Theater Reviews

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(…)

Review: “The Diary of Anne Frank”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, Books of Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe When: through Aug. 16 Tickets: $35-$70 Phone:847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic While Writers Theatre is building an ultramodern new home, the ambitious Glencoe company also is showing off how much it has been able to accomplish in its tiny original space at the(…)

Review: “Cirque du Soleil”

Review: “Cirque du Soleil”

RECOMMENDED Where: Cirque du Soleil Big Top, United Center Parking Lot K, 1901 W. Madison St. When: through Sept. 20 Tickets: $35-$145 Phone: 877-924-7783 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Cirque du Soleil hasn’t pitched its blue-and-yellow tent at the United Center for four years, so it is especially exciting that the company is returning with(…)

Review: “South Pacific”

Review: “South Pacific”

RECOMMENDED Where: Light Opera Works at Cahn Auditorium, 600 Emerson St., Evanston When: through Aug. 30 Tickets: $34-$94 Phone: 847-920-5360 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Don’t go to “South Pacific” at Cahn Auditorium expecting any big surprises. Light Opera Works’ approach to musicals is very traditional, and this revival of the Richard Rodgers (music) and(…)

Review: “The Boy from Oz”

Review: “The Boy from Oz”

RECOMMENDED Where: Pride Films & Plays at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. When: through Aug. 30 Tickets: $25-$45 Phone: 773-327-5252 Before Hugh Jackman won the 2004 “Best Actor in a Musical” Tony Award for his star turn in “The Boy from Oz,” Peter Allen was barely on my radar. I knew that the Australian performer(…)

Review: “Grand Concourse”

Review: “Grand Concourse”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through Aug. 30 Tickets: $20-$89 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Almost every episode of the Italian television series “Don Matteo” ends with the crime-solving priest telling the usually remorseful culprit he’s just caught that God forgives and loves him unconditionally. Shelley,(…)

Review: “Moby Dick”

Review: “Moby Dick”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: Lookingglass Theatre Company, Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. When: through August 28 Tickets: $40-$80 Phone: 312-337-0665 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Anytime Lookingglass Theatre Company teams up with The Actors Gymnasium, the results are bound to be special. But their tenth collaboration, the world premiere of “Moby Dick,” is(…)

Review: “Feast”

Review: “Feast”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through Aug. 16 Tickets: $10-$25 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In a worthy collaboration that serves everyone well, Goodman Theatre has teamed up with the Albany Park Theater Project (APTP), a multi-ethnic youth ensemble based in the North Side neighborhood, to bring(…)