Posted inTheater Review

Nip-and-tuck Oscar

Cutting Oscar Wilde’s 1895 classic comedy of manners down to a sleek 90-minute running time is a bold step, but Theatre Above the Law’s current staging, directed by Tony Lawry, manages that task pretty handily. All the greatest Wilde lines (“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in […]

Posted inTheater Review

The price of blood

Aleshea Harris’s What to Send Up When It Goes Down, produced by Congo Square Theatre last year, provided a trenchant and sometimes anguished portrayal of how racialized violence affects Black Americans over generations through a series of vignettes, rituals, songs, and more. Is God IsThrough 6/4: Thu-Fri 7:30 PM, Sat 3 and 7:30 PM, Sun […]

Posted inTheater Review

Star turns

Jessica Dickey’s world premiere at Remy Bumppo (directed by Marti Lyons) has some echoes of Doug Wright’s I Am My Own Wife: the playwright appears as a character, researching the life of a historical figure as a way to come to grips with her own personal narrative. But unlike the ethically complicated (but still remarkable) […]

Posted inGhost Light

It’s season-announcement season

The warmer temperatures, blossoming flowers, and budding trees aren’t the only harbingers of spring. It’s also the season of the season announcements, with the major Chicago companies letting us know what to expect in 2023-24 on their stages. The Goodman presents the first season selected by Susan V. Booth, who took over as artistic director […]

Posted inTheater Review

Dancing on the edge of disaster

The last great production of The Cherry Orchard I saw was at Steppenwolf, nearly 20 years ago. Tina Landau turned the company’s upstairs theater into a near-immersive experience, with Riccardo Hernández’s set design incorporating swathes of lacy white cloth all around us—perfect for Anton Chekhov’s characters, who spend so much time hiding from visible truths […]

Posted inTheater Review

Army tragedy

Though it premiered in 1981 with the Negro Ensemble Company, won the 1982 Pulitzer Prize for drama, and was subsequently turned into the well-received 1984 film A Soldier’s Story, Charles Fuller’s A Soldier’s Play didn’t get a Broadway production until nearly 40 years after it first appeared. Fuller, who died in October 2022 at 83, […]

Posted inBest of Chicago

Best way to combine theater, exercise, and history

In 2017, the members of Theatre Y completed the Camino de Santiago in northern Spain—a 500-mile route followed by pilgrims for centuries. That sparked the company’s annual ambulatory “Camino” productions, which invite audiences to walk through different Chicago neighborhoods while experiencing a series of environmental performances. In 2019, the Camino Project focused on neighborhoods surrounding […]

Posted inTheater Review

Silly swan song

Barbara Gaines started her tenure as artistic director for Chicago Shakespeare Theater (then called Chicago Shakespeare Workshop) in 1986 by staging Henry V on the rooftop of the Red Lion Pub. She’s closing it out with a production of The Comedy of Errors that contains a sly homage to that debut in the form of […]

Posted inGhost Light

The return of “theater prom”

The Non-Equity Jeff Awards, affectionately known as “theater prom,” came roaring back after a four-year hiatus at the Park West on Monday, March 27. And it’s safe to say the program, directed by Adrian Abel Azevedo, was a lovefest through and through. The awards show (coming on the heels of the packed opening of the […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

The city in bloom

I have a personal tradition each vernal equinox of posting on social media some recorded version of “Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most.” (This year I opted for Sarah Vaughan.) But the truth is, it’s hard to feel hung up when I look over this week’s spring theater and arts preview issue. (Feeling […]