Post image for Chicago Theater Review: WILD BOAR (Silk Road Rising)

A ‘PERFECT CITY’—AND A MUZZLED PRESS They’re always eager to alert Chicago audiences to dangerous developments here and abroad: Silk Road Rising is a committed company which tells tales not usually seen on conventional stages. Their presentations, usually set in the Middle East and—significantly—here, sound a kind of stage siren for suffering, exposing racism, hypocrisy, […]

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Post image for DVD Review: THE UNDERTAKER / DER BESTATTER (MHz Releasing)

UNDERTAKER SHOULD BE UNDERTAKEN This ongoing Swiss-German series, The Undertaker (Der Bestatter), is something of a rarity for the adventurous distributor, MHz Releasing: a serio-comic series about a former cop, Luc Conrad (Mike Müeller), who has quit the force to take over his family’s funeral business, after his father has died, alongside his step-mother and […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Dance Review: INFERNO (World Premiere Ballet from American Contemporary Ballet)

ACB’S JOURNEY INTO HELL: THE ONE TIME YOU MIGHT WISH THE TRIP WERE LONGER Inferno, American Contemporary Ballet (ACB)’s season opener was a musical blast from the past with a twist. Just in time for Halloween, Artistic Director Lincoln Jones’ latest ballet—set to music from Charles Wuorinen’s seven-part opus The Mission of Virgil—was one for […]

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Post image for Tour Music Review: IN MY MIND: MONK AT TOWN HALL 1959 (Jason Moran and The Big Bandwagon)

A CONCERT THAT WILL STAY IN MY MIND There are certain experiences involving the arts that stay with you forever. A seamless meld of spiritual and artistic experience, Jason Moran’s tribute piece to Theolonius Monk’s legendary 1959 concert at Town Hall achieved something I rarely witness in the arts: As with a séance, Moran’s octet—rivaling […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: WOMEN ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN (Musical Theatre Guild)

A CONCERT ON THE VERGE OF A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN Given the Madrid setting, Hispano characters, and Latin-inspired score, it’s possible that the musicalized version of Pedro Almodóvar’s film will one day make the rounds in regional theaters and high schools. But for now, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown—a 2010 Broadway flop that […]

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Post image for Theater Review: ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE (pre-Broadway tryout at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago)

A COUNTRY/CARIBBEAN ROMP AT CLUB JIMMY It’s a jukebox musical that marinates in Gilligan’s Island/South Pacific nostalgia. Plus, it’s got a feel-good love story that’s a creditable excuse for over two dozen Jimmy Buffett “beachabilly” hits. En route to a 2018 Broadway opening next February, La Jolla Playhouse’s origination of Escape to Margaritaville is elaborately likable, even […]

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Post image for Film Review: GOD’S OWN COUNTRY (directed by Francis Lee)

JOHNNY-COME-LATELY Writer/Director Francis Lee has produced a fine timeless example of love’s rocky path in a contemporary setting. In the Northern part of England, the Laycock area of Keighley in West Yorkshire, we first meet early twentysomething Johnny Saxby (Josh O’Conner) vomiting into a toilet at his farm-home; apparently, one of many such retchings due to his […]

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Post image for CD Review: DREAMS AND DAGGERS (Cécile McLorin Salvant on Mack Avenue)

NO DAGGERS FROM ME FOR THIS DREAM Hooray and hallelujah! With her newest CD, a live double-album, jazz vocalist and song interpreter extraordinaire Cécile McLorin Salvant has cemented herself as this generation’s most mesmerizing, fascinating, and supreme songstress. Yes, she has that remarkably distinctive voice, but it’s supported by a personality which is an amalgam […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: KING CHARLES III (Pasadena Playhouse)

WOMEN BEHAVING BADLY In Mike Bartlett’s play about the imagined aftermath of Queen Elizabeth II’s death, men hold inherited titles, but women, both living and dead, hold the keys to power. Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, the ghost of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales, and a fictional female Tory Leader of the Opposition orchestrate the events […]

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Post image for CD Review: RICHARD RODGERS REIMAGINED (Kyle Riabko on Ghostlight Records)

RIABKO ROMANTICALLY RETHINKS RODGERS I had a chance to catch Kyle Riabko on stage at The Wallis in Beverly Hills last weekend, where he returned to offer the Los Angeles debut of his Richard Rodgers Reimagined concert (his successful cabaret of Burt Bacharach songs played last year). Aided by three back-up musicians/vocalists, it was surprising […]

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