Wednesday February 20 1:02 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

“Girl in the Red Corner” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Recommended *** I am not one that is crazy about sports that also purpose themselves as art and kick boxing and Martial Arts in general are “the art of self- defense” and of late a sport. I recall going to one of the Indiana casinos to watch a match in what appeared to be a cage, and was somewhat repulsed at the idea of tossing two men into a cage and having the survivor walk out. It kind of goes back to a time where the Gladiators were the powers. I do have to say that although the latest production by Broken Nose Theatre, “Girl in the Red Corner” does get into this form of “art”, the story involving the character(s) is powerful and the cast assembled for this 100 minute production is superb ( and very fit).

“Nina Simone: Four Women” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** Most of America remembers Nina Simone as a jazz singer. Her music was amazing and her music was “genius”. But many of us learned a great deal more about this woman in Christina Ham’s “Nina Simone: Four Women”, on stage now at Northlight Theatre. Sharply directed by Kenneth L. Roberson, “Nina Simone: Four Women” tells the tale of what took place after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptists Church in 1963. It is because of this horrific event that she became an activist in the Civil Rights Movement that had started.

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Porchlight Music Theatre has been enjoying quite a sensational season thus far. Fresh on the heels of their revamped version of the classic "Gypsy" (which was by far this company's biggest box office success and could easily have run for several more months due to the high demand but limited seating within the intimate Ruth Page space) comes the highly entertaining and wickedly macabre "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder." The book of this 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical is based upon the 1907 novel of Roy Horniman's entitled "Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal" but may be most familiar to avid cinephiles who relished the 1949 British film "Kind Hearts and Coronets" starring Alec Guinness. 4 SPOTLIGHTS

"Swamp Baby" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** One of the characters in Aaron Carter's latest play "Swamp Baby" expressively states that, looking back upon one's own life, it's possible to reflect that is was all just a "convulsion of memory." This is posited by a man who, purported to be a physician yet perhaps without the credentials to prove it, seems to be more interested in the eccentricities of the human body than the pain and secrets contained within the human heart. Carter, the local writer whose work has allows been informed by his fascination with magic, sideshows and the circus, has fashioned a hauntingly poetic work detailing capitalistic gain versus scientific advancements as well as themes of miscegenation and one which allows us to embrace the sometimes unpleasant sensation of what it must feel like to be an outsider looking in. Under Lauren "LL" Lundy's sympathetic yet focused direction, this world premiere presented by MPAACT at The Greenhouse Theatre Center is radiant. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

"The Realistic Joneses" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Forget about trying to keep up with the Joneses. There is no competitive spirit or rivalry between the two married couples in Will Eno's quirky yet heartfelt dramatic comedy "The Realistic Joneses." Originally produced on Broadway in 2014 with an A-list cast, this quietly reflective show is receiving its Chicago premiere in a co-production between Shattered Globe Theatre and Theater Wit. Director Jeremy Wechsler, who has collaborated with Will Eno multiple times in the past, has assembled a great cast of actors and gives them all individual moments in which they shine. 3 ½ SPOTLIGHTS

"How to Catch Creation" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★Headline: Another World Premier on a Chicago theater stage! Of course! Playwrights love our city and the audiences that we bring to see their works. As I have said many times, Chicago theater audiences make us other than the “second city”. This play is “How to Catch Creation” written by Christina Anderson. It is a play that depicts the lives of three artists, who with their partners take us on a trip through time and the trials and tribulations of lives that are “different”, both in the past and present.

"Cardboard Piano" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Recommended *** One thing that can always be said about the productions at Timeline Theatre- they are of great importance and in most cases actual and factual! While I look forward with great anticipation to their move to their new building in Uptown, until that time, I will still attend anything they do in their present home located at 615 West Wellington Avenue ( just West of Broadway). I will tell you that during this cold snap in Chicago, you might want to wear a second ( or third) layer, as it was a bit nippy in the theater, but the show is warm and is a story that one can learn from, along with being highly entertained.

Marriott's "Million Dollar Quartet" has Everyone Rockin'!

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**** Highly Recommended **** My friend Helen said that “Million Dollar Quartet” was 90 minutes of pure joy. It’s definitely an evening of in-your-face rock and roll. While Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley are rockin’ on Marriott’s intimate stage, audiences are rockin’ right along with them! “Million Dollar Quartet” is a blast from the past! 4 BIG Spotlights