Posted inCity Life

Come what May

Time continues its mind-boggling push through dimensions as we find ourselves entering the fifth month of 2022, and there’s no shortage of fun things to do on the horizon.  FRI 4/29 House Theatre of Chicago’s artistic director Lanise Antoine Shelley’s latest production honors her Haitian heritage, and the story of Henri Christophe, a leader of […]

Posted inTheater Review

Special needs

Kristine Thatcher’s drama about a couple adopting (or not adopting, as it turns out) a child born with profound disabilities kickstarted Thatcher’s profile as a playwright in its 1996 Victory Gardens premiere. It’s back at City Lit, once again under Terry McCabe’s direction. And while some parts don’t hold up well, the production builds to […]

Posted inTheater Review

Red windmills of your mind

Full disclosure: I don’t think I’m the target audience for Moulin Rouge, inasmuch as the 2001 film on which it’s based mostly left me feeling like I had a case of the bends, what with all the swooping and zooming camera action. But if you’re a fan, then you’ll probably want to see the current […]

Posted inTheater Review

Magic wars

Sean Masterson is cut in the mold of the classic Chicago close-up magician, with a puckish demeanor and a donnish interest in the history of the art form. Those qualities all appear in his new show at Chicago Magic Lounge, Message in a Bottle. The backstory comes from a 1912 memoir by impresario Michael B. […]

Posted inPerforming Arts Feature

Ventriloquism and Oobleck

When I think of ventriloquism in film, my thoughts flash to the commercials for 1978’s Magic that creeped me out as a kid. I wasn’t alone; according to the IMDb trivia page, the original trailer for this psychological horror film was pulled from broadcast after parents complained. (“Fats,” the murderous dummy who seemingly possesses Anthony […]

Posted inGhost Light

Lynn Nottage makes it work

If you’re up for journeys to the suburbs this weekend, it’s possible to see two plays by Lynn Nottage; Sweat, which earned Nottage her second Pulitzer Prize in 2017, is closing Sunday in Aurora at Paramount Theatre’s new Copley black-box space. (Reader contributor Catey Sullivan called the production, directed by Andrea J. Dymond, “gripping” and […]

Posted inTheater Review

Tudor lessons

After starting life at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2017, then getting its North American premiere at Chicago Shakespeare in 2019 before heading off to Broadway, Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss’s sassy rock musical (directed by Moss and Jamie Armitage) about the most famous sextet of spouses in history is back for a three-month run […]

Posted inArts & Culture

A Den of comedy

The last few months have been busy ones with theaters announcing new venues: if all goes well, American Blues, Steep, Northlight, and TimeLine will all be producing in their new homes sometime in the next couple of years. But the long COVID shutdown of 2020-21 also took away some venues that had provided rentals to […]

Posted inTheater Review

The big meal

In a recent New Yorker profile of Natasha Lyonne, star and creator of the trippy Netflix series Russian Doll, Lyonne reflects on her heritage as the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, and how that trauma creates ripple effects through the generations. “I joke that there’s a straight line from Hitler to heroin,” she says. The Levi-Katz […]

Posted inTheater Review

Darkness and light

Inspired in part by Oliver Sacks’s 1995 New Yorker essay “To See and Not to See,” Brian Friel’s 1996 play in monologues, Molly Sweeney, shares Sacks’s ability to translate the medical into the metaphysical. It’s also a natural successor to Friel’s 1979 Faith Healer, which also unfolds as three monologues involving two men and one […]