Category Archives: The Gospel of the Kingdom

ROBERT JOFFREY’S THE NUTCRACKER: Christmas in the Shadow of Death

Chicago’s Auditorium Theater is the perfect setting to view Robert Joffery’s jarring, beautiful, and profound interpretation of Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s ballet The Nutcracker danced brilliantly by his namesake company, and played wonderfully by the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra. Adler and Sullivan’s magnificent theater interior was meant “to express growth and decadence as the two great cyclic […]

Lyric Opera’s The Merry Widow: ENCHANTMENT

Just about midway through Slovak composer Franz Lehar’s The Merry Widow, the heroine, Hannah Glawari, sings a folk tale which not only reveals her strategy for winning the mating game she’s playing with old beau Count Danilo Danilovich, but also discloses how this beloved chestnut of the musical theater can continue to exert its great […]

BURNING BLUEBEARD: Tidings of Great Joy

Question: What do you get when you mix the macabre folk tale of a serial killer husband, the greatest theater fire in history, and Christmas? Answer: One of the most profound and moving theatrical events you are likely ever to see: Burning Bluebeard. Since the late eighteenth century, English theaters had been offering a Christmas […]

Lyric Opera’s WOZZECK: Apocalypse Now

Alban Berg’s Wozzeck is the Guernica of the opera world -apocalyptic, boldly declaring a new way of representation, and resistant to simple interpretation. While some viewers called Guernica “a hodgepodge of body parts that any four-year-old could have painted”, and the dream of a madman, others championed it as a landmark in art history. Berg […]

GRAND CONCOURSE: The Trouble with Forgiveness

The great playwrights – Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Shakespeare – viewed tragedy as placing a virtue in a situation in which the application of that virtue creates suffering and catastrophe. Heidi Schreck, with her play Grand Concourse, joins the list of playwrights by applying the same formula, but with a hitherto unused virtue – forgiveness. […]

RING OF FIRE: An American Epic on Stage

When Richard Maltby, Jr. was ready to open his new work, Ring of Fire, in 2005, he sensed he had created something important: “It’s almost a mythic American tale—of growing up in simple, dirt-poor surroundings in the heartland of America, leaving home, traveling on wings of music, finding love, misadventure, success, faith, redemption, and the […]

Shaw’s Major Barbara: The Prodigal Father

G.K.Chesterton, George Bernard Shaw’s friend and jovial debate opponent, called Shaw “a heathen mystic.” I think he was right. How else can you explain one of the world’s most famous public socialists creating the world’s most compelling and flattering portrait of an unrepentant capitalist? How else can you explain one of the world’s most famous […]

ROB ASHFORD’S CAROUSEL: An Historic Reinterpretation

Throughout theater history a director’s re-imaging of a stage classic changes forever how a play is considered. In mid twentieth century Peter Brook’s productions of Shakespeare changed King Lear and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Rob Ashford’s Lyric Opera production of Rogers and Hammerstein’s Carousel will change that post World War Two musical forever as well. […]

DIVIDING THE ESTATE: Wonderful Play, Wonderfully Done

Horton Foote’s Dividing the Estate is in the great tradition of inheritance literature. God initiated the genre when He told Abraham of Ur, “I am the Lord, who brought you out of Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to inherit it.” His son Isaac initiated the trope of squabbling over inheritance by […]

AMERICAN SNIPER: The Sheepdog

The great films of Clint Eastwood have a fascination with the nature of male friendship. From Unforgiven through Invictus, Gran Torino, Letters from Iwo Jima, Flags of Our Fathers, Mystic River, and even Jersey Boys, the director has explored philia (brotherly love) with a depth and understanding rare in any other director. At times Eastwood’s […]