Friday January 19 10:32 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

Theatre at the Center's Production of "A Wonderful Life: The Musical" is Delightful!

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**** Highly Recommended ***** If you’re looking for a holiday-themed play for your family, one of the best choices anywhere would be Theatre at the Center’s delightful production of “A Wonderful Life: The Musical”. All of your favorite characters from the movie are here – and they’re singing! What can I say? It’s just not Christmas without George Bailey! “Wonderful Life: The Musical” gets 4 Holiday Spotlights!

"The Pearl Fishers" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** One of the more popular and commonly presented operas, recently, at the major opera houses throughout the world has been "The Pearl Fishers" by Georges Bizet. In a new-to-Chicago production currently at the Lyric Opera you can easily see how that phenomenon came to be. Not only bolstered by a memorable version of "the Pearl Fishers duet" which many people consider to be the best tenor/baritone duet in the entire canon of operatic works but also enhanced by the bold and mesmerizing set and costume designs by the world-renowned British fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, this version of "The Pearl Fishers" is thoroughly entrancing and wondrously enchanting on every level. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

“Sleeping Beauty” - Review by Alan Bresloff with added looks by Lily Kienzle and Claire Casey

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★★★★★ When it comes to theater “for young audiences” , Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire surely hits the nail every time. They have an eye for stories that will hold the attention of every youngster as well as the grandparents who accompany them on a Saturday or Sunday morning (they do weekdays as well, but for the most part, these are school groups). Today, I went to their opening of Marc Robin’s version of “Sleeping Beauty”, filled with music and a story that is more than just the fairy tale that we are used to.

Shakespeare's Friends save His Plays in Northlight's Production of "The Book of Will"

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**** Recommended **** Playwrights are amazing people. A successful playwright has a knack for finding drama any/everywhere. Lauren Gunderson finds her inspiration on the printed page, imagining how real people from history actually did whatever they were famous for doing. For instance, if William Shakespeare’s friends hadn’t done what they did, most of his plays would have been lost to us, which is the plot of Northlight Theatre’s new intelligent and articulate play, “The Book of Will”. 4 Spotlights

"Hellcab" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** The Agency Theater Collective, a company that tends to focus on new or rarely produced plays, is currently presenting the return of the Chicago classic “Hellcab.” Written in 1992 by Will Kern, the long-running hit show concerns a single day in the life of a Chicago cab driver. Under the direction of Sommer Austin, who is the co-founder and Managing Director of The Agency Theater Collective, the work is presented entirely in its original format. The only major change comes in the casting of the lead role. In all previous productions of “Hellcab” the cab driver has been played by a male actor. Here, in a refreshing and ultimately rewarding twist, we have the extremely talented and engaging female actor Rusty Schwimmer who lovingly portrays the lonely and isolated cab driver. 3 Spotlights

"Escape to Margaritaville" has Jimmy Buffett's Music and a Clever, Funny Story

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**** Highly Recommended **** I should start by saying that I’m a Parrothead! I rarely miss Jimmy Buffett’s summer concerts whether at Wrigley Field, Northerly Island, Toyota Park (home of the Chicago Fire) or whatever corporate name the venue in Tinley Park is using this year. I couldn’t wait to see “Escape to Margaritaville”, simply because the Broadway-bound musical is packed with Jimmy Buffett’s music. As it turns out, Greg Garcia and Mike O’Malley wrote a darn good story, too. 4 BIG Spotlights

“Lizzie” reviewed by Jeffrey Leibham

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★★★★★ Firebrand Theatre, with its inaugural production of “Lizzie,” has put an indelible stamp on the local musical theater scene. The work, which has become an almost global underground phenomenon, is finally receiving its Chicago premiere in a blistering and highly entertaining production. Firebrand Theatre, according to its Artistic Director Harmony France, is the first musical theater company in the U.S. “committed to employing and empowering women by expanding opportunities on and off the stage.” This piece perfectly fits their mission and features a quartet of extremely talented performers backed by a kick-ass group of femme musicians. 4 Spotlights

Cirque Du Soleil's "Crystal" - An Awesome Ice Spectacular

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**** Highly Recommended **** Cirque du Soleil’s “Crystal” was here and gone way too quickly, but I’m sure it will be back. Cirque’s first venture onto ice, made for a totally unique experience, a blend of Cirque’s themed stories and incredible feats of human skills with the speed and skills of ice skaters. I found myself gasping in awe more than once. 4 BIG Spotlights