Saturday November 17 4:42 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Non-Equity & Community Theater Reviews

Come Back to 'Hohman, Indiana' in Marian Theatre Guild's “A Christmas Story: The Musical”

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Every family has their own holiday traditions. In my family it was “A Christmas Story”, the 1983 movie based on Jean Shepherd’s childhood anecdote, which became my children’s favorite Christmas movie. In fact, “You’ll shoot your eye out” has become a family catchphrase. Over the years it has become one of my favorite plays, although I was never all that fond of the musical. Ralphie, Randy, Flick and the gang are back, in Marian Theatre Guild’s production of “A Christmas Story: The Musical”. Don’t miss this opportunity to introduce your kids or grandkids to live theater.

"Gutenberg! The Musical!" is lots of fun!

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**** Recommended **** Ensemble Theatre Company’s production of “Gutenberg! The Musical!” is a silly but very funny story about two guys, Doug Simon (Zachary Gipson) and Bud Davenport (Dustin Ritchea), who are performing the first reading of their new musical on a make-shift stage in borrowed space, hoping that one of the Broadway producers rumored to be in the audience will give them a contract. 3 ½ Spotlights

Towle Theater's "Little by Little" is a Charming Story

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**** Recommended **** “Little by Little”, an encore production at Hammond’s Towle Theater, is a charming little show about three people, two girls and a guy, who ruin a lifelong friendship with sex! Technically, “Little by Little” is an operetta, since it doesn’t have any dialog, but don’t let that scare you away. The charming lyrics are written with a sense of humor. Don’t miss this must-see. 4 Spotlights (Photos by Wesley Bushby)

Footlight Theatre's "Annie" - Review by Nancy Konopasek

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**** Recommended Footlight Theatre’s production of Annie, directed by Robert W. Komendera, was simply delightful from the orphanage to the mansion…from start to finish! Maddi Reese Ames, in the title role, was one of the best Annies I have seen in this role (including Chicago productions). Amy Crane, as Miss Hannigan, gave a hilarious performance with her amazing comedic timing. Tim Le Donne, as Oliver Warbucks, was outstanding as he and Annie created their bond. The entire cast from Drake, the butler, played by Jamel “Yogi” Williams, to the orphans and chorus made this production a joy to watch.

Towle Theater's "Pageant Play" is Hilarious

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**** Recommended **** What is worse - a stage mom, a dance mom or a pageant mom? When I conducted an informal poll on Facebook, two out of two votes were for pageant mom! Hmmm! I’ll bet those voters have seen “Pageant Play”, the Towle Theater’s hilarious take on child beauty pageants. The whole topic of little girls in beauty pageants might be fraught, but don’t worry, there are no actual children involved in “Pageant Play”, just lots of laughs! 3 ½ Spotlights

"Hurly Burly" is about the Excesses of the '80s

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Chicago Street Theatre’s intense production of “Hurly Burly” is a definite must-see. I’m not sure if David Rabe’s scathing indictment of Hollywood in the ‘80s is entirely accurate, but it is definitely disturbing. Karl Berner gives a tour de force performance in this amazing piece of theater! 3 ½ Spotlight

“A Fabulous 50’s Christmas” - a Tribute to Perry Como/Andy Williams TV Specials

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**** Recommended **** Wow! The first time I reviewed “A Fabulous 50’s Christmas” was in 2004! The show, a tribute to the old Perry Como/Andy Williams TV specials, is a nice blend of traditional and contemporary (written before 1960 contemporary) carols. “A Fabulous 50’s Christmas” is a holiday must-see. 4 Spotlights

"Mark of Cain" is a Must-See at Beatniks

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*** Recommended *** The Mark of Cain” has all the ingredients for a nail-biting thriller – an old semi-abandoned cottage on a lake, a skanky neighbor, a self-serving psychiatrist and an escaped mental patient! Co-Directors Rip and Bonnie Johnson, also the people behind Beatniks Entertainment, have put together a suspense-filled production full of twists, turns and twins! 3 Spotlights