Post image for Chicago Theater Review: THE MERRY WIDOW (Light Opera Works in Evanston)

IT DOESN’T GET ANY MERRIER THAN THIS This radiant revival is Light Opera Works’ fourth coming of Franz Lehár’s masterpiece from an earlier turn of the century. Rudy Hogenmiller’s sterling staging carries more than enough jubilation to make The Merry Widow a holiday delight. Running through the rest of the Old Year, this three-hour confection, […]


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: THE MAGNIFICENT DUNBAR HOTEL (Robey Theatre Company at LATC)

AN EXTRA CHANCE TO CHECK-IN With ticket sales hotter than the Great Chicago Fire, the even greater Robey Theatre Company has just announced an extension of their wildly popular, sold-out The Magnificent Dunbar Hotel – but only through Dec. 28, 2014, when it absolutely must close. Considering the logistics of compiling one of the biggest casts on […]


Post image for Los Angeles Music Preview: THE KLEZMATICS:  HAPPY JOYOUS HANUKKAH (Disney Hall)

JOY VEY A figurehead in the folk movement, Woody Guthrie wrote hundreds of political, traditional and children’s songs, as well as ballads and improvised works. Yet how many of you know that Woody Guthrie wrote Hanukkah songs? Indeed he did, and in a pairing as richly diverse as Guthrie’s life itself—from the plains of tiny […]


Post image for Los Angeles Art Exhibit Review: PIERRE HUYGHE (Los Angeles County Museum of Art)

PIERRE IN WONDERLAND At the entrance to Pierre Huyghe’s retrospective at LACMA, a tuxedoed gentleman requested my name and then announced me to the exhibit as if I was entering a grand ball (Name Announcer, 2011). I was then greeted by a low-lit maze of angled and mostly stark white walls which led me down […]


Post image for San Francisco Theater Review: ELF THE MUSICAL (Curran Theatre)

MY KINGDOM FOR SOME INSULIN Known by many as “the most wonderful time of the year,” Christmas has richly earned its reputation for gooey sentimentality, decking the halls with mucho kitsch, and spreading good cheer to all of those people you’ve managed to ignore all year. Despite its questionable source material, Elf, Will Ferrell’s hit […]

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Post image for Chicago Theater Review: CIRQUE DREAMS HOLIDAZE (Chicago Theatre)

YES, VIRGINIA, THERE IS A CHRISTMAS CIRCUS It’s dazzle central and a welcome return to Chicago by the one-ring, 20-feat Cirque Dreams performers, but only through December 21. Their extravaganza Cirque Dreams Holidaze lives up to all three names with a two-hour spectacular to charm even the most jaded brat or cynical adult. Wonder isn’t […]


Post image for Los Angeles Theater Preview: LOVE, NOËL: THE LETTERS AND SONGS OF NOËL COWARD (The Wallis)

YOU’RE GOING TO LOVE, NOËL Noël Coward would have loved that his name appears twice in Love, Noël: The Letters and Songs of Noël Coward, which, having completely sold out its run at the swanky Wallis Annenberg Center in Beverly Hills, has just been extended. The entertainment interweaves his songs with personal letters sent between […]


Post image for Chicago Theater Review: AIRLINE HIGHWAY (Steppenwolf)

A POOR MAN’S LANFORD WILSON Only in New Orleans could a dumpy parking lot flanking a decrepit motel on a highway leading only to the airport be transformed into a lagniappe-soaked, Mardi Gras-festive party place. This ugly setting gradually gets festooned with colored lights, bunting, papier-mâché medallions, beer kegs, glitzy garlands, and loud jazz. “Laissez […]


Post image for National Tour Review: BLITHE SPIRIT (Ahmanson)

BIRD THOU SURE AIN’T NOW Hail to thee, blithe Spirit! Bird thou never wert, That from Heaven, or near it, Pourest thy full heart In profuse strains of unpremeditated art. – P.B. Shelley, “To a Skylark” If time had not shown that Noël Coward’s 1941 comedy Blithe Spirit is a funny play, one would not find […]

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Post image for Cabaret Preview: A BROADWAY CHRISTMAS (Upright Cabaret at Catalina Bar & Grill in Hollywood)

A HOT CHRISTMAS Under boughs of holly and multi-media of silver and gold, stars and snowflakes will glitter as Upright Cabaret combines the Best of Broadway with the Carols of Christmas for the ninth annual A Broadway Christmas, which plays this Wednesday & Thursday, Dec. 17 & 18, at 8:30. Along with the extraordinary vocal talent […]