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  Performance Spotlight

Every Kind Of Body: Fly Honey Show Welcomes Revelers of All Sizes and Stripes

The Fly Honey Show ChicagoA table at the entrance displays earplugs alongside dainty leather harnesses. A swarm of gender-fluid greeters garbed—barely—in shiny fabrics and tattoos leave off dancing in the aisles to guide us to our seats in the Den's Heath Mainstage, decorated for the occasion in spray-lighting and wall-to-wall music. Spectators of all ages, ethnicities and sartorial proclivities promenade the lobby,.... Read More

 

Two Planks And A Passion: the Return and Revival of Shakespeare's Motley Crew

Midsummer Mayhem at Winnemac ParkThe legend of Shakespeare's Motley Crew began like an MGM movie-a group of artists met in a class on "Acting Shakespeare" at the Newberry Library in 1991 and promptly declared, "Hey, this is fun! Let's put on a show!" The resemblance stopped there, however. No fathers in possession of surplus lumber for scenery, mothers to sew costumes or.... Read More

 

Rocking On (And On And On): American Blues Theater's Buddy Holly Settles Into Stage 773 for the Summer

Buddy-The Buddy Holly Story ChicagoLong-running shows are rarely premeditated. Famous Door's legendary Hellcab was originally scheduled for five weeks in 1991, but instead ran continuously for just under ten years. Black Ensemble's 2002 season showcasing the great divas required two years to complete. More recently, Million Dollar Quartet had barely closed the curtain on its opening night in the Goodman's Owen before.... Read More

 

What's In A Name: Sagittarius Ponderosa Explores Questions of Identity

Sagittarius PonderosaThe story of the prodigal's return can be found in every age and every community the world over. The specifics of the crisis arising from adjustments engendered thereby may vary according to time and place—death, divorce, injury, religious conversion, marriage outside the tribe—but MJ Kaufman's Sagittarius Ponderosa may be the first play of the 21st century to.... Read More

 

Just Like Jean Genet Always Wanted: Gender-fluid Casting in The Maids

The Maids at Artistic Home in ChicagoDisguise is a recurring motif in the plays of 20th-century French author Jean Genet—indeed, the premise for his 1956 shocker, The Balcony, proposed a brothel trafficking exclusively in costumed fantasies of authority figures such as magistrates, archbishops and generals. The Maids, by contrast, opens on a servant meekly submitting to the verbal abuse of her vain mistress.... Read More

 

Alakazam! The Amazing Reappearance Of Magicians In Chicago

Mark Toland Mind ReaderThe predominant discussion of "close-up" magic in recent years has been a lament for its decline. To be sure, aficionados seeking exhibitions of bamboozle-based spectacle not involving gambling for money might stumble across one—on rare occasions, in obscure locations (an exception being Chicago's sumptuous Palmer House Hilton, where Dennis Watkins has regaled guests with in-house magic since 2010)..... Read More

 

Simmering In The Pie With Sweeney Todd: Theo Ubique Stages Immersive Production of Sondheim Classic

Sweeney Todd in ChicagoStephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd changed the face of the American musical when it premiered in 1979, its libretto proposing a plot premised on Victorian mass murder and cannibalism, recounted in a narrative employing nearly continuous music and minimal dialogue—a structure not unlike that of opera. The No Exit café's 1920s-vintage architecture made for acoustical difficulties even when.... Read More

 

A Galaxy Of Our Own: Otherworld Theatre Seeks a Home Amid Lakeview's Historic Cemeteries

Otherworld Theatre ChicagoOuter space, we are told, is a place of impenetrable darkness, gloom alleviated by distantly-scattered oases of dazzling light. The storefront at 3914 North Clark Street that once supplied flowers for neighboring cemeteries, but since 1987 has housed Live Bait, Teatro Luna and Public House theaters, occupies a likewise shadowy border, flanked on one side by the raucous.... Read More

 

Ibsen Times Three: Traitor, An Enemy of the People and Pillars of the Community

Pillars Of The CommunityThe protagonists of Henrik Ibsen can be divided into individuals seeking personal happiness despite the disapproval of their society, and those seeking to change the society itself. Of the latter, An Enemy of the People and the play often considered to be its prototype, Pillars of the Community, have exercised the greatest appeal for audiences of.... Read More

 

Art Endured: How Chicago Theater Triumphed in 2017

BLKS SteppenwolfRemember January last year? Not since the so-called "Death of Irony" in 2001 were so many gloomy prognostications uttered regarding the extinction of theater as a unifying experience—its goal, to encourage individuals in putting aside their differences and acknowledging the human values we all share.

We endured, however. Healing strategies were implemented. Let's look.... Read More

 

The Humans In Chicago

The Humans in ChicagoThe Humans is set for Chicago's Cadillac Palace Theatre for a limited two-week engagement Jan. 30 - Feb. 11, 2018. The Humans premiered in Chicago at American Theater Company in 2014 under the direction of the late PJ Paparelli. The Broadway production, directed by Joe Mantello, won the Tony Award for Best Play in 2016.
.... Read More

 

Holiday Messages Of Rebirth: Re-imaginings of Yuletide Classics Debut in Chicago Area Theaters

Scrooge and the Ghostly SpiritsAs the annual disputes over the species of animals gathered at the manger in nativity scenes attest, any story no longer protected by copyright can become fair game for adaptation, parody or flat-out rewrite. However this irksome this legal snare may be for the creators of literary classics, it now locates both Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol and.... Read More

 

Theatre In Chicago's 2017 Holiday Show Round-Up

Christmas Shows IN ChicagoLooking for an enriching and entertaining way to spend the holiday season? This year, celebrate the yuletide at the theatre. With dozens of holiday plays opening this holiday season there's plenty to see in Chicago's eclectic theater scene. Chicago theaters are presenting everything from the traditional holiday shows to transvestite reindeer to a site specific show taking place.... Read More

 

J.B. In Treble Key: City Lit Stages All-Female Production of Archibald MacLeish Classic

J.B. at City Lit TheatreEven devout Bible scholars have been known to admit that the story of Job, as handed down by mortal scribes, does not show the Almighty at his best, instead portraying the Supreme Being as a swaggering gamer willing to inflict terrible injury on his most loyal supporter for no discernible purpose beyond a frivolous wager. Confronted in 1958.... Read More

 

You Oughta Be In Pictures: Invading Nirvana's Guide to Finding Gold in Them Thar Hollywood Hills

Invading Nirvana by Kevin TheisIn Invading Nirvana, Kevin Theis documents his adventures over three months in the fantasy realm of Hollywood, where, nearly a century after the sagebrush desert north of Los Angeles became the center of the newfangled "moving pictures," literally thousands of pilgrims converge daily to seek their fortunes on the screens of big films and tiny televisions.
.... Read More

 

Wonder Woman's Big Sister: Babes With Blades Celebrate Return of The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil

The Invisible Scarlet O'NeilIt's easy to walk away from The Invisible Scarlet O'Neil proclaiming the star of the show to be its special effects. When your heroine is a scientist's daughter turned social reformer after a laboratory mishap endows her with the power of—you guessed it—invisibility, saving the world from enemy aggression is a stroll through the funny-pages compared to.... Read More

 

The Scientific Miracle Stage Blood of Gravity and Momentum

Fight City at Factory TheaterThe five empty front row seats at the opening of Factory Theater's Fight City should have been a warning, but one spectator chose—bravely or foolishly—to ignore it. The reason behind this arrangement became apparent in the second act of Scott OKen's action-adventure showcase for unarmed stage combat, when a faux-punch executed near the curtain line sprayed audience.... Read More

 

A Voyage Of Derring-Do: The Fair Maid of the West Sails Again in Oak Park

The Fair Maid of the WestIt may be hard to believe nowadays, but the biggest worry of the CT20 company in 1994 as they prepared The Fair Maid of the West was finding enough actors trained in cloak-and-sword combat. When Thomas Heywood's original drama premiered in 1631, every male citizen was well-versed in the art of fencing, but changing social customs over.... Read More

 

And Your Little Dog, Too: Talented Terrier Tricks for Shakespeare In Love

Shakespeare In LoveThere's no denying the affection that theatergoers have for animals onstage, whether written into the scripts, as in Of Mice and Men or The Lieutenant of Inishmore, or rendered literal by directorial fiat, like the live snakes in the Joffrey Ballet's recent production of La Bayadere. So it was no surprise to see opening night audiences at.... Read More

 

Not Just Jocks In Frocks: Three Plays Highlight Women In Sports Today

Tight End in ChicagoAmerican Theater magazine wasn't giving away any secrets when it reported plays featuring narratives extolling athletic activities reaping the benefits of crossover marketing to audiences outside the usual theatergoing demographic. You won't find any argument disputing the timeliness of stories exploring the dark side of glory days under the stadium lights, either.

Whatever the deciding.... Read More

 

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