Thursday April 26 1:43 am

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

"Cabaret" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ It seems that no matter what play or who directs and /or choreographs it, The Paramount Theatre in Aurora comes out as a HIT!. There are those who say it is the D.U.I. of Jim Corti, the Artistic Director. In this case, DUI means Direction under the influence of the master, Mr. Jim Corti. From day one, this theater has glistened with the creativity of this genius, and it seems all of the staff in this fantastic theater follow his lead ( and that of Tim Rater, CEO & President). Thanks to these fine gentlemen, Aurora has a theater that the entire city can be proud of!

Steppenwolf's "You Got Older" is Superbly Acted

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**** Recommended **** I really enjoyed Steppenwolf’s production of “You Got Older”, Clare Barron’s dark comedy about a young woman whose life is falling apart. Superbly acted by Guinan and Neff, “You Got Older” is funny, bawdy and poignant – and the emotions felt real to me. 3 ½ Spotlights

“SEX WITH STRANGERS” - A REVIEW BY BOB RUBIN

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The kinky name alone, “Sex with Strangers” is enough to drive you to the theater, out of curiously. You won’t quite see that, however. It is a clever set up to create a great character, Ethan, played by Rich Holton. Twenty eight year old Ethan has become a successful blogger by publishing his sexual exploits, make that conquests, and masterfully exploding them on the internet. He meets Olivia, played by Nina O’Keefe, a prim and proper school, almost 40, teacher and ‘wanna be’ writer, at a writers retreat facility.

Lyric's "I Puritani" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham

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****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** It's hard to believe but "I Puritani" has not graced the Lyric Opera House stage in over two decades. This is not due to the fact that it is an unpopular work but rather one that requires the utmost from its four principal performers, commonly referred to as the "Puritani Quartet." Based on the conflicting schedules of today's major opera stars and the very short window in which these stars are in their vocal prime can make casting a bel canto masterpiece like "I Puritani" even more challenging than your traditional operas from the latter half of the 19th century. Vincenzo Bellini's final composition, which premiered in Paris in early 1835, was a smashing success. Sadly, Bellini passed away just nine months later, at the tender age of 33. He was a master of the bel canto style, who is remembered for his long, long melodic lines which prove extremely taxing for even the best trained voice. Thankfully, the Lyric Opera has assembled a glorious cast which brings this vivid opera to an eager and very appreciative audience. 3 and 1/2 SPOTLIGHTS

Chicago Shakespeare's “Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a Magical Spellbinder

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**** Highly Recommended **** Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s production of “Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream” is a magical spellbinder. Although thousands of students will be coming to the Yard to see Director Jess McLeod’s 75-minute adaptation of the play, there are just eight more performances open to the public. My recommendation – call for tickets today! You’ll see an outstanding cast in a beautiful – and very funny – production. By the way, Sean Fortunato, one of the most respected actors in Chicago, plays Theseus/Oberon. 4 Spotlights

Marriott's "Ragtime" is Fabulous!

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**** Recommended **** Marriott Theatre’s darkly beautiful new production of “Ragtime” is fabulous. It has been said that “Ragtime,” the musical adaptation of E.L. Doctorow’s novel, is a microcosm of American life; in fact, the bigotry, racism and anti-immigration rhetoric expressed by some of the characters could have been torn from today’s news. Although I’ve seen “Ragtime” multiple times, I will never get tired of hearing the ragtime melodies. 4 Spotlights

"Nice Girl" - Review by Alan Bresloff

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★★★★★ People who know Raven Theatre , know that they” tell stories of today and of the past that connect us to our cultural landscape”, and the Chicago Premiere of “Nice Girl” meets this mission. Written by Melissa Ross, “Nice Girl” takes us back to 1984 and the plight of Josephine Rosen ( deftly handled by Lucy Carapetyan), a 38- year- old college drop-out, living with her mother ( almost the perfect” Jewish Mother” played by Lynne Baker). They live a fairly routine style of “life” ( if one can call it more than “just ” existing), one day, following another.

I found Porchlight's "Merrily We Roll Along" Heavy Going

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*** Recommended *** If you’re a Sondheim devotee, you probably love Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of “Merrily We Roll Along”. For me, it was just heavy going. The music is glorious, the cast is talented, but the story was boring, confusing and in light of the #MeToo movement, distasteful. It closed after just 16 performances on Broadway. 3 Spotlights