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I wish I could say that the pre-Broadway engagement of “Paradise Square” at the Nederlander Theatre is the sure-fire hit it could be.

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It's “influencer night” at the Contumacious Pig, and anything that can go wrong...does. That's the premise of “A Recipe for Disaster,” the new play by James Beard Award-winning celebrity chef/restaurateur Rick Bayless (Frontera Grill, Topolobampo, etc.), which is enjoying a boisterous world …

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I'm enough of a Shakespeare purist that I was skeptical when I heard Chicago Shakespeare Theater was staging “As You Like It,” set in the 1960s and infused with almost two dozen Beatles songs. The long pre-show entertainment on stage, featuring wrestling matches to the tune of “Money (That's…

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“Songs for a New World” put Jason Robert Brown on the map when it premiered at New York's WPA Theatre in 1995, and though it has been eclipsed by the composer-lyricist's “The Last Five Years,” “Parade” and other musicals, the revue holds up surprisingly well after more than a quarter of a century.

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Bethany Thomas excels in every production she's in, but her stellar performance in Joanna Murray-Smith's “Songs for Nobodies” shows off the breadth and depth of her talent on a whole new level. Although the one-woman tour de force originally was written in 2010 for Australian Bernadette Robi…

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Lyric Opera of Chicago has moved from a very dimly lit and hard to fathom production of Verdi’s “Macbeth” as its opening opera of the season to a brightly lit, colorful, and utterly charming rendition of Donizetti’s “L’elisir d’amore” (“The Elixir of Love”). With a new-to-Chicago production …

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José Cruz González's “American Mariachi” at Goodman Theatre packs enough plot points and socially relevant content into 95 minutes to make a person's head spin, but the live mariachi music pulls everything together for an evening that's simultaneously joyous and sorrowful.

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Steppenwolf Theatre Company's web site tells us that the three new virtual plays by ensemble member Tracy Letts create “the opening landscape of this season” in a lead up to the November return of live performances with the playwright's “Bug,” which closed early because of COVID-19.

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The pandemic has spawned a host of audio dramas, but few, if any, come as close to being an old-fashioned radio soap opera as Congo Square Theatre Company's “The Clinic.”

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I hadn't seen Blue Man Group in years — decades, actually — so an invitation to the post-lockdown reopening of the iconic show that made its Chicago debut in 1997 was irresistible.

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Who is the meanest of them all? That's one of the questions that pervades our perceptions of Jocelyn Bioh's exuberant “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play,” which marks Goodman Theatre's return to live performances.

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Teatro ZinZanni is unlike any other entertainment around. One of the first shows to reopen in the Loop combines circus acts, dinner theater, comedy, cabaret and copious amounts of audience participation into an extravaganza more than worthy of a Las Vegas showroom.

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A balmy (but not too buggy) summer evening was the perfect backdrop for my first in-person theater experience since March of 2020. It was the opening of Oak Park Festival Theatre's “The Tempest” outdoors in Austin Gardens, and just the act of being able to gather together to see a show made …

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When Porchlight Music Theatre moved its six-year-old “New Faces Sing Broadway” series online last winter because of COVID-19, I was delighted. Before that, the shows —inspired by eponymous New York musical revues produced from 1934 to 1968 and each devoted to a single year of Broadway openin…

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The virtual world premiere of Susan Chenet's “Dingleberries” is subtitled “a crappy comedy based on real events,” but the satirical one-act also could be called “the playwright's best revenge.”

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All over Chicago, as the pandemic eases, theaters are planning to welcome live audiences with everything from individual outdoor productions to entire indoor seasons. Besides Court Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and a few others covered in a June 1 story, here are several late summer a…

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Reginald Edmund's “Ride Share” taps into the zeitgeist of our turbulent times. Based on the playwright's experiences as a rideshare driver, some of which he posted on Facebook, the 100-minute monologue takes us on a very bumpy ride through the mind of a man pushed to extremes — and played to…

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I had high expectations for Court Theatre's “Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912)” after talking to director Vanessa Stalling for a Herald preview (see May 27 issue). Rather than staging Owen McCafferty's play based on verbatim transcripts from the British inv…

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A Red Orchid Theatre bills “American Bottom” as an “experimental audiobook,” but that's neither entirely accurate nor adequate.

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Court Theatre is set to resume live productions in the fall. Hyde Park's renowned professional theater won't be picking up exactly where it left off before the pandemic, but the new three-play season does include shows that had been on the schedule.

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Court Theatre's return to live theater was supposed to be “Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry, 1912),” February 4 to March 7, 2021. The idea was that Owen McCafferty's courtroom docudrama would be performed for small audiences of 50 people maximum and also availabl…

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What would you do if you inadvertently discovered that you were about to cause a catastrophe? Would you do anything you could to prevent it or would you pretend you didn't know and just continue following orders?

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Lots of plays address athletes' struggles and stresses, but Anna Ziegler's “The Last Match” does an unusually balanced job of presenting the ambition and anxiety, promise and pitfalls, triumphs and trials.

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Times haven't been this good for audio plays since before the advent of television. Less complicated and costly to create than Zoom or filmed works, they range from comedies and dramas to musicals and mysteries. Many have short runs but some are podcasts posted long-term. Here are a handful …

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The title character in Tim Crouch's “I, Cinna (the poet)” has a severe case of writer's block. Even as he invites us to compose a poem along with him, the man torn apart by the mob in Shakespeare's “Julius Caesar” after being mistaken for a namesake conspirator questions the purpose of the p…

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Before the pandemic, Theatre in the Dark was starting to make a name for itself with a novel concept. The company's first show, the noir mystery-thriller “Three Stories Up,” was performed completely in the dark. Literally “noir,” it featured two actors playing multiple characters and live Fo…

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In his program letter for Northlight Theatre's presentation of Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre's digital world premiere of “The Catastrophist,” artistic director B.J. Jones says he once asked playwright Lauren Gunderson, “How do artists respond to this astonishing pause in our …

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The timing couldn't have been better for the release of “Duchess! Duchess! Duchess!” as part of the Steppenwolf NOW Virtual Stage if the theater had planned it. Coming just a few days after Oprah Winfrey's interview with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry on CBS, Vivian J.O. Barnes' 35-minute pl…

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Back in the before times, when I first learned that Court Theatre was planning a site-specific production of “An Iliad” at the Oriental Institute to celebrate both that institution's centennial and artistic director Charles Newell's 25th anniversary at the theater, I was thrilled.

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Definition Theatre is poised for an important role in the community. The company is showcasing Amplify, its new play commissioning program, with a series of filmed scenes Feb. 24 and 25, and is also preparing to break ground on its brand-new home in Woodlawn.

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When I heard that Interrobang Theatre Project was continuing its eleventh season with a reprise of Canadian actor and playwright Daniel MacIvor's punningly titled “Here Lies Henry,” which had been shut down in March 2020 by COVID-19, I was delighted. I hadn't seen the live show, itself a rev…

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Artemisia Theatre recently launched an ambitious virtual season that includes two Zoom world premieres by Lauren Ferebee, this year's resident playwright, and eight audio plays on the theater's We Women podcast. Video discussions will follow the two productions streaming on YouTube, while bi…

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Court Theatre is revising its season once again. August Wilson's “Two Trains Running” has been postponed indefinitely. Owen McCafferty’s “Titanic (Scenes from the British Wreck Commissioner's Inquiry, 1912),” directed by Vanessa Stalling, is being pushed back to late April, and “Othello,” ad…

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Technical wizardry matches the magician's artistry in “The Journey,” illusionist and mentalist Scott Silven's 55-minute trip into the landscape of his rural Scottish homeland and our minds, which is being livestreamed for a limited run as part of Chicago Shakespeare Theater's World's Stage series.

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Ah, for the Dog Days of summer! I get why they call it that: I’m a dog living right on the edge of Nichols Park, and last summer I had the time of my life.

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About Face Theatre is kicking off its 25th season with “Kickback,” an online compilation of short plays and performance pieces about Black LGBTQ+ experiences commissioned by the theater and inspired by the Rebuild Foundation's collections at the Stony Island Arts Bank.