All stories by Irene Hsiao on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Porchlight's A Chorus Line is one singular sensation by Irene Hsiao

The cast brings the group of dance hopefuls to life. On a bare stage, a sea of spandex roils, shining with that 1970s luster. A director calls out counts and ste…

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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Admissions is a searing indictment of the white liberal elite by Irene Hsiao

Race is just a trading card. Joshua Harmon's 2018 Admissions opens in an administrative office at Hillcrest, an elite prep school in New Hampshire, where two blo…

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Anastasia recreates the animated feature with fewer animals and more Bolsheviks by Irene Hsiao

It's as pretty as a pastry. Fox gave Disney a run for its money when it released the 1997 animated feature film Anastasia, about an amnesiac orphan who might be …

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Thursday, March 28, 2019

Links Hall celebrates 40 years of being whatever the Chicago dance community needs it to be by Irene Hsiao

It’s been a rehearsal room, a performance venue, a puppetry workshop, and a space for experiments of all kinds. Links Hall was originally Link's Hall, named f…

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Them/Us/All: A Review of Self-Accusation at Theatre Y by Irene Hsiao

Beyond the window, the show is happening.

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Friday, March 22, 2019

Blood and Tears: A Review of Sweat at Goodman Theatre by Irene Hsiao

The first woman in history to win two Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, Lynn Nottage's latest play arrives direct from Broadway but its spirit can be found in countless barstools and beer steins ar…

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

2 Unfortunate 2 Travel follows a white boy—played by six women—around the world by Irene Hsiao

It's escapism you can feel good about. In Thomas Nashe's novel The Unfortunate Traveller, the young servant-soldier Jack Wilton swashbuckles his way through the …

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Friday, March 8, 2019

Father, Sister, Son: A Review of Doubt: A Parable at The Gift Theatre by Irene Hsiao

Casting the audience into the role of congregants, this production of John Patrick Shanley's Pulitzer Prize-winning play is more canny than most about what it let's us see.

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Thursday, March 7, 2019

I Wanna Fucking Tear You Apart feels like a sitcom about extended adolescence by Irene Hsiao

Go Team FatGay! If the 30s are the new 20s, and the 20s are but an extended adolescence, then we may never have to grow up at all if we live long enough. Sam and…

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Monday, March 4, 2019

Fundamental Sound: A Review of Ariodante at Lyric Opera of Chicago by Irene Hsiao

Nearly three hundred years since its premiere, Handel's opera of desire and power gains insight and urgency in this modern staging.

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Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Too Much, Too Late: A Review of Act(s) of God at Lookingglass Theatre Company by Irene Hsiao

Actor Kareem Bandealy's first foray as a playwright finds him laying the groundwork for an absurdist family comedy only to squander the work with an overcooked metatheatrical twist.

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Monday, February 18, 2019

Diamond in the Rough: A Review of La Traviata at Lyric Opera of Chicago by Irene Hsiao

Nothing that sparkles can last in Verdi's tragedy of goodness against the world.

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Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Child’s Play: A Review of Us/Them at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Irene Hsiao

This WorldStage Production at Chicago Shakespeare Theater renders trauma, memory and youth in its own exquisite language.

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Rapturous Plastics: A Review of L’Aprés-midi d’un foehn Version 1 at Compagnie Non Nova by Irene Hsiao

Part of the International Puppet Festival, this "one person" show from Compagnie Non Nova disturbs as much as it delights.

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Monday, January 14, 2019

As American As Pie and Whiskey: A Review of Between Riverside and Crazy at Redtwist Theatre by Irene Hsiao

Stephen Adly Guirgis' Pulitzer Prize-winning play is as heartbreaking and hilarious as ever.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Leaking Light: A Review of The Dark at the Top of the Stairs at Eclipse Theatre Company by Irene Hsiao

Closing out their William Inge season, this production from Eclipse Theatre Company walks the line between realism and melodrama with ease.

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Monday, November 26, 2018

Trivia and Meaning: A Review of Arcadia at Promethean Theatre Ensemble by Irene Hsiao

Promethean Theatre Ensemble's production of Tom Stoppard's ode to balancing reason and ardor is as welcome as ever.

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Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Grim Brothers: A Review of The Lonesome West at AstonRep Theatre Company by Irene Hsiao

AstonRep Theatre Company's production of this Martin McDonagh play is as lovely a thing as can be mustered from the playwright's relentlessly bleak vision of humanity.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

A Revolution Without Dancing: A Review of Rock ‘N’ Roll at The Artistic Home by Irene Hsiao

If “DDR” brings to mind not "Dance Dance Revolution" but “Deutsche Demokratische Republik", The Artistic Home's production of this Tom Stoppard play is probably for you.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Dust to Dust: A Review of Indecent at Victory Gardens Theater by Irene Hsiao

The Chicago premiere of Paula Vogel's Tony Award-nominated play is an impressionistic journey through the history of a controversy.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

War and Love: A Review of Arms and the Man at City Lit Theater by Irene Hsiao

City Lit's production of this early work by George Bernard Shaw remains brilliantly funny in our time of appalling displays of vanity and greed.

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

East to West: A Review of Vietgone at Writers Theatre by Irene Hsiao

At Writers Theatre, playwright Qui Nguyen weaves a story that is uniquely Asian and indivisibly American.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Review of Bus Stop at Eclipse Theatre Company by Irene Hsiao

Eclipse Theatre Company’s William Inge season continues with this 1955 play about getting lost in order to get found.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Running To Stand Still: A Review of The Opportunities of Extinction at Broken Nose Theatre by Irene Hsiao

Broken Nose Theatre's production of Sam Chanse's play captures the absurd melancholy of life in the sixth mass extinction.

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The Evictorcist: A Review of The Displaced at Haven Theatre by Irene Hsiao

Those who are gone ensure that they are not forgotten in the world premiere of Isaac Gomez's thriller at Haven Theatre.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Unoriginal Originalist: A Review of The Originalist at Court Theatre by Irene Hsiao

John Strand's equivocating biographical play on Antonin Scalia, currently receiving its Chicago premiere at Court Theatre, unconvincingly pits the thirty-year Supreme Court Justice's entrenc…

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Tuesday, May 8, 2018

This Immortal Coil: A Review of Prometheus Bound at City Lit Theater by Irene Hsiao

This new translation of Aeschylus' play at City Lit Theater is as flat and lifeless as its cardboard puppets.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Soul Music: A Review of Memphis at Porchlight Music Theatre by Irene Hsiao

A feast for the eyes and ears, this production at Porchlight Music Theatre offers an encouraging parallel world.

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Thursday, April 19, 2018

Stuck On Desire: A Review of Natural Affection at Eclipse Theatre Company by Irene Hsiao

This wrenching, rarely-performed drama from William Inge gets a stirring revival at Eclipse Theatre Company.

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

More Than A Dash of Panache: A Review of Cyrano at BoHo Theatre by Irene Hsiao

BoHo Theatre's production of Michael Hollinger and Aaron Posner's adaptation of Edmond Rostand's play makes the transition from paper to performance with excessive fuss.

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Monday, March 5, 2018

On Beauty: A Review of Cloud Gate Dance Theatre’s “Formosa” by Irene Hsiao

“Formosa” hovers between pure dance and historical exegesis, with movements that are pedestrian and formal and images that are deictic and metaphorical, …by Cloud Gate Dance Theatre of…

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All that Chat

Oct 06: Slave Play
Feb 01: The Minutes
TBA: Blue