Chicago Theatre Review


Gayle Kirshenbaum

ZR6W8764A theatre lover for many years, Gayle has held posts as the resident theatre critic on air for the Ted Webber show and WZRD at Northeastern Illinois University – as well as writing  reviews for This Month on Stage. A consummate Renaissance woman with a fiery entrepreneurial spirit, she owned a successful catering/restaurant business in the 80s, several hot dog carts, and works as a Registered Nurse when she isn’t gracing the plush velveteen seats of Chicago’s greatest. In her free time, Gayle loves to  travel (although not as often as she would like to do) kayak, and is learning to play guitar. She has some special friends in her life that she enjoys spending time with.

You can reach Gayle at

Photo by Paul Sherman



Frank Meccia




By day and frequently well into the early morning hours, Frank is a Cardio-thoracic Physician Assistant. When he is not performing surgery and saving lives, his time is spent with family and friends. He was previously on theboard of directors of Bonaventure House (an organization for people living with AIDS). In his free time he enjoys SCUBA diving, golf, opera, cooking  good wine and traveling. He has recently had a career change and will become a flight attendant for Go Jet.












Lazlo Collins has been in Chicago most of his adult life. He has been richly involved in many theatrical processes. Through directing, acting, set design, costumes, property design and management, Lazlo brings a diversity of knowledge and experience to his work. Lazlo’s passion and love for theater fuels his need to let others know of the great theater in the windy city. He feels Chicago theatricals constantly amaze him through their breadth and diversity of talent. He lives a quiet life with his dog, and can be seen around town sampling his favorite craft beers when he is not in the theater.







headshotCOLIN DOUGLAS is an AEA actor, director and freelance theatre critic
living in the far northern suburbs, but who spends quite a bit of time
in the city. A retired teacher and librarian,Colin works
part-time as an AEA monitor for professional auditions in and around
the Chicago area. In addition he works part-time at Barnes & Nobles in
the Kids and Teen Department and is an avid reader. When not in a
theatre, a bookstore or traveling to New York City and beyond, Colin
can be found at home cooking and playing with Charlie, his best friend
and an English Springer Spaniel rescue.

BEN KEMPER A native of Boise Idaho and professional storyteller, Kemper comes to Chicago & environs to study Theater at Northwestern University. He is pleased to be in the city of broad minds and big ideas and likes nothing better than sniffing out some hidden gem of a performance.

Zach Barr is a Seattle native and Northwestern University student. He is
Zach Barr Senior Portraitan actor, director, playwright, and, naturally, reviewer (“critic” is
entirely the wrong word). In addition to writing reviews here, he is also
the resident theatre writer for The Daily Northwestern, and writes
freelance reviews of whatever he wants at
Zach would not be anywhere without the support of his family, Studio East,
and Ben Kemper. He can be recognized in the audience as that guy wearing a
A graduate of the prestigious E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, Peter Thomas Ricci is a journalist by day, aesthete by night, an irrepressibly curious spirit whose interests extend far beyond the quaint trade publication where he works as an assistant editor. Whether it be Chicago Blues, stream-of-consciousness narratives, literary nonfiction, impressionistic paintings, or the profound art of criticism, there is nary a subject (sans Lepidoptera) that does not interest Peter, including Chicago’s flourishing theater scene. Though he chiefly delights in Chicago’s many storefront theatre companies littered across the city’s North Side, Peter is always interested in trying something new, exciting, and genuine. Contact him at if you’d like to know why homeownership is generally a bad investment, why Wilco is the finest band in the 21st century, and why Martin Scorsese is the most overrated director of the 20th.



Ivy Perez is originally from El Paso, on the far side of Texas, next to the Mexican city of Juarez. She graduated from the University of Chicago a IMG_20140528_163744few years ago, where she majored in English and History. She concentrated in Post-War American Literature and East Asian History, respectively. 

I’m currently studying creative writing at the Graham School. In the years since she’s graduated, Ivy has been able to see a variety of theater performances in Chicago—ranging from serious musicals, experimental  Shakespeare adaptations, silly musicals, and improv shows. 

Her favorite writer is David Foster Wallace. Her favorite novel is Infinite Jest.  Her favorite director is McG (although she also enjoys the films of Pedro Almodovar, Alfonso Cuaron, and Guillermo del Toro, and frankly believes that Alejandro González Iñárritu is a hack). She currently works full-time in a mid-size private company, whose location is secret, where her position is on a need-to-know basis, and whose products are clandestine.  I maybe shouldn’t even have mentioned it.  

Please feel free to drop her a line if you’ve got strong opinions about how disappointing 1Q84 was or if you’re interested in re-enacting a few episodes of Firefly at achilles.ivy[at]

Kazuko Golden was born in Springfield, IL.  For six years, Kazuko resided in San Francisco but she is currently a Creative Producer at Columbia College of Chicago.  Next year she will be moving to Los Angeles, CA and continuing her work and aspirations.For four years previous to moving to San Francisco, she was an English as a Second Language teacher in Japan, and before and after travelled to abroad to various countries in search of harmony.  Now she is producing films to reach a broader audience beyond the classroom and is interested in providing social and political commentary on sociological patterns and drama stories that strongly exemplify the journeys and mysterious adventures experienced everyday. Using her undergraduate studies from Earlham College in Sociology/Anthropology, she previously worked for The President Jimmy Carter Center and Fair Trade USA to build healthy and sustainable futures for communities in nearly twenty developing nations worldwide. Now she is using the film medium to build dialogues and pass on powerful stories she picked up in her work.  She employs social theory, examines the power of story, and aims for her work to provide entertainment and useful information for academics, critics, and audiences to use to explore and further our understanding of how to make the global continent a safer, healthier, and more conscious community for eone to share.
Ali Shields is a theatre major in the playwriting module and with a concentration in acting at Northwestern University. In addition, Ali is also IMG_4878the artistic director of a student theatre board, Lipstick Theatre, that specializes in feminist works. She has worked at various theater companies around the country, including Peninsula Youth Theater, The Acting Company, Theater Resources Unlimited, and 13th Street Repertory.
petergMy brief- and I mean brief- bio – Scott Kirshenbaum
got born, got some schooling, got Bar Mitzvahed, got heart surgery, got more schooling, got college (go Buckeyes), got work, got married, got divorced, got privitized, got laid off, got sick, got better, got to Ravinia…had a great time!