Saturday, September 15, 2018

Review: Borealis (The House Theatre) by Lauren Emily Whalen

Bennett Fisher’s new play Borealis has the type of premise – sci-fi adventure that’s also a takedown of corporate culture – that will be either an epic success or an epic failure. Th…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:32PM
Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Review: El Grande de Coca-Cola (Waterfront Cafe & Summer Stages) by Lauren Emily Whalen

El Grande de Coca-Cola is 80 minutes of awkward, hilarious glory, with a cast as adept at physical comedy as they are at fast-paced banter, operatic vocal stylings and giving the audience th…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:42PM
Sunday, September 2, 2018

Review: A Shayna Maidel (TimeLine Theatre) by Lauren Emily Whalen

A Shayna Maidel is a story of the Holocaust, immigration and survival, but most of all it’s a story of sisters. Rose (Bri Sudia) and Lusia (Emily Berman) have lived incredibly different li…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:54PM
Friday, August 31, 2018

Review: Heartbreak Hotel (Broadway in Chicago) by Johanna Dalton

With Broadway in Chicago's presentation of Heartbreak Hotel, being dubbed as the pre-quel to Million Dollar Quartet, the audience is on their feet as the cast takes their bows, and the 20 mi…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:04PM
Sunday, August 26, 2018

Review: Tres Bandidos (Agency Theater Collective) by Lauren Emily Whalen

The climactic moment of Tres Bandidos is tense and anxiety-inducing. A major secret has just been revealed. There’s more than one gun. It’s very, very likely that at least one of the thr…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:24PM
Monday, August 20, 2018

Review: Haymarket (Underscore Theatre) by Lauren Emily Whalen

The anarchists profiled in Underscore Theatre's smash hit Haymarket were hardworking immigrants, who just wanted a fair wage and time to call their own. As a folk-musical concept album or co…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:42PM
Thursday, August 16, 2018

Review: Avenue Q (Mercury Theater, 2018) by Lauren Emily Whalen

Clearly, Avenue Q is making money for Mercury Theater, especially as it's now been extended by over 3 months. And of course a theater company must consider what will draw audiences. As a pro…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:36PM
Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Review: Holding the Man (Pride Films and Plays) by Lauren Emily Whalen

Pride Films and Plays’ stellar production of Holding the Man by Tommy Murphy chronicles a forbidden teenage romance that became a life partnership cut short, calling back to a time when li…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 08:54PM
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Review: Hurricane Damage (Pride Films and Plays) by Lauren Emily Whalen

If nothing else, Hurricane Damage is an alternative to the Dead Gay Narrative. It’s a survivors’ story - longtime partners Oscar and Dennis have been together for decades, and have seen …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:06PM
Monday, July 30, 2018

Review: Defacing Michael Jackson (Flying Elephant Productions) by Lauren Whalen

With Flying Elephant Productions' Defacing Michael Jackson, playwright Aurin Squire has a terrific, multifaceted story on his hands - a group of kids in middle-of-nowhere 1980s Florida form …

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 05:32PM
Sunday, July 29, 2018

Review: Everybody (Brown Paper Box Co.) by Lauren Whalen

Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins thrives on keeping an audience on their toes. He pulled it off successfully in Goodman Theatre's Gloria, with a shocking plot twist at the end of the play…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:12PM
Monday, July 16, 2018

Review: The Golden Girls–The Lost Episodes, Vol. 2 (Hell in a Handbag Productions) by Lauren Whalen

Hell in Handbag Production's The Golden Girls--The Lost Episodes, Volume 2 is an incredibly entertaining evening for fans of a different Fab Four - Rose, Blanche, Dorothy and Sophia. Three o…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 04:12PM
Sunday, July 15, 2018

Review: Sickle (Red Theater Chicago) by Duane Barnes

Abbey Fenbert’s play Sickle at Red Theater is important as it brings to light another horror of a different kind of war, an unwanted assimilation of an entire country’s population and pr…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:04PM
Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Review: Support Group for Men (Goodman Theatre) by Johanna Dalton

The topics covered in Goodman's Support Group for Men are exactly the conversations that we need right now, and in this marvelously comic work, playwright Ellen Fairey has hit the proverbial…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:04PM
Thursday, July 5, 2018

Rew: Tilikum (Sideshow Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Tilikum, an allegory of slavery with the best of intentions. has a unique setting and an even more unique way of telling its story, incorporating dance, percussion and one heck of a projecti…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:24PM
Friday, June 29, 2018

Review: The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

The View UpStairs, a musical about the last night of the UpStairs Lounge that, before an arsonist set the gay bar ablaze (killing 32 people in the process), premiered off-Broadway in Februar…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:36PM
Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Review: The Laramie Project (AstonRep Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

The Laramie Project is one of AstonRep’s strongest productions to date, and well-placed during Pride Month: a sober reminder of a defining moment in queer history, a sad reminder of what m…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:42PM
Monday, June 25, 2018

Review: Neverwhere (Lifeline Theatre, 2018) by Lauren Whalen

Neil Gaiman is a phenomenon for a reason - his stories contain a flawless blend of the fantastical and the deeply human. His book Neverwhere, adapted for the stage by Rebert Kauzlaric, is n…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 06:48PM
Thursday, April 26, 2018

Review: Memphis (Porchlight Music Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Memphis is inspired by the life of Dewey Phillips, the first radio DJ to play Elvis Presley’s music (and rock 'n roll music in general). While Memphis is not a direct biography of Phillips…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 10:18PM
Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Review: L’Imitation of Life (Hell in a Handbag Productions) by Lauren Whalen

L’Imitation of Life, which premiered in 2013 before this year’s remount, is one of Hell in a Handbag’s stronger parodies. Though it will mainly appeal to an older audience due to its s…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 03:54PM
Sunday, April 22, 2018

Review: The Cake (Rivendell Theatre) by Lauren Whalen

Some plays hit you right where you live. The Cake is about, well, a wedding cake, but it’s also about the pull between two worlds - the home you make as an adult, and the place you were bo…

Linked From Chicago Theater Beat at 07:24PM
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

All that Chat