Thursday February 21 6:24 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

"Rent" by Alan Bresloff


Highly Recommended ***** It is hard to believe that twenty years have transpired since Jonathan Larson’s “Rent” took New York by storm. The “rock” musical, inspired by Puccini’s “La Boehme”, a tragic story about the pain and suffering of artists. “Rent” is a modern-day version of this story and takes place in New York at the end of the 1990’s, as the world prepares for the new millennium. Living in an old factory are many young, poor “artists”, who are all hoping to make their mark in the world. Mark Cohen, who is our main character and sort of story-teller, is a young Jewish boy ( Matt Edmonds, who doesn’t have the appearance one is used to in this role, but who wins us over after the second song) a film-maker who wants the world to witness the problems that artists face in a world that closes doors to people who are “different”. His apartment mate is Roger (deftly handled by Patrick Rooney), a song-writer who as it turns out has been infected with the AIDS virus and now only wants to write that one song that will leave his imprint on the world.

"The Matchmaker" will keep You Laughing


**** Highly Recommended **** I really enjoyed Goodman Theatre’s delightful revival of Thornton Wilder’s 1955 farce, “The Matchmaker”. Some people might have preferred a production of “Hello, Dolly!”, David Merrick’s flashy musical hit based on “The Matchmaker”, but I’m glad the Goodman opted for the original. I laughed and laughed, so “The Matchmaker” gets 4 Spotlights.

The Characters in "Blood Wedding" behaved in Inexplicable Ways


*** Recommended *** I don’t know what I was expecting when I went to see “Blood Wedding” at Lookingglass Theatre. Earlier this season I saw “Moby Dick” and “Treasure Island”, so I guess I thought it would be another classic, but “Blood Wedding” was written in 1932 by a Spanish playwright, Federico Garcia Lopez. I wasn’t sure what to think about the story, either, as I knew it was a Spanish play, but the setting and music felt Appalachian, while the depression-era costumes reminded me of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath. I just didn’t like “Blood Wedding”, so I’m giving it 3 Spotlights.

Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's “Short Shakespeare! Twelfth Night” is a Delightful Comedy


**** Highly Recommended **** Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s “Short Shakespeare! Twelfth Night” is a delightful campy comedy designed for younger audiences, yet enjoyed by all ages. In fact, Director Kirsten Kelly did her own adaptation of Shakespeare’s play which means this version will never be seen anywhere else! My recommendation, call for tickets today, you don’t want to miss this 4 Spotlight production!

"Cinderella ... After the Ball" by Alan Bresloff


Highly Recommended ***** We all know that Fairy Tales end with “Happily Ever After”, but what if that isn’t the case? Cinderella, who was mis-treated by her evil step-mother and sisters, gets to go to the Ball, meet the prince and supposedly live that “Happily Ever After” that we believe in. But in the new musical now on the stage at Marriott’s Theater for young people, “Cinderella … After the Ball”, we see what really might happen. With a clever book written by Eddie Sugarman , who also wrote the lyrics to the adorable songs and the music written by Jihwan Kim, we begin our story as the Prince (deftly handled by Devin DeSantis)and Cinderella (played to perfection by Dara Cameron, who evidently specializes in playing this role) prepare for their “happily ever after”. BUT…

Broadway in Chicago's "42nd Street" features Those Fabulous Dancing Feet!


**** Highly Recommended **** If you love tap, and I do, there is nothing better than watching that curtain rise to reveal all those dancing feet! Then you know “42nd Street” is back in town! “42nd Street” is one of my all-time favorite shows, so I’ll be humming the catchy title song for the next three weeks! Hurry and get your tickets, this ensemble is outstanding – and they can really dance! “42nd Street” is a 4 Spotlight show!

Theater Wit's "The New Sincerity" was disappointing


*** Recommended *** I was kind of disappointed with “The New Sincerity”. Although the cast did a good job, I thought the story took itself way too seriously. I couldn’t relate to the selfish, shallow and rather smug characters, probably because I don’t have anything in common with them. There were some funny bits to relieve the tension, but just not enough. I give “The New Sincerity” 3 Spotlights.

Lyrics are Wickedly Clever in "Heathers: The Musical"


**** Recommended **** Kokandy Productions is rapidly earning a reputation for outstanding work. Their new production, “Heathers: The Musical”, is no exception. The story, based on a cult classic film from the ‘80s, might not be your cup of tea, but the talented cast will reach out and pull you right in. The music sounds pop light, but the lyrics are wickedly clever. “Heathers: The Musical” is well worth seeing. I give it 4 Spotlights.