Posted inTheater Review

MJ delves into the chaos and glory of Michael Jackson

Double Michaels! Triple threats! Joe Jackson’s aggression! MJ the Musical titillates in a new touring production of the Broadway hit navigating the chaotic life of King of Pop Michael Jackson, highlighting the challenges public and private during his 1992-93 Dangerous world tour. The Pepsi-Cola-sponsored global event went on to gross $140 million for Jackson’s Heal […]

Posted inTheater Review

Lovely, dark, and deep

The woods are leaf-free spires of light, Cinderella’s sisters are outfitted in bad 80s prom dresses, and Rapunzel’s coil of blonde hair is a rope in the national touring production of Into the Woods. Directed by Lear deBessonet, Stephen Sondheim’s musical is one of endlessly intricate lyrics packaged in broad suggestions of time and place […]

Posted inTheater Review

What goes around comes back around

A simple lit rooftop, church steeple, or body-as-a-temple metaphor greets you as you enter the theater. Two bright lines meet in the middle, seemingly pointing upwards towards something greater. Designed by Riccardo Hernández, with lighting brought to life by designer Justin Townsend, the simplicity of the set is apt. Perhaps it serves as a reminder […]

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

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 inTheater Review

White saviorism: the musical!

The Book of Mormon is back in Chicago, slightly rewritten since it last played here in 2018 but still the same wildly irreverent take on that most quintessential of homegrown white American religions: the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After the hit musical opened on Broadway in 2011, it played in Chicago four […]

Posted inTheater Review

Great songs, so-so script

On the ticketing page for Broadway in Chicago’s presentation of the touring version of Tina: The Tina Turner Musical, there’s a small line at the bottom: “Please note that Tina Turner does not appear in this production.” Given that Turner turned 83 last November and retired from performing at 69, the caveat hardly seems necessary. […]

Posted inTheater Review

Hold the fireworks

One can imagine what inspired directors Diane Paulus and Jeffrey L. Page to rework this 1960s musical about the Continental Congress. There’s the attraction of doing a piece about the nation’s unification during a period of division, not to mention the appeal of presenting the virtually all-male show with an all-female and nonbinary cast of […]

Posted inTheater Review

What’s new, pussy cat?

At 25 years old, The Lion King has been seen by more than 110 million people and played every continent but Antarctica. Between global warming and ticket demand, it’s probably just a matter of time.  The latest U.S. tour to stop in Chicago feels significantly less lavish from earlier versions that blew audiences and critics […]

Posted inAgenda

Michelle Williams in Children of Eden, Sabaton, improv ghost hunters, and more

Before there was Wicked, there was Children of Eden, and before there was Beyoncé, there was Destiny’s Child. Michelle Williams, Bey’s former bandmate, stars in this concert presentation of Wicked composer Stephen Schwartz’s 1991 musical based on the book of Genesis. (Not his first foray into biblical musicals; he also wrote Godspell 20 years earlier.) […]