Archive for April 2013

EXTENDED Thru June 23rd The Knowledge (Steep Theatre): Unerring authenticity and can’t-blink intensity – and watch out for Mickey

EXTENDED Thru June 23rd The Knowledge (Steep Theatre): Unerring authenticity and can’t-blink intensity – and watch out for Mickey
Reviewed by Tom Lawler Steep Theatre presents THE KNOWLEDGE. A newbie teacher in a working class town outside of London is given the dog assignment of teaching a class of the underprivileged and underperforming – the kids no one else wants. When we see plucky, wide-eyed Zoe (Caroline Neff, on all cylinders) stumble in on... Read more »

"The Elephant and the Whale" (Chicago Children's Theatre): Big Time Adorable!

"The Elephant and the Whale" (Chicago Children's Theatre): Big Time Adorable!
Chicago Children’s Theatre, in conjunction with Redmoon Theatre, presents the world premiere of The Elephant and the Whale. The best indicator of an engaging children’s show is the stillness of the kids.  From lights up to blackout, this audience is transfixed.  Everyone is glued to their seat as the theatrics commence.  Of course, there are the frequent... Read more »

"Big Fish" (Broadway in Chicago): Not Quite a Keeper

"Big Fish" (Broadway in Chicago):  Not Quite a Keeper
Broadway in Chicago presents the pre-Broadway World Premiere of the new musical, BIG FISH. Let’s start at the end. The last thirty minutes tenderly showcases the stories making up one man’s life.  The pre-finale is a sweet revisit of characters that Norbert Leo Butz (Ed Bloom) danced and sang with in his early years, also... Read more »
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Off Book Chats Up LiveWire and "Smokey Joe's Cafe"

Off Book Chats Up LiveWire and "Smokey Joe's Cafe"
Today, Chicago Theatre Off Book reviews“A Permanent Image” at LiveWire Chicago Theatre and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” at The Royal George Theatre.  Our special guests are Sydney Charles and Vasily Deris performing in the successful remount of “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” at The Royal George Theatre. This April 19th episode of Chicago Theatre Off Book was partially underwritten by... Read more »

"The Brig" (Mary Arrchie Theatre): *The Truth*

"The Brig" (Mary Arrchie Theatre):  *The Truth*
Mary Arrchie Theatre presents THE BRIG. Most people have seen the award-winning 1992 movie, “A Few Good Men.”  They remember the iconic scene when Jack Nicholson says the immortal words, ‘You can’t handle the truth.’ THE BRIG is *the truth.*  Playwright Kenneth H. Brown was a marine.  And in 1950, Brown spent 30 days in... Read more »

American Idiot (Broadway in Chicago): Punky youth and three-chord monsters

American Idiot (Broadway in Chicago): Punky youth and three-chord monsters
Reviewed by Tom Lawler Broadway in Chicago presents AMERICAN IDIOT. There are two ways to experience American Idiot, an exuberant, scrappy rock opera about a trio of suburban friends on separate journeys in a post-high school wasteland. On one hand, you can try to imagine yourself 10 or 15 years younger and taking in this... Read more »
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"Woman in Mind" (Eclipse Theatre): Digs Deep into a Woman's Psyche

"Woman in Mind" (Eclipse Theatre):  Digs Deep into a Woman's Psyche
Eclipse Theatre Company presents WOMAN IN MIND, the first show in the 2013 season dedicated to the work of Playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn. What happens when a woman gets hit in the head with a rake?  Playwright Sir Alan Ayckbourn takes us through two scenarios simultaneously.  Ayckbourn creates two realities for his heroine Susan. Through... Read more »

"Creditors" (Remy Bumppo): 'Comedy with a Vengeance'?! ...yeah, not so much

"Creditors" (Remy Bumppo):  'Comedy with a Vengeance'?!  ...yeah, not so much
Remy Bumppo Think Theatre presents Creditors. Three artists + two marriages = one big mess. Adolph is a temperamental painter. Gustav is a headstrong writer. Tekla is a flirtatious writer. Adolph worries that his wife doesn’t respect him and may be cheating on him. Gustav builds Adolph’s distrust with wild theories and accusations. Gustav pushes... Read more »

"The Whale" (Victory Gardens): Extraordinary!

"The Whale" (Victory Gardens):  Extraordinary!
Victory Gardens presents the Midwest premiere of THE WHALE.  Charlie is fat.  He weighs about 600+ pounds. He is stuck -literally- on his couch. And he’s dying of congestive heart failure.  His only contact with the outside world are his online writing students and his friend that’s a nurse.  Two new people stumble in his... Read more »
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"L'Imitation of Life" (Hell in a Handbag Productions): Racy and Drag-alicious!

"L'Imitation of Life" (Hell in a Handbag Productions):  Racy and Drag-alicious!
Hell in a Handbag Productions presents L’IMITATION OF LIFE.  Lana Turner has just gotten away with murder.  Her daughter Suzie was acquitted of the stabbing death of Turner’s lover.  Now, the actress just wants a ‘normal life’ as defined by her as ‘becoming a legendary Broadway star’!  When Suzie befriends Sara Jane, a light-skinned Negro... Read more »