**** 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
***RECOMMENDED*** Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" has returned to the stage at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Originally presented here 20 years ago, and then again in 2012, this delightful version of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale is back by popular demand. However, what those two previous productions lacked was the presence of Sir Andrew Davis in the orchestra pit. Davis, who had never conducted this opera before, brilliantly brings this dark yet whimsical work magically to life. 3 AND 1/2 SPOTLIGHTS
3-1/2 stars – bumped up to 4 stars! Porchlight Theatre’s “Cabaret” is fun and entertaining yet retains its dark underpinnings of things to come: having to do with the Nazis’ rise to power in Germany in the 1930s. With hummable music by Kander and Ebb and a remarkable book by Joe Masteroff, the singing, dancing, and acting in this show are terrific—and many elements are exceptional.
**** Highly Recommended **** Porchlight Music Theater’s deliciously decadent production of Cabaret is not to be missed! Cabaret was written by Kander and Ebb, who are famous for jazzy music with edgy, provocative lyrics. I can’t say enough about the cast. I thought Josh Walker was perfect as the Emcee, while Erica Stephan definitely has the voice for Sally Bowles. The costumes are sexy and sequined, the choreography energetic and suggestive. Kudos to Director Michael Weber and Assistant Director/Choreographer Brenda Didier! Porchlight pulled out all the stops for this show! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Highly Recommended **** Fans of the beloved TV show "The Golden Girls" will love "The Golden Gals Live!" While we were chatting at intermission, a friend – who’s a GG aficionado – told me that all the lines in Act I were taken directly from the show, but weren’t always in the same order. From a personal perspective, since I was only an occasional viewer, I can’t dispute that. I must say, however, that this cast has the characterizations down pat. This is a comedy that anyone – TV viewer or not – will enjoy. The cast is terrific and the laughs are real! 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** "The Icicle Picnic: Journey for the Sun", produced by Cabinet of Curiosities in the downstairs space at Chopin Theatre, was a charming and deliciously hokey space odyssey including live music, beatboxing, giant puppets, ridiculous talking appliances and some of the most talented and creative teens I’ve ever seen. 3 ½ Spotlights
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.