green light recs: how we reveal recommendations
At ChicagoOnStage.com, we are theatre people doing theatre criticism, which means we take lighting seriously.
OK, clearly we don't always do so since we're being a bit silly right now, but the fact is that traffic lights seem to us to be the perfect metaphor for theatre criticism. They are simple; they are universally understood, and they come in just three varieties: green for GO to this show, red for STOP and think before going, and yellow for, well, exactly what we do with them in real life. May well be a decent show too, but you need to read the review: there is a reason we don't simply recommend it outright. We all get this so quickly: why has no one done this before?
We're going to use this simple three-color method of alerting you to our opinions. With each review, a graphic of a streetlight will appear. And even if you don't read it, you'll get the message.
is our recommendation shorthand!
For a complete list of current and upcoming Chicago productions, we invite you go to chicagoplays.com, which has kindly allowed us to link their pages.
To see reviews, click on titles below.
Recommended (Green Light)
- Algorithm Nation or The Static Quo (open end)
- Blue Man Group (open end)
- The Bridges of Madison County (through Apr 21)
- A Bronx Tale (through Mar 24)
- Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder (through Mar 17)
- Hamilton (open end)
- Hands on a Hardbody (through Apr 27)
- How I Learned to Drive (through Mar 24)
- How to Live on Earth (through Mar 24)
- The Infinite Wrench (open end)
- Ma Rainey's Black Bottom (through Mar 24)
- Mamma Mia! (through Apr 14)
- The Man Who Was Thursday (through Apr 7)
- May the Road Rise Up (through Mar 30)
- Noises Off (through Mar 31)
- She the People (open end)
- Southern Gothic (open end)
Recommended (Yellow Light)
Remember: These shows may be perfectly good, but I had some issue with them that necessitated their being in this category. See the review.
- Act(s) of God (through Apr 7)
Just a word about why we have so many more green light shows than others:
I do most of the reviewing myself, and there are tons of possible shows I could see, so many that I could not possibly see them all. Why would I choose to see a show I'm unlikely to enjoy? Occasionally I'm wrong: thus yellow and red light reviews. But logic dictates that if I choose to see a show thinking I'll probably like it, I probably will.
Red Light Reviews
I found shows in this category too weak in some way(s) to recommend at all, but once again YMMV. I'm only one person; no reviewer is The Final Word. For me, a red light means "Stop: research this play before spending time and money on it." But read more reviews than just mine.