All stories by Lawrence Bommer on BroadwayStars

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 07:32PM
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…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:00PM
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…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:30PM
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…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:06AM
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 05:27PM
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 …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:39PM
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 11:03PM
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…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:22PM
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
Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Theater Review: HOW I LEARNED TO DRIVE (Raven Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

HOW I LEARNED TO LOVE THEATER Some plays take time to come into their own, But they’re well worth a wait. Over two decades after its Off-Broadway debut, Paula Vogel’s How I Learned to D…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:21PM
Sunday, February 10, 2019

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

A PIPELINE TO GREAT THEATER The title of Pipeline refers to the much-reviled “school-to-prison” conduit that keeps minority kids from any outcome but incarceration, soft or hard. It’…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:06PM

Theater Review: THE FATHER (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

THE SOUND OF A BRAIN BREAKING Uncertainty is the default drive behind the 95 excruciating minutes of French playwright Florian Zeller’s The Father. Seldom has a staged mystery shifted so …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:48PM
Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Theater Review: A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER (Porchlight Music Theatre; Ruth Page Center) by Lawrence Bommer

A DEATH OF FRESH AIR It’s a tour de force times ten as Monty Navarro, distant heir to the D’Ysquith fortune, slaughters his way to an earldom and marriage, for better or worse, with a do…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:33PM
Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: HOW TO CATCH CREATION (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

CONSIDER CREATION CAUGHT IN THIS SEMINAL WORLD PREMIERE It’s a tour-de-force to take home and reverently recall: A Goodman Theatre world premiere, How To Catch Creation lives up to a lov…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:36PM
Thursday, January 24, 2019

Theater Review: US/THEM (Chicago Shakespeare) by Lawrence Bommer

OUT OF THE BLOOD OF BABES It’s a probably thankless and certainly unsettling undertaking: Us/Them is an hour-long performance piece by two young members of the Belgian troupe BRONKS. It …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:00PM
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Theater Review: THE REALISTIC JONESES (Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

IS IT TOO REALISTIC, OR NOT REALISTIC ENOUGH? Is it smoke and mirrors or a trick of the light? No matter — the fact that nothing urgent is at stake in the 100 minutes of Will Leno’s…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:46PM
Saturday, January 19, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: EVIL DEAD THE MUSICAL (Black Button Eyes Productions) by Lawrence Bommer

BRINGING DEAD TO LIFE An import from our neighbor to the north that’s almost as inebriating as Canadian Club, Evil Dead The Musical is a blood-splattering, silly-ass, ham-acting confecti…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:08PM
Friday, January 18, 2019

Theater Review: DADA WOOF PAPA HOT (About Face Theatre at Theater Wit in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

FRIENDS WITH CHILDREN Gay parents — for centuries that seemed a contradiction in terms. How could promiscuity engender anything beyond itself? But, if, as Delmore Schwartz said, “Wit…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:39PM
Thursday, January 17, 2019

Theater Review: CARDBOARD PIANO (TimeLine) by Lawrence Bommer

THEATER AND RECONCILIATION Love never seems greater than when hate sets it off. Then, as if to prove its power, it finds so much to rise above. A huge hit at the 2016 Humana Festival of New …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:28PM
Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: FUENTE OVEJUNA (City Lit) by Lawrence Bommer

#ME TOO, 15th-CENTURY STYLE If it didn’t actually happen, this play would not be believed. Its climax soars as, tortured by the Inquisition to reveal the murderer of the evil-doing Command…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 12:58AM
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Theater Review: THE LIGHTNING THIEF: THE PERCY JACKSON MUSICAL (North American Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

LIGHTNING IN A BOTTLE, OR AN EMPOWER SHORTAGE? Holy Hades! It’s an all-purpose victim’s ur-dream of getting even: Every misunderstood teenager secretly imagines he was born better than l…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:23PM

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