Theater, Dance, Comedy and Performance in Chicago

Review: Disenchanted!/Broadway In Chicago

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The cast of "Disenchanted!"/Photo: Dahlia Katz

The cast of “Disenchanted!”/Photo: Dahlia Katz

Disney’s princesses are breaking out of their stereotypes and telling the world what they really think of Walt—sort of. “Disenchanted!” with book, music and lyrics by Dennis T. Giacino, aims to break the proverbial glass slipper. With direction by Christopher Bond, there’s a lot of humor in the show, but it’s hard to feel that this musical actually serves its purpose. Read the rest of this entry »

Opening This Week: May 9-15, 2016

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Chris Stack/Photo: Liz Lauren

Chris Stack in “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” at Goodman Theatre/Photo: Liz Lauren

Monday

“The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” at Goodman Theatre. The political and the personal collide in Lorraine Hansberry’s prescient mid-century drama. Through June 5. For tickets and more information visit goodmantheatre.org

Tuesday

“Chicago” at Broadway In Chicago. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Through May 15. For tickets and more information visit broadwayinchicago.com

Wednesday

“Chimerica” at TimeLine Theatre Company. The Laurence Olivier Award-winning play calculates the real cost of truth. Through July 31. For tickets and more information visit timelinetheatre.com

Thursday

Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly in "Chicago"/ Photo: Jeremy Daniel.

Amra-Faye Wright as Velma Kelly in “Chicago”/
Photo: Jeremy Daniel.

“The Secretaries” at About Face Theatre. This gory new comedy is equal parts “Twin Peaks” and “Stepford Wives.” Through June 12. For tickets and more information visit aboutfacetheatre.com

“No Matter How Hard We Try, Or We Can Exist on the Best Terms We Can” at Trap Door Theatre. A scathing satire about the decaying Polish national identity in the aftermath of WWII. Through June 25. For tickets and more information visit trapdoortheatre.com

“Public Access Live: Season 3” at The Public House Theatre. The irreverent, behind-the-scenes talk show returns. Thursdays through June 30. For tickets and more information visit thepubtheatre.com

“Action Jackson” at The Second City Training Center. Flipping the script on your favorite pop-culture icons. Through June 2. For tickets and more information visit secondcity.com

“The Matter at Dead Oak Hollow” at The Public House Theatre. A vibrant musical comedy in the spirit of “The X Files.” Thursdays through June 2. For tickets and more information visit thepubtheatre.com

Friday

“Discord” at Northlight Theatre. Ever wonder what a Founding Father, a Victorian novelist and a Russian revolutionary have in common? Through June 12. For tickets and more information visit northlight.org

“Finishing the Hat: Sunday in the Park with George, Recreated!” at Improvised Sondheim Project. The final show in the fully improvised inaugural season. Through May 27. For tickets and more information visit improvisedsondheim.com

“Tournament of Shows” at Under the Gun Theater. A single-elimination tournament to discover who is Best in Show. Fridays through June 17. For tickets and more information visit undertheguntheater.com

Dan Lin and Norman Yap/Photo: Lara Goetsch

Dan Lin and Norman Yap in TimeLine Theatre Company’s “Chimerica”/Photo: Lara Goetsch

Saturday

“Clued In” at The Second City’s Beat Lounge. Agatha Christie, Second City-style. Saturdays, open run. For tickets and more information visit secondcity.com

“Porn Minus Porn” at Under the Gun Theater. The 2015 Tournament of Shows winner returns for a limited run. Saturdays through June 25. For tickets and more information visit undertheguntheater.com

“Twisted Knots” at TTKD Productions. Auld acquaintance may be forgot but there will surely be plenty to remember in this New Year’s Eve-set drama. Through June 12. For tickets and more information visit theroyalgeorgetheatre.com

“Chicago Doo-Wop Dreams” at MCL Chicago. Join four Chicago boys on their journey to fame and back. Through May 29. For tickets and more information visit mclchicago.com

Sunday

“Disenchanted” at Broadway In Chicago. The hit musical is anything but Grimm. Through June 5. For tickets and more information visit broadwayinchicago.com

“The Princess and Her Evil Twin” at The Second City Beat Lounge. A deliciously villainous dive into the story of two sisters. Sundays through May 29. For tickets and more information visit secondcity.com

Review: Bullets Over Broadway/Broadway In Chicago

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Jeff Brooks and ensemble members of "Bullets Over Broadway."/Photo: Matthew Murphy

Jeffrey Brooks and ensemble members of “Bullets Over Broadway”/Photo: Matthew Murphy

RECOMMENDED

The musical version of Woody Allen and Douglas McGrath’s 1994 film of the same name has lots of good things going for it. This first national tour has an incredibly talented cast, great choreography and strong production elements—from costumes to set design. Read the rest of this entry »

Opening This Week: April 18-24, 2016

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The cast of "Bullets Over Broadway"/Photo: Matthew Murphy

The cast of “Bullets Over Broadway”/Photo: Matthew Murphy

Monday

“Sender” at A Red Orchid Theatre. Local playwright Ike Holter examines whether growing up is even worth it. Through May 29. For tickets and more information visit aredorchidtheatre.org

“Even Longer and Farther Away” at The New Colony. A soul-searching exploration of family. Through May 15. For tickets and more information visit thenewcolony.org Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Matilda The Musical

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The company of "Matilda: The Musical."/Photo: Joan Marcus

The company of “Matilda The Musical.”/Photo: Joan Marcus

RECOMMENDED

Before seeing this production, I didn’t know much about “Matilda The Musical.” By the time I left the theater, it had become one of my favorite shows.

The cast is filled with incredible young performers. Nine-year-old Lily Brooks O’Briant stars as Matilda Wormwood, a five-year-old genius growing up in a household where her family couldn’t care less about her. She longs to go to school to get away from her home life. It’s at school where she meets kids who have grown up believing they are all “little miracles.” While their teacher, Miss Honey (Jennifer Blood), wants her classroom to be a place that inspires learning, the school’s headmistress, Miss Trunchbull (David Abeles), believes young people are “maggots” who need to be instructed with a firm hand. Read the rest of this entry »

Opening This Week: March 21-27, 2016

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The cast of "Matilda"/Photo: Joan Marcus

The cast of “Matilda”/Photo: Joan Marcus

Monday

“That’s Weird, Grandma: The Musical” at Barrel of Monkeys. A clever and funny, touching and poignant collection of songs based on the writings of CPS students. Through April 11. For tickets and more information visit barrelofmonkeys.org

Wednesday

“Arcadia” at Writers Theatre. The inaugural production at Writers Theatre’s elegant new home. Through May 1. For tickets and more information visit writerstheatre.org Read the rest of this entry »

Opening This Week: February 22-28, 2016

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Sam Hubbard and Antonio Zhiurinskas/Photo: Dean La Prarie

Sam Hubbard and Antonio Zhiurinskas/Photo: Dean La Prarie

Monday

“A Loss of Roses” at Raven Theatre. The “nearly-lost classic” from William Inge returns to Chicago. Through April 2. For tickets and more information visit raventheatre.com

“Romeo and Juliet” at Lyric Opera of Chicago. The new to Chicago take on Shakespeare’s infamous tale of love and death closes Lyric’s memorable season. Through March 19. For tickets and more information visit lyricopera.org
Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Cabaret/Broadway In Chicago and Roundabout Theatre Company

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Andrea Goss/Photo: Broadway in Chicago

Andrea Goss/Photo: Joan Marcus

RECOMMENDED

“Welcome to Berlin, ” say several cast members to the young American writer arriving from Paris in search of his novel. The time is 1929 and Berlin is in the waning age of the Weimar Republic when everyone, even the queers and Jews, are more than welcome. And nothing symbolizes that brief period of time better than the infamous Kit Kat Klub with its dancing girls, available men and the sexiest orchestra this side of the Rhine. Overseeing this decadent madness is an emcee almost too scandalous to be believed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Gotta Dance/Broadway In Chicago

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The cast of "Gotta Dance"/Photo: Matthew Murphy

The cast of “Gotta Dance”/Photo: Matthew Murphy

RECOMMENDED

The trial run of a musical comedy on its way to Broadway is probably not the first place you’d expect to find an exploration of systematic disempowerment. Reasonably so, given theater’s impressive batting average with Caucasians who can qualify for the senior discount (not that they need it). Still, as they say, where there’s a will there’s a way. With its ingenious conceit and pleasantly whitewashed vision of cultural crossover, “Gotta Dance” succeeds by holding up a mirror to its audience and encouraging them to like what they see.

Featuring the milieu of nursing homes and bingo nights, “Gotta Dance” is atmospherically suburban and unapologetically moral. The book’s myriad holes and limited number of locations occasionally stretch the limits of plausibility. With all good intentions, director Jerry Mitchell tends to make matters worse with his persistent use of LCD screens, which symbolically—and quite blatantly—ignore the musical’s overwhelming conviction that the old ways are best. Read the rest of this entry »

Newcity’s Top 5 of Everything 2015: Stage

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Top 5 Dramas of 2015
“Moby Dick,” Lookingglass Theatre Company
“Marjorie Prime,” Writers Theatre 
“Brilliant Adventures,” Steep Theatre Company
“How The World Began,” Rivendell Theatre Ensemble
“Love and Human Remains,” Cor Theatre
—Kevin Greene

Top 5 Comedies of 2015
“The Upstairs Concierge,” Goodman Theatre
“Lunacy!,” Jackalope Theatre
“Samsara,” Victory Gardens 
“With Love and a Major Organ,” Strawdog Theatre Company
“The Walk Across America For Mother Earth,” Red Tape Theatre 
—Kevin Greene Read the rest of this entry »