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.) […]

Posted inTheater Review

Glitter and be God

You want irony? How’s this—the actor originally cast as Judas in the 50th-anniversary touring production of Jesus Christ Superstar, James Beeks, was dismissed from the tour after being arrested for his participation in the January 6 insurrection. In his pretrial motion, Beeks claimed that he didn’t recognize the authority of the government and that he […]

Posted inTheater Review

Song and dance, but not enough story

Here’s the TL;DR version of what to expect from Ain’t Too Proud, the new jukebox musical about soul/blues/disco/rock hitmakers The Temptations, whose catalog of songs spans the 1960s and the height of the Motown era through the disco beats of the 1970s and beyond.  The music—featuring more than 30 tunes from the Motown catalog—is irresistible […]

Posted inTheater Review

This bird has flown

Aaron Sorkin’s gonna Sorkin, even when he’s working off someone else’s material. In his new adaptation of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, now in a short touring stop with Broadway in Chicago, the creator of A Few Good Men, The American President, and The West Wing goes back to the courtyard drama/political grandstanding that […]

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

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 inTheater Review

Don’t look back

Hadestown, the 2019 Tony Award-winning musical that grew out of a 2010 concept album by Anaïs Mitchell, is an earnest and goodhearted show (now in a short run with Broadway in Chicago) that in some regards left me cold. (Or maybe lukewarm, as I imagine the temperature in purgatory might be.) This gloss on Greek […]

Posted inTheater Review

Island of empathy

At one point in Come From Away, a citizen of Gander cites a Bible verse from Philippians that begins “Do not be anxious about anything.” If you’ve spent the better part of the last half-decade or so feeling anxious about everything, then this show might provide some balm, at least for a night. Gander (population […]

Posted inTheater Review

A 21st-century Oklahoma!

Director Daniel Fish’s controversial 2019 Broadway revival of the classic musical Oklahoma! has come to Chicago for a two-week run at the CIBC Theatre. I don’t know how Fish’s innovative rethinking of the work (first developed at Bard College’s Fisher Center in 2015, and then produced off-Broadway at St. Ann’s Warehouse in 2018 prior to […]