (North American Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

A BRONX CHEER Unpretentious and unpreaching in its streetwise survival lore, the gangster fable A Bronx Tale is, as the name implies, just one of many small sagas from the lesser borough. D…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:59PM
Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Theater Review: THE CHOIR OF MAN (National Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

IN PRAISE OF THE PUB There’s no need for a plot, three-dimensional characters, or conflicts pending resolution — no, not when the setting and its songs sell themselves from the start. Th…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:10PM
Monday, March 11, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS (Mercury Theater Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

THE HORROR…THE HORROR… THE FUN…THE FUN… You can see it as a modern parable of how the neglect that created Skid Row and its plethora of poverty brings its own revenge: A literally bl…

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Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Theater Review: SOUTHERN COMFORT (Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center) by Lawrence Bommer

TRANS-CENDENT Rather than dwell on the similitude of roses, Gertrude Stein might better have said love is love is love. It certainly is in one particular North Side storefront: A 2016 blue-g…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:42PM
Sunday, March 3, 2019

Opera Review: ARIODANTE (Lyric Opera of Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

HANDEL WITH CARE It’s hard to believe that, following its Covent Garden debut in 1735, this glorious opera seria endured 191 years of neglect. It returned to the boards in 1926, even mor…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:16PM
Monday, February 25, 2019

Theater Review: THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY (Lifeline Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

IF IT’S THURSDAY, IT MUST BE LIFELINE Deemed a “metaphysical thriller,” The Man Who Was Thursday is religious writer G.K. Chesterton’s celebrated satire from 1908. Intentionally co…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:36PM

Chicago Theater Review: ACT(S) OF GOD (Lookingglass) by Lawrence Bommer

TOO MANY ACT(S) Even apocalypses, it seems, can be goofy, disruptive, and “meta” — if you go by Lookingglass Theatre Company’s irritating and overlong world premiere. With two interm…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:39AM
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: TWILIGHT BOWL (Goodman) by Lawrence Bommer

SHE STRIKES! SHE SCORES! WELL, BOWL ME OVER It’s only women who perform, design, direct, write, and otherwise shape this Goodman Theatre world premiere. Rebecca Gilman’s Twilight Bowl …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:14PM
Sunday, February 17, 2019

Review: THE SCARLET IBIS (Chicago Opera Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

A SMALL STORY SOARS IN THIS NEW OPERA Right now the Studebaker Theater houses a wonder. A chamber opera with a heart of gold, The Scarlet Ibis, with a supple score by Stefan Weisman and lyr…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:51PM
Thursday, February 14, 2019

Dance Review: ANNA KARENINA (World Premiere by Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

LEO TOLSTOY TURNED TO LEAPS AND TWIRLS IN THIS WORLD PREMIERE BALLET MILESTONE So many superlatives to savor. Newly created by 35-year-old wunderkind composer Ilya Demutsky, who replenishe…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:43PM
Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: A DOLL’S HOUSE, PART 2 (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

A SEQUEL WITHOUT A SOUL Some nerve. It takes chutzpah on top of arrogance to dare to continue, let alone complete, another playwright’s stand-alone masterpiece. Lucas Hnath has the temerit…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:38PM

All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes