June is here, and that means Canterbury Summer Theatre is back. Canterbury opened the season with a rather eerie play, "The Thin Place" by Lucas Hnath, directed by David Graham. If you like hearing/reading/watching spooky ghost stories, this is the play for you. I’m not really into this genre, but I have to say, I felt a prickle of unease once or twice. 3 ½ Spotlights
5 Stars ***** Moving, powerful, and intense, “cullud wattuh” is an undeniably phenomenal production! Sad but never depressing, informative yet never beating you over the head, the regional premier of this show is based on real events that took place in Flint, Michigan, over the past eight years.
“Walk on the Wild Side” is a collection of four short one-act plays written by John Patrick Shanley. The Chicago premiere fleshes out characters who suffer from low self-esteem and don’t know who they are or what they need to be happy. Through a series of vignettes that depict very different slices of life, we see how all the characters are miserable.
3 Stars *** Chris Woodley’s “Tommy on Top” is a tale of two plays, one overlaying the other. The primary story has to do with Tommy (Ryan Cason), who is a talented Hollywood actor who can pass as straight when, in fact, he’s gay. Because he keeps his sexual orientation hidden from the public, he struggles with inner conflict. In this show, Tommy lets his frustrations out by getting drunk and sometimes disorderly among the people he’s closest to.
★★★★★It has been a crazy and hectic world of theater in our city. Openings almost every night, making it both exciting and tiring. Just one week after an opening at Second City’s Mainstage, tonight they had a new show opening at their UP Stage ( in Pipers Alley). The show is “Queer Eye: The Musical Parody” and takes a look at the old tv show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” ( I think that was the show’s name) or was it just “Queer Eye”? Doesn’t matter!
**** Recommended **** The Drama Group in Chicago Heights is celebrating their 90th season, definitely a major milestone. As if that’s not enough for a party, this is their 20th year exchanging productions with the Stables Theatre from Hastings, England. So, for the first time on an American stage, the Stables Theatre production of "Run for Your Wife", a really funny farce by Ray Cooney. 3 ½ Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** The Second City’s 110th Mainstage Revue, "Do the Right Thing, No Worries If Not" is downright hilarious. Everywhere I looked, the folks in the audience were laughing – not polite little titters, either – I’m talking guffaws! Unlike recent revues, this one isn’t angry or political or even newsy – although there was one funny sketch about doddering senior citizens which ended with the zinger – do we really want to elect these guys? I haven’t laughed so much in years! 4 BIG Spotlights
4 Stars, Highly Recommended! Lewon Johnson, Rachel Blakes, and Tuesdai B. Perry astound us with their versatile acting in the dramatic play “Home”, written by Samm-Art Williams. “Home” is Williams’ best-known play and is a fictionalized biography about an African American orphan who grew up on his family’s land in Crossroads, South Carolina, and who went to prison for five years because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. Director Tim Rhoze has done a fine job with his interpretation of this minor classic, which tells a story near and dear to the director’s heart, one that he has always wanted to stage.
**** Recommended **** "Skates A New Musical" playing at the newly renovated Studebaker Theatre through June 26th, is a polished production, but the story didn’t resonate for me. It’s kind of a mash-up – a pop star takes a nostalgic trip back to a particular place and time, Windy City Skate in the ‘70s. Once there, however, she gets to meet and interact with her teen-aged self. Skates is colorful, fast-paced and fun to watch. 3 ½ Spotlights
5 Stars! Very Highly Recommended! The line outdoors should have been much longer on the opening night of Noël Coward’s comedy “Blithe Spirit” at the Skokie Theatre. But on a summer-like evening when there was so much competition for theatre dollars, many seats were left unfilled—when they shouldn’t have been! This was a stellar performance by the Eclectic Full Contact Theatre Company, featuring a brilliant and convincing cast who handled this classic farce sensationally! Witty, funny, and smart, this nearly three-hour play (including intermission) went by in the blink of an eye. What a delight it was! How we were all howling with laughter! And how great it was to laugh together with a live audience!