Wednesday December 12 8:40 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

Santino Fontana blew Me Away with His Performance in "Tootsie"

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**** Recommended **** I laughed so much my cheeks hurt watching “Tootsie”, the Broadway-bound musical based on the 1982 movie starring Dustin Hoffman. While the original was firmly mired in the ‘80s, Robert Horn’s script and David Yazbek’s music and lyrics were a lot more polished than I expected. The show is loaded with zingers, so listen up, you won’t want to miss a single one! While this entire cast impressed me, Santino Fontana blew me away! The ending is kind of anti-climactic, but so what? “Tootsie” should be a smash hit on Broadway in the spring. 4 Spotlights

"Curve of Departure" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** One of the great things about theater in our city is that we have Mike Nussbaum on our stages. Nussbaum is the oldest Equity actor on any stage and at 94 is as sharp as a tack. He may be shorter than he was years ago( but aren’t we all?), but this man is a superior performer. If you have never been witness to him on a stage, I suggest that you make it a point to do so! The current production in which you can do so is “Curve of Departure”. an 80 minute gem written by Rachel Bonds that tells us the story of a “special” family gathering. Sharply directed by BJ Jones, the entire story takes place in a motel room in Santa Fe, New Mexico ( nicely designed by Lauren Nigri). The family is here to attend the funeral of a “family member”, who they all loved, but none liked.

Don't miss Theatre at the Center's Romantic "Ghost"

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**** Highly Recommended **** “Ghost: The Musical” (based on the 1990 move) is an intimate love story – which just happens to have some supernatural elements. It’s not a ‘big’ story, so it doesn’t need a ‘cast of thousands’ in glitzy costumes on a huge stage. Director Linda Fortunato wisely left the story to stand for itself – and the results are outstanding! Just a hint, you’ll want to have extra tissues in your purse/pocket, you’ll need them. Theatre at the Center’s intimate space is the perfect venue for “Ghost”. 4 BIG Spotlights

"Little Shop of Horrors" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** "Little Shop of Horrors" is one of those musicals that seems to be almost foolproof. With a zany book and razor-sharp lyrics by Howard Ashman and wonderful music by Alan Menken how could any production fail? This extremely talented duo is pretty much single-handedly responsible for the rebirth of the Disney studio with such classic animated features as "The Little Mermaid," "Aladdin" and the 1991 version of "Beauty and the Beast." There may be better productions of "Little Shop of Horrors" out there, with stronger acting in some key roles, but you may never hear a better version of this show than the one currently being presented at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace. With some new vocal and orchestral arrangements, under the meticulous music direction of Roberta Duchak, those of you who are only familiar with this show if you have heard the soundtrack from the 1986 film version are in for a sonic -- and all-around -- blast. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

"Sweet Charity" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** One of the reasons that the musical "Sweet Charity" is rarely performed anymore may have to do with the fact that it is a marathon of a role for any female to attempt. Not only must an actress be able to sing and have great comic acting abilities but, most importantly, she must be a dynamite dancer. After all, this is a show that was originally developed, directed and choreographed by the legendary Bob Fosse. Thankfully, Marriott Lincolnshire landed a stellar star in casting Anne Horak as the title character and director/choreographer Alex Sanchez (who actually appeared in "Fosse" on Broadway during its initial run) has recreated amazing dance sequences. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

“Avenue Q” is Just as Much Fun the Second Time Around!

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**** Highly Recommended **** I loved the Mercury Theater’s 2014 production of “Avenue Q” so I was delighted to learn they were bringing it back. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the opening, so I thought I’d missed it for the year. Luckily for me, the run has been extended through November 4th, so I got to see it after all. Guess what? “Avenue Q” was just as much fun the second time around. 4 Spotlights

The Towle's "Cockeyed" was a Charming Rom-Com

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**** Recommended **** Towle Theater’s production of “Cockeyed” was a charming rom-com (romantic comedy) about unrequited love, philosophy majors, and the guy in the office nobody ever notices. By the way, that guy, Phil (Khyel Sherman Roberson), is so darn cute you’ll want to take him home! Kudos to Co-Directors, Jeff Casey and Suzanne Nyhan, for another terrific show. 3 ½ Spotlights

Dunes Summer Theatre premieres Delightful New Play, "After Paul McCartney"

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**** Recommended **** A good storyteller can hold the attention of his/her audience whether the story is simple or complicated, short or really, really long. Sometimes he/she even acts out the characters in the story. Jeffrey Baumgartner is a very good Storyteller in Dunes Summer Theatre’s final production of the 2018 season, “After Paul McCartney”, an amusing story about two friends on a crazy quest. I really enjoyed this show. 3 ½ Spotlights