Jacques Brel’s Lonesome Losers of the Night – 2017

Sitting at the back of No Exit Café, hearing the play of the piano within the dim room as the singers breathed life into sentiments older than myself, I caught a glimpse of an old world that was once new and fresh—a world, one imagines, in which the patrons of this “shabby waterfront bar” made love to their glasses as passionately as they made love to their women—as passionately as they rode and communed w

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Moby Dick 2017

Moby Dick is a harrowing and intoxicating adventure that explores revenge, obession, sea adventure and destiny. This Lookingglass production is, in my view, the finest show that Lookingglass has ever mounted! Seeing this physically challenging production will give you a glimpse into the depths that live staging to tell stories can achieve!. Hey, after seeing it, I could almost smell the salt air! Take those who never go to live shows to experience the grandure of the stage. They’ll be amazed!

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The King and I 2017 National Tour

Rodgers and Hammerstein’s first production based on a true story opened on Broadway in March, 1951 with Gertrude Lawrence and Yul Brynner, racked up 1,246 performances in the initial run and Brynner did 4,625 performances over 34 years as the King plus the 1956 movie with Deborah Kerr. Full of timeless songs like “I Whistle a Happy Tune,” “Hello, Young Lovers,” “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance,” The King and I is a Broadway classic that is the ultimate ‘feel good” show considered as the first true ‘theatre spectacle,’ The King and I opened the door for later scenically opulent shows.

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King Ubu

Things are looking pretty swell for King Ubu after the revolution, but once he begins extorting taxes from his citizens and killing off all contenders to his authority, Baseboard flees to Russia to enlist the help of the czar. War breaks out against the two countries, and the Russians and Fols meet upon a hill for a standoff in which soldiers portrayed by life-sized puppets flood the stage. The whole war sequence seems to last forever (in a good way)—until an immense stuffed bear charges in and nearly ends Ubu’s existence. He escapes, but his crown is lost and he and the missus must sail away into exile.

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Emilie: La Marquise Du Châtelet Defends Her Life Tonight

In direct-address to the audience, Emilie introduces the notable figures in her life, narrates some events, and introduces other events as scenes in which she and the others act out the “drama.” “Drama” gets scare-quotes here because what drama there is often gets choked by the narrative framing. Apart from a few surprising scenes of real emotional vehemence, the scenes of drama that pop up mostly come across as simple banter or conversations between characters who feel more like ideas of historical figures than real humans: in other words, they have no psychological depth.

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Native Gardens

While much of the general arguments and insults sure make the older Butley’s look (and act immature), the young liberals come off as semi-heros as the battle over the yard emerges. It is well known that many neighborhood land disputes end up in ugly violence, Native Gardens has an unsatisfying ‘happy ending.’ This play is quite funny mostly, the coceit is plausible yet quickly moves from funny, problemic to silly farce. The undertow here is that the older folks are cliches and the young liberals should rule making an uneven age bias obvious.

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Her Majesty’s Will

The press release describes this production as “An irreverent comedy that imagines Shakespeare’s ‘lost years’”—the years for which we lack historical record of his life and activities—“as a rousing romp through the streets and across the stages of Elizabethan London.” To that, I chuckle. “Romp” is fitting, but surely “irreverent” is a misnomer: something so inane and infantile cannot possibly bear the prestige of “the irreverent.” We must hold to some standards.

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44th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards

“At the Table”, Michael Perlman’s drama of scintillating conversation between diverse friends during a weekend in the country, took home the most honors on Monday, June 5, during the 44th Annual Non-Equity Jeff Awards ceremony recognizing excellence in non-union Chicago theatre. The awards show was held at the Athenaeum Theatre for the first time, a fitting venue since it is home to several non-Equity theater companies.

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