Theater Reviews

Review: Tartuffe

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through July 21 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic At its best, Court Theatre’s “Tartuffe,” part of a two-play Molière festival that started with “The Misanthrope,” effectively pairs the wit of Richard Wilbur’s translation with canny physical comedy to illuminate the double-pronged satire(…)

Review: “The Liar”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, Tudor Court Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe When: through July 28 Tickets: $35-$70 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The production of Pierre Corneille’s “The Liar” at Writers’ Theatre contains the funniest scene I’ve seen this season. It’s a duel between Dorante, the ingratiating pathological liar of the title,(…)

Review: “Yellow Moon”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe When: through Aug 4 Tickets: $35-$60 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic David Greig’s “Yellow Moon” offers all the pleasures of a good story told well. And the Writers’ Theatre production, deftly tucked into the postage-stamp of a theater at the back of(…)

Review: “A Cole Porter Songbook”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Theo Ubique, No Exit Café, 6970 N. Glenwood Ave. When: through September 1st Tickets: $29-$59 (some prices include dinner) Phone: 800-595-4849 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Theo Ubique has carved out a niche with cabaret-style revues exploring the repertoire of individual songwriters for the theater ranging from Harold Arlen to Kurt Weill,(…)

Review: “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story”

SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDED Where: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. When: through June 30 Tickets: $22-$85 Phone: 800-775-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I’ve seen the 1989 juke box musical “Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story” several times, each time anticipating a lively nostalgia-filled evening showcasing many of the ground-breaking rock ’n’ roller’s terrific songs.(…)

Review: “Inner Voices”

Review: “Inner Voices”

RECOMMENDED Where: World’s Stage Series at Chicago Shakespeare Theater Courtyard Theater, Navy Pier When: through June 29 Tickets: $50-$70 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Chicago Shakespeare Theater is celebrating the year of Italian culture in America by teaming up with the Italian Ministry of Cultural Affairs and the Italian Cultural Institute of Chicago(…)

Review: “The Glass Menagerie”

RECOMMENDED Where: Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co. at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont Ave. When: through July 28 Tickets: $37 Phone: 773-975-8150 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I didn’t go to Mary-Arrchie Theatre Co.’s acclaimed production of “The Glass Menagerie” at Angel Island this past winter, so I was glad its transfer to Theater Wit provided a(…)

Review: “Reverb”

SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDED Where: Redtwist Theatre, 1044 W. Bryn Mawr Ave. When: through June 23 Tickets: $25-$30 Phone: 773-728-7529 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you have a taste for gonzo Chicago theater in the service of a most distasteful subject, check out the local premiere of Leslye Headland’s “Reverb” at Redtwist Theatre. In the course(…)

Review: “Speech & Debate”

RECOMMENDED Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Courtyard Theater, Navy Pier When: through June 16 Tickets: $58-$78 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I didn’t see American Theater Company’s Chicago premiere of Stephen Karam’s “Speech & Debate” in 2008, newly appointed artistic director P. J. Paparelli’s first production for the ensemble, but there seems to be(…)

Review: “Henry VIII”

RECOMMENDED Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Courtyard Theater, Navy Pier When: through June 16 Tickets: $58-$78 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Seeing “Henry VIII” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. According to the press release, this is the first professional Chicago production in the 400 years since the play made its(…)

Review: “The Misanthrope”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through June 9 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic We’re conditioned to believe that classic comedies should have happy endings, but Moliere’s “The Misanthrope” doesn’t fit the mold. At least not on the surface. Rather than interpreting the play to suit our expectations,(…)

Review: “Head of Passes”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through June 9 Tickets: $20-$78 Phone: 312-335-1650 Tarrell Alvin McCraney’s “Head of Passes,” which is enjoying a well-acted world premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, explores the power of faith and prayer. Or the pitfalls, depending on the religious convictions, or lack thereof, viewers bring to(…)

Review: Stella & Lou

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie When: through June 9 Tickets: $25-$72 Phone: 847-673-6300 Northlight Theatre had a winner with Bruce Graham’s “The Outgoing Tide,” directed by Artistic Director BJ Jones and starring Steppenwolf Theatre’s John Mahoney, so it’s no surprise the theater would try(…)

Review: “The Pianist of Willesden Lane”

RECOMMENDED Where: The Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through May 25 Tickets: $45-$49 Phone: 312-988-9000 Hershey Felder has carved out a niche and gained a loyal local following with his dramatized musical biographies of famous composers ranging from Beethoven to Bernstein. Now he’s taking his passion for music and its power to(…)

Review: “Still Alice”

RECOMMENDED Where: Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. When: through May 19 Tickets: $36-$70 Phone: 312-337-0665 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you think a play about a woman with early onset Alzheimer’s disease is going to be sad and depressing, you’d be right. But Lookingglass Theatre Company’s “Still Alice”(…)

Review: “The Birthday Party”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through April 28 Tickets: $20-$78 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The first — and best — production of Harold Pinter’s “The Birthday Party” I ever saw was at Court Theatre in 1978, in what was then the New Theatre in Mandel Hall. It(…)

Review “Concerning Strange Devices from the Distant West”

RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theater Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through April 14 Tickets: $32-$42 Phone: 773-281-8463 ext. 6 The exoticism and eroticism of the Far East as seen through the lens of the West, and the boorish misbehavior of Westerners who have no real understanding of the East are two tropes at the center(…)

Review “Othello: The Remix”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier When: through June 15 Tickets: $20-$35 Phone: 312-595-5600 By Anne Spiselman Theater Critic Even if you find the idea of hip-hop Shakespeare bizarre, you have to hand it to the Chicago-bred Q Brothers — known as GQ and JQ — for the audacity(…)

Goodman Theatre’s sixth Latino Theatre Festival

Goodman Theatre’s sixth Latino Theatre Festival kicked off March 23 to March 31 with the world premiere of “Pedro Paramo,” an exciting collaboration between the fest’s curator Henry Godinez, Chicago actors and musicians (from Sones de Mexico) and Cuba’s Teatro Buendia, which last appeared at the fest in 2010. Inspired by Juan Rulfo’s 1955 magical(…)

Review “Measure for Measure”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, Albert Theatre 170 N Dearborn St. When: through April 14 Tickets: $25-$86 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Director Robert Falls’ production of “Measure for Measure” at Goodman Theatre is likely to create as much controversy as his 2006 “King Lear.” His decision to set the play amid the decay(…)