Theater Reviews

Review: “The Producers”

Review: “The Producers”

RECOMMENDED Where: Mercury Theater Chicago, 3745 N. Southport Ave. When: through June 26 Tickets:$30-$65 Phone: 773-325-1700 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Mel Brooks’ “The Producers” is a big musical that depends on a certain amount of spectacle, so there’s a risk involved in tailoring it to a relatively small stage like that at the Mercury(…)

Review: “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window”

Review: “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre Albert Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through June 5 Tickets: $25-$75 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If Lorraine Hansberry hadn’t died of cancer at age 34 a few months after the 1964 Broadway debut of “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window,” she might have revised the play, trimming(…)

Review: “The King and I”

Review: “The King and I”

RECOMMENDED Where: Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr. When: Through May 22 Tickets: $29-$199 Phone: 312-827-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I expected the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” to be the best I’d ever seen. It wasn’t. While the fourth installment of the Lyric’s American(…)

Review: “Hazel, A Musical Maid in America”

Review: “Hazel, A Musical Maid in America”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace When: through May 29 Tickets: $45-$60 Phone: 630-530-0111 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Everybody loves somebody with a can-do spirit. And that’s exactly the image Klea Blackhurst projects as the title character in the world premiere of “Hazel, A Musical Maid in America” at(…)

Review: “Mary Page Marlowe”

Review: “Mary Page Marlowe”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through June 5 Tickets: $20-$89 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In the first scene of the world premiere of Tracy Letts’ “Mary Page Marlowe” at Steppenwolf Theatre, the title character , age 40 (Rebecca Spence), sits in a booth at a diner explaining to(…)

Review: “The Life of Galileo”

Review: “The Life of Galileo”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through May 1 Tickets: $42.50-$52.50 Phone: 773-404-7336 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Often called “the father of science,” Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was a brilliant Renaissance astronomer, physicist, mathematician, engineer, inventor and thinker. In Remy Bumppo’s production of Bertolt(…)

Review: “The Flick”

Review: “The Flick”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through May 8 Tickets: $20-$89 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Annie Baker’s 2014 Pulitzer Prize-winning “The Flick” is about nothing and everything. Simultaneously. Set in a rundown, single-screen movie theater in Worcester County, Massachusetts in the present, the play brings together three underpaid,(…)

Review: “Hillary and Clinton”

Review: “Hillary and Clinton”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through May 1 Tickets: $15-$60 Phone: 773-871-3000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Lucas Hnath’s “Hillary and Clinton,” which is having its world premiere at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater, asks us to imagine an alternate universe—one of an infinite number of universes, some of(…)

Review: “Carlyle”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through May 1 Tickets: $10-$40 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Political parlor games seem to be proliferating in an election season where reality often is stranger than fiction. While “Hillary and Clinton” at Victory Gardens Theater postulates an alternate universe populated by(…)

Review: “Richard III”

Review: “Richard III”

RECOMMENDED Where: The Gift Theatre at Steppenwolf Garage, 1624 N. Halsted St. When: through May 1 Tickets: $30-$40 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic You’ve never seen a Richard III like Michael Patrick Thornton. The actor, who uses a wheelchair because of two spinal strokes in 2003, not only turns his disability into a(…)

Review: “Arcadia”

Review: “Arcadia”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe When: through May 1 Tickets: $35-$80 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic A friend who has never seen Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” asked me what it is about and, although the 1993 play is one of my favorites, I had a hard time explaining. Besides setting the(…)

Review: “Matilda the  Musical”

Review: “Matilda the Musical”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. When: through April 10 Tickets: $24-$123 Phone: 800-775-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic You don’t have to be a preteen, an indulgent parent or a diehard fan of Roald Dahl’s 1988 novel (Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) to enjoy “Matilda the Musical” at the Oriental(…)

Review: “Blood Wedding”

Review: “Blood Wedding”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. When: through April 24 Tickets: $40-$75 Phone: 312-337-0665 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Lust, longing, and revenge drive Federico Garcia Lorca’s 1933 “Blood Wedding,” yet Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of this powerful, poetic play is surprisingly flat. Daniel Ostling has designed(…)

Review: “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

Review: “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through April 10 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Of all the production I’ve seen of “Long Day’s Journey Into Night,” a play so personal Eugene O’Neill didn’t want it ever to be produced (and stipulated it shouldn’t be published until 25 years(…)

Review: “Butler”

Review: “Butler”

RECOMMENDED Where: Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie When: through April 17 Tickets: $25-$79 Phone: 847-673-6300 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic “Butler” is set in the commander’s office at Fort Monroe, Virginia, in the first month of the Civil War, but Richard Strand’s play has the same appeal(…)