Magnificent. That is the most fitting description of Thursday evening’s program at Symphony Center that marked the start of Maestro Riccardo Muti’s 10th season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
Stories by Hedy Weiss
In 2010, Cheryl Strayed rather reluctantly agreed to write an unpaid online advice column under the name of “Dear Sugar.” Those columns come to life in this beauty of a show, artfully adapted for the stage by Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”).
Playwright Lauren Yee possesses a special gift for animating and personalizing history, and for penning exceptionally dynamic dialogue. And although not a single basketball is dropped into a hoop during “The Great Leap,” the sport comes to life.
Playwright Deborah Zoe Laufer, whose play “Be Here Now” is receiving its Chicago premiere in a bravura production by Shattered Globe Theatre, has an exceptional gift for being at once sharp-witted and compassionate.
The Italian conductor has been named as “music director designate” at Lyric Opera Chicago, where Sir Andrew Davis will retire as music director at the end of the 2020-2021 season.
At once eerie, astonishing and altogether fascinating, “Maria Callas in Concert” recently brought the legendary diva back to life for what was a singular and wholly uncanny performance.
Expect no flashy spectacle, lavish dance numbers or any of the other standard ingredients of Broadway musicals. But be assured that “The Band’s Visit” – now making a brief stop at the Cadillac Palace Theatre as part of its national tour – comes with its very own unique magic.
As highly animated as the show might be, “Lil Pine Nut: The Learning Curve of Pinocchio” is no Disney-style version of a universally popular story.
Porchlight Music Theatre tops this year’s list with 17 nominations while the Paramount Theatre earns 16 and Court Theatre garners 15. Here are the 2019 Jeff nominees in the major categories.
This was an exceedingly elaborate production for what was a one-night-only event, and it brought together performers fully at ease with the show’s demonically difficult score and wildly witty lyrics.
An impeccable set of iconic songs by the 17-time Grammy Award winner before a crowd of 16,000 at the Ravinia Festival suggested why he has remained such an enduring musical artist for more than four decades.
One of Stephen Sondheim’s most popular works is now on stage at Writers Theatre in a sophisticated, powerfully sung, environmentally enveloping production directed by longtime Sondheim aficionado Gary Griffin.
In addition to the beauty of the music, there was the enduring thought that the very best way to ease the current East-West tensions would be to send the politicians on both sides packing and let the musicians take over the job.
This year’s gala concert was in many ways the sharpest production to date, with bravura performances by Giordano Dance Chicago, the Chicago Human Rhythm Project, Chicago Dance Crash and a slew of others.
Mark Larson’s encyclopedic new book chronicles the development of a unique artistic movement in Chicago through the voices of more than 300 actors, directors, designers, writers, choreographers and producers.
Rachmanioff’s “Piano Concerto No. 3” is awash in ravishing melodies and virtuosic thrills, and Denis Matsuev brought such volcanic power, exquisite lyricism and absolute fluidity to the fiendishly demanding work that it felt as if he himself were writing the demonic piece on the spot.
Inside a lavish, 330-seat theater space in the Loop is the madcap escapade “Love, Chaos & Dinner” – a high energy combination of cabaret, comedy and circus, plus a four-course dinner (or brunch) – all backed by a dynamite band.
The big surprise in this hit Broadway musical is how the seemingly most unlikely material for a musical – the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks – ends up feeling as if it were custom-made for the form and turns great darkness into a healing light.
Unquestionably one of the company’s most irresistible, highly polished, dance-fueled productions of recent seasons, “You Can’t Fake the Funk” will take you higher, set you on fire, and infuse you with a Superfly energy.
The widely celebrated 100th anniversary of the birth of Leonard Bernstein is now in the midst of a grand-scale finale as the Ravinia Festival moves through its second summer of programs devoted to all aspects of his legacy.
Dave Malloy’s time-warping web of a song cycle deals with competing sisters, strange parents, a photographer’s guilt, a subway murder, an astronomer, spirits (of the alcoholic variety), and the quest for love, revenge, stardom and truth over many centuries.
The 2001 musical with a soaring, intensely poetic score delivers both a rare emotional punch and a winning sense of forgiveness, redemption and love. It is uncannily timely.
“Cats” and “Les Miserables” have both returned to Chicago this summer, and “West Side Story” is in the throes of a renaissance. Here are some brief impressions about all three musicals as experienced in their recent incarnations.
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.
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.”