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

HuffPo Review: “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” Rocks out Chicago With Swagger and Style

If history class were like the rock musical Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, I might have fared better in school. The 2011 off-Broadway musical by Michael Friedman (music and lyrics) and Alex Timbers (book) examines the life of Andrew Jackson, America’s seventh president, through the lens of a wry, high-octane rock concert. Why Andrew Jackson? Well,… Read More HuffPo Review: “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” Rocks out Chicago With Swagger and Style

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’

New documentary series offers a rare backstage glimpse of working actor, Patti LuPone

Sometimes you wake up to discover that the world has bestowed a rare gift to you. Something that gives you hope for the world at large. In this case, it’s a YouTube documentary series on one of my favorite actors, Patti LuPone. In this series, we follow her through her travels as she, a working… Read More New documentary series offers a rare backstage glimpse of working actor, Patti LuPone

The little lesbian show that could, or the power of the almighty quiche lives on

One of the most pee-your-pants funny nights I’ve spent in a theatre occurred last summer in a dusty space at the Chicago Dankhaus. The New Colony’s Five Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which stole the show the prior year as part of Sketchbook X, was the pant-wetting culprit. This year, The New Colony took the play… Read More The little lesbian show that could, or the power of the almighty quiche lives on

HuffPo Review: An Overstuffed ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ Features a Strong Performance in Diane Lane

Goodman’s Sweet Bird of Youth is a fascinating mess. Forget the talented and stunning Diane Lane — David Cromer’s direction is the star. After all, his bewildering and distracting choices insert themselves front and center. Or spin around in circles, as is the case in the dizzying third act. But I’m getting ahead of myself.… Read More HuffPo Review: An Overstuffed ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ Features a Strong Performance in Diane Lane

Steppenwolf’s excellent ‘Good People’ questions our bootstrap pulling power

Lusia Strus and Mariann Mayberry in Steppenwolf’s “Good People.” Now firmly in my 30s, its amazing the number of my friends who are living paycheck to paycheck — including, to a degree, me. Getting ahead is tough, sometimes impossible, and with the recent news that college grads are earning significantly less than in 2005, the… Read More Steppenwolf’s excellent ‘Good People’ questions our bootstrap pulling power

HuffPo Review: Red Tape’s ‘The Skriker’ Drags You to a Disorientating and Disturbing Underworld

The cast of Red Tape’s “The Skriker,” playing through October 20. Forget haunted houses. The most chilling experience in Chicago at this moment is Red Tape Theatre’s unsettling production of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker. That’s not to say this show, which is smartly staged as a shape-shifting promenade by Eric Hoff, is filled with soil-yer-pants… Read More HuffPo Review: Red Tape’s ‘The Skriker’ Drags You to a Disorientating and Disturbing Underworld

Raven Theatre’s ‘The Big Knife’ cuts keep into the dark dealings of 1950s Hollywood

Greg Caldwell, Jason Huysman and Chuck Spencer in Raven Theatre’s “The Big Knife.” Photo credit: Dean LaPrairie Billy Wilder took perhaps the first high-profile stab at the dark side of Hollywood’s star system with the classic film, “Sunset Boulevard.” In it, former silent film star Norma Desmond, who was unceremoniously dumped by Paramount Studios when… Read More Raven Theatre’s ‘The Big Knife’ cuts keep into the dark dealings of 1950s Hollywood

Rivendell provides a powerful remount of ‘WRENS’

The cast of Rivendell’s “WRENS.” Photo by Michael Brosilow The bond that forms from close quarters is a unique and powerful phenomenon. People with whom you might otherwise never engage become close compatriots simply by virtue of proximity. College roommates, summer camp cabin mates, office cube mates, neighbors — this is where life-long friends are… Read More Rivendell provides a powerful remount of ‘WRENS’