HollywoodChicago.com Theater Reviews & Interviews

Theater Interview: Still at Large With Wanda Sykes

Wanda Sykes

CHICAGO – Wanda Sykes wants you to know that she still has a mind and a mouth and she’s not afraid to use either. The Emmy Award-winning comedienne known for her work on “The Wanda Sykes Show,” “The New Adventures of Old Christine” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” as well as several HBO specials is back on the road after a year that has seen much in the way of personal and professional advances.

Theater Review: Summer’s ‘Fuerza Bruta’ Parties On

'Fuerza Bruta' at the Auditorium Theatre

CHICAGO – During the climactic sequence in the new amp-infused, celebrity-verified production “Fuerza Bruta”, hundreds of expectant hands reach toward the transparent Mylar pool descending upon them. Four bathing coryphees, exploring the tank as a child would a slip-n-slide, peer through the translucent water with the same anticipation as their onlookers. In the moments that proceed, hands reach body, giving rise to manifest excitement. The audience has not only viewed the art, it has experienced it.

Footless ‘Body Awareness’ Asks the Tough Questions

"Body Awareness" at Profiles Theatre

CHICAGO – It is a quandary that has plagued the minds of the nations foremost feminists, and even those who would better prefer the perspired mirrors of strippercize classes to the contents of “The Feminine Mystique”. Yet from Betty Friedan to Hillary Clinton, Susan B. Anthony to Katy Perry, the question regarding the often thinly drawn crease between sexual empowerment and objectification still wants for absolution..

Theater Review: ‘The 39 Steps’ is Frolicsome, Hollow Hitchcock

The cast of 'The 39 Steps'

CHICAGO – The stage may is noticeably stripped, and the absence of technical advancement well-viewed. But the brass creativity emanating from “The 39 Steps”, the rollicking adaptation of Alfred Hitchcock’s quieted film, is consummately endowed. In a certain albeit undeniable sense, the Master of Suspense’s screen canon has always been ripe for the satirical plucking.

Spirited ‘The Drowsy Chaperone’ Dusts Off Broadway Scrapbook

"The Drowsy Chaperone" at the Marriott Theatre

CHICAGO – There are few plot archetypes that receive as much in the way of production funding as that which examines- and often heralds- the business of Broadway. From the trying personal life of Fanny Brice to the eruption of a chorus player on 42nd Street, musicals have often reveled to the avidity of their own founts.

Theater Interview: Back on the Street With Lisa Helmi Johanson of ‘Avenue Q’

The new touring cast of "Avenue Q"

CHICAGO – The puppets are back in town. Those R-rated, sexually-inclined, potty-mouthed denizens of Avenue Q have once again taken over the neighborhood where they are appearing at Broadway in Chicago’s Bank of America Theater. Now in its seventh year Off-Broadway (where the production recently transferred from its previous home on the Great White Way), the Tony Award-winning musical by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx continues to tempt and tickle its Sesame Street fanbase on the road.

Theater Interview: The Write Stuff With Playwright Will Cooper

Christine Bunuan stars in the Chicago Dramatists' "Jade Heart"

CHICAGO – Chicago Dramatists’ playwright Will Cooper isn’t interested in the simple answers. Rather, his new production, “Jade Heart”, has every intention to ask the hard-hitting questions of racial identity in a post-melting pot America, a topic as potentially layered as it is controversial.

Theater Review: New Play ‘SunChoke’ is a Dereliction of Beauty

SunchokeFront.jpg

CHICAGO – “Beautiful,” I said to Josh Arteaga, the playwright of “SunChoke,” after experiencing his post-apocalyptic narrative at the Raven Theater. Why that particular word would come out of such dread is emblematic of the entirety.

Interview: Director J. Spencer Greene’s Indy Film ‘Off-Loop’ Premieres in Chicago

CHICAGO – The spirit of independent film is embodied in J. Spencer Greene’s “Off-Loop”, which will be having its Chicago premiere on Wednesday night, May 20, at the Portage Theater on the northwest side.

‘Legally Blonde the Musical’ is Aptly Sweetened Chicago Refreshment

Becky Gulsvig stars in Legally Blonde the Musical at the Ford Oriental Theatre in Chicago

CHICAGO – If you were one of those Chicagoans who discovered a new allergy to the hoards of hormonally-charged pubescents attached to “Wicked’s” wake, you may want to take heed, or rather cover—a new touring behemoth promises to tow along new teenie boppers to the Ford Theatre. But not to worry, plenty of chaperones will surely be on duty.

Something in the Way it Moves: Factory Theater’s ‘Mop Top Festival’ Celebrates The Beatles

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HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.5/5.0
Play Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What has become of what John Lennon called, “The Greatest Show on Earth” (for what it was worth)? The Fab Four are still at The Beatle conventions – now called “The Fest for Beatle Fans”, which have gone on annually since 1977 in Chicago.

The House Theatre Stages Comeback With ‘Rose and the Rime’

Rose and the Rime
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 4.0/5.0
Play Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – While most of America’s eyes were glued to the television screens Sunday night to catch Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” nab its gold, the celebrated underdog of Chicago theatre companies shyly began to spout its new wings.

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  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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