Post image for Off-Broadway Theater Review: NORA (Cherry Lane)

NEITHER NORA Nora, Ingmar Bergman’s adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, centers on its titular character, a beautiful young wife and mother, whose cozy life at her husband’s bosom is threatened when she is blackmailed over an indiscretion she committed years earlier to save his life. The play, performed in New York City for […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Goodman Theatre)

DUMBING DOWN DICKENS It doesn’t matter that A Christmas Carol has drifted from Dickens: Goodman Theatre will never slaughter its sacred (cash) cow. For 38 years now, playing three venues and employing 10 directors, 32 Tiny Tims and 8 Ebenezer Scrooges (making 23,000 “Bah humbugs!”), Chicago’s biggest regional theater has doggedly transformed Charles Dickens’ 80-page 1843 parable […]

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Post image for Los Angeles & San Diego Theater Reviews: RIO HONDO (Theatre of NOTE); INDECENT (La Jolla Playhouse)

SHOWS THAT TELL, SHOWS THAT SHOW A list of the most popular investigative themes for artistic works in 2015 would certainly include (1) art itself, particularly within the same medium, and (2) the relevance of identity politics to (1). With Indecent, which opened last week at the La Jolla Playhouse in a joint production with […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: ANGINA PECTORIS (ShPIeL–Performing Identity at Theater Wit)

QUIT WHILE YOU’RE BEHIND Some absurdities are just too stupid for satire. Transparently ridiculous, they automatically self-indict, hanging themselves on their own petard. Such is the object of scorn in Michal Aharoni’s world premiere Angina Pectoris (a title that sheds little light on its theme). Well-intended but heavy-handed, Aharoni’s political comedy centers on a flagrantly unscientific Israeli […]


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: Caryl Churchills’s LOVE AND INFORMATION (Son of Semele Ensemble)

TMI AOK I’m a librarian during the day, and one thing I remember from back in Library School (because you have to go to Library School to become a librarian, you know) is that there are many discussions about the nature of information. Oh, librarians are fascinated about information. To a specialist in such things, […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: NO MORE SAD THINGS (Sideshow Theatre Company at Victory Gardens)

AN ABORTED AFFAIR The “Maui Pipeline,” it seems, has run out of waves. This “co-world premiere” from Boise Contemporary Theater and Chicago’s Sideshow Theatre Company offers an unedifying look at a Hawaiian romance that was just a trick of the tropical light. Playwright Hansol Jung depicts proto-lovers who find themselves first in dreams. But in […]


Post image for Film Review: GOODNIGHT MOMMY (directed by Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala)

I SEE, YOU SAW Goodnight Mommy, the creepy 2014 film from Austrian husband and wife team Veronika Franz and Severin Fiala, takes over an hour to turn into an American horror movie. Before that, the story of adolescent twins trapped in a country house with their bandage-swathed mother sustains a nice tonal drive through territory […]


Post image for Chicago Opera Review: THE MERRY WIDOW (Lyric)

A MERRY WIDOW MAKES FOR A MERRY AUDIENCE After the unbearable ugliness of Berg’s Wozzeck, Lyric Opera’s beautiful production of Franz Lehár’s The Merry Widow (Die Lustige Witwe) comes as a breath of fresh air. Originally staged last season at the Metropolitan Opera, this production features a brand new English translation by Jeremy Sams of […]


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: DO I HEAR A WALTZ? (Musical Theatre Guild)

DO I FEAR A WALTZ? Musicals are generally “lost” for any one of a number of reasons: the libretto may be filled with once topical socio-political humor now meaningless to contemporary audiences; it’s too expensive to produce; the score may have gone out of fashion; or the show itself is like a machine whose parts don’t […]


Post image for Los Angeles Music Review: PETER NERO (Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge)

NERO MY HEART TO THEE I always have a peculiar mix of excitement and trepidation when seeing a favorite entertainer live for the first time, especially when they are well past retirement years. In the case of Peter Nero, I wondered if my memories of listening to this astounding pianist would be pushed aside by a […]