**** Highly Recommended **** The Second City e.t.c.’s 46th Revue, "Great Altercations" is downright hilarious. Everywhere I looked, the folks in the audience were laughing – not polite little titters, either – I’m talking guffaws! And this revue is family friendly! We all know that family situations and altercations can be hilarious – afterwards. This revue is all about pointing out the humor in things we’ve all experienced. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** A Matter of Red Herrings. a mystery spoof produced by A Theater in the Dark, is a terrific new option for theater lovers. You don’t have to go to a theater to enjoy it! You listen to it! Just like an audio book or a podcast, you can listen wherever you are – at home, in your car, even while you’re working out! You’ll be laughing in no time listening to all the bad puns and detective story clichés. 4 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** Hell in a Handbag is one of my favorite Chicago theater companies. Their unauthorized parodies of old black and white films and TV shows from the fifties are always packed with double entendres, puns, running sight gags and bad wigs. Since I love Agatha Christie’s mysteries featuring Miss Marple, I was thrilled to see their latest effort, "A Fine Feathered Murder" featuring the always delightful Ed Jones as Miss Jane Marbled. Playwright – and incredibly stylish Lady Violetta Fowler – David Cerda has written another hilarious tongue-in-cheek farce. Be prepared for murder, mayhem and a lot of laughs. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** Mercury Theatre’s production of "Priscilla: Queen of the Desert" is all about disco music and ‘dancing queens’ in sequined costumes. It’s totally over-the-top and a fabulously fun time! Unless you’re a Grinch, you go home laughing and happy. The whole premise, the adventures of three drag queens driving across the Australian Outback, is insane, but don’t let that get in the way. No one else does! People were whooping it up from the first note. I love "Priscilla Queen of the Desert" and I think you will too! 4 Spotlights.
**** Highly Recommended **** Northlight Theatre’s production of "Dear Jack, Dear Louise" is one of the best plays I’ve seen this year! Advance reading about the play intrigued me, but I wasn’t sure how the concept would translate to the stage. I didn’t want to see a clone of Love Letters - two people dispassionately reading side by side. I’m happy to say that Ken Ludwig’s tribute to his parents is a fully realized play which is nostalgic, deeply personal yet historically resonant. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** "Reefer Madness" is a tongue-in-cheek musical satire about the evils of marijuana, based on a 1930’s government-produced film strip. Don't be put off by the title, this is right up there in my funniest musicals top ten. Marijuana is mostly legal now, so I can’t figure out why it’s so rarely staged. Jeff Casey and Kevin Bellamy have embraced the hilarity. After the show, Reefer Madness got the loudest applause I’ve ever heard at the Towle. 4 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** "It Came From Outer Space" is a new musical by Joe Kinosian and Kellen Blair (the people who wrote Murder for Two). It’s a takeoff on Universal’s 1953 3-D movie starring Richard Carlson and Barbara Rush. Now considered a classic of science fiction cinema, "It Came From Outer Space" is based on a Ray Bradbury film treatment called "The Meteor". "It Came From Outer Space" is a clever comedy, with lots of campy melodrama, tongue-in-cheek dialog, physical humor, slapstick and puns that will make you groan. I loved it! 4 BIG Spotlights
★★★★★Over the many years I have been reviewing theater, I have probably seen over 15 different and unique productions of “The Wizard of Oz”, a shortened version of the 1939 Warner Brothers ( distributed by MGM) film that was based on a book called “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”. The film version truly made Judy Garland a name that will always be remembered, as this classic film seems to be on TV at least once a year.
★★★★★ August Wilson has brought some amazing stories to the stages of America. His works explore the heritage of the African-American population in relation to their lives in America over the course of the 20th century, and the plays are called The American Century Cycle ( each play is a different and unique decade). “Fences” his third of the ten play “cycle” is about Troy Maxson ( played to perfection by Kamal Angelo Bolden) who was a ball player in the Negro League. In fact, one might call him a star in that league.
★★★★★ If you are a lover of the “Blues”, Writers Theatre in Glencoe has something special for you! Most Chicago theater audiences are familiar with Ms Felicia P. Fields ( Porchlight’s “Blues In The Night”, “Let The Good Times Roll” at Northlight and of course “Nothin But The Blues.). She was born to sing the blues and in her new show “Pearl’s Rollin’ With The Blues” conceived by Ron OJ Parson and Ms Fields and directed to perfection by Parson, you are in for a treat.