Provocative Casa Valentina looks back at the little-known world of early 60s crossdressers

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by  Cody Jolly Photography. Harvey Fierstein’s playwrighting career was launched with his sensitive Torch Song Trilogy back in 1982. Though he has spent most of the time since then working in the showier world of musicals (Kinky Boots, Hairspray and others), he returned to the […]

(Non)Fiction asks who owns our stories as it focuses on the relationship of a woman, her lover, and her book

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by  Sarah Heilbronner of Aviva Media Company. Jillian Leff’s (Non)Fiction, now playing in a world premiere by the Right Brain Project, is one of those intense little black box gems that so often seem to arrive under the radar at Chicago’s neighborhood theatres. Presented on […]

Gary Griffin and Writers Theatre take us on a magical journey “Into the Woods”

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Michael Brosilow. Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Into the Woods has been a source of joy and fascination to me since its 1987 Broadway premiere. I listened to and wore out recordings of its soundtrack long before I ever actually saw the show, and […]

“Out of Love” is as brilliant and complex as the female friendships it embodies

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Emily Schwartz. Elinor Cook’s impressive, poignant Out of Love belongs to an unfortunately rare genre: plays that, without pulling punches, highlight and explore the complexity of women’s relationships. Its two protagonists, daughters of friends, grow up together and remain connected all of their lives […]

Red Tape’s “All Quiet” is a brilliant, harrowing interpretation of Remarque’s famous novel

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Austin Oie. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque is probably the quintessential fictional account of WWI, a novel with German protagonists overwhelmed by the harsh realities of a war they had signed up for after being assured it would be […]

The touring “Come From Away” is every bit as funny, emotional, and inspiring as Broadway’s version

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Review by Karen Topham, American Theatre Critics Association member; photo by Matthew Murphy. Every American knows what happened on September 11, 2001, but until the musical Come From Away premiered on Broadway in 2017, few knew one of the most incredible and uplifting stories connected with that devastating day. The musical, written by Canadians Irene […]