Posted inArts & Culture

The Big Voice: God or Merman?–A Musical Comedy in Two Lives

THE BIG VOICE: GOD OR MERMAN?–A MUSICAL COMEDY IN TWO LIVES, at Theatre Building Chicago. Notwithstanding the minimalist set, it’s a little misleading to present this funny, fully realized award-winning musical comedy under the auspices of a workshop program. In fact, writer-composer-performers Jim Brochu and Steve Schalchlin, who are partners in life as well as […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The City Council Hears Alarms

The hardest arguments to resolve are the ones where both sides are right. That’s the problem with the recent spate of racial slurs broadcast on Chicago Fire Department radios. The city’s minority communities are rightfully disturbed about the incidents, while white firefighters feel they’re being blamed for the actions of a handful of complete morons. […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Robert Mitchum Hangs Out At Dunkin’ Donuts

ROBERT MITCHUM HANGS OUT AT DUNKIN’ DONUTS, Another Chicago Theater Company, at the Breadline Theatre Laboratory. The youthful characters in writer-director Paul Barile’s world premiere face big decisions about marriage, career, and sexual preference. The focus is on Casey (Katie Hammond), who has prewedding jitters. Should she marry beer-swilling attorney George when Bobby’s bulging biceps […]

Posted inArts & Culture

The Twilite-Like Zone

THE TWILITE-LIKE ZONE, Free Associates, at the Royal George Theatre Center. Improvised parodies of television shows or movies–like the Free Associates’ takeoff on Tolkien, Frodo a-Go-Go–are often difficult to pull off. The improvisers must not only create an entertaining story but re-create familiar characters–and if they fall flat, so does the show. But this spoof […]

Posted inArts & Culture

American Ballet Theatre

Swan Lake is that rare bird, a 19th-century story ballet for grown-ups. True, an evil sorcerer turns a princess into a wildfowl. But Tchaikovsky’s music, though familiar, is rich and stirring. And the tale enmeshes us in issues of freedom and responsibility, pulling us into a world where nature and civilization are at odds, where […]

Posted inColumns & Opinion

Savage Love

As an avid reader of your column, I thought of you and only you for help with this problem. My grandmother, 78 and widowed, is a kind, generous woman who has seen her share of difficult times. She is a bit offbeat, but extremely conservative and religious. After my grandfather passed on, she purchased a […]

Posted inArts & Culture


Daughters, a gang of high-performance art scum from Rhode Island, spend all 11 minutes of their debut release, Canada Songs (Robotic Empire), thrashing away at the only speed they know–breakneck. The ten tracks are so jarringly brief and mind-fuckingly dense you’re left breathless. Runaway drums come barreling through the guitars, which explode in terrifying jolts; […]

Posted inArts & Culture

Parsons Dance Company

David Parsons–who founded his company in 1987 with lighting designer Howell Binkley–said in a televised interview, “I find light fantastic in its communication–its warmth, its speed.” And perhaps Parsons’s most famous dance is the solo Caught, in which strobe lights make the performer appear to fly, catching him or her at the apex of every […]

Posted inArts & Culture


BENT, Caught in the Act Productions, at Chopin Theatre. Playwright Martin Sherman never spares our sensibilities in his lean, graphic depiction of gay lovers victimized during the Holocaust. It’s 1934, and Max, a feckless Berlin deal maker and drug user, and his delicate dancer boyfriend, Rudy, are caught up in hell once Hitler launches a […]