All stories by Jack Helbig on BroadwayStars

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

Back in the USSR by Jack Helbig

I remember when rock was young. So, evidently, does Chicago playwright Katie Coleman, as she well attests in her intelligent, heartfelt play about two young Soviets, hopping and bopping to a…

SOURCE: at 12:54PM
Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Elf off the shelf by Jack Helbig

Like much that passes for entertainment during the holiday season, this 2010 musical, based on the 2003 movie, lives on the infinitely thin line between charm and utter stupidity. The […] …

SOURCE: at 11:30AM
Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Sound and fury by Jack Helbig

Their premise is not half bad: a “still relatively new” (as they describe themselves) theater company uses a fictional 125th-anniversary “jubilee” to bring together a collection of s…

SOURCE: at 10:10AM
Thursday, October 27, 2022

Luminous storytelling by Jack Helbig

Siena Marilyn Ledger’s brand-new two-person play, being produced here with 16th Street Theater and Dragonfly Theatre as part of the National New Play Network rolling world premiere program…

SOURCE: at 11:24AM
Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Bullish on Bull by Jack Helbig

This is a play of tiny moments and small details, a play in which characters change slowly, the way people and seasons change—silently, imperceptibly at first and then with the […] The p…

SOURCE: at 04:26PM
Wednesday, October 5, 2022

A life in song by Jack Helbig

The UrbanTheater Company’s performing space on Division Street is not small—I have seen them stage plays there just packed with actors—but it is really not large enough to contain all …

SOURCE: at 04:51PM
Thursday, September 22, 2022

Lookin’ swell by Jack Helbig

Hello, Dolly! is not revived that often. It only feels that way, because Jerry Herman’s score (book by Michael Stewart, based on Thornton Wilder’s play The Matchmaker) is so infectious […

SOURCE: at 12:56PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2022

Flawlessly in tune by Jack Helbig

Originally conceived in the mid-70s as a vehicle for Nell Carter but opening on Broadway in 1981 with Jennifer Holliday in the role that might have been Carter’s (if Carter’s […] The p…

SOURCE: at 12:24PM
Wednesday, August 31, 2022

Chagall’s Camelot by Jack Helbig

James Sherman began his career as an actor; he joined the Second City in the 70s, while he was still a student at Illinois State, appearing in the shows Once […] The post Chagall’s Camel…

SOURCE: at 05:56PM
Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Fast times at North Shore Magnet High by Jack Helbig

Journalist, playwright, screenwriter, theater critic, arts editor, and novelist Adam Langer was born in Chicago, grew up in West Rogers Park, went to school in Evanston, and spent the early …

SOURCE: at 12:25PM
Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Marvin Tate takes us on a dreamwalk through North Lawndale by Jack Helbig

When Chicago poet, sculptor, and musician Marvin Tate was in elementary school, he had a terrible stutter. To help him, his older sister gave him a poem to practice reading aloud. The poem w…

SOURCE: at 12:56PM
Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Winter in July by Jack Helbig

This is a great play for the summer—despite its title—because The Winter’s Tale is as much about the coming of spring as it is the dreary desolation of December. At least that is what …

SOURCE: at 12:08PM
Friday, June 24, 2022

Pleasant posies by Jack Helbig

My daughter tells me she likes the 1989 movie version of Steel Magnolias because you can have it running in the background while you do other things, and still more or less follow the plot. …

SOURCE: at 10:15AM
Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The dark visions of David Hauptschein by Jack Helbig

Writer and artist David Hauptschein has been working in Chicago since the 80s, curating live performances, writing plays, and working in visual arts, but his work has been produced more ofte…

SOURCE: at 10:56AM
Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Puppet revelations by Jack Helbig

Puppets are cool, but they are also creepy. Very creepy. Even the cute ones, like Kermit the Frog or Ollie the Dragon. There is just something deeply unnerving about how puppets seem like au…

SOURCE: at 11:24AM
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Remembering John Michalski by Jack Helbig

John Michalski, onetime Chicago improv teacher and performer, never found great fame. But he embodied the art form at its purest. John Michalski died May 24. In …

SOURCE: at 06:54PM
Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Del Marie: locked down, but not out by Jack Helbig

The rapper-dancer-performance poet rolls with the pandemic punches. 2020 started off so well. January and February were great months for 27-year-old rapper, danc…

SOURCE: at 05:30PM
Tuesday, August 4, 2020

iO past, present, and nonfuture by Jack Helbig

Remembering the comedy theater’s humble beginnings and reflecting on its dramatic end How did you find out about iO closing?…

SOURCE: at 04:45PM
Tuesday, April 28, 2020

The Upright Citizens Brigade shutters its New York venues by Jack Helbig

A critic reflects on UCB's early history in Chicago. Last week the folks at the Upright Citizens Brigade (UCB) sent out a letter announcing they were permanently…

SOURCE: at 06:25PM
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Middletown skims the surface by Jack Helbig

A starry cast can't inject a lot of life into Dan Clancy's middlebrow story. Dan Clancy's four-person play about two couples living a middling life in a middle-c…

SOURCE: at 05:45PM
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

The Secret of My Success needs a sharper book by Jack Helbig

The 1987 Michael J. Fox film gets a toothless musical treatment. This musical version of the 1987 Michael J. Fox vehicle, receiving its world premiere at the Par…

SOURCE: at 07:50PM
Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Shear Madness is retro, but not rewarding by Jack Helbig

Mercury Theater Chicago's revival of this murder mystery party game can't overcome the dated material. Adapted by Marilyn Abrams and Bruce Jordan from the origin…

SOURCE: at 06:00PM
Tuesday, February 11, 2020

An American in Paris works best when it faces the music by Jack Helbig

It's Gershwin for the win in Drury Lane's production. You don't have to know the classic 1951 movie musical to be disappointed by this 2015 stage version, but it…

SOURCE: at 07:20PM

Alabaster brings two women together in the aftermath of loss by Jack Helbig

Audrey Cefaly's story of a photographer and an agoraphobe goes far beyond Madison County. Audrey Cefaly's new play, receiving its world premiere at 16th Street T…

SOURCE: at 07:10PM
Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Route 66 can't kick into high gear by Jack Helbig

Roger Bean's jukebox musical has pleasant songs, but no point to its journey. There is no story in Roger Bean's jukebox musical, nor are there any characters, on…

SOURCE: at 08:00PM

How a Boy Falls stumbles at Northlight by Jack Helbig

Steven Dietz's family drama doesn't give us enough reasons to care. Steven Dietz's family drama lacks high stakes. Nothing is as it seems to be in How a Boy Fall…

SOURCE: at 07:25PM
Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Grease revs up the revival engines at Marriott by Jack Helbig

Scott Weinstein's staging is far more knock-out than knockoff. It is hard not to have low expectations for yet another revival of Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey's 1…

SOURCE: at 06:00PM
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Gina DeLuca walks the live lit line between funny and tragic by Jack Helbig

Her new monthly showcase at Duke of Perth creates a community for newbies and vets alike. Gina DeLuca is a 32-year-old Chicago-based writer and live lit performe…

SOURCE: at 01:30PM

Rose Valley Theatre Group debuts with Sunday Evening by Jack Helbig

Bulgarian playwright Zachary Karabashliev's ddrama shows promise, but falters. Bulgarian playwright Zachary Karabashliev's 2008 play, about two entwined dysfunct…

SOURCE: at 12:45PM
Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Nestor Gomez and 80 Minutes Around the World land at Fillet of Solo by Jack Helbig

The Guatemalan immigrant shares his own perspectives on failure and finding his voice. Nestor Gomez, "creator, producer, curator, and host" of the immigrant-focu…

SOURCE: at 06:55PM
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

America's Best Outcast Toy is heartfelt and funny by Jack Helbig

Some familiar cast-offs get a chance to show off their reality-competition chops in this new musical. America's Best Outcast Toy, by Larry Todd Cousineau (book a…

SOURCE: at 06:20PM

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Nov 27, 2022: KPOP - Circle In The Square