Posted inTheater Review

Rent pays off

After thoroughly enjoying the shameless perversity of Kokandy Productions’s Cruel Intentions, under Adrian Abel Azevedo’s direction, I found Azevedo’s Rent at Porchlight to bring a stark, often heart-wrenching dose of relevance to his now-known talent for embodying nostalgia. Musicals can be tough when you have the cast recording memorized, but this production of the late […]

Posted inAgenda

Salt Shed opening, Broadway in a park, Queer cinema, and bats

Join local musicians Makaya McCraven and Sons of Kemet for an outdoor show to celebrate the inaugural evening of the Salt Shed (1357 N. Elston), Chicago’s newest independent music venue, which occupies the site of the former Morton Salt complex. They’ll be joined on the lineup by British jazz musician Nubya Garcia. Tickets are $30, […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Taking the drama and dance outdoors

I spent most of the 90s in the Bay Area, where outdoor theater in the summer is a given, and the weather generally cooperates (if you’re not facing the threat of forest fires, that is). But in Chicago, extreme heat and thunderstorms go with the territory. Despite Mother Nature and other logistical challenges, outdoor theater […]

Posted inTheater Review

The bitch of living—1891 and today

This rock musical by librettist Steven Sater and composer Duncan Sheik debuted off-Broadway in 2006, and the play it’s based on, Frank Wedekind’s Frühlings Erwachen, dates back to 1891. But Porchlight Music Theatre’s moving new production feels troublingly timely in director/choreographer Brenda Didier’s taut, intimate staging, due both to the heartfelt performances of its excellent […]

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

True blues

A fine cast backed by a first-rate jazz combo make Porchlight Music Theatre’s revival of Sheldon Epps’s concept revue Blues in the Night a delicious musical feast. A 1982 Broadway vehicle for Leslie Uggams, this durable jukebox musical—smartly staged for Porchlight by Chicago theater veteran Kenny Ingram—anthologizes a rich trove of 1920s, ‘30s, and ‘40s […]

Posted inGhost Light

Chita Rivera lights up the stage for Porchlight

The word “icon” gets tossed around pretty liberally, with every eye-catching ensemble on the red carpet at awards shows declared an “iconic” look. But if anyone deserves that designation, it’s Chita Rivera. The 88-year-old theater legend is in town tomorrow night for Porchlight Music Theatre’s annual fundraising gala, where she’ll receive the company’s ICON Award […]