Steppenwolf’s fabled 1982 production of Sam Shepard’s darkly comic tale is a foundational part of Chicago theater history. And now, two of the company’s “next generation” of actors are bringing their own high-octane intensity to the play.
Stories by Hedy Weiss
With its volcanic staging of Jonathan Caren’s intensely physical play, Windy City Playhouse has carved out a unique niche for itself in Chicago with a style dubbed “immersive theater.”
The overall pacing of this bear of a show can sometimes feel a bit off. At the same time, there is such a sense of jubilation about this production that its imperfections are easy to overlook.
It might not be a Broadway-style blockbuster, but this intimate musical very skillfully mixes romantic comedy tropes with an uncompromising look at self-destructive behavior, self-doubt, alcoholism and complex friendships.
A wonderfully imagined riff on the Ada Lovelace story, Lauren Gunderson’s fascinating, emotionally feverish play is now receiving a vividly realized Chicago premiere production by The Artistic Home.
For all it’s polish and ambition I can’t say the show has turned me into a fan of the operetta style. But “The Flower of Hawaii” is unquestionably an artifact of musical theater interest, and this might just be the only chance you will ever have to experience it.
Despite the dire warnings about “the demise of the audience for classical music,” there is a significant audience in Chicago that values this incomparable art form. Two recent, radically different CSO concerts are prime examples.
Arriving at Theo Ubique as the final show of the theater’s first season in its spacious new Evanston home, “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” serves as definitive proof that this company can finesse anything and everything in the musical theater repertory.
The unlikely combination of Vivaldi, Beethoven and Gershwin with two contemporary works was full of delightful surprises and unexpected revelations.
The titles of the four pieces provide a telling suggestion of the psychologically probing works being performed with the company’s trademark blend of uncanny fluidity, plasticity, control and ensemble perfection.
In some ways, “For Services Rendered” is an old-fashioned play, but it is a beauty. And coming at a moment when Britain is undergoing a different sort of social and economic upheaval, it seems ideally timed for a revival.
This unabashedly flamboyant fantasia by Tina Landau and Tarell Alvin McCraney spins the true story of Joan Jett Blakk, who helped found the Chicago branch of the Queer Nation Party and ran for Chicago mayor in 1991.
“There Is Greatness In Me” is the defining song in this riveting musical that releases the full “greatness” in its lead character by way of an electrifying performance by veteran Chicago actress Barbara E. Robertson.
The 200th anniversary of “Frankenstein” was celebrated by a slew of Chicago theaters last year. Lookingglass’ new production has arrived a bit late in the game, but with its raw beauty and feverish emotion, it turns out to be well worth the wait.
Forget about spending your last dime for tickets to The Rolling Stones’ concerts at Soldier Field next month. Instead, check out the fire-breathing female royalty of this sensational musical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Steven Dietz’s hauntingly beautiful play is inspired by James Joyce’s groundbreaking novel “Ulysses,” but it is no stage adaptation. Rather, it’s a gorgeous, exquisitely imagined contemporary riff on Joyce’s essential themes.
Labeling a work of art a “masterpiece” is a dangerous business, but on rare occasions there can be no doubt that such a tag is unavoidable. This is one such case.
In ‘Pygmalion Effect,’ Superb Dancers of Russia’s Eifman Ballet Undermined by Manic Choreography and Too Much StraussHedy Weiss | May 20, 2019
Watching the company as it performed Boris Eifman’s latest work, the feeling that his dancers are not well served by his relentlessly madhouse style of movement – manic, extreme, repetitive – could not be denied.
Hilary Hahn’s bravura handling of a fire-breathing passage in Sibelius’ “Violin Concerto in D Minor” brings forth a “Wow!” from what was certainly an adult man in the audience at Symphony Center.
This 2008 musical is unsettling, irritating, frustrating, relentless and more. But director David Cromer and his actors have tapped into the dark charm and moments of humor in the show with great skill.
In what is clearly a case of pure happenstance, two autobiographical solo shows about mental illness recently arrived on Chicago stages. A look at “Certain Woman of an Age” and “The Mushroom Cure.”
A number of extraordinary pianists have played on the Symphony Center stage during the past season or two. Sunday’s concert brought four encores, extended standing ovations and volcanic applause.
A concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra featuring the transcendent Mitsuko Uchida. A visit by Maestro Riccardo Muti and several master musicians to a juvenile detention center. And a virtuosic chamber concert.
“Chicago, The Musical” holds the record as the longest-running American musical in Broadway history – and it’s a keeper. “August Rush: The Musical” is a New York-bred “tryout” production, and it just doesn’t work.
This electrifying revival demonstrates how, without straining to “modernize” or rework the 1957 Broadway musical – but by maintaining total respect for its vintage truth and beauty – its enduring power can be fully released.