Friday August 17 11:07 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

Hersey Felder is Amazing as "Our Great Tchaikovsky"

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**** Highly Recommended **** It’s difficult to classify Hersey Felder’s “Our Great Tchaikovsky”. A one-man show, it’s not exactly a play, but it’s not a musical either. It’s not a concert, although you will hear a concert-level piano performance. As with all of his previous meticulously researched characters, Felder becomes Tchaikovsky in an enthralling performance in Steppenwolf’s Upstairs Theatre. 4 Big Spotlights

Sondheim's "Company" sparkles in Mercury Theater's New Venus Cabaret

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**** Highly Recommended **** Mercury Theater is celebrating the grand opening of their brand new venue, the Venus Cabaret Theater (right next door), with a party! Guests (that means all of you) are invited to enjoy party appetizers, birthday cake, maybe an adult beverage (at the cash bar), and Stephen Sondheim’s birthday party musical, “Company”. Kudos to Director L. Walter Stearns for his spot-on casting. Gotta love those clever, complicated Sondheim lyrics! 4 Big Spotlights

"Il Pigmalione and Rita" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Chicago Opera Theater has devised a brilliant concept for its third and final production of the 2017/2018 season. They have chosen to present two works of Italian composer Gaetano Donizetti. The first is "Il Pigmalione" which was the first opera that Donizetti composed followed by "Rita" which was one of the very last. Both are one act operas that are being performed in Chicago for the very first time. In the course of two hours you get to hear how advanced Donizetti's sound became over the course of his career. It is truly remarkable that Donizetti composed nearly 70 operas in his lifetime, considering that he perished at the age of 51. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

Catch Caroline Neff's Tour de Force Performance in "Tillie" at Victory Gardens

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**** Highly Recommended **** It can’t get more real than “Lettie”! What happens to the children when a parent goes to jail? Can the parent-child bond weather the separation? In Boo Killebrew’s gripping play, Lettie tries to pick up the pieces of her life and deal with the gap between her expectations and her children’s reality. Caroline Neff gives a tour de force performance at the title character. 4 Spotlights

Drury Lane's "South Pacific" is Still Relevant - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Recommended **** “South Pacific” is a romantic tour de force and amazingly relevant to this day. Based on James Michener’s “Tales of the South Pacific,” this 1949 Rodgers and Hammerstein musical won the Pulitzer Prize as well as 10 Tony Awards. “South Pacific” was way ahead of its time in its sensitive and candid exploration of racial prejudice. Drury Lane Theatre’s talented cast does full justice to the lush musical score. 4 Spotlights

“Gaslight District”/ new E.T.C. Second City Revue ( #42) - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★ How can they continue to bring us the comedy they have been doing for eons? This is the question many audience members ask each time a new Revue is brought to us at any of the Second City stages. Tonight, on the E.T.C. stage ( second floor of Piper’s Alley) we were witness to their 42nd revue, “Gaslight District”, which as usual is written by the performers in the show. This particular show is directed by Anneliese Toft, with musical direction ( original music and sound) by Jacob Shuda.

"9 to 5 The Musical" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Firebrand Theatre's production of "9 to 5 The Musical" plays out pretty much like a normal day at the office. It starts out with an energetic spurt at the very onset and settles into a comfortable rhythm as you coast into your first coffee break, which helps you make it until your lunch hour recess. Returning from a three martini lunch (or intermission) things may appear to be in disarray as you slip into a mid-afternoon hangover. Another cup of coffee -- or two or three -- will jolt you back into some semblance of reality and soon the hands of the clock are sweeping swiftly toward that magical hour. This is not to imply that this "9 to 5" is a drag. It is a fun and cheery show filled with great songs and strong performances. You are guaranteed to laugh twice as much as you would in a quarter of the time spent at your daily grind. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

"Ghosts of War" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Griffin Theatre Company's "Ghosts of War" is based on Ryan Smithson's novel, or rather memoir, of the same name which has been adapted for the stage by Griffin's Artistic Director William Massolia. The show, which features Sam Krey as Ryan Smithson, has been on tour since last autumn and now receives its Chicago premiere in a gripping and very well-acted production at The Den Theatre. 4 SPOTLIGHTS