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Sheldon Patinkin, a giant of Chicago comedy and theater, dies at 79

Sheldon Patinkin, a crucial figure in the development of improvisational comedy in Chicago and a mentor to numerous generations of American and Canadian comedians and aspiring theatrical directors, died Sunday at the age of 79, his close friend Jane Nicholl Sahlins said on Sunday. 

REVIEW: 'Antony and Cleopatra: Undone' by Skyline StageWorks ??

Skyline StageWorks makes its inaugural bow with Patricia Henritze and Shawna Tucker's reduced take on Shakespeare's tragedy. "Antony and Cleopatra: Undone" feels more unfinished than undone. But as a vehicle for Tucker's performance as Cleo, it's a pretty decent barge.

REVIEW: Joffrey Ballet 'Stories in Motion' ???½

Being told a story can be delicious, and the three distinct, clear tales on the Joffrey's "Stories in Motion" program, through Sunday at the Auditorium, are little jewels, revealing the economy and precision possible even in the expansive form of ballet.

'David Bowie Is' and the dangers of 'theme creep'

The Museum of Contemporary Art is going all out for David Bowie — some 400 objects, a gala, a Tumblr blog, a sponsorship from Louis Vuitton. This is understandable; the exhibit, organized by London's Victoria & Albert Museum, is making Chicago its only United States stop on a "David...

REVIEW: 'Let Me Down Easy' at American Theater Company ???

In 2013, after years of denials, the cyclist Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs. Some four years previously, Armstrong had given an interview to the actor-writer Anna Deavere Smith for her solo performance piece "Let Me Down Easy," an...

REVIEW: BalletX at Dance Center of Columbia College ???

Founded on a whim in 2005 by former Pennsylvania Ballet dancers Christine Cox and Matthew Neenan, Philadelphia-based BalletX is on the cusp of national attention. But the repertory company's Chicago debut in a somewhat ad hoc program of four works, through Saturday at the Dance Center, didn't...

Chicago theater openings for the week of Sept. 19-25

Friday | "Rest": In this new drama by Samuel D. Hunter ("The Whale"), a retirement home on the verge of closure endures a blizzard. Though Oct. 12 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-871-3000 or victorygardens.org

REVIEW: 'Miracles in the Fall' by Polarity Ensemble ??

Chuck O'Connor's period-piece drama has the aura of an old basement rec room, where the musty memories of family arguments cling to the walls, no matter how much psychic ammonia one applies. The writing feels retro, too, a sometimes-uneasy blend of Eugene O'Neill's drinking-and-dysfunction...

Self-awareness has its payoffs, and its limits

Sir Isaac Newton, the 17th-century British philosopher and mathematician, said a lot of things. But it's a pretty fair bet that, even in his wild and crazy youth, the formulator of laws of motion and universal gravitation was not given to saying "yay," even on a day when stuff for him was going...

House and Theater Wit among American Theatre Wing grantees

The American Theatre Wing in New York announced on Thursday the recipients of the 2014 National Theatre Company Grants. The twelve theaters include two Chicago companies, The House Theatre of Chicago and Theater Wit, which will each receive $12,000.

Review: 'Tennessee Williams' by John Lahr

Any biographer entering a crowded field — and the life and work of the great playwright Tennessee Williams is hardly virgin territory, given the confessional diaries, the innumerable extant letters, the documentary films, the previous analyses of his iconic American dramas — must...

REVIEW: 'King Lear' at Chicago Shakespeare Theater ???½

Barbara Gaines' raw and visceral Chicago Shakespeare Theater production of "King Lear" begins, poorly, with the titular monarch, he who hath ever but slenderly known himself, fast-forwarding through the songs of Frank Sinatra.

Kettenring will lead Marriott's 'King and I'

The Marriott Theatre announced the cast of its upcoming production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “The King and I” on Wednesday. Heidi Kettenring, a fixture of Chicago’s musical theater scene, will play Anna, and Andrew Ramcharan Guilarte will be the...

REVIEW: 'Jane Eyre" at Lifeline Theatre ???

Charlotte Bronte's best-known novel, as adapted by Christina Calvit, makes its third appearance since 1991 on Lifeline's stage. But this production, directed by Dorothy Milne, marks my first visit to Calvit's version of Thornfield Hall. In Lifeline's hands, Mr. Rochester's gloomy home...

A Message from Richard Thomas

A production of the musical Monty Python’s Spamalot, slated for the South Williamsport Junior/Senior High School in Pennsylvania in 2015, was canceled by the school’s principal due to “homosexual themes.” In case you haven’t been following the story, you might check out Howard Sherman’s overview at Slate for background, Drew McManus’ take at Adaptistration for […]

North Shore Center will host Molly Glynn memorial celebration

A memorial celebration will be held for local actress Molly Glynn on Monday, October 6 at 7:30p.m. Glynn died September 6 at the age of 46.

Goodman announces New Stages lineup

The Goodman Theatre has announced the schedule of its annual New Stages Festival.

REVIEW: 'The Downpour' by Route 66 Theatre Co. ???½

The best thrillers — and, believe me, playwright Caitlin Parrish's grippingly intimate new play "The Downpour" is as tense and disturbing an experience as any thriller you might find at the multiplex — are rooted in quotidian, real-life fears. You know: Contemplating marriage....

Dance Card: Polishing Balanchine's masterly 'Prodigal Son'

"You be nasty," Edward Villella instructs April Daly. He tells her partner, Ogulcan Borova, just as pointedly: "She scares the bejesus out of you."

Stand-up Scene: Confessional jokes are therapy for the rest of us

Drew Michael is staring out at the crowd at Zanies and describing us as a "sea of drunk silhouettes." From from where he’s standing I imagine it to be a more or less an apt reading of the room. He is dressed in his customary T-shirt and jeans and his hair appears freshly cut. Michael is...

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