The Bridges of Madison County

The Bridges of Madison County is the story of a Italian war bride, Francesca, who is saved from raveged Italy by an americal GI who marries her and takes he back to his farm in rural Iowa. Francesca and Bud (Bart Shatto) in 1965 have been married for 18 years and they have two children, Michael (Tanner Hake) and Carolyn (Brooke MacDougal) now teenagers. Bud is a good man despite being a bore-he is a typical farmer bent on raising his crops and providing for his family. Francesca loves him but she urns for more exciment in her life.

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Ah, Wilderness! at the Goodman Theatre

We meet the Miller family – four children, the mother and father with an aunt and an uncle all surviving living together in an upper middle class Connecticut house. It is the 4th of July, 1906 in a time of pure innocence in America. The patriarch, Nat Miller (the commanding Randall Newsome) is a kind heart and understanding father while Essie (a winning Ora Jones) is the controlling old-fashion mother always looking out for her children. Sid Davis (Larry Bates) is Essie’s drunken brother who loves Lily Miller (the chaeming Kate Fry) Nat’s sister who refuses to marry Sid as long as he drinks.

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Johnny Johnson

Kurt Weill’s score has odes to his German operetta roots with a flavor of American motiffs such as marches, anthems and military themes. He even has a ‘Cowboy song’! We hear sweet ballads, cute toe-tapping melodies, darkly moody underscoring with mocking military drum rolls and military excess. Weill’s score is a masterpiece of anti-war agri-prop.

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London Assurance

This wacky comedy is a near-farce with over-the-top characters that are lovable and unpredictable. Once many of the players slow down and speak a tad slower with stronger articulation, this smart comedy would garner even more laughs. Kingsley Day, Cameron Feagin and David Fink lead a ‘game’ cast of players totally committed to Boucicaust’s ambitious play!

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Moby Dick 2017

Moby Dick is a harrowing and intoxicating adventure that explores revenge, obession, sea adventure and destiny. This Lookingglass production is, in my view, the finest show that Lookingglass has ever mounted! Seeing this physically challenging production will give you a glimpse into the depths that live staging to tell stories can achieve!. Hey, after seeing it, I could almost smell the salt air! Take those who never go to live shows to experience the grandure of the stage. They’ll be amazed!

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The King and I 2017 National Tour

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first production based on a true story opened on Broadway in March, 1951 with Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, racked up 1,246 performances in the initial run and Brynner did 4,625 performances over 34 years as the King plus the 1956 movie with Deborah Kerr. Full of timeless songs like “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance,” The King and I is a Broadway classic that is the ultimate ‘feel good” show considered as the first true ‘theatre spectacle,’ The King and I opened the door for later scenically opulent shows.

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Native Gardens

While much of the general arguments and insults sure make the older Butley’s look (and act immature), the young liberals come off as semi-heros as the battle over the yard emerges. It is well known that many neighborhood land disputes end up in ugly violence, Native Gardens has an unsatisfying ‘happy ending.’ This play is quite funny mostly, the coceit is plausible yet quickly moves from funny, problemic to silly farce. The undertow here is that the older folks are cliches and the young liberals should rule making an uneven age bias obvious.

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44th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards

“At the Table”, Michael Perlman’s drama of scintillating conversation between diverse friends during a weekend in the country, took home the most honors on Monday, June 5, during the 44th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards ceremony recognizing excellence in non-union Chicago theatre. The awards show was held at the Athenaeum Theatre for the first time, a fitting venue since it is home to several non-Equity theater companies.

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Bright Half Life

This memory play starts out in time order as we see how and when Erica and Vicky meet, become an item, move in together, adopt children and eventually marriage. This multilevel play is told in flashbacks, flashforwards, dreams and fantasies. This play grabs us and makes us follow the disjointed memories because we like and care about both characters. We learn about their foibles, wants and desires as, in most relationships, one or the other holds the power, as the stakes shift as the power shifts. Early on Erica is tha aggresive one yet once thwy are committed, Vicky becomes incharge of most events.

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