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Renée Fleming speaks with WTTW News about “The Light in the Piazza.” (WTTW News)

Following a run on London’s West End and at LA Opera, the Tony Award-winning musical “The Light in the Piazza” now comes to Chicago. We visited the cast during a recent rehearsal.

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Lindsay Duncan in “Hansard.” (Catherine Ashmore / Courtesy NT Live)

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. 

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Nondumiso Tembe in “Lindiwe,” left, Kelvin Roston Jr. in “Oedipus Rex,” center, and Christina Hall in “Always … Patsy Cline.” (Photos by Michael Brosilow)

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.

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Cirque du Soleil’s world premiere show “‘Twas the Night Before …” (Credit: Errisson Lawrence)

We get a behind-the-scenes peek at “‘Twas the Night Before …,” the new holiday production from Cirque du Soleil that’s making its debut in Chicago.

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Sondra Radvanovsky in “The Three Queens.” (© Todd Rosenberg Photography 2019)

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.

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Michelle Johnson and Andrew Bidlack in Chicago Opera Theater’s productions of “Aleko” and “Everest.” (Photo credit: Michael Brosilow)

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.

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Netta Walker (left) and Luigi Sottile in “The Wickhams: Christmas at Pemberley.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

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. 

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Ayanna Bria Bakari and Mary Beth Fisher in “The Niceties.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

“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. 

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Amanda Majeski and Lucas Meachem in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Don Giovanni.” (Photo by Kyle Flubacker)

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.

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A rehearsal for the Steppenwolf Theatre production of “Lindiwe.” (WTTW News)

From a Chicago blues club to South Africa, a new show at Steppenwolf Theatre explores music and love across cultures. We get a behind-the-scenes look at “Lindiwe.”

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The company of “Hamilton.” (Courtesy of Joan Marcus)

Just over three years ago, Chicago audiences were introduced to the smash hit musical “Hamilton.” We catch up with two original cast members of the Chicago production.

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Greg Matthew Anderson and Cher Álvarez in “A Doll’s House.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

There are many treats on Chicago stages these days. Theater critic Hedy Weiss joins us with her latest roundup.

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Sister Helen Prejean speaks with WTTW News.

It was a moving memoir that became an Oscar-winning film before premiering as an opera in 2000. After more than 60 productions around the world, “Dead Man Walking” is now headed to Lyric Opera of Chicago for the first time.

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John Leguizamo in “Latin History for Morons.” (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

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.”

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John Leguizamo in “Latin History for Morons.” (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

If your Latin history is a little rusty, actor and writer John Leguizamo understands – and he’s here to offer an antidote in the form of his latest one-man show, playing in Chicago this week. We get a preview.

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Ronnie Marmo as Lenny Bruce. (Photo by Doren Sorell)

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.

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