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HollywoodChicago.com Theater Reviews & Interviews

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.

Raven Theatre’s ‘Laughter on the 23rd Floor’ Serves Justice to Neil Simon Masterpiece

Laughter on the 23rd Floor at the Raven Theatre in Chicago
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.5/5.0
Rating: 3.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Part slapstick and part Henny Youngman-style one-liner schtick, “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” is a classic American comedy that still rings funny no matter how many times you’ve seen it.

New Millennium Theatre’s ‘Villains’ Scores Originality With Anti-Hero Plotline

New Millennium Theatre's Chicago production of Villains (3)
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 3.0/5.0
Rating: 3.0/5.0

CHICAGO – In an unrevealed abandoned warehouse in the seedy underbelly of Chicago’s north side that is the Uptown neighborhood, a group of super villains met last Saturday night to plot and scheme their next attack against law-abiding society.

‘Avenue Q’ Bases Musical Self on ‘Cheap Laugh is Better Than No Laugh’ Adage

Avenue Q in Chicago
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – In the tradition of recent Broadway productions where touristy and crowd-pleasing scenery reigns over any type of theater substance, along comes the 2004 Tony Award-winning best musical “Avenue Q,” which is now in a touring version at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.

‘The Mark of Zorro’ Nails Swordsman, Markedly Complicates Cast, Botches Dialect

The Mark of Zorro at the Lifeline Theatre in Chicago
HollywoodChicago.com Comedy/Tragedy Rating: 2.5/5.0
Rating: 2.5/5.0

CHICAGO – Sometimes less, of course, is more. Live theater often knows that better than anyone. That’s exactly the shrill reminder Chicago’s Lifeline Theatre needed in Katie McLean’s adaptation of the beloved Zorro book by Johnston McCulley.

Chicago’s ‘Shout! The Mod Musical’ an Infectiously Groovilicious, Estrogen-Only Stew

Shout! The Mod Musical

CHICAGO – Meg Ryan, eat your heart out. Since “When Harry Met Sally,” the salacious Danielle Plisz as Green Girl in “Shout! The Mod Musical” takes Ryan’s infamous restaurant eruption to a whole new level on stage.

Chicago’s Political Machine Runs Relatively Swimmingly in Strawdog Theatre’s ‘Old Town’

Old Town at the Strawdog Theatre

CHICAGO – As a testament to its set design, it wasn’t immediately clear if certain structures were naturally part of the Strawdog Theatre space or if they were fabricated specifically for the “Old Town” production.

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  • Speech & Debate (stage play)

    CHICAGO – “Speech & Debate,” the latest production from the mighty Brown Paper Box Company, continues their tradition of thinking outside that “box” in presenting storefront theater that makes a statement and a difference. “Speech” goes inside America by showcasing the outsiders… those who create art because they can’t get it right in real life. This non-equity Chicago stage play premiere is finely tuned and wonderfully acted, and runs through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.

  • We're Gonna Be Okay

    CHICAGO – The 1960s were a time of historical social transition. The movements – civil rights, feminist, gay rights – all had roots in that tumultuous decade. The Chicago premiere of Basil Kreimendahl’s “We’re Gonna Be Okay” echoes all of those movements in its characters, and collides them against the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. The show has a Thursday-Sunday run at the American Theater Company through March 4th, 2018. Click here for more details, including ticket information.


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