“Prophet$” is an utterly hilarious look at televangelism

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Courier. Religious televangelists, with their megachurches, their jets, their nine-figure incomes, and (sometimes) their hypocrisy unveiled for all of their congregations to see, are such a ripe topic for satire that it’s almost amazing that Anthony Tournis was able to write his comedy […]

“Lefty and Crabbe” hilariously looks back on vaudeville and the early days of movies

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Evan Hanover . In The Ballad of Lefty and Crabbe, now playing at the Underscore Theatre, two talented vaudeville performers find themselves out of a career when, with the advent of talking films, vaudeville opportunities dry up completely. Desperate for any chance to keep […]

“Sweet Texas Reckoning,” perfect for Pride month, dives into complicated familial relationships

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Heather Mall. According to Artemisia Theatre, Sweet Texas Reckoning is a comedy, but you’d have to pardon audiences for not picking up the humor in this powerful production of Traci Godfrey’s play about familial relations, bigotry, and the coming out of a gay woman […]

There is serious import in RedTape’s lively and enjoyable “We Are Pussy Riot”

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Austin Oie. In 2012, an anonymous Russian activist/punk rock group that called itself Pussy Riot made headlines around the world by performing a 48-second “punk prayer” called “Virgin Mary, Chase Putin Away!” in the Church of Christ the Savior in Moscow. Though they were […]

“Ms. Blakk” is a joyful celebration of a little known LGBT hero

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. It’s a little bit difficult to review Steppenwolf’s latest production, Ms. Blakk For President, not because I don’t know if I liked it (what’s not to like about this festive, celebratory immersion into Queer history?) but because it’s hard to say exactly […]

“Bloomsday” beautifully and imaginatively explores time, love, and “Ulysses”

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Courier Bloomsday is the name given to June 16, when many Dubliners dress in early 20th Century clothing and celebrate the legacy of James Joyce, who created the memorable character of Leopold Bloom in Ulysses, a book that takes place on that one […]

Dennis Bisto’s brilliant performance dominates Trap Door’s “The Killer”

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Chris Popio. When was the last time two Eugene Ionesco plays were being produced simultaneously in Chicago? With A Red Orchid’s The Killing Game already going strong, Trap Door Theatre—well known for the brand of surrealistic, absurdist, dystopian drama that Ionesco creates—brings us his […]