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Chicago Theater Reviews


BWW Review: TEENAGE DICK at Theater Wit Photo BWW Review: TEENAGE DICK at Theater Wit
by Emily McClanathan - March 21, 2020

What does live theater look like during a pandemic? As Americans adjust to the new realities of social distancing and sheltering in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, many theaters across the nation and the world are dark. Though live performances have been canceled, Theater Wit offers an innovat...
BWW Review: HER HONOR JANE BYRNE at Lookingglass Theatre Photo BWW Review: HER HONOR JANE BYRNE at Lookingglass Theatre
by Rachel Weinberg - March 13, 2020

J. Nicole Brooks's HER HONOR JANE BYRNE, now in a world premiere production at Lookingglass, is a play deeply rooted in Chicago's not-too-distant history. Inspired by former Chicago Mayor Jane Byrne (the first woman to serve as mayor here) and her decision to move into Cabrini-Green as a display of ...
BWW Review: WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME Presented by Broadway In Chicago Photo BWW Review: WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME Presented by Broadway In Chicago
by Rachel Weinberg - March 08, 2020

In WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME, playwright Heidi Schreck has pulled off one of the most challenging feats in theater: The seamless blending of the personal and the universal. And the result is remarkable....
BWW Review: MIDDLE PASSAGE at Lifeline Theatre Photo BWW Review: MIDDLE PASSAGE at Lifeline Theatre
by Emily McClanathan - February 27, 2020

In Lifeline Theatre's MIDDLE PASSAGE, the intimate Rogers Park venue transforms into the scene of a 19th century maritime epic. Artistic Director Ilesa Duncan and David Barr III adapt Charles Johnson's award-winning 1990 novel for the stage, and Duncan directs. The sprawling tale follows a recently ...
BWW Review: graveyard shift at Goodman Theatre Photo BWW Review: graveyard shift at Goodman Theatre
by Rachel Weinberg - February 20, 2020

orde arrington tuttle's graveyard shift, now making its world-premiere following an initial workshop production during Goodman Theatre's 2018 New Stages Festival, is a haunting and beautiful reflection on police brutality against Black Americans. Inspired by the legacy of 28-year-old Sandra Bland, w...
BWW Review: SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL Presented By Broadway In Chicago Photo BWW Review: SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL Presented By Broadway In Chicago
by Rachel Weinberg - February 14, 2020

While Donna Summer may be 'Hot Stuff' when it comes to iconic songwriting and singing, SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL is a lukewarm entry in the genre of biographical jukebox musicals. The musical features many of Donna Summer's notable hits-and this national touring cast has the talent to take th...
BWW Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE at Raven Theatre Photo BWW Review: A DOLL'S HOUSE at Raven Theatre
by Patrick Rybarczyk - February 11, 2020

Classic plays provide us a snapshot of the time period in which they were written. They can show us how far we may or may not have progressed as a society. Henrik Ibsen's 'A Doll's House' is one such classic. Now in production at Raven Theatre, this new take offers up a sharp, refreshing look. Raven...
BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Drury Lane Theatre Photo BWW Review: AN AMERICAN IN PARIS at Drury Lane Theatre
by Emily McClanathan - February 09, 2020

a?oeHow can you feel liberated when your city's been crushed?a?? In the post-WWII setting of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, this is the dilemma faced by the people who call the City of Light home--through birth, choice, or the displacement of war. For the young protagonists, healing comes through art, friend...
BWW Review: Tracy Letts's BUG at Steppenwolf Theatre Company Photo BWW Review: Tracy Letts's BUG at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
by Rachel Weinberg - February 04, 2020

Steppenwolf's production of ensemble member Tracy Letts's BUG is positively skin crawling, with magnificent central performances from Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood that make the play all the more unnerving. While Letts's 1996 play may have seemed far-fetched and ahead of its time when it debuted i...
BWW Review: HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF at Victory Gardens Theater Photo BWW Review: HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF at Victory Gardens Theater
by Rachel Weinberg - February 02, 2020

Liliana Padilla's HOW TO DEFEND YOURSELF offers a brilliant examination of collegiate life, and, more specifically, the ways in which rape culture and the entirely real possibility of sexual assault affect university students. But what makes Padilla's play so powerful, fascinating, and entertaining ...
BWW Review: SOPHISTICATED LADIES at Porchlight Music Theatre Photo BWW Review: SOPHISTICATED LADIES at Porchlight Music Theatre
by Rachel Weinberg - January 29, 2020

DUKE ELLINGTON'S SOPHISTICATED LADIES is a classic Porchlight show: an ebullient musical revue showcasing both the esteemed song catalog of Duke Ellington and also the formidable talents of some of the city's finest musical theater performers....
BWW Review: ROE at Goodman Theatre Photo BWW Review: ROE at Goodman Theatre
by Rachel Weinberg - January 28, 2020

Lisa Loomer's ROE offers a timely exploration of the history behind the 1973 Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade and the ongoing political debate around abortion and a women's right to choose. While Loomer's text is not necessarily nuanced in the way that it presents the argument around abortion, ROE doe...
BWW Review: THE MOUSETRAP at Court Theatre a Fresh Take on Agatha Christie's Record-b Photo BWW Review: THE MOUSETRAP at Court Theatre a Fresh Take on Agatha Christie's Record-breaking Mystery
by Emily McClanathan - January 26, 2020

How do you put a new spin on the world's longest-running play? At Court Theatre, director Sean Graney takes on this challenge with Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery, THE MOUSETRAP. Running continuously in London's West End since 1952, the original production currently clocks in at over 28,00...
BWW Review: GREASE at Marriott Theatre Photo BWW Review: GREASE at Marriott Theatre
by Emily McClanathan - January 25, 2020

The Marriott Theatre opens its 45th season with director Scott Weinstein's staging of GREASE, the 1971 musical that was born in Chicago and became a Broadway hit, a famous film and a perennial favorite of theaters across the country. With book, music and lyrics by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey, the sh...
BWW Review: ONCE ON THIS ISLAND National Tour Presented by Broadway In Chicago Photo BWW Review: ONCE ON THIS ISLAND National Tour Presented by Broadway In Chicago
by Rachel Weinberg - January 24, 2020

The national tour of Michael Arden's Tony Award-winning revival of ONCE ON THIS ISLAND has arrived in Chicago in a blaze of color and light. While Arden's production makes clear that the tropical island in the French Antilles where the musical takes place is no stranger to the devastating effects of...
BWW Review: STOP KISS at The Buena At The Pride Arts Center Photo BWW Review: STOP KISS at The Buena At The Pride Arts Center
by Patrick Rybarczyk - January 17, 2020

When you live in a big city with vibrant, diverse neighborhoods, you tend to forget that there are still people and places where residents living out and openly can be threatened or harmed. That very safe and sound bubble is burst in Diana Son's powerful 'Stop Kiss,' an intense and intriguing look a...
BWW Review: MEAN GIRLS National Tour at the James M. Nederlander Theater Photo BWW Review: MEAN GIRLS National Tour at the James M. Nederlander Theater
by Rachel Weinberg - December 29, 2019

The first national tour of the MEAN GIRLS musical has arrived in Chicago, and it's totally fetch. Original screenwriter Tina Fey has partnered with composer Jeff Richmond (her husband), lyricist Nell Benjamin, and director/choreographer Casey Nicholaw to create a show in line with its pop musical co...
BWW Review: DANCE NATION at Steppenwolf Theatre Company Photo BWW Review: DANCE NATION at Steppenwolf Theatre Company
by Rachel Weinberg - December 22, 2019

The Chicago premiere of Clare Barron's DANCE NATION, now at Steppenwolf with direction and choreography from Lee Sunday Evans (who also helmed the original production at Playwrights Horizons), is alternately wild, messy, and confusinga?"much like the experience of early adolescence for the play's ch...
BWW Review: Scenario Two's THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA at Lyric Opera House Photo BWW Review: Scenario Two's THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA at Lyric Opera House
by Rachel Weinberg - December 17, 2019

Lyric Opera's special holiday engagement of Adam Guettel's THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, one of the few contemporary musicals written in a style that harkens back to the Golden Age, is beautifully sung with the composer's complicated and melodious score performed by a superb orchestra. The musical focuse...
Review: Take a Trip to The Land of Forgotten Toys Photo Review: Take a Trip to The Land of Forgotten Toys
by Misha Davenport - December 10, 2019

CPA Theatricals presents a winning new holiday musical, THE LAND OF FORGOTTEN TOYS....
BWW Review: THE SANTALAND DIARIES at Goodman Theatre Photo BWW Review: THE SANTALAND DIARIES at Goodman Theatre
by Rachel Weinberg - December 08, 2019

The ceaselessly cynical Crumpet the Elf has returned to Goodman Theatre for the second year in a row. This year Steven Strafford takes the lead in David Sedaris's THE SANTALAND DIARIES under the direction of Steve Scott. While Strafford's take on David/Crumpet remains as foul-mouthed and blunt as ev...
BWW Review: Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Photo BWW Review: Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL at Chicago Shakespeare Theater
by Rachel Weinberg - December 06, 2019

The Q Brothers Collective puts a highly inventive and endlessly delightful twist on Charles Dickens' classic holiday tale with Q BROTHERS CHRISTMAS CAROL....
PF&P's Damaged AMERICA'S BEST OUTCAST TOY Photo PF&P's Damaged AMERICA'S BEST OUTCAST TOY
by Misha Davenport - December 04, 2019

Holiday classic meets reality show parody in PF&P's mix bag AMERICA'S BEST OUTCAST TOY...