Theater Reviews

Review: “Once”

RECOMMENDED Where: Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St. When: through Oct. 27 Tickets: $27-$95 Phone: 800-775-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I was charmed by the 2007 indie film, “Once,” written and directed by John Carney and starring Glen Hansard as an Irish singer-songwriter “stopped up” by a romance-on-the-rocks and Marketa Irglova as the Czech(…)

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: “4000 Miles”

RECOMMENDED Where: Northlight Theatre, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie When: through Oct. 20 Tickets: $25-$75 Phone: 847-673-6300 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic In the program notes for the Chicago premiere of “4000 Miles” at Northlight Theatre, playwright Amy Herzog explains that Vera Joseph, the feisty octogenarian grandmother in whose(…)

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(…)