Making Chemistry: A Chat with the Stars of Goodman’s ‘Venus in Fur’

In Goodman Theatre’s intense production of David Ives’ hit play, Venus in Fur, palpable onstage chemistry is critical (read my review here). It’s what elevates this two-person dark comedy from a tawdry romp into a thrilling exploration of dominance and power. In Goodman’s production, Rufus Collins and Amanda Drinkall embody Thomas and Vanda, the writer/director… Read More Making Chemistry: A Chat with the Stars of Goodman’s ‘Venus in Fur’

A high-stakes ‘Road Show’ still struggles to find its way

Andrew Rothenberg, McKinley Carter, Michael Aaron Lindner and Anne Gunn in ChiShakes’ “Road Show.” Photo by Liz Lauren “Art isn’t easy,” sings the frustrated artist George in Stephen Sondheim’s Pulitzer prize-winning Sunday in the Park with George. While a completely different show in both tone and substance, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s Road Show puts… Read More A high-stakes ‘Road Show’ still struggles to find its way

ChiShakes’ ‘Gypsy’: This Rose isn’t quite ready for her turn

This has been a month of revisiting beloved musicals. First it was Porchlight’s Ain’t Misbehavin’, which offered a smoldering take on the beloved Fats Waller revue. I followed this with The Hypocrites Into the Woods, a brave production that frustrated as much as it fascinated. And now: Gypsy — a show I’ve seen probably more than any… Read More ChiShakes’ ‘Gypsy’: This Rose isn’t quite ready for her turn

Porchlight’s ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” Delivers Smoldering Sass

The joint is certainly jumpin’ at Stage 773. Porchlight’s rollicking production of the “Fats” Waller revue, Ain’t Misbehavin’, playing through March 9, is the kind of show that offers enough heat and harmony to melt through the layers of ice that have crystallized Chicago. This isn’t the shiny, slick production of this oft-produced musical revue… Read More Porchlight’s ‘Ain’t Misbehavin” Delivers Smoldering Sass

A tale of two snow witches: House Theatre’s ‘Rose and the Rime’ and Filament’s ‘The Snow Queen’

“The Snow Queen” I grew up in northern Michigan, so I have a healthy affinity for that white flakey stuff. Not so much the polar vortex, but when it’s hovering above 15 degrees, I’m good. So, in combining my love of snow and theatre, over the past three days I checked out two highly inventive… Read More A tale of two snow witches: House Theatre’s ‘Rose and the Rime’ and Filament’s ‘The Snow Queen’

A Solid Cast Fails to Solve Remy Bumppo’s ‘An Inspector Calls’

If there’s any mystery in Remy Bumppo’s An Inspector Calls, it’s how this play is considered a classic of the mid-20th century English theatre. J. B. Priestley’s drama is less an Agatha Christie parlor mystery and more a heavy (heavy!) handed morality play delivered with all the subtlety of a Hallmark Channel Christmas Special. It’s… Read More A Solid Cast Fails to Solve Remy Bumppo’s ‘An Inspector Calls’

Strawdog presents a straight-to-the-heart ‘Great Expectations’

The cast of Strawdog’s “Great Expectations” Oh, Pip. That poor orphaned protagonist from Charles Dickens’ classic 1861 novel Great Expectations. The one who moves from youthful innocence to morally questionable social climber to sobered adult while meeting a host of colorful characters along the way, including an aged jilted bride with a sadistic streak and… Read More Strawdog presents a straight-to-the-heart ‘Great Expectations’

HuffPo Review: Timeline’s ‘The Normal Heart’ Proves a Sobering, Searing Reminder

David Cromer, Patrick Andrews and Mary Beth Fisher in Timeline’s “The Normal Heart” Watching David Cromer as gay rights activist Ned Weeks storm the stage, with his hands over his face in a perpetual mixture of anger, outrage and fear, is not unlike watching a staged panic attack. And rightly so: the world is crumbling… Read More HuffPo Review: Timeline’s ‘The Normal Heart’ Proves a Sobering, Searing Reminder

HuffPo Review: A Heartbreaking and Healing ‘Once’ at the Oriental Theatre

You’d be hard pressed to think of anything more intimate than the act of making music. Through music, one exposes themselves in a way that transcends mere talking or movement. It’s the ultimate exposure of one’s soul. And such rawness makes for compelling storytelling. Once, the 2012 Best Musical Tony winner based on the 2006… Read More HuffPo Review: A Heartbreaking and Healing ‘Once’ at the Oriental Theatre