Posted inArts & Culture

Murder, she sang

The last episode of Murder, She Wrote aired on May 19, 1996. Yet, 27 years later, the Internet bristles with fan sites. There’s Murder, She Watched, and two rival sites that both use the name Murder, She Blogged (though one of those is actually a site about true crime, not the television series).  And on […]

Posted inTheater Review

A Midsummer with some twists

Is there a Shakespeare comedy better suited for an outdoor production in a park in July than A Midsummer Night’s Dream? Much of the play itself takes place outdoors in the summer, in the woods on the outskirts of a very English-seeming Athens. And the stories that unfold there are just twisty enough to keep […]

Posted inPerforming Arts Feature

Something Wonderful once again

First published in 1978, Jeffrey Sweet’s Something Wonderful Right Away, an oral history of the Second City, and its precursor, the Compass Players, has inspired generations of comic actors and improvisors to try to become part of the Second City or to create their own theater to rival Second City—or both. Ask any prominent contemporary […]

Posted inTheater Review

Not fading away

Alan Janes’s musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story is a clever piece of work, mixing the best elements of a biographical play, a jukebox musical, and a cover band concert into a bubbly, tightly written confection that reveals in 100 minutes why Buddy Holly was great and loved as a songwriter and performer and why […]

Posted inTheater Review

Long in the tooth

The Practical Theatre Company has earned its place in Chicago comedy history. In the 80s, this plucky troupe of young, energetic, gifted comic actors lit up stages around Chicago—including CrossCurrents, the Goodman Studio, the space that later became Second City’s e.t.c. space, and their own home theater on Howard Street in Evanston—with their bright, witty, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Call her Kayla

Fresh off her success playing Winnie in Samuel Beckett’s daunting, dark one-hander, Happy Days, Chicago actor Kayla Boye is appearing in a lighter role, that of movie icon (and OG tabloid favorite) Elizabeth Taylor in a one-person show, Call Me Elizabeth, written by Boye. The show is being produced at Venus Cabaret Theater June 16-18. […]

Posted inTheater Review

A claustrophobic Crucible

The Puritans in New England lived fearful, close-minded, claustrophobic lives. Disdainful of all other Christian sects (especially Catholics and Quakers) and of the Native Americans who they were certain worshipped Satan, they were terrified they would burn in Hell forever if they strayed from the tiny path their narrow-minded, authoritarian religious leaders set out for […]

Posted inTheater Review

Abstraction and realism

This double bill of plays from two very different theater companies (Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble and CIRCA-Pintig), working in two very different styles—one abstract, movement-based, very self-consciously artistic, the other a more basic realistic theater—don’t really go well together. Daryo’s All-American Diner and The WastelandThrough 5/20: Fri-Sat 8 PM; Ebenezer Lutheran Church, 1650 W. Foster,, […]

Posted inTheater Review

Storefront Star Wars

Pay no attention to the show’s baggy, forgettable, mildly pompous title. This smart, tightly written play is at once a very funny satire of the Star Wars saga—and Star Wars fans—a heartfelt homage, and fabulous fan fiction. Set not so long ago in a galaxy not so far away (OK, the setting is contemporary Hollywood), […]