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Articles tagged with: Keith Parham

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

Jan 22, 2016 – 9:24 am
Feature 1

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. ★★★

‘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. ★★★★★

‘The Night Alive’ at Steppenwolf: It’s three guys, girl and thug looking for answers in life’s rubble

Oct 14, 2014 – 10:26 pm
Aimee (Helen Sadler) spices the lives of Tommy (Francis Guinan, left) and Doc (Tim Hopper). (Michael Brosilow)

Review: At the center of “The Night Alive,” Conor McPherson’s wry and compassionate spin on the human comedy, are three men grappling with life near its baseline. And in Steppenwolf Theatre’s unglossed, touching perspective on the play, these ordinary guys find in each other the redemptive qualities of connection, meaning and purpose. ★★★★

‘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. ★★

‘The Dance of Death’ at Writers: Wedded war rages in old Sweden; fresh look at Strindberg

Apr 12, 2014 – 4:35 pm
Kurt (Philip Earl Johnson) questions Alice (Shannon Cochran) about her tumultuous marriage. (Michael Brosilow) (2)

Review: If you liked Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” you’ll love the original: August Strindberg’s “The Dance of Death,” wherein a toxic, blood-sport marriage between a venomous old soldier and his hissing wife make the sniping between Albee’s George and Martha feel once more present in the room. Writers Theatre provides the well-polished dance floor for Strindberg’s caustic waltz. ★★★★★

‘Venus in Fur’ at Goodman: Ambiguity reigns, maybe ambivalence. Are gods laughing?

Mar 21, 2014 – 11:40 am
Vanda (Amanda Drinkall) gets a little help with her stockings from Thomas (Rufus Collins) in 'Venus in Fur' at Goodman Theatre. (Liz Lauren)

Review: Vanda careens into the playwright-director’s audition room as if she’s been tossed there by the storm that’s booming and flashing outside. Hair tousled, mini-skirted and discombobulated, she wrestles with her wet umbrella and a large bag she’s brought, spewing F-words as the amazed author looks on. But Vanda has only begun to amaze this guy, Thomas, in David Ives’ startling play “Venus in Fur.” It’s an incendiary night out at Goodman 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. ★★

Shrouded in dreams and illusion, Goodman’s ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ teeters into nightmare

Oct 6, 2012 – 2:04 pm
Finn Wittrock Diane Lane Tennessee Williams Sweet Bird of Youth Goodman alt feature 2012 credit Liz Lauren

Review: ★★★★

Unveiling truth in ‘Blonde, Brunette, Redhead’ in more ways than meet the hoodwinked eye

Jun 11, 2012 – 7:50 pm
Deborah Staples as Rhonda in The Blonde the Brunette and the Vengeful Redhead Robert Hewett Writers Theatre 2012 credit Michael Brosilow

Blood and wigs at Writers’. 4 stars!