Wednesday February 20 12:38 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

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.

Sondheim's Clever Complicated Lyrics make "Company" Special

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**** Highly Recommended **** It was a real pleasure to see the Writers Theatre production of “Company”, which might just be my favorite Sondheim musical. “Company” is basically a series of vignettes dealing with the angst-ridden lives of five married couples and their single friend, Robert (Thom Miller), whom they all secretly envy – which is why all the wives are trying to marry him off! All that angst, expressed through clever complicated music by a fabulous cast, make for a wonderful night. I give “Company” 4 Spotlights.

“The Spongebob Musical” is Colorful, Campy and True to the Cartoon Character, "Spongebob Squarepants"

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**** Highly Recommended **** I had a very important guest for the opening of “The Spongebob Musical”, my seven-year old granddaughter, Molly, a huge “Spongebob Squarepants” fan. I know she’s a fan because she watches the cartoon whenever she’s at my house and knows the theme song by heart. Before we left, she drew/colored an excellent picture of Spongebob which she clutched throughout the show! Colorful, campy and true to the cartoon, “The Spongebob Musical”, had something happening everywhere you looked. The musical numbers, all written by different people, shouldn’t have worked together, and yet they did. Molly and I both agree – “The Spongebob Musical” is a hit! We give it 4 BIG Spotlights.

Lifeline's "Northanger Abbey" is a Delightful Literary Adaptation

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**** Highly Recommended **** If you’ve never been to Lifeline Theatre, you’re missing something really special. At Lifeline, a small (99 seats) theater in Rogers Park, every play they do – for adults and children – is their own literary adaptation. Their absolutely delightful new production, “Northanger Abbey” was adapted by Robert Kauzlaric, with original music and lyrics by George Howe. I give it 4 enthusiastic Spotlights.

"The House That Will Not Stand" has Compelling Story and All Female Cast

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*** Recommended *** “The House That Will Not Stand” is a history play about free women of color in 1813 New Orleans. I really expected to be blown away by the play because of the compelling story, the level of talent on stage and the all-female cast. Instead of loving it, I ended up disappointed because I couldn’t hear/understand a lot of the dialogue. I give “The House That Will Not Stand” 3 Spotlights.