Monthly Archives: February 2014
For a show that’s been around for almost four decades, Kander & Ebb’s Vaudevillian satire of the justice system and, more specifically, criminals as celebrities shows no signs of running out of steam.
Buzzer – Goodman Theatre
With a black president serving his second term in the White House, America may have grown up a bit with regard to its long history of racial problems and prejudice, but playwright Tracey Scott Wilson, in her latest play, argues that we still have a long, long way to go toward maturity. Racial acceptance is still more of a myth than a reality in America.
Sparked by the rumors and stories surrounding the life and death of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, prolific playwright Peter Shaffer (Royal Hunt of the Sun, Black Comedy, Lettice and Lovage) followed up his West End and Broadway hit “Equus” with this historically based murder mystery.Read More
Love Story, the Musical
Sometimes it seems as if every successful movie that has ever been enjoyed on the silver screen has, is or will soon be adapted into a stage musical. It feels like all the writers of original theatrical libretti have either given up, left town or just decided to take the easy way out. There’s nothing (or very little) that’s new these days and it’s become so disappointing. If turning a movie into a musical doesn’t bring something new to the story, why bother?
Erich Segal’s best-selling romance novel, coincidentally released exactly 44 years to the date of Jedlicka’s opening night, became a much-loved film, as well. In fact, it was the highest grossing film of 1970 and spawned a film genre called the “chick flick.” For baby boomers the story is nostalgic; for modern audiences the story may be maudlin and its most quoted line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry,” is often mocked today.Read More
Russian Transport – Steppenwolf Theatre
No one strives harder to achieve the upward mobility, success and financial prosperity promised by the freedoms in our Declaration of Independence than the thousands of immigrants who arrive daily. Erika Sheffer’s drama, currently having its Chicago premiere, draws a little from her own experience. Like Sheffer’s family, it depicts a Jewish Russian-born family who’ve immigrated to the United States, settling in the Sheepshead Bay neighborhood of Brooklyn and working hard for their piece of the pie. Having grown up under the Soviet Union’s restrictions and deprivation, American freedom can be overwhelming for a people unaccustomed to it. Sheffer’s play examines the effects of what happens when one’s reach exceeds his grasp.Read More
Ah, the complicated world of big business. It revolves around so many significant events, but none is as important as the annual sales convention, usually held at major metropolitan hotels. Such is the setting for three men from a Chicago-based industrial lubrication company who have set up their convention’s party room in a modest Wichita Holiday Inn suite. The goal is to schmooze and make sales, plying important clients with enough booze and bullshit to convince them to buy their product. The evening that lies ahead is mostly successful, perhaps not for the characters but for the audience.Read More
Gypsy – Chicago Shakespeare Theatre
Ever since Arthur Laurents, Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim teamed up back in 1959 to create the Broadway “Musical Fable” that would forever define stage mothers everywhere, its popularity has been never ending.Read More
Crime & Punishment
Sometimes one slaves over plans for an event, rationalizes it to death and even envisions its aftermath. Such is this story of intellectual torment and ethical quandary haunting impoverished Russian student Rodion Raskolnikov as he plots to rob and kill a mercenary pawnbroker. Marilyn Campbell and Curt Columbus have nicely captured the main characters, basic plot and dark tone of Dostoyevsky’s lengthy, 1866 psychological masterpiece while successfully paring it down into a 90-minute theatrical event. Originally written and presented in 2003, the remount marks the 28th season opening of this Jeff Award-winning company.Read More
The How and the Why – Timeline Theatre
As much about the relationship between two women of different generations as it is about the challenges of being taken seriously in a male-dominated profession, Sarah Treem’s intriguing drama bristles with the tension of hidden secrets.