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Articles tagged with: Court Theatre

‘Harvey’ at Court: In wacky account, message of a good soul, invisible rabbit is plain to see

May 30, 2017 – 7:32 am
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Review: In these parlous times, it’s good to remember that Mary Chase’s radiant moral comedy “Harvey” won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. As Elwood P. Dowd, the protagonist who pals around with a 6-foot-tall invisible white rabbit, might say: I’d like to see a prize awarded to Court Theatre for its lovely staging of the play. ★★★★★

‘Blues for an Alabama Sky’ at Court: Rebirth comes fraught with grief, pain in 1930 Harlem

Jan 31, 2017 – 4:55 pm
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Review: In part, in an almost paradoxical way, Pearl Cleage’s play “Blues for an Alabama Sky” is about the idealistic, short-lived Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. But what makes Cleage’s drama – and Court Theatre’s current production brilliantly directed by Ron OJ Parson – so compelling lies in the story’s humanity, in the tragic flaws and the upward determination of characters making their way along the streets of daily life. ★★★★

‘Electra’ at Court: As a bloody legend closes, mournful daughter pines for two more deaths

Dec 6, 2016 – 9:53 pm
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Review: In Sophocles’ “Electra,” the classic Greek tragedy of vengeance, now starring Kate Fry in an earthy, understated take on the title role at Court Theatre, the waiting game is all. One day, Electra’s hatred for her murderous mother Clytemnestra will be requited; one day, her prince will come. But the prince Electra awaits is her own, long-absent brother Orestes, who surely will avenge the killing of their father, King Agamemnon, by this woman and her illicit, usurping consort. ★★★★

‘Man in the Ring’ at Court: Landing 1-2 punch to pound out portrait of a fractured champion

Oct 7, 2016 – 9:55 am
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Review: The title of Michael Cristofer’s play “Man in the Ring,” now in its gripping world premiere run at Court Theatre, is double edged. Outwardly, the play is about the meteoric rise and brutal fall of boxer Emile Griffith, among the most dominant champions in pugilistic history. But it’s also, in the most essential way, about the loss of innocence and purity and the unfettered joy of being alive. ★★★★★

‘Long Day’s Journey Into Night’ at Court: Dissembling, denial and a family on the edge

Mar 23, 2016 – 3:16 pm
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Review: The Court Theatre’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s brutal masterpiece “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is the blazing star of Chicago’s stage season. Here, with a magnificent cast directed by David Auburn, is a close-up photograph of the human condition at its most vulnerable, unretouched and utterly devastating. ★★★★★

‘Satchmo at the Waldorf’: As Louis Armstrong nears end, he recalls a winding path to fame

Jan 22, 2016 – 9:24 am
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Review: Terry Teachout’s “Satchmo at the Waldorf,” a one-man bio-drama on the life of jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong, is an affecting, often surprising and raspingly funny alchemy of brass and clay. it is a lively, engaging fiction but also a credible portrait with a human heart. ★★★

Role Playing: Sandra Marquez, as Clytemnestra, sees an exceptional woman in the Greek queen

Dec 5, 2015 – 8:30 am
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Interview: What would she, this modern woman, have done in the place of a legendary queen who has been abandoned by her warring husband, a man who also has sacrificed their daughter for the sake of his military campaign? That was the question on Sandra Marquez’s mind as she approached her complex portrayal of the vengeful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon” at Court Theatre.

‘Agamemnon’ at Court: Queen welcomes king with smile and nice bath in his own hot blood

Dec 2, 2015 – 5:52 pm
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Review: Agamemnon, king of Argos and commander of the vast Greek expeditionary force that conquered Troy after 10 years of fighting, is home from the war at last – victorious, exhausted and, not least, wreathed in guilt. That is the proposition of Aeschylus’ tragedy “Agamemnon,” which now enters its final weekend of performances in an imaginative, keen-edged production at Court Theatre directed by Charles Newell. ★★★★★

‘Gem of the Ocean’ at Court: Setting a spiritual table for Wilson’s canon in a haven of peace

Sep 27, 2015 – 5:32 pm
Gem of the Ocean at Court

Review: August Wilson’s decade-by-decade portrait gallery of the African-American experience across the 20th century begins just two generations after slavery, indeed with characters who were born into shackles. To grasp the cultural resonance and progression of the last nine plays in the sequence, it’s essential to know the first one, “Gem of the Ocean,” which now unfolds in a perceptive and finely textured production directed by Ron OJ Parson at Court Theatre. ★★★★

Theater 2015-16: The binding threads are classic in Court’s pursuit of Greek and modern

Sep 6, 2015 – 3:12 pm
Gem of the Ocean

10th in a series of season previews

Role Playing: Hollis Resnik felt personal bond with zealous, skeptical scholar in ‘Good Book’

Apr 16, 2015 – 4:26 pm
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Interview: As a veteran actress, Hollis Resnik feels a deep connection with Miriam, the biblical scholar she plays in “The Good Book” at Court Theatre. That commonality, says Resnik, is passion.

‘The Good Book’ at Court: Rethinking the Bible as the work of men, and struggling to see light

Apr 2, 2015 – 11:58 pm

Review: It ain’t necessarily so, says Miriam with scholarly conviction and a defiant flourish of the Good Book. The Bible, she says flatly, is not the word of God. How it might have been pieced together and how its powerful text touches the lives of two contemporary souls – this scholar and a devout teenage boy struggling with his sexual awakening – is the stuff of “The Good Book,” a brilliantly funny and provocative new play by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson now in its world premiere run at Court Theatre. ★★★★★

Theater 2014-15: American Blues parlays pluck and alliance to create new take on ‘Native Son’

Sep 6, 2014 – 3:06 pm
At American Blues Theater, 'Side Man' by Warren Leight is set for 2015.

13th in a series of season previews: Season themes can sometimes seem like a loose fit, but American Blues Theater’s 2014-15 overarching concept of “Lost and Found” looks well-tailored from a world-premiere adaptation of Richard Wright’s tragic “Native Son” to Warren Leight’s “Side Man,” a dark riff on family alienation that infects the life of a jazz trumpeter. But artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside also offers a larger label that sums up American Blues’ 29-year history: “We’ve got pluck. We don’t have a lot of money, but we go for the stars.”

Theater 2014-15: Greek tragedy, 2 premieres, musical spell excitement in Court’s 60th year

Aug 28, 2014 – 5:46 pm
Jerod Haynes is Bigger Thomas in 'Native Son,' which opens the Court Theatre 2014-15 season. (Joe Mazza)

10th in a series of season previews You can hear the phrase resonate in his voice when Charles Newell, artistic director of Court Theatre, says the company wanted to do something “very exciting” this season in observance of its 60th anniversary. It has turned out to be not one thing but more like a menu, spanning centuries and cultures, classics to modern explorations. The season opens with Nambi E. Kelley’s world-premiere adaptation of Richard Wright’s novel “Native Son,” about a young black man trapped by desperate circumstances in a white world. The project is a joint venture by Court and American Blues Theater.

‘M. Butterfly’ at Court Theatre: Amorous fantasy blurs truth and tests the limits of plausibility

May 27, 2014 – 3:42 pm
Now it's time for Gallimard (Sean Fortunato) to put on the ceremonial trappings of Madama Butterfly. (Michael Brosilow)

Review: Rene Gallimard is a shy functionary in Beijing’s French diplomatic corps who falls head over heels for a Peking Opera artist performing “Madama Butterfly.” He soon begins a 20-year love affair with the man he believes to be a woman, and falls into a classic honeypot lure for spy recruitment. ★★

‘Water by the Spoonful’ at Court: Nearing abyss in grip of drug addiction, haunted conscience

Mar 19, 2014 – 10:37 pm
A latecomer (Daniel Cantor) to the online support group tends its fallen leader (Charin Alvarez) in 'Water by the Spoonful. (Michael Brosilow)

Review: “Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue,” the first play in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trilogy about the moral and psychological distress of a Marine back from duty in Iraq, almost captured the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The trilogy’s second installment, “Water by the Spoonful,” won the Pulitzer, and the merits that pushed it over the top are evident in every nuance, impulse, collision and aspiration of the current production at Court Theatre. ★★★★★

‘Seven Guitars’ at Court: Director Ron Parson and smart cast tap beauty, pain of Wilson play

Jan 22, 2014 – 1:02 pm
Floyd (Kelvin Roston, Jr., left) with his drummer Red (Ronald Conner) and harmonica player Canewell (Jerod Haynes). (Michael Brosilow)

Review: A meeting of minds, of sensibilities, between director Ron OJ Parson and playwright August Wilson illuminates a lyrical, joyful and heartbreaking production of Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” at Court Theatre, delivered by an ensemble that’s as sly as it is polished. ★★★★★

‘The Mountaintop’ at Court: In Dr. King’s final hours, coffee served from a cup of revelation

Sep 17, 2013 – 4:39 pm
David Alan Anderson and Lisa Beasley in 'The Mountaintop' by Katori Hall at Court Theatre 2013 (Michael Brosilow)

Review: On his last night on earth, exhausted from his civil rights campaign, the threat of assassination constantly before him, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps hinted at a premonition of his own end when he declared that he had “been to the mountaintop” and “seen the Promised Land.” Playwright Katori Hall spins that intimation into luminous fantasy in “The Mountaintop,” a transmigrational arabesque for two players that now irradiates the stage at Court Theatre. ★★★★

Theater 2013-14: ‘The Mountaintop,’ Dr. King poised at mortal precipice, opens at Court

Sep 5, 2013 – 2:29 pm
David Alan Anderson, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in "The Mountaintop" by Katori Hall at Court Theatre 2013

11th in a series of season previews: “It’s been a long while since I read a play and without hesitation said, ‘We have to do this,’” says Court Theatre artistic director Charles Newell about Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop,” which imagines Martin Luther King’s last night on earth. King had given a speech that day in Memphis in which he famously touched on a premonition that he would die soon. Hall’s play catches up with him a few hours later in his hotel room, a weary man who strikes up a conversation with the chamber maid.

‘The Misanthrope’ at Court: Rants that rhyme keep laughs coming in crisp, modern Molière

May 30, 2013 – 5:16 pm
Erik Hellman with Grace Gealey in The Misanthrope at Court Theatre credit Michael Brosilow

Review: When Molière’s satiric play “The Misanthrope” first came to the stage in 1666, at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris, its mockery of society as duplicitous, self-aggrandizing and narcissistic must have had audiences teary-eyed with laughter. Just so is Court Theatre’s deliciously decadent new production LOL stuff. Indeed, director Charles Newell’s imaginative, sharply executed enterprise is simply not to be missed. ★★★★

Role Playing: Chaon Cross turned Court stage into a romper room finding answers in ‘Proof’

Apr 5, 2013 – 1:11 am
Actor Chaon Cross credit Joe Mazza

Interview: The interpretive quest that led Chaon Cross to her fierce, blazing portrayal of Catherine, the brilliant but unmoored young woman in David Auburn’s “Proof” at Court Theatre, began in rehearsals with a lot of running around, getting under furniture and throwing things.

‘Proof’ at Court Theatre: Finding love, other prime factors in calculus of life’s choices

Mar 21, 2013 – 11:23 am
Chaon Cross is Catherine in David Auburn Proof directed by Charles Newell Court Theatre 2013 credit Michael Brosilow

Review: ★★★★★

‘Skylight’ at Court: In a battle of the sexes, slings and arrows and words, words, words

Jan 23, 2013 – 3:37 pm
Laura Rook as Kyra and Philip Earl Johnson as Tom in Skylight by David Hare directed by William Brown at Court Theatre 2013 credit Michael Brosilow

Review: ★★★★

Bows of Holly: In Chicago theaters, abundance rejoices in lavish spread of holiday shows

Dec 5, 2012 – 12:20 am
Larry Yando as Scrooge in A Christmas Carol Goodman Theatre 2012 credit Liz Lauren

Shows of the season: A roundup

’Tis a bittersweet night of mirth and memories at Court, an Irish Yule to wake ‘The Dead’

Dec 4, 2012 – 11:06 am
James Joyce's The Dead cast feature image Court Theatre 2012 credit Michael Brosilow

Review: High spirits rule at a gathering of friends and family in “James Joyce’s ‘The Dead,’” a play with music by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey after the famous short story. But ghosts of past, present and future have crashed the party. ★★★★

Packed with vivid characters and hard truths, Court’s memorable ‘Jitney’ is worth the fare

Sep 24, 2012 – 1:35 pm
Allen Wilson as Fielding Allen Bilmore as Turnbo AC Smith as Becker and Cedric Young as Doub in August Wilson's Jitney Court Theatre 2012 credit Michael Brosilow

Review: ★★★★★

The New Season: Court Theatre maps journey from Wilson’s ‘Jitney’ to a Molière bonanza

Aug 15, 2012 – 4:02 pm
WilsonAugust Jitney collage

Seventh in a series of season previews: What begins in September as an ambitious and far-flung season at Court Theatre, with August Wilson’s “Jitney,” ends next spring with nothing less than a prodigious Molière double-header, back to back productions of “The Misanthrope” and “Tartuffe.”