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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fiddler on the Roof at the Auditorium

Posted By on 11.24.11 at 01:07 PM


Since it opened last night and only runs through November 27, I'm posting my review of the touring Fiddler currently ensconced at the Auditorium Theatre. For schedule information, see our listing under "Arts & Events."

After nearly five decades of school, camp, and community productions—not to mention four Broadway revivals and who knows how many touring and dinner-theater shows—it’s probably natural to think anybody can strap on a beard and play Tevye, the Ashkenazi milkman who originated in stories by Sholem Aleichem and became the center of a celebrated musical. You wouldn’t even have to learn the songs. I mean, who doesn’t know “Sunrise, Sunset”? No doubt, Osama bin Laden hummed it around the compound in Abbottabad.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The latest Reader performing arts reviews

Posted By on 11.23.11 at 03:45 PM

Reader contributor Zac Thompson has a few choice words for Black Ensemble founder Jackie Taylor in his review of BE's The Jackie Wilson Story. He takes her to task for using the same jukebox bio formula over and over again. Meanwhile, my word of choice for Court Theatre's An Iliad is "wow."

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Friday, November 18, 2011

"Playwrights as Writers" panel this weekend at the Chicago Book Expo

Posted By on 11.18.11 at 01:30 PM

A picture of Tony Adler
  • A picture of Tony Adler
When you're a critic, somebody always hates you. Just the other day I got into a big, bloated online argument with some burlesque fans who took umbrage at my insensitive, reactionary, misogynistic, ignorant, insufficiently awestruck review of Temple of Boobs. These people were really pissed off. It'd be awful if they should happen to find out that I'll be at the Chicago Book Expo this weekend, moderating a Reader-sponsored panel called "The Playwright as Writer." Word of that gets around, they'll be sure to show up—and then I'm toast.

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The latest Reader performing arts reviews

Posted By on 11.18.11 at 12:30 PM

Let My People Come

Justin Hayford has strong things to say about the Street Tempo Theatre production of Let My People Come, both positive and otherwise. On the one hand, he calls the staging "craftily mounted, stirringly sung, and shrewdly choreographed." On the other, he points out that Street Tempo has undermined the 37-year-old erotic musical and its politics of ecstasy by adding a dose of post-Reagan sexual conservatism. Laura Molzahn, meanwhile, unreservedly recommends Axis Dance Company, whose dancers—both disabled and conventionally able—generate some erotics of their own. And though there's not much that qualifies as sexy in Hershey Felder's portrait of Leonard Bernstein, Maestro, I'm pretty unreserved about that, too.

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

The latest Reader performing arts reviews

Posted By on 11.10.11 at 03:00 PM

Oblivion, from the First Look Repertory of New Work
  • Peter Coombs
  • Oblivion, from the First Look Repertory of New Work

Steppenwolf Theatre's annual First Look Repertory of New Work puts selected scripts through a development process that culminates in professional-quality productions. Reader contributor Kerry Reid spent about half of last weekend watching the three plays that comprise this year's rep, and the other half writing up her thoughts on how it went. Meanwhile, I wrote at length and favorably about the Next Theatre production of Maple and Vine, and dance maven Laura Molzahn suggested you take a look at Dance Exchange, which is in town to perform The Matter of Origins by company founder Liz Lerman. Our critics were also fond of Broke-ology and Ripper the Musical.

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Friday, November 4, 2011

Hot Tix sales up 46 percent: Is that good news?

Posted By on 11.04.11 at 04:30 PM

Here's the good news: The League of Chicago Theatres is touting a 46 percent jump in sales for its Hot Tix program during the last fiscal year (which ended June 30). Hot Tix went from selling 82,000 tickets the previous year to 120,000 in fiscal 2011. Here's the bad news: those are half-price tickets.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Third annual Edison Park Comedy Fest

Posted By on 10.12.11 at 04:31 PM

Mike Stanley
  • Mike Stanley

Chicago’s festival season didn't end with the summer, it just moved indoors. Running through the weekend, the third annual Edison Park Comedy Fest starts Friday with a bill featuring Mike Stanley—the Reader readers' choice for best stand-up of 2008—and Tony Valle, whose company, Yes I Am Show Business, is coproducing the fest along with the Edison Park Chamber of Commerce (Edison Park Inn, 6715 N. Olmsted, 8 PM). Saturday is Joe Kilgallon's night. Known for mixing improv and sketch skills with his stand-up, Kilgallon headlines a set at the Emerald Isle (6686 N. Northwest Highway, 8 PM) then moves over to Nonno Pino’s (6718 N. Northwest Highway,10:30 PM) to host a showcase. Valle returns Sunday, performing in a special edition of his monthly Laugh and a Half series that will also feature Marty DeRosa (Snuggery Pub, 6733 N. Olmsted, 8 PM). The festival closes with a mystery slate of comedians doing blue material (Moretti’s, 6727 N. Olmsted, 10:30 PM). —Jordan Larson 10/14-10/16, various locations, 773-372-7459,, $10-$12 per show, $40 for a weekend pass.

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fresh Reader performing arts reviews

Posted By on 10.06.11 at 05:03 PM

The Amish Project

We've got in-depth reviews of Lookingglass Theatre's The Great Fire and American Theater Company's The Amish Project (the latter spliced to a short, unhappy look at Remy Bumppo's Mourning Becomes Electra). In dance, Laura Molzahn recommends Natya Dance Theatre's The Flowering Tree.

Also, capsule reviews of A Red Orchid Theatre's Becky Shaw, Slingshot Productions's Low, the Hell in a Handbag drag parody Pussy on the House, and New Millennium Theatre's Halloween entry, Scott Janus: Monster Hunter.

Speaking of Halloween, our Julia Thiel enjoyed Splatter Theater at the Annoyance. Other favorites this week: the Artistic Home production of Eugene O'Neill's A Touch of the Poet and New Leaf Theatre's Burying Miss America.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Casino money for the arts?

Posted By on 09.28.11 at 03:00 PM

The Massachusetts legislature is considering a bill that would give 2 percent of tax revenues from casinos in that state to arts programs, according to a report in the Boston Globe. The proposed legislation also includes audience size and booking restrictions for casino entertainment, which arts groups there regard as competition. Will the coming Chicago casino (bet on it) steal audiences from cultural events? Should local arts groups be getting a compensatory cut?

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kari Lydersen on Miss Ketty

Posted By on 09.27.11 at 12:24 PM

The Windy City Times reported last week on the death of 64-year-old Ketty Teanga, a longtime performer at some of Chicago's LGBT nightclubs. "Miss Ketty," the name under which she performed, was profiled in a 2006 Reader piece by Kari Lydersen, who followed her travels from Latin America northward:

Ketty Teanga learned to dance in a drag show in Puerto Rico in the 60s. Then a slim teen increasingly uncomfortable in a male body, she did salsa dancing dressed in skimpy women's outfits, the closest she could come to looking the way she felt. "There was no silicone, no hormones, nothing," she says. "Everything was illusion—fake wigs, fake titties."

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Performing Arts
Top-Notch Tuesdays Laugh Out Loud
July 25 1
Galleries & Museums
William Blake and the Age of Aquarius Northwestern University Block Museum of Art
September 23

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