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 […]

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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 […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: STUPID FUCKING BIRD (Sideshow Theatre Company at Victory Gardens)

THE SEAGULL AS AN ALBATROSS At over two hours, it’s almost as long as its source. So it’s a good thing that Stupid Fucking Bird is more than a parody or it would soon lose its welcome. Aaron Posner’s reductionist, presentational semi-musical and meta-theatrical updating of Chekhov’s The Seagull, a drama where one generation frustrates […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Theater Review: THE FACE IN THE REEDS (Ruskin Group Theatre in Santa Monica)

THE RUBRICS OF FAITH A play as well presented and satisfyingly written as most of Robin Uriel Russin’s new The Face in the Reeds deserves special mention. The Family Holiday Dramedy with Heart is normally a dismal category, rarely featuring characters this sharp or dialogue this funny. The genre has its limitations, and through prudence […]

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Post image for Film Review: THE OUTRAGEOUS SOPHIE TUCKER (Directed by William Gazecki)

A BLAST OF THE RED HOT MAMA “I believe in tit for tat.  And if that’s not true, someone owes me a lot of tat!” – Sophie Tucker A good line, if you’re Kathy Griffin, Lisa Lampanelli, or Roseanne Barr living in 2014.  But if you’re Sophie Tucker, breaking into show biz during the Teddy […]

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Post image for Los Angeles Concert Review: HOORAY FOR HOLLYWOOD (Pasadena POPS)

HOLLYWOOD COMES TO PASADENA Surrounded by lush vegetation and a seemingly endless expanse of verdant lawn, with a clear, starry sky overhead, the L.A. Arboretum was a perfect setting to enjoy Hooray for Hollywood, the Pasadena POPS’ celebration of Hollywood film music, hosted (and at times conducted) by the charming and talented principal conductor, Michael […]

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Post image for Regional Music Preview: LUSCIOUS QUEER MUSIC FESTIVAL (Saratoga Springs Retreat in Upper Lake, CA)

“LUSCIOUS” IS AN UNDERSTATEMENT It’s one of those events that seemingly come out of nowhere; a happy collision of music, community, camping, and nature that will no doubt cause grief among those who heard about it after the fact. From August 22-24, 2014, the Saratoga Springs Retreat Center will be hosting the first and hopefully annual […]

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Post image for Off-Broadway Theater Review: VOICES OF SWORDS (Right Down Broadway Productions at Walkerspace)

A SWORD THAT’S HARD TO SWALLOW The best thing I can say about Kari Floren’s new play Voices of Swords is that it seems to be well-intentioned (it’s odd that the poster proclaims “new” when the play was produced and reviewed in 2008). Unfortunately, sitting through it feels like Ms. Floren and director Eve Brandstein […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: SOME MEN (Pride Films and Plays at Rivendell Theatre)

THE GREAT GAY IMPROVISERS You could call it an action meditation on marriage. As if to sum up his own theatrical legacy, as well as 70 years of gay life and love, Terrence McNally’s valedictory drama Some Men is a collage that merrily defies chronology. The reason: To prevent us from confusing the challenges of […]

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