Judy Garland

Film Review: Zellweger's Star Power Single-Handedly Saves Stale 'Judy'

CHICAGO – Even before I figured out my own sexuality, Judy Garland’s status as a gay icon was known to me. I wouldn’t understand why until much later in my life, but sure as the sky was blue, the city was emerald, and the brick road was yellow, I knew I was a friend of Dorothy. Heartbreakingly, “Judy” paints a bleak portrait of the star, but never takes a look at the bigger picture.

Film News: ‘The Wizard of Oz’ 80th Anniversary in Chicago’s Millennium Park, July 10, 2019

Wizard of Oz, The

CHICAGO – The Windy City is off to see the Wizard again, as the Grant Park Music Festival celebrates the 80th Anniversary of “The Wizard of Oz” at the Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park. The festivities include a costume party, hosted by Linda Kollmeyer (“The Lottery Lady”), followed by the presentation with a live orchestra accompaniment – on the Park’s giant LED screen – of the classic 1939 film.

The event is free and open to the public (first-come, first-served) in both the “seating bowl” area and lawn, and begins at 6:30pm with the costume party, with the screening at 8pm. For more information, click here.

Film Review: Lady Gaga Characterizes the Title ‘A Star is Born’

CHICAGO – Stefani Joanne Angelina Gemanotta, also known as Lady Gaga, is the only reason to see the latest iteration of ‘A Star is Born.’ The luminous stage presence that propelled her to music superstardom is present in her major film debut, taking the female lead reins from Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand.

Interview: Brown Paper Box Co. Presents ‘Mary’z with a Z’ on May 5 & 6, 2016

Mary with a Z

CHICAGO – In 1972, an historic television special took place, featuring the top talents at the time at the top of their game. “Liza with a ‘Z’” featured Liza Minnelli, fresh from her Academy Award winning performance in the film “Cabaret.” The Brown Paper Box Co. will present “Mary’z with a Z,” at Mary’s Attic on May 5th and 6th, 2016, and will perform the songs from this TV special, in order and in (appropriately) cabaret style, with contributions from their ensemble and some of the biggest song talents in storefront theater in Chicago.

Theater Review: Passionate ‘Hit the Wall’ Feels Like Revolution

Hit the Wall

CHICAGO – There are few civil rights events shrouded in mystery like the Stonewall Inn Riots – a June night in 1969 in New York City, when gay liberation was born. Witnesses and participants in the riots have grown exponentially over the years (“I was there.”) and the who, what and how the riots began have also been in dispute as time goes by. All of that perspective is realized in Ike Holter’s incendiary stage play “Hit the Wall,” presented by the Chicago Commercial Collective at the Greenhouse Theater in Chicago.

Movie News: Classic Movie Star Mickey Rooney Dies at 93

HOLLYWOOD – He was the biggest star the world, the box office champion from 1939 to 1941. “Wow, spanning two decades,” Bart Simpson said. Mickey Rooney lived long enough to work on silent films, be the biggest star in the world and do a voiceover on “The Simpsons.” Not bad for one lifetime. Mickey Rooney died of natural causes in his North Hollywood home on April 6th. He was 93.

Theater Review: Holiday Cheer Runneth Over in ‘We 3 Lizas’

We 3 Lizas

CHICAGO – What is the remedy for the holiday blues? How about a dose of “Liza with a ‘Z’!” The sparkling and funny “We Three Lizas” is back for the holiday season from About Face Theatre of Chicago, just in time for the lights and tinsel. Danielle Plisz, Mark David Kaplan and Bethany Thomas play the three title Liza Minellis, with a deft direction by Scott Ferguson.

Blu-ray Review: Barbra Streisand’s ‘A Star is Born’ Remake Fizzles Out Fast

A Star is Born Streisand Blu-ray

CHICAGO – Barbra Streisand is a classic example of a genuine talent who started out big and quickly became too big for her britches. She never came close to topping her phenomenal debut in 1968’s “Funny Girl,” which presented the larger-than-life performer in all of her contrasting shades—funny and tragic, vulnerable and indomitable. Sadly, that picture marked the last time Streisand could conceivably pass for anyone other than—well, Streisand.

Interview: Author Robert K. Elder Launches Music Box Film Series

Robert K. Elder Interview

CHICAGO – Throughout his extensive work as a film columnist, author and journalist, Robert K. Elder has been drawn to exploring both the universality and striking diversity of the human experience. In his books, Elder is intent on capturing specific moments within the lives of his subjects, while discovering their universal truths through their juxtaposition.

Blu-Ray Review: ‘The Wizard of Oz’ Given Release Befitting a Classic

CHICAGO – The Warner Brothers Blu-Ray release to mark the 70th anniversary of the beloved “The Wizard of Oz” is perhaps the most exhaustive and complete “Collector’s Edition” release to date.

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