Thursday August 16 9:53 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

"Wastwater" by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★Steep Theatre Company, one of the finest little storefront theater’s in Chicago, is presenting the U.S. Premiere of Simon Stephens’ “Wastwater” on its intimate stage. Wastwater is the deepest lake in England and as legend has it, many stories of many individuals have come to an end at the bottom of this lake. This play, sharply directed by Robin Witt, has three stories that are interlaced with one another. If you do not pay close attention, you may miss the link, but as it turns out, each story can survive on its own. The stories are indeed about choices that we make ,and how a decision can change the course of one’s life.

Towle Theater's Dark and Brooding "House of Mirrors & Hearts"

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*** Recommended *** The Towle Theater’s new production, “The House of Mirrors & Hearts”, is a dark, brooding yet ultimately hopeful story. It’s not quite a musical, although it has beautiful, haunting music. I would call it a play with music, instead. The subject matter is difficult, so I can’t really say I liked the play, but it had an impact, nonetheless. I give it 3 ½ Spotlights.

First Folio's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" will have You Laughing!

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**** Highly Recommended **** I love seeing Shakespeare under the stars. With its forest setting, “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is an ideal choice for First Folio’s 20th anniversary on the outdoor stage. Nay-sayers aside, we know that Shakespeare doesn’t have to be heavy going. In fact, Director Hayley Rice’s light-hearted approach had the audience chuckling. I don’t mind admitting that I was laughing too! I give “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” 4 Spotlights.

Canterbury Summer Theatre's "First Date" will tickle Your Funny Bone!

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**** Recommended **** Canterbury Summer Theatre's “First Date” is a quirky little show that’ll just reach out and grab you! Two people meet for a blind date in real time- something that is rarely done on stage. All of those awkward pauses and verbal slips we’ve all experienced on a blind/first date are here, and they’re really funny. The music is kind of atonal, almost discordant, yet it works. Even though I saw the Towle Theater production of “First Date” a couple of months ago, this version still made me laugh! I give it 4 Spotlights.

Dead Writers Theater Collective's Elegant Production of "The Importance of Being Earnest"

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**** Highly Recommended **** When Dead Writers Theater Collective produce a play, even something as over-produced as “The Importance of Being Earnest”, I’ve come to expect that it will be done with incredible attention to detail, that the accents will be perfect, the costumes sumptuous, and the set unique. This production of “The Importance of Being Earnest” fits that criteria perfectly. It is also the most elegant “Earnest” I’ve ever seen, so I give it 4 Spotlights.

"The Book of Mormon" is a Blockbuster of a Musical!

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***** Highly Recommended ***** “The Book of Mormon”, which has returned to Chicago for a seven week run, was just as funny the second time around! Chock full of bawdy, off-color, and offensive (to some) content, “The Book of Mormon” pokes fun at things people hold sacred – like most of the religions of the world. By the way, adults only! Regardless of whether they watch TV hit , “South Park” or not, your young teens and tweens do not belong in this audience. Bawdy content aside, “The Book of Mormon,” written by Trey Parker and Robin Lopez, the duo responsible for “South Park,” is a Broadway blockbuster musical, complete with a talented cast, sparkly costumes, snappy choreography, even a tap-dancing chorus line! It’s brilliant, it’s funny, and I loved it. I give “The Book of Mormon” four Spotlights.

Marriott's Dystopian "Man of La Mancha" is Stripped-Down to the Basics

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**** Recommended **** Much to my surprise, I really enjoyed Marriott’s stripped-down production of “Man of La Mancha”. In Director Nick Bowling’s dystopian vision, Marriott’s square stage has been transformed into a holding cell (dungeon) for the Inquisition, which translates to any oppressive regime in the here and now. The detainees (prisoners) know they’ll never be free again so they victimize newcomers – because they can. 16th century Spain appears only in the play within the play. Marriott’s extraordinary cast does full justice to Dale Wasserman’s book and Mitch Leigh’s awesome Spanish-flavored score. I give “Man of La Mancha” 4 Spotlights.

Comfy Windy City Playhouse presents "This"

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**** Recommended **** The first time I saw “This” (it was Theater Wit first production back in 2011), I wrote that it was a sophisticated comedy about a group of 30 somethings. Windy City Playhouse’s production of “This” does have some funny bits, along with all that 30 something angst, so I guess it might be called a dramedy. “This” is well-written and very well acted, so I give it 3 ½ Spotlights.