Friday, April 20, 2018

14 Chicago shows to see now

"The Beauty Queen of Leenane" ✭✭✭ 1/2 "I'd die before you'd put me in a home," says the old Irish lady. "Aye," says her daughter, "hopefully." Playwright Martin McDonagh's famous Irish…

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Even on Broadway, retail is dying before our eyes. Or is it? What does it all mean for Tribune Tower? by Chris Jones

If we all want retail to continue to be a part of our urban aesthetic landscape, we had better start buying things in shops. On Thursday, the Tribune reported that Carson’s, a department s…

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

No changes of heart at all in this chilly 'My Fair Lady' at Lincoln Center on Broadway by Chris Jones

At the posh Lincoln Center, the young Cockney woman that professor Henry Higgins finds in Covent Garden is not the usual chipper and cheerily comprehensible flower girl you find in Alan Jay …

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Wednesday, April 18, 2018

A letter from Russia adds some interesting politics to Hershey Felder's 'Our Great Tchaikovsky' by Chris Jones

In 2013, the entrepreneurial pianist and actor Hershey Felder received a letter from Russian authorities. Felder, who has many fans in Chicago, is well known for his solo shows focused on th…

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Pop singers-turned-Broadway-stars Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban will co-host this summer's Tony Awards by Associated Press

Pop singers-turned-Broadway-stars Sara Bareilles and Josh Groban will co-host the Tony Awards, the theater industry's biggest ceremony. They take over hosting duties from Kevin Spacey, the d…

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'Lightning Thief' tour to launch in Chicago by Morgan Greene

“The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical” will launch its national tour in Chicago, it was announced Wednesday. The rock-musical adaption of Rick Riordan’s best-selling novel, a…

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'Jesus Christ Superstar' means 'gig theater' is coming to the Lyric Opera by Chris Jones

“Jesus Christ Superstar,” which is close to half a century old and the only show ever to contain such a gloriously ridiculous lyric as “Hosanna Hey Sanna Sanna Sanna Ho" is having a he…

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Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Hubbard Street announces 2018-19 season programming by Morgan Greene

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, with artistic director Glenn Edgerton at its helm, has announced a new season filled with world premieres and international collaborations. The fall series will…

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Three world premieres in Strawdog's 31st season by Morgan Greene

Strawdog Theatre Company’s first season at its new North Center home will include three world premieres, the company announced Tuesday. Kicking off the company’s 31st season will be “M…

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'Lettie' at Victory Gardens: A mother's years lost to prison are years she can't get back by Chris Jones

Playwright Boo Killebrew's “Lettie” begins with a woman staring at her half-sister, who just got out of jail. “This wasn’t supposed to happen for two or three years,” the woman say…

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Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks to lead Chicago's 'Cher Show' by Morgan Greene

Stephanie J. Block, Teal Wicks and Micaela Diamond will star in “The Cher Show” in Chicago, producers Flody Suarez and Jeffrey Seller announced Tuesday. Block, previously self-announced …

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In the 'Chicago renaissance' of standup, 'Dope Comedy' at North Bar is a show to know by Zach Freeman

“If y’all ready for ‘A Dope Comedy Show,’ let me hear you say, ‘Hell yeah!’” The voice booms over the sound system as comedian Dave Helem — a Chicago native now living in Los…

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Monday, April 16, 2018

Chicago theater openings April 20-26

Saturday “Frost/Nixon”: Peter Morgan’s historical drama based on the infamous 1977 interviews opens at Redtwist Theatre. Through May 20 at Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.; 773…

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'The Doppelganger': Rainn Wilson trades 'The Office' for a gutsy, messy 'international farce' at Steppenwolf by Chris Jones

Can you combine the post-colonial atrocities, the internal corruption, the ceaseless profiteering that still afflicts Africa, the mother continent of humanity, with the rubric of a knockdown…

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Tracy Letts' 'Minutes,' a Steppenwolf premiere, a finalist for 2018 Pulitzer Prize by Chris Jones

Tracy Letts' "The Minutes," a play about an incendiary council meeting in a small American city, was a finalist for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in drama. The designation was announced Monday aft…

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Steppenwolf for Young Adults' 'The Burn' seems out of sync with this moment's teenagers by Chris Jones

Through no fault of its own, Philip Dawkins’ “The Burn” has not turned out to be well-timed. Set in a Chicago public high school and focused on a well-meaning teacher (Erik Hellman) an…

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E. Faye Butler as Mama Rose in Porchlight's 2018-19 season by Morgan Greene

Chicago stage diva E. Faye Butler will play Rose in “Gypsy” as part of Porchlight Music Theatre’s 2018-19 season, the company announced Thursday. “Gypsy,” featuring music by Jule S…

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Drury Lane’s ‘South Pacific’ has Broadway stars and layers of storytelling by Chris Jones

If you are playing Nellie Forbush in Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein’s “South Pacific,” which opened Thursday night at the Drury Lane Theatre under the open-hearted direction of …

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Friday, April 13, 2018

16 Chicago shows to see now

"Anna Karenina" ✭✭✭ There aren't many towns in the world where you can roll up and find a completely new adaptation of the jottings of Leo Tolstoy. As you can currently find in "Anna K…

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'Poor People’s TV Room' mixes Boko Haram history with Oprah — and is a tough, tough piece to unpack by Lauren Warnecke

“There was a time, way, way back, when Oprah was a human being,” said Thuli Dumakude near the beginning of Okwui Okpokwasili’s “Poor People’s TV Room,” running through Sunday at …

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Jessie Mueller stars in a Broadway 'Carousel' that reminds us life is all too short by Chris Jones

God is in “Carousel.” So is human love and sexual desire, but let’s leave that aside for a moment. In 1945, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II created the greatest musical ever w…

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Video: Watch the creation of '9 to 5 the Musical'

Tribune photographer Chris Sweda went behind the scenes at the new, feminist-focused Firebrand Theatre Company as they created their new musical production of “9 to 5 the Musical.” The D…

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Chicago theater openings April 13-19

Friday “33 to Nothing”: Grant Varjas’ drama about keeping the band together, set during a band practice, opens at A Red Orchid. Through May 27 at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St…

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Martin Scorsese to direct Netflix comedy special about 'SCTV' by Morgan Greene

Martin Scorsese will direct a Netflix original comedy special about the legacy of the Emmy-winning sketch comedy show “SCTV” (Second City TV), Netflix announced Thursday. The reunion spe…

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'You Were Never Really Here' review: Joaquin Phoenix out-hammers Mike Hammer by several hammers by Michael Phillips

When the Glasgow-born filmmaker Lynne Ramsay adapts a novel, she does what any responsive writer-director must. She listens to what speaks to her, personally, in the material, and creates co…

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Chicago stage veterans Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts welcome first child by Tracy Swartz

Chicago stage veterans Carrie Coon and Tracy Letts recently welcomed their first child, Rolling Stone reports. Coon, who lives in Wicker Park with Letts, told the magazine that she rushed to…

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Wednesday, April 11, 2018

'Children of a Lesser God' on Broadway: This is a powerful play, but the teacher falling for his deaf student has become problematic by Chris Jones

In its marketing materials, director Kenny Leon’s complicated new Broadway revival of “Children of a Lesser God,” which opened Wednesday night at Studio 54, justly describes itself as …

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'9 to 5 the Musical' gets the Dollywood treatment with feminist flair by Chris Jones

Harmony France, the artistic director of the feisty Firebrand Theatre, is a fountain of fabulous ideas. Her latest? Take the flop Broadway show known as “9 to 5 the Musical” and stage it…

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MacArthur Foundation to give $24.3 million to Chicago-area arts groups by Howard Reich

The Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, in partnership with the Prince Charitable Trusts and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, will invest $24.3 million over the n…

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'Theater is a sacred space': David Schwimmer hosts Lookingglass 30th anniversary gala by Candace Jordan

Lookingglass Theatre Company welcomed more than 400 guests to its 30th anniversary "gglassquerade" celebration March 24 at the Four Seasons Chicago. Themed "Under the Seas: Reflecting on 30 …

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Chicago icon Elaine May, 85, returning to Broadway in Kenneth Lonergan play with Michael Cera by Chris Jones

Elaine May — the iconic actress, comedian, writer and director who first emerged in Chicago in the 1950s alongside her partner Mike Nichols — is to return to Broadway next season. May, 8…

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