Posted inTheater Review

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 […]

Posted inTheater Review

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) […]

Posted inPerforming Arts Feature

Welcome to Venus

Back in December, there was a shining sliver of time when it looked like we—as individuals, as artists, as arts institutions—were forging a clear, or at least clear-ish, path forward.  Hundreds of people were back at work on live, in-person shows. A Christmas Carol burned bright at the Goodman. The Snow Queen got a shiny […]

Posted inTheater Review

Putting the pieces together in First Folio’s The Jigsaw Bride

Playwright Joseph Zettelmaier has a history of taking largely forgotten, sometimes nameless characters and putting them in the dead center of the iconic tales they support. It’s a potentially grim business, digging up backstories (and futures) for (no)bodies the world only knows as incidental to someone else’s story. But anyone passingly familiar with the commercial/critical […]

Posted inTheater Preview

Ghost trusters

It doesn’t matter where you are in Chicago. There are dead people somewhere in the ground below you. The millions of Indigenous peoples that flourished for millennia. The countless millions who trampled in next. And next. And next. All those bodies. All that energy. All those stories. Chicago is literally steeped in them. And in […]