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  Linda Vista at Steppenwolf Theatre

Linda Vista

Steppenwolf Theatre
1650 N. Halsted Chicago

Wheeler is 50. His marriage is over, his job is mundane, and the best years of his life appear to be behind him. A move from the cot in his ex-wife's garage to his own apartment opens up new possibilities for love and sex-complicated, painful and hilarious. Full of opinions, yet short on self-examination, Wheeler is a modern misanthrope who must reconcile the man he has become with the man he wants to be.

Thru - May 28, 2017

Tuesdays: 7:30pm
Wednesdays: 7:30pm
Thursdays: 7:30pm
Fridays: 7:30pm
Saturdays: 3:00pm & 7:30pm
Sundays: 3:00pm & 7:30pm

Price: $20 - $89

Stage: Downstairs Theatre

Show Type: Drama

Box Office: 312-335-1650

Running Time: 2hr, 50mins; one intermission

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  Linda Vista Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Highly Recommended

"...Under Anna D. Shapiro and with the previous stellar input of Young Jean Lee, Steppenwolf has been doing some interesting critical exploration of the straight white male-scape this season, smartly focusing not so much on the opposition to the current preoccupation with social justice, but on those caught between de rigueur ally-ship and old-fashioned self-interest. "Linda Vista" is very much a classic Steppenwolf kind of show — funny, edgy, smart — and I don't doubt it will be a hit, and so it deserves to be, but you can, in its best moments, see it as a meditation on that old Steppenwolf brand, colliding uneasily against the new realities and interests of the American theater."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...In the the sharpest, most hilarious and most quintessentially Lettsian scene in Tracy Letts' "Linda Vista" - now receiving its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre - the playwright's unapologetic antihero, Wheeler (Ian Barford), a self-loathing, underemployed, still handsome 50-year-old misanthrope in the process of finalizing a messy divorce, asks for advice from Paul (Tim Hopper), who might be his only friend in the world. Paul, too, is a middle-aged man, but more conventionally stable, and resigned to his long, childless marriage, a union Stephen Sondheim would describe as a "sorry/grateful" relationship."
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Hedy Weiss

Daily Herald - Highly Recommended

"...The Steely Dan snippets are spot-on. The cast, especially Barford and Hopper, is first-rate. Letts reserves some of his best writing for Barford's engagingly self-absorbed Wheeler and Hopper's contentedly amenable Paul. Their conversations feel real, albeit wittier than most. Wheeler's impassioned pop-culture-inspired rants and unflinching assessment of his own shortcomings are worth the price of admission. So is Paul's perceptive riff on human behavior and deathbed musings."
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Barbara Vitello

Chicago Reader - Recommended

"...Letts peppers the narrative with a delightfully bitter wit, some of it originating in Wheeler, some of it not. Some of it smooth and some serrated. All of it tending, ultimately, to much more than yuks, as a sly Louis C.K. monologue might do. (Interestingly, they're about the same age.) Having watched Letts for decades now, seeing him take on his personas, from the Rimbaud cowboy of Killer Joe to the plains O'Neill of August, this is the one that feels truest. And it's resulted in a successful, satisfying play. Ironically, a mature work."
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Tony Adler

Windy City Times - Highly Recommended

"...These characters could easily be refitted to the dimensions of a TV comedy, but the always-intelligent director Dexter Bullard rejects threadbare Mars/Venus guffaws to draw forth performances steeped in insight and compassion from a cast of Steppenwolf's finest. If you have ever known a Wheeler-or maybe you are a Wheeler-you will have no trouble empathizing with this flawed hero for a perplexing age."
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Mary Shen Barnidge

Time Out Chicago - Recommended

"...Letts doesn't necessarily want us to sympathize with Wheeler as he rolls destructively through this minefield, I don't think. But he also seems to want us to root for Wheeler's redemption-which, to make a comparison I imagine Letts would hate, feels like rooting for the toxic Violet Weston to prevail in his Pulitzer Prize winner August: Osage County. Thrashing toward decency in the play's final moments, Wheeler gets a snapshot of his old self, and a shot at forgiveness of his selfish ways that doesn't feel totally earned."
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Kris Vire

Chicago On the Aisle - Highly Recommended

"...Wheeler, the only name he goes by, is a smart guy, a good photographer and his own worst enemy. He's the case study in self-destruction at the center of Tracy Letts' new play "Linda Vista," now headed into the final week of a crackling production directed by Dexter Bullard at Steppenwolf Theatre."
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Lawrence B. Johnson

Stage and Cinema - Highly Recommended

"...Linda Vista is billed as "an adult comedy about immature behavior." Surprisingly tender, Tracy Letts' Steppenwolf stunner examines one man's mid-life crisis from all sides and, best of all, from inside out. Sardonically struggling against himself as much as the world, Dick Wheeler is Letts' most developed anti-hero."
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Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Recommended

"...As soon as Wheeler (Ian Barford), the central character in Tracy Letts’ new play, “Linda Vista”, opens his mouth, you know he’s a jerk, and you know that someone that opinionated will never change. Although the dialogue is well-written and very funny, the outcome is inevitable. Even though you can see the train wreck coming, it’s an interesting trip."
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Carol Moore

NewCity Chicago - Recommended

"...In this play, Letts demonstrates that maturity does not come with age. For some people it is a reluctant journey. Sometimes only continuous mess-ups, loss and being left alone to wrestle with who you are can propel you into maturity. It is a concept that Letts writes realistically and honestly. Combined with the acting and Dexter Bullard's direction, you often forget these are characters and not real-life people."
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Loy Webb

Chicago Theatre Review - Highly Recommended

"...Dexter Bullard, an artist known for his work directing other plays by Tracy Letts, most recently left his mark at Steppenwolf with his brilliant production of "The Flick." Once again he expertly guides his cast, this time in a ferocious comedy, and inspires them to create honest, sincere characters involved in playful, ribald humor and biting, confrontational drama. The action is smooth, continual and flows seamlessly from one scene to next. This play, which is filled with adult language, situations and nudity, isn't so much a story as it is a character study. The play realistically examines a smart, middle-aged man, who continually makes the same mistakes, but never learns from them. And, by the final curtain, we once again see Wheeler as a man who's starting over."
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Colin Douglas

The Fourth Walsh - Somewhat Recommended

"...I entered the theatre with heightened excitement. I'm a huge fan of Letts. Plus, this show has gotten terrific buzz! I was ready to enjoy Letts latest sardonic Americana dissection. The first act kept me amused with a self-deprecating Ian Barford, a hapless Tim Hopper, a pleasure seeking Cora Vander Broek, two hilarious break-out karaoke numbers and a revolving stage (Scenic Designer Todd Rosenthal). Letts' story of a middle age man (Barford) confronting his almost-divorced, under-employed, overly-bitter life had my interest. A fairly graphic sex scene with climax complications added to the intrigue. How will Letts navigate this relationship between an angry man and happiness-focused life coach?"
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Katy Walsh

Third Coast Review - Highly Recommended

"...Bullard has done a terrific job of directing this cast of seven. The play runs 2 hours and 50 minutes (one intermission), but it never drags, even in the first act, in which a lot happens. Todd Rosenthal's inventive set design, built on a turntable, finds ways to set small minimalist scenes as well as fully furnished spaces like Wheeler's living room and bedroom and the camera shop. Marcus Doshi's lighting and Richard Woodbury's sound design are crucial elements. Laura Bauer's costume design is flexible and enhances each character's style. My favorite touch is Anita's final scene, when she wears a properly stressed Joy Division t-shirt dedicated to the band's 1979 debut album, Unknown Pleasures."
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Nancy Bishop

Let's Play - Recommended

"...Director Dexter Bullard gives the audience some great insight on loneliness, aggression, friendship, intimacy, sex, dreams, loss and obsessions when it comes to self-examination or the lack thereof."
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Rick & Brenda McCain

Picture This Post - Recommended

"...The Steppenwolf cast shines in a script that addresses middle age with wicked candor. What if a caterpillar prefers to remain a caterpillar, LINDA VISTA asks us to consider. Upbeat Jules is a life coach who has - literally -- a master's degree in happiness. But she is no more capable than anyone else in Wheeler's life of getting him to find his wings and reach for the sky."
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Susan Lieberman

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