Mercury Theater finds the emotional core in sprawling ‘The Color Purple’

Perhaps you heard the cheers, sobs and stamping feet coming from Southport street? Well, that was the sound of the opening night audience at Mercury Theater’s The Color Purple, a searing and emotionally resonant production directed by L. Walter Stearns. This is my first encounter with the 2005 musical adaptation of the beloved Alice Walker… Read More Mercury Theater finds the emotional core in sprawling ‘The Color Purple’

Bailiwick’s entertaining ‘Mahal’ explores the struggle of redefining family post-tragedy

F Karmann Bajuyo, Kate Garassino and Kevin Matthew Reyes in Bailiwick Chicago Theater’s world premiere of production of “Mahal” “Mahal” is Tagalog for “love.” It also means “expensive.” While it might seem odd that such an important word serves two meanings, when you think about it, it makes sense. Love is precious. It’s something that… Read More Bailiwick’s entertaining ‘Mahal’ explores the struggle of redefining family post-tragedy

Music Theatre Company’s sweetly sincere ‘The Baker’s Wife’ charms

Sometimes all you need is a committed, eager, talented cast, a piano and a director with vision to deliver a delightful evening of musical theatre. And Music Theatre Company in Highland Park, under the direction of Dominic Missimi, is serving up a scrappy, sincere and streamlined production of that legendary flop musical, The Baker’s Wife… Read More Music Theatre Company’s sweetly sincere ‘The Baker’s Wife’ charms

HuffPo Review: Mercury Theater’s ‘A Grand Night for Singing’ is ‘Something Wonderful’

It’s a very rare thing to come across a show that embraces its simplicity with virtually zero pretense. A Grand Night for Singing at Mercury Theater is such a show. This perfectly enjoyable musical revue celebrating the classic scores of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein isn’t afraid to make the songs the star by featuring… Read More HuffPo Review: Mercury Theater’s ‘A Grand Night for Singing’ is ‘Something Wonderful’

HuffPo Review: A Flat Yet Fascinating ‘Other Desert Cities’ at Goodman

It’s not hard to understand why Jon Robin Baitz’s Other Desert Cities is such an effective play. This award-winning compact family drama addresses the notions of deception, trust, loyalty, privacy and integrity using a deliciously straightforward setup: a strong-willed novelist daughter returns home to declare to her well-bred and respected republican family that her next… Read More HuffPo Review: A Flat Yet Fascinating ‘Other Desert Cities’ at Goodman

An Interview with Jamie Prahl, Director of Saint Sebastian Players’ ‘Lefties’

In Lefties, a play by Chicago-area playwright Leigh Johnson, a Russian-born father (who’s also, by the way, an avowed Communist who loves baseball), clashes with his son, a gifted semi-professional pitcher who has become entranced by capitalism and its prospects. Set in McCarthy-era America, this play covers some big ground, including themes regarding family pride,… Read More An Interview with Jamie Prahl, Director of Saint Sebastian Players’ ‘Lefties’

Chatting With Tracy Michelle Arnold, Star of Goodman’s ‘Other Desert Cities’

When Jon Robin Baitz’s searing family drama Other Desert Cities premiered at Lincoln Center in January 2011, it took the town by storm. Not since August: Osage County can I recall an American play that’s had such buzz, with the New York Times calling it “the best new play on Broadway.” And, like most good… Read More Chatting With Tracy Michelle Arnold, Star of Goodman’s ‘Other Desert Cities’

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

Porchlight’s lilting, if lightweight, ‘The Gifts of the Magi’ reminds us to think before we give

Jason Richards and Kevin McKillip in Porchlight Music Theatre’s “The Gifts of the Magi” Shopping for the perfect holiday gift is a dying art. For many, myself included at times, it’s simply a matter of looking up someone’s online wishlist and clicking “one click purchase,” with $3.99 extra for wrapping. Done. But for Jim and… Read More Porchlight’s lilting, if lightweight, ‘The Gifts of the Magi’ reminds us to think before we give

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

Chicago Theatre Addict taking mini hiatus, plus my short-term wishlist

The cast of Court Theatre’s “The Dead.” Photo by Michael Brosilow. Life is stepping in, so Chicago Theatre Addict will be taking a back seat for a short spell. I promise to get my act together soon and back to commenting on all the fantastic theatre goings on happening in this beautiful city, including all… Read More Chicago Theatre Addict taking mini hiatus, plus my short-term wishlist

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: World Premiere Stage Adaptation of ‘Trainspotting’ Finds Drama in Drug Culture

The cast of “Trainspotting USA,” now playing at Theater Wit It’s difficult for me to get behind art that glorifies the illegal drug culture. It just seems like exploitative, easy fodder. That’s not to say I haven’t been known to pour a nice, big glass of wine and settle in for an Intervention marathon. Because… Read More HuffPo Review: World Premiere Stage Adaptation of ‘Trainspotting’ Finds Drama in Drug Culture