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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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Music Director Riccardo Muti leads the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus in Rossini’s “Stabat mater” featuring soprano Krassimira Stoyanova, mezzo-soprano Ekaterina Gubanova, tenor Dmitry Korchak and bass-baritone Eric Owens. (© Todd Rosenberg)

Just as many Italian Renaissance paintings of the crucifixion possess a breathtaking beauty that defies the brutality of the event, this music continually captures a vivid sense of transcendence.

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Yo-Yo Ma is soloist with Music Director Riccardo Muti and the CSO in Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 2. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg Photography)

The often stormy and repressive nature of life in the Soviet Union clearly infused the music of Sergei Prokofiev and Dmitri Shostakovich.

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Hubbard Street Dance Chicago in “Decadance/Chicago” by Ohad Naharin. (Photo by Todd Rosenberg)

Recent performances by a number of major Chicago dance companies suggest that in a city renowned for its theater scene, an impressive component of drama also can be found in the work of its dancers.

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Gregory Porter performs selections from his latest Blue Note album, “Nat King Cole and Me,” with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on June 11, 2018. (Credit: Todd Rosenberg)

Although I don’t ordinarily write about fundraisers, the 29th annual Corporate Night concert at Symphony Center on Monday was so beguiling that it deserves attention.

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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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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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