Take an Axe to Other Plans and Go See Firebrand Theatre’s “Lizzie”

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Lizzie, a musical by Tim Maner, Alan Stevens Hewitt, and Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer, is a taut, perfectly structured play in the mode of Sweeney Todd or Jekyll and Hyde: a dark, bloody story with a thrilling score and such inventive stagecraft that it makes for an electrifying night at the theatre. The production by brand new Firebrand Theatre, making its […]

FL Review: Dream Cast Hits Just the Right Notes in Dreamgirls

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If a critic were limited to just one word to describe a performance, the word for Dream Girls would be POWERFUL! What an amazing musical, dazzling cast, vivid costumes, smooth transitions and outstanding performance. Stage Door, a small, 350-seat theater, rarely disappoints. Of course, the R&B music is vivid and catchy — that is to […]

Three Cheers For Brilliant “Lysistrata Jones”

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When Aristophanes wrote Lysistrata, one character in Refuge Theatre Project’s Chicago premiere production of the musical Lysistrata Jones asks, do you think he imagined it would be performed thousands of years later…and parodied? The thought may not have occurred to the Greek comic writer, but the reality is that it has been performed and parodied again and again, and […]

Pegasus Theatre’s ‘Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery’ is moving, masterful

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Shakin’ the Mess Outta Misery, written by Shay Youngblood and poignantly directed by Pegasus Theatre’s Ilesa Duncan, is a paean to family- both biological and chosen- and above all to the bonds between black women, to love that buoys and sustains through hardship and heartbreak. The stand-out cast tell this 1960’s southern coming-of-age tale with […]

Theatre Y’s Yerma is an Expressionistic Powerhouse

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This review has been updated to include a paragraph about lighting and music. Entering the new Theatre Y and Red Tape Theatre space at The Ready for their stunning production of Federico García Lorca’s seldom-performed “tragical poem” Yerma is like being transported into another world. Chairs for the audience encircle the black box theatre, its floor […]

Relationship Contradictions Abound in Brilliant “Significant Other”

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“Don’t get old. Don’t die young but don’t get old. I feel so useless.” This advice, from his grandmother Helene to Jordan, the main character of About Face Theatre and Theatre Wit’s joint midwest premiere of Joshua Harmon’s acclaimed Significant Other, speaks volumes about the way that this play works. Harmon doesn’t spend much of the […]