Rachel Weinberg

Rachel Weinberg Chicago native Rachel Weinberg has been one of the most frequent contributing editors and critics for BroadwayWorld Chicago over the past four years. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Integrated Marketing Communications from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Rachel previously worked on the digital marketing team at Goodman Theatre and spent a season as a Marketing Apprentice for Roundabout Theatre Company in New York City. She earned her undergraduate degree in Communication and Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania. You can find her online at RachelWeinbergReviews.com and follow her on Twitter @RachelRWeinberg.


MOST POPULAR ARTICLES
LAST 30 DAYS

BWW Review: FAMILIAR at Steppenwolf Theatre CompanyBWW Review: FAMILIAR at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
Posted: Nov. 29, 2018


BWW Review: RIGHTLYND at Victory Gardens TheaterBWW Review: RIGHTLYND at Victory Gardens Theater
Posted: Nov. 19, 2018


LAST 365 DAYS

BWW Interview: Jeremy Morse On the Empowerment and Entertainment Served Up in WAITRESSBWW Interview: Jeremy Morse On the Empowerment and Entertainment Served Up in WAITRESS
Posted: Jun. 15, 2018


BWW Review: AVENUE Q at Mercury Theater Has Big Laughs and A Bigger HeartBWW Review: AVENUE Q at Mercury Theater Has Big Laughs and A Bigger Heart
Posted: Jul. 1, 2018


10 On Tuesday with HAYMARKET'S Bridget Adams-King10 On Tuesday with HAYMARKET'S Bridget Adams-King
Posted: Jun. 20, 2018


BWW Review: THE MADRES at Teatro VistaBWW Review: THE MADRES at Teatro Vista
Posted: Apr. 28, 2018


BWW Interview: Erin Burniston On Capturing Elvis's Legacy Onstage in HEARTBREAK HOTELBWW Interview: Erin Burniston On Capturing Elvis's Legacy Onstage in HEARTBREAK HOTEL
Posted: Jun. 18, 2018


BWW Review: GYPSY at Porchlight Music TheatreBWW Review: GYPSY at Porchlight Music Theatre
Posted: Oct. 21, 2018


BWW Review: Firebrand Theatre's CAROLINE, OR CHANGEBWW Review: Firebrand Theatre's CAROLINE, OR CHANGE
Posted: Sep. 27, 2018


BWW Review: FAMILIAR at Steppenwolf Theatre CompanyBWW Review: FAMILIAR at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
November 29, 2018

Danai Gurira's FAMILIAR, now in its Chicago premiere at Steppenwolf, offers up a lighthearted and laugh-out-loud funny family comedy, even as the play probes questions of identity and assimilation into American culture. Director Danya Taymor's dynamite ensemble builds on the richness of the characters inherent in Gurira's script.

BWW Review: RIGHTLYND at Victory Gardens TheaterBWW Review: RIGHTLYND at Victory Gardens Theater
November 19, 2018

Ike Holter's RIGHTLYND sets into motion the central theme of the tension between political idealism and the realities that come with power in a complicated, often staid political machine.

BWW Review: 110 IN THE SHADE at BoHo TheatreBWW Review: 110 IN THE SHADE at BoHo Theatre
November 6, 2018

BoHo Theatre's production of Harvey Schmidt and Tom Jones's 110 IN THE SHADE makes the central, fierce, independent female character of Lizzie Curry take center stage. This is particularly true because Neala Barron's expert performance anchors every moment. Barron mines her character for the maximum amount of meaning and layers she can find: she makes us feel Lizzie's strong-willed, intelligent presence while also conveying a deep sense of longing to find a husband and start a family. 110 IN THE SHADE strikes a chord precisely because these two facets of Lizzie's character are not presented as irreconcilable: rather, Lizzie is simultaneously pragmatic and ambitious in her desires. With direction by outgoing Artistic Director Peter Marston Sullivan and music direction by Ellen Morris, Barron also thrives in each musical number backed by a 3-piece orchestra.

BWW Review: MASTER CLASS at Timeline Theatre CompanyBWW Review: MASTER CLASS at Timeline Theatre Company
October 30, 2018

In Timeline Theatre Company's MASTER CLASS, Chicago favorite Janet Ulrich Brooks schools the audience with her commanding performance as famous opera singer Maria Callas.

BWW Review: HELLO, DOLLY! at Broadway In ChicagoBWW Review: HELLO, DOLLY! at Broadway In Chicago
October 26, 2018

The touring production of the 2017 Tony Award-winning revival HELLO, DOLLY! has arrived in Chicago with a jubilant, tuneful, and visually pleasing staging. Jerry Zaks's fast-paced production finds every moment of joy and adventure in Jerry Herman and Michael Stewart's classic musical. This bright and bold HELLO, DOLLY! offers unapologetic escapist entertainment, but that's precisely what makes the production such a success. At its core, HELLO, DOLLY! was created to supply fun and farce, and that's precisely what's served up.

BWW Review: GYPSY at Porchlight Music TheatreBWW Review: GYPSY at Porchlight Music Theatre
October 21, 2018

Here she is, boys. Here she is, world. Here's E. Faye Butler as Mama Rose in GYPSY. Butler commands the Porchlight stage with a presence that's both larger-than-life and also at the same time a deeply revealing character study. To say that Butler's portrayal of Mama Rose is a star turn is almost not enough. Butler seems to live and breathe this role; she does not appear to be acting but rather fully inhabiting this iconic character.

BWW Review: PIPPIN at Mercury Theater's Venus CabaretBWW Review: PIPPIN at Mercury Theater's Venus Cabaret
October 17, 2018

Cue the jazz hands--Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson's PIPPIN has arrived at Mercury Theater's Venus Cabaret in an intimate staging that brings the actors and the audience together. Mercury Artistic Director L. Walter Stearns's interprets this cabaret production of PIPPIN in a literal manner: the show's visual references and presentational style are highly influenced by the 1920s Weimar cabaret in Germany. Thus, the fictional story of Charlemagne's son Pippin does not at all take place in medieval times but rather seems to occupy a moment all its own. Given the eccentricities in the material for PIPPIN itself, this is a fitting choice.

BWW Review: CURIOUS INCIDENT at Steppenwolf Theatre CompanyBWW Review: CURIOUS INCIDENT at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
October 8, 2018

Under Jonathan Berry's direction, Simon Stephens's THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME has found its emotional center at Steppenwolf. Based upon the novel by Mark Haddon, CURIOUS INCIDENT marks the first Steppenwolf for Young Adults production of this season, and this staging brings the show's theme of human connection to the forefront. I saw this play both on Broadway and on tour when it passed through Chicago in 2016, and the more poignant parts of the narrative felt swallowed up by the cavernous venues. In Steppenwolf's comparably smaller Downstairs Theatre, CURIOUS INCIDENT has considerably more emotional heft while also offering up a unique visual and aural landscape.

BWW Review: INDECENT at Victory Gardens TheaterBWW Review: INDECENT at Victory Gardens Theater
October 1, 2018

Victory Gardens Theater's Chicago premiere of Paula Vogel's Tony nominated INDECENT weaves a beautiful narrative about the transcendence of art and human resilience. Director Gary Griffin's staging feels both grandiose and intimate at the same time; the play's action spans a time period from 1906-1950 and travels across continents, but the vignettes contained in Vogel's story are rife with genuine, powerful human emotion. INDECENT was inspired by the true story of the 1923 Broadway debut of Jewish playwright Sholem Asch's God of Vengeance, which had an illicit lesbian romance as one of its main plot points. Vogel's story charts God of Vengeance's journey from the moment Asch first presents the script to his wife through to its first reading and multiple staged productions.

BWW Review: Firebrand Theatre's CAROLINE, OR CHANGEBWW Review: Firebrand Theatre's CAROLINE, OR CHANGE
September 27, 2018

Firebrand Theatre's second season opens with a poignantly fitting musical choice: composer Jeanine Tesori and librettist Tony Kushner's CAROLINE, OR CHANGE. In the musical from this renowned writing team, protagonist Caroline Thibodeaux, a black woman working as a maid for a white Jewish family in 1963 Lake Charles, Louisiana goes on a powerful journey of self-discovery. Firebrand, in partnership with TimeLine Theatre Company, has made a production choice that fits the company's feminist mission like a glove.

BWW Review: COMMUNION: An Evening of MagicBWW Review: COMMUNION: An Evening of Magic
September 14, 2018

The best way to frame Brett Schneider's solo show COMMUNION: An Evening of Magic, now playing at The Den Theatre, is with the following scenario: Open the book you're currently reading to a random page. Pick a word, any word on the page, and lock it into your mind's eye. Got it? So does Schneider. At least he might if you come to COMMUNION.

BWW Review: A SHAYNA MAIDEL at Timeline Theatre CompanyBWW Review: A SHAYNA MAIDEL at Timeline Theatre Company
September 1, 2018

TimeLine Theatre Company's season premiere production of A SHAYNA MAIDEL is a beautiful, haunting, and necessary theater experience. Barbara Lebow's play reunites sisters Rose (Bri Sudia) and Lusia (Emily Berman) in 1946 New York City. Though the play was written in 1984 and takes place in the middle of the last century, A SHAYNA MAIDEL's emotional story of survival cuts deep. As a young girl, Rose was fortunate to escape from Poland to America with her father Mordechai (Charles Stransky) before the beginning of the Holocaust. Due to a an untimely and devastating bout of Scarlet Fever, however, Lusia was forced to remain in Poland with the girls' Mama (Carin Schapiro Silakitis) and did not escape the horrors of the concentration camps. Reunited for the first time in many years, both Rose and Lusia must contend with their own guilty feelings and to rebuild a relationship nearly from scratch.

BWW Review: Broadway In Chicago Presents THE COLOR PURPLEBWW Review: Broadway In Chicago Presents THE COLOR PURPLE
July 19, 2018

The touring production of John Doyle's 2016 Tony Award-winning revival THE COLOR PURPLE has landed at Chicago's Auditorium Theatre, where it will make hearts both soar and ache with the blaze of emotion it delivers. Doyle, a director best known for his stripped-down productions of American musicals, has applied that minimalist treatment here as well. And it works beautifully. The set only features a few modest risers flanked by a backdrop wall featuring several wooden chairs (Doyle also designed the scenery). When the actors first make their entrances, they bring more of these simple chairs along with them as they invite the audience into the story. This simplicity, also mirrored in Ann Hould-Ward's costumes and Jane Cox's lighting design, brings a profundity to the staging. THE COLOR PURPLE's modest production values never feel like they're skimpy, but rather they lay the foundation for the show's deeply human message.

BWW Review: HEARTBREAK HOTEL at Broadway In ChicagoBWW Review: HEARTBREAK HOTEL at Broadway In Chicago
July 17, 2018

In the new Elvis musical HEARTBREAK HOTEL, hearts are unfortunately not the only thing that's breaking at the Broadway Playhouse. This show, from MILLION DOLLAR QUARTER co-creator Floyd Mutrux (who also directs), serves up slice-and-dice theater. Watching the musical gave me a feeling of theatrical whiplash, as it rotated between scenes and songs at a confusingly rapid speed. While I was much looking forward to hearing some of Elvis's greatest hits live onstage, Mutrux's book delivers them piecemeal. Most of Elvis's songs are reduced to snippets of roughly 30 seconds or so, which might leave even the most hard-core fans of 'the King' wishing for more.

BWW Interview: Carrie Compere Reflects on THE COLOR PURPLE'S Message of Self-Discovery and Human ConnectionBWW Interview: Carrie Compere Reflects on THE COLOR PURPLE'S Message of Self-Discovery and Human Connection
July 13, 2018

Chicago audiences will be able to experience the 2016 Tony Award-winning revival of THE COLOR PURPLE for the first time next week. But Carrie Compere, who plays the role of Sofia, is no stranger to the production. Compere first took on the role as an understudy and then a replacement during the production's Broadway run. In advance of the show's arrival in the Windy City, Compere reflected on what it means to return to the production and her life on tour.

BWW Review: Chicago Shakespeare Theater's PETER PAN Provides High-Flying FunBWW Review: Chicago Shakespeare Theater's PETER PAN Provides High-Flying Fun
July 9, 2018

Chicago Shakespeare Theater's summer family musical PETER PAN is chock full of dazzling moments that will delight children and adults alike. With music and lyrics by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe with a new book by Elliot Davis (based upon the book by Willis Hall), this production captures all the magic of the classic story of the boy who refuses to grow up in just 75 minutes. Adult audience members who are fans of J.M. Barrie's original novel or the iconic Disney animated film will find this PETER PAN a refreshing mix of the familiar and the new. And of course, young audiences seeing the story of PETER PAN for the first time will be altogether surprised and amazed by this telling.

BWW Review: SUPPORT GROUP FOR MEN at Goodman TheatreBWW Review: SUPPORT GROUP FOR MEN at Goodman Theatre
July 4, 2018

Ellen Fairey's SUPPORT GROUP FOR MEN, now in a world premiere at Goodman Theatre, finds that sweet spot between hilarious and gently critical of modern society. As might be presumed from the title, Fairey's play concerns a gathering of four Chicago men who come together on Thursday nights in an apartment that borders on the edge of Wrigleyville and Boystown. Fairey's exploration of gender roles and the increasing need to become more open and embracing of those outside the binary means that the play's locale is particularly central to its narrative. And while some of the characters in SUPPORT GROUP seem rather set in their ways, Fairey is careful to never point fingers in a mean-spirited way. The play succeeds in large part because Fairey displays such a great deal of empathy for each of her characters.

BWW Review: THE ROOMMATE at Steppenwolf Theatre CompanyBWW Review: THE ROOMMATE at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
July 2, 2018

Jen Silverman's THE ROOMMATE, now playing in Steppenwolf's Downstairs Theatre, offers audiences a veritable master class in acting via Sandra Marquez and Ora Jones. Under the direction of Phylicia Rashad, Marquez and Jones have a touching and natural onstage rapport. The material of Silverman's play itself, however, does not exactly match the high bar of the performers. In fact, THE ROOMMATE feels rather uneven; the play dangles loose threads in front of the audience, introducing some major themes but never quite bringing any of them to fruition.

BWW Review: AVENUE Q at Mercury Theater Has Big Laughs and A Bigger HeartBWW Review: AVENUE Q at Mercury Theater Has Big Laughs and A Bigger Heart
July 1, 2018

Whether you have seen AVENUE Q before and can mouth the lyrics to all the songs or if you have never experienced it, Mercury Theater's production is worth a visit. AVENUE Q will provide uproarious and NSFW laughs for days, but it also will touch your heart and provide a much-needed dose of theatrical sunshine.

BWW Review: Broadway-Bound THE CHER SHOW In ChicagoBWW Review: Broadway-Bound THE CHER SHOW In Chicago
June 29, 2018

The pre-Broadway engagement of THE CHER SHOW has made its way to Chicago in a blaze of colorful, over-the-top energy and replete with the artist's chart-topping hits. Three utterly talented women share the title role: Broadway veteran Stephanie J. Block as Star, Teal Wicks as Lady, and newcomer Micaela Diamond as Babe. Together, these actors deliver a powerhouse trio of performances worthy of Cher herself. Diehard Cher fans will be pleased to know that such iconic songs as 'I Got You, Babe,' 'If I Could Turn Back Time,' and, of course, 'Believe' are in more than capable hands.



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