Jasmine Lacy Young (front, left to right), Patrick O’Keefe, Wesly Anthony Clerge, Roy Samra (back, left to right) Chamaya Moody, Mia Nevarez, Alli Atkenson and Matt Patrick perform n “8-Track.” (Photo by Liz Lauren)

While its score may be classic retro, the songs are performed with great authenticity by artists who came of age decades after the baby boomers and Generation Xers who grew up with them.

The Company of the RENT 20th Anniversary Tour RENT 20th Anniversary Tour (Credit Amy Boyle 2019).

Among the shows that have marked the return of live theater in Chicago are three very different music-driven works variously set in the final three decades of the 20th century. Seen during present day upheaval, as well as through the lens of their original conception, the result is an intriguing double vision. 

Kiersten Frumkin (left to right), Jared David Michael Grant, Stephen Blu Allen, Michael Kingston, Loretta Rezos and Cynthia F. Carter in “Working.” Background, in band are Perry Cowdery (left to right), Jeremy Ramey and Rafe Bradford. (Photo by Austin Oie Photography)

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.

Will Lidke in “Hedwig and the Angry Inch.” (Photo by Austin D. Oie Photography)

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.

Kelli Harrington and Tommy Thurston in “The Bridges of Madison County” at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. (Photo by Cody Jolly Photography)

This is one of those productions that makes you wish the show’s composer and writer would make a quick trip to Chicago to see their work in what might just be its ideal incarnation.

“The Full Monty” at Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre. Front: Nick Druzbanski, left, and Matt Frye. Background, from left: Jonathan Schwart, Neil Stratman, Joe Giovannetti and Marc Prince. (Photo by Austin D. Oie)

The theater company’s new home in Evanston marks a grand, and grandly deserved step upward. Its opening production looks at what happens when men lose their well-paying factory jobs and self-respect.

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.