Wednesday February 20 12:44 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

Take Your Little Prince or Princess to see "Disney's Beauty and the Beast"

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*** Recommended *** When I think of “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”, I remember a pretty little village in France, and a beautiful castle on a hill. You won’t see either of those in Drury Lane’s production. Director Alan Souza has chosen to take this fairy tale to the dark side. It’s still a fairy tale with a happily ever after ending, but it’s a little more intense than I expected. If you take your kids, your little prince will like it just as much as your little princess – there are scary wolves in the deep, dark woods. 3 ½ Spotlights

Marriott's "Holiday Inn" is a Must-See!

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**** Highly Recommended **** Whatever else you might do this holiday season, make time to see “Holiday Inn” at the Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire. This production is quite simply spectacular. The story is kind of sappy, but so what? The story is set in the war years, when everyone needed a happy ending. Packed with the music of Irving Berlin, “Holiday Inn” is an effervescent holiday treat. The cast is marvelous, the choreography blew me away, and the costumes are drool-worthy. Dee-lish! 4 BIG Spotlights

Manual Cinema brings "Frankenstein" to the Court Theatre

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**** Recommended **** I’d never seen anything by Manual Cinema, so I really didn’t know what to expect when I went to see their production of “Frankenstein” at the Court Theatre. I thought I was seeing a play, but when I saw all the ‘stuff’ on stage, I knew I’d be seeing something completely different – and I did! This “Frankenstein” started and ended with Mary Shelley – appropriate since 2018 is the 200th anniversary of her book. On a huge screen over the stage, a silent movie played. On the stage below, live actors scurried around, manipulating rolling animations, shadow puppets and even their own silhouettes – all punctuated with thematic music and frames of dialogue. They were actually creating that silent movie playing over their heads! It was fascinating to watch and I give it 3 ½ Spotlights.

"Iolanta" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Before rushing out to purchase your tickets to see the annual holiday chestnut, "The Nutcracker" ballet, you really should check out that composer's other late career work which is making its long-overdue premiere in Chicago. Pyotr I. Tchaikovsky composed the opera "Iolanta" in 1892 but it has never graced a stage here. In fact, "Iolanta" wasn't a part of the Metropolitan's season until 2015, and it is scheduled to make a reappearance in January. This piece is especially meaningful for Chicago Opera Theater's new Music Director Lidiya Yankovskaya, the Russian-American conductor who is making her podium debut with this delightful production. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Gripping Drama in "Private Peaceful" - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Highly Recommended **** Leaving the Greenhouse Theater after seeing “Private Peaceful”, I had mixed feelings. On the one hand, I thought it was one of the most powerful performances I’ve seen in a very long time. On the other hand, it left me with feelings of disgust and dismay over man’s inhumanity to man. “Private Peaceful” is both heartwarming and gut-wrenching and an indictment against war. 4 Spotlights

"Seigfried" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Simply stated, Lyric's "Siegfried" is a smashing success. Conceptually, this is one of the finest and entirely cohesive productions to hit the Lyric stage in many seasons, and one in which all of its creative team, director David Pountney, conductor Sir Andrew Davis, the Lyric Orchestra and all of the performers are at the top of their game. It is a work that contains epic emotions regarding loneliness, loyalty to family, identity, acceptance of one's receding power, lack of trepidation and even some profound moral honesty, with a deep appreciation for the natural world. It is also one heck of a thrilling adventurous tale filled with abundant humor, which is one thing many people may not realize when they think of Richard Wagner and his Ring Cycle, of which "Siegfried" is the third installment in the tetralogy. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

"Idomeneo" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** Sometimes great artistry can elevate even the most sedate or mundane work. Such is the case with the current production of "Idomeneo" at Lyric Opera. First presented in 1781 when its composer was only 25-year old, Mozart's first foray into opera seria has been plagued by criticism, revisions and alterations ever since. The work is rarely performed anymore and this is just the third time it has been seen on Lyric's stage. Many people cite the fact that it is too difficult to produce based on its scale -- but really, what opera in the current repertoire isn't? What could be labeled as Mozart's Greek tragedy has the possibility, in the wrong hands, to feel tedious. Thankfully, Lyric has assembled a terrific cast to bring this formidable tale to life. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

Don't miss Theater Unspeakable's Unique Take on "The American Revolution"

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**** Recommended **** “The American Revolution” by Theater Unspeakable is one of the most interesting, creative, and innovative shows I’ve ever seen. I saw when it premiered, loved it then, love it now. This tongue-in-cheek history lesson in just 50 minutes will definitely tickle your funny bone. By the way, all the history of “The American Revolution” is there, just presented in a different way, fascinating at all age levels. 3 ½ Spotlights