Posted inTheater Preview

Sleeping With Beauty brings an irreverent take to a British holiday tradition

There likely aren’t many Americans familiar with the UK’s pantomime (often shortened to panto) musical comedy tradition, but PrideArts in Uptown is aiming to change that—at least for Chicago audiences.  Panto performances have traditionally been geared towards the whole family in the UK, but not so much at PrideArts. Last year the theater scored a […]

Posted inTheater Review

Chaos in the co-op

A stellar cast more than makes up for some of the inherent unevenness in Charles Busch’s The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, produced at Skokie Theatre as part of MadKap Productions’s 2023-24 season.  Julie Stevens is terrific as Marjorie Taub, an Upper West Side housewife recovering from a nervous breakdown—triggered after the death of her […]

Posted inTheater Review

This Bitter Earth dives into the roots of political and personal commitment

At one point in Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre’s excellent production of Harrison David Rivers’s This Bitter Earth, the central character, Jesse (Matthew Lolar-Johnson), says to his activist boyfriend, Neil (Tiemen Godwaldt), that “all lives matter.” Neil, surprised and disgusted, replies, “Saying all lives matter is like running through an anti-cancer rally and saying, ‘You know, there are […]

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Cooking With Soul

Near the end of Black Ensemble Theater’s (BET) superb new revue A Taste of Soul, co-emcee Qiana McNary mentions that the show’s creators hope to leave the audience both “full and hungry at the same time.” The show’s central framing device—a television cooking program veering into musical numbers, concurrently leading the audience through the history […]

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Emotional landmines on the campaign trail

Obama campaign operatives stationed in East Cleveland at the height of the 2008 presidential run felt like they were at the center of the political world. An idealistic—and existentially lost—Black gay man’s entrance into this volatile world forms the center of Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre’s production of Aurin Squire’s Obama-ology, which entertainingly depicts what an emotional minefield […]

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Showfolk follies

I’m generally not a huge fan of material wherein creative folk in any discipline—theater, film, publishing, music—turn to their own profession for inspiration. If a movie is about filmmaking, or a novel is about a tortured novelist, or a singer crows about how hard life is on the road, I check out pretty quickly. So […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Albert Herring balances indie aesthetic with traditional music

Benjamin Britten’s 1947 opera Albert Herring (set in 1900) has been a perennial production for Chicago Opera Theater. But the new mounting opening tonight at the Athenaeum, helmed by director Stephen Sposito, promises to infuse Britten’s story with what the company is calling an “indie-film vibe.” Sposito—who was associate director for The Book of Mormon, […]

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Southern secrets and lies

Sarah Sapperstein’s Maggie the Cat commands your attention with her act one monologues in MadKap Productions’s mounting of Tennessee Williams’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at Skokie Theatre, directed by Steve Scott. Sapperstein’s costars take her energy and roll with it for the entirety of this show, in which a southern family unravels (and […]