Wednesday April 25 2:30 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

"Breach" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ The actual title of the play now onstage at The Victory Gardens Theater is “Breach: a manifesto on race in America through the eyes of a black girl recovering from self-hate”. That is one hell of a title, and for the most part could turn off some potential audience members. Written by Antoinette Nwandu as a “love letter to Black women”, this story-line can be confusing. We start off meeting our Black woman, Margaret ( handled to perfection by Caren Blackmore) and her White boyfriend, Nate (deftly handled by Keith D. Gallagher). They are out for the evening and sort of discussing their day. In actuality, he does more discussing as he believes his days are the ones that truly matter. Their relationship is somewhat strained and at the same time, her position at the local Junior College is not going as she had anticipated. She has a new supervisor, who came in and was given the job, one that she felt was hers.

"Love Never Dies" was Underwhelming!

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*** Recommended *** Although many in the audience on opening night were thrilled to see “Love Never Dies”, the sequel to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s wildly successful musical, “Phantom of the Opera”, I was underwhelmed. The cast was wonderful, the costumes and set were spectacular, but the plot, “Phantom” cloned and moved to Coney Island, was ridiculously obvious, while it was difficult to understand the words and the music was just so-so. 2 ½ Spotlights

"A Moon for the Misbegotten" was Heavy Going

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*** Recommended *** I found the Writers Theatre production of “A Moon for the Misbegotten” to be really heavy going. It is very well acted, but there just weren’t any sparks. In addition, many in the audience, who laughed loudly at inappropriate points in the story, had the mistaken belief that this was a comedy. They say to write about what you know, so Eugene O’Neill wrote this play about his brother, a depressed drunk. Be warned, it’s really, really long. 3 Spotlights

"Elizabeth Cree" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** It certainly is an exciting time for the creation of original operas in the United States. While many people would think that this particular art form is on the decline, the exact opposite is actually taking place. Not only have numerous opera companies, mostly located in the Midwest and on the East Coast, commissioned artists from disparate backgrounds to contribute their prodigious talents to assist in the production of fascinating new works but even smaller, emerging companies have gotten in on all of the action as well. The result is that original operas are thriving in America and local audiences are fortunate to be able to experience many of them. A highly anticipated new piece will receive its Chicago premiere next month. Currently we have the world premiere of "Elizabeth Cree" to enjoy at the very intimate Studebaker Theater. Presented by Chicago Opera Theater, this is a co-production with Opera Philadelphia, where it made its debut in September 2017. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

"Cabaret" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ It seems that no matter what play or who directs and /or choreographs it, The Paramount Theatre in Aurora comes out as a HIT!. There are those who say it is the D.U.I. of Jim Corti, the Artistic Director. In this case, DUI means Direction under the influence of the master, Mr. Jim Corti. From day one, this theater has glistened with the creativity of this genius, and it seems all of the staff in this fantastic theater follow his lead ( and that of Tim Rater, CEO & President). Thanks to these fine gentlemen, Aurora has a theater that the entire city can be proud of!

Steppenwolf's "You Got Older" is Superbly Acted

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**** Recommended **** I really enjoyed Steppenwolf’s production of “You Got Older”, Clare Barron’s dark comedy about a young woman whose life is falling apart. Superbly acted by Guinan and Neff, “You Got Older” is funny, bawdy and poignant – and the emotions felt real to me. 3 ½ Spotlights

“SEX WITH STRANGERS” - A REVIEW BY BOB RUBIN

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The kinky name alone, “Sex with Strangers” is enough to drive you to the theater, out of curiously. You won’t quite see that, however. It is a clever set up to create a great character, Ethan, played by Rich Holton. Twenty eight year old Ethan has become a successful blogger by publishing his sexual exploits, make that conquests, and masterfully exploding them on the internet. He meets Olivia, played by Nina O’Keefe, a prim and proper school, almost 40, teacher and ‘wanna be’ writer, at a writers retreat facility.

Lyric's "I Puritani" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** It's hard to believe but "I Puritani" has not graced the Lyric Opera House stage in over two decades. This is not due to the fact that it is an unpopular work but rather one that requires the utmost from its four principal performers, commonly referred to as the "Puritani Quartet." Based on the conflicting schedules of today's major opera stars and the very short window in which these stars are in their vocal prime can make casting a bel canto masterpiece like "I Puritani" even more challenging than your traditional operas from the latter half of the 19th century. Vincenzo Bellini's final composition, which premiered in Paris in early 1835, was a smashing success. Sadly, Bellini passed away just nine months later, at the tender age of 33. He was a master of the bel canto style, who is remembered for his long, long melodic lines which prove extremely taxing for even the best trained voice. Thankfully, the Lyric Opera has assembled a glorious cast which brings this vivid opera to an eager and very appreciative audience. 3 and 1/2 SPOTLIGHTS