Wednesday February 20 2:58 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

"Phantom of the Opera" is Spectacular!

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**** Recommended **** As you’re getting ready for the holidays, you should leave room in your schedule for a really special treat, “Phantom of the Opera”. Cameron Mackintosh’s spectacular production is true to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s original (now celebrating its 30th anniversary), yet different enough to thrill both old and new audiences. You’ll fall in love all over again, so hurry and order your tickets, it’s here until January 4th. 4 Spotlights

"The Fabulous 50's Christmas" is a Holiday Must-See!

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***** Highly Recommended ***** I can’t quite believe it but the first time I reviewed “A Fabulous 50’s Christmas” was in 2004! The show, a tribute to the old Perry Como/Andy Williams TV specials, is always delightful. Amazingly enough, they’ve even found new (at least to me!) old carols. It’s just not Christmas without “A Fabulous 50’s Christmas”, a holiday must-see! 4 BIG Spotlights

"The Hunter and the Bear" by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ To many, “Musical Theater” means “Broadway-type Musicals” with big dance numbers, full orchestrations, zany characters and music to hum on the way home. In fact, even the more dramatic musicals carry that idea with it. I tell you this, because Writers Theatre in Glencoe has found a company that brings a new flavor to the “Musical Theater”, PigPen Theatre Company. PigPen began their unique brand of theater. music and film when they were college students back in 2007. They were the company that brought “The Old Man and The Moon” to Writers and opened up our eyes to this unique style of story-telling ,one that is intense and mesmerizing!

Great Discussions after seeing "The Christians"

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**** Recommended **** I got a twofer at Steppenwolf the other night. I saw/heard a rousing gospel concert, then I saw “The Christians”, a really interesting play which went in an entirely unexpected direction. I like plays in which stereotypical characters don’t behave as expected. My friends and I love dissecting a character’s motivations in our discussions on the drive home. The more heated the discussion, the higher the rating! “The Christians” gets 4 Spotlights.

"Honky Tonk Angel" by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★Attending one of the musical shows at No Exit Café, that little treasure on Glenwood where Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre makes musicals exciting and affordable, is always a treat. Whether they take on a full- scale musical, bringing it down in size to a cabaret style, or a musical that is more songs than story, one always walks away from this theater feeling “good”! Their current show is more of a musical treat than a “play”. It is called “Honky Tonk Angels” and is written by Ted Swindley, who wrote “Always Patsy Cline” which scored really big for this company back in 2014.

The Joffrey Ballet Production of "The Nutcracker" is Magnificent!

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

Political Jokes in Second City's 105th Mainstage Revue, “The Winner … of Our Discontent” are too Angry to be Funny

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*** Recommended *** The Second City formula has been very successful. Each revue includes audience participation improv, snarky commentary on the news of the day, silly sketches, music, maybe even a little slapstick comedy. The 105th Mainstage Revue, “The Winner … of Our Discontent”, had all of the above, but the election-related humor was way too angry to be funny. This is not to say there weren’t some funny bits, but the laughs just couldn’t counterbalance the bitterness. 3 Spotlights.

New Cast brings Fresh Twist to "Twist Your Dickens" at the Goodman

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**** Highly Recommended **** “Twist Your Dickens” is an absolute hoot! While Larry Yando is taking himself way too seriously as Ebenezer Scrooge in the Goodman Theatre’s traditional production of “The Christmas Carol” in the Albert Theatre, Second City has taken over the Owen with “Twist Your Dickens” for a third season with a new cast, new director, and new sketches. You’ll laugh your head off at “Twist Your Dickens”. 4 BIG Spotlights.