THE PLOT THIN-ENS Can lightning strike thrice? Over two decades later, it’s happened again — a third collaboration between author/director Eric Simonson and the world-famous, nine-member Ladysmith Black Mambazo. Like The Song of Jacob Zulu in 1992 and Nomathemba in 1996, Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s world premiere Lindiwe, co-directed with Jonathan Berry, is imbued with the ensemble’s seamless a […]

{ 0 comments }

JUMP FOR JITNEY It is an incontestable fact that every play August Wilson wrote justifies being looked at again and again. It has been fascinating to see how the moral, political and emotional life of African-Americans has been given the sweep of history by concentrating on the ten decades of a tumultuous century and how […]

{ 0 comments }

DÉJÀ VU MEETS GROUNDHOG DAY “Birth was the death of him”: Terse to the point of cruelty, Samuel Beckett devours the human experience in six words, repeatedly juxtaposing graves with cradles. Waiting for Godot, his minimalist masterpiece, takes nearly three hours for the same result. But Beckett succeeds in his life-long task — to “find the […]

{ 1 comment }

A CAUTIONARY TALE FOR THE #METOO ERA When this production first premiered at Lyric Opera in 2014, opening the company’s sixtieth anniversary season, I noted how much Chicago loves Don Giovanni. Its popularity seems to have formed the foundation of the company, which made the Mozart opera its first production back in 1954 and has […]

{ 0 comments }

GERALD CLAYTON SOLOS AT LACC ONE NIGHT ONLY There are few times in life that one witnesses an artist and knows immediately that something is different. I can even catch it on a recording. That specialness that can’t be replicated by imitation or study. Well, to quote Thelonius Monk: “Know it when you hear it.” […]

{ 0 comments }

CHICAGO OPERA THEATER UPS THE ANTE AND PUSHES THE LIMITS The bad news: Everest and Aleko, Chicago Opera Theater’s engrossing double bill at Millennium Park’s Harris Theatre, closes this weekend. The good news: This dynamic duo more than earns a review of record. Enterprisingly mounted by a boundary-breaching company and featuring a massive chorus and orchestra and eight soaring […]

{ 0 comments }

AN EDWARDIAN WAKE-UP CALL You can’t keep a good play down. Produced under the pseudonym of K.G. Sowerby, the Edwardian drama Rutherford and Son was a huge hit in 1912 — until the playwright was later revealed as a woman, Githa Sowerby. Perhaps due to male resentment of the play’s depiction of a brutish dad, it disappeared […]

{ 0 comments }

THANKS BUT NO THANKS I can’t imagine a riper subject for satire than the chokehold that far-left liberal political correctness has on America. Playwright Larissa Fasthorse offers her 2015 comedy at The Geffen that is chock-full of the ridiculing we need, but satire without a story gets old fast. Instead of farce, which is grounded […]

{ 1 comment }

DEAD MAN SINGING Lyric Opera doesn’t put on many contemporary operas, at least not like the Windy City’s edgier companies Chicago Fringe Opera and Thompson Street Opera. And that’s not a criticism. But when Lyric Opera does go contemporary, it goes boldly, with big, splashy productions — and Dead Man Walking has got an excellent […]

{ 0 comments }

GARRIFIC It’s been almost a half-century since Garrick Ohlsson won the International Frédéric Chopin Competition in Warsaw, so I attended his recital at The Wallis in Beverly Hills last Friday with a bit of trepidation. And seeing his large frame in person, I wondered at first that he should be hauling the piano not playing […]

{ 0 comments }