Category Archives: Books

Remy Bumppo’s Pirandello’s HENRY IV: A Modern Masterpiece Given Life

Though considered a major modern playwright, the plays of Luigi Pirandello are rarely produced. The reasons are numerous. First, the large casts require large budgets. Second, the plays’ philosophical facades are difficult to crack. And third, directors struggle to find a production style which makes the plays both clear and exciting to an audience. Consequently, […]

CHICAGO SHAKESPEARE’S TUG OF WAR: CIVIL STRIKE- Suffering Outside of Divine Providence

From his earliest plays to his final works, William Shakespeare confirmed his world’s confidence in Divine Providence. Divine Providence is the means by which God leads his creatures to their destined end. To thwart or reject this movement, is to risk the attainment of one’s destiny. Man is assured of Providential guidance, if, in conformity […]

The Goodman Theatre’s Wonderful Town: A Wonderful Show

Occasionally a production arrives with such startling imagination, and with performances overflowing with such zest and talent, that a viewer is at a loss for words. The production I am referring to is Mary Zimmerman’s Wonderful Town at the Goodman Theatre. The 1950s musical is based on the post-World War II play My Sister Eileen […]

THE LION IN WINTER: Promethean Excellence at the Athenaeum

Winning fifteen awards out of eighteen nominations in 1968, did more than revive the fortunes of James Goldman’s 1966 play, The Lion in Winter. The play had closed after 92 performances, even though it boasted of a cast which included Robert Preston, Rosemary Harris, Christopher Walken, and James Rado, whose book for the historic musical […]

SHAW’S YOU NEVER CAN TELL: Is a Father Necessary?

In an issue of the Journal of Marriage and Family, Judith Stacey, a professor of sociology at New York University, and Timothy Biblarz, a demographer from the University of Southern California, consolidated the available data on the role of gender in child rearing and concluded “based strictly on the published science, one could argue that […]

Lyric Opera’s Bel Canto: The Music, The Music, The Music

“It has a tremendous variety of expression, of musical ideas. It has a virtuoso quality to it. It has very driven and barbaric moments about it, very lyrical moments, very sensual moments. It has chamber music in the midst of all this bombastic stuff. It’s incredibly exciting.” The words of Leonard Bernstein’s former pupil Yakov […]

THE HEIR APPARENT: A Matter of Style

Americans have always had a problem with affectation. Our first comedy, Royal Tyler’s The Contrast (1787), draws a sharp distinction between the emerging American style of Colonel Henry Manly and his pal Jonathan, and the Britisher, Mr. Billy Dimple and his servant, Jessamy, while acknowledging the bedrock importance of matters of style – national, ethnic, […]

LADY IN THE GLASS: Chicago Novelist’s Play Finally in Print

The Lady in The Glass has existed in fragments, hand-written notes, and typed pages until now. The Lady in the Glass by Robert Herrick (1907) is now the only available play by the great American turn-of the-century novelist, revealing his unconventional and unpopular views on medicine, high society, women, and social-climbing. Get it here: LADY […]

EXODUS: GODS AND KINGS: The Wrong Protagonist

The differences between the Exodus story according to film director Ridley Scott and the Biblical account of the Exodus is in the chosen protagonist (chief actor; hero). Ridley Scott casts Moses as the protagonist; the story is about him. The Bible recounts the heroic actions of God; the story is about Him. Scott’s Moses is […]

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