Monday, April 16, 2018

Review: 9 to 5: The Musical (Firebrand Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Based on the 1980 movie, the musical 9 to 5 opened on Broadway in 2009, with music and lyrics by Dolly Parton. Sadly, the musical has an uneven score and an inconsistent, shallow book, and d…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:42PM
Saturday, April 7, 2018

Review: The Spitfire Grill (Refuge Theatre Project) by Lauren Whalen

Performed at the Windy City Café, the production is meticulously staged by director Christopher Pazdernik and features gorgeous acoustic musical direction courtesy of Jon Schneidman, who pl…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 12:00AM
Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Review: Pretty Woman the Musical (Broadway in Chicago) by Johanna Dalton

It would be hard to find a more beloved and iconic modern Cinderella story to bring to the musical stage than Pretty Woman. But this Broadway in Chicago world premiere of the Broadway-bound …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:37PM
Sunday, March 25, 2018

Review: Bad Girls–The Stylists (Akvavit Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

With its US premiere, Akvavit Theatre's Bad Girls-The Stylists is absurdly funny and strangely empowering. Michael Evans’ translation of Astrid Saalbach’s script is delightfully weird, r…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:50PM

Review: Women Laughing Alone With Salad (Theater Wit) by Lauren Whalen

It’s difficult to make a play based solely on a popular stock photo image turned Internet meme. That’s exactly what Theater Wit's Women Laughing Alone With Salad tries, and fails, to do.…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:52PM
Saturday, March 24, 2018

Review: Why Do You Always Wear Black? (Organic Theater) by Scotty Zacher

                       Why Do You Always      Wear Black?   Based…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:35PM
Friday, March 23, 2018

Review: Schiller’s Mary Stuart (Chicago Shakespeare) by Lauren Whalen

Mary Stuart is thoughtfully executed from beginning to end, hitting it out of the park on all counts. The gowns are eye candy, the cast gifted and the production team thorough. Reimagined by…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:55PM
Monday, March 19, 2018

Review: Anna Karenina (Lifeline Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina has been adapted many times over the years for stage and screen, and Jessica Wright Buha’s world premiere adaptation for Lifeline Theatre effectively captures t…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:17PM
Thursday, March 15, 2018

Review: Bunny Bunny (Mercury Theater) by Lauren Whalen

It’s helpful to know Gilda Radner’s body of work, particularly on SNL, before watching Bunny Bunny. That said, Chicago is a perfect city for this play, with its legacy of comedy and the …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:52PM
Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Review: Plantation! (Lookingglass Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Lookingglass Theatre's world-premiere by ensemble member Kevin Douglas, is a sharp, darkly funny 95-minute roller coaster, expertly directed by ensemble member David Schwimmer and beautifull…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:45PM
Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Review: Kingdom (Broken Nose Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Developed over two years with Broken Nose Theatre, Playwright Michael Allen Harris’ newest work is a thoughtful, funny and a tragic meditation on a multi-generational African-American quee…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:56PM
Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review: A Story Told in Seven Fights (The Neo-Futurists) by Lauren Whalen

The Neo-Futurists have an incredibly distinctive style: either you like it or you don’t. Either way, there is no other company in Chicago like them. If you like theater history and stage c…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:38PM
Thursday, March 1, 2018

Review: Southern Gothic (Windy City Playhouse) by Lauren Whalen

Creatively staged as an immersive experience where the audience is seated on the edges of different rooms and patio, Southern Gothic, by Leslie Liautaud, is a fascinating glimpse inside the …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:35PM
Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Review: Merrily We Roll Along (Porchlight Music Theatre) by John Olson

With its story of mostly young (22-42 year old) people, Merrily We Roll Along is popular with high school and college groups, but it’s rare to find a large scale professional production li…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 09:16PM
Friday, February 16, 2018

Review: Fear and Misery of the Third Reich (Haven Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Bertolt Brecht’s series of vignettes following different characters as Germany approaches World War II is uncomfortable, sad and downright scary. It’s also important and essential viewin…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:58PM
Sunday, February 4, 2018

Review: Nice Girl (Raven Theatre) by Scotty Zacher

                       Nice Girl Written by Melissa Ross Raven Theatre, 6157 N. Clark (map…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:53PM
Friday, February 2, 2018

Review: The Humans (Broadway in Chicago) by Lauren Whalen

With the national tour of Stephen Karam’s The Humans, there's a amazing melding of Karam's script, Mantello’s direction and the excellent production team and cast accurately portraying t…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 11:21PM
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Review: We’re Gonna Be Okay (American Theater Co.) by Lauren Whalen

We’re Gonna Be Okay, written by playwright Basil Kreimendahl, explores America's fear and paranoia of nuclear war in the early 1960's through the eyes of two neighboring families who decid…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:05PM
Thursday, January 25, 2018

Review: All My Sons (Court Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

There's a lot to love in Arthur Miller's All My Sons. Both Johanna McKenzie Miller and Abby Pierce give nuanced performances as neighborhood women, and John Judd expertly guides us through J…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 11:37PM
Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Review: Boy (TimeLine Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Playwright Anna Ziegler began Boy as a direct homage to David Reimer, who in1967 at 18-month-old, was left with damaged genitals due to a circumcision accident. Desperate, his parents turned…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 01:27PM
Monday, January 22, 2018

Review: For the Loyal (Interrobang Theatre Project) by Lauren Whalen

What does loyalty mean? How far does it go? And what if your loyalty (or lack of) affects your livelihood and the ability to support your family? Award-winning playwright Lee Blessing tackle…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:53PM
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Review: Nevermore (Black Button Eyes Productions) by Scotty Zacher

                       Nevermore   Book/Music/Lyrics by Jonathan Christenson at Edge …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 12:42AM
Friday, December 22, 2017

Review: BLKS (Steppenwolf Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Playwright and poet Aziza Barnes wrote BLKS as a self-portrait of herself and her best friends in her early 20s. Full of laugh-out-loud moments as well as dark humor and quiet poignancy, BLK…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:12PM
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Review: Potted Potter (Broadway in Chicago, 2017) by Lauren Whalen

*Potted* means condensed. *Potter,* at least in this case, means Harry Potter, a child wizard and the center of seven books that propelled J.K. Rowling from broke schoolteacher to wealthy me…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:54PM
Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Red Velvet (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) by Lauren Whalen

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Red Velvet chronicles Ira Aldridge’s groundbreaking but ill-timed two-day run as Othello at Covent Garden in 1833, the first African-American actor to star on…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:24PM
Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: Beautiful (Broadway in Chicago, 2017) by Duane Barnes

Throwback Thursday review - Lights! Action! Music! With that beginning, Carole King (played by local actress Sarah Bockel) takes us on a musical ride through her life, highs and lows, wins a…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:06PM
Saturday, December 9, 2017

Review: The Minutes (Steppenwolf Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

When Tracy Letts' newest play, The Minutes, is good, it’s very, very good, and that’s the case for the play’s first 90-95 minutes. As a small-town transplant myself, I can verify the h…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 12:18AM
Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Review: The Nutcracker (Joffrey Ballet, 2017) by Lauren Whalen

Now in its second glorious year, Joffrey Ballet's updated The Nutcracker, set during the construction of Chicago's 1893 Worlds Fair in an immigrant family's shack and their daughter's fantas…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 09:36PM
Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Review: Altar Boyz (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

One of off-Broadway’s longest-running shows, the boy band parody Altar Boyz is a real-time concert of a Christian boy band who love singing and dancing - but love Jesus even more. Theo Ubi…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:12PM

Review: Rudolph the Red-Hosed Reindeer (Hell in a Handbag Productions, 2017) by Lauren Whalen

Based on the 1967 children’s TV special, this fun Rudolph chronicles the adventures of a North Pole reindeer (Graham Thomas Heacock) who just doesn’t fit in with his peers - he just can'…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:06PM
Saturday, December 2, 2017

Review: Wedding Band (The Artistic Home) by Duane Barnes

Alice Childress's classic play Wedding Band, a tragic love story of interracial love set in 1918 South Carolina, is marvelously done, the cast doing a superb job of employing the dialect of …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 03:12PM

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