HollywoodChicago.com Theater Reviews & Interviews

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co. Dances ‘The Baltimore Waltz’

Baltimore Waltz, The

CHICAGO – During the scourge of the AIDS epidemic, at its height in the late 1980s, a playwright lost her brother to the condition. Inspired by him, Paula Vogel wrote “The Baltimore Waltz,” a story about her and her brother’s travels through Europe – and filtered through the prism of fantasy and the movies. The Brown Paper Box Company presents a re-staging of the play in Chicago through February 19th, 2017.

Theater Review: Morality of Gender Identity on Display in ‘[Trans]formation’

[Trans]formation

CHICAGO – The issue of gender identity, especially for those who are born with a vagueness as to what to call themselves between/beyond boy and girl, has come front and center in the U.S., both with the legalization of gay marriage and the callous repudiation of identity by trying to pass laws dismissing it (the North Carolina “bathroom” laws). The performance companies of The Living Canvas and Nothing Without a Company is currently staging “[Trans]formation,” which presents gender identity art by six performers, who perform most of the play in the nude.

Theater News: Rich Cotovsky at Final ‘Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins’ Fest From Aug. 19-21, 2016

Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins Fest

CHICAGO – It’s 3am on Saturday night/Sunday morning on August 20th, and you’re just not ready to quit. How about indulging in the 2016 “Abbie Hoffman Died for Our Sins” Theater Festival? The three-day theater marathon is in its 28th edition, and will be sponsored for the final time by the Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, and hosted by the “Godfather of Storefront Theater,” Rich Cotovsky. It all takes place at the Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee in Chicago (details below).

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co. Exuberantly Pursues ‘Now. Here. This.’

Now Here This

CHICAGO – The Brown Paper Box Co., which embodies the passion and simplistic beauty of the storefront theater tradition, presents another fantastic and insightful musical, “Now. Here. This.” Director M. William Panek guides a splendid cast of two women and two men in a reflective, modern day morality tale.

Theater Review: ‘The King and I’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago

CHICAGO – The venerable musical “The King and I,” by the legendary team of (Richard) Rodgers and (Oscar) Hammerstein, is now 65 years old. The Lyric Opera of Chicago is injecting fresh life into this senior aged play, with a sumptuous new production that is top drawer at every level.

Theater Review: ‘New Country’ is Original, Exuberant & Poignant

New Country

CHICAGO – The Country Music industry has become as huge as any category of music entertainment. So Mark Roberts, the creator of the TV sitcom “Mike & Molly,” has fashioned a boisterous new play about the machinations of that genre of music industry, and gave it the plaintive title of “New Country.”

Theater Review: Chicago Lyric Opera’s Energetic ‘Romeo and Juliet’

CHICAGO – The familiar story of the “star crossed lovers” by William Shakespeare, “Romeo and Juliet,” has been given as many interpretations over the years as there are stars in the sky. The Lyric Opera of Chicago presents the operatic French version, with a bright and venerate staging.

Interview: Richard Cotovsky on Abbie Hoffman Fest, Directing & Final Days of Mary-Arrchie

Richard Cotovsky Abbie Hoffman

CHICAGO – In founding and being an artistic director of a theater company for over 30 years, Richard Cotovsky of Mary-Arrchie Co. has a few stories to tell. In Part Two of an interview with the “Godfather of Chicago Storefront Theater” Cotovsky talks about the annual Abbie Hoffman Died for our Sins Festival, and the various acts of producing memorable stage productions.

Theater Review: Mary-Arrchie Co. Goes Out Passionately With ‘American Buffalo’

American Buffalo

CHICAGO – The legacy of the classic Chicago storefront theater has been celebrated at the Mary-Arrchie Theater Company for over 30 years, so for their final piece of stage craft they’re going out with a proper and gritty production bang, “American Buffalo,” by David Mamet.

Interview: Kevin Hanna on The Artist’s Lab Staging of ‘The Cowboy and The Showgirl Cycle’

Cowboy and The Showgirl, The

CHICAGO – Chicago is a hotbed for new stage talent, and the growth of that creativity is generated in new theater works. The Artist’s Lab at Stage 773 is one such developmental program, and director Kevin Hanna is currently in residence to create a new three part musical production called “The Cowboy and the The Showgirl Cycle.” The first part will have its premiere at Stage 773 on February 11th, 2016 (details below).

Interview: Richard Cotovsky on ‘American Buffalo’ as Last Production

CHICAGO – The final curtain is coming for the theatre company known as “Mary-Arrchie.” The Northside Chicago Angel Island playhouse is opening its final production, “American Buffalo” by David Mamet, on January 28, 2016. It also features the company’s founder, Richard Cotovsky, the “Godfather of Storefront Theater.”

Theater Review: ‘Beautiful: The Carole King Musical’ is a Lifetime of Song-Filled Brilliance

CHICAGO – Carole King, from modest roots and beginnings, went on to become the most successful female songwriter of the last forty years of the 20th Century. So this “natural woman” was perfect for a musical overview of her life and great songs, in “Beautiful: The Carole King Musical.”

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  • It's NOT ALL About You John Michael

    CHICAGO – John Michael epitomizes the art of the monologue. The Chicago transplant, by way of Dallas, is moving on (he says temporarily) from the city that inspired his last show, “Meatball Seance,” after notorious and successful runs of his other one-man shows, “John Michael and the Order of the Penix” and “Dementia Me.” His farewell performance is his latest, another laugh riot, “It’s NOT ALL About You John Michael,” and will take place at Mary’s Attic in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood on March 1st, 2019. Click here for details, including ticket information.

  • Soccer Player in the Closet, The 2

    CHICAGO – Connecting to the theater collective Nothing Without a Company means a couple of things. One, you may visit parts of Chicago you’ve never seen before – in this case a plant store in an industrial area south of Humboldt Park – and two, you will see some daring and outside-the-box stagings. “The Soccer Player in the Closet” is their latest production – a World Premiere – and it provides what the title implies and beyond. The play runs through March 17th, 2019. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

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