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Role Playing: Dean Evans, in clown costume, enters the darkness of ‘Burning Bluebeard’

Dec 20, 2011 – 7:26 pm
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Interview: His clown suit, a bit tattered and soiled with soot, looks like it once might have been pure white. But the character Dean Evans plays in the Neo-Futurists’ production of “Burning Bluebeard” is decidedly dark, one might even say spectral.

‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ and a wonderful night when ATC revisits ‘radio’ parable of faith

Dec 19, 2011 – 4:02 pm
Wonderful Life featured image American Theater Company 2011

Capra’s film as oldie broadcast. 4 stars!

New talents refresh evergreen tradition in sharp-shooting musical ‘A Christmas Story’

Dec 16, 2011 – 4:26 am
A Christmas Story The Musical Clarke Hallum as Ralphie and kids Chicago 2011

Debut tour at Chicago Theatre. 4 stars!

Queen’s agony over love and duty gets royal treatment in CST’s searing ‘Elizabeth Rex’

Dec 11, 2011 – 3:52 pm
Diane D'Aquila Elizabeth Rex featured image Chicago Shakespeare Theater credit Liz Lauren

Shakespeare’s in the barn. 5 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.

Goodman Theatre’s magical ‘Christmas Carol’ redeems sour Scrooge with heart and laughter

Dec 3, 2011 – 6:34 am
Scrooge Featured image

Festive retelling for all ages. 4 stars!

‘An Iliad’ reconsiders the poet who brought us Achilles, Agamemnon, Hector and all that

Nov 28, 2011 – 6:23 pm
An Iliad Featured Image Timothy Edward Kane credit Michael Brosilow

One-man invasion at the Court. 4 stars!

Role Playing: Dan Waller wields a personal brush as uneasy genius of ‘Pitmen Painters’

Nov 26, 2011 – 5:20 pm
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Interview: Actor Dan Waller describes himself as a simple guy who values friendship and the respect of his peers. That makes him a close kin to the North England coal miner, revealed as gifted artist, he portrays in Lee Hall’s play “The Pitmen Painters” at TimeLine Theatre.

In the pre-dawn of rock ‘n’ roll, ‘Memphis’ bundles daring hearts in a jumping love story

Nov 25, 2011 – 9:47 am
Bryan Fenkart as Huey in Memphis National Tour Featured Image credit Paul Kolnik

Burning hot at the Cadillac. 5 stars!

In a claustrophobic space, Writers’ frames psychological chill of Pinter’s ‘Caretaker’

Nov 21, 2011 – 6:09 pm
Caretaker feature Jethmalani  Norris

Deliciously bizarre test of wits. 4 stars!

Bereft clowns of ‘Burning Bluebeard’ recycle pain and guilt of 1903 Iroquois Theatre fire

Nov 21, 2011 – 5:55 pm
Bluebeard feature image

Neo-Futurists riff on a tragedy. 4 stars!

Holland Taylor’s one-woman show ‘Ann’ gets down with the grit and humor of a Texas star

Nov 18, 2011 – 5:48 pm
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At Bank of America Theatre. 4 stars!

Role Playing: City boy Michael Stegall ropes wild cowboy in Raven Theatre’s ‘Bus Stop’

Nov 15, 2011 – 1:12 pm
Actor Michael Stegall portrait

Interview: Michael Stegall, who looks and sounds every inch a ropin’ cowboy in the Raven Theatre production of William Inge’s “Bus Stop,” grew up in the West. No surprise there. But wait a minute. Not that West. The 6-foot-3, 23-year-old actor hails from Palm Springs, CA, where the buffalo do not roam.

Da capo al fine, sharply accented ‘Bernstein’ sketches life of a great American conductor

Nov 10, 2011 – 7:12 pm
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Maestro at the Royal George. 3 stars

Motley travelers looking to get their tickets punched at Raven’s snowbound ‘Bus Stop’

Nov 7, 2011 – 4:09 pm
Michael Stegall and Jen Short in Raven's Bus Stop credit Dean LaPrairie

Engagingly off-kilter charms. 3 stars
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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.

Profiles’ ‘Behanding in Spokane’ bundles laughter and terror in the same dark bag

Oct 25, 2011 – 10:16 pm
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Sardonic, but clear-sighted. 3 stars

Role Playing: Sadieh Rifai zips among seven characters in one-woman ‘Amish Project’

Oct 24, 2011 – 1:25 pm
Sadieh Rifai Amish Project feature

Interview: Actor Sadieh Rifai thought Jessica’s Dickey’s play “The Amish Project,” at American Theater Company, would be a pretty straight-forward one-woman show. The plays is based on the 2006 shooting of 10 school girls in Pennsylvania. Rifai would be switching among seven characters, but she didn’t see that as a big deal. She was in for a big surprise.

The Doyle & Debbie Show: Singin’ hits that’ll warm you up like hog rasslin’ in the July sun

Oct 20, 2011 – 4:12 pm
Doyle and Debbie Show featured image

At the Royal George Theatre. 4 stars!

Role Playing: Kirsten Fitzgerald inhabits sorrow, surfs the laughs in ‘Clybourne Park’

Oct 16, 2011 – 12:23 pm
Kirsten Fitzgerald Act 1 housewife Clybourne Park Steppenwolf 2011 featured

Interview: Actor Kirsten Fitzgerald portrays two very different characters amid the hurlyburly of “Clybourne Park, the double-edged drama by Bruce Norris now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre through Nov. 13. She’s a grieving mother in 1959 and a self-interested lawyer 50 years later.
It’s a theatrical tour de force that Fitzgerald likens to acting in two different plays the same night.

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

Oct 14, 2011 – 12:17 pm
CST_Follies_11 featured

At Chi. Shakespeare Theater. 5 stars!

After slaughter and heartbreak, radiant grace

Oct 9, 2011 – 11:06 am
Sadieh Rifai stars in "The Amish Project" at American Theater Company 2011

Jessica Dickey’s “The Amish Project,” echoes of a massacre at ATC. 5 stars!

Chicago’s fast burn is a dramatic flame-out

Oct 6, 2011 – 5:35 pm
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John Musial’s “The Great Fire” flames up at Lookingglass. 2 stars

TimeLine gets Theatre Wing grant as one of nation’s Top 10 emerging companies

Oct 3, 2011 – 3:29 pm
TimeLine Logo

Company to get check for $10,000.

Images of Rothko, on canvas and in the mind

Sep 30, 2011 – 3:59 pm
Red production shot at Goodman 2011

“Red” paints a master-apprentice face-off at the Goodman. 5 stars!

John Malkovich stalks sopranos who suffer in song

Sep 30, 2011 – 3:31 pm
Malkovich John

John Malkovich plays a modern-day Jack the Ripper who has come back from death to make a charmingly creepy case for himself in “The Infernal Comedy: Confessions of a Serial Killer.”

Role Playing: Janet Ulrich Brooks on nailing the style of a wily Russian in ‘A Walk in the Woods’

Sep 28, 2011 – 3:10 pm
Actor Janet Brooks

Portraying an experienced arms negotiator during the 1980s missile crisis for TimeLine, Brooks manages to be sly, funny and serious — in precisely accented English she learned from an interview with a Russian opera star.

CST will stage remixed ‘Othello’ in London at Cultural Olympiad

Sep 28, 2011 – 11:51 am
Q Brothers, creators of "Othello: The Remix" for Chicago Shakespeare Theatre

“Funk It Up About Nothin'” team creates work for pre-Olympics festival.

Amid flounces and bustles, good vibes bring rosy cheeks

Sep 28, 2011 – 8:52 am
In the Next Room at Victory Gardens

High-voltage effects “In the Next Room” at Victory Gardens. 4 stars

Art, and artists, mined from an unsuspected vein

Sep 27, 2011 – 2:13 pm
PitmenArtist

“The Pitmen Painters” at TimeLine is a charming mine of creativity. 4 stars!