Theater Reviews

Review: “Baritones  Unbound”

Review: “Baritones Unbound”

RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through Jan. 3, 2016 Tickets: $60 Phone: 312-988-9000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Baritones don’t get no respect—or at least not enough, which is a shame, because they are the uncommon voice of the common man. That’s the premise driving “Baritones Unbound,” a musical trek(…)

Review: “Fallen Angels”

Review: “Fallen Angels”

RECOMMENDED Where: Remy Bumppo Theater Company, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through Jan. 10 Tickets: $42.50 – $52.50 Phone: 773-404-7336 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Noël Coward’s “Fallen Angels” comes across as a witty farce-satirizing holdover Victorian sexual mores, but it’s really something more. First produced in 1925, when the author was in his mid-twenties,(…)

“The Heir Apparent” and “A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol”

“The Heir Apparent” and “A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol”

RECOMMENDED “The Heir Apparent” Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Courtyard Theater, Navy Pier When: through Jan. 17, 2016 Tickets: $48-$88 Phone: 312-595-5600 “A Q Brothers’ Christmas Carol” Where: Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare, Navy Pier When: through Jan. 3, 2016 Tickets:$30-$48 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The two plays at Chicago Shakespeare Theater this holiday(…)

Review: “You Can’t Take It With You”

Review: “You Can’t Take It With You”

RECOMMENDED Where: Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie When: through Dec. 13 Tickets: $25-$79 Phone: 847-673-6300 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart’s “You Can’t Take It With You” premiered on Broadway in December 1936, it was just what people needed. The country(…)

Review: “White Christmas”

Review: “White Christmas”

RECOMMENDED Where: Drury Lane Theatre 100 Drury Lane, Oakbrook Terrace When: through Jan, 3, 2016 Tickets: $50 – $65 Phone: 630-530-0111 “White Christmas” is an ideal musical for the holiday season. Based on the 1954 film starring Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Allen, the show, which started in San Francisco in 2004 and(…)

Review: “Pilgrim’s Progress”

Review: “Pilgrim’s Progress”

RECOMMENDED Where: A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. When: through Dec. 13 Tickets: $30-$35 Phone: 312-943-8722 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Brett Neveu’s “Pilgrim’s Progress” takes its title from John Bunyan’s 17th-century The Pilgrim’s Progress, a Christian allegory about man’s spiritual journey that is considered one of the most important religious works ever written.(…)

Review: “Never the Sinner”

Review: “Never the Sinner”

RECOMMENDED Where: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through Dec. 6 Tickets: $15-$60 Phone: 773-871-3000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic It isn’t easy to write a gripping courtroom drama when everyone knows the defendants are guilty and how the trial turns out. But that’s just what John Logan did with “Never the Sinner,”(…)

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(…)