Journalist Charles M. Blow once wrote in his New York Times column that he “likes to think of himself as a Southern writer.” His childhood in Gibsland, Louisiana, shaped his writing, and in the south, “you don’t so much say words as sing them.” Now, at Lyric Opera, his own story is literally being sung. […]
The film is a powerful exposé about how science is a tool of colonization, desecrating sacred lands, and marginalizing native Hawaiians.
Theo Ubique’s take on this classic musical parody of Hans Christian Andersen’s “The Princess and the Pea,” directed by local musical comedy pro Landree Fleming, is smart, sweet, and slickly produced. And mounting a show that prods at traditional gender roles with a first-rate, gender-blind cast results in a multilayered artistic experience that makes this […]
Black Ensemble Theater’s first play back since the pandemic, an original from founder Jackie Taylor (she wrote, produced, directed, and choreographed), is exactly what the title states—an out-of-body, communal experience that creates the physical “togetherness” we’ve missed for so long. It’s an energizing and participatory homage to the Black church experience, which as the cast […]
Top-flight ensemble acting drives Redtwist Theatre’s production of this brainy, fanciful comedy by Lucas Hnath, author of A Doll’s House, Part 2. Loosely inspired by historical fact, the play is a fictional account of the events leading up to the time Sir Isaac Newton poked a needle into his eye. OK, it wasn’t quite as […]
Of the two plays exploring race that Steppenwolf has on stage right now—King James and WHITE—the latter definitely stands out for being not only funnier, but more complex and satisfying in its critique of race, privilege, and power. Written by James Ijames and directed by Ericka Ratcliff, Definition Theatre’s production is a delightfully silly yet […]
In the longstanding tradition of solo performers benevolently fucking with their audiences, Dean Evans’s masterful 2012 Honeybuns holds a special place in Chicago storefront history as a sweet spot between gently antagonistic and subtly profound crowd work. I was warmly reminded of it at key points throughout writer-director John Kolvenbach’s new hour-long piece, which takes […]
Early in her autobiographical monologue How The Hell Did I Get Here?, Lesley Nicol notes that as a child she was described as “bonny,” which can mean either pretty or a bit too chubby. By the same token, describing a show as “cute” can mean either it’s charming or merely trivial. Fortunately, in Nicol’s case, […]
In his 1940 memoir, A Smattering of Ignorance, composer-raconteur-pharmaceuticals enthusiast Oscar Levant recalls a train journey he took with his idol, George Gershwin. After offering the talkative Gershwin a sleeping pill (“with the air of a man offering a friend an after-dinner mint”), Levant was mildly surprised that Gershwin commandeered the more comfortable lower berth […]
Grappling with familial instability, gender identity, and mental illness, the film has a lot on its mind but moves along with surprising lightness and grace.
Eleanor Burgess’s Wife of a Salesman, now in a world premiere at Writers Theatre under Jo Bonney’s direction, starts out with a “what if” premise: namely, what if Linda Loman, the long-suffering wife of Arthur Miller’s tragic American Everyman, Willy, met “the woman in Boston” with whom her husband had an affair and asked her […]
I’ve always been ambivalent about the use of land acknowledgements in the arts sector, but as I am not of Indigenous descent, I can’t speak for Indigenous opinions on the matter. At the world premiere of King James at Steppenwolf, the audience was treated to not only a land acknowledgement, but also to what I […]
In his preshow speech, Court Theatre artistic director Charles Newell asked the audience how many had ever seen Henrik Ibsen’s 1888 play The Lady from the Sea before. “We’re at Court Theatre and we’re doing an Ibsen play only four people have seen,” he responded. That alone helps make the case for this production, which […]
Director Kogonada’s sophomore film explores a subtly futuristic world where artificial intelligence is commonplace.
Robert Pattinson shuts all his haters up with a vulnerable and terrifying performance in Matt Reeves’s The Batman.