Theater Reviews

Review: “Death Tax” and “Isaac’s Eye”

Review: “Death Tax” and “Isaac’s Eye”

BOTH SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED “Death Tax” Where: Lookingglass Theatre Company Water Tower Water Works, 821 N. Michigan Ave. When: through Oct. 12 Tickets: $40-$65 Phone: 312-337-0665 “Isaac’s Eye” Where: Writers Theatre, Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe When: through Dec. 7 Tickets: $35-$75 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Two prominent companies are opening(…)

“Stupid F***ing Bird”

“Stupid F***ing Bird”

RECOMMENDED Where: Sideshow Theatre Company at Victory Gardens Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through Sept. 21 Tickets: $20-$25 Phone: 773-871-3000 ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Adam Posner describes his “Stupid F***ing Bird” as “sort of adapted from ‘The Seagull’ by Anton Chekhov,” but it’s more like he’s totally deconstructed the 1895 play, analyzed(…)

Review: “My Name is Asher Lev”

Review: “My Name is Asher Lev”

RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theatre Company at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave. When: through Oct. 18 Tickets: $37-$50 Phone: 773-327-5252 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic TimeLine Theatre Company’s 18th season gets off to an auspicious start with the Chicago premiere of “My Name is Asher Lev,” Aaron Posner’s adaptation of Chaim Potok’s best-selling 1972 novel(…)

Review: “Ecstasy”

Review: “Ecstasy”

RECOMMENDED Where: Cole Theatre at A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells St. When: through Sept. 28 Tickets: $15-$25 Phone: 773-747-6821 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Based on the brief first act, you’d expect Mike Leigh’s 1979 “Ecstasy” to be one of those rage-fueled, violence-wracked British “kitchen sink” dramas of the Thatcher era (though it premiered(…)

Review: “On the Town”

RECOMMENDED Where: The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire When: through Oct. 12 Tickets: $40-$48 Phone: 847-634-0200 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you’re familiar with “On the Town,” it’s probably because you’ve seen the 1949 MGM movie about a trio of World War II sailors’ day off in New York City starring Gene Kelly(…)

“All Our Tragic”

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED Where: The Hypocrites at the Den Theatre, 1329 N. Milwaukee Ave. When: through October 5 Tickets: $75, $30 for partial show; call for details Phone: 773-525-5991 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic If you see The Hypocrites’ premiere of “All Our Tragic,” founding artistic director/adapter/director Sean Graney’s mash up of the 32 surviving Greek tragedies,(…)

“The Qualms”

“The Qualms”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Theatre Company Downstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through August 31 Tickets: $20-$86 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Bruce Norris won a Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for “Clybourne Park,” but the Steppenwolf Theatre world premiere of “The Qualms,” his latest, isn’t very satisfying as a play. Four couples(…)

Review: “Brigadoon”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, Albert Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through August 17 Tickets: $25-$97 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic When I was an adolescent, Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe’s “Brigadoon” was one of my favorite musicals. I can’t remember exactly why. Maybe it was because the idea of an 18th(…)

Review: “Othello”

RECOMMENDED Where: The Gift Theatre, 4802 N. Milwaukee Ave. When: through August 24 Tickets: $20-$35 Phone: 773-285-7071 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Othello” at The Gift Theatre represents a few firsts: the first time the 13-year-old company has presented a play by Shakespeare, the first time director Jonathan Berry has tackled the Bard, and my(…)

Review: “This Is Our Youth”

RECOMMENDED Where: Steppenwolf Upstairs Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St. When: through July 27 Tickets: $20-482 Phone: 312-335-1650 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic I’ve been working on thinking of Kenneth Lonergan’s “This Is Our Youth” as Chekhov for the slacker generation. This isn’t as farfetched as it may seem. Like Chekhov, Lonergan exposes the existential angst(…)

Review: “The Dance of Death”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, Books on Vernon, 664 Vernon Ave., Glencoe When: through Aug. 3 Tickets: $35-$70 Phone: 847-242-6000 The three characters in August Strindberg’s 1900 “The Dance of Death” are nasty pieces of work—and that’s putting it mildly. Factor in the new version by Irish playwright Conor McPherson, Henry Wishcamper’s direction, a trio of(…)

“Juno”

RECOMMENDED Where: TimeLine Theatre Company, 615 W. Wellington Ave. When: through July 27 Tickets: $35-$48 Phone: 773-281-8463 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Watching the Chicago premiere of “Juno” at TimeLine Theatre Company, it isn’t hard to figure out why composer-lyricist Marc Blitzstein and writer Joseph Stein’s musical based on Sean O’Casey’s 1924 play “Juno and(…)

“Death and the Maiden”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave. When: through July 20 Tickets: $40 and up Phone: 773-871-3000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic What would you do if you were abducted, raped and tortured, suffered 15 years of mental anguish as a result of the trauma, then overheard the man you were convinced(…)

Review: “The Last Ship”

RECOMMENDED Where: Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St. When: through July 13 Tickets: $33-$100 Phone: 800-775-2000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic The pre-Broadway world premiere of “The Last Ship” has moored at the Bank of America Theatre briefly before chugging off to New York in the fall, and although the musical’s engines aren’t(…)

Review: “Jack Lemmon returns”

SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED Where: Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted St. When: through July 20 Tickets: $55 Phone: 312-988-9000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Anyone who has seen Hershey Felder’s one-man tributes to Beethoven, Bernstein and other musical greats will recognize the format of “Jack Lemmon Returns.” Only this time, as he did last season with(…)

Review: “Days Like Today”

RECOMMENDED Where: Writers Theatre, 325 Tudor Court, Glencoe When: through July 13 Tickets: $35-$75 Phone: 847-242-6000 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Woe to anyone who tries to write a sincere musical about love these days. The topic has been so overworked in every medium that it’s almost impossible to find anything new to say, much(…)

Review: “Ask Aunt Susan”

SLIGHTLY RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, Owen Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through June 22 Tickets: $10-$40 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic   The world premiere of Seth Bockley’s “Ask Aunt Susan” at Goodman Theatre gets off to a promising start but soon spirals into an incomprehensible, nonsensical mess. Loosely based on Nathanael(…)

Review: “Hair”

RECOMMENDED Where: American Theater Company, 1909 W. Byron St. When: through June 29 Tickets: $38-$43 Phone: 773-409-4125 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Leave it to American Theater Company artistic director PJ Paparelli to devise an iconoclastic way to present “Hair,” the “American Tribal Love Rock Musical” with a book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James(…)

Review: “The White Snake”

RECOMMENDED Where: Goodman Theatre, Albert Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St. When: through June 8 Tickets: $25-$86 Phone: 312-443-3800 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic Mary Zimmerman really knows how to do endings. Whether you’re wowed by the Chicago premiere of “The White Snake” because you’re unfamiliar with her work, regard it as the mature expression of(…)

Review: “Henry V”

RECOMMENDED Where: Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Navy Pier When: through June 15 Tickets: $48-$88 Phone: 312-595-5600 By ANNE SPISELMAN Theater Critic   I’ve always had a special affection for “Henry V.” That may be because it was one of the first Shakespeare plays I studied in school. Or because the lessons about integrity and good and(…)