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
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Review: Othello (Invictus Theatre Company) by Lauren Whalen

In Invictus Theatre Company's inaugural production of Othello, Iago is played as a woman. Her strong performance and a largely solid ensemble are not enough, however, to save a weak lead and…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:48PM
Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Review: Fade (Teatro Vista and Victory Gardens Theater) by Lauren Whalen

Victory Gardens’ latest play, Fade, a co-production with Teatro Vista, features the relationship of two very different Latinx individuals who happen to work in the same building. Fade is f…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:04PM
Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review: Tick, Tick…BOOM! (The Cuckoo’s Theater Project) by Lauren Whalen

Running 90 minutes with no intermission, Tick, Tick...BOOM! is poignant but inconsistent, with a score that’s lovely and touching but also frustrating and dreary. The Cuckoo’s Theater Pr…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:04PM
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: The Pearl Fishers (Lyric Opera) by Lauren Whalen

Everyone loves a good, tragic love story, and Lyric Opera's The Pearl Fishers doesn't disappoint. Its two-and-a-half-hour running time is shorter than that of the average opera, making it a …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:42PM
Sunday, November 19, 2017

Review: Yasmina’s Necklace (Goodman Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Yasmina’s Necklace is very Muslim in its theme, but also very American – unique yet universal. Thoughtfully directed by Ann Filmer, and featuring a gifted ensemble, the Chicago premiere …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:48PM
Friday, November 17, 2017

Review: Breath, Boom (Eclipse Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Breath, Boom is never an easy watch, challenging the audience to check its collective privilege and watch a survivor endure her darkest years with only small flashes of optimism. Beautifully…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:33PM
Thursday, November 16, 2017

Review: Lizzie (Firebrand Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Firebrand Theatre's Lizzie is an all-female rock musical about the the true story of Lizzie Borden, whose alleged axe murder of her father and stepmother in 1892 led to a media frenzy, a nur…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:12PM
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Review: Lysistrata Jones (Refuge Theatre Project) by Scotty Zacher

Spike Lee’s recent film Chiraq adapted Lysistrata to Chicago's South Side, replacing an epic Greek war with equally epic gang violence. The stakes in Lysistrata Jones? Basketball. More spe…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:36AM
Friday, November 10, 2017

Review: School of Rock (Broadway in Chicago) by Lauren Whalen

With a running time of just over 2 hours, School of Rock is just as winning as the original film. Taking an underdog story and blending it with cute kids and a rousing score, the musical mak…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:24PM

Review: Akeelah and the Bee (Adventure Stage Chicago) by Lauren Whalen

With Akeelah and the Bee, Adventure Stage Chicago has adapted the 2006 screenplay, relocating the story to the South Side of Chicago, adding Spanish supertitles to make the show more accessi…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 12:48AM
Saturday, November 4, 2017

Review: Fun Home (Victory Gardens Theater) by Catey Sullivan

In Victory Gardens' triumphant "Fun Home", Director Gary Griffin’s ensemble will break your heart with their ability to embody the characters in Alison Bechdel’s story, especially Rob Li…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:54PM
Friday, November 3, 2017

Review: Bobby Pin Girls (Nothing Without A Company) by Lauren Whalen

Besides its humor, Bobby Pin Girls tackles issues such as addiction, self-harm and toxic masculinity without being manipulative or heavy-handed, which is a skill on its own. Nothing Without …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:04PM
Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Review: Giselle (Joffrey Ballet) by Lauren Whalen

The Joffrey Ballet’s premiere of a newly-staged Giselle doesn’t disappoint, wringing out every possible drop of excitement, in a production that’s equal parts breathtaking and horrifyi…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:42PM
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Review: The Taming of the Shrew (Chicago Shakespeare, 2017) by Catey Sullivan

Chicago Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew is a fine production of a play that doesn’t deserve the resources lavished on it. For all the prodigious talent on stage, Shrew remains an endorse…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:33PM
Friday, October 20, 2017

Review: Punk (The New Colony) by Catey Sullivan

Between the distracting set design, the plot holes and the ultimately ineffective performances by the rest of the cast, The New Colony's world-premiere Punk is a weak endeavor. (review by Ca…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 12:12AM
Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Review: Million Dollar Quartet (Paramount Theatre) by Catey Sullivan

Million Dollar Quartet is irresistible. Set in 1956 during the only recording session when Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins were all in the same room, the juke-bo…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 09:04PM
Saturday, October 14, 2017

Review: The Heavens Are Hung in Black (Shattered Globe Theatre) by Duane Barnes

Heavens is a powerful play, wonderfully cast, brilliantly directed, beautifully played by an outstanding ensemble of talented actors. It centers around a pivotal period of the Civil War in 1…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:18PM
Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Review: The Legend of Georgia McBride (Northlight Theatre) by Catey Sullivan

For most of Northlight Theatre's The Legend of Georgia McBride, audiences are treated to a whacky, audience-pleasing comedy. The plot goes for guffaws by showing the whacky plight of a stra…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:06PM
Sunday, October 1, 2017

Review: The Rembrandt (Steppenwolf Theatre) by Catey Sullivan

It doesn’t matter if you don’t know Rembrandt from Renoir, Manet from Monet. In its exploration of why art moves us – and moves us to take extraordinary measures to preserve it through…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:36PM
Friday, September 29, 2017

Review: Five Guys Named Moe (Court Theatre) by Catey Sullivan

Court Theatre's Five Guys Named Moe looks and sounds terrific. Set designer Courtney O’Neill has ingeniously turned the stage into the inside of a old time radio, and sound designer Victor…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:18PM
Thursday, September 28, 2017

Review: Alias Grace (Rivendell Theatre) by Catey Sullivan

Despite some shortcomings, world-premiere Alias Grace is well worth seeing. The story of Grace Mark is powerful both as history and as a commentary on history. Rivendell Theatre hasn’t cap…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:48PM
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Rev‪iew: Bullets Over Broadway (NightBlue Performing Arts) by Catey Sullivan

Under Kevin Bellie’s direction, Bullets Over Broadway does have moments of charm. But between these bright spots, the acting aesthetic is cartoons on hyperdrive – loud and garish enough …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:24PM
Sunday, September 24, 2017

Review: A View from the Bridge (Goodman Theatre) by Catey Sullivan

There’s a pall of suffocating dread woven through director Ivo Van Hove’s galvanizing take on Arthur Miller’s 1955 classic A View From the Bridge. Set in the 1950s, the story about imm…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:24PM
Friday, September 22, 2017

Review: Honeymoon in Vegas (Marriott Theatre) by John Olson

You sorta have to love the rare musical like Marriott Theatre's Honeymoon in Vegas that sets a world we know to music. Sure, it’s based on a 25-year-old film comedy, but the targets of thi…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:48PM
Thursday, September 21, 2017

Review: Rock of Ages (Drury Lane Theatre) by Catey Sullivan

Rock of Ages just might be the most shamelessly pandering musical since, oh, the late 1980s. It revels in boobie and poop jokes and stratospherically over-the-top characters. And it’s that…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:06PM

Review: The Toad Knew (Compagnie du Hanneton) by Catey Sullivan

The story of The Toad Knew – if there is one – is left to the audience to create within their own minds. The performers – a quintet starring creator James Thierrée – are a group of …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:36PM

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