Friday, April 28, 2017

15 recommended shows to see now

"Aladdin" ✭✭✭ "Aladdin," the most frenetic and cartoonish of Disney's screen-to-stage musicals, officially opened its first national tour in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. And…

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'Linda Vista' extends one week by Morgan Greene

Tracy Letts' world premiere play "Linda Vista" will extend one week, Steppenwolf Theatre Company announced Friday. The new play from the Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member…

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For Martha Lavey, it was always about her colleagues and the work on her stages by Chris Jones

Writing an appreciation of Martha Lavey is far from easy, not least because Lavey, whose death this week at the age of 60 plunged all who love Chicago theater into a deep state of mourning, …

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Joe Mantegna - life has been lucky for him, and us by association by Rick Kogan

The first time I saw Joe Mantegna in the flesh he was in the flesh, naked as a newborn baby on stage at the Shubert Theatre in a 1969 production of "Hair." It was his first professional acti…

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'Firebirds' tells the real-life story of cheerleaders afflicted by mystery illness by Kerry Reid

In 2011, a group of 18 high school girls — many of them cheerleaders — in the New York town of Le Roy began exhibiting strange vocal and physical tics. The phenomenon unleashed a storm o…

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Get swinging – Chicago SummerDance runs June 23 to Sept. 14 by Doug George

The summer schedule is out for the 21st Annual Chicago SummerDance, presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). As in past years, dancers of all abili…

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Review: 'Firebirds' tells the real-life story of cheerleaders and mystery illness

In 2011, a group of 18 high school girls — many of them cheerleaders — in the New York town of Le Roy began exhibiting strange vocal and physical tics. The phenomenon unleashed a storm o…

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In ‘Doll’s House, Part 2,’ Laurie Metcalf’s Nora comes back through slammed door by Chris Jones

The sudden exit of a spouse can clear the stubborn male mind, as can the well-timed slam of a door. Thus scholars and students have argued for years over whether Henrik Ibsen, the author of …

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'Mandarin' a puzzle, but those stilettos come through joyful and clear in Joffrey's 'Global Visionaries' by Lauren Warnecke

The main curtain at the Auditorium Theatre was already lifted as guests filed in for the Joffrey Ballet's last big event of the season. Titled "Global Visionaries," the program highlights th…

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Drury Lane snags 'Chicago' for Chicago for the first time since '83 by Chris Jones

A quiz for you, theater-loving reader: When was the last time a professional Chicago theater company produced "Chicago," a musical that burnishes the city's scandalous reputation each and ev…

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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

A Broadway 'Bandstand' for the Greatest Generation by Chris Jones

Most works of art dealing with the post-traumatic stress suffered by those who served and saw action overseas have dealt with the war in Vietnam or the wars in Iraq. The so-called Greatest G…

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Chicago theaters to dim lights in honor of Martha Lavey by Morgan Greene

Chicago theaters will honor Martha Lavey by dimming their marquee lights and observing a moment of silence this Friday. Lavey, the former Steppenwolf Theatre Company artistic director and lo…

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sandra Delgado first Theater on the Lake 'In the Works' playwright by Morgan Greene

The Chicago Park District has announced that Sandra Delgado, a performer, writer and Chicago native, will be the first playwright featured in Theater on the Lake's new play commission. For…

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Martha Lavey, longtime leader of Steppenwolf Theatre, is dead at 60 by Chris Jones

An indefatigable, unstinting and intellectually voracious artistic director who reinvented Chicago’s most audacious and aggressive theater for a new era, Martha Lavey wrestled the Steppenw…

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African-American cast in Paramount's 'Superstar' reinvents those familiar songs by Chris Jones

If you are one of those people who know every note of "Jesus Christ Superstar," the anthemic rock opera penned as a concept album by a couple of pimply upper-class Brits named Andrew Lloyd W…

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Theater openings April 28-May 4

Friday "Chicago": The city's namesake John Kander and Fred Ebb musical about two merry murderesses returns. Through June 18 at Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace; 630-530-0…

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Bees, science and friendship become tangled in 'Queen' at Victory Gardens by Nina Metz

Why are bees disappearing? A pair of scientists — one a biologist, the other a statistician — think they've found the answer in playwright Madhuri Shekar's "Queen" (in a world premiere a…

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'Three's Company' parody '3C' ends up more than a bit uncomfortable by Chris Jones

The rights holders of the sitcom "Three's Company," which aired on ABC from 1977 through 1984 and starred the late John Ritter as a man who lived with two single women and pretended to be ga…

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Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 Non-Equity Jeff Award Nominees

Theo Ubique Theatre, a perennial favorite of the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee, figures prominently in this year's annual Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations, as announced Monday night by …

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In Broadway's 'Anastasia,' the screens put our princess in a corner by Chris Jones

Alas for imperial Russia and the family of Czar Nicholas II, the 17-year-old Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna was murdered in 1918 by the Cheka, Vladimir Lenin's secret police. But since p…

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'Shakespeare in Love,' thou is now an actual love story by Chris Jones

So when William Shakespeare wrote Sonnet 18, he must at some point have screamed to himself, "Shall I compare thee to a ... What? What? What's the word? What the flippin' heck are thou more …

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Twyla Tharp in MCA Stage's 2017-18 season by Morgan Greene

The Museum of Contemporary Art announced its upcoming MCA Stage season Monday, including a program of recreated 1960s and 70s dances from Twyla Tharp. Following a restructuring of the progra…

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Watch a 'Jolly Holiday' from 'Mary Poppins' by Morgan Greene

This week's supercalifragilistic Showcase video features a peppy tune from "Mary Poppins." In the video, Matthew Crowle as Bert and Nicole Armold as the titular zany nanny enjoy each other'…

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'Magnificent Seven' inspires 16th Street's highly entertaining 'Beautiful North'

Karen Zacarias' "Into the Beautiful North," adapted from Luis Alberto Urrea's 2009 novel of the same title, is a combination of lots of cunning elements. Part feminist picaresque "buddy come…

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2017 Merritt Awards announced by Morgan Greene

The 24th annual Merritt Awards for Excellence in Design and Collaboration are slated to take place this May in Chicago. Broadway and film costume designer Ann Roth, whose many credits includ…

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Sunday, April 23, 2017

'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' has barely a drop of that magic chocolate by Chris Jones

Malted milk balls, chocolate bars, sweet jars and other candied treats of all delights are stacked high in the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre. You'd expect that — right? — at a musical called "Ch…

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A darker Walt Disney conjured in 'The Perfect American' by John Von Rhein

It must be hard for those weaned on digital culture to appreciate the enormous impact Walt Disney and his entertainment empire had on my generation. When I was growing up, owning a Davy Croc…

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Sarah Ruhl wrote 'For Peter Pan on Her 70th Birthday' for her mom as a hedge against getting old by Morgan Greene

Three generations of women are gathered around a table at the Lucky Platter cafe in Evanston. The daughter, Sarah Ruhl, has written a play for her mother. The mother, Kathleen Ruhl, will sta…

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'Argo' and the new play 'Oslo' are stories about heroes nobody knows by Chris Jones

In 1980, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Canadian government concocted a bizarre but ultimately successful scheme to rescue six American diplomats trapped in Tehran, following the fa…

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Thursday, April 20, 2017

'Hello, Dolly!' on Broadway: All stand for Bette Midler by Chris Jones

As the redoubtable Bette Midler seamlessly transitioned from the perils of a chronic onstage coughing fit to the received joy of yet another standing ovation the other night, United Airlines…

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Chicago Theatre Workshop's 'Little Miss Sunshine' cast announced by Morgan Greene

Chicago Theatre Workshop announced the cast of the Chicago premiere of "Little Miss Sunshine" Thursday. The production stars Sophie Kaegi as Olive Hoover with Greg Foster as Richard, Sharyon…

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