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

Chicago Like a Local: ‘Come Fly Away’ Brings Swank, Sass and Sinatra to Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre

The freakish 50 degree January weather may be over, but things are just getting heated up at the Bank of America Theatre where Come Fly Away is playing through January 22. Sinatra. We know that voice. It’s sexy, confident and masculine. After hours bars, cigars and tumblers of scotch. Romance, heartbreak and overcoming obstacles with… Read More Chicago Like a Local: ‘Come Fly Away’ Brings Swank, Sass and Sinatra to Chicago’s Bank of America Theatre

National tour of ‘The Addams Family’ — third time’s (almost) a charm

“Da-da-da-DUM! *snap, snap!* Da-da-da-DUM! *snap, snap!*” You know the tune. You know the characters. But you might be surprised by this charming (yes, charming!) and unexpected musical based on the Charles Addams cartoons. And, for those who caught the first iteration of the musical when it premiered at the Oriental in 2009 prior to its… Read More National tour of ‘The Addams Family’ — third time’s (almost) a charm

One star-making turn barely keeps this lackluster ‘La Cage’ afloat

If there’s one reason to see the tour of La Cage Aux Folles, which is playing at the Bank of America Theatre through January 1, it’s for Christopher Sieber’s ovation-worthy turn as Albin, the campy, drag-tastic dynamo who, as his alter-ego Zaza, stars in the nightly revue at La Cage. Sieber, who’s had the opportunity… Read More One star-making turn barely keeps this lackluster ‘La Cage’ afloat

Chicago Like a Local: Donny and Marie take Chicago by (snow) storm!

A preface: this Branson-meets-Vegas spectacle gave me a headache. But the audience loved it. Of course. And, I’ll admit: it had its moments, mostly thanks to Mr. Osmond’s disarming charms. Maybe I’m just not cut out for these types of shows? There were many eye-rolling moments, such as when Ms. Osmond introduced the overdone, pseudo-operatic “Pie Jesu” by actually saying,… Read More Chicago Like a Local: Donny and Marie take Chicago by (snow) storm!

‘Love, Loss, and What I Snore’

So, yeah. I saw this play about woman talking about clothes. Despite a great cast and intriguing premise, this Vagina Monologues-esque show came off a mostly pandering bore filled with clichés (“bras are uncomfortable,” “shopping for clothes is frustrating, especially when you’re not a size 2,” “black clothes are flattering!”) and manipulative emotions (“My love of boots… Read More ‘Love, Loss, and What I Snore’

Chicago Like a Local: ‘Addams Family,’ ‘Memphis’ and more in store for Broadway in Chicago

Looking to have a fancy downtown Chicago experience at a splashy musical or star-studded play in the next few months? Check out my latest blog post on Chicago Like a Local covering Broadway in Chicago’s upcoming show lineup. Highlights include the kickoff of the North American tour of Love, Loss, and What I Wore starring SNL alum Nora Dunn, the incomparable Carrie… Read More Chicago Like a Local: ‘Addams Family,’ ‘Memphis’ and more in store for Broadway in Chicago

‘Beauty and the Beast’ still casts its spell, despite cut corners

Lumiere’s flames have been reduced to a pair of halloween decorations. The cast moves the wobbly scenery and the orchestra is thin and reedy. Belle’s wedding gown is the same dress she wore during the title song, with a piece of pink tulle thrown over top. Yes, this non-Equity tour, produced by NETworks and playing… Read More ‘Beauty and the Beast’ still casts its spell, despite cut corners

A powerful ‘Next to Normal’ rocks you to the core, but Alice Ripley needs vocal rest

Curt Hansen, Alice Ripley and Asa Somers in “Next to Normal” I’d been really looking forward to this one. Not only have I heard amazing things about this Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, but the original star of the show, Alice Ripley, was recreating her Tony-winning role in the national tour. Which is, unfortunately, so… Read More A powerful ‘Next to Normal’ rocks you to the core, but Alice Ripley needs vocal rest

I believe in love: ‘Hair’ national tour brings some flower power to the windy city

The dawning of an age: the national tour of “Hair” brings harmony and understanding to Chicago. A tribe of long-haired miscreants (read: hippies) has camped out at the Oriental Theatre to take us on a hallucinogenic tour of the late ’60s when it was all drugs, sex, rebellion, protesting and hair, hair, hair. Hair was… Read More I believe in love: ‘Hair’ national tour brings some flower power to the windy city

‘Working’ at Broadway Playhouse gets the job done, but still needs some work

It’s an art: Barbara Robertson belts one out for the working woman. “Everyone should have something to point to Someway to be tall in the crowd Proud” Upon watching the newly re-worked musical revue Working, which opened last night at Broadway Playhouse, the above lyric made me think: in my career so far, is there… Read More ‘Working’ at Broadway Playhouse gets the job done, but still needs some work

New 25th anniversary tour of ‘Les Misérables’ is revolutionary

Lawrence Clayton (Jean Valjean) “Brings Him Home” in the new national tour of “Les Misérables.” “Les Misérables without the turntable? How is that possible?” It surprised me the number of times I heard this question when I told people about this tour over the past few days. The thunderous original production, which opened in London… Read More New 25th anniversary tour of ‘Les Misérables’ is revolutionary