Rose

Linda Reiter grabs us and hold us throughout her 90 minute sole performance. My generation can still tell you where they were when John Kennedy was shot, so we still have a fascination with all things 'Kennedy.' Reiter channels Rose as she unflinchingly speaks of the triumphs and tragedies of the Kennedy clan. Along the way, we gain insights into Rose's character, her subtle strength and her devotion to her family, especially her boys. We also become aware of the extreme influence of Joe Kennedy on the family. Read more

After Over 535 Chicago Shows

After writing three-hundred and fifty-one reviews in two years (and seeing another 185 shows), I have decided to leave ChicagoCritic.com. I would like to thank Tom Williams for giving me this opportunity, the friends I’ve made among the other reviewers, Jeff committee members and Saints, and, most of all, the theatre practitioners for welcoming me so graciously and treating me so kindly Read more

MAME at Light Opera Works

The creatives at Light Opera Works, under the determined direction from Rudy Hogenmiller, have mounted a fabulous production of the1966 Broadway musical Mame, the show that necessitates a lady who can do comedy, act, sing and dance- a rarity in a middle aged performer. Rosalind Russell in 1957 in the comedy Auntie Mame , Angela Lansbury in 1966 Broadway musical, Lucille Ball in 1974 in the movie version of Mame. That character is one of the most charmingly lovable, vivid and endearing characters to grace the stage. Finding all the attributes in one person is difficult leading to few productions of Mame onstage.. My best guess is that Mame was last mounted in Chicago at Marriott Theatre in 2001. Read more

Bloodshot

A one-man noir story? It’s a strange idea, but the British drama Bloodshot has been touring Europe to critical acclaim since 2011, and is now making its American debut at The Greenhouse Theater Center as part of the Solo Celebration series. Unlike the other Solo stories thus far, which were about real people, and often drawn from the performers’ own lives, Bloodshot is entirely fictional. Its twisting story and diabolical atmosphere are reminiscent of the murder mysteries of the mid-twentieth century, such as Ira Levin’s Death Trap, which recently played at Drury Lane. Simon Slater, the actor who takes on the role in this unusually long and demanding production, is a top-level performer, and over the course of the show, he demonstrates not only his strength as an actor, but in several other types of performance, as well. Read more

Three Hotels 2016

Celebrating its third season, Bluebird Arts begins its six-week run this weekend of Jon Robin Baitz’s 1993 off-Broadway hit Three Hotels. With its focus on stories exploring the human condition through the “genuine problems of real people,” Bluebird Arts certainly fulfills its mission with Baitz’s study of a well-meaning, modern American family of liberal idealists turned cynical by the compromising ambiguities of the high-power, executive world. Unfortunately, despite what seems to be a strong script, the two performances, though engaging and energetic, left me emotionally ambivalent toward the production and wanting for more grounded, emotional truth. Read more

The Jackie Wilson Story

Black Ensemble’s fortieth anniversary season continues with a remount of its wildly popular musical revue The Jackie Wilson Story. First produced in 2000 and originally running for two years, this creation of Black Ensemble’s founding artistic director Jackie Taylor can be thought of as an quintessential Black Ensemble show, as it depicts the tumultuous life of a mid-twentieth century titan of African-American music, contrasted with the energy of his songs and a redeeming message. Read more