Theater Reviews

Review: “Agamemnon”

Review: “Agamemnon”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through Dec. 6 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic According to an interview with Nicholas Rudall in the program for the world premiere of his new translation of Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon” at Court Theatre, the chorus in the play, written around 458 B.C., originally(…)

Review: “Good for Otto”

Review: “Good for Otto”

RECOMMENDED Where: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. When: through Nov. 22, Dec. 3-20, Jan.14-Feb. 7 Tickets: $20-$35 Phone: 773-283-7071 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If David Rabe weren’t a renowned playwright responsible for works such as “The Basic Training of Pavlo Hummel,” “Sticks and Bones,” “Streamers,” and “Hurlyburly,” I doubt his “Good for(…)

Review: “Chapter Two”

RECOMMENDED Where: Windy City Playhouse, 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. When: through Dec. 20 Tickets: $25-$45 Phone: 773-891-8985 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Write about what you know is the advice often given to would-be authors, and playwright Neil Simon has proven better than most how autobiography—or semi-autobiography—can be the key to success. First produced(…)

Review: “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin”

Review: “Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin”

RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through Dec. 6 Tickets: $60 Phone: 312-988-9000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Hershey Felder has developed a sure-fire formula for bringing dead composers to life. Or almost. Whether it’s long-gone masters such as Beethoven and Chopin or 20th-century icons like George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein,(…)

Review: “East of Eden”

Review: “East of Eden”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through Nov. 15 Tickets: $20-$89 Phone: 312-335-1650 When Steppenwolf Theatre announced that it was kicking off its fortieth season with the world premiere of Frank Galati’s adaptation of John Steinbeck’s “East of Eden” directed by ensemble co-founder Terry Kinney, excitement ran high. Even theatergoers who(…)

Review: “Ride the Cyclone”

Review: “Ride the Cyclone”

RECOMMENDED Where: Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier When: through Nov. 15 Tickets: $30-$48 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In an interview in the program for “Ride the Cyclone,” Jacob Richmond, who co-authored the musical with Brooke Maxwell, says the inspiration was a desire to humanize the idea of a mass tragedy(…)

Review: “The Tempest”

Review: “The Tempest”

RECOMMENDED Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Courtyard Theater, Navy Pier When: through Nov. 1 Tickets: $48-$88 Phone: 312-595-5600 Sometimes everything about a production comes together to illuminate a play in a new way. Such is the case with “The Tempest” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Brilliantly conceived and beautifully executed, the show is magical in every way,(…)

Review: “Love and Information”

RECOMMENDED Where: Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at the Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through Nov. 1 Tickets: $42.50-$52.50 Phone: 773-404-7336 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic It’s tempting to think of Caryl Churchill’s 2012 “Love and Information” as kind of an anti-play. The text doesn’t have any settings, speech headings, or character descriptions.(…)

Review: “American Idiot”

Review: “American Idiot”

RECOMMENDED Where: The Hypocrites at The Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. When: through Oct. 25 Tickets: $28-$36 Phone: 773-525-5991 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When the touring version of the 2010 Broadway hit, “American Idiot,” came to town in 2012, I hated it. I found the blaring score of the rock musical/concert based on the(…)

Review: “The Revel”

Review: “The Revel”

RECOMMENDED Where: The House Theatre of Chicago at the Chopin Theatre, 1543 W. Division St. When: through Oct. 25 Tickets: $30-$35 Phone: 773-769-3832 Greek tragedies have great staying power and are experiencing something of a revival. Court Theatre has returned to them repeatedly over the years, most recently with an innovative trilogy that started with(…)

Review: “Side Show”

RECOMMENDED Where: Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. When: through Oct. 25 Tickets: $39-$45 Phone: 773-327-5252 Porchlight Music Theatre’s production of “Side Show” shows just what an enterprising off-Loop company can do with a Broadway flop. Artistic director Michael Weber and his large ensemble put their all into the musical inspired(…)

Review: “Sucker Punch”

Review: “Sucker Punch”

RECOMMENDED Where: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through Oct. 18 Tickets: $15-$60 Phone: 773-871-3000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic British boxing dramas aren’t usually my cup of tea, but Roy Williams creates interesting characters in his 2010 “Sucker Punch,” and the Midwest premiere at Victory Gardens Theater is very well cast and(…)

Review: “Disgraced”

Review: “Disgraced”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre Albert Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through Oct. 25 Tickets: $25-$82 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Professional ambition trumps personal relationships in “Disgraced,” Ayad Akhtar’s 2013 Pulitzer Prize-winning drama about affluent New Yorkers grappling with issues of ethnicity, religiosity, assimilation, preconceptions, and prejudice. The Goodman Theatre’s production is(…)

Review: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

Review: “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder”

RECOMMENDED Where: Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St. When: through Oct. 11 Tickets: $25-$123 Phone: 800-775-2000 You have to love a musical cheeky enough to begin with “A Warning to the Audience” to leave the theater. And, indeed, “The Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder,” the 2014 Tony Award winner now at the(…)

Review: “Funnyman”

Review: “Funnyman”

RECOMMENDED Where: Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie When: through Oct. 25 Tickets: $25-$79 Phone: 847-673-6300 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The idea that comedians often are crying on the inside has become something of a cliché, so I expected Bruce Graham’s “Funnyman” to go beyond the obvious(…)

Review: “The Price”

RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through Nov. 22 Tickets: $38-$51 Phone: 773-281-8463 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic To say that the past weighs heavily on the characters in Arthur Miller’s “The Price” would be an understatement. Estranged brothers Victor and Walter Franz have nursed old wrongs, resentments, and regrets for(…)

Review: “Gem of the Ocean”

Review: “Gem of the Ocean”

RECOMMENDED Where: Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis Ave. When: through Oct. 11 Tickets: $45-$65 Phone: 773-753-4472 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When I reviewed the world premiere of August Wilson’s “Gem of the Ocean” at Goodman Theatre in 2003, I described it as “melodrama meets magical realism” with a “mysterious, mystical, metaphorical” quality and language(…)

Review: “Jamaica, Farewell”

Review: “Jamaica, Farewell”

RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theater, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through Oct. 11 Tickets: $50 Phone: 312-988-9000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Debra Ehrhardt has a good story to tell, and she tells it well in “Jamaica, Farewell.” This is Los Angeles-based Ehrhardt’s third self-penned solo show (after “Mango Mango” and “Invisible Chairs”), and she’s(…)

Review: “Assassination Theater: Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century”

Review: “Assassination Theater: Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century”

RECOMMENDED Where: Museum of Broadcast Communications, 360 N. State St. When: through Nov. 7 Tickets: $49 Phone: 800-838-3006 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic No one could doubt the impeccable research and passion behind the world premiere of “Assassination Theater: Chicago’s Role in the Crime of the Century,” and author Hillel Levin, a veteran journalist and(…)

Review: “Peter and the Starcatcher”

Review: “Peter and the Starcatcher”

RECOMMENDED Where: Drury Lane Theater, 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace When: through Oct. 18 Tickets: $40-$55 Phone: 630-530-0111 By ANNE SPISELMAN “Peter and the Starcatcher,” which is enjoying a lively production at Drury Lane Theatre, is a clever show that risks being undone by its own excess. Written by Rick Elice, based on the novel(…)