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

HuffPo Review: High-energy Evita needs a touch of star quality

Evita is a touchstone in the modern musical theater canon. When the sung-through rock opera debuted in the late ’70s, it broke many rules. A musical about a polarizing political icon featuring a score (by a young and ambitious Andrew Lloyd Webber and his collaborator Tim Rice) that required the lead actress to rock belt… Read More HuffPo Review: High-energy Evita needs a touch of star quality

HuffPo Review: Rachel York leads a deliciously zany ‘Anything Goes’

Anything Goes is one of those shows that never takes itself too seriously. It isn’t afraid to get a little bawdy and bend the rules — but it always comes out on top, full of class, champagne bubbles and loads of style. In describing the show, I’m also describing the show’s star. Rachel York is… Read More HuffPo Review: Rachel York leads a deliciously zany ‘Anything Goes’

A sometimes breathtaking ‘Big Fish’ has yet to hook into its story

Who doesn’t enjoy a good story? It’s why we love the theatre. Through words, music, dance and imagination, theatre helps shape a shared moment. It transports us to another place and time — or helps us sort out our sobering reality. It’s magical. The pre-Broadway musical Big Fish, based on the novel by Daniel Wallace… Read More A sometimes breathtaking ‘Big Fish’ has yet to hook into its story

HuffPo Review: ‘Catch Me If You Can’ Tour Features a Star-Making Performance

Sometimes all you need is a star-making performance to make a show. The fresh-faced and ideally cast Stephen Anthony, who plays infamous con man Frank Abagnale Jr., offers such a performance in the first national tour of Catch Me If You Can which is playing through April 14 at the Cadillac Place Theatre. While Anthony… Read More HuffPo Review: ‘Catch Me If You Can’ Tour Features a Star-Making Performance

HuffPo Review: A Drag-tastic ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ Pulls out All The Stops

While I’m not sure how much it cost to produce the national tour of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, I’d wager that a sizable, of not primary, chunk of the change went into the show’s outlandish costumes and towering wigs. Costume designers Tim Chappel and Lizzy Gardiner, who also designed the costumes for the movie… Read More HuffPo Review: A Drag-tastic ‘Priscilla, Queen of the Desert’ Pulls out All The Stops

HuffPo Review: A Grand ‘War Horse’ and Giddy ‘Book of Mormon’ Burst Into Chicago

The theatrical year in Chicago has ended in full gallop with two highly anticipated shows receiving full-scale, top-notch productions, playing through the new year. War Horse, the breathtaking international hit that took London and Broadway by storm, and the Broadway blockbuster The Book of Mormon, which is now bursting into Chicago with a sure-fire Chicago… Read More HuffPo Review: A Grand ‘War Horse’ and Giddy ‘Book of Mormon’ Burst Into Chicago

‘The Grinch’ growls in flat touring production

Stefan Karl is the Grinch in “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas” I’ll admit it. I’m a bit of a Grinch this holiday season. And I fully embrace my Grinchy-ness. Sometimes, we need to separate ourselves from the joy and merriment that overwhelms the season. All that singing, noise-making, jingle-belling. E. Nuf. Bring on… Read More ‘The Grinch’ growls in flat touring production

HuffPo Review: Delightful ‘Kinky Boots’ Kicks Up Its Heels in Pre-Broadway Engagement

Stark Sands and Billy Porter next to some kinky boots Forget fancy names like Cyndi Lauper. If there’s a single compelling reason to see Kinky Boots, a lively new musical based on a 2005 British comedic film that’s currently making its pre-Broadway tryout at Chicago’s Bank of America Theater, it’s Billy Porter’s bravura turn as… Read More HuffPo Review: Delightful ‘Kinky Boots’ Kicks Up Its Heels in Pre-Broadway Engagement

HuffPo Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ Turns Up the Volume at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse

It’s another summer in Chicago, so that means a visit from the touring production of the hit head-banger musical Rock of Ages. This crowd-pleasing show, which is now a major motion picture, kick started its national tour in Chicago in 2010. Then, last year, the non-Equity version of that tour played for a short stint… Read More HuffPo Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ Turns Up the Volume at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse

Chicago Like a Local: ‘Fela!’ at the Oriental Theatre

Fela!, which started as an Off-Broadway show in 2008 and has grown into an international sensation (and is now playing at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre through April 15), follows the life of Afrobeat Nigerian legend and activist, Fela Kuti. The high-energy concert/musical/political play portrays Kuti in the days when his public performances at the legendary nightclub… Read More Chicago Like a Local: ‘Fela!’ at the Oriental Theatre