Wednesday March 20 4:23 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

"The Father" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** Many people of my generation know the term “Gaslighting”- here is the definition :Gaslighting is a form of psychological manipulation that seeks to sow seeds of doubt in a targeted individual or in members of a targeted group, making them question their own memory, perception, and sanity. (found on Wikipedia). Tonight, as I watched the story being told in the Chicago premiere of “The Father” written by Florian Zeller and translated by Christopher Hampton, this word came to mind. instantly!

"All Childish Things" - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Recommended **** Like the characters in “All Childish Things” at First Folio, I’m an avid collector of all things “Star Trek”. Although I might pay a lot of money to get something really rare – like the ComicCon Limited Edition of the U.S.S. Enterprise – I don’t think I’d become a thief to get it, unlike the characters in Joseph Zettelmaier’s comedy. Although it’s immediately obvious that these people are obsessed with “Star Wars”, you won’t need to know anything about the movie – or the toys it launched – to enjoy “All Things Childish”. 4 Spotlights

"Elektra" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** To put it quite simply, Lyric's current production of "Elektra" is electrifying! On opening night there was a pre-curtain announcement made from the stage that Swedish soprano Nina Stemme -- making her highly-anticipated Lyric debut in the title role that has earned her widespread acclaim at the Metropolitan Opera, Berlin, Munich and Vienna -- had injured her knee in a final rehearsal and that it may limit her mobility. An audible gasp rippled across the main floor. But being the consummate professional that she is, Stemme rose to the challenge and, if she was in any sort of pain, she drove it deeper into her portrayal. You never would have known the conditions she was battling, as it never once hindered her performance. As far as her voice is concerned, there is absolutely no doubt that it is in pristine condition. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

"The Woman in Black" - Review by Carol Moore

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**** Highly Recommended **** Are you a fan of old-fashioned thrillers? I’m not talking about the stories about monsters that go bump in the night. I’m talking about stories with a slow build-up leading, leading, leading to some kind of a terrifying incident. You know, stories about odd people or eerie happenings, punctuated with sudden noises or shriek-y music which makes you gasp out loud. I love those stories, so I loved “The Woman in Black”, which made London audiences “shriek in fear for 30 years”. 4 BIG Spotlights

“Girl in the Red Corner” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Recommended *** I am not one that is crazy about sports that also purpose themselves as art and kick boxing and Martial Arts in general are “the art of self- defense” and of late a sport. I recall going to one of the Indiana casinos to watch a match in what appeared to be a cage, and was somewhat repulsed at the idea of tossing two men into a cage and having the survivor walk out. It kind of goes back to a time where the Gladiators were the powers. I do have to say that although the latest production by Broken Nose Theatre, “Girl in the Red Corner” does get into this form of “art”, the story involving the character(s) is powerful and the cast assembled for this 100 minute production is superb ( and very fit).

“Nina Simone: Four Women” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** Most of America remembers Nina Simone as a jazz singer. Her music was amazing and her music was “genius”. But many of us learned a great deal more about this woman in Christina Ham’s “Nina Simone: Four Women”, on stage now at Northlight Theatre. Sharply directed by Kenneth L. Roberson, “Nina Simone: Four Women” tells the tale of what took place after the bombing of the 16th Street Baptists Church in 1963. It is because of this horrific event that she became an activist in the Civil Rights Movement that had started.

"A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** Porchlight Music Theatre has been enjoying quite a sensational season thus far. Fresh on the heels of their revamped version of the classic "Gypsy" (which was by far this company's biggest box office success and could easily have run for several more months due to the high demand but limited seating within the intimate Ruth Page space) comes the highly entertaining and wickedly macabre "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder." The book of this 2014 Tony Award-winning Best Musical is based upon the 1907 novel of Roy Horniman's entitled "Israel Rank: The Autobiography of a Criminal" but may be most familiar to avid cinephiles who relished the 1949 British film "Kind Hearts and Coronets" starring Alec Guinness. 4 SPOTLIGHTS

"Swamp Baby" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** One of the characters in Aaron Carter's latest play "Swamp Baby" expressively states that, looking back upon one's own life, it's possible to reflect that is was all just a "convulsion of memory." This is posited by a man who, purported to be a physician yet perhaps without the credentials to prove it, seems to be more interested in the eccentricities of the human body than the pain and secrets contained within the human heart. Carter, the local writer whose work has allows been informed by his fascination with magic, sideshows and the circus, has fashioned a hauntingly poetic work detailing capitalistic gain versus scientific advancements as well as themes of miscegenation and one which allows us to embrace the sometimes unpleasant sensation of what it must feel like to be an outsider looking in. Under Lauren "LL" Lundy's sympathetic yet focused direction, this world premiere presented by MPAACT at The Greenhouse Theatre Center is radiant. 3 SPOTLIGHTS