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Alissa Norby

Theater Feature: Casts of ‘Hair,’ ‘Million Dollar Quartet’ Benefit Marriage Equality

Be-In for Marriage Equality

CHICAGO – The casts of two current theater spectaculars in Chicago lent their talents to benefit Marriage Equality in the United States. The “Be-In for Marriage Equality” took place on March 14, 2011, and featured performers from the road show Broadway version of “Hair” and the current cast of “Million Dollar Quartet.”

Theater Review: ‘Rock of Ages’ Ain’t Nothin’ But a Good Time

The cast of 'Rock of Ages'

CHICAGO – “I wanted to explore deep, thoughtful theatre,” deadpans a giddily vitriolic narrator, played here in a last minute swap-out by Mitchell Jarvis, during the eleventh hour of “Rock of Ages”. Although referring to any aspect of this rollicking, trenchantly self-aware jukebox ride in classical terms may either be mawkishly generous or downright offensive to its recalcitrant intent.

Theater Review: ‘Shrek the Musical’ Still in the Swamp

The company of 'Shrek the Musical'

CHICAGO – “Fairytales should really be updated,” muses the puckish Shrek during a final plea for the affections of a reluctant princess. It is one of those startlingly honest and quietly irreverent insights that “Shrek the Musical” is all too wary to boast, but is a welcome dagger into the cavalcade of childhood morality tales that, year after year, infiltrate the bulk of shooting star wishes and Barbie dream-houses.

Theater Review: Bailiwick Chicago Rediscovers a Buried ‘AIDA’

Bailiwick Chicago's "AIDA"

CHICAGO – When the initial production of Elton John and Tim Rice’s “Aida” made its foray to the Broadway stage, following what was surely a tempestuous artistic adolescence, the public hurrah with which it was met signaled the birth of two eminent stage relations. First, that of John’s with both Broadway and West End investors, a collaboration that has far outstretched the boundaries set forth by “The Lion King”.

Theater Review: ‘Sins of Sor Juana’ is Hollowed History

"Sins of Sor Juana"

CHICAGO – Lauded as the first great poet of Latin America, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz served as both an artistic and philosophical trailblazer in the most consequential of orders. A self-instructed scholar of Baroque thought, Sor Juana piloted a course of unprecedented intellect as well as feminist ideology during her brief years. What has rightfully garnered the scribe a nonpareil reverence was her audacity to posit such work in a time of a most restrictive piety.

Theater Review: Beguiling ‘Lookingglass Alice’ Tumbles Back Down the Rabbit Hole

Cast of "Lookingglass Alice"

CHICAGO – “It really doesn’t matter which direction you go,” counsels one of Wonderland’s mischievous denizens at the onset of Alice’s most transmogrifying of journeys. For David Catlin, the cunningly innovative adaptor and director of Lookingglass Theatre’s take on Lewis Carroll’s treasured canon, it matters not whether the real Alice Liddell traveled upward, downward, backward or sideways on the famed rowing boat trip that would later bear her whimsical stories. At Lookingglass, adventure is the only direction worth taking.

‘Suicide, Incorporated’ Explores Mortality’s Worth, Will

"Suicide, Incorporated"

CHICAGO – The eponymous subject matter of Andrew Hinderaker’s enthralling new work “Suicide, Incorporated” is hardly a newfangled muse to dramatists. The concept of one’s self-sanctioned execution has inspired the minds of media architects from Poe to the executives at Lifetime Television Network (the latter of which tends to default to the exertion habitually). The question of an individual opting to terminate his life, especially when the meaning of which plagues the majority of us, is nary an easy one. Hinderaker’s take on the matter, both in stylized approach and explication, proves to be one of the most cerebrally exigent of the lot.

Theater Interview: Going Mad With ‘Lookingglass Alice’ Director David Catlin

ltc_alice-004821.jpg

CHICAGO – Most adolescent boys do away with their freshly-acquired Bar Mitzvah money before you can say “Haftorah”. But not David Schwimmer. Instead, the Lookingglass Theatre Company co-founder and “Friends” superstar mounted what was to become his theatre company’s most illustrious and withstanding production, “Lookingglass Alice”, based on the cherished novels of Lewis Carroll. The company’s Artistic Director David Catlin recently caught up with HollywoodChicago.com to discuss the adaptation and production process for Alice’s latest journey (now playing through August 1, 2010 at the Water Tower), and why this fourth trip down the rabbit hole just may be the best yet.

Theater Interview: Playwright Charles Grippo Puts the ‘Sex’ in Comedy

"Sex Marks the Spot"

CHICAGO – Charles Grippo doesn’t have much sympathy for politicians who put themselves in hot, scandal-infused water. In fact, he has taken to a platform he knows well, the Chicago theatre scene, to share his satirical insight into the recent trend of sexual enmeshment that has plagued many of the nation’s top pundits and officeholders. Grippo recently caught up with HollywoodChicago.com to discuss how personal disastisifaction with government can beget the most acidic of farce.

Theater Review: ‘Sugar’ is an Artificial Sweetener

"Sugar" at Drury Lane Oakbrook

CHICAGO – Few but the most professorial of Broadway aficionados recall with clarity the short-lived “Sugar,” which is one of the first film-to-stage transfers that premiered on the Great White Way in 1972 to lowly acclaim and even lower financial prowess. Though serving as a harbinger for the soon-to-be endowed trend of film derivatives, “Sugar” debuted in the throws of an era thirsty for the provocation of Michael Bennett and the insight of Stephen Sondheim.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Bobby Pin Girls

    CHICAGO – The “breeder years” are difficult on everyone, as the biological imperative becomes overwhelming and the couplings that result yield both discovery and misadventure. Nothing Without a Company’s new play “Bobby Pin Girls” highlight two such Millennial women, roommates who are having man trouble, although the argument can be made that it’s eternally “boy trouble.” The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Chicago Mosaic School through December 3rd, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Transformers 5 front

    CHICAGO – Knock me over with a feather kids, but I enjoyed “Transformers: The Last Knight.” Maybe it was in comparison to the others or maybe director Michael Bay has beaten me into submission, but this one had the right story elements and casting to make it work, with exceptions of course. It’s goofiness is its charm, and it was released on Blu-Ray/DVD on September 26th, 2017 (Digital HD already available).

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