All stories by Max Maller on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

Here Lies Henry is daringly strange by Max Maller

Interrobang revives Daniel MacIvor's mind-bending solo about the art of lying. Interrobang Theatre Project presents a revival of Daniel MacIvor's daringly strang…

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Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Layover is a total masterpiece by Max Maller

Leslye Headland's drama reignites the dead nerve endings of romance. "I would let [insert name here] ruin my life" is a phrase that anyone who's radiated their e…

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Last Night In Karaoke Town is a raucous Rust Belt showdown by Max Maller

A Cleveland bar faces gentrification in Factory's latest. I guess a bad play could be written about the hostile overthrow of a Cleveland Heights karaoke bar at t…

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Dex & Abby goes to the dogs by Max Maller

Two gay men and their pooches try to build a life together in this tepid play. Normally, in a fantasy life, you obsess over your pets. Dog cloning figures largel…

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Roan @ the Gates traces the consequences of whistleblowing by Max Maller

American Blues Theater takes a page from the Edward Snowden story in its latest. "You're a traitor to me." Everything about Roan @ the Gates, the magnificent sho…

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Tuesday, January 14, 2020

In the rocky landscape of Thirst, nostalgia isn’t salvation by Max Maller

C.A. Johnson’s searing drama shows three ways of dealing with the apocalypse. Three distinct responses to the havoc of loss circle one another in playwright C.…

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Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Burning Bluebeard relives the Iroquois Theater fire with joy and sadness by Max Maller

The Ruffians move to the larger Ruth Page Center for the Arts, but the heart of the story remains strong. I fished this jacket I hadn't worn since last winter ou…

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Oedipus Rex leaves nothing in the shadows by Max Maller

Sophocles's tragedy could use some emotional veils in Court Theatre's staging. Montaigne, quoting from ancient sources, describes a painting of the sacrifice of …

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Wednesday, November 6, 2019

A Packet of Holiness and Joy Will Come to You? (A Fable) is a fun house for grim times by Max Maller

Beau O'Reilly's latest play for Curious Theatre Branch celebrates weirdness as resistance. If Chicago theater has a high priest, a white-ponytailed president of …

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Incomplete Conversations makes us eavesdroppers at an awkward funeral by Max Maller

A new immersive show (with dialogue!) from Silent Theatre Company becomes an astonishing experience. Concentrate on the cookies. Practice your song.…

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Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Two sisters clash over the limits of faith in science in Mosquitoes by Max Maller

Lucy Kirkwood's drama has bite in Steep Theatre's U.S. premiere. Science plays like this one by British playwright Lucy Kirkwood often hinge on the idea that the…

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The Silence in Harrow House offers a hybrid of silent play and haunted house by Max Maller

The puppetry is cunning, but not enough to sustain this Rough House Theater show. It's a toss-up for me between the floating torso with a desk lamp for a head an…

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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Hello Again puts La Ronde to music by Max Maller

Michael John LaChiusa's riff on Arthur Schnitzler's 1897 play gets a stellar production from Theo Ubique. Ten pairs of lovers, ten pairs of strangers. This music…

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Residents of a postapocalyptic America seek connection in Vanya on the Plains by Max Maller

The Artistic Home gives Jason Hedrick's world premiere about a grim future a life-affirming production. More postapocalyptic plays about staging Chekhov in peopl…

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Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Sons and Lovers is faithful, but not thrilling by Max Maller

D.H. Lawrence's portrait of mother love misses the mark in this On the Spot adaptation. There is a distinction to be drawn between adaptation and dramatization. …

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Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Ballad of Lefty & Crabbe tells a sad tale of the end of vaudeville by Max Maller

A song-and-dance man learns to smile through his pain. The heyday of vaudeville is over and done with 15 minutes into this delightful new musical from Underscore…

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The Mountaintop depicts a very human Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of his assassination by Max Maller

Have we reached the promised land he died fighting for? If he were still alive today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. would be 90. It's been 51 years since his assas…

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Wednesday, June 5, 2019

If it’s Pride Month, it must be time for Steamworks: The Musical by Max Maller

The Annoyance show may rely too much on stereotypes, but it's still lot of fun. Al from Nebraska (Ben Cumings) goes searching for love through the heavy steam of…

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Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Helvetica asks how seriously we should take an artist who never learned to be a human being by Max Maller

The main character, a novelist, is a font of imagination. A young adult novelist puzzles through fame, nostalgia, and the tedium of the everyday in Chicago playw…

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Wednesday, May 1, 2019

A father and daughter have it out in I'm Gonna Pray for You So Hard by Max Maller

In the process, we all learn, despite our initial impressions, that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Things it would be good to inherit from a famous pl…

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Hannah and Martin, the two smartest people in Germany, fall in love by Max Maller

But what happens when one's a Nazi apologist and the other's a Jew? Wasting away on a student's diet of crackers and boiled eggs, young Hannah Arendt (Christina …

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Friday, March 29, 2019

The best part of Self-Accusation happens out on the sidewalk by Max Maller

Breaking the frame brings this German avant garde play to life. The most incredible moment in this Theatre Y production of a nearly-forgotten German avant-garde …

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, step right up to the magical, the thrilling, the Chicago-style circus! by Max Maller

Midnight Circus and Aloft Circus Arts have created their own intimate version of the big top in the city’s lofts and churches. "We used to have a rhino on Rin…

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sweat shows how Trump's America came to be by Max Maller

Lynn Nottage's Pulitzer winner should be required viewing. When people talk about "Trump's America," they mean two things at once. In general, the phrase is simp…

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Goodbye to Tony Adler, the best weekly theater critic Chicago's ever had by Max Maller

Tony Adler stepped down as the Reader's senior theater critic last month.…

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All that Chat

Sep 14, 2021: Chicago - Ambassador Theatre