Monday August 20 2:32 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

You'll love the Fabulous “Rick Stone the Blues Man” at Black Ensemble Theater!

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My apologies to Black Ensemble Theater. Since I thought this review had been posted, I moved on to other things. As I was posting another story, I noticed my error.

**** Recommended **** For all the blues aficionados out there, “Rick Stone the Blues Man” is the show for you! For this show, Black Ensemble Theatre has assembled an amazing cast of blues singers, led by Rick Stone himself. Since it is a review, in fact, almost a concert, I thought was really cool is that everyone in the cast sings in his/her own name. My toes were tapping from the very first song. 4 Spotlights

Stacy Keach is Amazing in "Pamplona"

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**** Recommended **** You’ll remember that last year, on opening night for “Pamplona”, Stacy Keach became ill and lost his focus, but struggled valiantly to continue until Director Robert Falls finally called a halt. Move forward a year, the Goodman is advertising the return of “Pamplona”; and I happened to see Keach on “Windy City Live” talking about his bypass surgery and recovery. I was looking forward to a superb performance in “Pamplona”, but I have to admit I wondered if he’d be up to it. He was. In fact, he was amazing! 4 Spotlights

"Support Group for Men" was Laugh-Out-Loud Funny

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**** Recommended **** Goodman Theatre’s production of “Support Group for Men” was laugh-out-loud funny. Ellen Fairey’s brilliant comedy featured four clueless guys trying to figure out why their lives are so messed up. Being guys, they have to hide their need for answers behind silly rituals. 3 ½ Spotlights

"F*cking Men" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Pride Films and Plays' new late-night offering, with the arresting title of "F*cking Men," is not some man-hater's statement of heated disgust towards the entire male species. Instead, it is a cleverly constructed look at 10 individuals and the sexual encounters that link them together. Based on Arthur Schnitzler's ground-breaking 1897 play "La Ronde" (which has, in itself, been adapted into many other dramatic forms over the past century including numerous films, other plays and even a musical), playwright Joe DiPietro has focused his version on men who seek the connection of physical intimacy with other men. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Three Alisons shine in Towle Theater's "Fun Home"

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**** Recommended **** I really enjoyed the Towle Theater’s production of “Fun Home”, based on Alison Bechdel’s best-selling graphic memoir of the same name. It works well on the smaller stage, making the story more intimate. I wish that young Alison’s voice wasn’t drowned out by the music, but otherwise it was very well done. 3 ½ Spotlights

Women Triumph in "The Color Purple"

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**** Highly Recommended **** As my readers know, I like stripped-down productions, those that eliminate elaborate scenery and props, so I can concentrate on the music. I really didn’t like “The Color Purple” because I thought the burdensome scenery got in the way of the story, so I wasn’t thrilled to see Broadway in Chicago’s touring revival, so I’m happy to say I was wrong, wrong, wrong! I could really get the nuances of the script and music without distraction. 4 BIG Spotlights

"Heartbreak Hotel" didn't live Up to the Hype!

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*** Recommended *** I’ve been an Elvis fan forever, so I was really looking forward to seeing “Heartbreak Hotel”, a new jukebox musical about Elvis Presley’s early career. Although the music was toe-tapping good, the story just didn’t live up to the hype. I felt like I was watching a mash-up of “Memphis” and “Million Dollar Quartet”. If you missed those musicals, you’ll enjoy this one. 3 Spotlights

“Something In The Game: An All-American Musical” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** We have all heard the adage” fine wines become finer with age”. Is it possible that plays can do the same? I think that in order to do so, the writer would have to go back to the “drawing board” and recreate what they started out to do. This can take place when the writer matures and starts to see life from a different angle. It can also take place when an actor returns to play a role they did years earlier, but now, understands the role more clearly. This leads me into my look at a special representation of a show we saw years ago at Theatre in the Center in Munster, “Something In The Game: An All-American Musical”, an epic look at the life (and legend) of Knute Rockne, regarded as one of the greatest football coaches of all time.