All stories by Lawrence Bommer on BroadwayStars

Monday, August 22, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: MAME (Light Opera Works) by Lawrence Bommer

TAME MAME STILL GETS ACCLAIM Few nicknames carry the impact of “Mame,” the free-spirited super-aunt. Appearing first in gay author Patrick Dennis’s best-selling 1954 novel,…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:45PM
Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chicago Dance Review: DANCE FOR LIFE 25TH ANNIVERSARY (Chicago Dancers United) by Lawrence Bommer

DANCERS DO GOOD BY MAKING ART For a quarter century—since 1991—one summer night of nights in Chicago has raised funds to fight HIV, assist the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and 30 other ser…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:40PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: BLOODSHOT (Greenhouse Theater Center) by Lawrence Bommer

THEATER NOIR EXPOSES A COLLABORATIVE CRIME WAVE Making its U.S. debut at the Greenhouse Theater Center, the solo saga Bloodshot, by Chicago native Douglas Post, feels as world weary and visc…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:21PM
Monday, August 15, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN (Cor Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

BRECHT FORCES YIN ONTO YANG A strong, often infuriating, truth about the protest plays of Bertolt Brecht is how much the socialist playwright pushes the plot beyond the ending: He ends up ac…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:16PM
Monday, August 8, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE JACKIE WILSON STORY (Black Ensemble Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

HIS HEART IS CRYING, CRYING The latest rouser in Black Ensemble Theater’s 40th anniversary celebration/season, The Jackie Wilson Story, a retrospective on an R&B Legend, showcases terr…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:10PM
Sunday, August 7, 2016

Tour Review: THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Shakespeare’s Globe) by Lawrence Bommer

THE GLOBE’S STUNNING PRODUCTION HIGHLIGHTS SHAKESPEARE’S PLEA FOR DIGNITY AS MUCH AS MERCY A decade ago a Chicago critic notoriously concluded his review of The Merchant of Venice…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:36PM

Tour Review: TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT (Cirque du Soleil, North American Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

JAMES CAMERON MEETS CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Cirque du Soleil writes a new chapter in make-believe with Toruk – The First Flight, a not so typical two-hour fantasy inspired (but not based on) Jame…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:56PM
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: BYHALIA, MISSISSIPPI (Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

A MASON/DIXON CATHARSIS REPRISES ITS SUCCESS Can white trash/peckerwood/country cracker/Dixie doodles rise above their rotten roots? Byhalia, Mississippi is not just a place or a title but a…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:35PM
Monday, July 25, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: DOUGLASS (the american vicarious at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

AN EX-SLAVE BREAKS NEW CHAINS Eager to be relevant but not quite succeeding, Thomas Klingenstein’s Douglass, a world premiere by the american vicarious at Theater Wit, is nonetheless a val…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:56PM
Friday, July 22, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: WAR PAINT (World Premiere Musical at the Goodman) by Lawrence Bommer

A FAR FROM COSMETIC MUSICAL MAKEOVER In the late James Kirkwood’s Legends!, two feuding divas–played on a 1986 national tour by theatrical goddesses Carol Channing and Mary Martin&#…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:53AM
Friday, July 15, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: EROICA (Azuza Productions at Redtwist Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

HIPOCRACY BEGINS AT HOME In theater revenge is best served quickly. That’s a virtue in David Alex’s 80-minute family drama, now detonating four times a week at Chicago’s Redtwist Theat…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:18AM
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) by Lawrence Bommer

COLORFUL CHARACTERS AIN’T ENOUGH Between Riverside and Crazy is a 2015 slice of strife from Stephen Adley Guirgis (perpetrator of The Motherf**ker with the Hat and Jesus Hopped The ‘A’…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:44PM

Chicago Theater Review: A JEWISH JOKE (ShPIeL–Performing Identity at Victory Gardens) by Lawrence Bommer

A JEW WALKS INTO A COMMUNIST MEETING… Sometimes whistle-blowing can echo from the past. It’s never too late for a timely reminder that ignorance is no excuse. A 95-minute solo show …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM
Saturday, July 2, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Dead Writers Theatre Collective at the Athenaeum Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

THE LIES THAT PASS FOR LOVE Many years ago, a half hour into the Body Politic Theatre’s revival of The Importance of Being Earnest a woman behind me very softly threw up. It was done so ef…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:50PM
Thursday, June 30, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: MAN OF LA MANCHA (Marriott Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

FREEDOM BEHIND BARS: THE UNREACHABLE STAR JUST GOT REACHED A skeptic might argue that Man of La Mancha succeeds because it lifts the guilt of anyone who never read Don Quixote. (Two hours in…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:40PM
Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: COMPANY (Writers Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

KEEPING COMPANY–SONDHEIM’S BITTERSWEET BEST It’s the first musical in Writers Theatre’s sumptuous new $30 million-dollar home in Glencoe, a light-loving complex with a more spaci…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:52PM
Monday, June 20, 2016

Theater Review: THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL (Pre-Broadway World Premiere, Oriental Theatre in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

BIKINI BOTTOM HITS THE HEIGHTS Upfront confession: I’ve never seen Nickelodeon’s 17-year-old SpongeBob SquarePants animation series. But my ignorance of this aquatic Sesame Street and it…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:55PM
Sunday, June 19, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: AN ANTHONY NEWLEY AND LESLIE BRICUSSE SONGBOOK (Theo Ubique) by Lawrence Bommer

THE CANDY COUPLE “The world belongs to the fools who dare to dream”: Reprising the crowd pleasure of music-hall euphoria and pantomime cut-ups with a charming quintet of Cockney buskers,…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:32PM
Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: MAKE ME A SONG (Eclectic Full Contact Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

OUT OF CONTEXT BUT EASY TO ADMIRE William Finn, a gay songwriter with wit and warmth (and second only to Sondheim), writes story ballads and situational numbers that teach as much as touch. …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 04:02PM
Sunday, June 12, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THADDEUS AND SLOCUM: A VAUDEVILLE ADVENTURE (Lookingglass Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

CORKING UP OR SELLING OUT? Living up to its title billing, Lookingglass Theatre Company’s world premiere Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure is a rampage down Memory Lane. Their 13…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:56PM
Friday, June 10, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: TAPPED: A TREASONOUS MUSICAL COMEDY (Forth Story Productions at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

SO BEYOND BAD THAT YOU’LL BE TAPPED OUT Half-baked, heavy-handed, overlong, poorly plotted, wretchedly sung, scenically sterile, contrived and clichéd, witless and mindless, and minus…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:37PM

Theater Review: THE SOUND OF MUSIC (National Tour reviewed in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

EV’RY MOUNTAIN GETS CLIMBED AGAIN It’s fitting that Rodgers and Hammerstein’s final collaboration is a tribute to the art and craft they served so well—music and singing. Like Ma…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:46AM
Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: HAUPTMANN (City Lit) by Lawrence Bommer

THE LONE EAGLE VERSUS THE LONE WOLF 81 years ago, everything conspired to make the “trial of the century” engrossing entertainment. (Actually, it was the second trial of the century̵…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:42PM
Monday, June 6, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: MY FAIR LADY (Light Opera Works in Evanston) by Lawrence Bommer

LOVERLY The most insidiously satirical moment in Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore comes when a lowly sailor and his captain must instantly switch places when we learn that the latter…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:42PM
Friday, June 3, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: CAUGHT (Sideshow Theatre Company at Victory Gardens) by Lawrence Bommer

SUBVERSION, DISRUPTION—AND PRETENSION Caught is just what Gertrude Stein said of Oakland: “When you get there, there’s no there there.” A series of metaphysical jokes played on the a…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:04PM
Thursday, June 2, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: CONSTELLATIONS (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) by Lawrence Bommer

CAPTIVATING VARIATIONS ON A THEME OF LOVE What a feat happens seven times a week in Steppenwolf’s upstairs theater! Usually critics tell you to take their words for what they saw–but…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:42PM
Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: SOUPS, STEWS, AND CASSEROLES: 1976 (Goodman Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

A RECIPE FOR BETTER THEATER It’s no accident that this bold play, the latest offering from Northwestern University professor Rebecca Gilman, happens in Wisconsin circa 1976. The story of …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 11:33PM
Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE NORTH POOL (Interrobang Theatre Project at The Athenaeum Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

INTERROGATING AN AUDIENCE It’s the afterschool special from hell: The North Pool is that rare you-can-hear-a-pin-drop play. In a mere 80 minutes, playwright Rajiv Joseph shrewdly and sharp…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:47AM
Monday, May 23, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: TUG OF WAR: FOREIGN FIRE (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

BINGEWATCHING THE BARD “Tug of war”–a child’s game that mutates into an adult’s nightmare; it’s an apt title for Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s marathon of Bard his…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:31PM
Sunday, May 22, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE BOYS UPSTAIRS (Pride Films and Plays at Mary’s Attic) by Lawrence Bommer

AN UNCRITICAL MATING COMEDY Familiar gay fare, The Boys Upstairs, a 2009 rouser by Jason Mitchell, revels in industrial-strength crowd-pleasing. Pride Films and Plays’ two-hour funfest is …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:38PM
Thursday, May 19, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE BODY OF AN AMERICAN (Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

A DOCUMENTARY DRAMA DELIVERS Chicago is currently witnessing two productions about photojournalists haunted by their work. TimeLine Theatre’s Chimerica offers a flawed but fascinating 180-…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:48PM

ARTICLES ON BROADWAYSTARS

Authors

All that Chat

2016-2017 BROADWAY SEASON
Mar 26: Sweat - Studio 54