Posted inTheater Review

Royal fun

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 […]

Posted inTheater Review

Spiritual healing

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 […]

Posted inTheater Review

Art and appropriation

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 […]

Posted inTheater Review

Solo guru, collective experience

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 […]

Posted inTheater Review

Chit-chat on the high wire

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 […]

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Meta Miller

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 […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Sea changes

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 […]