Theater Reviews

Review: “The Crownless King”

RECOMMENDED Where: The House Theatre of Chicago at Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. When: through Oct. 20 Tickets: $20-$40 Phone: 773-769-3832 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic At one point in “The Crownless King,” the second part of The House Theatre of Chicago’s fantasy-adventure trilogy that started last year with “The Iron Stag King,” our royal hero,(…)

Review: “Pullman Porter Blues”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: though Oct. 20 Tickets: $25-$75 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I had high hopes for the Chicago premiere of “Pullman Porter Blues” at Goodman Theatre, but Cheryl L. West’s play with music disappoints in so many ways, it’s hard to know where to(…)

Review: “A Raisin in the Sun”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through Nov. 17 Tickets: $35-$48 Phone: 773-281-8463, ext. 6 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic TimeLine Theatre Company’s production of Lorraine Hansberry’s seminal “A Raisin in the Sun” could be half as good as it is and still have a profound impact. Director Ron OJ(…)

Review: “The Mountaintop”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through Oct. 13 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The hype for the 2010 Laurence Olivier Award-winning “The Mountaintop” emphasizes Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s humanity and human frailty, but don’t be fooled: Katori Hall’s play ultimately is an exercise in hagiography.(…)

Review: “The Color Purple”

RECOMMENDED Where: The Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave. When: through Oct. 27 Tickets: $22-$59 Phone: 773-325-1700 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic After the opening number of the new production of “The Color Purple” at the Mercury Theater, I was seriously worried. It had all the earmarks of a high school or college show. Bob(…)

Review: “Next to Normal”

RECOMMENDED Where: Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace When: through Oct. 6 Tickets: $35-$49 (lunch and dinner packages $50-$74) Phone: 630-530-0111 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When the touring production of the Broadway hit, “Next to Normal,” came to downtown Chicago in 2011, I found Brian Yorkey (book and lyrics) and Tom Kitt’s(…)

Review: “Slowgirl”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through Sept. 1 Tickets: $20-$78 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s production of Greg Pierce’s “Slowgirl” shows just how good a quiet little two-character play can be in the hands of the right director and actors. Sensitively directed(…)

Review: “Simpatico”

RECOMMENDED Where: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. When: through September 15 Tickets: $30-$40 Phone: 312-943-8722 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Of all the familiar Sam Shepard themes that resonate in his 1994 “Simpatico,” none is more potent than the inevitability that a past filled with secrets will poison the present, resulting in(…)