**** Highly Recommended **** There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that the Paramount Theatre has a huge hit with “The Producers”, the outrageously funny musical based on Mel Brooks’ 1968 Academy Award winning black and white cult classic film. An outrageous plot, fast-paced dialogue, clever lyrics, slapstick comedy, pratfalls and sight gags, guarantee you’ll love this show. No matter how many times I’ve seen “The Producers”, it always makes me laugh. It’s totally worth the drive to Aurora. 4 BIG Spotlights.
**** Recommended **** Like the characters in “All Childish Things” at First Folio, I’m an avid collector of all things “Star Trek”. Although I might pay a lot of money to get something really rare – like the ComicCon Limited Edition of the U.S.S. Enterprise – I don’t think I’d become a thief to get it, unlike the characters in Joseph Zettelmaier’s comedy. Although it’s immediately obvious that these people are obsessed with “Star Wars”, you won’t need to know anything about the movie – or the toys it launched – to enjoy “All Things Childish”. 4 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** Are you a fan of old-fashioned thrillers? I’m not talking about the stories about monsters that go bump in the night. I’m talking about stories with a slow build-up leading, leading, leading to some kind of a terrifying incident. You know, stories about odd people or eerie happenings, punctuated with sudden noises or shriek-y music which makes you gasp out loud. I love those stories, so I loved “The Woman in Black”, which made London audiences “shriek in fear for 30 years”. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** My friend Helen said that “Million Dollar Quartet” was 90 minutes of pure joy. It’s definitely an evening of in-your-face rock and roll. While Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley are rockin’ on Marriott’s intimate stage, audiences are rockin’ right along with them! “Million Dollar Quartet” is a blast from the past! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** Windy City Playhouse’s production of “Noises Off” is getting big laughs. That’s because it’s a very funny play within a play in which a cast of second rate British actors is rehearsing/performing “Nothing On,” a lame comedy featuring mistaken identities, slamming doors, pratfalls, a pretty girl in her underwear and sardines. Playing comedy, particularly farce, requires split second timing – and the ability to take a fall – and this cast is brilliant. No matter how many times I’ve seen “Noises Off”, it always makes me laugh! 4 BIG Spotlights
Highly Recommended **** The 3rd Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival kicked off with an appearance by Festival Founder and Artistic Director Blair Thomas, followed by a performance of “Ajijaak on Turtle Island”. By show time, there weren’t any empty seats in the beautiful Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building, the festival’s home. We saw an awesome show incorporating Native American tradition, costumes, music and dance, along with Heather Henson’s (daughter of Jim Henson) graceful, expressive puppets. 4 Spotlights
**** Recommended **** I must confess that I’ve had problems writing a review of the Donmar Warehouse Production of “St. Nicholas” because I ended up with such mixed feelings about it. On the one hand, I thought that Brendan Coyle’s performance as a drunken Dublin theater critic was ‘not-to-be-missed’ amazing. On the other hand, since Conor McPherson’s entire play consisted of that critic’s drunken ramblings, I didn’t just see the point. 3 Spotlights
**** Recommended **** I was gobsmacked when I saw all the tweens in the lobby taking pictures and eagerly waiting to see “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”, based on Rick Riordan’s best-selling fantasy-adventure novel. It just goes to show, kids do still read – and they really like seeing their heroes come to life. In fact, they cheered when Percy Jackson (Chris McCarrell) made his first appearance. I have to admit I didn’t know anything about Percy Jackson, but I still enjoyed this adventure. 3 ½ Spotlights