Thursday January 18 8:38 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Reviews

Chicago Shakespeare's Barbara Gaines has a New Take on "The Taming of the Shrew"

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**** Highly Recommended **** I had so much fun watching Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s new production of “The Taming of the Shrew”. Interestingly enough, I think the all female cast had just as much fun doing the play as I had watching it! Kudos to Barbara Gaines for coming with a completely new take on the courtship of Petruchio and his shrewish Kate. 4 BIG Spotlights

Victory Gardens' "Fun Home" by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ When “Fun Home”‘s Broadway touring Production came through town, I felt that the beauty of this Tony-Award winning musical based on the book by Alison Bechdel, a cartoonist, illustrator, would be better served in a more intimate space. The large theater may hold larger audiences, but the audience loses some of the inner-action that almost demands an “up-close-and-personal” look. That is why, the current production of the “chamber” musical, now on the main stage at Victory Gardens, appears even stronger than the original. Add to this, that this version is directed by Gary Griffin, who is indeed a master of musical direction!

In Lifeline Theatre's Wacky "Sylvester", Courtship is a Board Game

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**** Recommended **** Back in the day, I read and enjoyed all of Georgette Heyer’s historical novels set in Regency England. In fact, I still have many of them on my shelf including “Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle”. I was charmed by “Sylvester”, Christina Calvit’s delightful adaptation for Lifeline Theatre, places the ups and downs of a Regency courtship into a game of “Chutes and Ladders”, complete with hazard cards. It sounds wacky, but it really works! 4 Spotlights

Northlight Theatre's “The Legend of Georgia McBride” is Hilarious

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*** Recommended *** You just can’t help laughing at the “The Legend of Georgia McBride”, an improbably funny backstage story set in a seedy bar. I’m not sure how well a drag show would go over in Florida’s Panhandle, but as Eddie (Keith Kupferer),the bar owner says, family is family. Someone who’s familiar with the nuances of drag shows might not appreciate the humor, but for a newbie like me (and most of the audience), it was pretty darn hilarious. 3 Spotlights

"Five Guys Named Moe" bring Louis Jordan's Fabulous Jazz, Jump Blues and Rock 'n Roll to the Court

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**** Highly Recommended **** I’m not sure whether “Five Guys Named Moe” is a jukebox musical or a musical revue. It’s a tribute to Louis Jordan, who has been called the Father of Rhythm & Blues and/or the Grandfather of Rock ‘n Roll, which puts it in the first category. Although there’s a tiny story line, the songs follow one after another, putting it in the second. It really doesn’t matter, “Five Guys Named Moe” is full of fabulous jazz, jump blues - a swinging, up-tempo blend of jazz, blues and boogie-woogie – and rock ‘n roll music. 4 BIG Spotlights

Paramount Theatre's "Million Dollar Quartet" is a Blast from the Past!

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**** Highly Recommended **** Paramount Theatre’s production of “Million Dollar Quartet” is an experience, an evening of in-your-face rock and roll! While Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley are rockin’ on stage – audiences are rockin’ right along with them! “Million Dollar Quartet” is a blast from the past! 4 BIG Spotlights

You'll enjoy Time-Traveling with Steppenwolf's "The Rembrandt"

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**** Recommended **** I really enjoyed Steppenwolf Theatre’s time-traveling new production, “The Rembrandt”, which is vaguely reminiscent of one of my favorite novels and TV series, “Outlander”, in which the heroine who touches the standing stones in a Scottish circle, ends up 200 years in the past. In “The Rembrandt”, three disparate people touch a famous painting, “Aristotle with a Bust of Homer”, and the audience is transported into Rembrandt’s studio. Interestingly enough, “The Rembrandt” is more about relationships than it is about time. 4 Spotlights

"A View from the Bridge" is Powerful but Flawed

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**** Recommended **** The Goodman Theatre pulled off something of a theatrical coup when they snagged the rights to Ivo van Hove’s stripped-down production of “A View from the Bridge”. Without the burden of scenery, the viewer can concentrate on powerful performances by Ian Bedford and the rest of the cast. Powerful performance aside, Eddie is still just a thug seething with jealousy and rage. I respect the work, but I don’t like the play. 3 ½ Spotlights