★★★★★ When one attends a production at Black Ensemble Theater, one expects to hear music “the way it is meant to be heard”, and, as always, their new show, “Style and Grace”, hit the mark! There is also a new voice in the background. Kylah Frye, who we have watched on the stage at Black Ensemble over the years, has taken on a new role (or perhaps an added one) as an Associate Director with the company, and wrote and directed this piece. Turns out she is a triple threat, doing a great job.
Highly Recommended **** Most of us grew up on Boris Karloff in “Frankenstein”, a tale of a Doctor who desires to recreate man from the dead. What Lookingglass Theatre is now presenting is a whole new look at “the monster” as told by Mary Shelley. This is a version that many will be surprised by. David Caitlin has adapted this book to fit the Lookingglass mode of creating stories that are physical as well as mental. Caitlin also directs this powerful story. Lookingglass patrons know that every time you enter the “black box” venue, you will see a different configuration. This one is in the round, so to speak, with audience members sitting on all four sides and the action taking place on a platform of sorts in the center of the room.
Recommended *** During the War ( AKA as “The Big One”) most people are aware that the women had to take some of the jobs that their men did prior to being called to service. History shows that the “Rosie the Riveter” ladies kept our country and economy going. For baseball fans, we had “A League of Their Own”, but what about the theater? George Brant’s “Into the Breeches” now on the Northlight stage takes us back to 1942, here in Chicago and our Oberon Playhouse.
I had intended to review "Bloomsday" myself, but traffic got in the way. There was a Cubs game at 7:15 on opening night. Knowing that, I left Munster at 5:15 for Remy Bumppo's 7:00 pm curtain, but traffic on LSD was horrendous. I got to Theater Wit about 10 minutes late, and of course they couldn't hold the curtain. I saw the second act, which I really enjoyed, but I didn't think it was fair to write a review without seeing both. Thanks to my friend Al Bresloff, I'm able to offer a full review. Carol
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** What a joy it is to have the supremely talented director David Cromer back at Writers Theatre. The North Shore native, who has been living in New York City for the past decade, returns to direct his sixth show (but the first in the new Writers Theatre building) with a touching and simply sensational rendering of the 2009 musical "Next to Normal." Chicagoland audiences once again have a chance to see the very special magic that a director as gifted as Cromer can bring to a show, and all of this only a year after Cromer's Broadway production of the musical "The Band's Visit" swept the 2018 Tony Awards ceremony, winning Cromer the coveted Best Director trophy. 4 SPOTLIGHTS
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** If you have never seen "West Side Story" on stage before, the current production at Lyric Opera of Chicago, part of their Broadway at Lyric series, may just be the most definitive version of this beloved musical that's available and you are highly encouraged to seek it out. Conversely, if you feel that you have seen this show too many times before, well, you have never seen it like this. Get your tickets now or you will be missing out on a unique opportunity to see it on such a grand scale. Regardless of your history with this show, Francesca Zambello's production of "West Side Story" is stellar for three very distinct reasons. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS
Highly Recommended **** One thing is for sure! When you go to a theatrical production at Timeline Theatre, not only will you be entertained, you will be educated! In their lobby, they always feature items and stories that help with the education portion of the evening ( or afternoon, for a matinée), but it is onstage where they shine. They are currently offering a Chicago “premiere”, a drama that goes back to the 1960’s and the Civil Rights movement. For many in the audience tonight, a time we lived through and for the younger audience members, a “message” in history that they may not have known about.
***RECOMMENDED*** There are certain drinking establishments that have a signature cocktail or are known for specializing in a specific type of alcoholic beverage. Upside-down margaritas in a barber's chair, anyone? Ray's, the Chicago tavern that is the setting of Leonard House's new play "One 4 the Road" and produced by MPAACT has one such tradition. Here, at this Southside bar, any patron who can stomach more than one shot of Malört, the extremely bitter liquor produced by Chicago's very own Carl Jeppson Company, gets to have their name proudly etched upon the wall of fame. 3 SPOTLIGHTS
Highly Recommended ***** Over the years, we have seen many a story on stage depicting events of World War II and the “behind the lines” stories that are memorable and compelling. “Hannah and Martin” written by Kate Fodor, is based on the affair between German-Jewish political theorist, Hannah Arendt ( played by the glorious Christina Gorman) and her “teacher” Martin Heidegger ( played to perfection by the always powerful Lawrence Grimm). The story unfolds during the years from 1924 thru 1946 and is done with some flashbacks and forward movement to take us through the war and its residue.
When asked to review “Sentimental Journey” at the ‘Citadel Theater, I quickly looked up the story line. Initially my reaction was…”this is going to be a ‘ho-hum’ experience”.
At first it seemed like my expectation was right; it appeared a little hokey but Ross (Robby) Lehman, telling the story of his parent’s relationship before, during, and after World War 2, quickly won me over with his warmth, and pleasant singing voice.