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Articles tagged with: Stephen Sondheim

With a sharp-edged slice through ‘Company,’ Writers reaffirms the promise of its new home

Jul 31, 2016 – 11:26 am
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Review: It has been only a half-season inauguration, this first series of plays in Writers Theatre’s splendid new building, but the finale, a sly and penetrating account of Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Company,” exemplifies how the main stage offers visitors an intimate, indeed an ideal, theatrical experience. ★★★★

Theater 2015-16: The mood is electric at Writers as ‘curtain up’ takes on dramatic new meaning

Oct 28, 2015 – 9:14 am
Writers 2015-16 feature image

20th in a series of season previews: Writers Theatre artistic director Michael Halberstam sees ideal choices in the two major productions planned for the spring 2016 opening of the company’s brand new home in Glencoe – Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia” and the Stephen Sondheim musical “Company.”

Grant Park Orchestra, led by ‘goalie’ Kalmar, heats up Beethoven to kick off festive summer

Jun 18, 2015 – 5:40 pm
Carlos Kalmar and Grant Park Orch, opening night June 17, 2015 (Norman Timonera)

Review: Chicago’s getting everything right at the beginning of this summer season. The day after the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup, the weather was picnic perfect at Millennium Park, where the free Grant Park Music Festival got underway. Thousands laid down their blankets on the great lawn at Pritzker Pavilion. Even the curse of the overture “Drip” – rained out two seasons running – was finally broken. Check out our top festival picks.

‘Sondheim on Sondheim’ at Porchlight: In song and anecdote, a portrait of the artist as wizard

Feb 18, 2015 – 12:00 pm
Dahlquist

Review: I came away from “Sondheim on Sondheim,” produced by Porchlight Music Theatre at Stage 773, laughing out loud as I mentally replayed the many video snippets of Stephen Sondheim talking about his life and art, setups for this musical revue of his stage works offered by an immensely talented pianist and an able vocal cast of eight. The live musical component of the show is both ambitious in scope and vocally demanding. Porchlight’s presentation comes off as spirited, engaging and capable, but also uneven. ★★★

‘Sweeney Todd’ at Porchlight: Indulge yourself with the best meat pie in Chicago; it’s deep dish

Oct 22, 2014 – 9:25 pm
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Review: The demon barber of Fleet Street is a bad one, that’s for sure; and Porchlight Music Theatre has a good one in David Girolmo. But the crucial ingredient of Stephen Sondheim’s macabre musical is that demonic purveyor of meat pies, Mrs. Lovett – and in Rebecca Finnegan, Porchlight boasts a beaut. ★★★★★

Bullets fly amid poignant comedy as Kokandy scores bull’s eye with Sondheim’s ‘Assassins’

Jul 7, 2014 – 8:13 pm
Eric Lindahl as John Wilkes Booth in ASSASSINS Kokandy Productions (Joshua Albanese)

Review: Imagine a homicidal hearts club of a very particular kind, where killers of U.S. presidents (and would-be killers) gather to clash and kibitz and relive the “why” in a time-bending collage, and you have “Assassins.” Chicago’s latest pocket production of the John Weidman-Stephen Sondheim 1990 classic comes at the close of a remarkable season for precision-cut Sondheim stagings, and this is one of them. ★★★★

Role Playing: Hillary Marren’s charming, rapping witch in ‘Woods’ shaped by hard work, free play

Mar 28, 2014 – 11:41 pm
Actress Hillary Marren

Interview: In creating his musical “Into the Woods,” composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim perhaps viewed the witch’s show-stopping number about her vegetable garden as a direct descendant of the patter songs long associated with Gilbert and Sullivan. But to Hillary Marren, who plays the old crone in The Hypocrites’ imaginative staging, the veggie song is exactly what it sounds like in her disarming, rapid-fire delivery — a very smart rap.

‘Gypsy’ at Chicago Shakespeare: This Rose puts fresh blush on Sondheim’s star-gazer

Feb 18, 2014 – 11:00 pm
Rose (Louise Pitre) insists that 'Everything's Coming Up Roses' to the amazement of Herbie (Keith Kupferer) and Louise (Jessica Rush). (Michael Brosilow)

Review: Chicago Shakespeare Theater has given us a “Gypsy” for our own time, one that embraces the difference that 55 years have made since the brassy blockbuster first strutted onto the stage. As directed by Gary Griffin, it’s a gritty roadshow musical with a surprisingly contemporary and tender heart. ★★★★★

When The Hypocrites bound ‘Into the Woods,’ something special blooms from almost nothing

Feb 14, 2014 – 6:06 pm
Happily ever after proves to be short-lived in The Hypocrites' production of Stephen Sondheim's 'Into the Woods.' (Matthew Gregory Hollis)

Review: From paper and string and other found objects — in the hands of a wonderfully talented cast and a whiz of a director — The Hypocrites theater company has cobbled together a magical production of Stephen Sondheim’s fairytale mash-up musical “Into the Woods.” ★★★★★

Theater 2013-14: Chicago premiere leads off Porchlight’s exploration of musical landscape

Aug 15, 2013 – 6:57 pm
The Aguilar brothers - Adrian and Alexander - play a couple of song and dance men on deadline in 'Double Trouble' (Brandon Dahlquist)

Fourth in a series of season previews: Porchlight Music Theatre prides itself on taking a new approach to classic musicals, “as if the script just came across the desk,” says managing artistic director Michael Weber. Opening with the Chicago premiere of the two-hand farce “Double Trouble,” Porchlight’s 2013-14 season reflects that spirit of approaching a show “with an understanding that we can stretch it and explore it in a different way.”

Behind forbidden love in ‘West Side Story,’ clashing views of what’s right in America

Jun 9, 2013 – 9:15 pm
Airborne dancers in West Side Story courtesy Broadway in Chicago

Preview: The crux of conflict in the musical “West Side Story” may be the time-honored insanity of warring factions – the Sharks and the Jets in this case – but the play is also a portrait of cultural assimilation and clashing perspectives on what an immigrant group has to gain and what it risks losing. This American classic comes to the Oriental Theatre on June 11 in a version modeled on the latest Broadway production, even to the use of Spanish dialogue.

2013 Summer Season: Ravinia will come out swinging with jazz tribute to Benny Goodman

Mar 12, 2013 – 2:55 pm
Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Ravinia Festival James Conlon conducting summer 2012

Ravinia Festival Best Bets: If you want to branch out a bit musically, the summertime Ravinia Festival in Highland Park is a good place for it. There, classical music lovers sample niche-expanding novelties of the sort that gave Brooklyn Academy of Music its must-see reputation. College students picnic on the lawn for free when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs. And family friendly movie prices rule for recitals featuring the latest contest winners and stars on the rise.

Broadway in Chicago, riding high, sets stage for ‘Jekyll & Hyde’ in a spring season splash

Jan 1, 2013 – 4:38 pm
Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox in the national tour production of Jekyll and Hyde

B’way bound ‘Big Fish’ starts here

In a vibrant brush with ‘Sunday in the Park,’ Chicago Shakespeare connects all the dots

Oct 12, 2012 – 1:32 pm
George (Jason Danieley) finishes the hat in Sondheim's  Sunday Park with George at Chicago Shakespeare Theater credit Liz Lauren

Review: ★★★★★

The New Season: Chicago Shakespeare offers a walk ‘In the Park with George’ and a premiere

Oct 2, 2012 – 12:32 am
Stephen Sondheim Sunday in the Park with George promotional montage Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2012

15th in a series of season previews: Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s 2012-13 season will extend artistic director Barbara Gaines’ deep exploration of the Bard with “Henry VIII” as associate artistic director Gary Griffin adds a Sondheim encore to last year’s hit production of “Follies.” And Gaines will direct what she calls “the funniest play I ever read” in the Chicago premiere of David Ives’ comedy “The School for Lies,” a romping modern spin on Molière’s “The Misanthrope.”

Vivid characters and some great singing carry the day for ‘A Little Night Music’ at Writers’

May 12, 2012 – 9:47 am
A Little Night Music Stephen Sondheim Writers' 2012  Brandon Dahlquist Count Malcom Shannon Cochran Desiree Arnfeldt Jonathan Fredrik Egerman  Michael Brosilow

Sondheim’s paean to love. 4 stars!

New York ‘Follies’ stars Broadway babies old enough to have a boffo then and now

Dec 7, 2011 – 1:32 pm
Follies Set-Ups

Appreciation: The showgirls of Broadway’s “Follies” have histories of their own. Hats off to these flawless charmers and their former selves in a present — and past — perfect production.

Role Playing: Brent Barrett’s glad he joined ‘Follies’ as that womanizing, empty cad Ben

Nov 4, 2011 – 5:28 pm
Brent Barrett in Follies at Chicago Shakespeare featured image

Interview: At the center of Stephen Sondheim’s acerbic musical “Follies”stands Benjamin Stone, worldly, rich, the envy of his old acquaintances gathered at this reunion of theater folks. Ben is all of that, and one more thing — miserable. Veteran actor Brent Barrett offers a candid analysis of the self-centered cad and womanizer.

Sondheim’s ‘Follies’ at CST: Broadway glitz and glamour, with all the endearing bruises

Oct 14, 2011 – 12:17 pm
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At Chi. Shakespeare Theater. 5 stars!