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Feb 14, 2020 – 5:39 pm

Review: On the one hand, Dan Shore’s opera “Freedom Ride,” now in its world premiere run by Chicago Opera Theater, feels like a simplistic gloss on a turbulent and violent time that is more talked about than evoked. On the other hand, the work’s uncomplicated directness possesses its own fetching appeal, and it echoes through Shore’s gospel-inspired music, front to finish. ★★★

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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!

Chicago Shakespeare’s lean and brisk ‘Timon’ zooms in on crash-and-burn of a needy Midas

May 3, 2012 – 5:51 pm
Timon of Athens starring Ian McDiarmid Chicago Shakespeare Theater 2012 credit Liz Lauren

Mega-rich tycoon falls low. 4 stars!

‘Pride and Prejudice’ at Lifeline: Mirroring Austen’s vivacious novel in memorable faces

May 1, 2012 – 12:46 am
Pride and Prejudice Lifeline 2012 James Gasber as Wickham Laura McClain as Elizabeth Bennet Dennis Grimes as Darcy credit Suzanne Plunkett

A stew of great characters. 4 stars!

Strawdog taps 17th century vein of blood lust with Webster’s murderous ‘Duchess of Malfi’

Apr 29, 2012 – 10:43 pm
The Duchess of Malfi at Strawdog Joshua Davis Lindsey Dorcus Justine C Turner (c) Chris Ocken 2012

Lust, greed and mayhem. 3 stars

Ian McDiarmid, revving the engines of anger, ready to take on Shakespeare’s raging Timon

Apr 28, 2012 – 12:21 pm
Timon of Athens feature sub 250 Ian McDiarmid Chicago Shakespeare Theater credit Liz Lauren

Preview: The Scottish actor, a Shakespeare veteran, talks with Chicago On the Aisle about the dark and turbulent mindscape of “Timon of Athens.” The play opens May 2 at Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

Profiles explores psychological shadows as LaBute drops siblings in deep, dark woods

Apr 26, 2012 – 1:15 pm
In a Forest Dark and Deep feature image Profiles Theatre CHicago 2012 Natasha Lowe as Betty credit Wayne Karl

‘In a Forest, Dark and Deep.’ 4 stars!

Digital: ‘Four Seasons’ and Haydn symphonies flash style, finesse under McGegan’s baton

Apr 25, 2012 – 6:09 pm
Philharmonia Baroque Vivaldi The Four Seasons jacket 300

CD Reviews: The latest evidence of the Philharmonia Baroque’s mastery of 18th century fare is a CD release of Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” – plus three more violin concertos by the Red Priest, as Vivaldi was known – featuring the orchestra’s wizardly concertmaster and all-world Baroque star Elizabeth Blumenstock. ****

Louis Langrée to helm Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra

Apr 24, 2012 – 1:10 pm

Starts in 2013 as 13th music director

From the Bard to Beethoven: Actor Simon Callow to return to Chicago in June with Symphony

Apr 24, 2012 – 10:49 am
Simon Callow performs in "Being Shakespeare" a new play by Jonathan Bate and directed by Tom Cairns, presented by the Brooklyn Academy of Music at the BAM Harvey Theater on April 4, 2012.Credit: Stephanie Berger

‘Beyond the Score’ with Riccardo Muti

Handel’s early vengeance opera ‘Teseo’ shines amid Chicago Opera Theater’s vocal splendors

Apr 24, 2012 – 12:37 am
TeseoFeatured

Medea’s very, very jealous. 4 stars!

It’s the Bard’s birthday! Simon Callow reflects on the fanciful weave of ‘Being Shakespeare’

Apr 22, 2012 – 10:49 pm

Interview: As “the soul of the age” turns 448 on April 23, the celebrated actor talks with Chicago On the Aisle about his one-man play “Being Shakespeare,” presented by Chicago Shakespeare Theater at the Broadway Theatre through April 29.

Steppenwolf captures pulse and horror of war with Sherman’s march through Georgia

Apr 20, 2012 – 1:51 am
(front) General William Tecumseh Sherman (Harry Groener) and (right) Major Morrison (Cliff Chamberlain) watch the battle from afar with several other Union soldiers in Steppenwolf Theatre Company?s world-premiere production of The March, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow, adapted and directed by ensemble member Frank Galati. The March runs April 5 ? June 10, 2012 in Steppenwolf?s Downstairs Theatre (1650 N Halsted St).

Doctorow’s novel on stage. 4 stars!

Chicago Opera lavishes style on Shostakovich comedy about romance — and finding a flat

Apr 18, 2012 – 10:35 am
Moscow Cheryomushki Dmitri Shostakovich feature image Sophie Gordeladze as Lusya Dominic Armstrong as Sergei Chicago Opera Theater credit Liz Lauren

‘Moscow, Cheryomushki.’ 4 stars!

‘Fish Men’ at Goodman: When chess hustlers bait their hooks, slippery truth snaps at the line

Apr 17, 2012 – 4:13 pm

Con game in the park. 3 stars.

‘Angels in America’ at the Court: Viewing AIDS and the yearning heart through a perfect lens

Apr 15, 2012 – 10:58 pm
Angels in America featured image Court Theatre Rob Lindley Mary Beth Fisher credit Michael Brosilow

Tony Kushner’s classic soars. 5 stars!