Monday, April 22, 2019

Raven Theatre, 'Requiem' and 'Tilkum' at the top of the 2019 Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations by Chris Jones

In its first full season under artistic director Cody Estle, Raven Theatre scored the most nominations in the 2019 Non-Equity Jeff Awards, with the all-volunteer committee of Chicago theater…

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Friday, April 19, 2019

'Footloose' at the Marriott keeps it light — it's about the kids and their music by Kerry Reid

Small towns afraid of dancing and alternative lifestyles (such as … enjoying dancing, I guess) have provided a fair amount of fodder for musicals. “The Prom,” the sweet-and-snarky musi…

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

'Cambodian Rock Band' at Victory Gardens: You're watching a breakout moment for a playwright — plus songs by Dengue Fever by Chris Jones

The most fun you can ever have as a critic is watching a talented scribe take a great leap — in both thematic ambition and theatrical accomplishment. “Cambodian Rock Band,” already the…

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Your guide to 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' in Chicago: Will this big risk by the creators of the musical succeed? by Chris Jones

Can the famously smart and creative minds at Hamilton Inc. pull off their biggest gamble yet? With the acclaimed visual designer David Korins spinning the artistic roulette wheel, the brain …

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What are the challenges? Comparing 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' to 'Jurassic' at the Field, MCA's 'Bowie' and others by Steve Johnson

Putting up a standalone exhibition derived from a work of entertainment doesn’t happen every day in Chicago. This leaves few points of comparison for the forthcoming “Hamilton: The Exhib…

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'Hamilton' timeline: From Miranda's 'joke' to Obama's White House to Broadway to Chicago by Doug George

Sept. 1789: Alexander Hamilton is first U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, serving until 1795. March 2008: "In the Heights" opens on Broadway, a musical written by Lin-Manuel Miranda, directed …

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Talking to Lin-Manuel Miranda: His voice will guide you through 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' but he wasn't a fan of the idea at first by Chris Jones

Lin-Manuel Miranda — the creator of “Hamilton” — needs no introduction. He talked with the Tribune from New York about his mostly parental role in “Hamilton: The Exhibition.” Thi…

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Alexander's biggest talent was pushing the other Founding Fathers' buttons, says the Yale expert advising 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' by Chris Jones

Joanne B. Freeman is one of the world’s foremost experts on Alexander Hamilton. A professor of history and American studies at Yale University, Freeman is the historical advisor for “Ham…

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Where to eat for 'Hamilton: The Exhibition'? Phil Vettel's Top-5 by Phil Vettel

My top-five recommendations of where to get a pre- or post-visit bite on an outing to “Hamilton: The Exhibition” on Northerly Island. Del Campo's Taco's on 12th Street Beach: The closest…

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Design mind behind 'Ham: Exhibition' says his creation belongs in Chicago, and will be its own kind of theater by Chris Jones

David Korins is best known as a designer of Broadway shows, including, among others, “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Passing Strange,” “Beetlejuice” and, of course, “Hamilton.” But thro…

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'Hamilton: The Exhibition': How to get to the 35,000-square-foot room where it happens by Kori Rumore and Chris Jones

The temporary exhibition opens April 27 on Northerly Island and will travel to other cities after the Chicago engagement, which is expected to last several months.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

'Hamlet,' now at Chicago Shakes, has 'to been' in Chicago before: 7 memorable 'Hamlets' through the years by Chris Jones

The moody Dane, known to his friends as “Hamlet,” is back in town. In honor of Barbara Gaines’ new production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which stars Maurice Jones, let’s take a …

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Chicago theater openings for April 19-25 by Doug George

Saturday "Othello": Shakespeare through a nontraditional-casting lens. Babes With Blades Theatre Company at Factory Theater, 1623 Howard St.; www.babeswithblades.org Monday "Language Rooms":…

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'Hannah and Martin' at Shattered Globe asks, why would a Jewish theorist defend a former Nazi, her former lover? by Kerry Reid

Kate Fodor set the stakes high in her first play, 2003’s “Hannah and Martin,” which debuted at TimeLine Theatre (and enjoyed a reprise with them the following season). By putting the t…

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Monday, April 15, 2019

A great 'Chorus Line' should burst with feeling and vulnerability — like this one by Porchlight Music Theatre by Chris Jones

The New York dancers who talked into a tape recorder for the rapacious director Michael Bennett at the Nickolaus Exercise Center on E. 23rd Street in 1974 are now, on average, more than 70 y…

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Sunday, April 14, 2019

In 'Grinning From Fear to Fear,' Second City e.t.c. nails that tricky blend of peace, laughs and understanding by Chris Jones

Despite the title — or maybe because of the title — there’s a real warmth to “Grinning From Fear to Fear,” the new revue from Second City’s e.t.c. company and the director, Annel…

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Tom Segura at Chicago Theatre: He's genuinely interested in your offense by Zach Freeman

Comedian Tom Segura has a message for anyone offended by his jokes (or, as he put it Saturday night during the second of two sold-out shows at the Chicago Theatre, anyone who tells him, “I…

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Friday, April 12, 2019

'Whipped Cream' at the Auditorium: This is ballet as sugar rush, with daffy furbies and dancing vodka — I fell for it by Lauren Warnecke

Once upon a time, a boy and his cronies go to celebrate their first holy communion at a candy shop in town. The boy gets a belly ache and falls ill, while the candy shop comes alive with mag…

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Tickets on sale Friday for Chicago's new Teatro ZinZanni dinner-and-a-circus by Doug George

Tickets for Teatro ZinZanni's "Love, Chaos, & Dinner" go on sale Friday, with first performances beginning July 18 in the newly opened Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop-Theatre District (32 W. …

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

At 'Djembe! The Show' at Apollo, you get to bang your own drum all night long by Chris Jones

Enter the Apollo Theater and there will be a djembe drum on your seat. I speak not of some souvenir percussive takeaway nor of a cheap facsimile of the skin-covered goblet drum. Nope. Every …

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Fall 2019 lineup announced for Greenhouse Theater Center by Doug George

The Greenhouse Theater Center has announced the fall 2019 season for its history-filled space at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. There's a "Sons and Lovers" U.…

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Millennium Park Summer Film Series includes 'Black Panther,' 'Music Man' and Chicago theater partnerships by Doug George

The movie titles are in for this summer’s Millennium Park Summer Film Series: "Black Panther," classics such as "Music Man," 14 movies in all according to the announcement Thursday from DC…

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For 'Self-Accusation,' Theatre Y puts its stage in the window — watch a show about confessions become very public by Doug George

What do you do if you're a Chicago storefront theater and want to stage a 1967 play about confessions? Especially now, when accusations and confessions have become, shall we say, topical? Yo…

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Chicago theater openings for April 12-18 by Doug George

FRIDAY "Cambodian Rock Band": A play by Lauren Yee with songs by Dengue Fever. A young woman tries to piece together her family history 30 years after her father fled Cambodia. Victory Garde…

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Wednesday, April 10, 2019

'Pinocchio' by House Theatre has moments of greatness and the best puppet in town by Chris Jones

Best puppet of the season? “King Kong” on Broadway. Height: 20 feet. Weight: 2,000 pounds. Style: Animatronic ape. Puppeteers: 14. Microprocessors: 16. Designer: Sonny Tilders. Cost: Goo…

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A big, traditional, get-your-money's-worth 'West Side Story' opens soon at the Lyric Opera by Chris Jones

This summer in New York, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner are expected to begin filming their upcoming adaptation of “West Side Story,” a remake of the movie that won a fleet of Oscars …

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Ike Holter's 'Lottery Day' hits the jackpot — his Chicago saga ends in a culture-clash party in a Near West Side backyard by Chris Jones

Playwright Ike Holter’s extraordinary Rightlynd saga — a multi-part dramatic odyssey that has taken a lucky few of us over a five-year stretch to the Jackalope Theatre, Victory Gardens, …

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'King's Speech,' 'Romeo and Juliet' and a visit from Royal Shakespeare Co. for Chicago Shakes' 2019-20 season by Chris Jones

Britain's Royal Shakespeare Company will make its first visit to Chicago in 25 years, Chicago Shakespeare Theater announced Tuesday. The RSC will be part of an expansive 2019-20 season on Na…

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American Ballet Theatre returns to Chicago with 'Whipped Cream’: Expect candy, bobbleheads and 'imagination gone wild' by Lauren Warnecke

As word traveled that American Ballet Theatre (ABT) was making a new ballet based on Richard Strauss’ “Whipped Cream,” I think my reaction was similar to most everyone else: Wait, Stra…

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Monday, April 8, 2019

Edgy, timely 'Admissions' at Theater Wit looks at liberal hypocrisy when it comes to getting your kid into college by Chris Jones

Do we all enjoy an exemption from moral, unselfish behavior when it comes to fighting for our own kids? It might seem we’ve decided otherwise — look at the righteous scorn heaped upon th…

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'Come From Away,' 'Company,' 'The Inheritance' score at Olivier Awards by Henry Chu

A gender-swapped revival of Stephen Sondheim's "Company," the 9/11-related musical "Come From Away," and a seven-hour gay-themed play, "The Inheritance," each won four Olivier Awards in…

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