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Articles tagged with: Francis Guinan

‘The Minutes’ at Steppenwolf: At a small-town council meeting, comedy takes shattering turn

Nov 27, 2017 – 10:16 am
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Review: The individual agendas of the Big Cherry village council members, in Tracy Letts’ comedy-chiller of a new play “The Minutes,” are credibly various and amusingly personal. What really resonates, however, is the one thing they all hold in common — the raw, elemental conviction that safeguards and perpetuates Big Cherry as a community. ★★★★

‘The Rembrandt’ at Steppenwolf: Ruminating on the golden linkage of art and life and love

Sep 23, 2017 – 2:45 pm
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Review: Jessica Dickey’s play “The Rembrandt” is a thing of great spiritual beauty, but Francis Guinan’s performance – you might say in the title role – at Steppenwolf Theatre bears out the imperative of another character in the play, Homer: that poetry must be spoken aloud. Guinan takes Dickey’s eloquent and insightful text to a transcendent place. ★★★★★

‘Hir’ at Steppenwolf: In battle on home front, now a gender mine field, a Marine seeks cover

Jul 19, 2017 – 9:26 am
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Review: Taylor Mac’s tumultuous, off-the-wall play “Hir,” currently on stage in a bristling production at Steppenwolf, is about battles, foreign and domestic. And if the shape-changing military one in the Middle East has been going on for a long time, the societal one at the center of “Hir” is just building a good head of steam. Ex-Marine Isaac has come home to a household in chaos, and to a new sexual order – a whole new declension of genders in which “he” and “she” are but instances on a daunting new landscape. ★★★★

Theaters serve up holiday stew of 3 Scrooges filled with laughs, lessons, gravy and graves

Dec 13, 2015 – 7:46 am
Scrooge at the Goodman for Christmas Carol 2015

Review: Chicago’s holiday offerings include Three Scrooges — not a show, but a trio of shows all based on “A Christmas Carol.” And yes, there’s some slapstick in it, even ribaldry, depending on which flavor of Dickens you choose.

‘Goldfish’ at Route 66: As compulsive gambler, Francis Guinan lifts a loser to grace

Jun 30, 2015 – 4:30 pm
No matter how wretched his luck, Leo (Francis Guinan, right) always has a tormented rationale for son Albert (Alex Stage). (

Review: Leo lives for those bets that feel good. You’d think winning would be the high, but no. When he has placed a bet that feels really good, Leo can breathe. Never mind that his luck is seldom good, or that his college-age son has minded this financially and spiritually broken, irreducible addict since the lad was little more than a child. Such is the starting point of John Kolvenbach’s eloquent, albeit painfully plain-spoken, play “Goldfish,” a sleeper gem of the season in a sparkling production by Route 66 Theatre. ★★★★

Role Playing: Francis Guinan embraces conflict of father who fled from grim truth in ‘The Herd’

Jun 9, 2015 – 5:26 pm
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Interview: The alienated, indeed despised husband and father Francis Guinan portrays in Rory Kinnear’s marvelous first play “The Herd,” at Steppenwolf Theatre, elicits deeply ambivalent feelings, and not just from the audience. Guinan admits he also sees the guy in decidedly conflicted terms.

‘The Herd’ at Steppenwolf: It’s Dad at the door, but it could be the wolf – he’s so not welcome

Apr 17, 2015 – 11:28 am
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Review: Ah, family values. Mom, Dad, the kids. The dysfunction, the divorce, the alienation, the animosity. All the things that make a house a home are piled into “The Herd,” a smashing first play by Rory Kinnear now fuming through its U.S. premiere at Steppenwolf Theatre. No need to equivocate. It is simply not to be missed. ★★★★★

‘The Night Alive’ at Steppenwolf: It’s three guys, girl and thug looking for answers in life’s rubble

Oct 14, 2014 – 10:26 pm
Aimee (Helen Sadler) spices the lives of Tommy (Francis Guinan, left) and Doc (Tim Hopper). (Michael Brosilow)

Review: At the center of “The Night Alive,” Conor McPherson’s wry and compassionate spin on the human comedy, are three men grappling with life near its baseline. And in Steppenwolf Theatre’s unglossed, touching perspective on the play, these ordinary guys find in each other the redemptive qualities of connection, meaning and purpose. ★★★★

‘Pullman Porter Blues’ at Goodman: Rails hum song of black men’s pride and sacrifice

Oct 8, 2013 – 1:42 pm
'Pullman Porter Blues' at the Goodman (Liz Lauren)

Review:It is redolent of Chicago, eloquent of a shadowed time that was, Cheryl L. West’s song-filled “Pullman Porter Blues” at the Goodman Theatre. It is a gritty, pulsing, sweet hymn to the generations of black men who made train-travel hum back in the day. ★★★★

Steppenwolf’s dark view of ‘Time Stands Still’ frames a close-up of war’s toll

Feb 4, 2012 – 9:45 pm
Time Stands Still Steppenwolf Featured Image credit Michael Brosilow Guinan Murphy

Some wounds heal slowly. 4 stars!