Theater Reviews

Review: “The How and the Why”

RECOMMENDED Where: Timeline Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through April 6 Tickets: $35-$48 Phone: 773-281-8463 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Sarah Treem’s “The How and the Why” is a combination of the captivating and the contrived. On the one hand, the writer, whose credits include HBO’s “In Treatment” and Netflix’s “House of Cards,”(…)

“Hedda Gabler”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe When: through April 6 Tickets: $35-$70 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you’re used to seeing “Hedda Gabler” with a Victorian aesthetic, reliance on subtext, and plenty of suppressed emotion, the production at Writers Theatre will come as something of a shocker. Sharply directed by(…)

Review: “Into The Woods”

SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDED Where: The Hypocrites at the Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport Ave. When: through March 30 Tickets: $22-$59 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you’re only vaguely familiar with Stephen Sondheim (music and lyrics) and James Lapine’s (book) “Into The Woods,” The Hypocrites’ production will serve as a reminder of how brilliantly the 1987(…)

Review: “Ain’t Misbehavin’”

RECOMMENDED Where: Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. When: through March 9 Tickets: $43.50 Phone: 773-327-5252 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Porchlight Music Theatre is cannily celebrating Black History Month with Murray Horwitz and Richard Maltby, Jr.’s “Ain’t Misbehavin’,” the 1978 smash musical revue devoted to Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller, the(…)

Review: “Gypsy”

RECOMMENDED Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater Courtyard Theater, Navy Pier When: through March 23 Tickets: $45-$88 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In most of the productions of “Gypsy” I’ve seen, Mama Rose is the iconic stage mother from hell relentlessly pushing her daughters to succeed in show business out of her own failed ambition. But(…)

Review: “The Little Prince”

RECOMMENDED Where: Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 21 N. Michigan Ave. When: through March 16 Tickets: $45-$75 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Ever since it was published in 1943, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s “The Little Prince” (“Le Petit Prince”) has been captivating hearts and minds with its touching story of an aviator who crashes(…)

Review: “Rough Crossing”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: First Folio Theatre, Mayslake Peabody Estate, 1717 W. 31st St., Oakbrook When: through March 2 Tickets: $26-$37 Phone: 630-986-8067 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In the right hands, Tom Stoppard’s “Rough Crossing” is hilarious. Based on Ferenc Molnar’s “Play at the Castle,” the delightful, verbally dense farce revels in witty word play(…)

Review: “Luna Gale”

Review: “Luna Gale”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through Feb. 23 Tickets: $25-$81 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Playwright Rebecca Gilman is a master of audience manipulation. She’s amazingly adept at fleshing out a complicated social problem with well-conceived, often flawed characters, then letting its complexity unfold in such a way(…)