All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Friday, July 20, 2018

'Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure' review: Blink on Navy Pier and they've flown away by Chris Jones

What better company at the theater than summer campers? Especially in a show that not only asks you to be up for an adventure but to bring a fairy back to life. (Before noon.) No problem for…

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Thursday, July 19, 2018

‘The Color Purple’ review: This thrilling revival sings straight to us in the audience at the Auditorium by Chris Jones

The Broadway musical based on “The Color Purple” tried out in Atlanta in 2004. Sitting there in Georgia, I admired the zest and accessibility of the score and, in particular, the artful …

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Chance the Chicagoist and Miranda the bookwriter: Is this the new look of media? by Chris Jones

On Wednesday, Chance the Rapper announced that he had purchased a dormant news-and-culture website called Chicagoist from the New York public radio station WNYC. His means of doing so — sh…

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

'Victims of Duty' review: Michael Shannon is the smiling Detective in an absurdist trap at Red Orchid by Chris Jones

Michael Shannon, his acerbic biography in the program at A Red Orchid Theatre informs, is soon to be enshrined in wax at Madame Tussauds near Times Square. A lifetime achievement, for sure, …

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'Something in the Game' takes another run at Knute Rockne musical by Chris Jones

Ten years ago — shudder — I pointed my Honda toward Munster, Ind., to check out a new musical about one of the Hoosier State’s most vaunted citizens: Coach Knute Kenneth Rockne of the …

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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

'Heartbreak Hotel' review: Elvis musical needs the real story by Chris Jones

“Heartbreak Hotel,” the biographical Elvis musical from the creator of the Broadway shows “Million Dollar Quartet” and “Baby It’s You,” begins with a spirited gospel performanc…

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Monday, July 16, 2018

'Hamilton: The Exhibition' postpones opening on Northerly Island to April by Chris Jones

“Hamilton: The Exhibition,” the ambitious, tented attraction that aims to immerse fans of the hit Broadway musical in the life and nonfictional times of its central character, is postpon…

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At Lifeline Theatre, a new artistic director by Chris Jones

Lifeline Theatre, the venerable and ensemble-based Rogers Park arts institution known for its theatrical adaptations of literary classics, has a new artistic director. It’s Ilesa Duncan, t…

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'Pamplona' at the Goodman is Hemingway's words, Stacy Keach's courage, battling it out in a hotel room by Chris Jones

“I’ve taken some hits,” observes Stacy Keach, playing Ernest Hemingway in the solo play “Pamplona” at the Goodman Theatre. The venerable, courageous actor might well have been spea…

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Sunday, July 15, 2018

Sunday's 'Cher Show' in Chicago is cancelled by Chris Jones

The final Chicago performance of "The Cher Show" at the Oriental Theatre was cancelled Sunday afternoon after a technical malfunction. Instead of the planned performance of the pre-Broadway …

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Thursday, July 12, 2018

Steppenwolf Theatre will host memorial service for manager Claude Binder, dead at 65 by Chris Jones

Steppenwolf Theatre has announced a July 16 memorial service for Claude Binder, the theater’s former production manager and general manager. Binder died July 1 from cancer. He was 65. A St…

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

In writing the music for 'Waitress,' Sara Bareilles taught musicals a thing or two by Chris Jones

"We got such a kick out of doing the Tony Awards," Sara Bareilles said the other day, over the phone as she walked around Los Angeles. "Josh and me? We're such theater nerds. And we've been …

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Court Theatre picks a new executive director outside the theater world by Chris Jones

The Court Theatre — the long-established Chicago theater in residence at the University of Chicago — has a new executive director from outside the theater industry. Court will announce T…

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Sunday, July 8, 2018

In Adam Rapp's 'The Sound Inside' in Williamstown, Mary-Louise Parker is a Yale professor facing cancer by Chris Jones

Born at Saint Francis Hospital in Evanston, the narrator of Adam Rapp’s new play, “The Sound Inside,” has ascended to one of those professorships, both tenured and scarce, teaching cre…

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Thursday, July 5, 2018

Why restore the Uptown Theatre at all? It's savvy, and plus there's a better reason by Chris Jones

On July 1, Neil Young played a sold-out concert at Chicago's historic Auditorium Theatre, part of the music legend's summer solo tour. Young saw great historical resonance in the gig, remind…

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Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Michael Shannon returns to the role he played in 1995 for Red Orchid's 25th season by Chris Jones

Above A Red Orchid Theatre in Old Town, there's a room. It's supposedly the A Red Orchid Theatre office, but it also has the air of a kitchen, or a basement, or a Chicago apartment shared by…

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Chicago-set 'Support Group for Men' a chance to laugh at our current #MeToo moment by Chris Jones

There is an atypical new comedy at the Goodman Theatre. Written and directed by women, it is a knowing, highly critical and laugh-out-loud funny work about a group of Americans in crisis: me…

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Sunday, July 1, 2018

In 'The Roommate' at Steppenwolf, directed by Phylicia Rashad, the Bronx meets Midwestern nice by Chris Jones

Sharon is a shy, 50-ish Iowan whose kitchen is filled with mason jars and decorated tiles, and who never locks her doors. Robyn is a confident vegan from the Bronx with no affinity for Midwe…

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Friday, June 29, 2018

'Tilikum' tells dark story of a captive orca at SeaWorld by Chris Jones

In 2010, a captive whale named Tilikum killed his trainer, Dawn Brancheau, by grabbing the 40-year-old woman’s ponytail and pulling her into the water. This was the third death of a human …

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Just 'Believe!' Pre-Broadway 'Cher Show' needs to let the Chers take charge by Chris Jones

Two crucial, unmet challenges are faced by “The Cher Show,” the far-from-finished new musical that celebrates one of the most resilient and self-transformative figures in American entert…

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Thursday, June 28, 2018

Uptown Theatre will be restored: $75 million plan unveiled for grand palace on North Side by Chris Jones

After 35 years of stuttering starts, empty promises, a court-ordered sale and oft-reckless neglect, the 4,381-seat, 46,000-square-foot Uptown Theatre — once the gilded crown jewel of the B…

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Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Ellen Fairey, done with 'Nurse Jackie' and 'Masters of Sex,' now starting a Chicago 'Support Group For Men' by Chris Jones

In 2009, a beautiful play called “Graceland” by a then-unknown Chicago writer named Ellen Fairey, opened at the now-defunct Profiles Theatre in Chicago. At the time, Fairey was waiting t…

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Cher sneaks into Chicago. And what does she think of 'The Cher Show'? by Chris Jones

The pop-culture polyglot known as Cher snuck quietly into Chicago this past weekend. She was here to see three weekend preview performances of “The Cher Show,” a new Broadway musical abo…

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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Tears and cheers at stirring true story of 'Haymarket' by Chris Jones

A girl of roughly middle-school age was directly in my field of vision Saturday night at the Den Theatre’s mainstage. She was part of a large group of kids who had been taken to the show a…

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Friday, June 22, 2018

'The Woman in Black' will bring the Royal George mainstage back to life by Chris Jones

After a long period of inactivity, the mainstage of Chicago’s Royal George Theatre is roaring back to life this fall with a new commercial production of “The Woman in Black,” a show th…

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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Summer theater road trip! Stratford, Spring Green and the theater of Saugatuck by Chris Jones

It's warm out. Fancy a road trip? Let's take a look at a few options for combining that excursion with some live performance. If you've been reading my column all these years (and thank you)…

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Nicholas Rudall, the founding director of Court Theatre, is dead at 78 by Chris Jones

On May 29, D. Nicholas Rudall, actor, director, translator, founding director of the Court Theatre and professor emeritus of classics at the University of Chicago, sent a message to 100 peop…

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Tuesday, June 19, 2018

New Michael Jackson musical is headed to Broadway, written by Lynn Nottage by Chris Jones

A new biographical, musical inspired by the life of Michael Jackson, is headed to Broadway, with arrival expected in 2020. The playwright Lynn Nottage, who has two Pulitzer Prizes, will writ…

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Friday, June 15, 2018

The Harris Theater, evolving in the Tribune's new neighborhood by Chris Jones

Here’s something no one anticipated when the Harris Theater for Music and Dance was built in 2003: it would begin to function as a neighborhood venue. Here’s something I never anticipate…

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Thursday, June 14, 2018

Jacob Harvey to exit Greenhouse Theater Center by Chris Jones

Jacob Harvey, artistic director of the Greenhouse Theater Center since 2016, is exiting the position, effective on Friday. William Spatz, who owns the producing and presenting operation, loc…

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Wednesday, June 13, 2018

At Gift, a 'Hamlet' with all kinds of ambition by Chris Jones

At one point in Monty Cole’s uber-contemporary “Hamlet” — at the Gift Theatre in Jefferson Park — the title character turns his back on the audience, picks up a can of red spray pa…

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