Wednesday October 17 8:28 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

"Fly by Night" by Alan Bresloff

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Highly Recommended ***** Most everyone knows my love affair with that little storefront in Rogers Park, TheoUbique. In this little “cabaret” theater, a storefront from my past , The No Exit Café (a sort of beatnik, folk song hang-out). From the first time I watched a production as smartly directed (or perhaps the better word is orchestrated) by Founder, Creative Director Fred Anzevino, I felt the intimacy that this little venue brings to a production. They have taken large production shows and brought them down to cabaret size, never missing a beat or taking anything out of the story, and now, they are doing a Chicago premiere, an off-Broadway musical, “Fly by Night”, written by Will Connolly, Michael Mitnick and Kim Rosenstock. One might call this a Chamber Musical, although it has more dialogue than most of them, but in the intimacy of this storefront on Glenwood, I think, Chamber Musical works best!

“Piya Behrupiya”, a Hindi Translation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” is Brilliant!

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***** Highly Recommended ***** I was lucky enough to see Company Theatre Mumbai’s “Piya Behrupiya”, a Hindi translation of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre last night. Shakespeare would have loved this exuberant, folksy, ridiculously absurd interpretation of “Twelfth Night”! If you're free on September 29th, I urge you to see this brilliant performance! I give it 4 BIG Spotlights.

If You're a Fan of "Game of Thrones" You'll want to see "Thrones! The Musical Parody"

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*** Recommended *** An audience of enthusiasts was at the Apollo the other night to see “Thrones! The Musical Parody”, a mashup of all six seasons of “Game of Thrones”. In contrast to me (I’ve seen just enough episodes to get most of the references), these people knew what was coming. “Thrones!” is funny in and of itself, but if you’ve never seen the show, like my friend Nancy, it was mostly kind of dumb with some very funny parts. I give “Thrones! The Musical Parody” 3 Spotlights.

The Goodman's "Wonderful Town" is Ready for Broadway!

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***** Highly Recommended ***** Goodman Theatre’s whimsical revival, “Wonderful Town”, could move to Broadway tomorrow and be a hit, it’s that good! Although it doesn’t have any huge popular hits, the songs in “Wonderful Town” are light, lyrical and fun. Conductor Ben Johnson and the Goodman’s 17-piece orchestra bring Leonard Bernstein’s score to life! “Wonderful Town” even has old-fashioned Overtures. My friend and I left smiling, so I give “Wonderful Town” 4 BIG Spotlights.

Spend a Nostalgic Evening with "Cheers Live On Stage" at Broadway Playhouse

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**** Recommended **** Have you ever imagined yourself going into the bar “Where everybody knows your name?” Do you know all the words to the iconic theme song? Guess what? You can spend a nostalgic evening with Sam, Diane, Coach and Carla at the Broadway Playhouse, right here in Chicago. “Cheers Live On Stage” isn’t the best play I’ve ever seen but it’s sweet, genuine and true to the “Cheers” legacy. My friends and I thought it was a lot of fun, so I give “Cheers Live On Stage” 3 ½ Spotlights.

"Life Sucks" is a Very Funny Homage to Chekov

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**** Highly Recommended **** “Life Sucks”. At least that’s what the characters in Aaron Posner’s brilliant new play think. We know this because they tell us so before the play ever begins. In fact, they continue to stop and talk directly to the audience – sometimes even asking for audience participation – right up to the conclusion. The Lookingglass cast is so good you’ll almost forget they’re acting. “Life Sucks” is a very funny homage to Chekov, and I give it 4 Spotlights.

Theatre at the Center's "Pump Boys and Dinettes" is a Toe-Tappin' Good Time

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**** Recommended **** I’m not a fan of country music, but “Pump Boys and Dinettes”, a toe-tappin’, feel-good little musical, has always been one of my favorite musicals. Since it closed in the late ‘80s, “Pump Boys and Dinettes” has rarely been seen on Chicago stages (Theo Ubique in 2011, Drury Lane in 2009), and I just can’t figure out why. It’s an ideal show for a smaller theater and a guaranteed audience pleaser. If you’re looking for a good time, you’ll want to drive on down to Theatre at the Center (Munster) for a performance. I give “Pump Boys and Dinettes” 4 Spotlights.

Vibrant Salsa Rhythms in Porchlight's "In the Heights"

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**** Recommended Porchlight Music Theatre has a habit of doing oversized musicals on a seriously undersized stage. They usually pull it off quite well, but with their new production, “In the Heights”, space became a factor. They just didn’t seem to have enough space for all of the choreography. On the other hand, the voices were fabulous! “In the Heights” has infectious music and movement. You’ll be dancing in your seat to the vibrant salsa rhythms. 3 ½ Spotlights.