Posted inArts & Culture

Power Plays: Virtual Reality

POWER PLAYS: VIRTUAL REALITY, Wing & Groove Theatre. Written by Second City alum Alan Arkin as the short middle sketch in a three-story evening about one-upmanship, the gloomy Virtual Reality seems too long without Elaine May’s wittier plays to bracket it. Two operatives, strangers to each other, are in a warehouse planning a mission they […]

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In Dreams

Night Coil Trap Door Theatre By Nick Green By his own admission, playwright Jeffrey M. Jones has never been interested in producing a realistic facsimile of ordinary human existence–or in using conventional theatrical means. “Reality has to intrude with a vengeance when theatre’s trying to urge some political (or social, environmental, multicultural, etc.) agenda on […]

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Musicians at Play

Chris Johanson at Vedanta, through February 10 at Bodybuilder and Sportsman, through February 17 Sam Prekop at Jan Cicero, through February 17 By Fred Camper Chris Johanson, 32, is “a product of the San Francisco skateboard-and-graffiti art scene,” as New York Times critic Roberta Smith describes him. Johanson still skateboards (though he told me, “I […]

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Root Woman

Root Woman, Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre. Our first impression of this theatrical production of Angela Shannon’s poems is one of sloppy casualness. The ensemble take the stage stretching and smiling at one another, seemingly oblivious to the audience as they warm up. But when the show truly begins, we discover the focus and commitment this group brings […]

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Friday 1/26 – Thursday 2/1 JANUARY By Cara Jepsen 26 FRIDAY “We are people of this generation, bred in modest comfort, housed now in universities, looking uncomfortably to the world we inherit.” So begins the Port Huron Statement, the 1962 manifesto of Students for a Democratic Society, the radical group whose original mission–to organize and […]

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GYPSY, Bailiwick Repertory. “Some people sit on their butts / Got the dream–yeah, but not the guts!” sings Mama Rose, the antiheroine of this 1959 Broadway smash by playwright Arthur Laurents, composer Jule Styne, lyricist Stephen Sondheim, and director Jerome Robbins. There are butts and guts on display in this low-budget revival, whose dumpy grittiness […]

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Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

CHAMBER MUSIC SOCIETY OF LINCOLN CENTER For a long time now I’ve wished Chicago’s Symphony Center would establish resident jazz and classical chamber ensembles–and every time I listen to the groups based at New York’s Lincoln Center, that desire gets stronger. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center was founded over three decades ago by […]

Posted inMusic

Heavy Lifting

Samhain Samhain Box Set (E-Magine Entertainment) Glenn Danzig isn’t an easy guy to like. In an era when serious music fans tend to prefer their pop stars in the Elliott Smith and Thom Yorke mold–skinny, introverted, and melancholic–Danzig is a buffed, bellowing centaur. He’s Jim Morrison on steroids, a self-aggrandizing, melodramatic seer spewing oracular, satanic […]

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Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre, Lifeline Theatre. Fitting Charlotte Bronte’s densely plotted Victorian classic into the abbreviated time frame of a play proved too formidable a challenge in 1991, when Christina Calvit’s adaptation of Jane Eyre premiered at Lifeline Theatre. But the rewritten text for this revival is a model of narrative efficiency, a tightly integrated, crisply paced […]

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GREASE, Drury Lane Oakbrook. Unlike the overproduced, celebrity-studded Broadway touring version that regularly plays Chicago, Ray Frewen’s revival restores the very unchic source of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey’s blast from the past–an actual Chicago high school. Kurt Sharp’s set frames the stage with blowups of yearbook photos circa 1957, the “Greased Lightnin’” jalopy is […]

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TRG Music Listings

Rock, Pop, etc. concerts BIG WU, UMPHREY’S McGEE Sat 1/27, 8 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield. 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212. EDGAR CRUZ, PLUNGING NECKLINES Sat 1/27, 7 PM, Oakbrook Terrace Park District Heritage Center, 1 S 325 Ardmore, Oakbrook Terrace. 630-627-6100. LARRY O. DEAN WITH CHAD GIFFORD & DEREK WALVOORD Free in-store performance. Sat 1/27, […]

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Chicago’s Next Dance Festival

Winifred Haun started this festival, now in its seventh year and coproduced by Frank Fishella, as an “incubator” for new work. This season the sheer volume of new pieces is impressive: each individual or troupe in the three completely different programs is presenting a premiere. And if Breakbone DanceCo.’s new duet is any indication, the […]