Posted inArts & Culture

Exit the King

Eugene Ionesco’s monarch takes “Long live the King!” to heart. Berenger has been enjoying life for some 400 years while his mismanaged kingdom flounders, so he’s totally unprepared for the Doctor’s dire prediction that he’ll die within 90 minutes. Ionesco makes smart, witty observations in this lesser work, but overall Lance Eliot Adams’s staging for […]

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Murder in the Cathedral

Long before he founded Court Theatre, Nicholas Rudall was a superb actor, embodying gravitas even when playing a comic loser like Butley or describing “stately, plump Buck Mulligan” during a Bloomsday reading. Performing here as the martyred Thomas a Becket in T.S. Eliot’s verse drama, Rudall will appear in a different church on five consecutive […]

Posted inNews & Politics

The Straight Dope

I recently saw the movie The Magdalene Sisters. Here’s the premise: For 150 years, ending in 1996, teenage girls in Ireland who got pregnant or raped, or were so attractive it was assumed they would eventually become promiscuous, were sent by their parents to prisonlike asylums run by the Catholic church. Nuns oversaw day-to-day operations. […]

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In Trousers

As part of its William Finn festival, Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago performs Finn’s seldom revived 1978 pop opera about a sexually confused adolescent, Marvin, and the females in his life: the teacher he has a crush on, the girl he dates, and the woman he marries–and eventually leaves for a man, as we learn in […]

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The Flaming Dames 2: Slippery When Wet

What kind of burlesque show might appeal to a jaded generation raised on scantily clad video babes? Why, one that features . . . scantily clad video babes! The New Millennium Theatre Company’s late-night extravaganza pits old-timey bawdy dames (including Amanda Krupman as an adorable Kewpie-doll moll) against the babes with big hair (and other, […]

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Orpheus Now

Field House Lab in its debut production, a world premiere, shows an admirable eagerness to embrace ambiguity: writer-director Gigi Buffington splinters the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice into a dozen stylized scenes, expanding its potential meanings. Orpheus, a singer who’s lost his voice after forsaking his true love, is in session with a saffron-garbed, chain-smoking […]

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William Finn and James Lapine’s musical is tricky. The protagonist–sexually ambivalent Marvin–is an immature kvetch trying to hold together an extended family that includes his ex-wife, their precocious son, the ex-wife’s husband (who’s also Marvin’s shrink), and Marvin’s boyfriend, who suffers from a mysterious malady we know is AIDS. (The story is set in New […]

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Decemberists, Okkervil River

I imagine that Colin Meloy was once the sort of arty, trench-coated high schooler his classmates wanted to either seduce or cram into a locker. His Portland-based indie-pop combo, the DECEMBERISTS, inspires a similar ambivalence: Meloy’s hyper-literary leanings often muck up an otherwise decent tune or engaging tale, and when he’s at his cloying, old-world-romantic […]

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Dresden Staatskapelle

The Dresden Staatskapelle, founded in 1548, is one of the finest orchestras in Europe, renowned for its luminous winds, lush string playing, and precise, well-blended sound. It returns to Chicago for the first time since 1987 to give a single performance of two Beethoven symphonies. The monumental Third, or Eroica, altered the direction of music […]