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Apr 3, 2020 – 8:38 am

Report: Lyric Opera of Chicago announced April 2 that it will defer its spring musical, “42nd Street,” along with all other spring projects until coming seasons. Meanwhile, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra unveiled collaboration with WFMT to broadcast and stream a series of Tuesday programs from the orchestra’s concert archives and CDs, curated by music director Riccardo Muti.

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‘42nd Street’ at Stratford: By any other name, this musical rose would still be just as sweet

Jul 24, 2012 – 12:11 am
42nd Street Stratford Shakespeare Festival 2012 Jennifer Rider-Shaw as Peggy Sawyer Kyle Blair as Billy Lawlor and company credit David Hou

Broadway’s tap classic. 4 stars!

Stratford Shakespeare Festival’s 2013 season will restore focus on the Bard, classic drama

Jul 17, 2012 – 9:13 pm
Festival Theatre, 2003. Photography by Richard Bain.

“Romeo” and “Othello” top the list.

‘Richard III’ looses a venomous schemer on summer stage of American Players Theatre

Jul 9, 2012 – 4:21 pm
Richard III American Players Theatre 2012 James Ridge as Richard David Daniel as Buckingham credit Carissa Dixon

A snake in the palace. 4 stars!

Free outdoor simulcast of Paris Opéra Ballet proves Harris Theater, Pritzker dynamic duo

Jun 30, 2012 – 1:19 pm

Review: The best antidote to Chicago temperatures in the nineties is this surpassingly cool prospect — free Millennium Park concerts at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion, where the sound is superb and the ceiling’s a canopy of stars. Cooler still was the addition of big screen video to this outdoor mix that a huge crowd enjoyed June 27, when the Paris Opéra Ballet’s exquisite production of “Giselle” was projected live via the big screen, from inside the Harris Theater, to the traditional classical-loving audience of the Grant Park Orchestra. ****

Cirque du Soleil’s East-West revue ‘Dralion’ offers high-flying thrills and fantastic critters

Jun 28, 2012 – 3:27 pm

Review: The place where Olympian gymnastics meet the ballet is known the world over as Cirque du Soleil, an impression that’s only redoubled by the company’s latest eye-popping production, called “Dralion.” There may not be any elephants in Cirque’s new show, but the entertainment value is pachydermic. ****

Role Playing: Baize Buzan hones the steel spirit of a brash Irish lass in ‘Cripple of Inishmaan’

Jun 26, 2012 – 11:29 pm
Baize Buzan feature image

Interview: Baize Buzan knew she had the right slant on the feisty, egg-smashing Helen in Martin McDonagh’s dark comedy “The Cripple of Inishmaan” when she heard, distinctly from the audience at tiny Redtwist Theatre: “That awful girl is here again.”

With a winning smile and no visible effort, violinist heats Glass like a modern Paganini

Jun 25, 2012 – 1:56 pm
Tim Fain feature image credit Briana Blasko

Review: No doubt the large crowd gathered June 23 at the Ravinia Festival’s Martin Recital Hall was drawn mainly by the prospect of seeing 75-year-old composer-pianist Philip Glass perform a program of his own music. And no doubt they came away delighted by the 90-minute sampler of Glass’ music through the decades and his affable flair for story-telling. But the brightest light on this evening was cast by the youthful, California-born violinist Tim Fain, who played – among other things — one prodigious movement from an unaccompanied suite that Glass has written for him. *****

With Muti again managing the house, CSO’s Bruckner Sixth becomes one splendid edifice

Jun 24, 2012 – 11:30 am
10/3/07 9:59:04 PM-- Chicago Symphony Orchestra European Tour 2007.

Review: One of the fascinations of this Chicago Symphony Orchestra season — which drew toward its close Sunday with the final performance of Bruckner’s Sixth in its sumptuous glory — has been to hear various conductors come into the same acoustical space of Orchestra Hall, stand in the same spot where music director Riccardo Muti stands, and ply their art with the same band of a hundred-plus that Muti conducts. ****

When comedy runs amok, ‘Much Ado’ is nearly undone at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival

Jun 20, 2012 – 11:34 pm
Much-Ado-About-Nothing-Stratford-Shakespeare-Festival-Deborah-Hay-as-Beatrice-2012-credit-David-Hou

Beatrice as a hysterical wit. 2 stars

Capping second CSO season with Bruckner, Muti pledges Austrian-accented 6th Symphony

Jun 19, 2012 – 9:07 am
Riccardo Muti closeup conducts Chicago credit_Todd_Rosenberg

Exclusive Interview: When conductor Riccardo Muti recorded Bruckner’s Symphony No. 6 in A Major with the Berlin Philharmonic 25 years ago, he came to the task steeped in the Bruckner tradition of the Vienna Philharmonic – a distinctively Austrian way of looking at this thoroughly Austrian Late-Romantic composer. Now, to close out his second season as music director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Muti says he will bring that perspective to the Bruckner Sixth on June 22-24.

Sir Andrew Davis, Lyric Opera music director, adds the Melbourne Symphony to duties

Jun 18, 2012 – 3:17 pm
SIR_ANDREW_DAVIS credit Dario Acosta Photography

Will shuttle between continents.

Role Playing: Stephen Ouimette brews an Irish tippler with a glassful of illusions in ‘Iceman’

Jun 17, 2012 – 12:45 am
Stephen Ouimette  feature image

Interview: It is Harry Hope’s grumpy largesse that fuels the pipe dreams for the drunken inhabitants of Eugene O’Neill’s play “The Iceman Cometh.” And Harry, says actor Stephen Ouimette, who portrays the tragi-comic Irish saloon keeper in the Goodman Theatre’s production of “Iceman,” is one complicated lush.

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!

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!

Stratford Festival’s Shakespeare tradition echoes in the well-told tale of ‘Cymbeline’

Jun 3, 2012 – 10:51 am
Cymbeline-Stratford-Shakespeare-Festival-2012-Cara-Ricketts-as-Innogen-credit-David-Hou

Young love put to the test. 4 stars!

Shaw Festival: Catching America’s cultural swing to the syncopated beat of ‘Ragtime’

May 29, 2012 – 1:40 pm
Ragtime Shaw Festival 2012 Thom Allison as Coalhouse Walker Jr credit David Cooper

Turn of the century saga. 4 stars!

Sophistication meets innuendo: Shaw Festival puts fine edge on Coward’s ‘Present Laughter’

May 28, 2012 – 12:28 am
Present Laughter Shaw Festival 2012 Steven Sutcliffe as Garry Essendine credit David Cooper

Matinee idol preens, pouts. 4 stars!

‘My Kind of Town’ reconstructs police torture scandal as a complicated drama of real life

May 25, 2012 – 5:56 pm
My Kind of Town by John Conroy at TimeLine Theatre 2012 Charles Gardner as Otha Jeffries and David Parkes as Dan Breen credit Lara Goetsch

Cops under gun at TimeLine. 4 stars!

Role Playing: Ian Barford revels in the wiliness of an ambivalent rebel in Doctorow’s ‘March’

May 17, 2012 – 4:52 pm
Ian Barford feature image

Interview: He’s just making it up as he goes along, the Confederate turncoat portrayed by Ian Barford in Steppenwolf Theatre’s current production of “The March.” That’s what Barford likes about his opportunistic character called Arley. And in a sense, the actor says, he’s doing much the same thing on stage from night to the next, trying to track the pitch and roll of a soldier who’s trying to find his own meaning.

In lightning-quick Beethoven 7th Symphony, van Zweden and CSO deliver a poetic thriller

May 16, 2012 – 11:05 am
Jaap van Zweden credit Hans Vanderwoerd

Review: It’s one thing to hear a hair-raising orchestra performance on a CD, and quite another to experience it happening right in front of you, live, in the splendorous acoustics of a concert space. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s rocket-sled finale in Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony on May 15 at Orchestra Hall, with conductor Jaap van Zweden, was one to send a writer combing his thesaurus for a higher form of wow. *****

Amid war to win vote for British women, flames of passion illuminate ‘Her Naked Skin’

May 15, 2012 – 1:00 am
Her Naked Skin Rebecca Lenkiewicz Shattered Globe Theatre 2012 foreground  Sheila O'Connor Linda Reiter credit Kevin Viol

Suffrage at Shattered Globe. 4 stars!

Chicago Symphony nabs key player from Detroit to helm bass

May 14, 2012 – 11:46 am
Alexander Hanna featured image

Alexander Hanna, 26, was groomed at Curtis, Tanglewood and Verbier.

On the Lyric Opera stage, pianist Lang Lang lends Schubert, Chopin a tenor of virtuosity

May 14, 2012 – 12:32 am
Lang Lang 250 credit Robert Kusel Lyric Opera

Review: Lang Lang’s debut at Chicago’s 3500-seat Civic Opera House was quietly elegant, cogently argued and intensely focused. That is, until the abundantly gifted pianist gave himself over to some astonishing fireworks. With a technique like that, who can blame him? ****

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!

‘Melancholy’ cometh, draped in dolorous fun, as Grey Ghost Theatre bows with Ruhl’s play

May 11, 2012 – 5:36 pm
Melancholy Play by Sarah Ruhl Grey Ghost Theatre 2012 Mouzam Makkar Tilly credit Alan Callaghan 1

Review: When Tilly shows up, she elevates the common funk to dolorous heights so seductive, transporting and rarified — cue the cello — that only the Japanese have a word for it, or is it the Scandinavians? This is Sarah Ruhl’s 2001 “Melancholy Play,” a gentle misery-loves-company fable of high wit. ***

ATC and About Face hang fresh ‘Rent’ sign on a production of street-level intimacy, energy

May 9, 2012 – 11:10 pm
Rent Jonathan Larson American Theater Co About Face Theatre 2012 Alex Agard Alan Schmuckler Esteban Andres Cruz Derrick Trumbly credit Michael Brosilow

Musical classic, new again. 4 stars!

Theater Wit chases depression into sharp bite of comedy with Rosenstock’s ‘Tigers Be Still’

May 9, 2012 – 6:51 pm
Tigers Be Still Theater Wit 2012 Matt Farabee as Zack Mary Winn Heider as Sherry Credit Liz Lauren

Bittersweet therapy with beast. 2 stars.

Chicago Symphony plans Asian tour with Muti, and adds Mexico debut to fall Carnegie opener

May 8, 2012 – 12:33 pm
Chicago Symphony 2012-2013 tour map credit Nancy Malitz

Beijing, Mexico City, Seoul among stops.

Lang Lang, star pianist and global citizen, will bring Chopin, other friends to Chicago recital

May 7, 2012 – 2:35 pm
Lang Lang feature image credit Philip Glaser

Preview: When Chinese piano sensation Lang Lang steps onto the stage at the Civic Opera House for his recital Saturday night, it will be a special moment for everyone in the house – including the pianist.

Goodman’s well-honed ‘Iceman Cometh’ slices through a boozy, painful cloud of pipe-dreams

May 5, 2012 – 3:03 pm
Iceman Cometh Eugene O'Neill Goodman Theatre 2012 credit Liz Lauren 2

Brian Dennehy, Nathan Lane. 5 stars!