Wednesday February 20 12:28 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

"The Steadfast Tin Soldier" is a New Holiday Treat for Your Family

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**** Highly Recommended **** If you’re looking for a special holiday outing for your family, Lookingglass Theatre’s production of “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” would be a really special treat. Featuring five uber-talented artists, amazing puppets, fantastical costumes and more, “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” is completely charming. Mary Zimmerman’s interpretation of the Hans Christian Anderson story is done entirely in pantomime. I loved it! 4 BIG Spotlights

"Familiar" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ Dealing with families and their customs and traditions is not always easy for an outsider. In Danai Guirira’s comedy, “Familiar”, now on the main stage at Steppenwolf Theatre, we have a mixed marriage and are privy to the day before the ceremony is to take place.

One of My Favorite Holiday Shows, "Q Brothers Christmas" returns to Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

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***** Highly Recommended ***** Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s newest venue, The Yard, is rocking with the return of” “Q Brothers Christmas Carol”. Please note: this is not “A Christmas Carol” as Dickens wrote it. The Q Brothers Collective (GQ, JQ, Jax and Pos) have yanked Ebenezer Scrooge and the gang into the 21st century! I’ve seen this original, cheeky, fun musical every year since it premiered in 2013 as a developmental work-in-progress (that’s 5 years!), and it still makes me laugh! It’s become my holiday tradition. 4 BIG Spotlights

Theatre at the Center's "Miracle on 34th Street" is Enchanting

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My apologies to Theatre at the Center. I meant to get this review up sooner, but I've had some personal problems which prevented it. I'm soooo sorry for the delay!

**** Recommended **** Theatre at the Center’s production of “Miracle on 34th Street” is a charming musical adaptation of the 1947 movie. This is your chance to sit back and enjoy a nostalgic trip to a time when children asked Santa for actual toys rather than electronic gadgets. If you have children or grandchildren, this is a golden opportunity to introduce them to live theater. Judging by the starry-eyed small people I saw in the audience, “Miracle on 34th Street” is a hit. By the way, Meredith Wilson (“The Music Man”) wrote the book, music and lyrics, including one of my favorites, “It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas”. Kudos to TATC Artistic Director Linda Fortunato and the rest of the production crew at TATC. 3 ½ Spotlights

“Twelfth Night or What You Will” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★Are you someone who has a problem with the theaters that do Shakespeare? I know there are many readers out there who have a difficult time understanding the works of the Bard. I know that even my wife hesitates attending Shakespeare’s works unless there is a great dinner before or a party after. She does make it through the comedies, as most others do. SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT! No matter your feelings about the works of Shakespeare, the current production of “Twelfth Night or What You Will”, now on the stage at Writers Theatre in Glencoe is probably the funniest play you might ever see. Under the leadership of Michael Halberstam and a cast of many of Chicago’s most notable performers, this is classic comedy conveying a marvelous story.

Northlight Theatre's Production of "Mansfield Park" was a Disappointment!

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*** Recommended *** As we were driving to Skokie to see the Northlight Theatre production of “Mansfield Park”, I told my friend Helen all about my love for all things Jane Austen. Obviously, I was looking forward to seeing another adaptation of an insightful and humorous Austen book. I wish I could say I loved it, but I just can’t. Austen’s characters are always fully formed. The cast didn’t have a lot to work with here, the characters are one-dimensional paper dolls. 2 ½ Spotlights

"Miss Saigon" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★It has been awhile since Chicago has had a Broadway tour of the legendary “Miss Saigon”. The revival, now on the stage of The Cadillac Palace Theatre, as part of the Broadway In Chicago season, with some new lyrics by our own Michael Mahler ( who by the way , you can see perform in Marriott’s “Holiday Inn) is sensational. In speaking to other audience members, most of us recall the amazing production that thrilled us at the Auditorium Theater, and while the stage is far smaller at The Cadillac, and the set is different, yet unique (Totie Driver and Matt Kinley). The projections add to the special effects and of course, the helicopter scene is as powerful as ever.

"Il Trovatore" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** There is an individual set piece in Lyric Opera's current production of "Il Trovatore" which dominates the entire evening's proceedings. Located slightly upstage and positioned stage right is a large, crudely carved depiction of Jesus on the cross, hewn from a single block of dark timber. This crucifix remains fixed in place even as the rest of the set accommodates itself effortlessly around it, always in plain sight from the top of the show until the final curtain calls. There is nothing particularly attractive about this relic. However, when it is lit from the side wings (as it is during most of the performance) it casts a large shadow upon the back wall of the stage -- a shadow which eerily resembles that of an angel with wings outstretched as it ascends into heaven. This haunting image conveys not only the spirit of an innocent young child whose bones are discovered in the ashes of a pyre but also doubles as a guardian angel who is constantly watching over the ill-fated romance of the troubadour and the queen's lady-in-waiting. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS