All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Monday, May 6, 2019

How does Eddie George go from football to starring in 'Chicago'? 'He gets an acting coach for 12 years.' by Chris Jones

In 1995, his senior year at Ohio State, Eddie George rushed for a school-record 1,927 yards and scored 25 touchdowns, gaining an average of 148 yards per game. Against Notre Dame that season…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:00AM
Sunday, May 5, 2019

Lyric Opera has a great, traditional 'West Side Story' that believes in the original by Chris Jones

The current, vociferous debate over classic Broadway musicals is not unlike that over the Constitution of the United States. On the one hand, you have those who argue that the Constitution s…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:00PM
Friday, May 3, 2019

'Matilda the Musical' at the Drury Lane is mostly a letdown by Chris Jones

"Matilda," the proto-feminist story of a gifted little girl with nasty parents, is perhaps the best family musical of this young century. Prescient for 2010, it managed both to be a thrillin…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:30PM
Thursday, May 2, 2019

'Too Heavy for Your Pocket' at TimeLine: It's the acting that elevates this new play set during the civil rights era by Chris Jones

If you’ve not heard of Jireh Breon Holder or his play “Too Heavy for Your Pocket,” you might well think that the new drama at the TimeLine Theatre is a long-lost play from the so-calle…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:00PM

Exiting Rahm Emanuel talks arts in Chicago: What he's most proud of — and a few regrets by Chris Jones

Some three weeks before leaving office, Rahm Emanuel, the 55th Mayor of Chicago, sat for an interview in his office at City Hall about the arts in Chicago. This is an edited transcript of ou…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Boy meets fox in 'First Love is the Revolution' at Steep Theatre by Chris Jones

Heard of “Venus in Fur”? That’s nothing compared to “First Love is the Revolution,” a play about a torrid and intensely emotional love affair between a 14-year-old boy and a young …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:30PM

'August Rush' is a new Broadway-bound musical — first at the Paramount in Aurora by Chris Jones

For hopeful new Broadway musicals, Chicago has become the most famous tryout town in America. But Aurora? Come Friday, it gets a piece of the action that has been going almost entirely to ei…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Tuesday, April 30, 2019

'The Children' at Steppenwolf is about the end of the world, more or less — but in Chicago it's a bit chilly by Chris Jones

If — strike that, when — the Earth suffers some sort of horrific ecological disaster of our own making, humanity probably won't disintegrate into dust overnight. More likely, some of us …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:30PM

'Tootsie' and 'Hadestown' top 2019 Tony Awards nominations — plus Laurie Metcalf for 'Hillary' by Chris Jones

As Broadway looks for a safe landing between changing times and the traditional makeup of its audience, this year's Tony Award nominations, announced Tuesday morning, reflected fevered compe…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:15AM

Cirque du Soleil announces 'R.U.N.' in Las Vegas — its first new show there in years by Chris Jones

After six years of a Cirque drought in the desert, the Cirque du Soleil is to bring a new attraction to the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas later this year. Instead of the acrobats and trapeze arti…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:00AM
Friday, April 26, 2019

In front of a hushed MCA audience, Kim Foxx lets Hamlet beat a murder rap by Chris Jones

Forget Jussie Smollett. Kim Foxx, the State’s Attorney for Cook County, let Hamlet walk on Thursday night. In a murder trial held before the federal judge Joan Lefkow, the relentless Chica…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:35PM

At Chicago Shakespeare Theater, this 'Hamlet' is like a guy you know, and you feel his grief by Chris Jones

For an eleventh-hour replacement, Maurice Jones is a darn fine Hamlet. Jones, a Broadway actor, was only cast in the theater's most iconic role in March, following the withdrawal of Raul …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Thursday, April 25, 2019

'Beetlejuice' on Broadway is a sleazy mess that's not for families — or anyone else by Chris Jones

The Beetlejuice is rancid. And be sure not to bring the kids for a drink. "Beetlejuice" — officially "Beetlejuice the Musical, the Musical, the Musical" — is one of those what-were-they-…

Linked From New York Daily News at 09:10PM

Debating Michael Jackson, the new 'Don't Stop' musical and the 'complexity defense' by Chris Jones

Incredibly, the dangerously titled Michael Jackson musical, “Don’t Stop ‘Til You Get Enough,” is moving forward in New York. Its creators are using what I’ll call the complexity de…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Do shots, then do 'Macbeth,' what could go wrong? 'Drunk Shakespeare' is coming to Chicago's Loop by Chris Jones

A new 120-seat theater is coming to the Loop. On Wabash Avenue, right by the Halal Guys and a Taco Bell Cantina, just across the street from the Elephant & Castle pub, will sit The Lion …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:10PM
Monday, April 22, 2019

Raven Theatre, 'Requiem' and 'Tilkum' at the top of the 2019 Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations by Chris Jones

In its first full season under artistic director Cody Estle, Raven Theatre scored the most nominations in the 2019 Non-Equity Jeff Awards, with the all-volunteer committee of Chicago theater…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:00AM
Thursday, April 18, 2019

'Hillary and Clinton' on Broadway revists politics' most painful paradox, with the help of Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow by Chris Jones

“Can I touch you?” John Lithgow’s Bill asks Laurie Metcalf’s Hillary. If looks could kill, the audience for playwright Lucas Hnath’s “Hillary and Clinton” at Broadway’s Golde…

Linked From New York Daily News at 09:30PM

'Cambodian Rock Band' at Victory Gardens: You're watching a breakout moment for a playwright — plus songs by Dengue Fever by Chris Jones

The most fun you can ever have as a critic is watching a talented scribe take a great leap — in both thematic ambition and theatrical accomplishment. “Cambodian Rock Band,” already the…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:00PM

Design mind behind 'Ham: Exhibition' says his creation belongs in Chicago, and will be its own kind of theater by Chris Jones

David Korins is best known as a designer of Broadway shows, including, among others, “Dear Evan Hansen,” “Passing Strange,” “Beetlejuice” and, of course, “Hamilton.” But thro…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:00PM

Alexander's biggest talent was pushing the other Founding Fathers' buttons, says the Yale expert advising 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' by Chris Jones

Joanne B. Freeman is one of the world’s foremost experts on Alexander Hamilton. A professor of history and American studies at Yale University, Freeman is the historical advisor for “Ham…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:00PM

Talking to Lin-Manuel Miranda: His voice will guide you through 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' but he wasn't a fan of the idea at first by Chris Jones

Lin-Manuel Miranda — the creator of “Hamilton” — needs no introduction. He talked with the Tribune from New York about his mostly parental role in “Hamilton: The Exhibition.” Thi…

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Your guide to 'Hamilton: The Exhibition' in Chicago: Will this big risk by the creators of the musical succeed? by Chris Jones

Can the famously smart and creative minds at Hamilton Inc. pull off their biggest gamble yet? With the acclaimed visual designer David Korins spinning the artistic roulette wheel, the brain …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:00PM

'Hamilton: The Exhibition': How to get to the 35,000-square-foot room where it happens by Kori Rumore and Chris Jones

The temporary exhibition opens April 27 on Northerly Island and will travel to other cities after the Chicago engagement, which is expected to last several months.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:56PM
Wednesday, April 17, 2019

'Hamlet,' now at Chicago Shakes, has 'to been' in Chicago before: 7 memorable 'Hamlets' through the years by Chris Jones

The moody Dane, known to his friends as “Hamlet,” is back in town. In honor of Barbara Gaines’ new production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which stars Maurice Jones, let’s take a …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Tuesday, April 16, 2019

'Burn/This' on Broadway: Adam Driver and Keri Russell star in the '80s play about sex and mourning by Chris Jones

When Lanford Wilson's "Burn/This" was first performed at Steppenwolf in Chicago at 1987, it famously starred John Malkovich and Joan Allen as, respectively, Pale and Anna: the coked-up, gang…

Linked From New York Daily News at 09:00PM
Monday, April 15, 2019

A great 'Chorus Line' should burst with feeling and vulnerability — like this one by Porchlight Music Theatre by Chris Jones

The New York dancers who talked into a tape recorder for the rapacious director Michael Bennett at the Nickolaus Exercise Center on E. 23rd Street in 1974 are now, on average, more than 70 y…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:50PM
Sunday, April 14, 2019

In 'Grinning From Fear to Fear,' Second City e.t.c. nails that tricky blend of peace, laughs and understanding by Chris Jones

Despite the title — or maybe because of the title — there’s a real warmth to “Grinning From Fear to Fear,” the new revue from Second City’s e.t.c. company and the director, Annel…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:20PM
Thursday, April 11, 2019

At 'Djembe! The Show' at Apollo, you get to bang your own drum all night long by Chris Jones

Enter the Apollo Theater and there will be a djembe drum on your seat. I speak not of some souvenir percussive takeaway nor of a cheap facsimile of the skin-covered goblet drum. Nope. Every …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:00PM
Wednesday, April 10, 2019

'Pinocchio' by House Theatre has moments of greatness and the best puppet in town by Chris Jones

Best puppet of the season? “King Kong” on Broadway. Height: 20 feet. Weight: 2,000 pounds. Style: Animatronic ape. Puppeteers: 14. Microprocessors: 16. Designer: Sonny Tilders. Cost: Goo…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:15PM

A big, traditional, get-your-money's-worth 'West Side Story' opens soon at the Lyric Opera by Chris Jones

This summer in New York, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner are expected to begin filming their upcoming adaptation of “West Side Story,” a remake of the movie that won a fleet of Oscars …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Ike Holter's 'Lottery Day' hits the jackpot — his Chicago saga ends in a culture-clash party in a Near West Side backyard by Chris Jones

Playwright Ike Holter’s extraordinary Rightlynd saga — a multi-part dramatic odyssey that has taken a lucky few of us over a five-year stretch to the Jackalope Theatre, Victory Gardens, …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:25PM

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