Posted inGhost Light

Remembering Linsey Falls

You may not have known Linsey Falls’s name, but if you spent much time in the audience at Chicago non-Equity and storefront theaters over the years, you almost certainly knew his face and his voice. His expressive features, big eyes, and mischievous grin lit up the stage in comic roles, and his malleable voice and […]

Posted inTheater Review

Southern stories

I first saw Dr. Endesha Ida Mae Holland’s autobiographical From the Mississippi Delta over 30 years ago in the old Goodman studio theater space. Though it’s been revived many times since, I hadn’t seen it again until the current Lifeline and Pegasus Theatre Chicago coproduction at Lifeline. It’s a testament to Holland’s gift for dialogue […]

Posted inTheater Review

Warm and fuzzy

Charles Dickens’s schoolmaster Mr. Gradgrind from Hard Times (he who insists, “Now, what I want is Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts”) would feel right at home in the grim factory town run by a petulant archduke in Mac Barnett’s 2012 children’s book Extra Yarn. There, young Annabelle and her schoolmates are […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Collected stories

When Sharon Evans started producing solo work at Live Bait Theater in the late 1980s, storytelling hadn’t yet become a cottage industry in Chicago. “At that time it was a very unusual thing to do,” Evans says. “I remember being told that no one would pay to see a solo performer on an extended run.”  […]

Posted inTheater Review

Ewe oughta know

Lifeline Theatre’s acclaimed KidSeries has had good luck with the silly bucolic tales of Doreen Cronin (illustrated by Betsy Lewin), from 2003’s production of Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type to 2012’s Duck for President. A large part of the success of these family musicals comes from the fact that adapter James E. Grote and […]

Posted inTheater Review

#1 Victorian ladies detective agency

Six years ago, Lifeline Theatre unveiled the world premiere of Christopher M. Walsh’s Miss Holmes—a cunning gender-bent take on Arthur Conan Doyle’s Baker Street polymath that predated the film Enola Holmes by several years (though not the young-adult series of novels by Nancy Springer). Now Katie McLean Hainsworth’s Sherlock and Mandy Walsh’s Dr. Dorothy Watson […]

Posted inTheater Review

A cluttered Passage

Though it has some of Lifeline’s patented how-do-they-do-that effects, like a completely persuasive storm at sea achieved with nothing but video, some noise, and actors purporting to be blown around, Middle Passage is too cluttered to be satisfying. Rutherford Calhoun’s misadventures on the high seas include a captain mad enough to compete with Ahab, participation […]

Posted inPerforming Arts Feature

The unforgettable Jane Blass

Actor, singer, and all-around raconteur Jane Blass, who called Chicago home from 1988-2006 before she relocated to New York, where she performed on Broadway and in the touring companies of many shows, died at 59 after a long struggle with stomach cancer on August 6. Dorothy Milne, her friend and cofounder of the long-running women’s storytelling collective the Sweat Girls, compiled these remembrances from those who knew and loved her in Chicago and New York.