*** Recommended *** If you’re planning on seeing TINA – THE TINA TURNER STORY you should know that it is not a juke box musical. There’s plenty of music, but it’s Broadway musical music, not Top 40 hits music. In other words, this is Tina Turner’s life story, and it’s very, very dark. That said, the audience was cheering at the opening night performance, the 200th performance. I thought the was too long, coming in at 2 hours, 45 minutes; the encore performance after the bows redeemed the show for me. 3 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** Court Theatre's production of Fen is very dirty - and no, I don't mean raunchy, I mean dirty, really really dirty. If you sit in the first two rows (as I did), you need to wear a mask because there are clouds of dust arising from the stage. Why, you might ask. All I can say is that Fen is set in/on a farm (that used to be part of a marshy area that was drained and recleaimed - i.e.
**** Recommended **** The Goodman Theatre’s latest production, Toni Stone, is a great baseball story. If you have a baseball lover in the family, take them to see this unique play. This is a darn good story based on a real person, Toni Stone, the first woman to play professional baseball. Kudos to Director Ron OJ Parsons on a delightful story. Aside from the history, Toni Stone would be worth seeing for the baseball anecdotes alone! 4 Spotlights
**** Highly recommended **** If you love jazz, and jazz singers, you don’t want to miss Alexis J. Roston in "Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill" at Mercury Theater’s Venus Cabaret. Wearing a glamorous white gown, full-length gloves and pearls, Roston, backed by a fabulous trio, brings Billie Holiday to life. By the way, watch for the darling dog later in the show! Lady Day has found a home at Venus Cabaret! 4 Big Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** Drury Lane’s production of "A Chorus Line" is absolutely fabulous. "A Chorus Line," one of my favorite musicals, is unique in that it has no stars. Rather it pays homage to all the dancers competing for a spot in the chorus. This show Who’s who in the chorus? We never have a clue, they’re just names in a program – except in "A Chorus Line!" 4 Big Spotlights
***** Highly Recommended ***** Marriott Theatre’s "Big Fish", an old-fashioned feel-good musical about an American family, is imaginative, fantastical and an all- around good time. Spoiler warning – it can be a bit of a tear-jerker, too. Although I didn’t see the Tim Burton film, I did read Daniel Wallace’s book. I think the musical nails the feel of the book. I loved “Big Fish” and I give it 4 BIG Spotlights.
**** Highly Recommended **** Guess what? Theatre at the Center was sold out! That’s right, there were no empty seats at Sunday’s performance of Late Nite Catechism. Everyone in that audience was there to have fun – and they did. Sister had everyone laughing and the laughter was good to hear. TATC has been closed way too long. 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** Chicago Shakespeare’s World Stage has finally returned! The first World Stage production since 2019, Wise Children’s epic production of "Wuthering Heights", adapted and directed by Emma Rice, comes from Great Britain. Although this production does convey the melancholy, brooding mood of Emily Brontë’s novel, I found it to be really heavy going. It’s impossible to empathize with any of these characters. Worse yet, at nearly three hours, it was way too long for American audiences. 3 Spotlights
**** Recommended **** Northlight Theatre’s production of "Andy Warhol in Iran" is an entertaining and intriguing little gem of a play which packed a ton of history into a short time. Against an elegant hotel room set, Rob Lindley totally nailed Andy Warhol; while Namid Dehghani was convincing as a reluctant revolutionary. This play is a must-see. 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** The Goodman Theatre production of "the ripple, the wave that carried me home" is a beautifully layered story about a family’s struggle against injustice. Told from an estranged daughter’s perspective, the narrative seems to make huge leaps through time – present to past to earlier past and back again – without warning, which made it difficult to follow. Another thing to consider, the ripple, the wave runs an hour and 50 minutes without an intermission, which is just too long for me (the seats in the Owen are not the most comfortable). 3 ½ Spotlights