★★★★★ When one attends a production at Black Ensemble Theater, one expects to hear music “the way it is meant to be heard”, and, as always, their new show, “Style and Grace”, hit the mark! There is also a new voice in the background. Kylah Frye, who we have watched on the stage at Black Ensemble over the years, has taken on a new role (or perhaps an added one) as an Associate Director with the company, and wrote and directed this piece. Turns out she is a triple threat, doing a great job.
Highly Recommended **** Most of us grew up on Boris Karloff in “Frankenstein”, a tale of a Doctor who desires to recreate man from the dead. What Lookingglass Theatre is now presenting is a whole new look at “the monster” as told by Mary Shelley. This is a version that many will be surprised by. David Caitlin has adapted this book to fit the Lookingglass mode of creating stories that are physical as well as mental. Caitlin also directs this powerful story. Lookingglass patrons know that every time you enter the “black box” venue, you will see a different configuration. This one is in the round, so to speak, with audience members sitting on all four sides and the action taking place on a platform of sorts in the center of the room.
Recommended *** During the War ( AKA as “The Big One”) most people are aware that the women had to take some of the jobs that their men did prior to being called to service. History shows that the “Rosie the Riveter” ladies kept our country and economy going. For baseball fans, we had “A League of Their Own”, but what about the theater? George Brant’s “Into the Breeches” now on the Northlight stage takes us back to 1942, here in Chicago and our Oberon Playhouse.
I had intended to review "Bloomsday" myself, but traffic got in the way. There was a Cubs game at 7:15 on opening night. Knowing that, I left Munster at 5:15 for Remy Bumppo's 7:00 pm curtain, but traffic on LSD was horrendous. I got to Theater Wit about 10 minutes late, and of course they couldn't hold the curtain. I saw the second act, which I really enjoyed, but I didn't think it was fair to write a review without seeing both. Thanks to my friend Al Bresloff, I'm able to offer a full review. Carol
**** Recommended **** “Falsettos” is an unusual musical in that it defies classification. It’s about the angst-ridden lives of six New Yorkers, but it’s not annoying – at least most of the time. It has funny bits, but it’s not a comedy. It has really sad bits, but it’s not a tragedy. The entire script is sung, but it’s not an opera or even an operetta. It’s actually a musical soap opera about “homosexuals with children”, but it’s also a beautiful musical experience sung by six outstanding voices. 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** I’ve had a hard time writing about Court Theatre’s production of “The Adventures of Augie March”. If you haven’t read Saul Bellow’s 1953 coming-of-age novel about a man-child – and I haven’t – you’ll probably have a hard time with this adaptation. It was difficult to keep track of the forty-some characters played by an ensemble cast of thirteen. I read somewhere that Bellow’s novel meanders through several hundred pages – this stage production meandered through three long acts, coming in at a little over three hours (and two intermissions). 3 Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** I was delighted when I read that Teatro Vista was restaging “La Havana Madrid”, this time at the Den Theatre. Sandra Delgado’s well-researched play about La Havana Madrid, a nightclub which was located on the second floor of a building on the corner of Belmont and Sheffield, melds the sounds of mambo and salsa with some of the stories of the people of all ages who frequented the club. “La Havana Madrid” is in my top ten favorite shows of all time! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** I have to confess, I am a Cub fan, so, of course. I loved “Miracle”. If I were a Sox fan – or a fan of any other major league team - I doubt if I’d be so excited. “Miracle” is the perfect musical for Cub fans of all ages, because the 2016 World Series win meant so much to so many people. I am here to tell all of those fans that for me, watching “Miracle” was like watching the World Series all over again! 4 BIG Spotlights
****HIGHLY RECOMMENDED**** What a joy it is to have the supremely talented director David Cromer back at Writers Theatre. The North Shore native, who has been living in New York City for the past decade, returns to direct his sixth show (but the first in the new Writers Theatre building) with a touching and simply sensational rendering of the 2009 musical "Next to Normal." Chicagoland audiences once again have a chance to see the very special magic that a director as gifted as Cromer can bring to a show, and all of this only a year after Cromer's Broadway production of the musical "The Band's Visit" swept the 2018 Tony Awards ceremony, winning Cromer the coveted Best Director trophy. 4 SPOTLIGHTS
**** Recommended **** I enjoyed everything about the Goodman Theatre’s production of “The Winter’s Tale”, which is so rarely produced I’d only seen it once before. “The Winter’s Tale” is not one of Shakespeare’s comedies, although it has some rather hilarious comedic elements. On the other hand, it’s not a tragedy, either. This tale of lost children, star-crossed lovers, murder and mayhem might just qualify as a rom-com. 4 Spotlights