Thursday, December 14, 2017

What Chicago show should I see now for the holidays? by Chris Jones

The holidays are almost here. You know that Chicago is known for its theater and you finally have more time to see a show. But which are the best ones right now? I’ve seen most of them. So…

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Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Best of Broadway in 2017: My top 10 begins with Bruce and Bette by Chris Jones

You could escape the lousy times of 2017 on Broadway, whether that was by descending to Bikini Bottom or rising up on your feet, with everyone around, in praise of all that is Bette Midler. …

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Porchlight announces 'Merrily' cast by Morgan Greene

Porchlight Music Theatre announced the cast of the Stephen Sondheim musical “Merrily We Roll Along” Wednesday. The production will star Matt Crowle as Charley Kringas, Jim DeSelm as Fran…

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Chicago Review: In "White Christmas" the lights of a holiday inn are all aglow! by Chris Jones

The cast of RANDY SKINNER's annual high-quality production includes Tonay Award-winning Karen Ziemba and Conrad John Schuck: what's not to like?

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House Theater announces cast of 'Hatfield & McCoy' by Morgan Greene

Casting is complete for the new production of “Hatfield & McCoy,” the House Theatre of Chicago announced Tuesday. The Hatfields include: Robert D. Hardaway as Devil Anse Hatfield, Marika…

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'Nutcracker'-palooza! An insider guide to the holiday dance classic by Lauren Warnecke

Whether your household is filled with serious dance enthusiasts or you’re a once-every-couple-of-years kind of family, “The Nutcracker” has crept its way into Chicago’s holiday tradi…

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Chita Rivera in Chicago: At age 84, she can still sing about the livin' yet to do by Chris Jones

Chita Rivera sang “A Boy Like That” from “West Side Story” from the stage of the Steppenwolf Theatre on Monday night. She was, after all, the original Anita. She first performed the …

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Monday, December 11, 2017

'Red Velvet' tells the important if predictable story of an African-American actor by Chris Jones

In 1833, the year the British Parliament abolished slavery in the United Kingdom, an African-American actor named Ira Aldridge — New York-born but married to an Englishwoman from Yorkshire…

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Rob Lowe brings one-man show to Chicago by Morgan Greene

Rob Lowe will bring the national tour of his one-man show to Chicago for a one-night-only performance in May, Broadway in Chicago announced Monday. “Stories I Only Tell My Friends: Live,…

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Sunday, December 10, 2017

This wonderful musical 'Wicked' and Chicago go way back by Chris Jones

There is a history. L. Frank Baum’s “The Wizard of Oz” — the stage version, which came long before the Judy Garland movie — had its world premiere in Chicago in 1902 at the Grand O…

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Mike Birbiglia at the Chicago Theatre is a man with stories to tell by Zach Freeman

“I’m gonna tell you a story tonight,” says comedian-storyteller-filmmaker Mike Birbiglia as he takes the stage at the Chicago Theater on Friday night. “But first I’m gonna tell you…

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Friday, December 8, 2017

19 shows to see now by Chicago Tribune

"42nd Street" ✭✭✭✭ Think you've seen "42nd Street" before? Not with jazz-funk orchestrations and a rock drum set and a truly diverse cast, not with choreography closer to Savion Glo…

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Hubbard Street devotes an evening to the exquisite snapshots of Crystal Pite by Chris Jones

Here’s the most remarkable thing about the choreography of Crystal Pite: She individualizes and dehumanizes the human body, both at the same time. The Vancouver-based choreographer is a gr…

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As arts heroes fall, where should we draw the line? by Chris Jones

In an interview given in support of “Michael Jackson’s This is It,” the 2009 documentary about the London concert series that was never performed due to Jackson’s death weeks before …

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Thursday, December 7, 2017

Riveting 'Indumba' frees Deeply Rooted from what they’ve always done by Lauren Warnecke

“They dance to give voice to the voiceless,” said education director Nicole Clarke-Springer at the top of Deeply Rooted Dance Theater’s 20th anniversary season finale, a weekend of per…

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Black Ensemble Theater announces 2018 season by Morgan Greene

Black Ensemble Theater has announced its 2018 season, featuring tributes to Chuck Berry, Patti LaBelle, blues artists and the women of soul. First up is “Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chu…

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Still 'Beautiful,' still with a former Chicagoan as Carole King by Chris Jones

When I last saw Sarah Bockel, she was performing on Belmont Avenue in Chicago in “Parade,” a production of the BoHo Theatre Ensemble. If you live in Highland Park, you might have seen he…

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Life lessons from Chita Rivera by Chris Jones

In times of stress and trouble, wise creative souls seek out the wisdom of Chita Rivera. Of course, people have been seeking out the wisdom of the legendary actress-dancer, one of the most b…

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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Steep announces 'Hinter' cast by Morgan Greene

Casting is complete for “Hinter,” a world premiere thriller by Calamity West, Steep Theatre announced Wednesday. The production will feature Aurora Adachi-Winter, Lauren Sivak, Sasha Smi…

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'Gobsmacked!' at the Broadway Playhouse? Hardly by Chris Jones

At one point in “Gobsmacked!,” the godawful small affair that has landed for the week at the Broadway Playhouse, you hear the unmistakable opening strains of David Bowie’s “Life on M…

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Magic is missing from Lyric Opera's hand-me-down 'Turandot' by John Von Rhein

“Turandot,” Puccini’s unfinished valedictory to the stage, is an elaborate operatic fairy tale. But for fairy tales to really work, there must be magic and mystery the audience can bel…

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Video: Beatboxing champion Ball-Zee performs from 'Gobsmacked' by Morgan Greene

This week's Showcase features Ball-Zee, a three-time winner of the UK Beatbox Championship and the current star of the beatboxing and a capella touring show "Gobsmacked." In the video, Ball…

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Tuesday, December 5, 2017

'Wizard of Oz' coming to Chicago Theatre by Morgan Greene

“The Wizard of Oz” will make a Chicago stop along its yellow brick road, it has been announced by the Madison Square Garden Company. The non-Equity touring production, based on the belov…

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Unplugged ‘Altar Boyz’ is not the best choice for Theo Ubique by Chris Jones

Matthew, Mark, Luke, Juan and Abraham — otherwise known as the Altar Boyz — have returned to the Chicago stage. At this particular moment in our roiled culture, they feel a lot like cute…

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At Griffin Theatre, 'Violet' needs to listen for the music by Chris Jones

Jeanine Tesori’s “Violet,” which I first reviewed at the Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park in 1999 and then again on Broadway in 2014, is a gorgeous musical. The story of a disfigure…

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Theater openings Dec. 8-14 by Chicago Tribune Staff

Friday “The Christmas Schooner”: John Reeger and Julie Shannon’s warmhearted holiday tale about the first Christmas tree ship sails back to the Mercury Theater. Through Dec. 31 at Merc…

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Spike Lee secretly filmed 'Pass Over' at Steppenwolf by Chris Jones

Under a highly unusual veil of secrecy, apparently imposed by a contractual arrangement with Amazon Studios, Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre quietly allowed the director Spike Lee to film its …

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Minimalism and her: Talking to Twyla Tharp about upcoming premiere at the MCA by Lauren Warnecke

Twyla Tharp views her career as a linear one, starting at the beginning and following a path up to now. That path includes more than 160 credits in dance, film, writing and Broadway — more…

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Monday, December 4, 2017

'SpongeBob SquarePants' now swims with the Broadway sharks by Chris Jones

Sponges lack nervous systems. Just as well. Broadway — where the hooks can come out — is no Bikini Bottom when it comes to hosting an optimistic porifera best known as a kid’s cable te…

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In 'Elf the Musical,' a little holiday pandering at the Paramount by Chris Jones

At one point in “Elf the Musical,” your spectacular seasonal entertainment at the historic Paramount Theatre in Aurora — yes, Roger “Santa” Mueller really does fly around the theat…

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Broadway in Chicago announces 'Wicked' lottery by Morgan Greene

A day-of-show drawing for $25 tickets to “Wicked” in Chicago will take place throughout the run of the show, Broadway in Chicago announced Monday. On each performance day, fans eager to …

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