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Jason Grimm, left, and Noel Carey star in “Murder for Two” at the Marriott Theatre. (Photo credit: Liz Lauren)

The real question at the heart of this 95-minute, music-infused marathon of a farce – which features two actors playing 13 characters and frequently sharing time at a piano – is whether the performers themselves will make it out alive.

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Anthony Bowden and Genevieve Angelson in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (Credit: Brett Beiner Photograpahy)

In the feverish intensity of its emotions alone, this Tennessee Williams revival directed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge is grand opera from start to finish. 

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Brian Mengler, Josh Hills, Jonathan Zeng, Nick Cuellar, Athena Kopulos, Emma Sorenson and Alfredo Jimenez in “The Csardas Princess.”

What is most impressive about this romantic comedy, the first work to be produced in Folks Operetta’s “Reclaimed Voices” series, is the exceptional beauty of the voices in the show’s large cast, and the performers’ comic swagger.

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Charity Angel Dawson, Desi Oakley and Lenne Klingaman in “Waitress.” (Credit: Joan Marcus)

Director Diane Paulus taps into the pain and high comedy of the story, but Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre is far too big a venue for this essentially intimate show.

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Peter Pan (Johnny Shea) in “Peter Pan – A Musical Adventure,” directed and choreographed by Amber Mak. (Photo by Liz Lauren)

The elaborately produced 75-minute show has all the energy and magic necessary to keep young audiences engaged. At the same time, the adult aspects of the story emerge with particular force and clarity.

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Scenes from “Support Group for Men,” left, and “The Roommate.” (Photo credit: Liz Lauren, left, and Michael Brosilow)

While both “Support Group for Men” and “The Roommate” rely on predictable clichés, each serves as a prime example of how absolutely first-rate actors invariably bring total devotion to mediocre scripts.

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Christian Siebert, Jonah D. Winston and Dan Smeriglio in “Avenue Q” at Mercury Theater. (Credit: Brett A. Beiner)

The surprising thing about “Avenue Q” is just how wise, witty, open-minded and openly devoid of by-the-book political correctness it manages to be. 

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Teal Wicks, Stephanie J. Block and Micaela Diamond in “The Cher Show” at Broadway in Chicago's Oriental Theatre. (Photo by Joan Marcus)

The most winning aspect of this flashy new musical at the Oriental Theatre is how three different actresses with powerful voices so deftly capture Cher at various stages of her life.

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(Carl Ankrum)

A new program for teenagers lets them explore the arts in Chicago for just $5. Learn more about the Teen Arts Pass. 

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Omar Metwally and Arian Moayed in Steppenwolf’s Chicago premiere of “Guards at the Taj” by Rajiv Joseph. (Photo by Michael Brosilow)

It is no secret that we live in a world of grotesque extremes. In “Guards at the Taj,” playwright Rajiv Joseph explores this phenomenon by spinning a story that contrasts the radically opposing instincts of a megalomaniacal ruler.

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Katrina Lenk in “The Band’s Visit.” (Photo by Matthew Murphy)

Among the winners for “The Band’s Visit” – justly rewarded Sunday night with 10 Tony Awards – were two artists with Chicago connections: David Cromer and Katrina Lenk. Laurie Metcalf, of Steppenwolf (and “Roseanne”) fame, picked up her second Tony.

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Len Cariou, right, and Mark Janas in “Broadway & The Bard.”

In the one-man show “Broadway & The Bard,” Len Cariou – an actor of exceptional breadth and experience – brings both a youthful enthusiasm and worldly wise sensibility to what is clearly a labor of love. 

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The legendary Broadway actor brings his one-man show “Broadway and the Bard” to Chicago. Len Cariou joins us in discussion.

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Kamal Angelo Bolden and Aimé Donna Kelly in the Chicago premiere of “Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2 & 3)” by Suzan-Lori Parks. (Credit: Liz Lauren)

Suzan-Lori Parks’ fascinating three-hour trilogy, now on stage at the Goodman Theatre, probes the meaning of freedom, and all the complexity and ambivalence that word can carry with it.

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Jalen Gilbert and Heather Chrisler in “Mies Julie” at Victory Gardens Theater. (Photo credit: Liz Lauren)

Yael Farber’s blistering contemporary South African version of “Miss Julie,” the 1888 August Strindberg classic, is far and away the most brilliant play to arrive on a Chicago stage this season. 

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“Empower” performance May 31, 2018 at the Lyric Opera House. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

It’s one thing to star in your local high school musical. It’s a very different thing to take possession of the internationally renowned stage of Lyric Opera of Chicago. That’s just what these students did.

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