Wednesday February 20 12:13 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

"The Full Monty" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ Evanston has a new theater. It is TheoUbique Cabaret Theatre, who has left their old Rogers Park home at The No Exit Café, to move into a stunning revamped building just North of the border ( on the north side of Howard Street) adding to the glamour of the South Evanston rebuilding project. For those of you unfamiliar with TheoUbique,, this company, under the powerful leadership of the Artistic Director, Fred Anzevino, began in the No Exit Café after some years down the street at The Heartland Studio Theatre. For years, in this tiny storefront, they put on musicals that were astounding, clever and filled with great talent. The intimacy of the venue was part of the magic and Anzevino’s ability to transform Broadway musicals to a 60 seat theater, amazing!

Goodman Theatre's "Santaland Diaries" has Audiences Chuckling

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**** Recommended **** Goodman Theatre’s production of “The Santaland Diaries”, written by David Sedaris and adapted for the stage by Joe Mantello. In his early days as a struggling writer in New York, Sedaris took a job as an elf at Macy’s Department Store. It’s irreverent, mischievous, snarky, and really, really funny. 4 Spotlights

The Second City's 107th Mainstage Revue, "Algorithm Nation or, The Static Quo"

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**** Recommended **** The Second City continues to do what they do best, making people laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more, with their 107th Mainstage Revue, “Algorithm Nation or, The Static Quo”. The Second City formula – a revue filled with snarky commentary on the news of the day, silly sketches, music, improv, audience participation, even a little slapstick comedy – has been very successful over the years, but this revue falls a little short on the hilarity scale. 3 ½ Spotlights

"Cirque Dreams Holidaze" is a Sparkly Extravaganza

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*** Recommended *** “Cirque Dreams Holidaze” is a great big mishmash of sparkly costumes and circus acts. The performers are talented, enthusiastic, energetic, and sometimes kind of frenetic, but that’s OK, it’s a spectacle, and it’s a treat to attend a performance in the gorgeous Chicago Theatre. My major complaint – the constantly moving/prancing/dancing ensemble completely blocked a couple of the circus acts from view. Otherwise, I did enjoy it, as did the small people in the audience. 3 Spotlights

I Laughed until My Cheeks Hurt at "The Play that Goes Wrong"

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**** Highly Recommended **** “The Play that Goes Wrong” is one of the funniest plays I’ve ever seen. In fact, I can’t remember when I laughed so much, and I wasn’t alone. Everyone was laughing, all the time! The laughter, which started well before the show began, continued until the end. If you’re feeling blue, “The Play that Goes Wrong” will chase those blues away! Don’t miss it! 4 BIG Spotlights

The Joffrey Ballet's Chicago-centric Production of "The Nutcracker" is Magnificent

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***** Highly Recommended ***** The Joffrey Ballet’s “Chicago-centric” version of “The Nutcracker”, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, is quite simply magnificent. By setting “The Nutcracker” against Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, Wheeldon gave the city a unique gift. I am in awe! Loved everything about “The Nutcracker”. 4 BIG Spotlights!

"Cendrillon" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Just in time for the holidays, Lyric Opera of Chicago has given all of the arts lovers in the area an incredible gift -- their charming new production (which is a Lyric premiere) of "Cendrillon." Beautifully directed by Laurent Perry (who also designed the fantastic costumes) and conducted by the esteemed Sir Andrew Davis, Jules Massenet's 1899 opera is presented here in an exquisitely wrapped present complete with a neatly tied large bow on top. Perfect for sparkling under the Christmas tree. Massenet's score is as lively and effervescent as the bubbles in the glass of champagne you may raise to ring in the New Year. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Goodman Theatre's "A Christmas Carol" is a Holiday Tradition

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***** Highly Recommended ****** The Goodman Theatre’s 41st annual production of “A Christmas Carol”, which remains essentially the same from year to year, is a holiday tradition for many families, spanning generations. The Goodman lobby is festive with decorations and a sparkling holiday shopping area. Now in its 41st year, “A Christmas Carol” is once again practically perfect – fabulous cast, lavish sets and colorful period costumes. I give it 4 Holiday Spotlights.