Friday June 22 5:05 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

One Hit after Another in “A New Attitude: in Tribute to Patti LaBelle”

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**** Highly Recommended **** Black Ensemble Theater has scored another hit with, “A New Attitude: in Tribute to Patti LaBelle”. This jukebox musical celebrates the career of Patti LaBelle, and it’s terrific, with one hit after another, performed by two amazingly talented women, Dawn Bless and Cherise Thomas. Hurry and get your tickets, “A New Attitude: in Tribute to Patti LaBelle” will have you dancing in your seat! 4 BIG Spotlights

"The Days Are Shorter" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Evanston-based playwright Corinne J. Kawecki's world premiere of "The Days Are Shorter" is an often humorous and somewhat mystical look at the life and travails of its female protagonist. What is most refreshing about this play is that it contains not only well-constructed dialogue for its four characters but also shows us the journey of self-discovery and eventual unraveling of a middle-aged female who happens to be surrounded by fellow same-sex loving women. It is not often that you get to see such an intimate exploration and sometimes brutally honest depiction of sapphic attraction and understanding that spans multiple generations. Far from the bitterness and self-hatred that permeates "The Boys in the Band," these women do not tear each other down but rather seek to restore their own inner drive while bravely facing the challenges of aging. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

"Suddenly Last Summer" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** For the longest time the final show to conclude Raven Theatre's 35th anniversary season was listed as a To Be Determined slot on the company's promotional material. When it was finally announced that "Suddenly Last Summer" would be the show to fill that slot many people assumed that they chose a Tennessee Williams play to be an artistic tie-in to their hugely successful play "The Gentleman Caller" which is still playing in the smaller, West Stage of Raven's complex. Since "The Gentleman Caller" revolves around the personal life of a very young Tennessee Williams, this would allow them to showcase the great American playwright's own work and give audiences a chance to see one of his most unknown plays. For at its very dark and sinister core, "Suddenly Last Summer" is really about the great lengths that a financially powerful individual with clout will go to silence someone -- a female, no less -- from telling the truth. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Take Your 'Munchkins' to see "The Wizard of Oz"

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*** Recommended *** A charming production of “The Wizard of Oz” blew into Chicago for a short stay at the beautiful Chicago Theatre. All of your favorite characters sing all of your favorite songs, and there’s a couple of surprises, too. I thought the special effects, mostly projections, were disappointing – and rather fake. As my friend Nancy pointed out, there aren’t any hills in Kansas! Dorothy’s house is a broken-down shack, but the 'munchkins' in the audience didn’t seem to mind. My advice, take your family to the Emerald City. I give “The Wizard of Oz” 3 ½ Spotlights.

"Forever Plaid" is a Charming Must-See!

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**** Highly Recommended **** Theatre at the Center’s “Forever Plaid” is a sweet, funny, feel-good treat for everyone in the family. “Forever Plaid” is a musical revue about a quirky quartet of good-looking guys who sing a slew of golden oldies in harmonies straight out of the ‘50s. Get your tickets for this must-see today! 4 Spotlights

"Buddy - The Buddy Holly Story" - Best Jukebox Musical Ever!

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**** Highly Recommended **** Of all the jukebox musicals out there, I think “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story” might just be my favorite. It’s like going to a rock concert with a story thrown in and I start dancing in my seat as soon as I hear the first song. Buddy Holly’s music is still alive – and still rocking – in the fabulous new American Blues Theater production. Don’t miss this one! 4 BIG Spotlights

"Grace" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Interrobang Theatre Project has had a very good year. The third and final show of their eighth season, Craig Wright's "Grace," which has not been presented on a Chicago stage since 2006, wraps up this splendid company's current season in which they were on a quest to explore the pressing question of "What is Truth?" which was addressed so beautifully and boldly in their previous two productions earlier in the season. With "Grace" and its tightly-knit plot structure and small ensemble of four actors, Interrobang ends their season with a bang -- literally. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Chicago Shakespeare's "Macbeth" - Men in Kilts, Swordfights, Witches, Murder and Mayhem

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**** Highly Recommended **** Men in kilts, swordfights, witches, murder, mayhem – and that’s just the first act! Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of “Macbeth” is not to be missed. Shakespeare’s psychological thriller takes place in a dark world of greed and overwhelming ambition. Add a little moody magic, throw in some smoke and mirrors – and this “Macbeth” should draw just as many gasps as any movie thriller. 4 BIG Spotlights