**** Recommended **** It felt so normal to walk into the Mainstage at Second City, even kind of surreal. Everything looked the same, felt the same, and yet…There’s a parallel to our lives, everyone went through the last eighteen months together, yet completely apart. So of course "Together at Last," the 109th Mainstage Revue, reflected the last eighteen months and the changes a pandemic has made in all our lives. We’ve been serious long enough, we need some laughter and Together at Last definitely fills that need. 4 Spotlights
** Somewhat Recommended ** The Frankenstein legend continues on in Joseph Zettelmaier’s newest gothic horror story, "The Jigsaw Bride" at First Folio Theatre through November 14th. Although First Folio’s set is suitably gothic, the story itself is really kind of boring. I’ve seen several of Zettelmaier’s plays, and enjoyed all of them – but not this one. 2 ½ Spotlights
**** Recommended **** When I think of the Court Theatre, I know I’ll see a well-staged, true-to-the-book production so I was surprised to learn I had ‘stage’ seating for The Tragedy of Othello the Moor of Venice. Needless to say I wasn’t expecting an avant-garde immersive experience but there it was, right in the middle of everything. Although Othello is my least favorite of Shakespeare’s plays, what with Iago being a bottom-feeding sociopath, compelling performances from a stellar cast drew me right in. Unfortunately, in abbreviating Othello to one act, certain key speeches explaining nefarious behaviors were omitted. 3 ½ Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** As You Like It might be my favorite of Shakespeare’s comedies. All of the elements are here – young love, not-so-young love, good vs evil siblings, people wandering about in the forest, and … wrestling? So, idea-guy (actually he’s the director) Daryl Cloran and Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival (Vancouver, BC) took those ingredients, moved the whole thing into the 60s, added Beatles songs and came up with a winner! I loved everything about Chicago Shakespeare’s delightful production – the cast, the set, the musicians rocking on stage, the way the words in the songs seemed to fit right into Shakespeare’s dialog. 4 BIG Spotlights
*** Recommended *** Windy City Playhouse has paired up with Rick Bayless (yes, that Rick Bayless) for a brand new immersive theater experience, "A Recipe for Disaster." You might remember that Windy City had a very successful run with an immersive play, Southern Gothic. "A Recipe for Disaster" was written by Rick Bayless, Carl Menninger and Amy Rubenstein and directed by David H. Bell. While "A Recipe for Disaster"doesn’t reach to the "Southern Gothic" standard, it’s still pretty darn good. Food and drink samplings are mostly delish. Oh, and it’s a lot of fun! 3 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** As we drove to Northlight Theatre, my friend Crista and I were looking forward to seeing Songs for Nobodies which we’d been scheduled to see the very weekend everything shut down. We knew it would be a good show – it turned out to be a great show! In fact, Songs for Nobodies is an absolute tour de force performance for star, Bethany Thomas. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** Although I’ve heard mariachi music around Mexican holidays, I know absolutely nothing about it, so “American Mariachi” was a learning experience as well as a sweet, schmaltzy family drama wrapped in mariachi music – with a healthy dose of girl power! I really enjoyed this show and I think you will too! 4 Spotlights
**** Recommended **** Drury Lane Theatre is back after 370-some days! Starting out small and musical seems to be a theme this fall in suburbia; Drury Lane’s season opener, a slightly shortened, one-act version of "Forever Plaid" fits right in.
**** Recommended **** I am so glad that theaters are reopening. Returning to the Marriott felt a lot like a hug from a friend I hadn’t seen in such a long time – without the actual hug!
*** Recommended “Mr. Burns, a post-electric play” portrays life after an apocalypse which somehow caused the electrical grid to fall.