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  Stage Kiss at Goodman Theatre

Stage Kiss

Goodman Theatre
170 N. Dearborn Street Chicago

In this quirky new comedy by MacArthur “Genius” Award-winner Sarah Ruhl, art imitates life—or is it the other way around? When ex-lovers HE and SHE are thrown together as romantic leads in an outrageously dreadful melodrama, they quickly lose touch with reality as the story onstage begins to follow them offstage. Stage Kiss is a hilarious, off-beat fairy-tale about what happens when lovers share a stage kiss—or when actors share a real one…

Thru - Jun 5, 2011

Price: $25-$78

Show Type: Comedy

Box Office: 312-443-3800

Running Time: 2hrs, 20mins; one intermission

Goodman Theatre Seating Charts

Suggested Nearby Restaurant

  Stage Kiss Reviews
  • Highly Recommended
  • Recommended
  • Somewhat Recommended
  • Not Recommended

Chicago Tribune - Somewhat Recommended

"...Ruhl is adept at creating credible worlds where things are slightly oft-kilter. But here, she creates two worlds at once, and Thebus can't keep them apart. The production has very few clean contrasts, always crucial for comedy. And you just can't enjoy the completion of an idea, which is one of the central themes of this self-aware show, if you don't buy the reality of the idea in the first place."
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Chris Jones

Chicago Sun Times - Recommended

"...Sarah Ruhl’s “Stage Kiss,” now at the Goodman Theatre in a zesty world premiere directed with flair by Jessica Thebus, is a screwball dramedy that operates on several levels."
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Hedy Weiss

Examiner - Somewhat Recommended

"... The problem is Stage Kiss is not a wacky comedy. It attempts to go much deeper than shenanigans. The piece weighs the power of two kinds of love: The sustained security of a solid marriage versus the thrilling, volatile conflagration of physical passion. It’s a story of unpredictable, temporary drama and excitement versus long-term stability and the comforting repetition that comes with familiarity. Problem No. 1: That’s not the sort of query one can effectively dramatize solely through yuks and pratfalls, or even the sudden outbreak of a chorus from South Pacific. Problem 2: Stage Kiss makes its audience spend altogether too much time with bad actors in bad shows. Or rather, "bad actors" in "bad shows." By the time He and She are cast in a second play-within-the-play, the bad acting/bad dialogue gag is more grating than amusing."

Catey Sullivan

Windy City Times - Somewhat Recommended

"...Part of the problem with Stage Kiss is that Ruhl offers up generalized characters who are presumptuously meant to represent some sort of universal truth (why else would Ruhl pretentiously name the leading lady "She" and the leading man as "He"?). The supporting characters are even less-defined, ranging from the long-suffering and wealthy character of "Husband" (one of two roles for a solid Scott Jaeck), to the impudent and bitter daughter Angela (a very good Goodman debut for Sarah Tolan-Mee, though I wonder why this persona lucked out with a real name instead of the utilitarian "Daughter")."
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Scott C. Morgan

Talkin Broadway - Somewhat Recommended

"...Ruhl starts to get in trouble when she spends most of the first act's stage time in parodying the oversized emotions and improbable plot lines of 1920s and '30s stage dramas. A little goes a long way, and there's a lot of it here. It takes away from the opportunity to develop any of the actor characters. We don't learn much about the man (he and the actress are simply called "He" and "She" in the program), other than that he's a financially troubled, Peter Pan-syndrome-suffering egotist who never married. Montgomery pulls off the flaws in the character amusingly without showing why anyone would be much attracted to him."
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John Olson

Time Out Chicago - Somewhat Recommended

"...Ruhl’s newest work spends its first act looking as if it’s the playwright’s love letter to the theater. A middle-aged actress (Bacon) awkwardly auditions for what would be her return to the stage after many years away; she gets the part, only to discover her romantic lead (Montgomery) is a fondly remembered ex. As they rehearse their revival of a silly 1930s melodrama, they find the play’s romance bleeding into their real lives—despite the man’s girlfriend and the woman’s husband and teenage child."
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Kris Vire

ChicagoCritic - Highly Recommended

"...The ensemble works together with wonderful skill and aplomb. Lehman, as Director, unobtrusively takes stage notes to which he never makes reference; Carlson has fun with his roles as a butler, doctor and pimp, and the fine cast is rounded out by Erica Elam, and Sarah Totan-Mee playing multiple roles that include She’s daughter, He’s current girlfriend, and a parlor maid."
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Beverly Friend

Chicago Stage Standard - Not Recommended

"...Cheap laughs on an expensive set, “Stage Kiss” humiliates two intelligent actors by turning them into cartoons, silly ciphers with no inner life beyond a few bland memories of past kisses. Then, after the audience gets its due quota of sniggering about sex, the duplicitous comedy dares to turn around and ask us to care about these caricatures! Scott Jaeck and Erica Elam have the bitterly thankless roles of the stereotypical “soulmates” pushed aside by their selfish lovers. The fact that they fall for each other is another absurd contrivance among many ridiculous concoctions. Ross Lehman is predictability itself as He and She’s clueless director, a doofus who couldn’t stage a sleepover."

Lawrence Bommer

Around The Town Chicago - Highly Recommended

"...He and She, as they become their characters and recall the magic of their past find that the romantic story on stage rekindles the rality of what they had and bring it to a higher level. Her husband ( deftly handled by Scott Jaeck, who also plays an actor in the first act) loves her dearly and is quick to  keep his family as it was and their teen age daughter ( Sarah Tolan-Mee has this down to perfection) finds it impossible to believe that her mother can do this to her. He’s girlfriend , Laurie (  the adorable Erica Elamwho also plays a role in the play of act one) is a grammar school teacher who just doesn’t understand how He and She can even think about what they are doing."
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Alan Bresloff

Chicago Theater Beat - Somewhat Recommended

"...Decency doesn’t carry a show–once the novelty of the physical humor and accent-play wears off, there’s little else fleshed out to justify ludicrous character twists or the underdeveloped concept. Had Ruhl lived up to her potential and played to her strengths, she could have touched on some provocative ideas. Stage Kiss draws too thick of a line between romance and comedy for either to flourish."

Dan Jakes

  Stage Kiss Photo Gallery

   This show has been Jeff Recommended*

*The designation of "Jeff Recommended" is given to a production when at least ONE ELEMENT of the show was deemed outstanding by the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee.

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