‘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

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

Chicago Like a Local: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a Belle of a Good Time

The cast of ChiShakes’ “Beauty and the Beast.” It’s clear, based on yesterday’s sold-out performance of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, that Chicago Shakespeare Theatre has a hit. From the moment Belle (the charming Emily Rohm) comes strolling down the aisle singing that well-known passage (“Little town, it’s a quiet village…”), kids of all ages… Read More Chicago Like a Local: ‘Beauty and the Beast’ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater is a Belle of a Good Time

HuffPo Review: Goodman’s Joyous Crowns Gets Your Spirits Singing

E. Faye Butler and the cast of Goodman Theatre’s “Crowns” “Does anyone still wear a hat?” bellows the embittered Joanne, as memorably originated by Elaine Stritch in the 1970 musical Company. Why, yes. Yes, they do. And they’re mighty proud of it, too. Inspired by Michael Cunningham and Craig Marberry’s 2000 book that explores the… Read More HuffPo Review: Goodman’s Joyous Crowns Gets Your Spirits Singing

Soul Theatre’s ‘The Lover’ turns up the heat in a (role) play of lies

Ravi Batista and Mick Weber in Soul Theatre’s “The Lover” Every relationship needs a little spice now and then, right? Well, in Harold Pinter’s 55-minute power play, The Lover, married couple Sarah (Ravi Batista) and Richard (Mick Weber) have taken the erotic art of role play to a whole ‘nother level — to the point… Read More Soul Theatre’s ‘The Lover’ turns up the heat in a (role) play of lies

HuffPo Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ Turns Up the Volume at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse

It’s another summer in Chicago, so that means a visit from the touring production of the hit head-banger musical Rock of Ages. This crowd-pleasing show, which is now a major motion picture, kick started its national tour in Chicago in 2010. Then, last year, the non-Equity version of that tour played for a short stint… Read More HuffPo Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ Turns Up the Volume at Chicago’s Broadway Playhouse

Family values turned upside down in riveting and riotous ‘Immediate Family’

The long-delayed reunion of any family can provide the basis for a three act play, particularly if there are more than a few skeletons in the closet. And in Paul Oakley Stovall’s riveting new dramedy, Immediate Family, the Bryant family is suddenly forced to unpack some deeply closeted emotions, resulting in hair pulling, a broken… Read More Family values turned upside down in riveting and riotous ‘Immediate Family’

HuffPo Review: Right Brain’s Fascinating ‘Marat/Sade’

Only in Chicago would a theater company actively seek out to produce a play that has more people onstage than in the audience. Yet that’s exactly the case in The Right Brain Project’s ridiculously ambitious production of German playwright Peter Weiss’ 1963 play, The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates… Read More HuffPo Review: Right Brain’s Fascinating ‘Marat/Sade’

Mortar’s ‘Bombs, Babes and Bingo’ makes an impact, but needs a clearer target

A bomb scientist, working for a deeply underground division of the US military, is struggling to put the pieces together from his fractured life. His latest experiment hasn’t gone exactly to plan, and the collateral damage is more than he can reconcile. His wife and daughter have gone missing … or have they abandoned him?… Read More Mortar’s ‘Bombs, Babes and Bingo’ makes an impact, but needs a clearer target

When class lines collide: Focal Point’s potent ‘After Miss Julie’ packs a punch

It’s been said that English plays are all about class, while American plays are about property. Well, that’s certainly the case in Patrick Marber’s 1995 play After Miss Julie, which takes August Strindberg’s late 19th century play, Miss Julie, and pulls into 1945 England — specifically the evening when the British Labour Party defeated the… Read More When class lines collide: Focal Point’s potent ‘After Miss Julie’ packs a punch

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

‘Jamaica, Farewell’ takes us on a path to freedom, whatever the cost

America – that shining land of opportunity. I know I take my freedoms for granted. They’ve just always been there, and it’s hard to imagine life without them. However, in Debra Ehrhardt’s semi-autobiographical one woman play, Jamaica, Farewell, she reminds us that we have it pretty damn good. And for a young girl growing up… Read More ‘Jamaica, Farewell’ takes us on a path to freedom, whatever the cost

HuffPo review: ‘Rent’ and ‘Tick, Tick… Boom’ Rock Out Chicago (Well, Almost…)

It’s a Jonathan Larson summer in Chicago. Currently, the genre-defining musical theatre composer is receiving productions of his two major shows by a trio of distinguished local theatre companies. Tick, Tick… Boom!, which is essentially the precursor to Rent, is a largely autobiographical musical about the late composer’s artistic struggles as he begins to ease… Read More HuffPo review: ‘Rent’ and ‘Tick, Tick… Boom’ Rock Out Chicago (Well, Almost…)

HuffPo Review: Goodman’s ‘Iceman Cometh,’ Starring Nathan Lane, Chills to the Core

Chicago truly is an amazing theatre town — especially now, where we have two epic plays receiving landmark productions, and I’ve been lucky to see both of them. Following the seven hour Angels in America at Court Theatre this weekend, I took in Goodman Theatre’s highly anticipated The Iceman Cometh, which clocks in at just… Read More HuffPo Review: Goodman’s ‘Iceman Cometh,’ Starring Nathan Lane, Chills to the Core