All stories by Chris Jones on BroadwayStars

Friday, September 21, 2018

In 'Curve of Departure' at Northlight Theatre, a family must work things out in a hotel room by Chris Jones

One fundamental problem faced by America’s oldest Equity actor — that would be the 94-year-old Mike Nussbaum — is that directors keep casting him in age-appropriate roles. Such is his …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 09:00PM

Can a chef teach President Trump empathy? by Chris Jones

On CNN Monday, the remarkable Spanish-American chef Jose Andres was interviewed while feeding tens of thousands of the victims of Hurricane Florence in both Wilmington and Raleigh, North Car…

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Thursday, September 20, 2018

Tracy Letts and Annette Bening will star in a Broadway 'All My Sons' by Chris Jones

Tracy Letts is to star alongside Annette Bening in a spring Roundabout Theatre revival of Arthur Miller's "All My Sons.” The revival of the moralistic 1947 family drama, set in small-town …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 04:30PM
Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Year of Chicago Theatre? Let's not blow the opportunity by Chris Jones

Thanks mostly to Chicago’s culture czar, Mark Kelly, and the genuine enthusiasm of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, 2019 has been designated the Year of Chicago Theatre by the city of Chicago. Before I…

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Rahm Emanuel to announce 2019 as the Year of Chicago Theatre by Chris Jones

Mayor Rahm Emanuel is to make it official on Monday: 2019 is to be the Year of Chicago Theatre. A citywide initiative dreamed up and spearheaded by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Spe…

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Sunday, September 16, 2018

Stunning 'BigMouth' lays bare the historic hypocrisy of political speeches by Chris Jones

Here’s a challenge for the growing slate of mayoral candidates in Chicago: How will you ensure that ordinary Chicagoans hear international perspectives on the many troubling issues faced b…

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Friday, September 14, 2018

'The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?' delivers the tragic kick of life by Chris Jones

Tragedy is commonly equated with sadness. But it’s really all about chaos. To quote the great songwriter William Finn: “Life is random and unfair, life is pandemonium.” Be they Greek, …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 10:50AM
Thursday, September 13, 2018

In 'Little Shop of Horrors' at Drury Lane, an Audrey for the ages by Chris Jones

Without “Little Shop of Horrors,” we wouldn’t have Disney’s “The Little Mermaid,” “Beauty and the Beast” or “Aladdin.” That’s because the spoof 1982 off-Broadway musica…

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At the Marriott, the key to 'Sweet Charity' is to have this dancer rely on herself by Chris Jones

Those we see every day usually know us best. In the case of Charity Hope Valentine — the Candide of the dance hall — that means her colleagues, the ones who get right to the point while …

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Why 'Radio Golf' reminds me of Brian Dennehy shouting in Petterino's by Chris Jones

Seated in a corner of the Petterino’s restaurant in the Loop, Brian Dennehy was hopping mad. The objects of Dennehy’s rage — this was in 2004 — were the critics of the American theat…

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Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Circus and dinner in the Loop: New Teatro ZinZanni show is coming to a forgotten room in Cambria Hotel by Chris Jones

Revitalizing a cavernous, historic space in the Loop that has been hidden from full view for decades, the West Coast entertainment company Teatro ZinZanni is to set up long-term shop on the …

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 01:50PM
Tuesday, September 11, 2018

As House Theatre adventures go, 'Borealis' is a non-starter by Chris Jones

In its 17-year history — and, for the record, I’ve seen every show — the courageous House Theatre of Chicago has trafficked almost entirely in new work, often with an emphasis on quest…

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The musical 'Tootsie' is much changed — goodbye, soaps — as it tells the story of an actor and his Dorothy by Chris Jones

In 2015 — when the absurdly reductive short-form listicle became the Hail Mary of flagging entertainment journalism — a prominent New York weekly decided to ask a group of actors, and on…

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Ready for 'Crime and Punishment'? New adaptation has our hero Raskolnikov talking to the audience by Chris Jones

Hey, let’s do Fyodor Dostoyevsky this sunny September! Two hours and 40 minutes of “Crime and Punishment”! One room! No star names! Not much of a set but lots of atmosphere and acting!…

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Sunday, September 9, 2018

'Radio Golf' was never considered August Wilson's best — then it came to Court Theatre by Chris Jones

I often wish August Wilson would come back to life to help us all make sense of our riven America. I walked into the Court Theatre on Saturday night just hours after watching the Serena Will…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 02:15PM
Friday, September 7, 2018

Fall theater: 10 shows that excite Chris Jones the most by Chris Jones

There’s a new work from Bruce Norris likely to prove incendiary. Performance artist David Cale stages a piece drawn from his own family history. It’s another day at the office for the 94…

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E. Faye Butler will play Mama Rose, the role she's been dreaming of by Chris Jones

To be an actress is to be cursed with people asking you which role you would most like to play. This common experience is not to be confused with people offering you the chance actually to p…

Linked From Chicago Tribune Subscription at 08:00AM
Thursday, September 6, 2018

In Nilaja Sun's 'No Child ...' we feel the struggles and joys of the teaching artist by Chris Jones

Most anyone who ever has been a teaching artist in an under-resourced urban school will tell you much the same thing. On rough days, the job feels like an exercise in impotence, given how th…

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Hey Broadway fans! What's coming to Chicago this fall? by Chris Jones

It’s fall showtime! Before we offer up our seasonal deluge of made-in-Chicago attractions, let’s take a look at what is headed our way from Broadway — or, at least, is making that clai…

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's departure will be a loss to the arts in Chicago by Chris Jones

Rahm Emanuel was elected mayor of Chicago on Feb, 22, 2011. Four days later, he showed up at a neighborhood theater. His appearance made national headlines; the attendant publicity helped ma…

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Our Hot New Faces of Chicago Theater: Here come the next names to know, Class of 2018 by Chris Jones

They’ve impressed us at TimeLine. Knocked us out at Victory Gardens. Made us chortle at Second City. Blown us away at the Lookingglass. They’re a diverse crew but they all are into truth…

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Second City and the Democratic Convention: When Abbie Hoffman improvised about himself by Chris Jones

Fifty years ago, the political activist and anarchist Abbie Hoffman, a co-founder of the Yippies, was arrested at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Along with other members…

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Thursday, August 30, 2018

'A Shayna Maidel' at TimeLine is a sister story with surprising power by Chris Jones

A neglected play from the 1980s that truly is much richer than I, for one, had ever realized, Barbara Lebow’s “A Shayna Maidel” is, on its face, the single-set story of the reconciliat…

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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

After 15 years of 'Lion King,' Kenny Ingram is back and open for business by Chris Jones

After a whopping 15 years in “The Lion King” — yes, you read that right — the song-and-dance man Kenny Ingram is back in town, playing Big Daddy Brubeck in “Sweet Charity” at the…

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Goodman leads 2018 Jeff nominations; Steppenwolf nearly shut out by Chris Jones

In a turnaround from recent history, Chicago’s Goodman Theatre dominated the 2018 Equity Joseph Jefferson Award nominations, with multiple nods for its widely acclaimed productions of Suza…

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Monday, August 27, 2018

'Vietgone' at Writers Theatre: Looking back at a lost war through his refugee parents' eyes by Chris Jones

How did my parents arrive at the moment of my birth? Some of us seek and find the answer to that question as small children. The rest of us, especially if our folks’ trajectories through l…

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Sunday, August 26, 2018

Playwright Neil Simon is dead at 91, his comic mastery beloved both on Broadway and in Chicago by Chris Jones

A one-man laugh factory known for one-liners delivered through the romantic gauze of memory, and one of the last human connections to the golden age of American comedy, the playwright Neil S…

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Thursday, August 23, 2018

Comparing Elaine May and Barbara Harris, if mostly through the eyes of Mike Nichols by Chris Jones

In October, Elaine May will appear on Broadway in a revival of Kenneth Lonergan's "The Waverly Gallery," a play about an elderly gallery owner in Greenwich Village. The 86-year-old May — h…

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Wednesday, August 22, 2018

For the first time, 'Hamilton' is advertising in a big way. What does that mean? by Chris Jones

If you have stared at the roof of a Chicago taxicab over the last few days, you may have been surprised by what you saw: An actual advertisement for the Chicago production of "Hamilton." Unt…

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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Barbara Harris, a member of first Second City cast who became a movie star, dies by Chris Jones

In 1966, Mike Nichols wrote an article in Life magazine. "We had a theater in Chicago in a former Chinese restaurant," he wrote. "One day, a young girl wandered in — because she lived on t…

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Friday, August 17, 2018

Food belongs to everyone, a truth shared by a great restaurant critic and a great chef by Chris Jones

Restaurant criticism is different from other forms of cultural reviewing. For one thing, we all have to eat every day. For another, we have an inevitably intimate relationship with anything …

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