Post image for CD Review/Original Cast Opera: INVISIBLE CITIES (written by Christopher Cerrone)

IT’S ONLY INVISIBLE IF YOU KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN The first time I heard Christopher Cerrone’s opera Invisible Cities, based on Italo Calvino’s 1972 fictional novel, was during The Industry’s interactive theatrical experience at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Along with about 200 other patrons, I donned state-of-the-art headphones and followed singers and dancers […]

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Post image for Chicago Opera Review: PORGY AND BESS (Lyric Opera)

LYRIC DOES THE BESS THAT IT CAN After two outings to Spain (Don Giovanni and Il Trovatore) and one to Paris (Capriccio), Lyric Opera is bringing audiences something homegrown, composed by an American and set in South Carolina. Porgy and Bess should be rather familiar to Lyric audiences, since it played here just six years […]

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Post image for CD Review/Classical: MASTERPIECES IN MINIATURE (San Francisco Symphony)

MINIATURES MADE MONUMENTAL A confession: I’ve never been a fan of classical compilation CDs. Whatever the conceit—The Greatest Hits of (fill in composer) or Romantic Favorites—collections tend to consist of incongruous pieces, selected for no other reason than that the publisher had them lying around and didn’t know what else to do with them. In addition, […]

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Post image for Chicago Dance Review: DANCE THEATRE OF HARLEM (Auditorium Theatre)

PERFECT PLACEMENT AND PERPETUAL MOTION Making a too-brief, always welcome return to Chicago’s gorgeous Auditorium Theatre (now celebrating its 125th anniversary), Dance Theatre of Harlem never looked more awesomely athletic, devotedly disciplined or able, as much as eager to please. Closing tomorrow, their three-ballet program, a feat for the limbs and a feast for the […]

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Post image for San Francisco Theater Preview: SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS (42nd Street Moon)

SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT Beginning November 26, 42nd Street Moon will revist one of its earliest hits, the mirthful 1943 farce Something for the Boys. This rarely performed boisterous musical is a fascinating look into a time when Broadway was about to undergo significant changes from silly book musicals into classier fare. Even though Cole Porter’s […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: DR. SEUSS’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! THE MUSICAL (The Chicago Theatre)

GRINCH AND BEAR IT As with Sweeney Todd, the Grinch is bent on revenge, though his motivation is much murkier. He’s your typical green outsider, like Little Shop’s plant Audrey II, the Frog Prince, or Shrek the Ogre, enraged at not fitting in with the Hallmark-carded Whos of Whoville. Perversely, the creature wants to earn […]

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Post image for San Francisco Theater Preview: PROMISES, PROMISES (San Francisco Playhouse)

PROMISING PROMISES, I PROMISE The premise of Promises, Promises is one you are probably familiar with even if you have never seen the 1968 musical, which opens in a splashy revival at San Francisco Playhouse this week. An ambitious junior executive, Chuck Baxter, wants to move up the corporate ladder. In return for promises of […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: STEEL PIER (Musical Theatre West in Long Beach)

KANDER & EBB’S DANCE MARATHON MUSICAL FINALLY ARRIVES IN LOS ANGELES I can understand why you hear about a “Staged Reading” and want to bolt in the opposite direction. Don’t let that title fool you. Indeed, in the last year, some of the best nights in the theater can be found at these events. Especially […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE HUMANS (American Theater Company)

A HOLIDAY FOR HUMANITY Playwright Stephen Karam’s Sons of the Prophet was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2012, and his Speech and Debate—with its with crackling humor and vivacity—has some of the most believable, empathetic teenagers ever put on stage. American Theatre Company has an excellent track record for introducing new works. With […]

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Post image for Broadway Theater Review: SIDE SHOW (St. James)

A TWIN/LOSE SITUATION Henry Krieger’s succulent score and the co-leads’ powerful, penetrating voices are among the few reasons to see Side Show, a dull bio-musical set in the first half of the 20th century, about a set of conjoined twins—loosely based on the life of the British-born Hilton sisters—who go from being exhibited in a […]

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