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The International Voices Project (IVP) started a decade ago with the goal of bringing world theater to Chicago, but the shift to an online format because of the Covid-19 pandemic has made founder and executive director Patrizia Acerra see its potential to bring Chicago theater to the world.

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At a time marked by racial strife and deep-seated social and economic inequity, one theatrical work paints a picture of the struggles and successes of Black people in the United States. 

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When Kelvin Roston, Jr. moved from St. Louis to Chicago to further his acting career in the spring of 2008, he rented a Hyde Park apartment with his then-wife and infant son and expected to spend the rest of the year auditioning to line up roles for 2009, although he had a day job as a pirat…

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Before the pandemic, Goodman Theatre planned to offer three live performances of “Stateville Voices,” one each at the theater, Kennedy-King College, and Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill, IL where the 21 short plays were written by the incarcerated men who were students in a Sprin…

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No one who saw the world premiere of Manual Cinema's “Frankenstein” at Court Theatre in late 2018 will forget the unique blend of shadow puppetry, 3D puppetry, actors, old-fashioned cinematic techniques, sound design, and live music that brought both Mary Shelley's novel and parts of her bio…

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Steppenwolf Theatre Company had an ambitious 45th-anniversary season planned for 2020-2021 with six main stage productions, the opening of a brand-new, in-the-round theater, and lots of other activities, but the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying uncertainty have changed much of that.

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When I got the press release about Court Theatre's latest plan to engage audiences, I thought it might be a joke. Called “The Liminal Space,” the project is a 24-hour live video feed of the stage of the Abelson Auditorium as it was in mid-March right after Ibsen's “The Lady from the Sea” was…

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While theaters and theater artists have been coming up with all sorts of inventive programs to connect with each other and audiences on the internet, a key element has mostly been missing: live theater.

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The Chicago theater movement that has grown to more than 250 companies and garnered international recognition really started in Hyde Park, according to Mark Larson's recently published “Ensemble: An Oral History of Chicago Theater”.

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Court Theatre is revising its schedule again since we last reported on it (April 10, 2020), and the theater is brainstorming about options, among them outdoor performances, digital courses surrounding classic titles, and virtual possibilities. An announcement about programming is expected ne…

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Live theater is essentially ephemeral, but digital  technology can provide permanence, and the COVID-19 pandemic makes these recorded performances preferable to no theater at all.

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The biggest April event for American musical theater lovers was “Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration” on April 27. Although belated (Stephen Sondheim's birthday was March 22) and plagued by a half-hour delay and technical difficulties at the start, the live stream on Y…

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When the COVID-19 pandemic closed down Lookingglass Theatre Company's world premiere of J. Nicole Brooks' “Her Honor Jane Bryne” just a few days after it had opened, the theater also had to cancel everything it had scheduled around the production. This included a series of post-show panel di…

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When the coronavirus shut down Chicago theaters, Court Theatre canceled its production of Henrik Ibsen's “The Lady from the Sea,” which was supposed to begin previews on March 12.

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“I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like” Jane Austen is said to have remarked as she started work on “Emma,” the last of her four novels to be published before her death in 1817. While English professor Stuart Sherman points out in his program essay for Chicago Sh…

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When asked in an interview how “Stick Fly” came about, playwright Lydia R. Diamond said she set out to write a “well-made play” that also was “fun.” She went on to explain that she wanted to explore fatherhood, interracial relationships, how we look at one another, and how we perceive that w…

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“Bug” is very high on my list of plays that are likely to make your skin crawl and your brain buzz. Tracy Letts's blend of psychological thriller, science fiction, and love story is fraught with enough paranoia, conspiracy theories, and creepiness to give anyone nightmares. And even though i…

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Anyone who saw “On Clover Road” at American Blues Theater last year knows the Steven Dietz can write a hair-raising thriller. The world premiere of his “How A Boy Falls” at Northlight Theatre isn't in that league, but the 75-minute play, which was commissioned by the theater and directed by …

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Toward the end of “Verböten” at The House Theatre of Chicago, when the members of the eponymous Evanston punk rock band finally put aside their arguments and angst to get up onstage at the Cubby Bear and play, what we see is a film clip of the actual band performing.

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SOMEWHAT RECOMMENDED

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A flyer inserted into the program for Writers Theatre's production of Eleanor Burgess' 2018 “The Niceties” advises viewers not to take sides in the debate between an esteemed, white, Baby Boomer college history professor and her black Millennial student, a political science major.

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Kelvin Rosten Jr. as Oedipus and Kate Collins as Jocasta in “Oedipus Rex.” (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

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If classics scholar and Court Theatre founding artistic director Nicholas Rudall were still alive (he died in 2018), I think he would be very proud of what the theater has done with his translation of Sophocles' “Oedipus Rex.” Court's artistic director Charles Newell, his ensemble of 14 acto…

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David Payne as the title character in "An Evening with C.S.Lewis."

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Hannah Toriumi (left) as Sophie and Emjoy Gavino (as Hiro) in “Kentucky.”