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Sep 18, 2017 – 9:19 am

Review: To use Shakespeare and farce in the same sentence is almost certainly to think of “The Comedy of Errors,” and maybe patches of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Probably not, however, the late romantic adventure tale “Pericles, Prince of Tyre.” But it is precisely a generous infusion of over-the-top silliness that makes such endearing stuff of “Pericles” at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wis. ★★★★

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Solemnity rules as Riccardo Muti guides CSO through musical perspectives on human spirit

Mar 16, 2012 – 4:31 pm
Riccardo Muti music director Chicago Symphony 2012

Review: Riccardo Muti has given Chicago many reasons to celebrate his music directorship of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, but perhaps the most perfect expression of his belief in art’s purpose comes in the current run of rarely heard works for chorus and orchestra by Brahms, Schoenberg and Cherubini. ****

Role Playing: Bill Norris pulled the seedy bum in ‘The Caretaker’ from a place within himself

Mar 13, 2012 – 4:56 pm
Bill Norris 550 featured image role playing

Interview: The scruffy creature with darting eyes who calls himself Davies looks like his last bed was a cardboard box on the street. He is the elusive but palpably real character at the core of Harold Pinter’s play “The Caretaker,” now on the boards at Writers’ Theatre, and he’s brought to wheedling, calculating life in a masterful piece of acting by Bill Norris.

Raven Theatre sifts through debris and debate of ‘The Price,’ but can’t deliver the payoff

Mar 11, 2012 – 2:10 pm
The Price by Arthur Miller at Raven Theatre Chicago John Steinhagen Chuck Spencer credit Dean LaPrairie

Arthur Miller on memory’s attic. 3 stars.

In a program of Handel arias, Iestyn Davies illuminates Baroque art of the countertenor

Mar 10, 2012 – 6:48 pm
Iestyn Davies Photo: Marco Borggreve

Review: You’ve got to hand it to countertenor Iestyn Davies and conductor Harry Bicket. When they take a night off from the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where they’re performing music of George Frideric Handel, they’re in another part of town performing … George Frideric Handel. Is this love or what? ****

Virtuosity on display, CSO and Zukerman burnish Brahms concerto, 2nd Symphony

Mar 9, 2012 – 5:02 pm
Pinchas Zukerman featured image credit Paul Labelle

Review: Sometimes, in the course of a symphony orchestra season, it’s good just to hear the band dial up the core German repertoire and show what it can do. That’s exactly what the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and music director Riccardo Muti did March 8 in a sumptuous double dose of Brahms, the Violin Concerto with soloist Pinchas Zukerman and the Second Symphony. *****

Soprano Hui He takes over as Aida in Lyric’s new cast, and suddenly the chemistry bubbles

Mar 9, 2012 – 11:21 am
Aida featured image Quinn Kelsey Amonasro Hui He Aida Chicago Lyric Opera DAN_7621 c. Dan Rest

“Aida” with four new singers. 4 stars!

With a vision of grace in the Arizona desert, Strawdog draws life from ‘Petrified Forest’

Mar 7, 2012 – 1:58 am
Petrified Forest featured image Strawdog 2012 Caroline Neff Adam Shalzi Jamie Vann John Moran

Desperate souls in a diner. 4 stars!

Chicago Shakespeare’s teen-length ‘Shrew,’ pulling out laugh stops, shows way to do Will

Mar 3, 2012 – 6:40 pm
Taming of the Shrew Featured Image Matt Mueller as Petruchio woos Ericka Ratcliff as Katharina Short Shakespeare! Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2012 credit Liz Lauren

Spunky side of the Bard. 4 stars!

In a bold CSO debut, English conductor meets twin challenges of Mahler and Schoenberg

Mar 2, 2012 – 7:29 pm
Thomas Nott Featured Image Michelle DeYoung Stuart Skelton Chicago Symphony 2012 credit Todd Rosenberg

Review: Stepping in to pinch hit for Pierre Boulez may not be the least stressful way to make one’s conducting debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Subbing on short notice to take over Boulez’s rare pairing of Mahler’s song-symphony “Das Lied von der Erde” and Schoenberg’s Piano Concerto – that’s quite a debut.****

Handel trips back to the future as Lyric Opera proclaims the outrageous genius of ‘Rinaldo’

Mar 1, 2012 – 3:30 pm
RINALDO featured image Elza van den Heever, dancers,  RST_2961 c. Dan Rest

Not your grandfather’s Handel. 4 stars!

Lyric Opera commissions a young Peruvian’s first stage work, setting of Lima hostage crisis

Feb 29, 2012 – 2:13 am
Lopez

The Lyric Opera of Chicago has commissioned the first opera from 33-year-old Peruvian composer Jimmy López, and will present the new work’s world premiere in December 2015.

As German bombardment strands Leningrad, political fear feeds desperation in ‘Hunger’

Feb 27, 2012 – 5:50 pm
Ilya and Alena closeup feature first crop

Portrait of duress at Lifeline. 4 stars!

‘Meistersinger’ to ‘Streetcar,’ Lyric Opera’s new season offers scenic route with 9 stops

Feb 27, 2012 – 3:55 pm
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The Chicago Lyric Opera’s new season begins and ends with shows that should attract aficionados of opera and theater: “Elektra” and “A Streetcar Named Desire.” Here’s the show-by-show breakdown.

In Porchlight’s ‘Catered Affair,’ a musical about ordinary people proves a dramatic jewel

Feb 24, 2012 – 1:29 am
A Catered Affair Featured Rebecca Finnegan and Kelly Davis Wilson Photo by Brandon Dahlquist

A play verging on opera. 4 stars!

Darn that ‘Dream’ – Chicago Shakespeare does double take on Bard’s lovers, fairies

Feb 20, 2012 – 2:18 am
Midsummer Night's Dream Chicago Shakespeare Theatre 2012 featured image 2 credit Liz Lauren

It’s a midsummer night… 4 stars!

Wrestling with sins of the flesh, a porn star finds salvation comes at a cost in ‘Hesperia’

Feb 18, 2012 – 4:09 pm
Kelly O'Sullivan and Nathan Hosner in Hesperia Writers Theatre credit Michael Brosilow

Sex and religion at Writers’. 4 stars!

Lyric Opera ventures into American musical with a ‘Show Boat’ that you can’t help lovin’

Feb 16, 2012 – 1:50 pm
Show Boat Lyric Opera featured image c. Robert Kusel

Song and dance on the Delta. 5 stars!

Riccardo Muti, Chicago Symphony unleash alternative energy of Mason Bates, Anna Clyne

Feb 14, 2012 – 9:01 pm
Clyne_Anna_Bates_Mason_featured image credit_Todd_Rosenberg

Feature: Chicago Symphony Orchestra performances in California and at Carnegie Hall will introduce new works by young resident composers Feb. 14-19 and Oct. 4.

It’s all about the verbs, present and veiled past, as lies collide in ‘The Girl in the Yellow Dress’

Feb 13, 2012 – 2:05 am
Girl in the Yellow Dress Next Theatre credit Elissa Shortridge

Student-teacher clash at Next. 4 stars!

Forget brass ring, tenor Jay Hunter Morris appears from nowhere to grab Wagner gold

Feb 9, 2012 – 10:36 am
Deborah Voight and Jay Hunter Morris Met Gotterdammerung featured image credit Ken Howard

Interview: The Texas native talks about his unlikely mid-career burst into stardom at the Metropolitan Opera. Morris plays the hero Siegfried in the Met’s HD broadcast of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung” at cinemas worldwide Saturday, Feb. 11.

To beat of song and dance, ‘Ameriville’ sounds cautionary tales of life on the short end

Feb 9, 2012 – 12:56 am
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Stompin’ at Victory Gardens. 3 stars

Chicago Symphony’s 2012-13 plans highlight Wagner, Stravinsky and waterway themes

Feb 6, 2012 – 7:38 pm
Riccardo Muti Orchestra Hall credit Todd Rosenberg

Complete season highlights, details.

Steppenwolf’s dark view of ‘Time Stands Still’ frames a close-up of war’s toll

Feb 4, 2012 – 9:45 pm
Time Stands Still Steppenwolf Featured Image credit Michael Brosilow Guinan Murphy

Some wounds heal slowly. 4 stars!

When ethnic roots snag the American dream, idealism stumbles in ‘Disgraced’

Feb 2, 2012 – 5:43 pm
Disgraced Featured Image American Theater Co 2012 credit Michael Brosilow

Meltdown at Amer. Theater Co. 5 stars!

‘Aida’ at the Lyric Opera: Verdi’s tragedy hits the pitches but misses some dramatic notes

Jan 28, 2012 – 8:00 pm
Aida Chicago Lyric featured image credit Dan Rest

The Princess’ rival is her slave. 3 stars

In Orff’s earthy ‘Carmina Burana,’ Muti guides CSO and vocal force to Fortune’s throne room

Jan 27, 2012 – 7:14 pm
CSO Muti Carmina Burana featured image

Review: Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus with the Chicago Children’s Choir conducted by Riccardo Muti. Maria Grazia Schiavo, soprano; Max Emanuel Cencic, countertenor; Stéphane Degout, baritone. Through Jan. 28. *****

It’s Mamet, so nothing’s plain as black/white when Goodman taps the bitter humor of ‘Race’

Jan 24, 2012 – 8:00 pm
Race, Goodman Theatre

Cynically, unbearably funny. 4 stars!

Honeck and the Chicago Symphony recall Dvorak on native soil with a dancing Eighth

Jan 20, 2012 – 1:03 pm
Honeck_Manfred_cr_KunstlerSekretariatamGasteig Featured image

Review: If Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony is a yearning postcard “From the New World,” his Symphony No. 8 in G major is redolent of a composer happily settled on native ground. The Eighth is decidedly of the Old World, as conductor Manfred Honeck and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra so generously demonstrated Jan. 19 at Orchestra Hall. ****

‘Mr. Rickey’ imagines a prelude to history, before Jackie Robinson joined the Dodgers

Jan 19, 2012 – 8:11 pm
Mr Rickey Calls Meeting featured image

Full count at the Lookingglass. 3 stars.

Role Playing: Diane D’Aquila’s twice regal portrait as lover-monarch in ‘Elizabeth Rex’

Jan 9, 2012 – 3:36 am
Diane D'Aquila featured image

Interview: Diane D’Aquila, who brings Queen Elizabeth I to regal and vulnerable life in Timothy Findley’s “Elizabeth Rex” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, says acting in this gripping, keenly honed production “is a like a dance out there, and it’s scary as hell.”