Jesus Christ Superstar at Paramount Theatre

Evan Tyrone Martin is Jesus, Mykal Kilgore is Judas and Felicia Boswell is Mary. They are the stars but do not underestimate the talent of those high priests Lorenzo Rush, Jr. as Caiaphas, Avionce Hoyles as Annas and King Herod (I just realized he played both roles). Rufus Bonds, Jr. as Pontius Pilot amazed me at the dream. Everyone in this cast is a star after all, it takes a village or in this case a bunch of disciples and villagers to make this show as spectacular as it is.

Read more

Shakespeare In Love

The dynamic of Will casting his Romeo by Thomas Kent (Kate McGonigle disguised as a man) and eventually falling for Kent once hs discovers that Kent is really Viola de Lesseps, a star-struck want-to-be actor. Problem: Will is married and Viola is committed to marry the irrepressible Lord Wessex (Dennis Grimes). This doomed romance fuels the play with clever plot twists that are hilarious. We also hear some famous lines and scenes for Romeo & Juliet including sword fighting scenes and the famous dying scenes.

Read more

Marry Me A Little

. Marry Me A Little has been updated with the help and blessing of Sondheim to include songs cut from the final versions of Follies, A Little Night Music and Company among others. Based on a concept from Craig Lucas and Norman Rene, the original idea was filled with songs from early Sondheim projects such as Saturday Night, The Girls of Summer, Evening Primrose and Road Show.

Read more

Mary Poppins at the Mercury Theatre Chicago

The magic and mystery of Mary Poppins (is she myth or an angel from heaven?) is effectively played by Nicole Arnold while Matthew Crowle’s Bert guides us through the journey of the Banks family’s awakening with panache and a warm smile. We are totally engrossed and richly rewarded having spent a few hours in Poppins’ world where anything can happen if you take a spoonful of sugar. Matthew Crowle anchors this production.

Read more

In To America

One of the most telling traits of this show is the treatment of common men and women, the real immigrants, not the upper-class privileged immigrants who came here with land grants and armies. This presentation is about common folks in their own words. We hear their plights and their desires – and – their problems one they arrived. We realize that discrimination was always a fabric of the American Experience. That fear of new arrivals, especially those who looked different and had different cultures, was hard to assimilate yet somehow they did become “Americans.”

Read more

Born Yesterday

Featuring an impressive set (designed by Grant Dabin), Garson Kanin’s 1946 dark comedy Born Yesterday is a timely cautionary tale about internal threats to our democracy from corrupt businessmen. (sounds familiar?) Kanin’s clever structured story involves a boorish, crude and loudmouthed millionaire junk dealer who descends on Washington, DC just after World War II to bribe a US Senator in a scheme to salvage all the junk metal (from tanks, trucks, and cannons) in Europe scattered around France Belgium and Germany.

Read more

By the Water

By the Water uses the diaster to trigger deep-seated personal problems and how to move forward from them. Times change, people change, loyalties shift but family core values survive as life moves on. With clever dialogue, surprising humor and realistic characters, By the Water is a smart different family drama. Director Cody Estle has his actors nicely rendering their characters blending their angst with humor and passion. This is a wonderful play that needs to be seen.

Read more

Charlie Parker’s Yardbird

The jazz infused music (conducted by Kelly Kuo) was varied, brassy and nicely conveyed the mood of the piece. Brownlee effectively presented the contradictory side of the troubled genius. We see how heroin destroyed Bird that led to his death at age 35. Much of the best arias in the piece came as the women led a long and heartfelt tribute to the fallen composer. This 90 minute chamber opera is a rare treat about a forgotten jazz giant whom youngsters probably don’t know.

Read more