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TimeLine Theatre Company continues to illuminate the present by exploring the past with the Chicago premiere of “The Chinese Lady,” Lloyd Suh's compelling play about Afong Moy, purportedly the first Chinese woman to set foot in the United States. 

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In a press kit insert for “Seagull,” translator-adapter-director Yasen Peyankov explains that his version of Anton Chekhov's 1895 play “is rooted in contemporary English as spoken in the U.S.” He goes on to say he “wanted to give American audiences an opportunity to experience the play as th…

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Actress and author Zoe Kazan's “After The Blast” is a domestic drama set in a dystopian future. Its Chicago premiere at Broken Nose Theatre, directed by JD Caudill, is engrossing despite how long it takes to set up the situation, some unnecessary digressions and limited resources.

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Photography and memory are at the center of Naomi Iizuka's “At the Vanishing Point,” which was written nearly two decades ago and is receiving a solid, moving Chicago premiere by Gift Theatre. 

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The title “All's Well That Ends Well” suggests that the end justifies the means, but that's not entirely the case in Chicago Shakespeare Theater's uneven production of the Bard's “problem” comedy directed by Shana Cooper. 

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Longing, love, loss and loneliness merge in “Intimate Apparel,” two-time Pulitzer Prize for Drama winner (for “Ruined” and “Sweat”) Lynn Nottage's lovely 2003 drama about a talented Black seamstress making a life for herself in Lower Manhattan in 1905. 

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When Tyla Abercrumbie's “Relentless” opened TimeLine Theatre Company's 25th anniversary season earlier this year, I called it the best new play I'd seen in a long time. Apparently a lot of people felt the same way, and now the family drama set in 1919 has moved to the Goodman Owen Theatre fo…

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“What to Send Up When It Goes Down,” which made its debut in Chicago last month, is a production with several distinct components. While it includes a scripted play, audience participation is also a significant part of the show — the aim is to explore police violence against Black people and…

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Sean Hayes' stunning performance makes “Good Night, Oscar” a “must see,” but there are plenty of reasons not to miss the world premiere of Doug Wright's extraordinary play at the Goodman Theatre before it almost undoubtedly heads to Broadway.

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Willy Loman's wife in “Death of a Salesman” is often played as passively long-suffering, but if you saw Elizabeth Franz's searing, passionate performance as Linda Loman in Goodman Theatre's Tony Award-winning 50th anniversary production of Arthur Miller's 1949 play, you have a better idea of…

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When the touring production of “Come From Away” came through town in the summer of 2019, I called it “one of the wittiest and most warm-hearted shows” I'd seen that year.

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Felicia P. Fields is a force of nature, and her presence alone is reason enough to see Porchlight Music Theatre's “Blues in the Night,” the musical revue conceived by Sheldon Epps in 1980. She commands the stage, captivates the audience and engages with the first-rate band whether she's reve…

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One of the best productions of “West Side Story” I ever saw (and I've seen many) was at The Marriott Theatre several decades ago. An “ah-ha” experience, it made me realize why the ground-breaking 1957 musical conceived by Jerome Robbins and written by Arthur Laurents (book), Leonard Bernstei…

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Goodman Theatre staged the world premiere of August Wilson's “Gem of the Ocean” in 2003 and, between 1986 and 2007, produced all ten plays in his Century Cycle chronicling the African American experience in the 20th century decade by decade.

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In a program book interview for TimeLine Theatre Company's world premiere of “Relentless,” playwright Tyla Abercrumbie is asked about authors who influenced her. After listing several from Lorraine Hansberry to Shakespeare, she says “Damaged people navigating life and circumstance. That's wh…

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The DuSable Museum of African American History has hosted many performances over the decades, but two new partnerships with local theatrical organizations are especially timely.

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Court Theatre just postponed the opening of “The Lady from the Sea” for three weeks until Feb. 25, but this response to the COVID-19 omicron surge is a small blip in the theater's extraordinary efforts to bring Henrik Ibsen's 1888 play to the stage.

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The world premiere of “When Harry Met Rehab” has all the ingredients of a modern tv sitcom. Besides the unfortunately jokey title and the tagline “a comedy that takes sobriety seriously,” the 90-minute play brings together a situation fraught with comic (and tragic) possibilities, a group of…

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Theaters nowadays tend to shy away from “Kiss Me, Kate,” and that's a shame. While Sam and Bella Spewack's book for the 1948 backstage musical is sexist, silly and makes light of spousal abuse by our standards, Cole Porter's marvelous music and lyrics more than compensate. Most of his dozen-…

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Tracy Letts’ “Bug” shut down in mid-run in March 2020 because of the pandemic, so it's fitting that the Steppenwolf Downstairs Theatre should reopen with its stellar production of this scary and disturbing play. Director David Cromer, the entire cast and the design team are back, and because…

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On Nov. 15, ​​the Silver Room hosted a storytelling event for women of color, with six performers telling stories around the theme “What am I carrying?” It was put on by the SOL Collective, a new volunteer group founded by a trio of close friends from the South Side — Shelley A. Davis, Emily…

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When six multi-talented actor-singer-musicians wrote “Pump Boys & Dinettes” for themselves to perform in 1981, they probably had little idea that the show would still be around four decades later. But the cheeky tribute to small-town Southern-ish life created by John Foley, Mark Hardwick…

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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.