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Save the Seats 2014: We've got your ticket for New Year's Eve

This is our annual “Save the Seats” for New Year's Eve, which the Chicago Tribune offers up every year on the last Friday in December before the big night of the ball drop, the citywide champagne toast, the midnight “Auld Lang Syne” for 2014 and slainte to 2015.

To close the year, 10 great performances of 2014

Here's a great way to end the year with this column, a celebration of 10 of the great performances of 2014. In alphabetical order:

Drury Lane announces 'West Side Story' cast

Something’s coming! It’s the Drury Lane Theatre production of “West Side Story.” The theater announced casting for its upcoming staging of Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ 1957 musical on Wednesday.

Chicagoan of the Year in Theater: Ike Holter

This past spring and summer, hundreds of Chicago Public Schools teachers came to see Ike Holter's "Exit Strategy," a riveting new play from the little-known Jackalope Theatre about the last gasps of a Chicago school. Serving a disadvantaged population of students, the school was branded a...

Best of 2014: Showing what's possible in a storefront

Small budgets and even smaller venues are often part of the fringe theater equation. But what sets Chicago apart from most other theater towns is that our grass-roots scene blossoms with work created by artists who don't view the storefront as just a steppingstone to "bigger" things, but as...

A song from 'Cinderella'

This week’s Theater Loop Showcase video is Paige Faure from the national tour of “Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella” currently onstage at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

When pop culture becomes myth

Jeremy Wechsler is not the kind of guy you ask if he has watched the trailer for the new "Star Wars" movie yet. He's the kind of guy you ask how many times he has watched the trailer for the new "Star Wars" movie. Which, he notes, opens 12 months from now. Wechsler is 45 and potbellied, a...

To close the year, 10 great performances

Here's a great way to end the year with this column, a celebration of 10 of the great performances of 2014. In alphabetical order:

REVIEW: 'The Merry Widow' by Light Opera Works

When Light Opera Works produced "The Merry Widow" in 2005, starring Stacey Tappan and Larry Adams, the company was greeted with reviews remarking on the frolicsome pleasures of Franz Lehar's quintessential Viennese operetta, then 100 years old but replete with a newly adapted libretto from...

REVIEW: 'H.M.S. Pinafore' by Hypocrites at the Den Theatre

When it comes to cheating the gray skies of winter, only Santa has a bigger bag of tricks than Sean Graney and The Hypocrites, the theater company Graney founded in 1997. In 2010, his production of "Pirates of Penzance" transported audiences to what felt like a homespun Margaritaville in...

Stand-up Scene: A visit to 'The Art of Comedy' in Pilsen

At the NYCH Art Gallery in Pilsen, Sam Norton is pointing me toward five interconnected artworks tacked to a wall and created in marker, pencil and color pencil. In one image, there is a parrot shooting laser beams out of its eyes, while in another Norton has drawn a troll who is cooking...

Artistic directors protest firing at Jewish theater

Several Chicago-area artistic directors have signed an open letter protesting the firing of Ari Roth, the artistic director of Theater J in Washington, D.C. Although the stated cause of Roth’s firing last week was insubordination, Roth has said in several interviews with the...

Review: Molly Shanahan's unusual 'Virtuosity'

The distinguishing characteristic of Molly Shanahan's choreography is that it has no distinguishing characteristics. Or, more accurately, it's distinguished by its flow, its lack of demarcation, its delicious, collapsing uncoiling. Movement pours out of her dancers, with only the barest of...

REVIEW: 'Cirque Dreams Holidaze' at Chicago Theatre

A title like "Cirque Dreams Holidaze" does not exactly pack the familiar punch of "A Christmas Carol" or "Cinderella," which may account for the many empty seats at the Chicago Theatre on Thursday night. "What is that, exactly?" was the question around the office as I declared my plans for...

Route 66 announces 2015 season

Route 66 Theatre Company announced its partial 2015 season on Friday. The lineup features two productions, one of which will be announced later in February.

A song from 'Newsies'

This Theater Loop Showcase is Dan DeLuca and Zachary Sayle from the national tour of Disney’s “Newsies.”

For storytellers, last days of 2014 are the worst of times

In these last days of 2014, it seems like the delicate, freedom-hugging art of narrative storytelling has exploded in our faces. Not unlike the head of a certain political leader in a fictional movie now not coming to a theater near you.

REVIEW: 'Cinderella' at the Cadillac Palace Theatre

Two Cinderellas dreamed of a handsome prince at the Cadillac Palace Theatre on Wednesday. The one listed in the program, Paige Faure, suffering from what sure sounded like a severe cold or flu, danced off into the wings in the middle of the first act, never to go to the ball. Out then popped...

For 'Airline Highway,' Lisa D'Amour knows New Orleans

When Lisa D'Amour wrote "Detroit" — a play that premiered at Chicago's Steppenwolf Theatre in 2010 and went on to New York and London's National Theatre and became a finalist for the 2011 Pulitzer Prize — it seemed like she knew the Motor City uncommonly well.

Blue Man makes magic, even on Christmas Eve

After all the Jingle Balls, Smooth Jazz Christmases and Holiday Singalongs have packed up their Santa hats, after the Mannheim Steamrollers and Andrea Bocellis have vacated the city, after the Empty Bottles and Rosa's Lounges have put the "closed" signs in their windows, after the entire...

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