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Theater

Reviews of Chicago’s stage shows and news from the actors and actresses putting on the performances.

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Marriott Theatre’s ‘Grease’ rolls out the rock, but little is endearing in surprisingly bland staging

It’s the difference between playing the hits, a service this show performs quite adequately, and making an impact. In this "Grease," the hits rarely land.

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‘Goshen’ to play the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place

The world-premiere production features Chicago’s Deeply Rooted Dance Theater and the music of Grammy-winner Donald Lawrence.

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‘Once on This Island’ showing its age in lackluster road show

The touring production, likely through circumstances beyond producers’ control, seems to be missing some of the magic it conjured on Broadway.

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LezSing Cabaret a musical celebration for LGBTQ women and nonbinary people

The show, directed by Emi Lee Frantz, is part of Pride Films and Plays’ effort to increase programming that focuses on women.

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Evanston’s short-lived Verboten became the ideal family in the long run for its young members

Evanston band, now the subject of a House Theatre musical, was an important outlet for all four band members, outsider teens who were dealing with intense family issues.

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Curtain Call: ‘Bug,’ ‘Emma,’ and more theater previews, openings Jan. 23-29

From comedy and drama to musicals and dance, Chicago’s stages are alive with vibrant productions.

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The Mix: Chicago Restaurant Week and more cool things to do in Chicago Jan 23-29

From a Richard Gray collection exhibit the Art Institute to Mandy Patinkin in concert, there’s much to see and do in the week ahead.

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Political resistance, hope served up amid horrors in engrossing ‘The Tasters’

At its best, Meghan Brown’s drama confronts audiences with the kind of questions we all hope we never have to answer.

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‘Voice of Good Hope’ an electrifying portrait of Texas lawmaker Barbara Jordan

The opening monologue in the play comes from Jordan’s July 25, 1974, speech on the impeachment proceedings of President Richard Nixon. The words don’t sound almost 50 years old. In director Terry McCabe’s staging for City Lit Theater, they sound like now.

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The Mix — Cool things to do and see in Chicago Jan. 16-22

The Rhinoceros Theater Festival, Tedeschi Trucks Band in concert and the Chicago Sinfonietta’s annual MLK tribute concert are among the highlights in the week ahead.

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Curtain Call — ‘Once on this Island,’ ‘Grease” and more theater openings, previews Jan. 16-22

From comedy and drama to musicals and dance, Chicago’s stages are alive with vibrant productions.

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‘Whisper House’ skims the surface of its characters, both real and ghostly

The fog that "Whisper House" can’t cut through comes down to its creators and their odd mismatch of tones.

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Fran Drescher, Rachel Bloom working on ‘The Nanny’ Broadway musical

Marc Bruni, who directed the recent Broadway show "Beautiful: The Carole King Musical," is set to direct.

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‘Young Frankenstein Live!’ the next musical set for ABC

The network said Wednesday it will air "Young Frankenstein Live!," the stage version of Mel Brooks’ 1974 film classic. The cast and air date were not revealed. The 93-year-old Brooks will be involved in the new project.

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Curtain Call— Rhinoceros Festival, Fillet of Solo Fest and more theater openings, previews Jan. 9-15, 2020

From comedy and drama to musicals and dance, Chicago’s stages are alive with vibrant productions.

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‘Hamilton’ ends three-year run in Chicago

The musical closed out its 171-week run on Sunday afternoon at the CIBC Theatre. At the curtain call, Mayor Lightfoot officially declared it "Hamilton Day" in the city.

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The Mix — The Young Playwrights Festival and more cool things to do Jan. 2-8

Also on tap this week: Fans of "Doctor Who" can gather to celebrate the popular show at a screening of the season’s premiere episode, a sneak peak of the season’s second episode, plus a video Q&A with the show’s actors on Jan. 5 at local movie theaters.

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‘Mean Girls’ musical loses much of the joy, soul of its film counterpart

Instead of telling a story with real flesh-and-blood girls, the Tina Fey stage musical feels plastic.

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Jerry Herman, ‘Mame,’ ‘Hello, Dolly!’ composer, dies at 88

The creator of 10 Broadway shows and contributor to several more, Herman won two Tony Awards for best musical: "Hello, Dolly!" in 1964 and "La Cage aux Folles" in 1983.

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‘Light In the Piazza’ author Elizabeth Spencer dies at 98

Spencer died Sunday night in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, according to playwright Craig Lucas, who adapted "Light In the Piazza" for the stage.

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The Mix: Shemekia Copeland and other cool things to see and do Dec. 26-Jan. 1

Tools of the Trade — a new exhibit at the American Writers Museum — is among the fun things to see and do in the week ahead.

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Some highlights in Chicago theater from the 2010s

From ingenious new works to profound revivals of classics, theatergoers were presented with thousands of works over the course of the decade.

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A decade of classical music: Looking back on the 2010s

Much has happened during this transformative decade in the classical scene from the establishment of a feisty baroque opera company and contemporary music festival to the opening of three major academic facilities.

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How Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond and an A-list team make a ‘Mean Girls’ musical happen

The show, opening this week in Chicago, ‘has more emotional depth than the movie,’ says its famous writer.

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‘The Phantom of the Opera’: Revival makes the most of show’s musical hooks, spectacular looks

Touring production arrives in town with opulent sets, powerful leads — and actual fire.

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Razor-sharp ‘Dance Nation’ at Steppenwolf has echoes of ‘Dance Moms,’ Hulu’s ‘Pen15’

Clare Barron’s Chicago-premiering play about the preteen girls (and one boy) in a competitive dance troupe offers the same kind of world depicted in the reality TV show, which was an inspiration.

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The Mix: ‘Christmas Around the World’ and more cool things to do Dec. 19-25

"Champions of Magic" and Mannheim Steamroller Christmas are also on tap for the week ahead in Chicago.

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Curtain Call — ‘Mean Girls,’ ‘Joseph... Technicolor Dreamcoat’ and more openings, previews Dec. 19-25

From musicals and drama to comedy and dance, Chicago’s stages are alive with vibrant productions.

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Retooled ‘Working’ still feels dated but formidable cast makes it succeed

Christopher Chase Carter has assembled six hugely talented artists for Theo Ubique’s staging.

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Fabrice Calmels leaving the Joffrey Ballet

The principal dancer will depart the world-renowned Chicago company at the end of the month following his final performance in "The Nutcracker."

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With her play ‘Dance Nation,’ Clare Barron observes teens’ steps toward adulthood

The work, now at Steppenwolf, draws from the writer’s own adolescence — and her love of ‘Dance Moms.’

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Powerful, poignant Renee Fleming brightens ‘The Light in the Piazza’

With its strong cast and enchanting score, the romantic musical fits perfectly into holiday festivity.