Posted inNews & Politics

Get a Piece of the Magic

Auction of the Magic Collection of Jay Marshall WHEN Sat 5/5, 9 AM WHERE Hyatt Regency Woodfield, Schaumburg INFO 847-605-1234, 708-757-4950, or In The Aristocrats, the documentary in which nearly 100 showbiz types relay their versions of the eponymous filthy bit about a family of incestuous vaudevillians, executive producer Penn Jillette calls Jay […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Polling Place

POLLING PLACE, Smock Alley Theater, at Center Theater. Sparsely populated, decidedly lethargic polling places in this era hardly seem prime locations for dramatic events. It’s to first-time playwright and former Cook County assistant state’s attorney Frank Mahon’s credit that he’s able to deliver a modicum of intrigue in this story of election-day shenanigans during an […]

Posted inArts & Culture

More Fun Than Bowling

MORE FUN THAN BOWLING, Ranch Theater Company, at National Pastime Theater. This is the second production I’ve seen of Steven Dietz’s play about a decent small-town bowling-alley proprietor whose wives have an unfortunate habit of dying in freak accidents. But even in this earnest, well-intentioned staging by an enthusiastic young company, I have difficulty finding […]

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Beyond Hope

Closer Steppenwolf Theatre Company By Adam Langer I don’t believe one can show greater respect than to weep for a stranger… –Jose Saramago, All the Names The final scene of Patrick Marber’s clinical examination of late-90s sexual and romantic alienation takes place in Postman’s Park, at a memorial honoring ordinary citizens: Elizabeth Boxall, for example, […]

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Hamlet! The Musical/ Short Shakespeare! “Romeo and Juliet”

Hamlet! The Musical, Second City, at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and Short Shakespeare! “Romeo and Juliet,” Chicago Shakespeare Theater. The high-quality air-conditioning at Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Navy Pier facility would make it easy to spend more than two and a half hours there, but the season of short attention spans is upon us. The revival of […]

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Swan Song

Zoot Suit Goodman Theatre By Adam Langer In their twilights, institutions have a way of evoking memories of better times while not completely living up to them. My parents assure me that on the final day of operation at Don Roth’s Blackhawk restaurant on Wabash the spinning salad bowl was good but not quite the […]

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Joy of the Desolate

JOY OF THE DESOLATE, Apple Tree Theatre. What’s most effective about Oliver Mayer’s semiautobiographical play–which concerns a Native American Ivy League freshman who loses his father, finds faith in a choir, and becomes involved in a love triangle with a sweet singer and her fiery baritone boyfriend–is its ability to convey the transcendent quality of […]

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The Grandmama Tree: A Folk Fable

THE GRANDMAMA TREE: A Folk Fable, ETA Creative Arts Foundation. The rather conventional idea that young people could learn a thing or two from old-timers gets a fairly witty and inventive treatment in Benard Cummings’s “folk fable.” Young, well-meaning Alfonso is hiding out in the woods after shooting his pregnant girlfriend’s brother, apparently in self-defense. […]