Post image for Chicago Theater Review: A DISAPPEARING NUMBER (TimeLine Theatre Company)

THE PURITY OF INFINITY Mathematics can be maddening. Unless reflected in music (as in Bach), the “numbers game” feels stuck in a seemingly sterile realm of abstract entities, perfect in their predictability and infinite in range and scope. Math seems inhuman—if not, as in its wartime applications, anti-human. It takes a rare play, like Proof […]

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Post image for Chicago Music Review: 2017 MARTIN LUTHER KING TRIBUTE CONCERT (Chicago Sinfonietta)

A CONSECRATION AND A CONCERT FIT FOR A KING Chicago Sinfonietta’s annual concert to commemorate Martin Luther King—now in its fourth decade—held more relevance and righteousness than usual, occurring as it is during 2017’s Inauguration Week. As music director Mei-Ann Chen says, “It takes a village to raise an orchestra.” It also takes an orchestra […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: PRISCILLA, QUEEN OF THE DESERT (Pride Films and Plays at the Pride Arts Center)

THE HERO JOURNEY OF A DRAG QUEEN Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is, of course, a much-loved 1994 “staying out” film from seemingly straight Australia. It spins the peripatetic tale of three Sydney drag queens who stuff their sequins and silicone onto the title vehicle (a “wayward bus” worthy of Steinbeck) and cross the Australian Outback. […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: EURYDICE (Promethean Theatre Ensemble at Athenaeum Theatre)

LEARNING TO BE DEAD Orpheus usually gets top billing in the classical Greek legend. He is of course the master of music who literally goes to Hell to retrieve his beloved Eurydice, abducted by Hades, king of the underworld. In Sarah Ruhl’s deeply personal 90-minute one-act the emphasis is on the kidnap victim, not the […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: WHAT OF THE NIGHT? (Cor Theater and Stage Left Theatre at Theater Wit)

WHAT OF OUR SUFFERING IN THE NIGHT? Ambition should be made of smarter stuff. Nearly three hours of unfocused agitation, What of the Night? begs its own incoherent question. It’s not the night that’s at stake in María Irene Fornés’s four-play epic. It’s the well-being of an audience who, perplexed, provoked but never enlightened, endure a […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: HER AMERICA (Greenhouse Theater Center)

CATHARSIS IN A BASEMENT It’s not easy for actors to lose control without losing the role as well. A master of concentrated dread and systematic despair, Kate Buddeke haunts this solo show. She completely controls it too. Her America, a drama by Chicago writer Brett Neveu that’s part of Greenhouse Theater Center’s “Solo Celebration,” is […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE SUNDIAL (City Lit)

A VERY DISPENSABLE DOOM Famed for her sardonic 1948 short story “The Lottery” and the scary novels We Have Always Lived in the Castle and The Haunting of Hill House, Shirley Jackson was a Gothic gadfly in the Eisenhower Era, full of apocalyptic post-war angst and Cold War panic-peddling. She industriously penned fright-freighted tales of […]

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Post image for Tour Review: TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT (Cirque du Soleil, North American Tour)

JAMES CAMERON MEETS CIRQUE DU SOLEIL Cirque du Soleil writes a new chapter in make-believe with Toruk – The First Flight, a not so typical two-hour fantasy inspired by (but not based on) James Cameron’s sci-fi epic Avatar. For one thing, there are no clowns (a happy relief for those who find them becoming more acrobatic […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Cabaret Review: A NIGHT AT THE STORK CLUB (Three Clubs Lounge in Hollywood)

A SALUTE TO GREAT SONGS AND A GREAT CLUB Any excuse to expose selections from the Great American Songbook to a modern audience works for me. And a cabaret revue entitled A Night at the Stork Club does just that. Playing at Hollywood’s Three Clubs for one weekend only, this accessible entertainment gives a nod to […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE LION (Geffen Playhouse in Westwood)

THE MANE EVENT Watching the Los Angeles premiere of writer/performer Benjamin Scheuer’s one-man show The Lion, directed by Sean Daniels, the element I am most taken with is Mr. Scheuer’s radiant charisma. His earnestness, his sincerity, his spiritual and emotional investment, are penetrating as he tells his story, mostly through songs, accompanying himself on different guitars—six […]

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