Articles tagged with: Keith Parham
‘Father Comes Home From Wars’ at Goodman: Adapting Homer (et al.) to epic of moral siege
Review: Hero is strong young slave in the 1860s South who finds himself agonizing over an option: Accept his owner’s proposition to accompany him into the war against the Yankees, in exchange for his subsequent freedom, or remain behind as a slave for the rest of his life. That’s the setup of Suzan-Lori Parks’ epic and very human play “Father Comes Home From the Wars,” now on smart, provocative and impassioned display at Goodman Theatre under the direction of Niegel Smith. ★★★★
Wrapped in tradition or rapped in new beats, ‘Christmas Carol’ sparkles at Goodman, CST
Review: While Larry Yando’s indelible Ebeneezer Scrooge is once again delighting children and tapping into adult truths in Goodman Theatre’s indispensable staging of “A Christmas Carol” (★★★★), the Q Brothers are back at Chicago Shakespeare rapping Dickens’ parable on greed and misanthropy to a reggae beat (★★★). The Spirit of Christmas Present walks among us anew.
‘Satchmo at the Waldorf’: As Louis Armstrong nears end, he recalls a winding path to fame
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. ★★★
‘The Good Book’ at Court: Rethinking the Bible as the work of men, and struggling to see light
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. ★★★★★
‘The Night Alive’ at Steppenwolf: It’s three guys, girl and thug looking for answers in life’s rubble
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. ★★★★
‘M. Butterfly’ at Court Theatre: Amorous fantasy blurs truth and tests the limits of plausibility
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. ★★
‘The Dance of Death’ at Writers: Wedded war rages in old Sweden; fresh look at Strindberg
Review: If you liked Edward Albee’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” you’ll love the original: August Strindberg’s “The Dance of Death,” wherein a toxic, blood-sport marriage between a venomous old soldier and his hissing wife make the sniping between Albee’s George and Martha feel once more present in the room. Writers Theatre provides the well-polished dance floor for Strindberg’s caustic waltz. ★★★★★
‘Venus in Fur’ at Goodman: Ambiguity reigns, maybe ambivalence. Are gods laughing?
Review: Vanda careens into the playwright-director’s audition room as if she’s been tossed there by the storm that’s booming and flashing outside. Hair tousled, mini-skirted and discombobulated, she wrestles with her wet umbrella and a large bag she’s brought, spewing F-words as the amazed author looks on. But Vanda has only begun to amaze this guy, Thomas, in David Ives’ startling play “Venus in Fur.” It’s an incendiary night out at Goodman Theatre. ★★★★
Muddling the stakes, Chicago Opera Theater drives one through the heart of Verdi’s ‘Joan’
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. ★★
Shrouded in dreams and illusion, Goodman’s ‘Sweet Bird of Youth’ teeters into nightmare
Unveiling truth in ‘Blonde, Brunette, Redhead’ in more ways than meet the hoodwinked eye
Blood and wigs at Writers’. 4 stars!