Porchlight’s ‘Sondheim on Sondheim’ Explores the Art of Making Art

The cast of Porchlight Music Theatre’s “Putting it Together” In the new musical revue, Sondheim on Sondheim, the chorus opens the second act with a self-deprecating number about how Stephen Sondheim is a “God.” Though the purpose of this second act opener is tongue-in-cheek (Sondheim himself wrote it), I’d argue that most people in the… Read More Porchlight’s ‘Sondheim on Sondheim’ Explores the Art of Making Art

Black Ties, Boleyns and News Boys: Three Shows in Four days

The challenge was simple: Three wildly different shows in four days. My 68-year-old mother joined me and provided her input. Here’s the recap: Living the History — 125 Years of the Auditorium Theatre Chicago’s historic landmark performance venue, the Auditorium Theatre, received a classy and compact 125th birthday celebration on Dec. 9. Following an introduction… Read More Black Ties, Boleyns and News Boys: Three Shows in Four days

Bailiwick Chicago’s ‘Carrie’ Hits the Heart But Not the Horror

There are essentially two reactions I get when telling people I’m going to see Carrie: The Musical: – Reaction 1: People who know the musical’s sacred lore as one of the biggest flops in musical theatre history and are incredibly pumped to find out how truly bad the show was/is. – Reaction 2: People who… Read More Bailiwick Chicago’s ‘Carrie’ Hits the Heart But Not the Horror

It’s still a tasty good time at ‘5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche’

Rachel Farmer, Megan Johns and Thea Lux in The New Colony’s “5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche” Long live the egg! I remember when I first encountered The New Colony’s wacky, wild creation that is 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche. It was June 2010, and “The Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein”… Read More It’s still a tasty good time at ‘5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche’

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