HollywoodChicago.com Theater Reviews & Interviews

Theater Review: Brown Paper Box Co. Stages Pointed ‘Spike Heels’

Spike Heels Stage Play

CHICAGO – If you can remember the 1990s outside of childhood, you are in the glow of middle age, so congratulations. The Brown Paper Box Co. theater ensemble takes us back to those thrilling days of yesteryear with “Spike Heels,” a relationship comedy centering on the co-mingling antics of two couples, with a slight nod toward George Bernard Shaw and the play “Pygmalion” (or its musical counterpart, “My Fair Lady”).

Theater Review: ‘The Book of Merman’ Should Satisfy Both Sets of Fans

Book of Merman, The

CHICAGO – One potential theater-goer loves the “The Book of Mormon.” The other would rather stay home and watch old Ethel Merman YouTube videos. Pride Films & Theater offers the ultimate solution by combining both in a campy musical, “The Book of Merman.” Yep, two Elder characters from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints meets foghorn singer Ethel Merman.

Theater Review: Step Up Productions Gives the Gift of ‘HoliDaze’

CHICAGO – Need a break from the noise of the holidays? Step Up Productions, – in residence at Chicago Dramatists Theater – present “HoliDaze,” a collection of six one-act plays, all dealing with the nature and nurture of the season. The showcase runs through December 21st, 2014.

Theater Review: ‘Carrie: The Musical’ is Surprisingly Serious

CHICAGO – Some people spend the rest of their lives trying to compensate for slights felt in high school – that social jungle is staged in “Carrie: The Musical.” Based on Stephen King’s novel, the story of Carrie White is presented as an adversarial tale by Bailiwick Chicago at Victory Gardens Theater.

Theater Review: ‘Hair’ Still Shines at American Theater Company

CHICAGO – At intermission, I remarked to a fellow theater patron that the musical “Hair,” presented by the American Theater Company (ATC) of Chicago, still has a solid impact. His logical reply, “it’s hard to mess this one up.” The ATC does the classic hippie musical proud, with a raucous rendition.

Theater Review: A Star Blazes in ‘Marilyn Monroe, Whoever You Are’

CHICAGO – The many sides of the mega film legend Marilyn Monroe was like a prism in an ever-changing kaleidoscope. Yet somehow actor and playwright Amber Hargroder was able to capture Monroe’s essence in a one woman show.

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.

Theater Review: Dark Souls Congregate in UrbanTheater Company’s ‘Devil Land’

UrbanTheaterChicago logo

CHICAGO – Insanity is often a shared phenomenon. One family member can drive another family member over the brink, an incident can break collective spirits and indulgence in religion can alter perspectives. All the bleak darkness of these mental incapacities are on display in the Midwest Premiere of the UrbanTheater Company stage production of “Devil Land.”

Theater Review: Mary-Arrchie Theatre Serves ‘Crime and Punishment’

CHICAGO – The epic Russian novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, “Crime and Punishment,” gets a condensing by Mary-Arrchie Theatre Company, as the morality in the book is rendered into a palatable 95 minute stage version, directed by theatre founder and Artistic Director Richard Cotovsky.

Theatre Review: Marriott’s Too-Clean ‘Cabaret’ Conservatively Mutes Much-Needed Vulgarity

CHICAGO – It’s “Cabaret” for god’s sake. It’s not “Bambi”. You’re supposed to need to leave the kids at home watching their own Disney flick. You don’t go to McDonald’s to eat healthy just like you don’t go to “Cabaret” for good clean fun.

Theatre Review: ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ Returns With Ingénue Julia Udine, Enigmatic Cooper Grodin

The Phantom of the Opera at the Cadillac Palace

CHICAGO – The Phantom in one word? An enigma. But he’s so much more. He’s lonely, desperately in love, a musical genius, misunderstood, vengeful, afraid and angry at a world that was so cruel to him. His shining beacon out of the darkness is his music – and falling for Christine. But The Phantom has to try to force her to feel the same way. He doesn’t want your pity. He just wants to be musical, loved and understood.

Theater Review: Lookingglass Brings to Life Beloved Book ‘The Little Prince’

CHICAGO – I’m not sure if Gene Roddenberry ever read Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s 1943 French novella, but even before “Star Trek” first aired in 1966, kids everywhere since 1943 recall one of the first space explorers to voyage where no boy has gone before: “The Little Prince”.

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