Friday January 19 10:32 pm

Spotlighting events along the south shore of Lake Michigan

Spotlight on Equity Theater Reviews

"Rigoletto" - reviewed by Jeffrey Leibham


****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** From the moment the curtain rises and the hunchbacked court jester who is the title character hobbles down the severely raked stage of the Civic Opera House you get the sense that this is going to be a spectacular interpretation of "Rigoletto." This new-to-Chicago production, magnificently directed by E. Loren Meeker, utilizes the same concept familiar to this work in two different productions during the 1980's, both of which starred Luciano Pavarotti in the role of the Duke of Mantua. That is, while the overture is still being played we see the key players in a tableau vivant, foreshadowing the tragedy which is about to befall them all. 4 BIG SPOTLIGHTS

"The Crucible" - Review by Jeffrey Leibham


***HIGHLY RECOMMENDED*** If you are only familiar with Arthur Miller's 1953 play "The Crucible" from having read it in high school, you really owe it to yourself to see it in its current production at Steppenwolf Theatre. Berated by generations of adolescents in English class as being boring and unrelatible, hopefully now thousands of teenagers from Chicagoland area high schools will get to see just how incredible and truly relevant this allegorical tale is. Many may be surprised in the page to stage transformation that occurs, under Jonathan Berry's splendid and very precise direction, when talented and committed actors breathe new life into a classic work of the American theater. 3.5 SPOTLIGHTS

Twitch Your Nose - Hell in a Handbag's "Bewildered" is Magical!


**** Recommended **** I loved Hell in a Handbag’s “Bewildered: A Bewitching New Musical”, a campy, laugh-out-loud musical parody of TV’s comedy hit “Bewitched”. Although Hell in a Handbag did “Bette, Live at the Continental Baths”, in which Caitlin Jackson channeled the Divine Miss M in song and innuendo, this is actually their first full out musical with an original score by Aaron Benham and Ron Weaver. I see more musicals in the Handbag future. You can’t help but laugh at “Bewildered”. 4 Spotlights

Other Theatre's "The Making of a Modern Folk Hero" is a Modern Cautionary Tale


**** Recommended **** Other Theatre’s “The Making of a Modern Folk Hero” is a modern cautionary tale, a sharply satiric story involving a lousy actor looking for meaning in his life; a manipulative politician looking for a patsy, and a blogger. The story is funny, until it’s not, as it builds to its inevitable and tragic conclusion. 3 ½ Spotlights

"St. Joan" by Alan Bresloff


★★★★★There is a new theater company in town, Or at least, new to me. They are called the Poetic Forum Collective and at present they are presenting a new look at “Saint Joan” by George Bernard Shaw, and as they say on their Facebook page (they as yet, do not seem to have a website) this version, directed by Marylynne Anderson-Cooper is presented with an all female cast.

"Into the Woods" by Alan Bresloff


★★★★★ It has been awhile since I have enjoyed a production at The Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights, and to be honest, I went tonight, to see one of my VERY favorite Sondheim shows, “Into The Woods”, thinking I would be disappointed. Guess what? I was not! In fact, I was utterly surprised to see that director Robin M. Hughes, has indeed captured the true essence of what Sondheim (music and lyrics)and James Lapine (book writer) were after. A dark comedy featuring many of the Grimm Fairy Tale characters along with the “Baker and His Wife” all “wishing” for something!

“Quixote: On The Conquest of Self" by Alan Bresloff


★★★★★Leave it to Writers Theatre to bring us a story or an interpretation of the story from the classic novel by Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote de la Mancha taking us across time periods. This is a 90 minute (no intermission) piece written by Monica Hoth and Claudio Valdes Kuri (with an English translation by Georgia Escobar) and it is directed by Kuri. Who would you imagine bringing this character to life? It is none other than Henry Godinez, a name in the Chicago Theater Community , that everyone knows. Many have seen plays he has directed as well as those where he has performed, but in this particular production, we get to see Godinez as never seen before. His energy is so high, even those who came into the theater tired, became more alert.

"Becky Shaw" - the Blind date from Hell


*** Recommended **** OK, you just had a bad blind date. What do you do? Typically, you delete that person from your contacts and move on. But what if he/she keeps turning up everywhere you go? Is he/she just plain pathetic or is he/she a stalker? Gina Gionfriddo’s “Becky Shaw” is a funny – creepy, chalk-on-a-blackboard kind of funny – take on that blind date from hell. The best part, you don’t have to go on a date! You can just kick back, relax in one of Windy City Playhouse’s comfy armchairs, and watch it all play out. 3 Spotlights