Chicago Theatre Review

Monthly Archives: June 2016

To Reach the Unreachable Star

June 30, 2016 Comments Off on To Reach the Unreachable Star

Man of La Mancha – Marriott Theatre


Chicago theatre has always prided itself on its daring, new interpretations of classic plays and musicals. The results

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A Magical Night at Ravinia

June 25, 2016 Comments Off on A Magical Night at Ravinia

Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples – Ravinia

On a perfect summer evening, a sold out enthusiastic crowd descended on the grounds of Ravinia for what would be an amazing night of legends and music. Mavis Staples got the crowd going by starting with her 1973 hit, “If You’re Ready,(Come Go with Me). And for the next 45 minutes we took that ride with her. She played her classic Gospel, rich soul style in the famous Staple Singers way. She spoke about the 1960s Civil Rights Movement and how she witnessed Dr. Martin Luther King’s marches. She sang all her hits and finished with “I’ll Take you There”, the Staple Singers number one hit from 1972.

Courtesy of Ravinia Festival

Courtesy of Ravinia  Festival

After a short break Bob Dylan 0pened with a lively version of the Academy Award winner for Best Original Song: “Things have Changed” from the movie “ Wonder Boys”. This started the show off with the promise of another great Dylan concert.  Bob kept up the pace with the next two songs, “She Belongs to Me” and “Beyond Here Lies Nothing” before settling down into his latest efforts with the Great American Songbook of standards. Bob tenderly and delicately sang covers from Irving Berlin to Frank Sinatra, much to the approval of his hardcore fans.

After putting the crowd in this 5 song “Melancholy Mood” he switched gears and pulled out a personal favorite of mine, “Tangled Up in Blue” from his classic “Blood on the Tracks” album. Bringing the crowd to their feet with the opening lines, “Early one mornin’ the sun was shinin’ ,I was layin’ in bed ,wondrin’ if she’d changed at all, if her hair was still red”. Bob sang it with great emotion and played a strong harmonica solo which brought cheers from the smiling happy crowd. When Bob finished to a standing ovation, he announced a short intermission. The crowd was buzzing with conversation after this set.

Bob and his Band opened the second set with the bluesy “High Water, for Charley Patton” which again got the crowd going. He quickly returned to the old standards that dominated the 2nd set, only throwing in “Early Roman Kings” with its blues drenched riffs. His  encore was a new arrangement of “Blowing in the Wind” with Bob on the keyboards.

Courtesy of Ravinia Festival

Courtesy of Ravinia Festival

And then surprising everyone he closed the show with a hard hitting version of “Lovesick” from his 1998 Grammy Award winning album “Time Out of Mind”. Bob smiled and waved goodbye to the cheering crowd,  who clearly  wanted more. Another great Dylan show consisting of 21 songs. 15 of those  from his last 3 albums alone.

Bob seemed to want to stay current and only dip his toe into the past. Ravinia is a great venue for this American icon to perform his latest magic amidst a sea of truly happy fans.  Dylan’s triumphant return to Ravinia  -welcome back Bob after 30 years and thanks for a memorable evening of music.

Reviewed by Terry Giardina



What’s Goin On?

June 25, 2016 Comments Off on What’s Goin On?

The Marvin Gaye Story – Black Ensemble Theatre

(Don’t Talk About My Father Because God is My Friend)


Jackie Taylor continues Black Ensemble Theater’s 40th anniversary year, celebrating their success with remounts of

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A Quest to Regain Dignity

June 25, 2016 Comments Off on A Quest to Regain Dignity

The Grapes of Wrath – Gift Theatre


There’s no other novel that paints such an honest, unflinching portrait of the hopelessness of a people, particularly

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Matrimony in Manhattan

June 23, 2016 Comments Off on Matrimony in Manhattan

Company – Writers Theatre


Updated to 2016 with cell phones, contemporary fashions and fewer characters smoking, this exciting new

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‘Ben Hecht Show’ Interesting, albeit Dry

June 23, 2016 Comments Off on ‘Ben Hecht Show’ Interesting, albeit Dry

Ben Hecht 


Ben Hecht – legendary playwright, screenwriter, and activist who, after a noted career as a journalist at the Chicago Journal and Chicago Daily News, wrote such noted works as “The Front Page,” “Gone with the Wind,” “Notorious,” and “Spellbound,” while advocating for civil rights and fighting anti-Semitism – was a uniquely fascinating figure of the 20th century, and it is fine and proper that he is being honored on the stage in “The Ben Hecht Show,” a one-man play written by and starring Chicago actor James Sherman.

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Brash and Bright – Limbo Makes You Uncomfortable

June 23, 2016 Comments Off on Brash and Bright – Limbo Makes You Uncomfortable


Savage in Limbo – The Poor Theatre

Imagine yourself at 32 years old.

Everyone in the audience who participates in the shared experience of Savage in Limbo will think this. Some who

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Super Sea Savior

June 22, 2016 Comments Off on Super Sea Savior

The SpongeBob Musical – Broadway in Chicago


Big, bright, boisterous, colorful, creative and crammed full of humor and joy, this giddy, glorious family musical

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Lurking in the Foggy Shadows

June 21, 2016 Comments Off on Lurking in the Foggy Shadows

The Unfortunates – SoLo Chicago


On a misty, cold November night, a 25-year-old British woman named Mary Jane Kelly slips into Whitechapel’s Ten

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‘The House That Will Not Stand’ is Theater Ecstasy

June 21, 2016 1 Comment

The House That Will Not Stand – Victory Gardens

America is a country of unique gifts, but perhaps its most spectacular talent is that of willful forgetfulness. As James

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