Posted inTheater Review

The Buttcracker plays it naughty and nice

Fast becoming a staple of Chicago’s alternative holiday entertainment scene, The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque is back for a seventh year of tinseled twerking and tasseled twirling. Dreamed up around a campfire by artistic producer and playwright Jaq Seifert, the queer-friendly, sex-positive show celebrates bodies of various sizes, shades, ages, and genders in an exuberant […]

Posted inTheater Review

All about their mother

The four sisters in Teatro Vista’s ¡Bernarda! often complain about the heat, but the stifling Spanish summer is no match for the passions roiling under their mother’s roof. This stylish, sexy new adaption of Federico García Lorca’s 1936 play, The House of Bernarda Alba, is written by Emilio Williams, directed by Teatro Vista producing artistic […]

Posted inBooks Issue

For all the 90s church kids

I didn’t expect a book with chapter titles like “Nothing’s Funnier Than Naked” and “Welcome to Ass Planet” to make me tear up on public transit, but Lillian Stone’s Everybody’s Favorite: Tales From the World’s Worst Perfectionist accomplished this feat. Amid the bodily humor, cringey anecdotes, and irreverent one-liners, the Chicago-based comedy author and reporter […]

Posted inArts & Culture

London Road centers voices of survivors

British imports are common enough on Chicago’s stages. The plays of Simon Stephens regularly appear at storefront theaters; Court Theatre will revive Tom Stoppard’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead next season; and Six continues its Broadway reign following its 2019 North American premiere at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. But it’s safe to say that Chicago audiences […]

Posted inTheater Review

White saviorism: the musical!

The Book of Mormon is back in Chicago, slightly rewritten since it last played here in 2018 but still the same wildly irreverent take on that most quintessential of homegrown white American religions: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After the hit musical opened on Broadway in 2011, it played in Chicago four […]

Posted inTheater Review

Soviet slapstick

Heading into opening night of Dying for It at Artistic Home, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Moira Buffini’s adaptation of The Suicide, a 1928 satire by Soviet playwright Nikolai Erdman that was banned by Joseph Stalin. Frankly, the subject matter sounded a bit niche—or maybe I was just feeling rusty on Soviet history […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Steeped in history

In the most famous lines of his 1855 poem “Song of Myself,” Walt Whitman writes, “Do I contradict myself? / Very well then I contradict myself, / (I am large, I contain multitudes.)” After reading S. L. Wisenberg’s insightful new book, The Wandering Womb: Essays in Search of Home, it’s clear that she, too, contains […]

Posted inTheater Review

Quantum romance

Simon Stephens’s play Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle is set up as a classic story of culture clash: a quirky, talkative woman from New Jersey strikes up a conversation with a reserved Londoner in a train station, ignoring all social cues that he’d rather be left alone. But when she arrives at his butcher shop a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Beyond Jane Eyre

Although Charlotte Brontë’s Villette has long been overshadowed by Jane Eyre—its “more popular younger sister,” in Sara Gmitter’s words—the 1853 novel takes the spotlight at Lookingglass Theatre next month in a world premiere adaptation written by Gmitter and directed by Tracy Walsh.  Based on a period of bereavement, homesickness, and unrequited love in Brontë’s own […]

Posted inTheater Review

Miami death trip

Teenagers tend to be reckless, sure, but few would gather in a spooky tree house to summon the spirit of Colombian drug cartel leader Pablo Escobar. But then, most aren’t as hardcore—or foolhardy—as the members of the Dead Leaders Club, a group of private school girls in Miami who dabble with supernatural forces in Our […]