Archive for November 2013

"Elf the Musical" (Broadway in Chicago): Candy Coated Cute

"Elf the Musical" (Broadway in Chicago):  Candy Coated Cute
Broadway in Chicago presents ELF THE MUSICAL. If you loved Will Ferrell in the movie ELF, you will like this musical version of the film.    Will Blum (Buddy) mimics Ferrell’s iconic role.  The story is about a human raised at the North Pole that returns to New York in his quest to find his... Read more »

"Burning Bluebeard" (The Ruffians): Fantastical and Believable

Reviewed by Samantha Owens This holiday season the Ruffians return with their unlikely holiday hit, BURNING BLUEBEARD. I qualify its popularity around the holidays as ‘unlikely’ because it does not have any of the typical components of a holiday story; no magical and unexpected Christmas Eve snowstorm, no wide-eyed child wise beyond his/her years, no touching... Read more »

"The Dead Prince" (Strange Tree Group): Innovative Lyrical Lark

"The Dead Prince" (Strange Tree Group):  Innovative Lyrical Lark
Strange Tree Group presents THE DEAD PRINCE. Is it a fairytale, a folktale or a muzical? Yes. Playwright Emily Schwartz has concocted a play-full original.   Schwartz’s story is about a princess and her quest for true love.  The happily-ever after is challenging because her prince charming is dead.  Imagine “Princess Bride” meets “Twilight” on the way to... Read more »
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"La Traviata" (Lyric Opera): 'What Joy!'

"La Traviata" (Lyric Opera):  'What Joy!'
The Lyric Opera of Chicago presents LA TRAVIATA. Alongside the extensive spectacle of Wagner’s Parsifal, the Lyric is simultaneously offering a Verdi classic. La Traviata is simply gorgeous. After navigating through the complexity of Wagner’s world, we are back to opera basics, a tragic love story. As much as Parsifal is about the musical pageantry, La Traviata is all about passionate singing. Seeing... Read more »

"A Christmas Carol" (Goodman Theatre): Guaranteed Holiday Pleasure

"A Christmas Carol" (Goodman Theatre):  Guaranteed Holiday Pleasure
Goodman Theatre presents the 36th Annual Production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL. Larry Yando (Scrooge) returns to the iconic holiday role.  The impressive Yando plays gruff and gleeful with equal intensity.  In his distinct voice, he delivers the stinging barbs.  Later, his playfulness enchants as his holiday transformation is complete.  Yando is one of thirteen veterans... Read more »

"The Nutcracker" (House Theatre of Chicago): Quest for Holiday Bliss

"The Nutcracker" (House Theatre of Chicago):  Quest for Holiday Bliss
The House Theatre of Chicago presents their annual holiday tradition, THE NUTCRACKER. This was my third time enjoying the holidays with House Theatre.  The classic tale by E.T.A. Hoffman, that is best known as Tchaikovsky’s ballet, has been completely overhauled by The House.  Playwrights Phillip Klapperich and Jake Minton combine joy, sorrow and joy for... Read more »
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"Street Justice" (The Factory Theatre): Irreverent, High Energy, Stylized 80s Action Flick

"Street Justice" (The Factory Theatre): Irreverent, High Energy, Stylized 80s Action Flick
Factory Theater presents STREET JUSTICE. Every Factory show I’ve ever experienced has a few things in common.  There is an irreverent vibe.  Not only is the ensemble flipping off authority, there is always at least one off-color joke so crude it gets more gasps than laughs. And then there are the high energy antics.  The... Read more »

EXTENDED Thru Dec 14 "Appropriate" (Victory Gardens): Marvelously Inappropriate

EXTENDED Thru Dec 14 "Appropriate" (Victory Gardens):  Marvelously Inappropriate
182 Victory Gardens Theatre, in association with Actors Theatre of Louisville, presents the co-World Premiere of APPROPRIATE.  I’ve never really liked the word ‘appropriate.’  The label is thrown around with confident ease to judge improper behavior.  The wrinkle is the verdict is purely subjective.  In this new work, Playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins makes that point numerous times... Read more »

"Parsifal" (Lyric Opera): Electrifying Stunner!

"Parsifal" (Lyric Opera):  Electrifying Stunner!
A nearly five hour opera may frighten potential audience members away.  That would be a shame because Parsifal is electrifying!  It is described as a ‘festival music-drama‘ – not an opera.  This categorization fits, though the music is the lead in Parsifal.  Creating both the music and libretto, Richard Wagner masterfully weaves through his story with lengthy musical interludes.  The... Read more »
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EXTENDED Thru Dec 22nd "Great Expectations" (Strawdog Theatre): Masters the Masterpiece

EXTENDED Thru Dec 22nd "Great Expectations" (Strawdog Theatre):  Masters the Masterpiece
Strawdog Theatre presents a new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Tis the season for a Dickens’ fix.  And Strawdog is offering an alternative to the Scrooge standard.  It’s still a classic Dickens’ tale about one man’s redemption.  GREAT EXPECTATIONS is an orphan’s quest for his life to meet his expectations.   Playwright Gale Childs Daly... Read more »