We're kicking off Giving Tuesday early this year! Your donation today will be matched up to $10K, doubling your impact! If you donate $50 today, the Reader will receive $100.

The Reader is now a community-funded nonprofit newsroom. Can we count on your support to help keep us publishing?

Posted inArts & Culture

A Kate Bush catharsis

For music fans starved of live performances over the first year of the pandemic, the return to in-person shows earlier this year was a blessing, a small sense of normalcy amid a still-steady battle with the coronavirus. Despite the many additional challenges thrown up by playing through a pandemic, fans and musicians alike have eagerly […]

Posted inTheater Review

Too much of a good thing

Inspired by the real-life onstage/offstage marital drama of the husband-and-wife acting team, Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, this Tony Award-winning 1948 musical features an engaging book by Sam and Bella Spewack and a score packed with iconic Cole Porter earworms—among them “Why Can’t You Behave,” “Always True to You (In My Fashion),” and “Too Darn […]

Posted inPerforming Arts Feature

Remembering Matt Rieger: ‘a good egg for the ages’

Editor’s Note: Matt Rieger, managing director and ensemble member of the Curious Theatre Branch, died on October 27 at 50, following a recent cancer diagnosis. Rieger’s death led to an outpouring of tributes on social media, reminding many of how instrumental he had been in many roles onstage and off over his years as a […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The scene report from space

Elaborate hologram displays. A satellite planet. A mysterious deity. On the surface, Lane Milburn’s rollicking sci-fi graphic novel Lure doesn’t have much to do with Chicago. But Milburn drew inspiration from his old neighborhood, his punk band, his friends, and his near-decade living in the city. Lure takes place on an alternate earth, orbited by […]

Posted inTheater Review

Coercive utopia

While its drama focuses on 20th-century events, the New Coordinates’ (the company formerly known as the New Colony) Love in the Time of Jonestown is uncannily contemporary—which is exactly how historical fiction should feel.  Production-wise, Jonestown richly reflects our time and place. Written by Omer Abbas Salem, it’s a radio play in three parts that […]

Posted inTheater Review

Parody actually

Goethe’s 1774 romantic classic Die Leiden des jungen Werthers convinced many ill-starred suitors to off themselves in the pain of unrequited love, and Richard Curtis’s 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually has surely convinced just as many yearning paramours to commit ill-advised confessions of infatuation towards their best friends’ spouses, their officemates, and their employees in […]

Posted inTheater Review

Quirky true love songs

There are shows that break a writer’s heart, and brain. This is one of those shows—openhearted, genre-defying, utterly overwhelming, glorious to watch but confounding to write about. (My hard drive is littered with drafts of this short review.) Structured as a live concert, with bits of storytelling woven in (the songs are by Abigail Nessen-Bengson […]

Posted inTheater Review

Hanukkah hijinks

Grab your dreidel and the whole mishpocha and head over to Strawdog Theatre Company’s annual hit show Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. A festive and charming holiday treat in a cozy, black-box theater with blankets for kids to sit on the floor, Hershel immediately engages and warms up youth (and adults) with pre-show schmoozing, music, […]

Posted inDance

Muscle and mortality in RE/TURN

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, whose last public performance was at the Harris Theater in November of 2019, were in rehearsals on the Harris stage in preparation for their spring season in March 2020 as a citywide lockdown was announced. Following more than a year of virtual programming, the company reemerges at the Harris November 18-21 […]