World premiere of “Beaches” (the musical) at Drury Lane Oakbrook

World premiere of “Beaches” (the musical) at Drury Lane Oakbrook

July 3, 2015 / Movies, Music, Stage, Stage Reviews

They meet cute, as kids, in Atlantic City. The year is 1952. Cee Cee desperately craves an audience, and Bertie can only be dazzled by this child who is bursting with such talent and moxie. These opposites attract, and it is the start of a beautiful friendship that will endure (with one major rupture) for more than three decades. That friendship also is the focus of the new musical, “Beaches,” based on the popular 1988 movie that starred Bette Midler and Barbara Hershey.

Discovering love under the most extreme conditions in ‘Bent’

Discovering love under the most extreme conditions in ‘Bent’

July 2, 2015 / Daily Sizzle, Stage, Stage Reviews

In Martin Sherman’s “Bent,” a play that became something of a “cause celebre” when it debuted in London in 1979 with Ian McKellen in its central role, it is the plight of those forced to wear “the pink triangle” – the mark of homosexuals – that became the primary focus for the first time. THe Other Theatre Company is now presenting the harrowing drama in Chicago.

Cyndi Lauper still kicking up her heels with ‘Kinky Boots’

Cyndi Lauper still kicking up her heels with ‘Kinky Boots’

July 1, 2015 / People, Stage, Stage Reviews

Cyndi Lauper came to the phone on the morning of June 26th, at the very moment that the Supreme Court of the United States issued its decision making same-sex marriage a right nationwide. And the pop icon and 2013 Tony Award-winning composer of the hit Broadway musical, “Kinky Boots” – who has long made the issue of LGBT rights a signal cause – was clearly ecstatic about the ruling. In fact, it was enough to make her forget about her allergic reaction to a soy latte.

The return of The Hypocrites’ mighty marathon ‘All Our Tragic’

The return of The Hypocrites’ mighty marathon ‘All Our Tragic’

June 29, 2015 / Stage, Stage Reviews

It’s back: The Hypocrites is now performing its revised remount of “All Our Tragic” – director Sean Graney’s awe-inspiring 12-hour adaptation of all 32 of the surviving ancient Greek tragedies by Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides. The sheer monumentality of the company’s undertaking is mind-bloggling: A morning-to-night marathon performance featuring 17 performers possessed of an astounding level of mental focus and physical endurance, as well as formidable acting, combat and musical skills.

Chekhov retooled for the boomer and Millennial generations in Goodman Theatre production

Chekhov retooled for the boomer and Millennial generations in Goodman Theatre production

June 29, 2015 / Stage, Stage Reviews

Is Anton Chekhov rolling over in his grave in the Moscow cemetery where he was buried in 1904, at the far too young age of 44? Or, having caught wind of Christopher Durang’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike,” is he doing somersaults in celebration of the way the playwright has retrofitted several of his best known plays (“Uncle Vanya,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “The Seagull”), and made them more hip and accessible to a 21st century audience?

In “Goldfish,” young lovers try to dodge their parents’ mistakes

In “Goldfish,” young lovers try to dodge their parents’ mistakes

June 26, 2015 / Stage, Stage Reviews

To what extent are the personalities and relationship histories of your parents indicators of your own trajectory in life? Is their behavior imitated, sometimes to disastrous effect? Or is it rejected, with all the fierce determination (or unconscious impulses) that requires? These are the questions that drive “Goldfish,” John Kolvenbach’s disarming, alternately devastating and warmhearted play, now receiving an ideally intimate production by Route 66 Theatre Company.

Vintage circus story brought to life by Chicago Tap Theater

Vintage circus story brought to life by Chicago Tap Theater

June 26, 2015 / Dance, Stage

Chicago Tap Theater, founded in 2002 by dancer-choreographer Mark Yonally, can spin a story in a way few other dance or theater companies can match. Innovative, richly musical and character-driven, the rhythmic articulation of the ensemble’s wonderfully varied percussive footwork becomes a full-fledged language of its own – both emotional and descriptive. This Saturday (June 27 at 8 p.m.), the troupe will present the world premiere of “Circo Tap,” at the Athenaeum Theatre. It’s a continuation of “TightWire,” the beguiling piece performed last spring at Stage 773. It’s a dark charmer.