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Ecstasy (Comments Off)

August 27, 2014 • Category: Current shows, REVIEWS, REVIEWS BY, Theatre Reviews, Tom Williams

Act two, twice as long as act one, finds Jean, Dawn and husband Mick (Boyd Harris) with the groups old friend Len (Layne Manzer) having a drunken party in Jean’s flat. Harp and gin are the order of the night as all get super “pissed’ (to use an English term for drunk). Mike, in his Irish brogue philosophizes in pure Irish mentality as he and his old bud, Len reminisce about their days as youths while Jean stays somewhat stoic as he imbibes her gin faithfully. Dawn becomes even more obnoxious than normal as she gets shit-faced. Through all the alcohol, we witness the quiet lonely desperation of the poor as each now lament their dashed hopes and dreams. Len is too shy to approach Jean, whom he has always pinned for while Jean fails to appreciate Len as a person who could makes her life pleasant.

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Gala Benefit Evening at the Ravinia Festival (Comments Off)

In short, although none of the repertoire here was completely first-rate (the Mozart overture excepted), and despite my reservations about Joshua Bell’s playing, this was a highly engaging evening of music, and the performance of the Dvořák was beyond reproach. James Conlon clearly has an exceptional rapport with this ensemble and often brings out its best; I, for one, would gladly welcome him as a frequent guest during the regular CSO season at Orchestra Hall.

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Some Men (Comments Off)

Prolific playwright Terrence McNally sure has a thumb on the pulse of gay men in America as no one else captures their essence like he can. His honest presentation of the fabric of gay life including all the foibles, eccentricities, and fears are effectively presented in his 2006 drama, Some Men. In its Chicago premiere under the direction of David Zak and Derek Van Barham, Some Men unfolds in a series of vignettes scattered throughout the last 70 years of gay history in America.

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Myths & Hymns (Comments Off)

The songs range from folk, electronic jazz and piano ballad to gospel and musical theater styles with lyrics quite complicated to sing requiring a blend of pop, classical and opera singing styles that was deftly rendered by this terrific cast. During the 65 minute one-act opera, each of the cast had their moments to exhibit their strong, accurate and compelling vocal dexterity.

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