★★★★★ Renee Taylor is a funny lady! Do not let the title of her one-woman show , now on stage at The North Shore Center For The Performing Arts in Skokie, “My Life on a Diet” scare you off. This is a true story-telling experience by a lady who has lived the life we hear. Now in her “eighties”, Ms Taylor spends the majority of the 95 minutes ( no intermission) sitting at a comfy desk where the book that she and her late husband Joe Bologna wrote, that details her life, from being a little girl until just “the other day”.
★★★★★ As a young man, when I watched the film depicting the life of Hans Christian Andersen, starring Danny Kaye, I knew that somehow I wanted to be involved with show business. I fell in love with story-telling and music. This movie is currently on stage at Nortwestern University in Evanston at The Ethel M. Barber Theater, 30 Arts Circle Drive which is a part of the Wirtz Center. Because it is a college production and the actors and musicians are students, I am only at liberty to give you an overall picture, but I must tell you, I enjoyed every minute of this 80 minute production.
★★★★★Driving down to the Cadillac Palace Theatre last night Jane said, why are we seeing “Les Miz” again? It has been 12 times at least, and as I always say, every production ( or even performance) is new and exciting and very different than the others, so we parked, entered the theater, said hello to other reviewers and friends, and watched two hours- fifty-five minutes of the newly stage ( direction by Laurence Connor and James Powell) and re-imagined sets (Matt Kinley) with a full house that were up on their feet in recognition of this masterpiece getting even better! Thank you Broadway In Chicago for giving Chicago this treat!
Recommended *** Many of you are aware of the small storefront theater called Rivendell, next to the pizza joint on Ridge Avenue, near Senn High School. While Rivendell is doing their production at Victory Gardens, they are renting their space out to a new company, Dandelion Theatre, who is presenting a World Premier called “Bury Me” written by Brynne Frauenhoffer. According to the notes on the playwright, this is not her first play, BUT is the first one she ever finished.
Highly Recommended ****First of all, when you see the title of this play, do not “judge the book by its cover” truly is the expression to use. "Hitler's Tasters" is a unique piece that is being presented by the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie as part of a special “Summer Theater” program. Written by Michelle Kholos Brooks, this 90 minute drama challenges the audience to fall in love with its characters despite their being a part of Nazi Germany. It all takes place in a large dining area where there are three girls, who have the task to taste the meals that their leader and commander is to be served.
★★★★★Guilt is hard to deal with! Often, it turns out, we feel guilt for something that we had no control over. In Selina Fillinger’s “Something Clean” now on the stage at The Richard Christianen Theater at Victory Gardens, we meet Charlotte ( an outstanding performance by Mary Cross) as she applies for a volunteer position at a sexual assault crisis center. It appears that this is a woman who wants to help but there is some mystery to her “interview” . The manager of the center, Joey (played to sheer perfection by Patrick Agada) has his own “secrets” that will come out during this 85 minute ( no intermission) story.
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Drag is political. The very act of a man dressing as a woman makes a pretty bold statement. Nearly two and a half decades before Americans had the first female candidate on the ballot for President of the United States, we almost had our first drag queen as a serious contender. How Terence Alan Smith transformed himself into Ms. Joan Jett Blakk and ran for the land's highest office is the subject of Steppenwolf's world premiere of "Ms. Blakk for President," a highly entertaining and celebratory concoction conceived by fellow Steppenwolf Ensemble Members Tina Landau and Tarell Alvin McCraney, directed by Landau and featuring McCraney in the title role. 4 SPOTLIGHTS
Highly Recommended **** I must preface this review by stating that I never expected to give this particular show a rating this high, but Toma Tavares Langston and his quartet of fabulously talented performers have brought this show to a new level for me (and I suppose based on what the opening night response ) and others. When the touring company came by several years ago, I believe my rating was “somewhat recommended”. The current production in the very intimate space at Theo Ubique is far and away a masterpiece compared to what BIC brought in.