Post image for Chicago Theater Review: REASONS TO BE HAPPY (Profiles Theatre)

REASONS TO BE CRITICAL Neil LaBute seems to have a penchant for ironic titles. His 2002 play The Mercy Seat was anything but merciful; LaBute described it as a “kind of emotional terrorism.” His newest play, Reasons to Be Happy (2013), concerns two pairs of best friends who are both sleeping with each other’s exes. […]


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE UNFRYABLE MEATNESS OF BEING (Pacific Resident Theatre)

MORE MEAT If you are one of the many theatergoers who caught Pacific Resident Theatre’s production of Out There on Fried Meat Ridge Road (and possibly the special Christmas follow-up) during its unprecedented 6-month run, then you’ll likely be anticipating the third installment, The Unfryable Meatness of Being. If you missed Out There you might […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: MY NAME IS ASHER LEV (TimeLine Theatre Company)

YOU CAN NEVER GO HOME—AGAIN Chaim Potok’s 1972 novel My Name is Asher Lev is a coming-of-age story that pits one passion against another. It depicts the declaration of independence by a young Jewish artist from his rigid Hasidic childhood and a family where obedience is prized over self-expression. Aaron Posner’s successful, 90-minute stage adaptation, […]


Post image for Regional Theater Review: THE COCOANUTS (Oregon Shakespeare Festival)

CUCKOO FOR COCOANUTS In its 79-year history, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival has cycled through Shakespeare’s canon three times. That’s impressive. But here’s a vote from this corner that the next oeuvre to be staged in Ashland is that of the Marx Brothers. Two years ago, OSF mounted an adaptation of the Brothers’ 1930 classic film […]


Post image for Regional Theater Review: A WRINKLE IN TIME (Oregon Shakespeare Festival)

LOST IN SPECTACULAR SPACE It’s easy to get lost during the world premiere production of A Wrinkle in Time, particularly if you’re not familiar with the classic science fiction/fantasy novel it’s based upon. Heady concepts like tesseracts and bending the time and space continuum fly by; there are journeys to bizarre worlds populated by equally bizarre […]


Post image for Regional Theater Review: THE GREAT SOCIETY (Oregon Shakespeare Festival)

LBJ’S RELEVANCY After premiering at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in 2012 and moving to American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Robert Schenkkan’s All the Way became the hot ticket on Broadway last year. Positive reviews and the presence of Bryan Cranston (from the AMC drama Breaking Bad) in the lead role of Lyndon B. Johnson had […]


Post image for Los Angeles Dance Review: MUSIC + DANCE L.A. II (American Contemporary Ballet)

I HAVE SEEN THE FUTURE OF LOS ANGELES BALLET Along with the film industry, one of Los Angeles’ greatest entertainment assets is music. While theater, dance, opera, and other mediums continually attempt to match world-class cities such as New York, Chicago, and those in Europe, music—especially classical music—is thriving. (This may well be due to […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: ECSTASY (Cole Theatre Company at A Red Orchid Theatre)

A POWERFUL PLAY EVEN WITH A PLOT AS POINTLESS AS ITS PEOPLE With Ecstasy, now being revived at A Red Orchid Theatre, a new Chicago theater succeeds at first: Cole Theatre Company establishes its roots in realism with a play that’s older than most of the actors. Made famous in 1997 by Roadworks Productions’ trenchant […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE ARSONISTS (Strawdog)

THIS SHOW’S ON FIRE “Ich bin ein Biedermann” isn’t what President Kennedy famously said in Berlin in 1963, but it’s something playwright Max Frisch might have said while writing Herr Biedermann und die Brandstifter in 1958. Now translated as The Arsonists in Alistair Beaton’s 2007 version, Frisch’s comedy explores the complex interplay between perception and reality. […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: METHTACULAR! (About Face Theatre at Theater Wit)

BREAKING BETTER He who laughs last laughs best—especially when you overcome an addiction to methamphetamine. So, after recovery, what do you do next? (And I don’t mean Disneyland.) You turn pain into gain. You write and act out Methtacular!, a strategically comic postcard from the edge. In a manic, memorable 90 minutes, thirtysomething Steven Strafford […]