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

You like me! You really, really like me! Or, why Sondheim needs to suck it up

Three things you need to know before diving in: Thing one: Musical theater composer Jason Robert Brown wrote this blog post that explains a lesson he learned at age 23 when he unwisely, we’re led to believe, gave his candid opinion about Stephen Sondheim’s latest work (which most assume is Passion, given the details JRB… Read More You like me! You really, really like me! Or, why Sondheim needs to suck it up

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’

Writers’ Theatre’s ‘A Little Night Music’ Captivates

There’s something magical happening up in Glencoe, Ill. It’s a sparkling new production of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s 1973 musical, A Little Night Music — a sophisticated, romantic comedy set in 20th century Sweden about mismatched pairs who, through a mix of fate peppered with manipulation, waltz into the arms of their ideal lovers.… Read More Writers’ Theatre’s ‘A Little Night Music’ Captivates

Drury Lane’s by-the-numbers ‘Gypsy’ is missing a few layers

There is one moment in William Osetek’s otherwise by-the-numbers production of Gypsy that gave me those rare theatrical chills. It’s during a crucial act two turning point when, moments before she’s to step onstage for her first strip, Louise (the ideally cast Andrea Prestinario) catches herself in the mirror. The lifelong tom boy and wallflower realizes… Read More Drury Lane’s by-the-numbers ‘Gypsy’ is missing a few layers

Sondheim gets his Shakes on, the most overrated play of 2011 and more …

Get ready for some random theatre-y thoughts: Sondheim gets his ChiShakes on: After receiving the Chicago Tribune Literary Prize for lifetime achievement on Sunday morning, the man himself visited Sunday’s matinée of Follies at Chicago Shakespeare Theater (along with playwright David Henry Hwang and the great Sir Peter Hall). He then went backstage following the… Read More Sondheim gets his Shakes on, the most overrated play of 2011 and more …

A brutal and bold ‘Follies’ at Chicago Shakes

Susan Moniz as Sally Durant Plummer in Chicago Shakespeare Theatre’s “Follies” Something magical’s happening on Navy Pier, and it’s not the weekly fireworks spectacle, though there are enough explosive moments to drive any fan of honest-to-God good musical theatre to near hysterics. It’s Gary Griffin’s astounding production of Follies, packed with so many showstopping moments,… Read More A brutal and bold ‘Follies’ at Chicago Shakes

A New York state of mind: Anything Goes, Betty Buckley, Follies and more

Hello lovlies! I’m in NYC for a few days, and have a full theatre schedule lined up, featuring some of Broadway brightest divas: Sutton Foster, Betty Buckley and Bernadette Peters. Last night: Roundabout Theatre Company’s revival of Anything Goes. Overall, lots of fun and Sutton is swell — but, for me, the true star of… Read More A New York state of mind: Anything Goes, Betty Buckley, Follies and more

Announcing The Great ‘Follies’ Smack-down of 2011

Top: Ron Raines and Bernadette Peters (and their ghostly counterparts) in the Broadway production of “Follies.” (Photo © Joan Marcus) Bottom: Susan Moniz and Robert Petkoff in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s “Follies.” (Photo: Peter Bosy) The challenge: To see two productions of Follies within four days of each other and determine which production is the winner.… Read More Announcing The Great ‘Follies’ Smack-down of 2011