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Posted inTheater Review

Don’t miss this Birthday Party

If you were concerned that Chicago’s storefront theaters lost their mojo during the pandemic, get thee to Terry McCabe’s gripping production of The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter. It’s a meta-accomplishment: not a false note in this version of a play that’s entirely about false notes. Pinter’s breakthrough piece (albeit a flop at the time), […]

Posted inTheater Review

Villainy and vindication

Every superhero saga needs a villain, and Mark Pracht’s new play The Mark of Kane—an origin story for the comic-book character Batman—provides one in the figure of Bob Kane. In Pracht’s account, Kane was an ambitious freelance illustrator who, in 1939, came up with the concept of a crime-fighting vigilante who could fly with the […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Blame it on Kane

I first met Batman battling villains from the Hall of Justice with the other Super Friends, part of the Saturday morning cartoon lineup of the 1970s, and soon afterward I caught the campy reruns of the 1960s live-action TV show. This led me to scour my brother Aaron’s Bronze Age collection of DC Comics, the […]

Posted inTheater Review

Cool Kids vs. Normies

If you didn’t know that Noël Coward was an actor as well as a playwright, you’d figure it out within minutes of seeing any of his plays: how else to account for the nearly limitless opportunities they provide for chewing the scenery? Entering fully into the Cowardly spirit, director Terry McCabe frees his Hay Fever […]

Posted inTheater Review

Special needs

Kristine Thatcher’s drama about a couple adopting (or not adopting, as it turns out) a child born with profound disabilities kickstarted Thatcher’s profile as a playwright in its 1996 Victory Gardens premiere. It’s back at City Lit, once again under Terry McCabe’s direction. And while some parts don’t hold up well, the production builds to […]