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Stories by Hedy Weiss

Blistering Grand Opera ‘Sweeney Todd’ at Theo Ubique’s Tiny Storefront

Jacquelyne Jones as Mrs. Lovett (Credit: Cody Jolly Photography)

This is a scorching production that is all the more potent for its extreme, immersive intimacy. Read the full review.

From a Pop Music Odyssey to an Opera House Bernstein Tribute

“Long Way Home,” left, and “Celebrating 100 Years of Bernstein” (Credit for Lyric: Todd Rosenberg)

Reviews of two special productions that came to Chicago stages this past weekend: the world premiere of “Long Way Home” from hip-hop masters the Q Brothers Collective; and Lyric Opera’s celebration of Leonard Bernstein.

Ailey Company Mixes It Up With Faith, Poetry, Pain and Athleticism

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in Twyla Tharp’s “The Golden Section” (Photo by Paul Kolnik)

A review of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater at the Auditorium Theatre, and in dance news: a $1 million gift for the Joffrey Ballet.

In Gounod’s ‘Faust,’ a Slew of Mixed Messages

Christian Van Horn and Benjamin Bernheim in “Faust” at Lyric Opera of Chicago. (Credit: Cory Weaver)

Despite a lush score, excellent voices and several memorable characterizations, the story often loses its focus in a new production of “Faust” at Lyric Opera of Chicago.

Spinning Out of a Weekend of Dance

Telmo Moreira’s “Memento Mori” (Photo by Cheryl Mann)

Three very different programs appeared on Chicago stages last weekend – and there is much more to come this month. 

Powerful Women at Odds With Each Other and the Nature of Power

Queen Elizabeth I (Kellie Overbey) contemplates her next move in Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s production of “Schiller’s Mary Stuart.” (Credit: Michael Brosilow)

A vivid production of “Schiller’s Mary Stuart” at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater is fresh and modern, but never artificially tricked up.

Steppenwolf Announces Premieres, Landmark Revival for 2018-19 Season

Danai Gurira (Credit: Little Fang Photos)

A world premiere play by Bruce Norris, a rare return to acting by Tarell Alvin McCraney and the Chicago premieres of a recent Broadway hit by Lucas Hnath and a 2015 play by Danai Gurira – and more – are coming to Steppenwolf Theatre.

Black Ensemble Pays Rollicking Homage to Rock ‘N’ Roll Pioneer Chuck Berry

Lyle Miller as Older Chuck Berry in Black Ensemble Theater’s “Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chuck Berry.” (Credit: Alan Davis)

Long before Chuck Berry died in March 2017 at the ripe old age of 90, he was revered as the granddaddy of rock ‘n’ roll. Black Ensemble Theater tells the story in “Hail, Hail Chuck: A Tribute to Chuck Berry.”

American Ballet Theatre in a Mostly Modern Mode at Harris Theatre

Christine Shevchenko and Calvin Royal III in “Songs of Bukovina.” (Credit: Marty Sohl)

American Ballet Theatre has traveled light for this engagement, homing in on modern works that mostly thrive on a variety of lighting effects, with several pas de deux lifted from larger ballets and performed on a bare stage that puts the movement in stark relief.

In ‘The Wolves,’ the Tensions Beneath a Fierce Team Spirit

Cydney Moody (No. 8), Sarah Price (No. 11), Natalie Joyce (No. 7), Mary Tilden (No. 13), Isa Arciniegas (No. 25) and Taylor Blim in “The Wolves” at Goodman Theatre. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

Talk about timing: The Chicago premiere of Sarah DeLappe’s tour de force mix of verbal and physical athletics and teen angst comes as the U.S. women’s ice hockey team wins the 2018 Olympic gold medal.

Stage Adaptation of Bellow’s ‘Augie March’ Coming to Court Theatre

Saul Bellow (Photo: John Vail / Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library)

Court Theatre’s newly announced 2018-2019 season includes a world premiere stage adaptation of Saul Bellow’s “The Adventures of Augie March” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Auburn (“Proof”).

In Lyric’s ‘Cosi,’ a Spirited Toast to the Imperfections of the Heart

Marianne Crebassa, Ana María Martínez in “Cosi fan tutte.” (Credit: Cory Weaver)

The production of “Cosi fan tutte” now at Lyric Opera of Chicago is a beauty. And in its playful but unquestionably bittersweet exploration of love, fidelity, betrayal and the unreliable nature of both men and women, it could easily have been written yesterday.

In ‘Bunny Bunny,’ Tapping Into Gilda Radner’s Sad Clown

Jackson Evans as Alan Zweibel and Dana Tretta as Gilda Radner in “Bunny Bunny” (Photo: Brett A. Beiner)

You will catch only a brief glimpse of the big explosion of hair, but in “Bunny Bunny” at Mercury Theater Chicago you will fully feel the manic energy and rapid-fire comic responses of Gilda Radner.

Chicago’s 2018-19 Dance Season Already Spinning Into View

English National Ballet. Alina Cojocaru in Akram Kham’s “Giselle.” (© Laurent Liotardo)

Chicago is dancing up a storm this season, and plans for an exceptionally strong 2018-2019 season are already being announced. A preview of what’s to come.

Historical, Personal Mesh to Stunning Effect in Paramount’s ‘Cabaret’

Kelly Felthous plays Sally Bowles in Paramount Theatre’s “Cabaret.” (Credit: Liz Lauren)

In Paramount’s revival of the 1966 musical, director-choreographer Katie Spelman not only finds a perfect balance between the personal and political, but fully captures the flamboyant decadence of 1930s Weimar Germany without exploiting the pure shock value of its sexual antics. 

Joffrey’s Breathtaking ‘Modern Masters’ Explores Ballet’s Evolution

Dancers Temur Suluashvili and Victoria Jaiani in “Glass Pieces.” )Photo by Cheryl Mann)

The Joffrey Ballet’s winter program is a stunning showcase of the prowess of its dancers, as well as the stellar talents of the Chicago Philharmonic and music director Scott Speck.

Vocal, Emotional Firepower in Lyric Opera’s 2018-19 Season

“Cendrillon” (Bill Cooper / Royal Opera House)

Lyric Opera of Chicago announces its 2018-2019 season, including Massenet’s “Cendrillon” (“Cinderella”), a Lyric premiere of a new-to-Chicago production.

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