Friday January 19 10:31 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

Lyric Opera's "Die Walkure" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****RECOMMENDED**** It's always thrilling to be able to see different productions of Richard Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung cycle and to witness how an entire production team can interpret the mammoth work. Lyric Opera's current installment of Die Walkure, which is the second opera in the tetralogy, is marvelously successful on almost all levels. 3 ½ SPOTLIGHTS

Lookingglass Theatre's "Hard Times" is a Dark and Brooding Dickensian Saga

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*** Recommended*** “Hard Times”, the fall/winter production at Lookingglass, is a really good play, but it’s Dickens, so it’s dark, brooding and depressing as all get out. Then there’s the whole rich vs poor, greedy industrial giant vs the workforce theme which is so relevant today it’ll make you even more depressed. On the other hand, the circus elements lift it above the ordinary. Lookingglass calls this show “Hard Times for Hard Times”, and I guess it is. 3 ½ Spotlights

Patricia Racette is Tightly Wound as the Desperate Magda in "The Consul" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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***RECOMMENDED*** When "The Consul" premiered in 1950 it was met with both critical and public approval. The Italian-American composer, Gian Carlo Menotti, who created the music and libretto, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music that year for his first full-length opera. It proved to be a very popular work and ran on Broadway for almost one year. However, there were many conservative and more traditional-thinking critics who felt that "The Consul" was written only about a current topical issue and would be forgotten in roughly five years because the situation would no longer exist. Well, sadly, they were wrong. You can see for yourself thanks to this lovely new production presented by Chicago Opera Theater in a limited run at the intimate Studebaker Theater. 3 SPOTLIGHTS

"School of Rock - The Musical" is All about the Kids!

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**** Highly Recommended **** “School of Rock – The Musical”, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Broadway smash hit, is a wonderful show. Although the story is rather predictable, nobody cared! From their first appearance until the final number, a dozen (or so) of the most amazingly talented kids stole the show. This show starts with an announcement that the kids seen playing instruments are actually playing those instruments – that’s how good these kids are! Take your family - kids, grandkids, even a rent-a-kid – “School of Rock” is the perfect musical to introduce them to live theater. 4 BIG Spotlights

Marriott's "Newsies" has Precise Timing, Flawless Execution and Incredibly Athletic Choreography

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**** Highly Recommended **** Marriott Theatre’s production of “Newsies” is not to be missed! Kudos to Director/Choreographer, Alex Sanchez for a spectacular production. The choreography is characterized by precise timing, flawless execution, and incredibly athletic moves. At the end of each number, the cast collectively stops on a dime, holding their pose, while the audience cheers – and there were lots of cheers! “Newsies” is a definite must-see! 4 BIG Spotlights

“Yasmina’s Necklace” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** Our Chicago theater scene is one I find inspiring. We have many stages, large and small, and the beautiful thing is the co-operation that they all have with one another. Many Chicago audiences are not aware of the 16th Street Theater in Berwyn. This is a very intimate space located in a park district building’s lower level that seats under 50 patrons. Under the brilliant leadership of Ann Filmer, this space has flourished and audiences have taken notice of the special productions she has brought to their stage. One of these productions, “Yasmina’s Necklace” which played at 16th Street in 2016 is now being produced on the stage at The Goodman Theatre (the Owen stage), a much larger venue, which will allow many more to witness the solid writing of Rohina Malik. Many might recall her one woman show “Unveiled” a huge hit where she herself portrayed five Muslim women discussing the “covering of one’s head”. We were also privileged to see this show on several stages.

“In The Next Room or the Vibrator Play” - Review by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** Back in 2011, Victory Gardens presented Sarah Ruhl’s Pulitzer-Prize finalist ” In The Next Room, or the Vibrator Play” to thunderous applause. Six years have gone by and with Timeline Theatre Company’s new production of this play, Now onstage at Stage 773, I found, that like a good wine, it has mellowed and is even better. Of course, some of that is a different director ( Mechelle Moe does a brilliant job) and of course the different cast of players. Let me first take you through the setting; the dawn of the discovery of electricity, and after the Civil Way, circa 1880 in a small town outside of New York.

The Second City's 106th Mainstage Revue, “Dream Freaks Fall From Space” is a Laugh Extravaganza!

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**** Highly Recommended **** The Second City is doing what they do best, making people laugh, and laugh, and laugh some more, with their 106th Mainstage Revue, “Dream Freaks Fall From Space”. From the first snicker to the last guffaw, this revue scored a ten on the hilarity scale. Get tickets soon, you’ll love it! 4 BIG Spotlights