Post image for Chicago Theater Review: INTIMATE APPAREL (Eclipse)

THE THREADS THAT BREAK There’s no doubt why Lynn Nottage’s drama won five national awards for best play, including the Drama Critics’ Circle Award and American Theatre Critics Association’s Primus Award. Nine years ago we saw the cause in Jessica Thebus’ Steppenwolf staging, a perfect marriage of inspired script and elegant production. Eclipse Theatre Company, […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: DUDAMEL & BEETHOVEN (LA Phil at the Hollywood Bowl)

A TRIO AND A FIFTH While there are quite a few well-made recordings of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Concerto for Violin, Cello, and Piano, rarely will you get a chance to see it performed live. Often referred to as the Triple Concerto, it is a distinctive work in its category; it establishes an amalgamation between the […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE JUNGLE (Oracle Theatre)

IT’S NOT JUST THE MEAT, IT’S THE MISERY The final searing image in Oracle Theatre’s pile-driving retelling of Upton Sinclair’s muckraking masterwork is a bold take on the Chicago flag: Now the blue stripes flank not four stars but four bloody handprints. The vandalism happens just after the magnificent ten-member ensemble have erupted in a […]

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Post image for National Tour Review: ONCE (Pantages in Hollywood)

MORE THAN ONCE Ironically, the real-life love affair celebrated on screen about collaborators Glen Hasard, an Irish composer, and Markéta Irglová, a Czech songwriter, fizzled after John Carney’s 2007 film became a success (well, it’s not called Once for nothing). But the Tony-triumphant theatrical version, now at the Pantages in a soaring, enchanting, and lovely national […]

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Post image for Chicago Dance Review: NEW DANCES 2014 (Thodos Dance Chicago)

ELEVATED EXPERIMENTS Now in its 14th season, New Dances 2014, Thodos Dance Chicago’s weekend-long premiere at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts is a grueling, ambitious, and often successful showcase for nine company members. Instead of marching to another’s rhythms, they’re here allowed to design their own dances. Maybe it’s because these performers are […]

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Post image for National Tour Theater Review: WE WILL ROCK YOU (Ahmanson Theatre)

WE WILL SCHLOCK YOU A huge West End hit for twelve years (just closing last May), this awful jukebox musical does for Queen what Mamma Mia! did for ABBA, Buddy for Buddy Holly and the Crickets, and Jersey Boys for The Four Seasons. But it’s much closer to the first example, if only because the […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music/Concert Preview: TAIKO NATION (hosted by TAIKOPROJECT at the Aratani/Japan America Theatre)

TAIKO TAKES LOS ANGELES BY STORM Ever since man could bang a stick on a rock, percussion has been a way for humans to express themselves. From the battlefield to the theater to your teenager’s bedroom, percussion has evolved from communicative and ritualistic purposes into an art form. We take for granted the use of […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE QUALMS (Steppenwolf)

T.M.I. AS DRAMA The Qualms (a cute title that sounds like both a setting and a condition) is basically an Internet forum made flesh, a “truth or dare” confessional in one act. Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s new 90-minute offering from Pulitzer/Tony-winning playwright Bruce Norris is one loud argument divided into eight characters. Four couples in what […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: BUYER & CELLAR (Center Theatre Group/Mark Taper Forum)

HELLO, GORGEOUS Jonathan Tolin’s keen and tremendously funny new show Buyer & Cellar, performed by Michael Urie, imagines what it would be like for Alex More, a young gay man struggling to make it as an actor in Hollywood, to find himself working in the artificial mall Barbara Streisand built in the basement of her […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: I AM HARVEY MILK and CITY OF ANGELS: GMCLA’s 35th Anniversary Concert (Disney Hall)

GET READY TO BE MILKED In 1978, on the night of Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone’s assassinations, an unprecedented candlelight march brought mourners to San Francisco’s City Hall. The newly formed San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus canceled a rehearsal for their upcoming debut concert and opted to perform at the makeshift memorial service. It […]

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