All stories by Mary Wisniewski on BroadwayStars

Friday, May 24, 2024

A Hard Punch: A Review of “Native Son” at Lifeline Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

Lifeline Theatre’s new production of “Native Son” is brutal, powerful and relentless. Like a big, stiff drink, it hits you right in the gut, and you leave the theater reeling.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, May 8, 2024

A Song Factory: A Review of “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical” at Paramount Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

With the abundantly talented Tiffany Topol as Carole King, backed by a great cast, the new production of “Beautiful” at Aurora’s Paramount Theatre is irresistible.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, May 1, 2024

Jason Alexander Is Returning to Stage Acting, This Time in Chicago by Mary Wisniewski

In Judgement Day at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Alexander plays a corrupt lawyer who may be looking for forgiveness.

SOURCE: Playbill at 05:18PM
Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Belle Époque: A Review of “Nana” at Trap Door Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

This show is alive. For the two hours spent in the tiny Bucktown theater, you can imagine you have stepped into a Toulouse-Lautrec painting—drinking absinthe and watching the can-can.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Friday, April 12, 2024

A Mission in the Theater: An Interview with Harry Lennix by Mary Wisniewski

Lennix, known for his work on television’s “The Blacklist” and “Dollhouse” and movies like “The Five Heartbeats” and “Ray,” is a busy man around Chicago these days. He’s …

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, April 11, 2024

Abridged Absurdity: A Review of “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead” at Court Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

Too much of Tom Stoppard’s absurdist, existential tragicomedy about two minor Shakespearean characters has been trimmed from this production, which is too bad, because the play is brillian…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, March 28, 2024

The Family Tree: A Review of “Purpose” at Steppenwolf Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

This is a moving, beautifully written and honest play that discusses generational conflict—between old ideas of “purpose” and spirituality and new ones, between the need for truth and …

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Monticello’s Façade: A Review of “The Reclamation of Madison Hemings” at American Blues Theater by Mary Wisniewski

This play sees the contradictions at the heart of this country—the tragic infrastructure under its noble façade. Monticello won’t look the same when you think of all the people who were…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Spectacle and Gore: A Review of “Richard III” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

You don’t come to “Richard III” for history—you come for spectacle and gore, and Chicago Shakespeare delivers.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Monday, February 12, 2024

Grace and Power: A Review of “Notes from the Field” at TimeLine Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

In presenting the words of real people talking about America’s troubled education and criminal justice system in her 2015 play “Notes from the Field,” writer and actress Anna Deavere S…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Monday, February 5, 2024

Medium Cold: A Review of “Highway Patrol” at Goodman Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

The social media world is a "cool" place (in Marshall McLuhan's term)—you have to fill in the details. The story might work better in a cooler medium, like television.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Soulful and Devastating: A Review of “Champion” at Lyric Opera by Mary Wisniewski

In its Chicago premiere, “Champion” has strong vocal performances, exuberant dancing and a creative, multi-level set by Allen Moyer, which uses projected images of real newspaper headlin…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Unanswered Questions: A Review of “In Quietness” at A Red Orchid Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

The actors are telling a story that never finds its way, and leaves too many unanswered questions.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Feels Like Heaven: A Review of “Anything Goes” at Porchlight Music Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

It’s January in Chicago, and we must somehow survive it. You could go to Miami, but not everyone has the time. So here’s a closer source of heat—a dynamite production of “Anything Go…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, January 18, 2024

Coming of Age: Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinois” Album is Brought to Life at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

Both the poetry and the genre-defying nature of “Illinoise” made it a favorite of Tony Award-winning choreographer Justin Peck. Peck worked with longtime friend and collaborator Stevens …

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, December 7, 2023

Friendship and Whales: A Review of “Islander” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

It’s a sweet story, beautifully performed, about a friendship between two teenage girls. One of them is a mermaid or selkie who takes care of whales.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Joyous Mainstay: A Review of “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

This story has remained popular for 180 years because Scrooge is all of us, hurt by the world, trying hard to be tougher than we really are. Sometimes, we need to lower our defenses and reme…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, November 16, 2023

Something Special: A Review of “The Lion in Winter” at Court Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

The moment Rebecca Spence steps on the Court Theatre stage as Eleanor of Aquitaine, the atmosphere changes. Here’s something special.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright: A Review of “Twelfth Night” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

This new production of “Twelfth Night,” directed by first-generation Jamaican American director Tyrone Phillips with a mostly Black cast and reggae music, captures the spirit, the langua…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, November 2, 2023

Fairytale Terror: A Review of “The Night of the Hunter” at City Lit by Mary Wisniewski

The monster in “The Night of the Hunter” is not a vampire, or a werewolf, or any kind of supernatural, European fiend. He is a true American type and scarier than any Halloween monster, …

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Monster Mash: A Review of “Young Frankenstein” at Mercury Theater by Mary Wisniewski

The talented cast sells every song and bawdy joke for all they’re worth, and you’ll have a good, silly time.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Friday, September 29, 2023

An Odd Dream: A Review of “The Pragmatists” at Trap Door Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

Trap Door opens its thirtieth season with an early play by one of the twentieth century’s kings of strange—Polish surrealist writer, artist, photographer and drug-adventurer Stanislaw I.…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, September 27, 2023

This Could Be Anywhere: A Review of “The Consul” at Third Eye Theatre Ensemble by Mary Wisniewski

This could be anywhere and any time in the modern era, with people being turned into numbers, and their stories into “cases.”

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Friday, September 22, 2023

Let’s Get Weird: A Review of “Revolution” at A Red Orchid Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

There’s a danger of being caught in the folds of time—you need friends, celebration and human contact to pull you free. So grab a friend and go see “Revolution”—it’s time to get …

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Dinner Party: A Review of “Welcome to Matteson!” at Congo Square Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

A dinner party is a great device for theatrical conflict. There’s nothing like too much wine and miscommunication to draw all the poisons out of the mud.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, September 6, 2023

A Safe Space: How Martyna Majok Channeled Her Immigrant Struggle Into Playwriting Success by Mary Wisniewski

Majok is back in Chicago, getting ready for a production of her 2020 play “Sanctuary City,” at Steppenwolf Theatre, where it will run from September 14 through November 18. Majok says sh…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Monday, August 7, 2023

A Saccharine Set: A Review of “Next to Normal” at Paramount Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

“Next to Normal,” with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, is not up to the challenge and complexity of its subject.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Friday, July 21, 2023

Crossed Paths: In “Port of Entry” the Albany Park Theater Project Uses Immersive Theater to Explore the Immigrant Experience by Mary Wisniewski

In a Northwest Side warehouse, you can visit the apartment of a Mexican family, anxious because the father has been deported. Or a multi-generation Filipino family, about to cook supper. The…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, July 20, 2023

Harmonious Heat: A Review of “Cymbeline” by Midsommer Flight by Mary Wisniewski

Midsommer’s new production, playing in Chicago parks through August 13, shows that in the right hands, “Cymbeline” is funny, compelling and surprisingly touching.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Monday, July 17, 2023

The Godmother of Rock: A Review of “Marie and Rosetta” at Northlight Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

George Brant’s “Marie and Rosetta” at Northlight Theatre offers both great music and a real story. Directed by E. Faye Butler, it’s about the friendship and musical collaboration bet…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Changing the Stakes: At Twenty-Five Years, Congo Square Theatre Charts a Radically Expansive Future by Mary Wisniewski

A twenty-five-year-old anniversary is tough to achieve in a marriage, and maybe a bigger challenge in the art world. Now, Congo Square is not only continuing to produce new work, but is plan…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM

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