Tuesday May 22 7:30 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Interviews, Non-Theater Reviews, Stories, Whatever

Joffrey Ballet’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” is Magnificent

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**** Highly Recommended **** The Joffrey Ballet’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream” is magnificent. If you’re a ballet traditionalist, it might not be the ballet for you. It’s abstract, avant-garde and maybe a bit confusing, but it fascinated me from start to finish. 4 Spotlights

"Il Pigmalione and Rita" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Chicago Opera Theater has devised a brilliant concept for its third and final production of the 2017/2018 season. They have chosen to present two works of Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. The first is "Il Pigmalione" which was the first opera that Donizetti composed followed by "Rita" which was one of the very last. Both are one act operas that are being performed in Chicago for the very first time. In the course of two hours you get to hear how advanced Donizetti's sound became over the course of his career. It is truly remarkable that Donizetti composed nearly 70 operas in his lifetime, considering that he perished at the age of 51. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Spring Series, “An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo”

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It was an absolute pleasure to attend the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Spring Series, “An Evening of Alejandro Cerrudo” at the Auditorium Theatre. The performance was amazing. I was in awe of the grace and strength displayed by the entire ensemble. In fact, my friend Helen and I had quite a discussion about whether or not the dancers actually have joints! 4 Spotlights

"Fellow Travelers" - Reviewed by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Many people may not be familiar with Frank Kameny. A U.S. veteran who later worked for the U.S. Army's Map Service in Washington, D.C., Kameny was fired from his job in 1957 for being a gay man. He later took legal action against the U.S. Civil Service Commission in a case which is widely believed to be the first known civil rights claim based on a person's sexual orientation in an American court. Someone who may have done quite a bit of research on Kameny's career is author Thomas Mallon, whose 2007 novel "Fellow Travelers" has been adapted into an opera and presented by Lyric Opera of Chicago's Lyric Unlimited series. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

"Sweet Tap Chicago" - a Musical Tap Tribute to Chicago

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My friend Helen and I had a great time the evening we went to see Chicago Tap Theatre perform at City Winery, a huge dining/entertainment venue with tables (seating on both sides) lined up diagonally around the stage in tiers. I was amazed to see that most seats were full – for a tap dance show! After a delicious dinner served by our outstanding waiter who said his name was Jamie, we watched the CTT ensemble, backed by a jazz quintet, perform “Sweet Tap Chicago”, a celebration of Chicago musicians and music. It was truly a 4 Spotlight evening.

"Faust" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Just as the juxtaposition of Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s epic and impactful moral tale of Faust, Part One blends with the lushly romantic and light, poetic spirit of French composer Charles Gounod, the current production of “Faust” at the Lyric Opera of Chicago is a true collaboration between six uniquely talented, but ultimately differing creative individuals. The resulting production is always visually stunning and even hypnotic at times, but not universally successful. While the narrative is so commonly known and copied in numerous art forms, there are some major gaps in the libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carre that require more clear delineation to be more effective dramatically, particularly in the final two acts. It may leave some patrons cold and left with a sense that the entire proceedings have been over-conceptualized. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

The Joffrey Ballet's "Modern Masters" - Magnificent!

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**** Highly Recommended **** I’m having a hard time finding the right words to describe the Joffrey Ballet’s “Modern Masters”. Combining masterpieces by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins with works by up-and-coming choreographers Miles Thatcher and Nicolas Blanc made for an evening of brilliant, artistic, intense, athletic, physical, cutting edge, minimalist, contemporary ballet. “Modern Masters” is quite literally a celebration of the human body. 4 BIG Spotlights

"Elizabeth Cree" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** It certainly is an exciting time for the creation of original operas in the United States. While many people would think that this particular art form is on the decline, the exact opposite is actually taking place. Not only have numerous opera companies, mostly located in the Midwest and on the East Coast, commissioned artists from disparate backgrounds to contribute their prodigious talents to assist in the production of fascinating new works but even smaller, emerging companies have gotten in on all of the action as well. The result is that original operas are thriving in America and local audiences are fortunate to be able to experience many of them. A highly anticipated new piece will receive its Chicago premiere next month. Currently we have the world premiere of "Elizabeth Cree" to enjoy at the very intimate Studebaker Theater. Presented by Chicago Opera Theater, this is a co-production with Opera Philadelphia, where it made its debut in September 2017. 3 SPOTLIGHTS