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Geezers (Comments Off)

With Geezers, Graves and Johnston recreate their magic in a wonderful, honest and heartfelt drama. This ambitious work is both a ‘coming-of-age’ drama and a nostalgic trip back for the ‘geezers’ living in a retirement home. One of playwright Johnston’s strengths is his ability to create well-rounded empathetic characters then put them in believable situations. He sprinkles honesty with humor, even gallows humor, together with smart, witty dialogue without resorting to sentimentality.

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Emerson String Quartet at Ravinia Festival (Comments Off)

The venerable Emerson String Quartet opened their Monday-night program at Ravinia with what is arguably the greatest piece for string-quartet by the greatest master of the genre. Op. 131 is part of the series of five quartets that together represent Beethoven’s last major achievement – he was dead within a year of its 1826 completion. Composed in seven movements instead of the usual four, it is perhaps the most ambitious attempt to create a string quartet of symphonic sweep, and the result is at once dazzling and overwhelming: by turns melancholy, mischievous, serene, and tragic. If one can follow the many diverse threads brought together over the course of these seven movements, it is an experience not quite like any other.

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Intimate Apparel at Eclipse Theatre (Comments Off)

Playwright Lynn Nottage has emerged as a master story teller with a keen instinct for developing characters. Her six characters in Intimate Apparel each warrant a play of their own but only Esther (the empathetic Kelly Owens) gets Nottage’s focus. We quickly love Esther. We become fully engaged as we meet Esther who is a thirty-five year old single African-American women living in lower Manhattan in 1905 in Mrs. Dickson’s (Frances Wilkerson’s) boarding house.

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The Emperor of Atlantis & The Clever One (Comments Off)

While both pieces, in their own way, were interesting. well sung and staged, The Clever One was more ambitious yet The Emperor of Atlantis was darker and more powerful. These seldom performed works are worthy of an audience as they are both historical as well as creative modern fairy tales rich in satire.

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