"Once Upon a Farm: A Story, a Family, a Tradition" was truly a one-man band, multi-media, production. Phillip Potempa wrote and directed the play, designed the set, and was the performer. This production seemed to come straight from the heart as Potempa shared his family stories and traditions though conversation and multi-media means.
**** Recommended **** My 4-year-old son, Mikey, and I attended "Leonardo! A Wonderful Show about a Terrible Monster" on Saturday, September 10, 2022 at 11:30am. Leonardo, despite his best efforts, could not scare anyone. Although he looked for children that typically get scared easily, he couldn’t even scare them. Leonardo, was a monster, but he was cute and friendly instead of scary.
Leonardo! A Wonderful Show about a Terrible Monster" was a good show and put together very nicely. 3 ½ Spotlights
★★★★★For those of you that listen to me on the radio (WCPT820 every Sunday 2-3 p.m.), you have heard me say that seeing a play is unique each time you see it. Unlike a film that is cut and spliced and then stays the same, a play enjoys a new life each time it is done. A different director sees things differently. A different venue changes the blocking. Each set causes a different concept and of course the actors and their interpretations of the roles they are playing is unique. I say this all because tonight, Jane and I attended our third incarnation of “Fun Home” with music by Jeanine Tesori and the book and lyrics by Lisa Kron, as staged by Jim Corti and Landree Fleming as part of the BOLD SERIES at Paramount Theatre’s Copley Theatre in Aurora. What a production!
★★★★★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.
★★★★★I suppose one might call Madeline George’s “Hurricane Diane” , “The Housewives of Red Bank Meet The Devil Herself”!. I do have to say this is a funny play filled with characters that will have you in stitches. Those of you who might be weather buffs might recall that there was a Hurricane Diane back in the mid 50’s.
★★★★★ I understand the difficulty of a person not knowing exactly where he fits in. Often the family has advised of their expectations as has their school counselor. But what if he is confused? In “Choir Boy” written by Tarell Alvin McCraney, we have a story that takes place at a prep school for boys.
5 Stars! Highly Recommended! Madeline Sayet is vivacious and compelling in “Where We Belong”, a striking 85-minute autobiographical account of her life and her adventures going abroad to the United Kingdom to get a Ph.D. in Shakespeare. Her impactful narrative expresses what it is like to straddle more than one culture and love parts of both—while at the same time, she questions who she is and where she belongs. In so doing, she merges the three aspects of her life that give her the most meaning: Shakespeare’s use of language, her love for her mother’s Mohegan culture, and her desire to tell a good story.
4 Stars! Highly recommended! Brian Parry is absolutely brilliant as King Kreon, ruler of Thebes, in Sophikles’ Ancient Greek classic “Antigone”, produced by Redtwist Theatre. In this 75-minute version of the story, based on a new translation by Anne Carson, Parry has met his match in Isabel Alamin, who impressively plays Antigone. Their powerful interaction transfixes the audience, as both make imposing claims to defend widely different points of view about the relationship between government, justice, and morality. While true to the original narrative, this adaptation of “Antigone” is not your grandparents’ version. Rather, the wording is “colloquial, light-fingered, and cutting.” And under the direction of Christine Freije, the show proceeds at a driving pace.