All stories by Samantha Nelson on BroadwayStars

Monday, October 30, 2017

Chicago Theater Review: DREAM FREAKS FALL FROM SPACE (The Second City’s 106th Revue) by Samantha Nelson

FREAK OUT Comedy writers have complained about the challenge of writing jokes during the Trump administration. There’s too much material. And the breakneck pace of news, scandals and c…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:04PM
Monday, September 22, 2014

Chicago Theater Review: JANE EYRE (Lifeline Theatre) by Samantha Nelson

GOTHIC FRICTION There soon will be plenty of haunted houses and Halloween-themed plays cropping up, but if you’re looking for a genuinely creepy production now, you’ll find it in Lif…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:08PM
Monday, April 7, 2014

Chicago Theater Review: DEPRAVED NEW WORLD (Second City) by Samantha Nelson

SECOND CITY DEPRAVED AND BACK ON TRACK Dark thoughts, insecurity and regrets may seem like particularly bleak material to base a sketch comedy show around, but their universality makes them …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:20PM
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Chicago Theater Review: GHOST BIKE (Buzz22 Chicago) by Samantha Nelson

AS YOU BIKE IT Growing up and accepting change and loss are very personal processes. Buzz22, whose mission is to stage “stories to explore the coming of age,” has been following …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:35PM
Monday, March 10, 2014

Chicago Theater Review: LEVELING UP (Steppenwolf) by Samantha Nelson

SCRIPT ABOUT VIDEO GAME USAGE NEEDS FIXES Early in Leveling Up at Steppenwolf Theatre, professional gamer Ian (Clancy McCartney) makes it clear that he prefers playing video games all day ra…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:22PM
Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chicago Theater Review: THE SECOND CITY’S INCOMPLETE GUIDE TO EVERYTHING (UP) by Samantha Nelson

NOT SO INCOMPLETE The Incomplete Guide to Everything features scenes culled from more than 50 years of The Second City performances, right up to sketches that are part of the soon-to-end mai…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:51AM
Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Chicago Theater Review: ROSE AND THE RIME (The House Theatre of Chicago) by Samantha Nelson

A PLAY THAT PUTS YOU INTO THE COLD TAKES YOU OUT OF THE COLD When The House Theatre of Chicago decided to bring Rose and the Rime back to the stage this winter, they couldn’t have pred…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 09:32PM
Monday, December 16, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: SHERLOCK HOLMES AND THE CASE OF THE CHRISTMAS GOOSE (Raven) by Samantha Nelson

A WAY TO GOOSE UP YOUR HOLIDAYS There’s not much of a mystery in Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Christmas Goose. Michael Menendian and John Weagly’s adaptation of Arthur Con…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 05:25PM
Monday, December 2, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: MIRACLE ON WELLS STREET (The Second City) by Samantha Nelson

FRANKINCENSE, MYRRH AND A FEW LUMPS OF COAL Exchanging gifts with relatives you don’t know well is always a bit disappointing. Sometimes that aunt or cousin will give you something you…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:48PM
Friday, November 1, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: BEST MUSICAL! (Porchlight Music Theatre at Up Comedy Club) by Samantha Nelson

FORMULAIC IN A GOOD WAY In The Book of Mormon, Trey Parker and Matt Stone proved that subject matter in musical theatre is a lot less important than sticking to the structural formula. There…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:24PM
Thursday, June 27, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: A CLOWN CAR NAMED DESIRE (The Second City e.t.c.) by Samantha Nelson

SHOOTING EASY TARGETS As is often the case at Second City shows, an early musical number explains the theme of A Clown Car Named Desire. Reality is filled with disappointment, hardship and b…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:51PM
Monday, June 10, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: THE THREE MUSKETEERS (Lifeline Theatre) by Samantha Nelson

OPULENT PLOT, THRILLING FIGHTING, AND A STUDLY D’ARTAGNAN While it’s brought to film more than a dozen times, Alexandre Dumas’ The Three Musketeers is a tough work to adapt. It…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:45PM
Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: LET THEM EAT CHAOS (The Second City) by Samantha Nelson

FORGING COMEDY FROM CHAOS Early in The Second City’s 101st revue Let Them Eat Chaos, the excellent Second City veteran Katie Rich sits on the stage alone and alternately chats with the…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 12:16PM
Friday, March 15, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: SHE KILLS MONSTERS (Steppenwolf) by Samantha Nelson

NOT JUST FOR DUNGEONS & DRAGONS FANS Early in She Kills Monsters, the play’s protagonist, Agnes (Katherine Banks), strikes up a conversation with Chuck (Richard Traub), a high scho…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 05:25PM
Monday, March 4, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: THE CITY & THE CITY (Lifeline Theatre) by Samantha Nelson

A TALE OF TWO CITIES THAT BLENDS SCI FI AND MYSTERY China Miéville’s novels are dense works of science fiction, and sometimes deciphering them feels more like work than entertainment.…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 08:18PM
Monday, February 11, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: AIRPORT FOR BIRDS (AND OTHER GREAT IDEAS) (UP Comedy Club) by Samantha Nelson

AIRPORT FOR BIRDS FAILS TO TAKE OFF In their sketch comedy show Airport for Birds (and Other Great Ideas), Team StarKid seems to have wracked their brains to come up with as many reasons as …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 12:04PM
Thursday, January 10, 2013

Chicago Theater Review: THE MOTHERFUCKER WITH THE HAT (Steppenwolf) by Samantha Nelson

HATS OFF TO STEPPENWOLF If the title wasn’t enough of a clue, Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Motherfucker with the Hat is filled with bad language. But what’s really surprising…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:03PM
Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Chicago Theater Review: CHICAGO’S WEIRD, GRANDMA (The Neo-Futurarium) by Samantha Nelson

MONKEY BUSINESS Barrel of Monkeys has spent more than 10 years teaching writing workshops at Chicago schools, but they are best known for turning the creative writing from elementary school …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:31PM
Thursday, August 9, 2012

Chicago Theater Review: THE MONUMENT (The Side Project Theatre) by Samantha Nelson

A MONUMENTAL FAILURE The Monument opens with a young man strapped into an electric chair, recounting the actions that led him to the moment of his execution. If playwright Colleen Wagner had…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 09:27PM
Friday, August 3, 2012

Chicago Theater Review: ADRIFT (Greenhouse Theater Center) by Samantha Nelson

CARRYING THE ALBATROSS Adrift takes its inspiration from Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which tells the story of a sailor stricken by horrible misfortune after he s…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:43PM
Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Chicago Club and Theater Review: UP Comedy Club by Samantha Nelson

GOING UP Piper’s Alley has long been a destination for Chicago comedy fans, with Second City bringing in sold out crowds for nearly every performance. Now you can get even more laughs unde…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:37PM
Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chicago Theater Review: SALT OF THE EARTH (City Lit Theatre) by Samantha Nelson

SOMETIMES YOU CAN GO HOME AGAIN Playwright John Godber grew up in a Yorkshire mining town before going off to college to become a writer. It gives Salt of the Earth, which follows 40 years i…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 05:17PM
Friday, June 22, 2012

Chicago Theater Review: SOUTH OF SETTLING (Steppenwolf’s Garage Theatre) by Samantha Nelson

SOUTH OF SETTLING PROVIDES AN INTIMATE LOOK AT FAMILY LIFE The best part of the Emmy-winning television series Friday Night Lights isn’t the football drama, but the amazing chemistry betwe…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:41PM
Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Chicago Theater Review: I AM GOING TO CHANGE THE WORLD (Chicago Dramatists) by Samantha Nelson

A RUDE AWAKENING In his 2011 Northwestern commencement address, Stephen Colbert told alumni that they may have been told to follow their dreams, but that sometimes dreams can change, especia…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:00PM
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Chicago Theater Review: DELIVER US FROM NOWHERE: TALES FROM NEBRASKA (Right Brain Project in Chicago) by Samantha Nelson

GOING NOWHERE Regarded as one of Bruce Springsteen’s best works, the 1982 album Nebraska has inspired tributes from Johnny Cash, Aimee Mann, Chris Cornell and other artists moved by its bl…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 09:27PM

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