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The Art of Cabaret and 54 Below

I have never really liked cabaret (small "c"). I didn't know this years ago. When I first started writing about theater,...

REVIEW: "La Cage aux Folles" at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire

Present reality means wind chill and snowpacks. Fortuitously, life is always a celebration with composer Jerry Herman on your arm. For that most helplessly optimistic of the Broadway songsmiths, the sand always runs warm, the waves remain gentle, and neither the passing years nor temporary...

Video: High-octane flirting in 'Rapture, Blister, Burn'

This week’s Theater Loop Showcase video is Mark L. Montgomery and Jennifer Coombs in “Rapture, Blister, Burn,” a comedy by Gina Gionfriddo currently playing the Goodman Theatre.

DANCE REVIEW: 'Stardust' by David Rousseve/Reality

High school is seldom easy on anyone. But for the unseen protagonist of "Stardust," Junior, it's a living hell.

Emotionally engaged? Maybe you weren't paying attention

In a book called "Seducing the Subconscious," Robert Heath, an advertising executive who moved into academia, makes the argument that emotional engagement is everything. No surprise there. In an era with so many cultural forces vying for attention, emotional engagement is a proverbial...

Chicago theater openings for the week of Feb. 6-13

TUESDAY | "Sondheim on Sondheim": This multimedia concert, staged by Porchlight Music Theatre, recalls composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim's life and work. Through March 15 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.; 773-327-5252 or

Now on stage: Those tantalizing choices of life

So here's one way to know the recession is over: Lots of shows about the agony of life's choices. I'm overly inclined to wander down the road not traveled and second-guess myself — a habit coupled with my seemingly unshakable inability to appreciate what I am lucky enough to have....

Hypocrites names new executive director

Kelli Strickland, the executive director of the Raven Theatre Company on Chicago’s North Side for the past two years, has left that post to become the new executive director of the Chicago theater company known as The Hypocrites.  

Chicago 'Friends' parody looks for Rosses and Rachels

Amanda Marcheschi looked like a Rachel. Definitely Aniston-esque. She had dark, longish hair and a self-possession that cracked slightly when she spoke, revealing a touch of uncertainty. She stood at the bar in the lobby of Stage 773 in Lakeview and talked to herself. She talked to herself...

'Dreamgirls,' 'Side Show,' part of Porchlight's 2015-16 season

Two musicals by composer Henry Krieger, "Side Show" and "Dreamgirls," will bookend Porchlight Music Theatre's new season. A spokesman announced the company's full 2015-16 lineup on Thursday.

REVIEW: 'Push Button Murder' at The Side Project

The movie of the moment "American Sniper" is, above all else, sober in tone and intent — "and don't you forget it," the film all but implores. Steve J. Spencer's "Push Button Murder," in a world premiere at The Side Project, is just as concerned about the effects of wartime service on a...

REVIEW: 'Live! Tonight! With Kevin and Nick' at iO Theater

Both a lampoon of late-night talk shows and a sincere (if twisted) homage to form, the show devised by Kevin Knickerbocker and Nick Mestad for Tuesday nights at iO feels like they're picking up where David Letterman has mostly left off these past few years. "Live! Tonight!" is a new show each...

CHRP will honor Tommy Tune

Choreographer and director Tommy Tune will receive the JUBA! Award from the Chicago Human Rhythm Project at its Jubalee Gala in July, the company announced Wednesday. Aside from his tall stature, Tune is best known for helming such Broadway shows as “Nine” and “Grand...

REVIEW: 'Dividing the Estate' at Raven Theatre

Of all the American playwrights, the late Horton Foote was the closest this country ever had to Anton Chekhov. Although Foote's reputation during his lifetime was never equal to that of Arthur Miller, William Inge and Tennessee Williams, his peers, history surely will prove that Foote...

Andrew Patner, longtime Chicago writer, dies

Andrew Patner, a critic and interviewer on WFMT-FM 98.7 and a lifelong observer of the arts in his native Chicago, died Tuesday. Patner was 55 and died at St. Joseph's Hospital in Chicago.

Big change at Chicago Dramatists

Russ Tutterow, founding artistic director of Chicago Dramatists, is stepping down after 30 years, the Chicago organization said Tuesday morning. He is to be replaced, on an interim basis, by Meghan Beals, formerly the associate artistic director. 

Stand-up Scene: Louis CK posts a love note to comedy clubs; Chicago is the place to write your own

During the standup boom of the late 1980s and early ‘90s, my parents constantly dragged my older brother and me to comedy clubs around the country. I was awfully young at the time, but many clubs would admit underage patrons if they were accompanied by an adult. We were in love with Eddie...

Annaleigh Ashford will play Chicago concert

Annaleigh Ashford, the Broadway performer known also for her TV work on HBO's "The Masters of Sex," will appear in a concert-style show in Chicago, for one night only. Billed as  "an evening of song, story and sequin" and titled "Annaleigh Ashford — Lost in the Stars," the show...

REVIEW: 'Laughter on the 23rd Floor' at First Folio Theatre

Before "The Writers' Room" became the name of a Sundance Television program examining the ins and outs and ups and downs of crafting popular television shows, Neil Simon created his own tribute to the all-star team of scribes behind Sid Caesar's "Your Show of Shows." Simon, of course, sweated...

Musical Mondays, making magic since 1983

It's like something out of “42nd Street,” only set amid the neon lights of Boystown.

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