Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE VEIL (Idle Muse Theatre Company at The Edge Theater)

TOO MANY SAILS AND NO RUDDER How have the mighty fallen! It’s hard to believe that, 17 years after The Weir fascinated Steppenwolf Theatre audiences, not to mention all-absorbing Chicago productions of Shining City and The Night Alive, the passionately poetic Irish playwright Conor McPherson has wrought The Veil. Now at Edge Theatre in a technically polished and competently helmed Midwest […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: GYPSY (Music Theater Works)

TOUGH LOVE GONE HAYWIRE Some people—hey, that could be a song title!—say Gypsy is the greatest Broadway musical ever written. And, calibrators of showbiz greatness, these folks may well be right. It’s not just a stirring story of a prodigal daughter making good or a harridan matriarch morphing into a humble fan (confessing that for 20 years she […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: HIGH FIDELITY: AN OPERETTA FARCE (ColorBox Theatre at Royal George)

LOVE AS A VERY MOVEABLE FEAST Love may be blind but it can certainly sing up a storm. Not to be confused with the John Cusack film about a Chicago vinyl record shop, High Fidelity: An Operatic Farce is a silly but very melodious two-act confection now in a high-pitched Chicago premiere. The 140-minute trifle blithely interweaves […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: MACHINAL (Greenhouse Theater Center)

MURDER—A REFUSAL TO SUBMIT? You could call Machinal a nightmare under stage lights. Still potent after nearly ninety years, Sophie Treadwell’s 1928 drama can’t be dismissed as a victim’s vindication or as the proto-feminist defense of an angry housewife’s license to kill. It goes beyond blame-throwing and special pleas: Treadwell’s 90-minute indictment, here revived in a powerhouse […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: SHOCKHEADED PETER (Black Button Eyes Productions)

SCHADENFREUDE GETS ITS SHOW We learn from fear, even if it’s the wrong lessons. Well before Mark Twain’s “Slovenly Peter,” let alone Edward Gorey, Roald Dahl or Tim Burton, there was Heinrich Hoffmann. Written in 1845, his sardonic masterpiece Der Struwwelpeter was a children’s book meant to scare little readers into good deeds—or at least into phobias […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: HONKY TONK LAUNDRY (Hudson Mainstage Theatre in Hollywood)

THE HARDEST WORKING GALS IN SHOW BUSINESS One thing is clear: If Bets Malone and Misty Cotton ever choose to sell themselves as an actual country music recording duo, they will be a smash. The intensity and quality of the singing is wonderful. Their blend is perfect, haunting and smooth, most notably on “Heaven, Heartache, […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: PINK MARTINI WITH CHINA FORBES & STORM LARGE, AND CHARO (Hollywood Bowl)

PINK MARTINI—I SAY “YES”! The last time I saw Pink Martini play the Hollywood Bowl, I was already wired after hearing them brilliantly execute an extended song list covering at least a dozen styles of music sung in eight different languages. But then this everlasting gobstopper of music turned the Hollywood Bowl into a festive […]

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Post image for San Diego Theater Review: Evita (San Diego Rep)

DON’T CRY, BUT SEE ARGENTINA The crime of being a legend is to be simultaneously loved and hated, while the truth will always be a matter of perspective and interpretation. Eva Duarte, later Eva Perón, was just such a figure. Both adored and reviled, the life of the grandiose first lady of 1940s’ Argentina makes […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: BEHZOD ABDURAIMOV & RACHMANINOFF’S THIRD CONCERTO (LA Phil, Krzysztof Urbański conductor, at the Hollywood Bowl)

DO NOT MISS BEHZOD ABDURAIMOV AT THE HOLLYWOOD BOWL THIS WEEK Pianist Behzod Abduraimov is coming to the Hollywood Bowl this Tuesday August 15, 2017, so prepare yourself for one of the world’s greatest pianists. In fact, the in-demand, rightfully popular 26-year-old Uzbek pianist, who was born in Tashkent in 1990 just before the collapse of […]

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Post image for CD Review: TULIP FEVER (Soundtrack by Danny Elfman on Sony Classical)

DIM BULB I’m a big Tom Stoppard fan, so I was thrilled to hear that he adapted Deborah Moggarch’s novel Tulip Fever, and that it was set to be filmed. But that was 2004. Then after plenty of stops and starts and recasting and studio changes, filming finally wrapped on the historical drama, directed by […]

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