All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Steppenwolf Theatre cancels live shows until October, taps its famed ensemble for online productions by Chris Jones

No live theater at Chicago's famed Steppenwolf until at least mid-fall. Instead, many from the famous ensemble will do streaming productions.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:21PM
Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Column: Are you a Cuomosexual? Politicians are our new celebrities during the pandemic by Chris Jones

The Hollywood types are all locked away in their beach houses and penthouses. Who's taking up the spotlight now? Our mayors and governors.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:29PM
Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Prisoner playwrights were looking forward to Goodman’s ‘Stateville Voices.’ Now that’s locked down, too. by Chris Jones

“A young black man and woman lean into each other across the table, within the allowed parameters of closeness," the playwright André Patterson wrote. His play must now wait to be staged.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:03PM

Non-Equity Jeff Award nominations are in for 2020 by Chris Jones

The nominations are in for this year’s Non-Equity Jeff Awards, Chicago's theater awards going to productions not covered by a union contract.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:20AM
Monday, April 27, 2020

‘Sondheim 90th Birthday’: With songs from Meryl Streep, Bernadette Peters and Patti LuPone, who would have expected so much feeling via livestream by Chris Jones

Review: "Take Me to the World: A Sondheim 90th Birthday Celebration" on Broadway.com with Broadway stars Neil Patrick Harris, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Ben Platt and others.

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:48PM

Stratford Fest cancels 2020 summer theater season by Chris Jones

Another unfortunate casualty of the pandemic, the Stratford Fest in Canada has put theater "on hold."

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:05PM
Thursday, April 23, 2020

‘2020: The Movie’: When we look back at this pandemic, what will we see? What will the stories tell? by Chris Jones

Songs, books and movies all tell stories about moments in history. Wars, the 1960s, times of change. What will the pandemic story be?

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Monday, June 17, 2019

In powerful 'If I Forget' at Victory Gardens, a family fights over Jewish identity by Chris Jones

In its best moments, Steven Levenson’s “If I Forget” is like a Jewish “August: Osage County,” a relatable familial potboiler that simmers with religious, generational, marital and …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 03:20PM
Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Terrence McNally's lifetime award speech at the Tonys was ignored — but it was the most important of the night by Chris Jones

“Lifetime achievement,” said the writer Terrence McNally at the Tony Awards last weekend. “Not a moment too soon.” That dry opening joke by the 80-year-old author of such dramatic ma…

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Tony Awards 2019: 'Hadestown,' 'Ferryman' lead, Ali Stroker makes history as first actor in a wheelchair to win by Chris Jones

The 2019 Tony Awards turned out heavenly for "Hadestown," the stylized, bluesy, steampunk-influenced Anais Mitchell musical based on the "Orpheus and Eurydice" myth and set partly in the und…

Linked From The Baltimore Sun at 09:06AM
Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Den Theatre in Wicker Park is packed with hits — what's their secret? by Chris Jones

The Den Theatre — the hip, multi-stage venue on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park — has been one of the great success stories of the last decade in Chicago theater. For the past generation…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:00PM

Firebrand's 'Queen of the Mist' tells the painful true story of the woman who survived Niagara Falls by Chris Jones

Barbara E. Robertson has graced pretty much every major theater in Chicago: Goodman, Steppenwolf, you name ‘em. She played for a while in “Wicked,” too. But her performance in Firebran…

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Sunday, June 9, 2019

'Hadestown' and 'Ferryman' are the winners of 2019 Tony Awards by Chris Jones

"Hadestown," a stylized, bluesy, steampunk-influenced Anais Mitchell musical based on the "Orpheus and Eurydice" myth and set partly in the underworld, beat out its more traditional rival "T…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:30PM
Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Pritzker bill dangles millions for Illinois arts spending — who will be the winners? by Chris Jones

A million dollars for the new TimeLine Theatre in Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood; $2 million for the South Side Community Arts Center; $850,000 for the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance; $927,500 …

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'Life on Paper' by Jackalope Theatre builds a very human story from the numbers by Chris Jones

Kenneth Lin — a writer for "House of Cards" among other TV shows — has written a really lovely little play, all about people who have risen in life on the back of their affinity for numb…

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Will the musical 'Six' go from Navy Pier to Broadway? by Chris Jones

Chicago Shakespeare Theater has never moved a show to Broadway. Might that change with “Six,” its big hit this summer? If the theater keeps its head on its shoulders. (I’m here all wee…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

A fun party, but 'Ms. Blakk for President' at Steppenwolf needs a dose of Chicago truth by Chris Jones

Walk into “Ms. Blakk for President,” the new Steppenwolf Theatre show from Tarell Alvin McCraney and Tina Landau about the remarkable political odyssey of Terence Smith, one of the found…

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Strawdog Theatre's 'Take Me' has music by Jon Langford and a story of alien conspiracy theories by Chris Jones

Given the state of the world, who wouldn’t want to be abducted? I mean, it would at least be nice to keep that option in one’s back pocket: When our streets fill with water and our plane…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 12:00PM
Monday, June 3, 2019

Theo Ubique, Artistic Home and Raven are top winners at the Non-Equity Jeff Awards by Chris Jones

The Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre, a recent transplant to Evanston and a longtime favorite of the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee, shared top honors at the 2019 Non-Equity Jeffs with The Art…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 11:00PM

Griffin Theatre's 'For Services Rendered' is like 'Downton Abbey,' about the wrenching change of the Great War by Chris Jones

A political soothsayer and savant, the English playwright and novelist W. Somerset Maugham despised the hypocrisy of war. And as early as 1933, from his home in southern France, Maugham coul…

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Friday, May 31, 2019

Eddie Izzard goes all-in on politics in 'Wunderbar' at the Chicago Theatre by Chris Jones

Near the end of the first of his two nights of shows at the Chicago Theatre on Thursday, the British comedian Eddie Izzard let out a kind of goodbye to all this: “This might be my last tou…

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Thursday, May 30, 2019

'Frankie and Johnny' on Broadway is a beautiful balance between Audra McDonald and Michael Shannon by Chris Jones

Terrence McNally's "Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune" begins with climactic sex between a middle-aged waitress and her short-order cook. In the script he wrote in the late 1980s, McNa…

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Touring 'Falsettos,' now in Chicago, has a cast that's better than Broadway's by Chris Jones

“If I said I love him,” sings Marvin, the leading character in “Falsettos,” “you might think my words come cheap. Let's just say I'm glad he's mine awake, asleep.” Truths about l…

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Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Why Louis Vuitton designer Virgil Abloh is releasing his new shoe at the MCA by Chris Jones

The other day, Instagram followers of Virgil Abloh, the 38-year-old creator of Off-White and also now the "artistic director" of Louis Vuitton’s entire menswear line, got a treat — the c…

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Court Theatre is concluding a 4-star season — how did they do it? by Chris Jones

Court Theatre is in the final weeks of a truly extraordinary five-show season, featuring a quartet of four-star shows. Taken as a whole, Court's 2018-19 productions were far and away the bes…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 06:00AM
Friday, May 24, 2019

A Red Orchid Theatre adds new ensemble members by Chris Jones

A Red Orchid Theatre said Friday that it was adding eight new members to its artistic ensemble: Karen Aldridge, Myron Elliott-Cisneros, Levi Holloway, Travis A. Knight, Jess McLeod, Sadieh R…

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Thursday, May 23, 2019

Now at Chicago Shakes, 'Six' gives these Tudor wives a voice and could be a huge hit by Chris Jones

Hit shows — and, make no mistake, the dynamic new pop musical “Six” has clear Broadway potential — invariably arise from great ideas that fit a moment. Get a load of this mighty shre…

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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Looking ahead to the 2019 Tony Awards: What should win by Chris Jones

What makes an acting performance worthy of a Tony Award? It’s always a fascinating question on Broadway: Must such a performance command a marquee, spare no prisoners and take change of an…

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Malcolm Ewen has died at 64, a Steppenwolf stage manager and a calming voice by Chris Jones

Malcolm Ewen’s first foray into a life in the theater was in his hometown of Winnetka, in a middle school production of “The Hither and Thither of Danny Dither.” He played the role of …

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'Volta' by Cirque du Soleil is now at Soldier Field with all the old excitement by Chris Jones

Cirque du Soleil has brought 25 different shows to the Chicago area over the last 30 years. I’ve reviewed 24 of them, from “Alegria” to “Saltimbanco” to “Varekai,” from the old…

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Before Mayor Pete, there was Joan Jett Blakk for president! Look for her story at Steppenwolf by Chris Jones

In 1991, Joan Jett Blakk ran against Richard M. Daley for Mayor of Chicago. By the following year, the radical drag persona of the courtly, mild-mannered performer Terence Smith was running …

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