Articles tagged with: Jack Magaw
Review: The first flourish of Ellen Fairey’s play “Support Group for Men,” now on display at Goodman Theatre, works twofold narrative magic: It creates a deceptively rich context, and it’s just plain deceptive. We think we’re in for a night with the boys as sitcom when the truth is we’re in for a theatrical ride as clever as it is gentle and poignant and authentic. ★★★★
Review: Sam Shepard’s darkly funny tale is not so much about the decline of an American way of life as it is about us humans losing sight of ourselves in a blur of treachery, self-denial and retribution that threatens to extend through the generations backward and forward. As directed by Kimberly Senior in a superb production, Shepard’s realm is a ramshackle pasture of the heart, where truths too painful to confess refuse to stay buried no matter how much mind-numbing alcohol, or sexual abandon or vagabondage are applied. ★★★★
Review: The nature of genius, its obsession and its isolation, lies at the core of Mark St. Germain’s taut, indeed irreducible play “Relativity,” a fictional perspective on Albert Einstein that bears the resonance of reality at Northlight Theatre — thanks to a stellar turn by Mike Nussbaum as the larger-than-life theoretical physicist. ★★★★
Review: Eugene Lee’s lyrical tragedy “East Texas Hotlinks” is an exquisite song of betrayal, an ironic ballad of the enemy within. And it is pitch perfect in a fluent, wryly comedic and quite astonishing production directed by Ron OJ Parson at Writers Theatre. The grace and truth of August Wilson’s poetic style permeate the characters as well as the language of Lee’s 1991 play, a reflection of this playwright-actor’s long association with the Wilson canon. ★★★★★
Review: There is a quality, an esprit, about Terrence McNally’s “Mothers and Sons” that transcends mere affirmation of what one might characterize as gay normalcy. The play, now in a tightly knit and persuasive production directed by Steve Scott at Northlight Theatre, has a spiritually cleansing essence – and a resolute narrative that is nothing short of celebratory. ★★★
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. ★★★★
Review: What makes Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett’s 1955 play “The Diary of Anne Frank” so compelling – and it is nothing less in the current production at Writers Theatre – fills a large frame of human drama. It is a complex profile of hope shadowed by terror and despair, and finally crushed under the boot of hatred. But still, first, there is innocent hope, a luminous vision of life abounding in wonder, possibility and good. ★★★★★
Review: ★★★ The wisdom and the charm of Gina Gionfriddo’s play “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” at the Goodman Theatre, resounds in the collision of two fortysomething women, old friends from college, one a mom and the other a scholar in women’s studies, who now look at each other’s lives and question their own choices. Yet in the end, the dramatic sum feels somehow less than this coalescence of clever parts. ★★★
Review: A piece of the American dream. That’s really all the ambitious, optimistic Lank wants for himself and his sister Chelle in Dominique Morisseau’s blistering – and touchingly funny – drama “Detroit ’67,” currently illuminating the stage at Northlight Theatre. ★★★★
Review: Leo crashes Vera’s apartment in the middle of the night, a sort of grown up waif, lost to the world, clutching the bicycle he has just ridden cross-country from the Northwest to New York’s East Village. They’re a lot alike, Leo and Vera, rebels with or without cause – except that she’s his grandma. Mary Ann Thebus’ savvy, frank, altogether delightful performance provides something real and lasting to take away from Amy Herzog’s semi-developed play “4000 Miles” at Northlight Theatre. ★★
Review: Does the middling label “lesser,” in the habitually repeated rankings of Verdi operas, give presenters a green light to “fix” things that may not be broken? Stage director David Schweizer fell into that trap with the Chicago Opera Theater production of “Giovanna d’Arco.” From a musical standpoint, Verdi’s Joan of Arc opera was a stunning achievement by the 31-year-old composer. COT conductor Francesco Milioto got that. Schweizer, not so much. ★★
Cripple Billy’s adventure. 4 stars!
Meltdown at Amer. Theater Co. 5 stars!