**** Highly Recommended **** "Beyond Borders", a mixed-repertory program from the Joffrey Ballet, is an extraordinary demonstration of all that makes the Joffrey such a leader in contemporary ballet. The evening’s repertoire featured an exhilarating new contemporary masterpiece by Chanel DaSilva as well as the return of favorites by Liam Scarlett and Joffrey co-founder, Gerald Arpino. The Joffrey’s incredibly talented dancers execute the most complicated choreography with flawless technique and timing – and they make it look easy! 4 BIG Spotlights
***RECOMMENDED*** It is always a joyous experience to attend a musical at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Their stage is so large and their technical capabilities nearly endless that curious theatre-goers often wonder how a design team will approach their particular staging of any given show presented there. Plus, hearing the score of one of your favorite shows performed by a full orchestra is priceless. When the show happens to be one that has not been in the line-up of the regional subscription-based companies for over two decades, like "Fiddler on the Roof," it is an added incentive to seek out this wonderful production.
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Lyric Opera of Chicago's 2022/2023 season is off to a blazing start, thanks in large part to a cast that includes a quartet of world-class performers each delivering a knock-out performance. Music Director Enrique Mazzola, a driving force behind Lyric's Early Verdi Series, also conducts this stellar production of Verdi's 1844 work "Ernani." 4 SPOTLIGHTS
**** Highly Recommended **** If you were thinking about getting a ticket to see the Joffrey Ballet this season, the absolutely fabulous "Don Quixote" is your last chance this season – and if I were you, I’d be ordering my tickets now! Yuri Possokhov, who choreographed "Don Quixote" to music written by Ludwig Minkus more than 150 years ago, combines classical ballet with Spanish flamenco to create a masterpiece. Travis Halsey’s colorful costumes complement the choreography, adding Spanish color and flair. "Don Quixote" is spectacular, the best I’ve seen in a long, long time. 4 Big Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** As I’ve come to expect, the Joffrey Ballet’s Spring Program, Serenade and Of Mice and Men was an extraordinarily perfect blend of classic and contemporary ballet. In fact, it’s not just an illustration of the company’s versatility, it’s a demonstration of all that makes the Joffrey such a leader in contemporary ballet. The Joffrey’s incredibly talented dancers execute the most complicated choreography with flawless technique. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** Nobody is better at contemporary jazz than Giordano Dance Chicago. Their spring program, Illuminate, was a masterpiece of movement. The world premiere of Autumn Eckman’s Retroverse was worth the two-year wait, while the other premiere, 3, choreographed by Joshua Blake Carter, was a joy to watch. The Giordano dancers are so strong, so talented, so creative, they absolutely blew me away! 4 Spotlights
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Lyric Opera of Chicago's bold initiative to present one contemporary, English-language opera on their mainstage each season continues with their latest offering, which closes the 2021/2022 season. "Fire Shut Up in My Bones" is particularly special because it is a collaboration of numerous extremely talented artists and performers whose voices rarely are heard in the major opera houses throughout the world and whose story focuses exclusively on that of a traditionally marginalized community. Congratulations are in order to all of the staff at Lyric for following through on their daring commitment in bringing this essential work to Chicago, which is a co-production of Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera and Los Angeles Opera.
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Giacomo Puccini's widely-beloved and extremely popular opera "Tosca" has made a triumphant return to the Lyric Opera in a new-to-Chicago production. Featuring majestic sets designed by the late Jean-Pierre Ponnelle and the exquisite costumes of the late Marcel Escoffier (including a reproduction of the legendary blood-red velvet gown worn by Maria Callas for the premiere of Franco Zeffirelli's 1964 Covent Garden production) this is the 19th production of "Tosca" that Lyric has presented in its 67-year history. However, this version is notable for the refreshing diversity represented on stage as well as in the orchestra pit. 4 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** I’m used to seeing Hubbard Street Dance Chicago at the Harris Theatre with its huge stage and cavernous auditorium. To see the Company, perform The Spring Series RE/CONNECT on the intimate Edlis Neeson Theater at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) was an absolute pleasure. In an effort to offer something for everyone, the two weekends of RE/CONNECT performances are split between Program A and Program B. Program A was joyous and upbeat. 4 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** For the first time, I celebrated Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend at the Auditorium Theatre seeing "Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah", an annual event that’s been going on for 17 years! It was absolutely amazing! What a fantastic experience! "Too Hot to Handel" delivered all the magnificence of Handel’s Messiah – plus jazz and gospel rhythms! 4 BIG Spotlights