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HollywoodChicago.com Theater Reviews & Interviews

Interview: Director J. Spencer Greene’s Indy Film ‘Off-Loop’ Premieres in Chicago

CHICAGO – The spirit of independent film is embodied in J. Spencer Greene’s “Off-Loop”, which will be having its Chicago premiere on Wednesday night, May 20, at the Portage Theater on the northwest side.

‘Legally Blonde the Musical’ is Aptly Sweetened Chicago Refreshment

Becky Gulsvig stars in Legally Blonde the Musical at the Ford Oriental Theatre in Chicago

CHICAGO – If you were one of those Chicagoans who discovered a new allergy to the hoards of hormonally-charged pubescents attached to “Wicked’s” wake, you may want to take heed, or rather cover—a new touring behemoth promises to tow along new teenie boppers to the Ford Theatre. But not to worry, plenty of chaperones will surely be on duty.

Something in the Way it Moves: Factory Theater’s ‘Mop Top Festival’ Celebrates The Beatles

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HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.5/5.0
Play Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – What has become of what John Lennon called, “The Greatest Show on Earth” (for what it was worth)? The Fab Four are still at The Beatle conventions – now called “The Fest for Beatle Fans”, which have gone on annually since 1977 in Chicago.

The House Theatre Stages Comeback With ‘Rose and the Rime’

Rose and the Rime
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 4.0/5.0
Play Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – While most of America’s eyes were glued to the television screens Sunday night to catch Danny Boyle’s “Slumdog Millionaire” nab its gold, the celebrated underdog of Chicago theatre companies shyly began to spout its new wings.

Elizabeth Stanley Lifts ‘Xanadu’ to Place Where Nobody Dared to Go

Max Von Essen in the Broadway hit Xanadu in Chicago
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 4.0/5.0
Play Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – If classics such as “A Chorus Line” and “Les Miserables” willfully suggest the existence of a secured, calculated recipe for a Broadway hit, Christopher Ashley’s “Xanadu” is a concoction that has once again gleefully tipped over this admittedly elusive boiling pot.

Maybe, Baby, Buddy Has Found New Groove in Chicago’s ‘Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story’

Justin Berkobien in the Chicago musical Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.5/5.0
Play Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – “Wow! I feel like I’m at a rock concert!” “Me too. It’s like I want to rush the stage!”

While overhearing this conversation between two young women at the recent Chicago opening of “Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story,” I realized there were no better words to sum up Drury Lane’s recent jukebox-blaring, toe-tapping homage to one of the greatest rock and rollers of all time.

Route 66’s ‘On an Average Day’ Brings the House Down at Chicago’s Victory Gardens

Stef Tovar and Johnny Clark star in On an Average Day at the Victory Gardens Greenhouse Theater
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 4.5/5.0
Play Rating: 4.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Chicago theatre often surprises its audiences in the notorious fizzling summer months by providing us what I like to call “Christmas in July”. In this case, though, it’s August and Santa has hopped onto Route 66.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s ‘Willy Wonka’ Sure to Satisfy Your Child’s Sweet Spot

Sean Fortunato as Willy Wonka in the Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Willy Wonka
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Ah, it’s summer again. Kids in Chicago are playing in the Millennium Park fountains, teenagers are flooding in to see the latest cinema blockbusters and families are enjoying Lake Michigan’s beaches.

‘Lookingglass Alice’ a Proud Chicago Work of Jibber Jabber, Nonsensical Wonderment

Lauren Hirte (left) as Alice and Lawrence E. Distasi as Lewis Carroll in Lookingglass Alice
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – On the fourth of July in 1862, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson rowed a boat up the River Thames with 10-year-old Alice Liddell. Alice was the daughter of the new dean of Christ Church where Dodgson was employed as a lecturer in mathematics.

Chicago’s Goodman Theatre Sings Lively New Tune With Fats Waller’s ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’’

Ain't Misbehavin' is based on an idea by Murray Horowitz and Richard Maltby Jr. with music by Fats Waller
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

CHICAGO – If you were to visit Harlem in the 1920s, you might have found yourself in a nightclub exploding with hot keys, cold booze and swingin’ dances about as far from the stylings of “So You Think You Can Dance” as possible.

‘Superior Donuts’ From Pulitzer Prize-Winning Playwright Tracy Letts a Chicago Dish, Albeit a Stale One

Ensemble member Jon Michael Hill (left) and Michael McKean in Superior Donuts from Tracy Letts
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – I wouldn’t have wanted to be Tracy Letts on Saturday afternoon. After winning both the Pulitzer Prize and the Tony Award for his opus “August: Osage County,” he had to have been feeling the tremendous pressure being placed on his newest work and first comedy “Superior Donuts”.

Chicago’s ‘Relatively Close’ is Concrete Proof That Death is Easy, Comedy is Hard

From left: Dexter Zollicoffer, Usman Ally, Laura T. Fisher and Penny Slusher in Relatively Close
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 2.0/5.0
Rating: 2.0/5.0

CHICAGO – Forget the Year of the Rat. This is the year of the dysfunctional family reunion.

With Tracy Letts’ Pulitzer Prize-winning drama “August: Osage County,” the Broadway remounting of “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” and the Tony-sweeping revival of “Gypsy,” 2008 has been saturated with some of the finest performances of relational drama that theatre has seen in years.

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TV, DVD, BLU-RAY & THEATER REVIEWS

  • Kid Thing, The

    CHICAGO – Like the awesome Engine Who Could, the mighty Nothing Without a Company stage crafters have constructed another triumph at their new home in Berger Mansion on Chicago’s north side. “The Kid Thing” – written by Sarah Gubbins – is a terse, convincing and emotional play about fear, identity and breeding, and it is performed by its cast of five with utter authenticity. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the Berger North Mansion through April 15th, 2017. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • Wiz, The

    CHICAGO – When stage theater can cause outbreaks of elation, celebration and joy, then it must be due to Kokandy Productions’ revival of “The Wiz.” The urban reinterpretation of “The Wizard of Oz” story – told through tuneful euphoria and jubilant dance – is ecstatically produced, in every morsel of its stagecraft.

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