“The Woman in Black” is a scary, entertaining ghost story

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Roger Mastroianni. Arthur Kipps, the central character of Stephen Mallatratt’s adaptation of Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black is invited to contribute to a circle of people telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve. (Ghost stories, we are being told, are not just for Halloween.) Despite […]

“Mansfield Park” may not be perfect Austen, but it is entertaining Austen

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member There is a reason why Jane Austen is so enduringly popular. Well, there are several. One is that she managed so perfectly to capture the class and sexual struggles of her time. Another is that her characters are always compelling. Yet another is that the plots […]

USAOnStage NYC: It’s hard not to be hooked by Head Over Heels

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By Lauren Van Hemert, American Theatre Critics Association member If Something Rotten and Mamma Mia had a love child, Head Over Heels might be it. It’s a high-spirited, saucy jaunt radiating with positivity. If the music alone doesn’t hook you, the underlying theme of love and acceptance should. The musical is inspired by Sir Phillip […]

“This Bitter Earth” is easily one of the best plays of 2018

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Liz Lauren. We’re living in a highly charged political age, but perhaps there is no single issue (unless you count the President as an “issue”) more polarizing in the country than one that should have been relegated to the history books half a century […]

Kokandy Names Artistic Director and Associates

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CHICAGO (November 19, 2018) – Kokandy Productions is pleased to announce the appointment of Derek Van Barham as the company’s new Producing Artistic Director, succeeding Allison Hendrix, who served in the position since Kokandy was founded in 2010. Barham is joined by three new Artistic Associates: Adrian Abel Azevedo, Leda Hoffmann and Nik Whitcomb. The new artistic team is supported by Kokandy’s Board of […]

Rabe’s “Cosmologies” is an absurdist play that just doesn’t work

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Claire Demos. You know how you can tell if your play might be a tad self-indulgent? If it’s over two and a half hours long and your name isn’t Shakespeare or Eugene O’Neill, that might be a good starting point. Not that there aren’t […]

Citadel’s “Joseph” is a bit crowded but thoroughly entertaining

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by North Shore Camera Club. You’ll never get me to agree that the small stage of Lake Forest’s Citadel Theatre is a great space for putting on large cast musicals, but if you’re going to do one, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is an […]