**** Highly Recommended **** Mr. Dickens’ Hat, A Play with Music, is definitely not what I expected. I thought maybe it would be another holiday story, maybe with a Dickens theme. As soon as I saw the ‘steam punk’ set, I knew this would be something unique – and it is. Mr. Dickens’ Hat is actually about a hat that did belong to Mr. Dickens, a hat that’s been on an adventure or two. I really enjoyed Mr. Dickens Hat, and I think you will too. 4 Spotlights
*** Recommended *** "Pretty Woman: The Musical" is a likeable show that mostly follows the plot line of the 1990 film starring Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. The music is good but not memorable. The talented cast includes Broadway favorite Adam Pascal and Olivia Valli (Frankie Valli’s granddaughter). It was entertaining and engaging. 3 Spotlights || A sad note: Pretty Woman has cancelled the rest of the Chicago performance due to COVID.
***** Highly Recommended ***** The Joffrey Ballet’s “Chicago-centric” version of "The Nutcracker", choreographed by Christopher Wheeldon, is quite simply magnificent. By setting “The Nutcracker” against Chicago’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, Wheeldon gave the city a unique gift. This was the fifth time I’ve seen/reviewed “The Nutcracker” and I still love everything about it! I did notice that a few things which were just slightly different, which actually improved on something that I thought was just about perfect. Every movement was graceful, precise and exquisitely performed. By the way, Tchaichovsky’s glorious music was played by the Lyric Opera Orchestra conducted by Scott Speck, the Joffrey’s Music Director. 4 BIG Holiday Spotlights!
**** Highly Recommended **** You should make time in your holiday season to see “Holiday Inn” at the Drury Lane Theatre. While the story is kind of sappy, the production is scrumptious. Packed with spectacular tap dancing to Irving Berlin's wonderful melodies, “Holiday Inn” is an effervescent holiday treat. The cast is marvelous, the choreography blew me away, and the costumes are drool-worthy. Dee-lish! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** As I’ve come to expect, Paramount Theatre’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s "Cinderella" was truly wonderful. The cast, the costumes, the set, the music were fairy-tale perfect. If you’re bringing a small princess to the show, be aware that this is not the Disney version of Cinderella, the songs are all different and there’s no Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo in this show! It was a joy to watch! 4 Spotlights
***** Highly Recommended ***** After a five-year hiatus, Towle Theater’s "A Fabulous 50’s Christmas" is back! I can’t quite believe it but the first time I reviewed this show was in 2004! According to Director Jeff Casey, the show pays homage to the old Perry Como/Andy Williams TV specials. It’s just not Christmas without "A Fabulous 50’s Christmas", a delightful holiday must-see! 4 BIG Spotlights
**** Recommended **** If you’re looking for some adults-only holiday cheer, then I have the play for you! "Who’s Holiday", a one-woman show starring Veronica Garza as 40-something Cindy Lou Who. Garza had us in stitches from start to finish. "Who’s Holiday" is raucous, raunchy and absolutely hilarious. 4 Spotlights
***** Highly Recommended ****** The Goodman Theatre’s annual intro to the holiday season, "A Christmas Carol", which remains essentially the same from year to year, is a holiday tradition for many families, spanning generations. I’m a newcomer to the tradition, since I saw "A Christmas Carol" for the first time in 2012. It’s worth the trip! The Goodman lobby is festive with decorations and a sparkling holiday shopping area. Now in its 44th year, “A Christmas Carol” will put you in the holiday spirit with a fabulous cast, lavish sets and colorful period costumes. 4 Holiday Spotlights.
**** Recommended **** Marriott Theatre’s new production of "Kiss Me Kate" is just plain wonderful. This 1948 backstage musical about a theater company doing The Taming of the Shrew has all the right elements – battling stars who also happen to be exes, bumbling gangsters who get hooked on Shakespeare, young lovers with issues, and fabulous songs by Cole Porter. Who would have thought that Porter and Shakespeare had anything in common? 4 BIG Spotlights
While it’s always a pleasure to attend a performance by Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, the 2021 Fall Series, RE/TURN, the first in more than eighteen months, was an absolute pleasure. My friend Karen and I were enthralled by the grace and strength of the dancers. We both loved it! 4 Spotlights