5 Stars! Highly Recommended! Juicy and flavorful, “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” is a treat! The acting is fantastic; the choreography is beautiful; the singing is excellent; and the music is fun and enlivening. The original Broadway musical came out in 1978, written by Larry L. King and Peter Masterson, with music and lyrics by Carol Hall. But this new production by the Theo Ubique company can boast of originality too: with both female and nonbinary characters playing the “working girls” and with lots of gender fluidity: men playing women’s roles, women playing men’s roles, etc., and doing so convincingly. Due to the marvelous trifecta of three talented women: director Landree Fleming, choreographer Jenna Schoppe, and music director Isabella Isherwood, this largely comedic show provides an enjoyable evening’s-worth of live theatre.
*** Recommended *** If you’ve read Louisa May Alcott’s "Little Women", you know that the March sisters, particularly Jo, spent their free time in the attic, so I loved that director Melanie Keller chose to set First Folio’s production of Heather Chrisler’s new adaptation of "Little Women" in the attic. On the whole I enjoyed the production, but sitting in the last row I had some difficulty hearing the cast at certain times. 3 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** One of my favorite things post-Thanksgiving treats is the Towle Theater’s Fabulous 50’s Christmas. The show is modeled on the old Perry Como/Andy Williams Christmas specials our parents/grandparents watched in the 50s.
**** Highly Recommended **** Watching “Dear Evan Hansen” is a gut-wrenching experience. It’s like watching a train wreck – you know it’s coming so you just sit back and wait for the fall out. On the other hand, it’s a hauntingly beautiful musical about a troubled teen complete with redemption in the end. In case you haven’t figured it out, I thought it was magnificent, and I’ll even admit to a tear or two, too. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** "A Magical Cirque Christmas" isn’t just magical, it’s enchanting, a perfect blend of holiday music, magical sleight of hand, awesome circus acts, amazing projections and dramatic lighting. The show is full of OMG moments – stunts that will have you on the edge of your seat! I have to say my favorite segment was the awesome light show – the entire theater was flooded with moving white lights – accompanying Audri Bartholomew’s rendition of classic carol, Silent Night. Truly marvelous! Hurry and get your tickets, "A Magical Cirque Christmas" is only in Chicago for a few more days. 4 BIG Spotlights
***** Highly Recommended ***** I’m a Jane Austen fan. I’ve read and reread all of her books, wry commentaries on the courtship rituals of the English gentry. The Bennett family, described so well in Pride and Prejudice, is dear to me. While I loved the first two installments in the Pemberley trilogy by Lauren Gunderson and Margot Melcom,"Miss Bennett: Christmas at Pemberley" and "The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley", I think "Georgiana and Kitty: Christmas at Pemberley" is the best of the three. Everything is exactly as it should be – the costumes, the hairstyles, the setting, the accents – the feminist slant. Fresh and witty, Georgiana and Kitty fits right into Jane Austen’s world. 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** After more than two years it was a joy to be back in the Theatre at the Center for the Dickens’ Christmas Carol Dinner Show. The Dickens’ classic was adapted into a radio-style script by Philip Potempa, who actually organized several dinner shows after the Covid shutdown. Those shows were in the CVPA dining room. This is the first to be back on stage in the theater – with scenery! 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque opened with a flourish recently, moving from short runs at tiny out-of-the-way venues into the ‘big time’ with a month-long run at the Greenhouse Theater Center. The opening night audience was full of 30-somethings who were having a great time whooping and hollering all through the cocktail hour and then the show. My friend and I had no idea we’d be seeing a bawdy, risqué, colorful, burlesque/boylesque version of the famous ballet. 3 Spotlights
***** Highly Recommended ***** The Joffrey Ballet’s “Chicago-centric” version of The Nutcracker, choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, is quite simply magnificent. By setting The Nutcracker amidst Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, Wheeldon gave the city a unique gift. No matter how many times I see The Nutcracker, I never get tired of the feeling of anticipation and excitement before a performance, waiting for that first chord of Tchaikovsky’s glorious music! The Nutcracker is absolutely perfect in every way. 4 BIG Spotlights
My 4-year-old son. Mike, and I attended The Steadfast Tin Soldier, at Lookingglass Theatre recently. The location of this theatre is a treat in itself. It is located in the Water Tower. It is on the Magnificent Mile, too, so we enjoyed shopping a bit and walking around after the show.