Refuge Theatre Project Presents an Earthy, Earnest “The Spitfire Grill”

As a hard-worn musical theatre nerd, it’s a very rare thing when I encounter a nearly two-decade old, critically praised musical in which I’ve neither seen the source material nor heard a single song. Needless to say, I entered Refuge Theatre Project’s The Spitfire Grill with delightful naiveté. The Spitfire Grill – written by James… Read More Refuge Theatre Project Presents an Earthy, Earnest “The Spitfire Grill”

I saw Patti LuPone spill tea for three hours, and lived to tell the tale

I tried to hold myself back.  I really did. Out of the two shows presented Monday evening as part of Steppenwolf’s “Lookout” series, I very reasonably bought tickets for the late show, starting at 9 p.m. Mainly because the earlier show was sold out (or so I was told), and also because of a goal… Read More I saw Patti LuPone spill tea for three hours, and lived to tell the tale

#EduHam: Inspiring Young Minds Through the Power of ‘Hamilton’

Perhaps you’ve heard about a little show taking the world over by storm. And Chicago is lucky enough to have it, eight nights a week for the foreseeable future, at the PrivateBank Theatre. But another show is also happening on that same stage during Hamilton’s off-hours – one that’s just as dynamic, and perhaps even… Read More #EduHam: Inspiring Young Minds Through the Power of ‘Hamilton’

‘Dreamgirls’ at Porchlight Music Theatre

I almost skipped Dreamgirls at Porchlight. I’ve seen and enjoyed the movie, I saw a very decent (if emotionally neutral) touring production 6 years ago, I’ve watched Jennifer Holliday’s landmark performance of the titular first act closer in gay bars and YouTubes galore. I mean, I’ve *seen* Dreamgirls. Or so I thought. Following the first act of… Read More ‘Dreamgirls’ at Porchlight Music Theatre

‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’ at the Oriental Theatre

Abby Mueller stars in “Beautiful – The Carole King Musical” Jukebox musicals. Such a phrase makes those who love musical theatre shudder with a wave of disgust, as it exemplifies the devolution of the art form. Where the best musicals use carefully crafted music to advance the story and heighten the emotional moments, jukebox musicals… Read More ‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical’ at the Oriental Theatre

A Buoyant ‘Merry Widow’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Renee Fleming and Thomas Hampson star in Franz Lehar’s “The Merry Widow” Ooh-la-la! As John Oliver mentioned in response to the recent attacks on France’s capital, Paris will endure – largely due to its rich culture and passionate people. And the delightful comic operetta by Hungarian composer Franz Lehár, The Merry Widow, celebrates the very… Read More A Buoyant ‘Merry Widow’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago