All stories by Marissa Oberlander on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

City kids on the move by Marissa Oberlander

Young People’s Theatre of Chicago brings this musical adaptation of the children’s book classic Last Stop on Market Street back to Chicago in a vibrant production that packs soul, substa…

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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Demented bordello by Marissa Oberlander

My first visit to Trap Door Theatre did not disappoint, from the hidden alley entrance to the immediate sense of time travel and disorientation upon entry. For the last show of its 30th anni…

SOURCE: at 01:17PM
Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Corporeal poetry by Marissa Oberlander

I can’t remember the last time I left a theater a little teary and a lot inspired, with a carpe diem spring in my step. Remy Bumppo’s production of John Kolvenbach’s one-act rom-com, h…

SOURCE: at 03:42PM
Thursday, February 1, 2024

Tad in 5th City is a poetic portrait of a 1970s west-side family by Marissa Oberlander

Ma’at Production Association of Afrikan Centered Theatre’s (MPAACT) latest production, a revival of Carla Stillwell’s 2012 adaptation of Orron Kenyatta’s poetry (also directed by Sti…

SOURCE: at 12:10PM
Wednesday, July 26, 2023

Hair metal hijinks by Marissa Oberlander

The Mercury Theater production of this five-time Tony-nominated musical re-creates the 80s with such abandon that the audience’s fervor was palpable (and loud) on the night I attended. Tom…

SOURCE: at 04:13PM
Friday, June 23, 2023

Undiscovered country? by Marissa Oberlander

This world premiere from the Plagiarists, written by Chicago-based playwright Alexander Utz and directed by Jonathan Shaboo, has a unique premise and immersive staging (watch out for sand) b…

SOURCE: at 12:19PM
Thursday, April 27, 2023

Unhappy mediums by Marissa Oberlander

Eclectic Full Contact Theatre’s first full-length production in Chicago since 2019, a world premiere penned by Maggie Lou Rader, is haunting, literally. Based on the first reported instanc…

SOURCE: at 02:48PM
Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Too soon? by Marissa Oberlander

It feels early to stage a play set during, and concerning the effects of, the early days of COVID-19 on its characters. We can still feel those days intimately, given the short passing of ti…

SOURCE: at 12:25PM
Thursday, March 23, 2023

Utopia for two by Marissa Oberlander

Promethean Theatre’s world premiere of local playwright Trina Kakacek’s two-act dramedy, directed by Anna C. Bahow, is a unique and meaty thought experiment that would benefit from some …

SOURCE: at 12:31PM
Thursday, February 9, 2023

A heartbreaking Lady Day by Marissa Oberlander

Alexis J. Roston’s sixth go-round playing jazz legend Billie Holiday in the last year of her life is beautifully layered, heartbreaking, and still affirming of the great vocalist’s accom…

SOURCE: at 11:39AM
Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Absurdist sleight of hand by Marissa Oberlander

For the uninitiated like I was, just entering the Chicago Magic Lounge on a chilly Wednesday evening was a thrill. Via a secret door, the faux-laundromat entry gives way to a luxe theater bo…

SOURCE: at 12:01PM
Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Rent pays off by Marissa Oberlander

After thoroughly enjoying the shameless perversity of Kokandy Productions’s Cruel Intentions, under Adrian Abel Azevedo’s direction, I found Azevedo’s Rent at Porchlight to bring a sta…

SOURCE: at 11:35AM
Friday, October 28, 2022

Catch the Clue bus by Marissa Oberlander

The game Clue taught me what “confidential” means, that a conservatory is just a fancy greenhouse, and that Miss Scarlett is always the right choice. Any armchair detective that could [�…

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Thursday, September 8, 2022

An ‘exciting and subversive” Richard III by Marissa Oberlander

In partnership with the University of Illinois Chicago’s Disability Cultural Center, Babes With Blades’s interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s darkest plays is exciting and subversive…

SOURCE: at 04:43PM
Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Mind games by Marissa Oberlander

More than 30 years into his second act as a mind reader and psychic performer, Ross Johnson, a former schoolteacher, is still eliciting gasps. The second performer at Rogers Park’s new Rha…

SOURCE: at 03:28PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Al fresco dreams by Marissa Oberlander

On its ten-year anniversary and return from a COVID-19 hiatus, Midsommer Flight is restaging A Midsummer Night’s Dream,the play that started it all in 2012. On the night I attended, the cr…

SOURCE: at 11:01AM
Friday, June 24, 2022

Shameless nostalgia by Marissa Oberlander

We all remember where we were when we saw Cruel Intentions. Its iconic soundtrack (anyone else melt to Counting Crows’ “Colorblind”?) and “shameless perversity” (thank you, Buzzfee…

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Mlima's Tale traces the illegal ivory trade by Marissa Oberlander

The tragedy of a single elephant's death has universal implications in Griffin's production. This Lynn Nottage drama is pure kinetic energy, exploring the illici…

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

A new adaptation brings contemporary verve to A Doll's House by Marissa Oberlander

Two standout performances anchor Raven's production of the Ibsen classic. In the Chicago premiere of this Henrik Ibsen adaptation, Raven Theatre and director Lau…

SOURCE: at 07:30PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

The Adult in the Room doesn't do full justice to Nancy Pelosi by Marissa Oberlander

Orlagh Cassidy centers this one-woman show, but the script needs more depth. Nancy Pelosi is having her moment. From her literal clapback at President Trump to h…

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Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Filament Theatre's Forts! builds adventures, agency, and awareness by Marissa Oberlander

Kids and families are in charge at this Portage Park theater It could have been Lord of the Flies. Filament Theatre was giving over complete control of its space…

SOURCE: at 05:15PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Bunny's Book Club illustrates the love of a good story by Marissa Oberlander

Lifeline Theatre KidSeries brings children and animals together for a family-friendly yarn. Based on Annie Silvestro's children's book of the same title, this Li…

SOURCE: at 05:10PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Bette: Xmas at the Continental Baths features hot pipes, but tepid banter by Marissa Oberlander

Hell in a Handbag's Midler revue is middling. Iconic singer Bette Midler cut her teeth at New York City's Continental Baths, earning the nickname "Bathhouse Bett…

SOURCE: at 05:55PM
Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Rutherford and Son is Succession without the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll by Marissa Oberlander

Githa Sowerby's long-neglected drama has a strong cast at TimeLine, but drags at times. For a mostly forgotten 1912 play, written by Githa Sowerby (but presented…

SOURCE: at 07:15PM
Wednesday, November 6, 2019

The Other Cinderella turns Black Ensemble Theater into a magic kingdom by Marissa Oberlander

Forty-three years after its first production, Jackie Taylor's African American adaptation still enchants and empowers. Now in its 43rd year, this Black Ensemble …

SOURCE: at 07:00AM

Laura and the Sea examines our working relationships by Marissa Oberlander

A coworker's suicide leads to soul-searching in Kate Tarker's darkly comic meditation. We spend at least 40 hours a week next to them and countless more rehashin…

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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Who Killed Joan Crawford? mixes camp and mystery by Marissa Oberlander

Delicious acerbic drag performances spice up this whodunit. "I think the most important thing a woman can have—next to talent, of course—is her hairdresser,"…

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Invisible needs to take a closer look at why women join the Klan by Marissa Oberlander

Mary Bonnett's drama has intriguing subject matter, but doesn't fully connect. The world premiere of Her Story Theater producing artistic director Mary Bonnett's…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Wednesday, October 2, 2019

The daughter of migrant workers finds courage and friendship in Luna by Marissa Oberlander

Filament Theatre's staging helps the audience feel right at home. Recommended for ages four through ten, Filament Theatre's production of this one-act by Ramón …

SOURCE: at 07:00AM
Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Shadows of Birds shows how addiction casts a pall on entire families by Marissa Oberlander

Glass Apple Theatre's production localizes and humanizes the opioid epidemic. A woman struggles to reconnect with her family while battling opioid addiction in S…

SOURCE: at 05:00PM
Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Howards End and the architecture of hurry by Marissa Oberlander

Douglas Post's new adaptation for Remy Buppo resonates in our age of class unrest and digital disconnects. More than 100 years after its publication, E.M. Forste…

SOURCE: at 07:00AM

All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards