Saturday March 23 6:15 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

"A Bronx Tale" - Review by Carol Moore

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*** Recommended *** As people walked out of the Nederlander Theatre the other night, I listened. Most people said that “A Bronx Tale” was good, which is exactly what I thought. Not great, but good. It has catchy, jazzy ‘60s music written by Alan Menken (who also wrote “Little Shop of Horrors”, “The Little Mermaid”, Beauty and the Beast” and “Aladdin”). The story revolves around a bad-guy-with-a-heart, the hero is likeable, and there’s a great kid! This is the perfect show to bring men into the theater. It’s just not for me. 3 Spotlights

Mercury Theater's "Little Shop of Horrors" - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Recommended **** It seems like there’s a production of “Little Shop of Horrors” every year. This year, ‘Audrey II” is wowing audiences at Mercury Theater. Seymour is still nerdy, Audrey is still vulnerable, and “Little Shop” is still charming. Although the opening night audience was a bit over-enthusiastic, “Little Shop of Horrors” is still one of my favorites, so I give it 4 Spotlights.

"The Choir of Man" - a Wonderful Evening in an Irish Pub filled with Music - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Highly Recommended **** When I walked into Broadway Playhouse and saw all the people gathered around an onstage bar, it was like déjà vu, flashing me back to the opening of “Once”. The cute guy taking selfies of the himself and the audience, not to mention the other eight good-looking guys roaming the stage, quickly dispelled that illusion. When the stage cleared and the guys started singing in nine-part harmony, I knew we were in for something special! “The Choir of Man” is one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages! 4 BIG Spotlights

Loved the Gospel Music in "Mahalia Jackson: Moving through the Light" - Review by Carol Moore

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*** Recommended *** I always look forward to openings at Black Ensemble Theatre because I know I’m going to hear great music, and “Mahalia Jackson: Moving through the Light”, is chock full of the best gospel music you’ll hear anywhere. The story is weak, trite and contrived, and omits huge chunks of Jackson’s life, but the music is so good, I just didn’t care. 3 Spotlights

"Southern Comfort" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ Very often, I am asked about the smaller theaters that are difficult to find. It has been a while since I have been to a play on Broadway ( yes, Virginia, we do have a Broadway in Chicago) but tonight I journeyed over to Pride Films & Plays Center’s Broadway Theater, located in yet another Chicago “storefront” at 4139 N. Broadway. They are doing the Chicago premiere of “Southern Comfort”, a musical based on a film documentary that tells the story of a transgender self-made community living life on their own terms in rural Georgia.

Porchlight’s “LOST” musicals presents “Can-Can” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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There are two ratings for this production. Since this is one of the “lost musicals” series, I feel that we must rate the front part of the production on the merits of the work done by Michael Weber, Artistic Director. He starts the evening with the telling of the history of the show that we are about to see. In this case, “Can-Can”, and how its writer ( book by Abe Burrows) and the composer, Cole Porter, got together to create this musical from scratch. Through photos and his knowledge of the theater world, the audience at The Ruth Page Center For The Arts, learns a great deal about the making of a musical, circa the 1950’s. This is a highly educational thirty minutes of theater, and if you are someone with a great thirst for knowledge, you should make Porchlight’s “LOST” musicals a “must see”. This part of the evening rates *****. (and now for the production itself).

"Act(s) of God" - Review by Carol Moore

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*** Recommended *** I’m still not sure how I feel about “Act(s) of God”, playing at Lookingglass Theatre through April 7th. It’s a very strange play – sort of futuristic, sort of dystopian, sort of religious cultish, sort of family angst-y, sort of funny, with a whole lot of ‘woo-woo’ thrown in the mix. Somehow, it just didn’t feel finished, but since it is Kareem Bandealy’s first play, I’ll cut him some slack. 3 Spotlights

"Ariodante" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** There is always good reason to celebrate when new operas join the repertoire of major opera houses. "Ariodante" at the Lyric Opera is no exception. It is somewhat shocking that George Frideric Handel's 1735 masterwork has never been seen at Lyric in their 64 years of existence but the long-awaited premiere of this Baroque classic arrives containing some major surprises -- one of which was not planned by the production team. 3 SPOTLIGHTS