‘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

HuffPo review: ‘Failure: A Love Story’ Finds Heartwarming Hope in the Unavoidable

Ah, the impending threat of death. What a warm and cozy feeling it is to know that each day presents new opportunities to face our own uncertain demise. Happy Holidays! In the fantastically macabre Failure: A Love Story, playwright Philip Dawkins manages to find the quirky, heartwarming delight in the unavoidable. The three Failure sisters,… Read More HuffPo review: ‘Failure: A Love Story’ Finds Heartwarming Hope in the Unavoidable

Drury Lane’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ gets its Norma Desmond

After months of speculating and rumor, Drury Lane has finally cast its Norma Desmond for their upcoming production of Sunset Boulevard. (In fact, I heard from multiple sources that Tony winner Christine Ebersole had seriously been considered — could you imagine?) After some internet digging, I see that another Christine has been cast as the… Read More Drury Lane’s ‘Sunset Boulevard’ gets its Norma Desmond

HuffPo Reviews: Profiles’ ‘Hellcab’ and Bernstein revue at Davenport’s Piano Bar

Profile’s Ambitious Remount of Hit Hellcab Delivers Unexpected Holiday Hope Im sure we’ve all encountered a hellacious cab experience or three — the driver who used the drive from Andersonville to Boystown as an opportunity to issue a sermon about how all gays are going to hell and then proceeded to creepily hit on me;… Read More HuffPo Reviews: Profiles’ ‘Hellcab’ and Bernstein revue at Davenport’s Piano Bar

A little Miller-lite goes a long way, or how ‘Broken Glass’ makes me question my ability to form valid opinions

Jacqueline Grandt and Neal Grofman in Redtwist’s “Broken Glass.” You know the timeless and classy phrase: “Opinions are like assholes. Everybody’s got one and everyone thinks everyone else’s stinks.” That life nugget came through to me loud and clear after seeing Redtwist‘s respectable production of Arther Miller’s Broken Glass (playing through Nov. 18). I enjoy… Read More A little Miller-lite goes a long way, or how ‘Broken Glass’ makes me question my ability to form valid opinions

HuffPo Review: “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” Rocks out Chicago With Swagger and Style

If history class were like the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, I might have fared better in school. The 2011 off-Broadway musical by Michael Friedman (music and lyrics) and Alex Timbers (book) examines the life of Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, through the lens of a wry, high-octane rock concert. Why Andrew Jackson? Well,… Read More HuffPo Review: “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” Rocks out Chicago With Swagger and Style

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s stirring ‘Sunday in the Park with George’

Ok — let’s get to the point(alism): Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Sunday in the Park with George is nothing short of a triumph. Sunday, which, in act one, is loosely based on the life of 19th century painter Georges Seurat, and in act two, a fictionalized examination of the legacy his work has left behind, fills… Read More Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s stirring ‘Sunday in the Park with George’

The little lesbian show that could, or the power of the almighty quiche lives on

One of the most pee-your-pants funny nights I’ve spent in a theatre occurred last summer in a dusty space at the Chicago Dankhaus. The New Colony’s Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which stole the show the prior year as part of Sketchbook X, was the pant-wetting culprit. This year, The New Colony took the play… Read More The little lesbian show that could, or the power of the almighty quiche lives on

Steppenwolf’s excellent ‘Good People’ questions our bootstrap pulling power

Lusia Strus and Mariann Mayberry in Steppenwolf’s “Good People.” Now firmly in my 30s, its amazing the number of my friends who are living paycheck to paycheck — including, to a degree, me. Getting ahead is tough, sometimes impossible, and with the recent news that college grads are earning significantly less than in 2005, the… Read More Steppenwolf’s excellent ‘Good People’ questions our bootstrap pulling power

Rivendell provides a powerful remount of ‘WRENS’

The cast of Rivendell’s “WRENS.” Photo by Michael Brosilow The bond that forms from close quarters is a unique and powerful phenomenon. People with whom you might otherwise never engage become close compatriots simply by virtue of proximity. College roommates, summer camp cabin mates, office cube mates, neighbors — this is where life-long friends are… Read More Rivendell provides a powerful remount of ‘WRENS’

Two things I learned at a recent blogger meet-up, or yes, Chicago does produce more than plays

At a recent blogger meet-up, I learned two things. One: If I hope to start making any real money blogging, I need to start a fashion blog. Pronto. Two: I guess I should probably gain a sense of fashion at some point. Baby steps. I also learned that people whom I’d consider uniquely tuned into… Read More Two things I learned at a recent blogger meet-up, or yes, Chicago does produce more than plays

‘A Steady Rain’ at Chicago Dramatists: the record-breaking cop drama returns to its Chicago roots in full force

Peter DeFaria and Randy Steinmeyer in “A Steady Rain.” Officer Denny’s the hot-headed one. When stabbed in the leg with a sharpened broom handle while on duty, he pours rubbing alcohol in the wound and goes about his day. When things get tough, he takes matters in his own hands, even if it means bending… Read More ‘A Steady Rain’ at Chicago Dramatists: the record-breaking cop drama returns to its Chicago roots in full force

Come see me, and others, make fools of ourselves in the name of Chicago theatre (and other things)

A few updates: Getting back in the swing: As you can see from my mini theatre calendar to the left of this post, I’ve got a full lineup over the next several days. Like most things in life, easing back into things is for sissies. Theatre Wars! My fearless Chicago theatre compatriot, blogger and podcast… Read More Come see me, and others, make fools of ourselves in the name of Chicago theatre (and other things)

HuffPo Review: Steppenwolf’s ‘Three Sisters’ Is Heavy-Handed Drama With Slight Emotional Weight

The cast of Steppenwolf Theatre’s “Three Sisters,” now playing through August 26. What is it about Steppenwolf’s production of Anton Chekhov’s The Three Sisters (Here, simply called Three Sisters) that left me mostly cold? Was it Tracy Letts’ vaguely contemporary new adaptation of the 1901 play that required one of its key actors to utter… Read More HuffPo Review: Steppenwolf’s ‘Three Sisters’ Is Heavy-Handed Drama With Slight Emotional Weight