Category Archives: Uncategorized

Lyric Opera: Chicago’s Third Great NORMA

As late as 1920, American musicologists considered Vincenzo Bellini’s Norma “an improbably old-fashioned, almost hurdy-gurdy work.” But thanks to Chicago sopranos, that opera has become a standard of the American operatic canon. Written when Bellini (1801-1835) was just thirty years old, Norma had played in Chicago since the mid-nineteenth century by various visiting opera companies. […]

The Irish Theatre of Chicago’s THE WEIR: “A strange [but wonderful] little evening”

When I lived on a five-acre farm in Maine, I found myself strangely fascinated with the behavior of male birds. It seemed that whenever a female swallow appeared the male swallows engaged in all sorts of madcap aerial displays, loop-d-loops, dives, deal falls, etc. On the other hand, when a female cowbird appeared, the male […]

Remy Bumppo’s PYGMALION: Run, Don’t Walk. Now.

If you think you might ever want to see Bernard Shaw’s famous comedy, Pygmalion, now is the time. Don’t wait. Head to the Remy Bumppo Theatre. You won’t find a better collection of actors finding every jot and tittle of comedy and drama in this sometimes-baffling play. Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion is a peculiar example of […]

2016 EQUITY JEFF NOMINATIONS

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: “The Tempest” -Chicago Shakespeare Theater PRODUCTION – PLAY – LARGE DIRECTOR – PLAY Aaron Posner and Teller ACTOR IN A PRINCIPAL ROLE – PLAY Nate Dendy […]

Chicago Opera and CITIZEN KANE

“Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, an opera singer.” “Samuel Insull built the Civic Opera Building for his mistress, Mary Garden, an opera singer.” These two similar tales are told daily by Chicago River tour guides. And these two tales are totally false. The only truth in the tales is that […]

LYRIC OPERA’S THE KING AND I: AN OPULENT BEAUTY AND THE NICE GUY

At the heart of all of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s great musicals – Oklahoma, Carousel, South Pacific, The Sound of Music, and The King and I – is the tale of Beauty and the Beast. Each Beauty – Laurey, Julie, Nellie, Maria, Anna – transforms the macho wild Beast in their life – helps their man […]

OTHELLO: THE REMIX: A Backyard Masterpiece

Commissioned for the Globe to Globe Festival by Shakespeare’s Globe, Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Richard Jordan Productions: premiered on May 5, 2013 as part of the London 2012 Cultural; toured widely, captivating audiences at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Australia, Germany, South Korea, Poland, New Zealand, and United Arab Emirates; garnered tremendous acclaim and honors, including […]

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 […]

Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Othello: The Dark against the Light, Prose against Poetry

What is particularly, and shamefully, interesting to us now is the fact that a black man should be acceptable, to an audience inclined to xenophobia, as a great leader of men. Othello’s colour had no connotations of enslavable inferiority. There were great negroes about in those days (or Moors – Moor being a generic term […]

The Raven Theatre’s A LOSS OF ROSES: The Ordinary Becomes Extraordinary

The story of Chicago’s role in fostering the career of Tennessee Williams is well known. But Chicago’s role in the career of America’s other great playwright, William Inge, is not as familiar. In 1944 the young drama instructor, William Inge, met the would-be playwright Tennessee Williams in St. Louis where both men lived. Williams invited […]