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Articles tagged with: Jack Magaw

‘Relativity’ at Northlight: In pursuit of Einstein, and confronting the hard reality of genius

Jun 13, 2017 – 4:01 pm
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Review: The nature of genius, its obsession and its isolation, lies at the core of Mark St. Germain’s taut, indeed irreducible play “Relativity,” a fictional perspective on Albert Einstein that bears the resonance of reality at Northlight Theatre — thanks to a stellar turn by Mike Nussbaum as the larger-than-life theoretical physicist. ★★★★

‘East Texas Hot Links’ at Writers: A small café, some laughs, some fear; and then some blood

Nov 7, 2016 – 5:51 pm
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Review: Eugene Lee’s lyrical tragedy “East Texas Hotlinks” is an exquisite song of betrayal, an ironic ballad of the enemy within. And it is pitch perfect in a fluent, wryly comedic and quite astonishing production directed by Ron OJ Parson at Writers Theatre. The grace and truth of August Wilson’s poetic style permeate the characters as well as the language of Lee’s 1991 play, a reflection of this playwright-actor’s long association with the Wilson canon. ★★★★★

‘Mothers and Sons’ at Northlight: Gay peace achieved, bitter mom presses her private war

Feb 17, 2016 – 8:59 am
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Review: There is a quality, an esprit, about Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” that transcends mere affirmation of what one might characterize as gay normalcy. The play, now in a tightly knit and persuasive production directed by Steve Scott at Northlight Theatre, has a spiritually cleansing essence – and a resolute narrative that is nothing short of celebratory. ★★★

‘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. ★★★★

‘The Diary of Anne Frank’ at Writers: Innocence and experience backed into last corner of hope

Mar 8, 2015 – 9:48 pm
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Review: What makes Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s 1955 play “The Diary of Anne Frank” so compelling – and it is nothing less in the current production at Writers Theatre – fills a large frame of human drama. It is a complex profile of hope shadowed by terror and despair, and finally crushed under the boot of hatred. But still, first, there is innocent hope, a luminous vision of life abounding in wonder, possibility and good. ★★★★★

Goodman ‘Rapture, Blister, Burn’: Two women pause at crossroads, ponder life, toss a beanbag

Jan 30, 2015 – 11:33 pm
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Review: ★★★ The wisdom and the charm of Gina Gionfriddo’s play “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” at the Goodman Theatre, resounds in the collision of two fortysomething women, old friends from college, one a mom and the other a scholar in women’s studies, who now look at each other’s lives and question their own choices. Yet in the end, the dramatic sum feels somehow less than this coalescence of clever parts. ★★★

‘Detroit ’67’ at Northlight: When the dream turns into nightmare, hope’s song keeps its groove

Dec 6, 2013 – 5:50 pm
'Detroit '67'cast members, from left, Coco Elysses, Kamal Angelo Bolden, Kelvin Roston, Jr., and Tyla Abercrumbie. (Michael Brosilow)

Review: A piece of the American dream. That’s really all the ambitious, optimistic Lank wants for himself and his sister Chelle in Dominique Morisseau’s blistering – and touchingly funny – drama “Detroit ’67,” currently illuminating the stage at Northlight Theatre. ★★★★

‘4000 Miles’ at Northlight: To Grandmother’s house he goes, and she’s worth the long ride

Oct 13, 2013 – 10:45 pm
Leo (Josh Salt) and his grandma Vera (Mary Ann Thebus) get high together in '4000 Miles' at Northlight Theatre. (Michael Brosilow photo)

Review: Leo crashes Vera’s apartment in the middle of the night, a sort of grown up waif, lost to the world, clutching the bicycle he has just ridden cross-country from the Northwest to New York’s East Village. They’re a lot alike, Leo and Vera, rebels with or without cause – except that she’s his grandma. Mary Ann Thebus’ savvy, frank, altogether delightful performance provides something real and lasting to take away from Amy Herzog’s semi-developed play “4000 Miles” at Northlight Theatre. ★★

Muddling the stakes, Chicago Opera Theater drives one through the heart of Verdi’s ‘Joan’

Sep 28, 2013 – 4:52 pm
Joan of Arc struggles with the devil's emissaries in Verdi's 'Giovanna d'Arco' Chicago Opera Theater 2013 (Liz Lauren)

Review: Does the middling label “lesser,” in the habitually repeated rankings of Verdi operas, give presenters a green light to “fix” things that may not be broken? Stage director David Schweizer fell into that trap with the Chicago Opera Theater production of “Giovanna d’Arco.” From a musical standpoint, Verdi’s Joan of Arc opera was a stunning achievement by the 31-year-old composer. COT conductor Francesco Milioto got that. Schweizer, not so much. ★★

Writers’ chilling edition of ‘The Letters’ paints grim picture of a boss’s friendly summons

Jan 17, 2013 – 6:14 pm
The Letters political thriller at Writers' Theatre Mark L. Montgomery as The Director and Kate Fry as Anna credit Michael Brosilow

Review: ★★★★

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: ★★★★★

Redtwist puts an intimate spin on dark humor of McDonagh’s rough and quirky ‘Inishmaan’

Jun 7, 2012 – 6:03 pm
Cripple of Inishmaan at Redtwist Theatre 2012 Patrick Whalen as Bartley and Baize Buzan as Slippy Helen credit Kimberly Loughlin

Cripple Billy’s adventure. 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!