***RECOMMENDED*** You may have heard of the old jazz standard "What a Difference a Day Makes." Well, it can also be said that more than a mere 24 hours can alter how we perceive something or how we may process it. A particular language can make a major difference as well, as evidenced with Lyric Opera of Chicago's latest "Don Carlos." This is the very first time that Lyric is presenting Verdi's epic work in the 1886 five-act version in French and the one that the composer himself believed to be the most complete. The four-act version sung in Italian is most frequently encountered and has been performed multiple times at Lyric in the past. 3 SPOTLIGHTS
*** Recommended *** For their first show in three years, Marian Theater Guild wanted to do a show that would make people laugh. They picked the right show! Young Frankenstein is a Mel Brooks show, so it has lots of throwaway lines. If the 1974 movie starring Gene Wilder and Peter Boyle made you laugh, you’ll love this musical adaptation. "Young Frankenstein" is a Northwest Indiana must-see.
**** Recommended **** To open their final season, First Folio decided to reprise Jeeves Intervenes, which first appeared on the stage in the Mayslake library in 2008. Most of the original cast members have returned too, making this a delightful evening. Jeeves Intervenes is a comedy of manners, in a time when disputes and conflicts were settled with civility and good manners. You can’t help laughing as Jeeves rescues that lovable twit, Bertie Wooster from family follies and his own scrapes. Jeeves Intervenes is slightly insane and totally hilarious. 4 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** I didn’t know quite what to expect when I went to see The Twenty-Sided Tavern at Broadway Playhouse. I’d read about the show being an interactive adventure, but I just couldn’t visualize how a game like D & D could work on stage. Well, I’m happy to tell you that "The Twenty-Sided Tavern" was one of the best evenings of entertainment I’ve had in a long time! It was spontaneous, funny, family friendly and just plain fun. 4 BIG Spotlights
*** Recommended *** Sometimes directors have a vision for a new approach to a musical. Sometimes it works, sometimes it fails Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of Rent it didn’t just fail, it collapsed. Rent was written as a rock opera about starving artists with all their angst and desperation. It should be a little ragged, a little dirty, and a lot defiant. This wasn’t. Most of the songs were sung in one key – loud. I really missed the emotion and nuance of Larson’s original score. 3 Spotlights
**** Recommended **** If you’re a blues enthusiast, you’ll love Black Ensemble Theatre’s production of "Blue Heaven". Although I’m more into rock and R & B music, I can appreciate the blues, and this mellow music was groovin'! And the talent is out of this world – lol!. The audience was dancing in their seats by the finale. 4 Spotlights
Camelot is a place where everything is right, in a time long ago….until King Arthur meets and weds Guinevere. Initially it is a relationship made in heaven and the kingdom is perfect. Then, Lancelot enters the picture. King Arthur is enamored with him and bestows knighthood
and makes him a knight of the Round Table. And then, Guinevere is enamored with him too and this does not end well.
**** Recommended **** Apparently immigration is a volatile issue no matter where in the world you live. No matter the reason or the destination, people are always trying to get to a better place. Sometimes, however, that better place isn’t much better. The news stories and headlines are almost always about government problems with immigration. Rachel De-lahay’s gripping play Routes examines the issue from a different perspective – that of the immigrant trying to deal a system stacked against him. 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** I admit it! I love Shakespeare, so I always look forward to seeing one of his plays produced at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre – and I usually give them rave reviews, too. That said, I was kind of disappointed with "Measure for Measure". The acting was wonderful but for the first time ever, I had a hard time hearing/understanding the dialogue. Normally it takes a minute or two to get comfortable with Shakespeare’s language – because the actors are speaking conversationally. In this play, I never got comfortable because it seemed like the actors were racing through the dialogue. 3 ½ Spotlights
I can’t think of enough adjectives/adverbs to describe Catch the Light, the exhilarating 60th anniversary performance by Giordano Dance Chicago. I think exuberant, stylish, graceful, athletic, exciting, stunning, incredible and energetic are good choices too. Really, I was in awe of the speed and athleticism on display. The Giordano dancers are so strong, so talented, so creative, they absolutely blew me away! I gave them 4 BIG Spotlights.