Articles tagged with: Court Theatre
Review: As we sit in Hyde Park’s Court Theatre arena, where Sophocles’ ancient drama “Oedipus Rex” unfolds, the audience becomes part of an urgent thriller. Actors prowl the aisles, murmuring that our city Thebes is sinking under “waves of death.” The explanation for this plague and pestilence? Unknown. The king accepts his citizens’ desperate plea to figure out what’s going on, but as he looks into it, he finds evidence pointing to himself. ★★★★
Third in a series of season previews: Court Theatre will cap its 64th season – and artistic director Charles Newell’s 24th year at the helm — with the world premiere adaptation of Saul Bellow’s novel “The Adventures of Augie March,” and kick it off with August Wilson’s “Radio Golf,” the tenth and final installment in his chronicle of the African American experience.
Review: Everything about John Strand’s play “The Originalist,” a philosophical profile of the conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia now on the boards at Court Theatre, recommends the enterprise as a one-man show. The positive side of that is Edward Gero’s expansive, assured and piquant performance as Scalia. On the shadowed side of “everything” I mean, well, everything else about this contrived and tormented attempt to turn what is essentially fascinating and funny stand-up into high drama. ★★
Review: On the one hand, there’s something quaintly anachronistic about the film-become-play “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” now occupying the stage at Court Theatre in a production that is faintly, curiously charming. On the other hand, one might reasonably ask whether the acceptance, or perhaps novelty, of white-black marriages has changed all that much since Sidney Poitier showed up at the home of those outspoken liberal parents portrayed by Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn in the 1967 movie. ★★★
Review: It’s as Greek as Aeschylus, the inexorable tragedy that infects and ultimately destroys two families in Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons.” And in the marvelous, shattering production at Court Theatre directed by Charles Newell, a long Greek shadow falls across Miller’s characters, amid the torment and self-deception, in spectral silence. ★★★★★
Review: In these parlous times, it’s good to remember that Mary Chase’s radiant moral comedy “Harvey” won the 1945 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. As Elwood P. Dowd, the protagonist who pals around with a 6-foot-tall invisible white rabbit, might say: I’d like to see a prize awarded to Court Theatre for its lovely staging of the play. ★★★★★
Review: In part, in an almost paradoxical way, Pearl Cleage’s play “Blues for an Alabama Sky” is about the idealistic, short-lived Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. But what makes Cleage’s drama – and Court Theatre’s current production brilliantly directed by Ron OJ Parson – so compelling lies in the story’s humanity, in the tragic flaws and the upward determination of characters making their way along the streets of daily life. ★★★★
Review: In Sophocles’ “Electra,” the classic Greek tragedy of vengeance, now starring Kate Fry in an earthy, understated take on the title role at Court Theatre, the waiting game is all. One day, Electra’s hatred for her murderous mother Clytemnestra will be requited; one day, her prince will come. But the prince Electra awaits is her own, long-absent brother Orestes, who surely will avenge the killing of their father, King Agamemnon, by this woman and her illicit, usurping consort. ★★★★
Review: The title of Michael Cristofer’s play “Man in the Ring,” now in its gripping world premiere run at Court Theatre, is double edged. Outwardly, the play is about the meteoric rise and brutal fall of boxer Emile Griffith, among the most dominant champions in pugilistic history. But it’s also, in the most essential way, about the loss of innocence and purity and the unfettered joy of being alive. ★★★★★
Review: The Court Theatre’s production of Eugene O’Neill’s brutal masterpiece “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” is the blazing star of Chicago’s stage season. Here, with a magnificent cast directed by David Auburn, is a close-up photograph of the human condition at its most vulnerable, unretouched and utterly devastating. ★★★★★
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. ★★★
Interview: What would she, this modern woman, have done in the place of a legendary queen who has been abandoned by her warring husband, a man who also has sacrificed their daughter for the sake of his military campaign? That was the question on Sandra Marquez’s mind as she approached her complex portrayal of the vengeful Clytemnestra in Aeschylus’ “Agamemnon” at Court Theatre.
Review: Agamemnon, king of Argos and commander of the vast Greek expeditionary force that conquered Troy after 10 years of fighting, is home from the war at last – victorious, exhausted and, not least, wreathed in guilt. That is the proposition of Aeschylus’ tragedy “Agamemnon,” which now enters its final weekend of performances in an imaginative, keen-edged production at Court Theatre directed by Charles Newell. ★★★★★
Review: August Wilson’s decade-by-decade portrait gallery of the African-American experience across the 20th century begins just two generations after slavery, indeed with characters who were born into shackles. To grasp the cultural resonance and progression of the last nine plays in the sequence, it’s essential to know the first one, “Gem of the Ocean,” which now unfolds in a perceptive and finely textured production directed by Ron OJ Parson at Court Theatre. ★★★★
10th in a series of season previews
Interview: As a veteran actress, Hollis Resnik feels a deep connection with Miriam, the biblical scholar she plays in “The Good Book” at Court Theatre. That commonality, says Resnik, is passion.
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. ★★★★★
13th in a series of season previews: Season themes can sometimes seem like a loose fit, but American Blues Theater’s 2014-15 overarching concept of “Lost and Found” looks well-tailored from a world-premiere adaptation of Richard Wright’s tragic “Native Son” to Warren Leight’s “Side Man,” a dark riff on family alienation that infects the life of a jazz trumpeter. But artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside also offers a larger label that sums up American Blues’ 29-year history: “We’ve got pluck. We don’t have a lot of money, but we go for the stars.”
10th in a series of season previews You can hear the phrase resonate in his voice when Charles Newell, artistic director of Court Theatre, says the company wanted to do something “very exciting” this season in observance of its 60th anniversary. It has turned out to be not one thing but more like a menu, spanning centuries and cultures, classics to modern explorations. The season opens with Nambi E. Kelley’s world-premiere adaptation of Richard Wright’s novel “Native Son,” about a young black man trapped by desperate circumstances in a white world. The project is a joint venture by Court and American Blues Theater.
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. ★★
Review: “Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue,” the first play in Quiara Alegría Hudes’ trilogy about the moral and psychological distress of a Marine back from duty in Iraq, almost captured the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The trilogy’s second installment, “Water by the Spoonful,” won the Pulitzer, and the merits that pushed it over the top are evident in every nuance, impulse, collision and aspiration of the current production at Court Theatre. ★★★★★
Review: A meeting of minds, of sensibilities, between director Ron OJ Parson and playwright August Wilson illuminates a lyrical, joyful and heartbreaking production of Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” at Court Theatre, delivered by an ensemble that’s as sly as it is polished. ★★★★★
Review: On his last night on earth, exhausted from his civil rights campaign, the threat of assassination constantly before him, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., perhaps hinted at a premonition of his own end when he declared that he had “been to the mountaintop” and “seen the Promised Land.” Playwright Katori Hall spins that intimation into luminous fantasy in “The Mountaintop,” a transmigrational arabesque for two players that now irradiates the stage at Court Theatre. ★★★★
11th in a series of season previews: “It’s been a long while since I read a play and without hesitation said, ‘We have to do this,’” says Court Theatre artistic director Charles Newell about Katori Hall’s “The Mountaintop,” which imagines Martin Luther King’s last night on earth. King had given a speech that day in Memphis in which he famously touched on a premonition that he would die soon. Hall’s play catches up with him a few hours later in his hotel room, a weary man who strikes up a conversation with the chamber maid.
Review: When Molière’s satiric play “The Misanthrope” first came to the stage in 1666, at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris, its mockery of society as duplicitous, self-aggrandizing and narcissistic must have had audiences teary-eyed with laughter. Just so is Court Theatre’s deliciously decadent new production LOL stuff. Indeed, director Charles Newell’s imaginative, sharply executed enterprise is simply not to be missed. ★★★★
Interview: The interpretive quest that led Chaon Cross to her fierce, blazing portrayal of Catherine, the brilliant but unmoored young woman in David Auburn’s “Proof” at Court Theatre, began in rehearsals with a lot of running around, getting under furniture and throwing things.
Shows of the season: A roundup
Review: High spirits rule at a gathering of friends and family in “James Joyce’s ‘The Dead,’” a play with music by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey after the famous short story. But ghosts of past, present and future have crashed the party. ★★★★