Posted inTheater Review

Song and dance, but not enough story

Here’s the TL;DR version of what to expect from Ain’t Too Proud, the new jukebox musical about soul/blues/disco/rock hitmakers The Temptations, whose catalog of songs spans the 1960s and the height of the Motown era through the disco beats of the 1970s and beyond.  The music—featuring more than 30 tunes from the Motown catalog—is irresistible […]

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Brothers on the run

In Exal Iraheta’s Last Hermanos, a pair of Latinx half-brothers find themselves at a crucible somewhere in the hot, hostile wilderness of a Texas state park. The “pick-up” that was to ferry them to the next spot on their journey doesn’t show. Julio (Roberto Jay) and Miguel (Esteban Andres Cruz) are rapidly running out of […]

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He’s just not that into you

Its title and structure clearly classify William Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well as a comedy. By definition, tragedies end in death, comedies with weddings. Nobody dies during All’s Well, but the climactic wedding in the final act hardly ends with the happy couple basking in the rosy romantic glow of a strongly implied happily […]

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Sweat, tears, and blood

Lynn Nottage’s gripping drama Sweat launches a new direction for Aurora’s Paramount Theater, a 1,000-plus seat, 87-year-old Versailles-on-acid space known for award-winning musicals. Directed by Andrea J. Dymond, Sweat is the first production in the new Copley Theatre, a minimalist steel-and-glass black box across the street from the larger venue. Dymond’s airtight ensemble makes the […]

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Killer queen

For lo these past 20 years, Hell in a Handbag has been camping it up under the indefatigable leadership of founding artistic director David Cerda, whose encyclopedic knowledge of drag, pop culture, and their endless intersections serves him well in his latest parodic endeavor, The Drag Seed (first produced by Hell in a Handbag in […]

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Soul sisters

If you’re looking for respite from the slush-bound, gawdawful doldrums of February (and who isn’t?), Mercury Theater Chicago offers a scorching-good respite in Women of Soul. Rebooting the show they debuted in 2018 at Black Ensemble Theater, writer/director Daryl D. Brooks and musical director Robert Reddrick don’t shy away from taking on the tunes that […]

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The movement at home

Donja R. Love’s Fireflies (the second in his trilogy, The Love* Plays, each focusing on a different era of Black American history) is at once brutal and hopeful, the hate and violence-soaked former threatening throughout to extinguish the hard-won gleam of the latter but never quite succeeding. It’s 1963 when we meet Olivia (Chanell Bell) […]