All stories by Nina Metz on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

A husband and doctor are ruined by health care in 'American Mercy Tour' by Nina Metz

A middle-aged man in work boots, a worn baseball cap and a thick plaid shirt sits in police custody after the death of his wife. We hear only one side of the conversation, but that’s all w…

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Dynasty team's talent carries the day at iO Theater by Nina Metz

“Saturday Night Live” has been auditioning performers this month, as it does every August, with an eye to adding people to its cast and writing staff. A number of Chicagoans have flown o…

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

'Life in 35mm' at the Annoyance tries and fails to send up documentaries by Nina Metz

Like any genre, non-fiction films rely on tropes. At the Annoyance Theatre, “Life in 35mm: An Improvised Documentary” aims to satirize “popular, self-important documentaries and the ch…

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Brothers face down their pasts in Chicago-set 'Water & Power' by Nina Metz

Testosterone coats everything in its path in playwright Richard Montoya's "Water & Power." The story of twin brothers — one a cop, one a state senator — locked in a downfall of their own…

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It’s high time for camp, but 'Golden Girls' spoof misses the mark by Nina Metz

In these dark and chaotic times, who isn't in the mood for something ridiculous and silly? Few theater companies have as long a history with outrageous parody as Hell in a Handbag. My favori…

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Like so many others, Usman Ally goes from Chicago to 'Veep' by Nina Metz

Though a comedy centered around grasping power plays and Washington ineptitude, "Veep" has always had a quiet Chicago undercurrent to it. A lot of that has to do with the cast, a majority of…

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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

The story gets hazy in 'Johnny 10 Beers' by Nina Metz

It's been more than 15 years since 9/11 and the offspring of men and women first deployed to Iraq and its surrounding areas are now themselves old enough to enlist and serve — in the very …

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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

As the story of girl football player, 'Tight End' drops the ball by Nina Metz

Here's a true story: At age 14, Tami Maida earned a roster spot on her high school football team in Oregon. She played quarterback and took hits — so many that she later told a local newsp…

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Bees, science and friendship become tangled in 'Queen' at Victory Gardens by Nina Metz

Why are bees disappearing? A pair of scientists — one a biologist, the other a statistician — think they've found the answer in playwright Madhuri Shekar's "Queen" (in a world premiere a…

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Tuesday, March 28, 2017

No skates and not enough fun in 'For the Love Of' by Nina Metz

A sport like roller derby is rooted in constant movement — the non-stop churning, the gliding, the speed — so you're going to have a tough time capturing its appeal if you remove the whe…

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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Twins in 'Peerless' won't take 'declined' for an answer by Nina Metz

The twin sisters of "Peerless" — beautiful, Asian, poised, superlative, intense — have only one thing on the mind: college. Not just any college, but an institution of such prestige and …

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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

'Death of a Salesman': Arthur Miller's words take on a new edge by Nina Metz

Early in "Death of a Salesman," it is late at night and an exhausted Willy Loman arrives home having not made it to even one of his sales calls that day. The end is nigh for Willy, that's cl…

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Friday, January 27, 2017

Chicago improv performer to play Barron Trump in new comedy show by Nina Metz

Chicago improviser and stand-up comedian Shannon Noll will play the title charater in the new stage show "Barron Trump: Up Past Bedtime," opening Saturday at The Revival in Hyde Park. "It's…

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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Shirley Jackson's gothic tale goes nowhere in 'Sundial' by Nina Metz

Wealth tends to inoculate the most sour of personalities, allowing them to dodge the comeuppance that comes barreling down on the rest of us who are without the means to wrap ourselves in a …

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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Funny at iO and a final show at Mary-Arrchie: Nina Metz's best shows of 2016 by Nina Metz

As we close out the year, a look back at some of the top theater shows I saw this year. "American Buffalo" by Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company in February: This company's final performance befor…

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Tuesday, December 13, 2016

'Gross Indecency': Cast with women, true story of Oscar Wilde searches for new meaning by Nina Metz

An actor portraying Oscar Wilde doesn't have to look like him for the performance to work, but it can help, and Chicago performer Jamie Bragg does resemble him to a degree. We know this beca…

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

'Rip Nelson' takes those taped Christmas TV specials and cranks up the volume by Nina Metz

The year is 1982 and Mr. Camp himself Paul Lynde has just kicked the bucket right before he was supposed to tape a Christmas TV special. His fill-in, fresh off a stint at rehab, is Rip Nelso…

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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

'Zombie Broads': How did a zombie comedy turn out this boring? by Nina Metz

There are all kinds of juicy, anxiety-plumbing metaphors buried within zombie stories, but what you don't expect is something as sedate as Factory Theater's "Zombie Broads," which is as iner…

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Friday, October 21, 2016

'Thicker Than Water' is the story of mother who drowned her children by Nina Metz

Presented as a police interrogation interrupted by flashbacks and talking-head interjections, "Thicker Than Water" delves headlong into the story of Andrea Yates and the 2001 murders of her …

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

'Skooby Don't' gets lost in its own mystery machine by Nina Metz

It doesn't take much squinting at the screen to see that Shaggy in Hanna-Barbera's "Scooby-Doo" franchise has all the traits of a stoner. In this parody from Hell in a Handbag Productions, t…

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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Brothers try to make sense of a suicide in 'Parachute Men' by Nina Metz

Part family drama, part comedy of unresolved masculinity, "Parachute Men" is an unexpectedly buoyant, if ultimately only skin-deep, look at three young men kinda, sorta, barely keeping it to…

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Exposing backstage hypocrisy in 'Black Slot' by Nina Metz

The underlying premise in Warren Hoffman's new play is loaded with all kinds of provocative tentacles. He's offering a backstage look at what happens in the administrative offices of predomi…

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

'Beeholder' play about honey ends up a bit stuck by Nina Metz

In the not-so-distant future, honey is the only sustainable crop, which means the bees themselves require a federal law enforcement agency of "beeholders" to … well, to oversee something, …

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Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Play in a coffee shop never simmers into a story by Nina Metz

What is any self respecting coffee shop if not a homing beacon to the young and somewhat adrift? Offering employment to some. And for others, perhaps the reassuring feeling that you've left …

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

'The Portrait' a solo show about painter Gustav Klimt by Nina Metz

"You are becoming entrancing to me," Gustav Klimt says to a model sitting before him. And then quickly, under his breath: "Trouble." The late-19th century Viennese painter, most famous for h…

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

'Firebringer' is zany prehistoric fun in search of a story by Nina Metz

A group of prehistoric pals seem to be getting by just fine hanging out on the savanna until one night lightning strikes and sets a spear aflame. Suddenly this Stone Age tribe has access to …

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

A woman finds herself alone, with Jack the Ripper lurking... by Nina Metz

Jack the Ripper's final victim is believed to have been a young prostitute named Mary Jane Kelly. She was just one of many women in late-19th century London who found themselves without a hu…

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Find 'Chicago Fire' actors on stage this summer by Nina Metz

The cast and crew of "Chicago Fire" work a long season — 10 months in all, and plenty of it outside in whatever weather the city throws at them — but the hiatus is turning out to be a bu…

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Profiles Theatre, accused of misconduct, to close for good by Nina Metz

Profiles Theatre, the small off-Loop company which was recently the subject of a long Chicago Reader cover story documenting allegations of intimidation, sexual misconduct and stage combat g…

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Musical comedy 'Tapped' has its signals crossed by Nina Metz

Aiming satirical barbs at the NSA isn't a bad idea for a show. But the material actually has to be a satire to work. "Tapped: A Treasonous Musical Comedy" proves that it is possible write an…

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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Improvised Shakespeare's hearty comedy still fits the bill by Nina Metz

For 10 years, the Improvised Shakespeare Company has been blazing an Elizabethan trail through the city's improv scene, where comedy shows rarely see such longevity. The reason it hast did l…

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