REVIEW: By Jack Gardner Contributor “Henry V” took to the stage at First Folio Theatre at the Mayslake Peabody Estate in Oak Brook, now running through Aug. 18, as part of its Shakespeare-under-the-Stars series. One of Shakespeare’s most famous histories, “Henry V” is the final chapter in the tetralogy, preceded by “Richard II,” “Henry IV, Part I,” and Henry IV, Part II”. This production marks the last play to be on First Folio’s outdoor stage, which has stood since 1997. In order to update and retrofit the aging structure, the company will take a two-year hiatus and return in...Read More
REVIEW: Cat scratch fever overtakes Chicago as ‘Cats’ Broadway tour arrives By Jack Gardner Contributor “Cats” pounced onto stage at Chicago’s James M. Nederlander Theatre, remaining through Aug.4, as part of its North American tour. Fresh from its Broadway revival in 2016, “Cats” has won seven Tony Awards, including best musical for the original production in 1982. Based on the poems in “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats” by T.S. Elliot and composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber, famous for “Phantom of the Opera,” “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “School of Rock,” “Cats” is a sung-through musical about...Read More
REVIEW: Memorial Opera House’s ‘Mamma Mia!’ a sliver of paradise in NWI By Jack Gardner Contributor The hit jukebox musical sensation “Mamma Mia!” opened at Valparaiso’s Memorial Opera House as the show’s Northwest Indiana Premiere. The musical, which is now possibly better known than the band, ABBA, whose music fuels the show, is Broadway’s ninth longest-running show. Luckily, Memorial Opera House captures the charm and lighthearted style that has elevated this show to its timeless status. “Mamma Mia!,” now enjoying a sold-out run through July 28, features Kelly Collins as Sophie, the soon-to-be bride of Sky (played by Steven...Read More
REVIEW: ‘Miracle’ not the experience worth waiting 108 years for By Jack Gardner Contributor “Miracle: A Musical 108 Years in the Making” is having its world-premiere run at the Royal George Theatre in Chicago. From the mind of former senator William A. Marovitz, “Miracle” chronicles the exploits of a Wrigleyville bar-owning, Northside family set against the backdrop of the Chicago Cubs 2016 season, ultimately ending in their winning of the World Series after a century of waiting. As a preface, my interest in sports and, by proxy, the Chicago Cubs, amounts to very little. The day the Cubs won the World...Read More
REVIEW: “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” stitches together worlds of author and fable By Jack Gardner Contributor The circumstances surrounding the creation of the “Frankenstein” tale is just as interesting of a story as Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic. So must have thought David Catlin, writer and director of Lookingglass Theatre’s new original adaptation of the tome. Continuing through Aug. 4 inside the historic Chicago Water Tower Water Works, “Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein” serves as a “what if?” scenario to explain Shelley’s inspiration for writing “Frankenstein.” The play begins on a stormy, Swiss summer night in 1816, the very same night where Lord Byron...Read More
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