HollywoodChicago.com Theater Reviews & Interviews

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.

Pie Maker, Loony Boy Steal Rightful Spotlight From Sweeney Todd in Chicago Musical

The musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Baber of Fleet Street

CHICAGO – While Johnny Depp’s portrayal of the demon barber of Fleet Street in the 2007 film iteration sells you on his fiendish ways, actor and singer David Hess in the musical bobbles more in purgatory rather than living hysterically in hell.

Neil LaBute’s ‘In a Dark Dark House’ Unearths Long-Buried Skeletons in Three-Person Play

darkdarkhouse.jpg

CHICAGO – It’s not in calm seas but within torrential rains when we lay bare our true colors. Lauded playwright Neil LaBute was fixated on testing these human limits and exploring our different styles of conflict resolution when he minted the three-person play “In a Dark Dark House”.

Chicago’s ‘Brontë’ Masterfully Resurrects Three of Planet’s Most Examined Scribes of All Time

Susan Shunk (as Charlotte Brontё), Carrie A. Coon (as Emily Brontё) and Patrick Clear (as Patrick Brontё) in "Brontё"

CHICAGO – Three of the planet’s most examined scribes of all time – a trio of Victorian spinsters, in fact, who are credited with some of the most passionate literature ever written – are resurrected in the meticulous Chicago production of “Brontë” from illustrious playwright Polly Teale.

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  • South Side

    CHICAGO – One the brightest comedies set in Chicago is “South Side,” created by Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle. The pair moved the show from Comedy Central to HBO Max, and Season Two dropped for streaming on November 11th, 2021, with the same free-wheeling and hilarious misadventures of Simon and Kareme.

  • Colin in Black & White

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of HollywoodChicago.com appears on “The Morning Mess” with Dan Baker on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on November 4th, 2021, reviewing the new miniseries “Colin in Black & White” – regarding the early years of ex-NFL QB Colin Kaepernick – currently streaming on Netflix.

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