Monday, August 22, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: MAME (Light Opera Works) by Lawrence Bommer

TAME MAME STILL GETS ACCLAIM Few nicknames carry the impact of “Mame,” the free-spirited super-aunt. Appearing first in gay author Patrick Dennis’s best-selling 1954 novel,…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:45PM
Sunday, August 21, 2016

Chicago Dance Review: DANCE FOR LIFE 25TH ANNIVERSARY (Chicago Dancers United) by Lawrence Bommer

DANCERS DO GOOD BY MAKING ART For a quarter century—since 1991—one summer night of nights in Chicago has raised funds to fight HIV, assist the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and 30 other ser…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:40PM
Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: BLOODSHOT (Greenhouse Theater Center) by Lawrence Bommer

THEATER NOIR EXPOSES A COLLABORATIVE CRIME WAVE Making its U.S. debut at the Greenhouse Theater Center, the solo saga Bloodshot, by Chicago native Douglas Post, feels as world weary and visc…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:21PM
Monday, August 15, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE GOOD PERSON OF SZECHWAN (Cor Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

BRECHT FORCES YIN ONTO YANG A strong, often infuriating, truth about the protest plays of Bertolt Brecht is how much the socialist playwright pushes the plot beyond the ending: He ends up ac…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:16PM
Sunday, August 14, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Review: MAESTRO: A PLAY WITH MUSIC (The Wallis in Beverly Hills) by Tony Frankel

BRINGING BERNSTEIN TO LIFE Older spectators will remember Leonard Bernstein not just as a conductor, composer, and pianist, but as one of the most vivid personalities and astonishingly effec…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:18AM
Monday, August 8, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE JACKIE WILSON STORY (Black Ensemble Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

HIS HEART IS CRYING, CRYING The latest rouser in Black Ensemble Theater’s 40th anniversary celebration/season, The Jackie Wilson Story, a retrospective on an R&B Legend, showcases terr…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:10PM
Sunday, August 7, 2016

Tour Review: THE MERCHANT OF VENICE (Shakespeare’s Globe) by Lawrence Bommer

THE GLOBE’S STUNNING PRODUCTION HIGHLIGHTS SHAKESPEARE’S PLEA FOR DIGNITY AS MUCH AS MERCY A decade ago a Chicago critic notoriously concluded his review of The Merchant of Venice…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:36PM

Los Angeles Dance Preview: ADAMIANA (American Contemporary Ballet) by Tony Frankel

NEW BALLET PREMIERES IN L.A. It is said that American novelist James T. Farrell regretted writing the Studs Lonigan trilogy, novels that were so iconic that fellow Chicagoan “Studs” Terk…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:56PM

Tour Review: TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT (Cirque du Soleil, North American Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

JAMES CAMERON MEETS CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Cirque du Soleil writes a new chapter in make-believe with Toruk – The First Flight, a not so typical two-hour fantasy inspired (but not based on) Jame…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 02:56PM
Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: TWELFTH NIGHT (The Shakespeare Center of Los Angeles in Santa Monica) by Tony Frankel

SHAKESPEARE UNDER ATTACK A comedy’s brewing up in Santa Monica. Soon, winds will whip, distressed voices will call out and a ship’s timbers will be shivering, cracking, and smashing agai…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:25PM
Thursday, July 28, 2016

San Diego Theater Review: GYPSY (Cygnet Theatre) by Tony Frankel

A SCALED-DOWN GYPSY NONETHELESS GOES OFF THE SCALE Gypsy, the musical theater biography of striptease performer Gypsy Rose Lee, is really about Gypsy’s mother, Mama Rose, immortalized by …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:28PM
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: BYHALIA, MISSISSIPPI (Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

A MASON/DIXON CATHARSIS REPRISES ITS SUCCESS Can white trash/peckerwood/country cracker/Dixie doodles rise above their rotten roots? Byhalia, Mississippi is not just a place or a title but a…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:35PM
Monday, July 25, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: DOUGLASS (the american vicarious at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

AN EX-SLAVE BREAKS NEW CHAINS Eager to be relevant but not quite succeeding, Thomas Klingenstein’s Douglass, a world premiere by the american vicarious at Theater Wit, is nonetheless a val…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:56PM
Saturday, July 23, 2016

Concert Review: WEST SIDE STORY (Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl) by Tony Frankel

HERE’S A PLACE FOR US When I first heard West Side Story, it was the original Broadway cast recording on my parents’ mono Magnavox console. Without the Jerome Robbins’ dire…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:08AM
Friday, July 22, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: WAR PAINT (World Premiere Musical at the Goodman) by Lawrence Bommer

A FAR FROM COSMETIC MUSICAL MAKEOVER In the late James Kirkwood’s Legends!, two feuding divas–played on a 1986 national tour by theatrical goddesses Carol Channing and Mary Martin&#…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 06:53AM
Friday, July 15, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: EROICA (Azuza Productions at Redtwist Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

HIPOCRACY BEGINS AT HOME In theater revenge is best served quickly. That’s a virtue in David Alex’s 80-minute family drama, now detonating four times a week at Chicago’s Redtwist Theat…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:18AM
Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Tour Preview: CABARET (National Tour at the Hollywood Pantages Theatre) by Frank Arthur

RUN TO THE CABARET You better tell Momma and everybody else to come see Roundabout’s production of Cabaret, which kicked off its national tour this year. It plays the Hollywood Pantage…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:41PM

San Diego Theater Preview: AIN’T MISBEHAVIN’ (North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach) by Tony Frankel

IN HARLEM’S WAY “One never knows, do one?” That’s the favorite catchphrase of Fats Waller (1904-1943), an irrepressible master of music. The 285-pound, cherubic-cheeked jokester …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 01:41PM
Monday, July 11, 2016

Regional Theater Preview: PARTNERS (Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach) by Tony Frankel

IT’S TIME TO PARTNER UP Pageant of the Masters, now in its 82nd year, is a singularly unique entertainment that has perfected the art of tableaux vivants (“living pictures”). With …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 08:35PM
Sunday, July 10, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: BETWEEN RIVERSIDE AND CRAZY (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) by Lawrence Bommer

COLORFUL CHARACTERS AIN’T ENOUGH Between Riverside and Crazy is a 2015 slice of strife from Stephen Adley Guirgis (perpetrator of The Motherf**ker with the Hat and Jesus Hopped The ‘A’…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:44PM

Los Angeles Theater Review: PROSPECT THEATRE and R+J: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD, VOL. II in Hollywood by Tony Frankel

A FIRE SPARKLING IN HOLLYWOOD Opening a play or musical is always a risk. Plenty of hard work (and sometimes a lot of money) goes into a show, and producers just have to keep their fingers c…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM

Los Angeles Theater Review: RICHARD III (Independent Shakespeare Co. in Griffith Park) by Tony Frankel

A MORE CASUAL CRUELTY Richard III, the final play of eight of Shakespeare’s histories, has also been an ever-popular play. It offers one of the most coldblooded characters in all of litera…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM

Chicago Theater Review: A JEWISH JOKE (ShPIeL–Performing Identity at Victory Gardens) by Lawrence Bommer

A JEW WALKS INTO A COMMUNIST MEETING… Sometimes whistle-blowing can echo from the past. It’s never too late for a timely reminder that ignorance is no excuse. A 95-minute solo show …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM

Regional Theater Preview: A CHORUS LINE (Chance Theater in Anaheim) by Tony Frankel

THE MUSICAL WITH LEGS A Chorus Line remains as fresh as the day it appeared just over forty years ago, when the standard Broadway musical was already fading away, making room for the jukeb…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM

Los Angeles Theater Preview: CELEBRATING THE 35TH ANNIVERSARY OF DREAMGIRLS (Broadway Under the Stars at Ford Amphitheatre) by Tony Frankel

IT’S YOUR DREAM NIGHT, GIRLS After nearly two years of renovations, I caught an early glimpse of the historic John Anson Ford Amphitheatre, one of Los Angeles’s top entertainmen…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:03PM
Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Los Angeles Dance Preview: FIREBIRD (American Ballet Theatre at the Music Center) by Tony Frankel

ABT’S FIREBIRD SWOOPS INTO THE CHANDLER Making a rare visit to Southern California, American Ballet Theatre returns after a three-year absence to Los Angeles’s Music Center …

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 07:04AM
Sunday, July 3, 2016

CD Review: SONGS FROM THE LION (Benjamin Scheuer on Paper Music Records) by Tony Frankel

A MANE EVENT Writer/performer Benjamin Scheuer’s one-man autobiographical song cycle, The Lion, has certainly caught fire since it premiered under a different name at the 2013 Edinburgh F…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 03:35PM
Saturday, July 2, 2016

Chicago Theater Review: THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST (Dead Writers Theatre Collective at the Athenaeum Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

THE LIES THAT PASS FOR LOVE Many years ago, a half hour into the Body Politic Theatre’s revival of The Importance of Being Earnest a woman behind me very softly threw up. It was done so ef…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 05:50PM
Friday, July 1, 2016

Los Angeles Theater Preview: GO BACK TO WHERE YOU ARE (Odyssey Theatre Ensemble) by Frank Arthur

HOLY DIONYSUS, GREENSPAN! Five-time Obie Award winner David Greenspan’s unique brand of gentle wit and exquisite lyricism will be on display when Odyssey Theatre Ensemble presents the West…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:53PM

Los Angeles Theater Preview: THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE (Sierra Madre Playhouse) by Frank Arthur

BEE THERE The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country with its effortless wit and humor. Featuring a fast-paced wildly funny and touching book by Rach…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 09:53PM

Los Angeles Theater Review: DISGRACED (Center Theatre Group at Mark Taper Forum) by Paul Birchall

ANYTHING BUT DISGRACEFUL Sometimes plays that win the Pulitzer Prize do so less for their content and more for the ideas they embody and the zeitgeist of their time. It’s just an added bon…

Linked From Stage and Cinema at 10:04AM