Conjuring the chemistry of ‘Louis and Keely’

Conjuring the chemistry of ‘Louis and Keely’

March 31, 2015 / Movies, Music, Stage

On stage at the Royal George Theatre recently, the guys in the band were warming up, stepping around as they played a brassy riff from “Louis and Keely, ‘Live’ at the Sahara,” the new “play with music” co-written by film director Taylor Hackford, actress Vanessa Claire Stewart and actor Jake Broder, and produced by Hershey Felder.

Taking ownership of an isolated life in ‘Title and Deed’

Taking ownership of an isolated life in ‘Title and Deed’

March 30, 2015 / Stage, Stage Reviews

For those with a literal turn of mind, a play called “Title and Deed” might suggest issues of ownership and the transfer of real estate. But while groundedin the more primal realities of man’s existence — particularly the inescapable fact of his mortality — playwright Will Eno is very much a poet as opposed to a literalist. And the “property” at the center of his hour-long one-man show — now receiving its Midwest premiere at Lookingglass Theatre, where it is being performed by Michael Patrick Thornton — is nothing more or less than one man’s life.

Delving into the complex evolution of “The Good Book”

Delving into the complex evolution of “The Good Book”

March 29, 2015 / Books, Stage, Stage Reviews

“The Good Book,” the play by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson now receiving a supremely artful world premiere at Court Theatre, is so full of complexity, ambition, contradiction, humor, satire, intellectual history, political manipulation, questions about translation, ancient and contemporary references and characters, and profound matters of faith (as well as skepticism), that it should come as no surprise to learn that the book that inspired it was the Bible.

‘End Days’ opening show at new Windy City Playhouse

‘End Days’ opening show at new Windy City Playhouse

March 24, 2015 / Stage, Stage Reviews

Windy City Playhouse, Chicago’s newest Equity theater — a grand-scale storefront with an elaborate lobby bar located at 3014 W. Irving Park Rd. — has made an intriguing choice for its opening production. Deborah Zoe Laufer’s “End Days,” is a post-Sept. 11, 2001 play that trades in many of the subjects people prefer to dance around, from religion, bullying and depression, to doomsday prognostications and death. It also happens to be super smart and laugh-out-loud funny.

A desperate chorus of voices in Griffin Theatre’s revival of “Balm in Gilead”

A desperate chorus of voices in Griffin Theatre’s revival of “Balm in Gilead”

March 24, 2015 / Stage, Stage Reviews

Now, more than three decades after Steppenwolf’s fabled production of Lanford Wilson’s “Balm in Gilead,” director Jonathan Berry has gathered a cast of 30 actors for the Griffin Theatre production of the play — a work that is primarily a crazy cacophony of the voices of heroin addicts, drug dealers, prostitutes, lesbians, transvestites, criminals and a slew of other desperate and deluded souls who gather in a greasy spoon restaurant in New York.