Posted in Theatre

The Merry Widow – Lyric Opera REVIEW

The Merry Widow

By Franz Lehár

Lyric Opera of Chicago

By Lori Dana

Most of us love a holiday tradition. The movies have White Christmas, the dance world has The Nutcracker Suite, and for those of us who love opera, the holiday season wouldn’t be complete without The Merry Widow. This time around, Lyric Opera of Chicago has gifted us with the equivalent of a shiny new sports car wrapped in shimmering ribbon: a production of Franz Lehár’s beloved operetta that is at once familiar and spectacularly new, as lush and delectable in its presentation as a … Read the rest

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Boojum! Nonsense, Truth and Lewis Carroll – REVIEW

Caffeine Theatre and Chicago Opera Vanguard’s latest endeavor is the American premiere of Boojum! Nonsense, Truth and Lewis Carroll, an ambitious piece of Australian musical theater that made its debut on the Sydney stage in 1986.

Penned by twin brothers Martin and Peter Wesley-Smith, Boojum! takes its name from Lewis Carroll’s epic nonsense poem “The Hunting of the Snark”, which concludes with the line “For the Snark was a Boojum, you see.”

Martin Wesley-Smith, for whom the works of Carroll have been a lifelong theme, uses this phrase and others from Carroll’s work as … Read the rest

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The Weir – REVIEW

Most would argue that theater is first and foremost storytelling. If that is true than Conor McPherson’s haunting play The Weir and Seanachai Theatre Company’s extraordinary production of it represent theater at its finest. I am constantly asked, “What’s the best show playing right now?” Normally this is a tough question, as there are always at least a few standout shows, but without hesitation The Weir is the most intricately compelling and brilliantly delivered play in current production.

Detailed to realistic perfection (by Robert Groth and Jennifer J. Thusing’s exceptional set design) and in the intimate quarters of the Irish … Read the rest

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The Glorious Ones – REVIEW

Theater is delightful when it takes something that you love and portrays it for all of its brilliance. Theater is remarkably amazing when it takes something that you’re not fond of and illuminates it for all of its glory. This is just is some of the magic of Bohemian Theatre Ensemble’s Regional Premiere of The Glorious Ones.

I am not fond of 16th-century Italian farce. Generally, I am not fond of period farce from anywhere. Based on a novel by Francine Prose, The Glorious Ones tells the story of a troupe of roaming actors perfecting and performing … Read the rest

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The Wiz – REVIEW

Few performers can ever simply ease on down the road in The Wiz. Dorothy is Dorothy is Dorothy, ok, but all the other major characters are problematic; Scarecrow, Tinman, and Lion run perilously close to a minstrel show act, while the Wiz himself and all of the witches have their backs up against the worst of blaxploitation stereotypes. In the current production of The Wiz at Theatre at the Center, Director/Choreographer Stacey Flaster does an admirable job of leading her cast down the narrow, golden path.

As a Motown-inspired retelling of L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,Read the rest

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Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque – REVIEW

EXTENDED – OPEN RUN!

By J. Scott Hill

Nerdbait. Some celebs appeal more strongly to nerds than do others — think Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science, Carrie Fisher in Star Wars, and Alyson Hannigan in everything. MsPixy (a founding member of Belmont Burlesque Revue) has courted the title of “nerdbait”, occasionally performing striptease as a hoodie-wearing dorklette. She has taken her nerd-positive Burlesque skills to new heights by writing and directing Boobs and Goombas: A Super Mario Burlesque, running at Gorilla Tango Theatre.

The lovely Coo d’Twat, a fixture of the Chicago Burlesque scene, stars as Mario. … Read the rest

Boy Small – REVIEW
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Boy Small – REVIEW

Christian Choate lived much of his short, tortured life in a trailer park in the Black Oak neighborhood of Gary, Indiana. He was abused — kept in a dog cage, routinely and severely beaten, and starved — by his father and stepmother until he finally died in 2009 at the age of thirteen.

Christian Choate’s body was hastily buried in a shallow pit and covered with cement, a grave in which he lay for two years before anyone cared enough to go looking for him. Playwright MT Cozzola’s new show Boy Small, currently being produced by The Fine Print … Read the rest

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Re-Spiced: A Silk Road Cabaret – REVIEW

The world is a stage, life is a cabaret and Silk Road Rising delivers a charming world cabaret to the stage at the Chicago Temple. Silk Road Rising (formerly known as Silk Road Theatre Project) is passionate about its mission of presenting stories and perspectives through Asian American and Middle Eastern American lenses.

It has jolted its audiences with compelling drama and thought provoking comedy but this timeout, it loosens its tie and gets its grove on. Not too loose though, as plenty of literary introspection mingles with the jingles to frame an evening of song, dance and global reflection.… Read the rest

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11:11 – REVIEW

Hey Kids, Jesus is awesome! At least, the notion of Jesus is awesome when it inspires hysterically thought-provoking theater, as it does here in The New Colony’s world premiere if 11:11.

Playwrights Tara Sissom and Evan Linder delightfully imagine a Christian summer camp brimming with good intentions and charming characters. They are gearing up for the arrival of the kiddies but after a long inspirational hike in the woods four of the counselors take, what they think is, Aleve to sooth their sore muscles. The problem is, “It wasn’t Aleve. It was ecstasy.”

These are seasoned soul winners, NOT seasoned … Read the rest

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Letters to and regarding Chicago Theater – #1

I went to Oracle Theatre’s Halloween show last night. Disturbed – REVIEW – Chicago Stage Review

It was also an open house for their re-branding but it wasn’t a corporate re-branding as much as it was this company’s need to share their renewed enthusiasm about (what I like to call) the great commission of theater. You know, reinstalling enchantment in people’s lives, creating things that matter, that provoke thought, reaching out to the community through theater. – Making a difference.

They even talked about doing community outreach by performing old-time radio plays for people in nursing homes and retirement centers, … Read the rest