Wednesday January 16 12:13 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

Catch the Insightful and Delightful "Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure" at Lookingglass

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**** Highly Recommended **** “Thaddeus and Slocum: A Vaudeville Adventure” is a certified hit in my book! Although the new production at Lookingglass might seem light and frivolous at first glance, it actually deals with some serious and provocative topics. “Thaddeus and Slocum” is a show that makes classification difficult. It has music, but it’s not a musical; slapstick humor, but it’s not a comedy. At any rate, it is an insightful and thoroughly delightful glimpse at vaudeville in 1908. There are lots of Chicago specific references, even a scene where happy fans cheer because the Cubs won the World Series. “Thaddeus and Slocum’ got to me, so I give it 4 Spotlights.

Steppenwolf's "Constellations" was Disappointing

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** Somewhat Recommended ** I was very disappointed with “Constellations”, which seemed more like an acting exercise than a fully realized play. As I watched the actors repeat the same lines over and over, I kept thinking to myself, “Are we there yet?” I like plays with a beginning and an end; plays that actually have something to say. “Constellations” doesn’t fit either of those criteria, so I give it 2 ½ Spotlights.

“The Secret Garden” with notes from Sarah Shaw by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** There is a new theater company on the North Shore. Lake Forest Theatre, new to the scene, in its home at The John & Nancy Hughes Theatre, opened its 2016/2017 inaugural season tonight with “The Secret Garden” based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett with the book and lyrics by Marsha Norman and the music by Lucy Simon. First of all, let me say, this was a large production to select for a first and based on the wonder of what this new company brings to the stage, they have set the bar pretty high for the season to follow!

“Tapped: A Treasonous Musical Comedy” by Alan Bresloff

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★ I always try to give the theater companies the benefit of the doubt when it comes to rating their productions. Tonight, I was asked to review a new play, performed by a young, new company to hit the scene, and I was hopeful that I would discover something special. In fact, I was led to believe that there would be by the “hype” that this was “an award -winning show”. That is what the publicist wrote on the press release. There is no award ( at least any mention of any award, other than that, and let’s face it, one can claim what they want- seeing is believing!

"Sound of Music" by Alan Bresloff

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Somewhat Recommended ** Broadway In Chicago’s latest production of the glorious Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” opened at the Cadillac Palace last night in what was promised as a new and sparkling look at an old familiar classic musical. The production proposed a new look, deeper, richer and more powerful than ever. I am of the belief that “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, and this production reinforces this adage. The story of the Trapp Family Singers with a marvelous book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse and the elegant music of Rodgers & Hammerstein has been alive for decades, and as one who has done the show several times, I know the power of the story as we watch the family being forced to leave their country to escape the Nazi’s during World War II.

"Xanadu" by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ When I was sent the press release announcing that American Theater Company was doing, as its final production, this season, “Xanadu”, as a final tribute to their late artistic director PJ Paparelli, I was deeply moved, yet concerned. This “camp” musical was a favorite of Paparelli, and knowing that the members of this company felt that he would watch over them from wherever it is he has “landed”. Evidently he is! This production is more powerful than any of the Broadway in Chicago productions, ever! Yes, even the more intimate road show that graced the intimate theater known as the Broadway Playhouse. This is one that should be seen by anyone seeking a fun night at the theater!

Light Opera Works' "My Fair Lady" by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★Classic works, brought to the stage is what Light Opera Works is all about! FYI- they will be changing their name to Music Theater Works next year, not for content , to be sure, but because many fear the word “opera” in their old name (36 years of quality in musical theater and more). So rest assured, you will continue seeing musicals such as their excellent “My Fair Lady” in Evanston. This production, finely directed by Artistic Director Rudy Hogenmiller has one major drawback; it will only be available to audiences thru June 12th, which is very little time to see a solidly built production such as this.

"Brit Actor, Writer gives Malvolio His Revenge" by Crista Zivanovic

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Twelfth Night' character has his say three centuries later

Now through Sunday is your chance to see Shakespeare as you may not have seen him before — and bring your kids 12 and older, who will experience a classic play, "Twelfth Night," through the eyes of a tragically comic figure.