Chicago Theater Reviews
Chicago Home Page | Reviews   
 


BWW Review: Porchlight's MARRY ME A LITTLE is a Rhapsodic Love Letter to Sondheim's Song Catalog BWW Review: Porchlight's MARRY ME A LITTLE is a Rhapsodic Love Letter to Sondheim's Song Catalog
by Rachel Weinberg - April 26, 2017

True blue fans of Stephen Sondheim (this reviewer included) will be drooling over Porchlight's latest offering MARRY ME A LITTLE. This two-hander revue showcases a number of Sondheim's finest trunk songs-early renditions of numbers that were cut from such musicals as FOLLIES, INTO THE WOODS and MERR... (more...)
BWW Review: A VAUDEVILLE FIASCO at The Other Side BWW Review: A VAUDEVILLE FIASCO at The Other Side
by William Geheren - March 30, 2017

It was a night filled with wonder, talent and hilarity as Inhabit Theater performed A VAUDEVILLE FIASCO at The Other Side in Crystal Lake... (more...)
BWW Review: Will Davis Casts An Imaginative, Modern Lens on William Inge's PICNIC BWW Review: Will Davis Casts An Imaginative, Modern Lens on William Inge's PICNIC
by Rachel Weinberg - March 27, 2017

In putting together American Theater Company's current production of William Inge's classic play PICNIC, Artistic Director Will Davis said he wanted his cast "to reflect the playwright and the powerful forces in his own psyche that kept him from happiness and fulfillment." Indeed, the actors Davis h... (more...)
BWW Review: CIRCUS 1903 Has A Plethora of Family-Friendly Acts Up Its Sleeve BWW Review: CIRCUS 1903 Has A Plethora of Family-Friendly Acts Up Its Sleeve
by Rachel Weinberg - March 22, 2017

Come one, come all to CIRCUS 1903-THE GOLDEN AGE OF CIRCUS that has landed in Chicago with plenty of razzle dazzle circus acts and exhilarating feats to make this show a treat for the whole family. Directed by Neil Dorward, and featuring two magnificently rendered elephant puppets from Significant O... (more...)
BWW Review: Ease On Down to Kokandy's Joyous THE WIZ BWW Review: Ease On Down to Kokandy's Joyous THE WIZ
by Rachel Weinberg - March 13, 2017

Under the direction of Lili-Anne Brown, Kokandy Productions' staging of THE WIZ radiates joy, and at the performance I saw Saturday night, the audience was soaking up every single joyful moment. From my vantage point, I can say that the audience reaction comes from the satisfaction of watching a sol... (more...)
BWW Review: Victory Gardens' World Premiere A WONDER IN MY SOUL Pays Loving Homage to Chicago's South Side and Female Friendship BWW Review: Victory Gardens' World Premiere A WONDER IN MY SOUL Pays Loving Homage to Chicago's South Side and Female Friendship
by Rachel Weinberg - February 22, 2017

In Kurtis Boetcher's set design for Marcus Gardley's world premiere A WONDER IN MY SOUL, the backdrop for the South Side beauty shop where the play is set prominently displays the photographs of black female icons ranging from Diana Ross to Beyonce-and all of course have fabulous hair in the photo... (more...)
BWW Review: Steppenwolf's STRAIGHT WHITE MEN Examine Their Role in Society BWW Review: Steppenwolf's STRAIGHT WHITE MEN Examine Their Role in Society
by Patrick Rybarczyk - February 15, 2017

As you walk into the theatre for Steppenwolf's production of Jean Lee's Straight White Men, you are offered ear plugs. Why? There is extremely loud music playing and it contains lyrics that could certainly be considered offensive to some. Starting off this way has likely, as we are told by two gende... (more...)
BWW Review: Chicago Voices Concert Brings Out the All-Stars BWW Review: Chicago Voices Concert Brings Out the All-Stars
by Kevin Pollack - February 13, 2017

The stars aligned on Saturday, February 4th for the Chicago Voices Concert at the Lyric Opera's Civic Opera House in Chicago. The concert is a one-night-only, mixed genre event that celebrates the city's diverse vocal music heritage in a spirit of unity and collaboration.... (more...)
BWW Review: THE BODYGUARD Provides A Glitzy and Lively Evening of Whitney Houston Classics BWW Review: THE BODYGUARD Provides A Glitzy and Lively Evening of Whitney Houston Classics
by Rachel Weinberg - February 03, 2017

THE BODYGUARD, based on the eponymous film starring Whitney Houston as pop star Rachel Marron and Kevin Costner as her bodyguard Frank Farmer, has plenty of glitz and glamour to go around in its current engagement at Broadway In Chicago's Oriental Theatre. Throughout the night, lead Deborah Cox shin... (more...)
BWW Review: Enjoyable, Wry MEN ON BOATS Marks American Theater Company Artistic Director Will Davis's Directorial Debut BWW Review: Enjoyable, Wry MEN ON BOATS Marks American Theater Company Artistic Director Will Davis's Directorial Debut
by Rachel Weinberg - January 11, 2017

It seems rather poetic that newly appointed Artistic Director Will Davis's first production at American Theater Company, MEN ON BOATS, focuses rather literally on charting new frontiers. Jaclyn Backhaus's witty, entertaining play (which Davis previously helmed with a different ensemble off-Broadway)... (more...)
BWW Review: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA's New Production Breathes the Music of the Night Back to Life BWW Review: THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA's New Production Breathes the Music of the Night Back to Life
by Kailey Hansen - December 19, 2016

As one of the most successful shows of all time, The Phantom of the Opera continues to draw in audiences who are already familiar with the music of the night. Despite being an age-old tale, Cameron Mackintosh's astounding new production boasts revamped staging and a fresh set design that sweeps both... (more...)
BWW Review: A Young Man's Brain is our Stage in THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME BWW Review: A Young Man's Brain is our Stage in THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME
by Kailey Hansen - December 09, 2016

... (more...)
BWW Review: Steppenwolf's World Premiere of THE FUNDAMENTALS Takes A Cheeky, Entertaining Stab at Corporate Culture BWW Review: Steppenwolf's World Premiere of THE FUNDAMENTALS Takes A Cheeky, Entertaining Stab at Corporate Culture
by Rachel Weinberg - November 25, 2016

Erika Sheffer's witty and laugh-out-loud funny new play THE FUNDAMENTALS paints a bleak portrait of corporate culture within the New York location of a fictitious major hotel chain. Sheffer sets the tongue-in-cheek tone from the initial moments of the play, which opens with an overly polished film e... (more...)
BWW Review: Drury Lane's CRAZY FOR YOU Brings a Much-Needed Dose of Broadway Magic BWW Review: Drury Lane's CRAZY FOR YOU Brings a Much-Needed Dose of Broadway Magic
by Kailey Hansen - November 14, 2016

This holiday season, the intimate Drury Lane Theatre receives a dash of Broadway magic. George and Ira Gershwin's classical music comes to life in a dazzling revue. Big dance numbers, familiar tunes and slapstick comedy make for a wondrous, two-hour escape from reality.... (more...)
BWW Review: Lovely FUN HOME Will Break Your Heart BWW Review: Lovely FUN HOME Will Break Your Heart
by Teresa Budasi - November 06, 2016

FUN HOME is a great title for a musical. It conjures lightness, joy, whimsy … fun. There is some of that in the Tony Award-winning show, now enjoying its first national tour that includes a two-week stint at Chicago's Oriental Theatre. But for the most part, FUN HOME is dark.... (more...)
BWW Review: THE BURIALS Beautifully Portrays The Haunting, Heartbreaking Cost of Gun Violence in Schools BWW Review: THE BURIALS Beautifully Portrays The Haunting, Heartbreaking Cost of Gun Violence in Schools
by Rachel Weinberg - October 11, 2016

In Caitlin Parrish's new play THE BURIALS, Steppenwolf for Young Adults has found an informative and moving new play that tackles the realities of gun violence in schools with intensity and heart under the direction of Erica Weiss. Loosely based on the Greek tragedy ANTIGONE, THE BURIALS smartly add... (more...)
BWW Review: Wagner's Music Shines in DAS RHEINGOLD BWW Review: Wagner's Music Shines in DAS RHEINGOLD
by Teresa Budasi - October 10, 2016

Richard Wagner's 'Ring' cycle is an intriguing opportunity to immerse oneself in an epic experience -- something akin to reading the 'Harry Potter' or 'Lord of the Rings' series, savoring each singular story, then eagerly anticipating the next installment.... (more...)
BWW Review: LIFE SUCKS at Lookingglass … or does it? BWW Review: LIFE SUCKS at Lookingglass … or does it?
by Teresa Budasi - October 03, 2016

Lookingglass Theatre's season opener, the ironically life-affirming LIFE SUCKS, might as well have been titled 'Love Sucks,' because every character's issues stem from that all-encompassing drive to connect with the person with whom they think completes them.... (more...)
BWW Review: Steppenwolf's VISITING EDNA is an Emotional Lesson in Dealing with Loss BWW Review: Steppenwolf's VISITING EDNA is an Emotional Lesson in Dealing with Loss
by Patrick Rybarczyk - September 27, 2016

Plays that deal with a terminal illness are tough. The storytelling can be tricky as each audience member comes to it with varying degrees of personal impact. In Visiting Edna, currently making its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, cancer is an actual character who gives voice to its ow... (more...)
BWW Review: THE CITY OF CONVERSATION a Lively, Timely Political Tale BWW Review: THE CITY OF CONVERSATION a Lively, Timely Political Tale
by Teresa Budasi - September 27, 2016

Northlight Theatre couldn't have chosen a better time to launch this show. The current presidential race is perhaps the most polarizing in U.S. history, but playwright Anthony Giardina's drama, which begins in the late '70s, reminds us that the landscape was shifting long before The Donald promised ... (more...)
Cheers is Live On Stage but Better on TV Cheers is Live On Stage but Better on TV
by Patrick Rybarczyk - September 22, 2016

... (more...)
BWW Review: There is Joy in Porchlight's Controversial IN THE HEIGHTS BWW Review: There is Joy in Porchlight's Controversial IN THE HEIGHTS
by Teresa Budasi - September 19, 2016

If you aspire to see 'Hamilton' while it's in Chicago but have yet to score tickets, you can get a tease of what Lin-Manuel Miranda has to offer this town by checking out Porchlight Theatre's production of IN THE HEIGHTS.... (more...)
BWW Review: Sharp, Intense TRUE WEST at Shattered Globe BWW Review: Sharp, Intense TRUE WEST at Shattered Globe
by Rachel Weinberg - September 15, 2016

With deft direction by James Yost, Shattered Globe's production of TRUE WEST made for a solid first Sam Shepard experience for this critic. Kevin Viol and Joseph Wiens have cultivated a convincing and powerful dynamic as estranged brothers Austin and Lee, who are holed up at their mother's house in ... (more...)
BWW Review: HELLDRIVERS OF DAYTONA Hits Too Many Speed Bumps BWW Review: HELLDRIVERS OF DAYTONA Hits Too Many Speed Bumps
by Rachel Weinberg - September 13, 2016

Chicago, fasten your seat belts-the world premiere musical HELLDRIVERS OF DAYTONA has parked at the Royal George Theatre...and it's a bumpy, messy ride. Billed as a spoof of 1960s racing films, composer Berton Averre (known for 'My Sharona'), lyricist Rob Meurer, and book writer Mark Saltzman have d... (more...)
BWW Review: HOW TO SUCCEED in Modern-day Theater BWW Review: HOW TO SUCCEED in Modern-day Theater
by Teresa Budasi - September 02, 2016

'How often does it happen that a secretary's boss wants to marry her? Hallelujah!' These lyrics get to the heart of why shows like HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING can't possibly maintain relevance in modern theater.... (more...)