“Methtacular” on video takes us on one addict’s harrowing…and humorous…journey

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association. Note: This show, originally slated to be performed live at Theater Wit, is available online instead due to coronavirus. For a discussion of theatres responding to coronavirus restrictions, click here. 16th Street Theatre was about to open Methtacular, a revival of a one-man show by […]

Coronavirus forces theatres to try novel approaches

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“I know someone like you understands the importance—the all-consuming social importance of live theater.” — Mark Lew, from Teenage Dick As the coronavirus crisis worsens and states, including Illinois, are instituting “shelter-at-home” proclamations, Americans are having to learn how to deal with a social and cultural situation they have never faced before. Quarantines are adversely […]

A novel idea: Watch the clever and enjoyable “Teenage Dick” at home

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association; photos by Charles Osgood. Note: This show, originally slated to be performed live at Theater Wit, is available online instead due to coronavirus.  I was planning to review Theater Wit’s new production of Mike Lew’s Teenage Dick long before the coronavirus changed the world, forcing […]

Her Honor Jane Byrne, a fascinating play about Chicago politics and racism, falls victim to Coronavirus

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association; photos by Liz Lauren. Note: This play has been canceled due to the coronavirus; however, the cast and crew worked hard and deserve to be reviewed anyway. I voted for Jane Byrne in 1979, when she successfully ran to replace the utterly ineffectual Michael Bilandic […]

Real life, with all of its ups and downs, laughter and pain, is the subject of “Middletown” at the Apollo Theatre

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association; photo by Edison Graff for GFour Productions. Like A.R. Gurney’s classic Love Letters, Dan Clancy’s Middletown, now playing at the Apollo Theatre, is designed not to be performed with a full set, props, and costumes but on a bare stage with actors reading from scripts. […]

Promethean’s tightened “Mrs’ Warren’s Profession” remains true to Shaw

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association, photo by Tom McGrath, TCMcG Photography. In all these years, I have never before seen a production of George Bernard Shaw’s Mrs. Warren’s Profession (just another of my many failings as a theatre critic). I knew, of course, what the titular “profession” is, but that’s […]

“Here Lies Henry” is a playfully philosophical puzzle wrapped in an enigmatic character and structure

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Review by Karen Topham, ChicagoOnstage, member American Theatre Critics Association, photo by Emily Schwartz. In an era in which the very nature of truth is being questioned on an almost daily basis, Interrobang Theatre’s revival of the 1995 one-man play Here Lies Henry, featuring a character who is a self-proclaimed liar, feels completely appropriate. I […]