Category Archives: Theater

Virginia Stage Company’s RING OF FIRE: Epic Entertainment

Reflecting on the Virginia Stage Company’s season opening production of RING OF FIRE, I couldn’t help recalling the first RING OF FIRE we saw, the thrilling Mercury Theater production in Chicago of May 2015. Much of what I wrote at that time applies to the Wells Theater offering: “When Richard Maltby, Jr. was ready to […]

2017 EQUITY JEFF AWARDS

The Jeff Awards has been honoring outstanding Chicago theatre artists annually since it was established in 1968. I was happy to have appreciated many of this year’s  Equity nominations: “Uncle Vanya” – Goodman Theater PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY – Marton Csokas (Astrov) – Uncle Vanya – Goodman Theatre SUPPORTING […]

LA CENERENTOLA at 100: OPÉRA NATIONAL DE PARIS PRODUCES A LANDMARK

Napoleon is dead, but a new conqueror has already shown himself to the world; and from Moscow to Naples, from London to Vienna, from Paris to Calcutta, his name is constantly on every tongue. The fame of this hero knows no bounds save those of civilization itself; and he is not yet 32! The 1823 […]

Tidewater Opera Initiative: Fearless Performance

If you need proof as to the truth of Henri Matisse’s observation, “Creativity takes courage,” you need go no further than the weekend performances at Norfolk’s funky Hugh R Copeland Center of Mozart’s Der Schauspieldirektor and Henry Purcell’s  Dido and Aeneas. The Tidewater Opera Initiative (TOI), a self-described “boutique opera company”, presented the pair of […]

TIDEWATER STAGE’S THE CHRISTIANS: ONE HELLUVA SHOW

Few of the “educated elite” in society still believe in the reality of Satan. C.S. Lewis exposed Satan’s now completed program to spread disbelief in The Screwtape Letters[i]: I do not think you will have much difficulty in keeping the patient in the dark. The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern […]

TIDEWATER STAGE’S THE 39 STEPS: A HILARIOUS HOMAGE

“Spoof’ was originally a late 19th century drinking game involving coins. By the late 1950s the term began to be used to describe a skit or “send-up” of a popular literary or cultural genre. By the late 1970s “spoof” had engendered a theatrical movement known as the “Theatre of the Ridiculous”, itself a send up […]

Druid’s WAITING FOR GODOT: An Irish Triumph

Garry Hynes’ amazing production of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot made its first stop on Druid’s American tour at Charleston, South Carolina’s 2017 Spoletto Festival, The occasion is significant for several reasons. First, the production demonstrates conclusively why Beckett’s famous play is rightly considered a masterpiece of dramatic theater. Second, Ms. Hynes production rescues the […]

EUGENE ONEGIN at the Met: Netrebko Redefines Tatiana

Some fans of Alexander Pushkin’s great and iconic verse novel Eugene Onegin can’t stomach Pytor Illyich Tchaikovsky’s operatic version. Too much of the master Russian author’s brilliance is lost, they say, in the opera’s simplified libretto, written in only nine days. Pushkin’s 1833 novel is a text that “divides Russian literature into a ‘before’ and […]

ShawChicago’s HEARTBREAK HOUSE: Shaw’s Black Comedy

The Great War and its prelude flabbergasted Bernard Shaw more than any other event in his life. In addition, the end of his relationship with Stella Campbell left him as close to heartbroken emotionally as he ever would be. The sobbing, humiliated, protesting, exposed, and unprepossessing character of Heartbreak House’s Boss Mangan reflects Shaw’s emotional […]

Lyric Opera’s Eugene Onegin: Tatiana’s Triumph

Like Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Pytor Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin is not eponymous. The play is named, not, as Dostoyevsky famously argued, for the play’s main character, but rather for the character who sets the main character in action. The main character in Tchaikovsky’s opera is, instead, the country girl, Tatiana Larina. And Tatiana might owe her […]