All stories by Ben Kaye on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

For the Sake of the Public Good: Chicago Theater Artists Respond to COVID-19 by Ben Kaye

“I hope to see us take a breath, to rest, to unlearn grind culture, to seek to be with each other in meaningful ways and not self-serving ones."

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Monday, March 9, 2020

Paving the Way: A Review of Her Honor Jane Byrne at Lookingglass Theatre Company by Ben Kaye

If the road to hell is truly paved with good intentions, chances are Mayor Jane Byrne, the subject of this world premiere, was part of the construction crew.

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You Say You Want a Revolution: A Review of What the Constitution Means to Me at Broadway In Chicago by Ben Kaye

Heidi Schreck’s play is nothing short of revolutionary but the true measure of its success will be how we carry the baton and keep the conversation going.

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Thursday, March 5, 2020

That’s Life: A Review of Middletown at GFour Productions by Ben Kaye

Somehow inane and tonally dissonant, the only tragedy in this play is that it doesn't end sooner.

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Monday, February 17, 2020
Monday, January 27, 2020

I Want a New Song: A Review of Verböten at The House Theatre of Chicago by Ben Kaye

This new musical, with a book by Brett Neveu and songs by Jason Narducy, follows a day-in-the-life of a teenage punk band, inspired by Narducy's adolescence.

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Monday, January 20, 2020

Lonely at the Top: A Review of Top Girls at Remy Bumppo Theatre Company by Ben Kaye

This production of Caryl Churchill's 1982 play attempts to examine the present by looking to the past.

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Gone Fishin’: A Review of The Gulf at About Face Theatre by Ben Kaye

A slow and solitary, meditative musing on human nature. And fish.

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Friday, December 27, 2019

I’m a Musical, Duh: A Review of Mean Girls at Broadway In Chicago by Ben Kaye

This big-budget musical adaptation of the beloved film written by Tina Fey is less than fetching.

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Monday, November 25, 2019

Beauty in Broken Things: A Review of The First Deep Breath at Victory Gardens Theater by Ben Kaye

A new entry into the hallowed tome of Great American Plays arrives in Chicago.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tragedy in Blue: A Review of Lindiwe at Steppenwolf Theatre Company by Ben Kaye

In showcasing black and African culture stripped of any specificity, the question posed by this production becomes: who is this really for?

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Started in the Basement, Now They’re Here: Talking With the Next Generation of Storefront Theaters by Ben Kaye

Artists from four up-and-coming storefront theaters discuss their missions, why they do what they do, and the future of Chicago’s storefront community. 

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Ship of Fools: A Review of Laura and the Sea at Rivendell Theatre Ensemble by Ben Kaye

This world premiere by Kate Tarker compelling asks: how well do you think you know your coworkers? And, by extension, how well do you know yourself?

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Monday, October 28, 2019

The Song Goes On: A Review of Andares at Chicago Shakespeare Theater and Makuyeika Colectivo Teatral by Ben Kaye

A part of Destinos, the third annual Chicago International Latino Theater Festival, this short-run production is born in joy, lives in anger, and ends in hope.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2019
Friday, September 27, 2019

Nothing To Say: A Review of The King’s Speech at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Ben Kaye

A frivolous and ultimately fruitless exercise in film-to-stage adaptation.

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

How Far to Hope: A Review of Oslo at TimeLine Theatre Company and Broadway In Chicago by Ben Kaye

J.T. Rogers’ Tony-Award winning play about the back-channel negotiations of the Oslo Accords in 1993 isn’t naive about its subject but nevertheless contains a glimmer of hope.

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Thursday, September 5, 2019

Play On: A Review of The Band’s Visit at Broadway In Chicago by Ben Kaye

While nothing happens, everything occurs in the national touring production of this Tony Award-winning 2017 musical.

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Friday, July 19, 2019

Wolves Will Be Wolves: A Review of Wolf Play at The Gift Theatre by Ben Kaye

The local premiere of this family drama from Hansol Jung bares its soul and its teeth.

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Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Enough Is Enough: Andrew Cutler, Amanda Fink and Eric Gerard Take the Reigns at Black Box Acting by Ben Kaye

The Chicago acting studio's new owners honor the past, look to the future and remain present.

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Tuesday, May 14, 2019
Monday, May 6, 2019

One More Time with Cohesion: A Review of August Rush: The Musical at Paramount Theatre by Ben Kaye

Based on the 2007 film of the same name, this world premiere is just as lost as its titular character.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Strike Up the Band: A Review of Cambodian Rock Band at Victory Gardens Theater by Ben Kaye

Hyperbole be damned, the latest from Lauren Yee may just be the best show of the year.

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019

All That Glitters Is Wood: A Review of Pinocchio at the House Theatre of Chicago by Ben Kaye

A marvelous and magical world premiere that’s intermittently too self-aware for its own good.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Good Things Brewing: A Review of Mr. Kotomoto Is Definitely Not White at NoMads Art Collective by Ben Kaye

Part workplace social comedy, part hyperactive fever dream, this world premiere has plenty to sip on.

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Friday, March 29, 2019

Great Expectation: A Review of The Ridiculous Darkness at Sideshow Theatre Company by Ben Kaye

This aesthetically adventurous adaptation follows many tributaries before arriving at its destination.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Dog Days: A Review of Yen at Raven Theatre by Ben Kaye

Anna Jordan's play, receiving its local premiere at Raven, examines toxic masculinity in terms of maternal care and its absence.

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Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Pulp Friction: A Review of Little Shop of Horrors at Mercury Theater Chicago by Ben Kaye

With a third local production in as many years, this Alan Menken and Howard Ashman musical is showing its age.

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

Anguish on Display: A Review of An Inspector Calls at Chicago Shakespeare Theater & The National Theatre of Great Britain by Ben Kaye

This pristine British import is both an aesthetic curiosity and a clue to an expanded theatrical language beyond kitchen sink realism.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Stuck in First Gear: A Review of How I Learned To Drive at Raven Theatre by Ben Kaye

With artistic director Cody Estle behind the wheel, this production alternates between slamming the gas and mashing the breaks.

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Monday, February 11, 2019

Opening Doors: A Review of A Doll’s House, Part 2 at Steppenwolf Theatre Company by Ben Kaye

Master of the theoretical dramatic exercise, playwright Lucas Hnath's latest takes on the legacy of Henrik Ibsen's "A Doll's House" and the institution of modern marriage.

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All that Chat

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