Theater Reviews

Review “War Horse”

RECOMMENDED Where: Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph St. When: through Jan. 5 Tickets: $42-$172 Phone: 800-775-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Just in case you haven’t heard, “War Horse” is all about the horses. Mainly Joey, a gorgeous chestnut half-thoroughbred who’s incredibly expressive from each twitch of his ears to every flick of his(…)

Review “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play”

RECOMMENDED Where: American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St. When: through Dec. 30 Tickets: $35-$40 Phone: 773-409-4125 There are three main reasons to catch American Theater Company’s “It’s a Wonderful Life: The Radio Play,” which is competing for your attention, as it has in years past, with American Blues Theatre’s delightful radio adaptation of the(…)

Review “The Nutcracker”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. When: through Dec. 30 Tickets: $25-$35 Phone: 773-769-3832 Anyone who is familiar with The House Theatre of Chicago won’t be surprised to learn that the iconoclastic company’s version of “The Nutcracker” is nothing like the ballet. Based on E.T.A. Hoffmann‘s(…)

Review “A Christmas Carol”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearnborn St. When: through Dec. 29 Tickets: $25-$82 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In honor of the 35th anniversary of Goodman Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol,” I looked up my Hyde Park Herald review of the first production in 1978. Boy, was I a grinch (or is that(…)

Review “Jeff Garlin: ‘Closer Than I Appear’”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through Dec. 16 Tickets: $25 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Reviewing a Jeff Garlin show is almost an exercise in futility, because it changes every night. The Second City alum, co-star of HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and frequent voice-over artist (in Pixar films)(…)

Review “Failure: A Love Story”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave., upstairs When: through Dec. 30 Tickets: $35-$50 Phone: 773-871-3000 ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If Victory Gardens Theater were presenting “Failure: A Love Story” as a work-in-progress to supplement its regular reason, I’d be perfectly comfortable with the decision. Staged by director Seth Bockley(…)

Review “The Odd Couple”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie When: through Dec. 16 Tickets: $25-$74 Phone: 847-673-6300 What do you do when you plan a whole production around a pair of stars and one of them has to pull out shortly before the opening? That was the panic-inducing(…)

Review “Wasteland”

RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through Dec. 30 Tickets: $32-$42 Phone: 773-281-8463 ext. 6 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Prisoners of war from different backgrounds bonding in times of duress is an old theatrical theme, but playwright-actor-director-teacher Susan Felder gives it an interesting new spin in “Wasteland.” And the world(…)

Review “QED”

RECOMMENDED Where: theatre4humanity at Collaboraction Theatre, 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., 3rd floor When: through Dec. 9 Tickets: $18-$25 Phone: 866-212-4077 One of the coolest things about “QED,” theatre4humanity’s collaboration with Collaboraction Theatre on Peter Parnell’s play about world-famous theoretical physicist Richard Feynman (1918-1988), is the in-the-square scenic design. Courtney O’Neill has transformed a bare room(…)

Review “James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through Dec. 9 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When Court Theatre staged “James Joyce’s ‘The Dead’” two years in a row a decade ago, some of us (myself included) thought Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey’s beautiful, if melancholy, show would become an(…)

Review “Burn This”

RECOMMENDED Where: Shattered Globe Theatre at Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont When: through Nov. 18 Tickets: $27-$32 Phone: 773-795-8150 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Anyone who saw Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This” in Chicago or on Broadway is less likely to remember Joan Allen’s marvelous 1989 Tony Award-winning performance as Anna(…)

Review “Hamlet”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe When: through Nov. 25 Tickets: $35-$70 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic While watching the carefully crafted production of “Hamlet” at Writers’ Theatre in Glencoe, I had a minor epiphany. Even with an exceptional ensemble and excellent staging, both in evidence under Artistic Director Michael Halberstam‘s(…)

Review “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Baliwick Chicago Theater at National Pastime Theater, 941 W. Lawrence Ave. When: through Nov. 10 Tickets: $25-$30 Phone: 773-969-6201 My first reaction on seeing the Chicago premiere of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” was one of disbelief. How could such a sophomoric, scattershot show make it to Broadway, as Alex Timbers (book) and(…)

Review “Good People”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N.Halsted St. When: through Nov. 11 Tickets: $20-$86 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic As you might suspect, the title of David Lindsay-Abaire’s “Good People” is deeply ironic. Or is it? In Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s vividly acted production of this kitchen sink drama savvily directed by K.(…)