The show is full of exuberant dancing and performances by strong actor-singers, but the crucial intimacy of its storytelling too often gets lost in the carnival atmosphere that has been generated to give this 90-minute gem a Broadway gloss.
Stories by Hedy Weiss
At once haunting, sad and beautiful, Andras Visky’s “Juliet” – now in production by Theatre Y – is a work of both real life and pure poetry.
The multitalented actor, pianist (and yes, composer in his own right) brings the eighth installment in his renowned “Great Composers Series” to Chicago in June and simultaneously makes his Goodman Theatre debut.
The stylishly macabre, morally challenging show by Duncan Sheik (of “Spring Awakening” fame) and Kyle Jarrow is now receiving its Chicago premiere by Black Button Eyes Productions.
If you were to consider the dominant feelings expressed by the adolescent girls in these two shows, the obvious conclusion would be that for all the talk, the feminist movement of the past five decades has failed to reach a whole generation or two of girls.
Talk about ending the year with a bang. Just a few weeks before the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is to embark on a whirlwind tour of Europe, the orchestra, under the direction of guest conductor Edo de Waart, is performing an altogether thrilling program.
Based on Studs Terkel’s 1974 best-selling book of oral history, this musical is now in a wonderfully realized, sweat-and-dreams production at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, where six actors portray the many and varied attitudes about work.
Two questions invariably come to mind when I see Deeply Rooted Dance Theater: Why is this company not more famous? And why isn’t it championed as Chicago’s counterpart of the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater?
Created for Broadway, “The Light in the Piazza” is a profoundly intimate work and belongs in a space that can fully embrace that intimacy. The Lyric Opera House, where it is now being presented, is not such a place.
A fervent believer in the unique power of live theater, I have become quite a convert to broadcasts of live performances after seeing two superb National Theatre Live productions this past weekend.
It would be all but impossible to survey the many great, good and sometimes disappointing productions of the past 12 months. But three recent shows suggest the great variety of work produced in Chicago – and the immense amount of talent here.
This highly original reimagining of the classic holiday tale is a monumental production both in its storytelling and its design, yet it manages to beautifully interweave its grand scale elements with human scale emotions.
In “The Three Queens,” the trilogy of semi-staged excerpts about the lives of Anne Boleyn, Mary Stuart and Queen Elizabeth I now in a brief run at Lyric Opera, soprano Sondra Radvanovsky captures their essence to sublime vocal and dramatic effect.
Listening to the richly faithful performances by Taylor Bloom and Ben Cooley was in many ways like stepping into a time machine. As I left the theater awash in memories, I wondered whether Simon and Garfunkel have seen the show in which they are so winningly captured.
As Robert Frost famously wrote: “Some say the world will end in fire, / Some in ice.” And in a very real sense it was those two opposing endgame scenarios that Chicago Opera Theater conjured this past weekend as it opened its 2019-2020 season.
Northlight Theatre’s production of “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley” has a playfully feminist spirit that Jane Austen surely would have appreciated, but it also remains true to its Regency era mentality.
“The Niceties” is a brief and telling chronicle of the temper of our times, and actors Mary Beth Fisher and Ayanna Bria Bakari sustain the necessary tension and subterfuge required to keep things at the boiling point.
The production, directed by Robert Falls (artistic director of the Goodman Theatre) is the finest work he has done on any stage since “The Iceman Cometh,” and it has been cast with glorious singers who also are exceptional actors.
What happens when a conductor steeped in the Italian tradition takes hold of three works by quite different 19th century German Romantic composers? The answer could be heard as Maestro Riccardo Muti led the CSO in works by Wagner, Brahms and Schumann.
Together with the brilliant musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Maestro Riccardo Muti and violinist Leonidas Kavakos launched into an absolutely spellbinding performance of Beethoven’s “Violin Concerto in D Major.”
There is no denying the ferocity of John Leguizamo’s tragicomic jeremiad, his bravura gifts as a terrific physical performer, or his ability to improvise in “Latin History for Morons.”
Directed with just the right balance of the sacred and the profane by Joe Mantegna, Ronnie Marmo’s show, “I’m Not a Comedian ... I’m Lenny Bruce,” is a seamless weave of excerpts from Bruce’s acts along with original material that deftly takes us inside the man’s psyche.
The show’s three exceptionally graceful, expressive actors – each of them powerful solo players – form a seamless bond that is beautiful to behold. They are at once passionate artists and fierce cultural warriors.
The exceptional breadth, depth and variety of Chicago theater was on full display Monday night as the winners of the 2019 Jeff Equity Awards were announced. Here are the highlights.
Writers Theatre’s production of “A Doll’s House,” cannily but faithfully adapted by Sandra Delgado and Michael Halberstam, and featuring a bravura performance by Cher Alvarez, brought the play back to life in the most unexpected ways.