Tuesday August 22 5:34 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

You'll be embracing Your Inner Hippie with Mercury Theater's "Hair"

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**** Highly Recommended **** Can you believe it’s been 50 years since the “Age of Aquarius”? If you really want to “Let the Sun Shine In”, head for the Mercury Theater, and celebrate that anniversary with their exuberant production of “Hair”. Director Brenda Didier has assembled an energetic, talented cast who have embraced their inner “hippie” with enthusiasm. 4 BIG Spotlights

Be in the Audience for "Last Dancer Standing"

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*** Recommended *** Have you ever wished you could sit in the studio audience during your favorite talent/reality show? Black Ensemble Theatre’s production of “Last Dancer Standing (More than Hip Hop)” is your chance to do exactly that. You’ll be in the audience as 12 talented dancers (6 men, 6 women) compete on ‘live’ TV for the ultimate prize; the ‘stars’ all sing their ‘hits’ backed up by a live band; and you’ll be there for all the off-camera mini-dramas too. Finally, you’ll get to vote for the winner of “Last Dancer Standing”. 3 ½ Spotlights

"Peter and the Star Catcher" by Alan Bresloff

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Recommended *** Over the past few years, I have been avoiding some of the productions at The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.I love the venue itself and the comfort of the downtown Arlington Heights area, but, the theater lacked the quality that I had hoped for. They tried, and they tried, but they just didn’t seem to have the right mix of theatrical productions for the readers I am reaching. Their “Cabaret” performances were special and I did try to make them, but when it came to play selection, not so! I am here to tell you that somehow, someway, someone saw the light and it looks as if the staff that runs this gem of a venue has followed the “yellow brick road” and I am glad!

Enjoy Shakespeare under the Stars at First Folio's "As You Like It'

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**** Highly Recommended **** I always look forward to the evenings I spend watching First Folio’s Shakespeare under the stars. Somehow, that atmosphere – an outdoor stage set in the lush Mayslake Peabody Estate – transports me into Shakespeare’s world. First Folio’s delightfully modern production of Shakespeare’s complicated comedy, “As You Like It”, brings the lovers of Arden Forest to life. By the way, watching a pair of teen-aged girls shrieking and jumping about in excitement, demonstrates that Shakespeare doesn’t have to be heavy going. 4 BIG Spotlights

"La Havana Madrid" Revisited - Now at the Goodman

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**** Highly Recommended **** Your table is waiting at “La Havana Madrid”, a nightclub straight out of the ‘60s. Enjoy the salsa sounds of Carpacho y Su Súper Combo with vocals by the mysterious La Havana Madrid (Sandra Delgado) herself. Teatro Vista’s recreation of “La Havana Madrid” has moved to the Goodman Theatre’s cozy Owen Theatre, and it was just as much fun the second time around. 4 Spotlights

"An American in Paris" is a Romantic, Graceful Celebration of Dance

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**** Highly Recommended **** “An American in Paris” is a romantic, graceful yet athletic celebration in dance set to the glorious music of George Gershwin. ‘Amazing’ was the word I heard over and over in the lobby after the show as people were talking about the dancers, the music, even the staging! Director/Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, who choreographed the new Chicago-centric “Nutcracker” for the Joffrey, adds another dimension to his staging. I loved “An American in Paris”. 4 BIG Spotlights

"An Octoroon" by Alan Bresloff

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Recommended *** Victory Gardens has added a new “resident Company” to its stable. The company is Definition Theatre Company (they print it as “def-i-ni-tion”), and they are committed to bringing high quality work to the Chicago community that examines what it means to be American today!”. The production is also a Chicago premiere written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins titled “An Octoroon”, which is a modern look at an 1859 classic melodrama by Dion Boucicacault. To add even more to this recipe for quality theater, the production is directed by Chuck Smith in association with The Goodman Theatre. How’s that for a special event in the world of Chicago Theater!

"The God of Isaac" by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★”You don’t have to be Jewish”! That is the first thing I might say about James Sherman’s “The God of Isaac” now in a revival at the Piven Theatre in Evanston. Presented by Grippo Stage Company, this touching story takes place in Skokie during the 1977 period where the Nazi party asked to hold a march in this northern suburb.