All stories by Lawrence Bommer on BroadwayStars

Saturday, July 10, 2021

Theater: MAMMA MIA! (Music Theater Works in Skokie) by Lawrence Bommer

GREAT MUSIC. GREAT THEATER. THE WORKS. Music Theater Works will present Mamma Mia! at the North Shore Center For The Performing Arts in Skokie, their new residence, from August 19, 2021 to A…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 08:51AM
Thursday, November 5, 2020

Theater Review: THE PROJECT(S) (Stage Left Theater, Chicago) by Tony Frankel and Lawrence Bommer

THIS YEAR MORE THAN EVER, THE PROJECT(S) MUST BE SEEN It’s a continuing crisis seen from the inside out, fleshed out with warmth and truth. In The Project(s), the late, great American Thea…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 07:45PM
Thursday, June 25, 2020

Theater Preview: THE MAGIC PARLOUR AT HOME (New Virtual Show by Chicago’s Dennis Watkins) by Tony Frankel and Lawrence Bommer

JUST AS MAGICAL REMOTELY Is stuff magical only because it can’t be explained? Perhaps it’s more than just the absence of logic, probability, or reason. There’s a presence too: Magic ev…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:46PM
Friday, March 6, 2020


SINGING AGAINST HATE If it takes a village, the Black Ensemble Theater creates one nightly. Actually, it’s a “healing circle” that’s literally at center stage and figuratively at the…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:54PM
Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Theater Review: DEX & ABBY (Pride Films and Plays) by Lawrence Bommer

PUPS ‘N’ STUFF MAKES A DOGGONE DRAMA “Love me, love my dog. [Then I’ll love you…}” That’s the operating assumption between Dex & Abby, a cross-species comedy/love play. At …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:39PM
Thursday, February 20, 2020

Theater Review: KILL MOVE PARADISE (TimeLine) by Lawrence Bommer

POSTHUMOUS EMANCIPATION The painful premise behind Kill Move Paradise is that there’s no justice on this side of the grave. So author James Ijames goes to the other side. He creates a kind…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 09:00PM
Monday, February 17, 2020

Theater Review: GRAVEYARD SHIFT (Goodman) by Lawrence Bommer

APPROXIMATING AN ATROCITY It’s an evil not to be exorcised. As the excellent HBO documentary My Name Is Sandra Bland showed, a tragedy resonates — Bland was found hanged in a prison cell…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 09:55PM
Friday, February 14, 2020

Theater Review: SUMMER: THE DONNA SUMMER MUSICAL (National Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

DISCO’S ONCE AND FUTURE DIVA As the song says, “Dim All The Lights” — or set them to scorching splendor. Anyway, the giant mirror ball is back, scintillating and scattering flecks of…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:30PM
Friday, February 7, 2020

Theater Review: EMMA (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

EMMA PLOTS, THIS TIME IN SONG Nobody knew better than Jane Austen how love could get lost in the social maze of Regency England, where social distinctions quickly become psychological barrie…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 06:48PM
Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Theater Review: RIVERDANCE (25th Anniversary Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

STILL STEPPING This Irish extravaganza is celebrating its 25th anniversary, a quarter century of Celtic thunder as thousands of feet have pounded countless floorboards. What Stomp offered …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 07:14PM
Sunday, February 2, 2020

Theater Review: DO YOU FEEL ANGER? (A Red Orchid) by Lawrence Bommer

I DON’T FEEL YOUR PAIN Lately a chronic lack of empathy—sensitivity to the feelings of others–threatens to become a liability as great as any budget deficit. Compassion has never fel…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:55PM
Saturday, February 1, 2020

Theater Review: SOPHISTICATED LADIES (Porchlight Music Theatre at Ruth Page Center for the Arts) by Lawrence Bommer

SOPHISTICATED SWING FROM KING ELLINGTON Some shows are just pure pleasure, delivering unpretentious delight with no plot to process or points to proclaim. Much like Ain’t Misbehavin’, …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 12:53PM
Thursday, January 23, 2020

Theater Review: ONCE ON THIS ISLAND (Nat’l Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

A TREE GROWS IN THE ANTILLES In 1990, eight years before he wrote Ragtime, Stephen Flaherty composed an eclectically exotic score for this one-act fairy tale. It’s the forthright story of…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:39PM
Monday, January 20, 2020

Theater Review: TOP GIRLS (Remy Bumppo Theatre Company at Theater Wit) by Lawrence Bommer

LONELY HUBRIS “I want it all.” “The sky’s [not] the limit.” “You only live once.” “You can’t take it with you.”: We’re fascinated by all the pride that precedes a fall.…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:00PM
Saturday, January 18, 2020

Theater Review: THE GULF (About Face Theatre at Theater Wit in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

ROCKING THE BOAT When we enter the theater, we see two women in a small fishing boat. It’s surrounded by huge buckets depicting the shallows of an inlet in the Alabama delta. Overhead nett…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 12:57PM
Monday, January 13, 2020

Theater Review: WHISPER HOUSE (Black Button Eyes Productions at The Athenaeum Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

A LIGHTHOUSE SPILLS ITS SECRETS Isolation forces intimacy on its inhabitants, if only by its process of elimination. It can also foster secrets: Scattered souls protect their privacy by keep…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:06PM
Saturday, December 21, 2019

Theater Review: DANCE NATION (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

DANCING AROUND ADOLESCENCE It happened with You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown, that peculiar, often cloying, problem of adult actors playing unfledged kids. There’s an unavoidable condes…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:30PM
Monday, December 16, 2019

Theater Review: BURNING BLUEBEARD (The Ruffians at Ruth Page Center for the Arts) by Lawrence Bommer

ASHES TO THEATER It’s the spectacle that keeps on giving: No longer sprawling the width of the Neo Futurarium’s stretched-out stage or concentrated in Theater Wit’s proscenium hall, Th…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:29PM
Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Theater Review: IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS (National Tour) by Lawrence Bommer

LET THEM SING AND WE’RE HAPPY Given the daylight deprivation that comes with December, music works like light to dispel the darkness. This musical couldn’t be brighter:  White Christma…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:01PM
Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Theater Review: THE CHRISTMAS FOUNDLING (Pride Films and Plays in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

A GOLD RUSH NATIVITY You could call it a second coming of Christmas from our Golden West. Delivered with the grit and gusto of 19th century raconteur Bret Harte, The Christmas Foundling i…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:24AM
Sunday, December 8, 2019

Theater Review: AN UNFORGETTABLE NAT KING COLE CHRISTMAS (Mercury Theater Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

A MELLOW YULE Back in the day velvet-toned Nat King Cole practically owned Christmas. His TV specials characterized by what his recreator Evan Tyrone Martin calls “bold simplicity.” His …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:39PM
Saturday, December 7, 2019

Theater Review: COLD TOWN/HOTLINE: A CHICAGO HOLIDAY STORY (Raven Theatre) by Lawrence Bommer

A WELL-MEANING YULE CONFECTION THAT’S A BIT DIFFICULT TO SWALLOW For dogged seekers of sentimentality for whom The Gift of the Magi or It’s A Wonderful Life are insufficient tinsel t…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:58PM
Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Theater Review: AMERICA’S BEST OUTCAST TOY (Pride Films & Plays) by Lawrence Bommer

ODDBALL OUTCASTS It pays homage to the goofy compassion exhibited by claymation holiday specials, especially the iconic classic where the inhabitants of the Island of Misfit Toys are rescued…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:43PM
Friday, November 29, 2019

Theater Review: ‘TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE (Cirque du Soleil in Chicago and New York) by Lawrence Bommer

CHRISTMAS AS A CIRCUS There’s a beloved poem behind these multiple circus acts in one act: Clement Moore was never that fond of his famous 1837 poem A Visit from Saint Nicholas (better kno…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 01:54PM
Sunday, November 24, 2019

Theater Review: A CHRISTMAS CAROL (Goodman) by Lawrence Bommer

REAPPRAISING A CASH COW Consider this a kind of conditional mea culpa: In past reviews of Goodman Theatre’s A Christmas Carol, I’ve faulted the production’s trivialization of Charles …

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:00PM
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Theater Review: LINDIWE (Steppenwolf) by Lawrence Bommer

THE PLOT THIN-ENS Can lightning strike thrice? Over two decades later, it’s happened again — a third collaboration between author/director Eric Simonson and the world-famous, nine-member…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:40PM
Monday, November 18, 2019

Theater Review: WAITING FOR GODOT (Dennis Začek Productions at Victory Gardens in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

DÉJÀ VU MEETS GROUNDHOG DAY “Birth was the death of him”: Terse to the point of cruelty, Samuel Beckett devours the human experience in six words, repeatedly juxtaposing graves with cr…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 03:57PM
Saturday, November 16, 2019

Opera Review: EVEREST & ALEKO (Chicago Opera Theater at the Harris Theater) by Lawrence Bommer

CHICAGO OPERA THEATER UPS THE ANTE AND PUSHES THE LIMITS The bad news: Everest and Aleko, Chicago Opera Theater’s engrossing double bill at Millennium Park’s Harris Theatre, closes t…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:02PM
Friday, November 15, 2019

Theater Review: RUTHERFORD AND SON (TimeLine) by Lawrence Bommer

AN EDWARDIAN WAKE-UP CALL You can’t keep a good play down. Produced under the pseudonym of K.G. Sowerby, the Edwardian drama Rutherford and Son was a huge hit in 1912 — until the playw…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 02:22PM
Friday, November 8, 2019

Theater Review: PACKING (About Face Theatre at Theater Wit in Chicago) by Lawrence Bommer

PICKED, PECKED, AND PACKED Some solo shows can be valued simply for their superb simulations of someone else’s story. Others succeed because we pay extra special attention when the chronic…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 04:07PM
Thursday, November 7, 2019

Chicago Theater Review: THE STEADFAST TIN SOLDIER: A CHRISTMAS PANTOMIME (Lookingglass) by Lawrence Bommer

HE’S BACK ON DUTY It’s now become a holiday classic, Mary Zimmerman’s gorgeous The Steadfast Tin Soldier at Lookingglass Theatre. It was glorious last year. It’s lost no luster since…

SOURCE: Stage and Cinema at 05:10PM

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