All stories by Mary Wisniewski on BroadwayStars

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Spectacle and Gore: A Review of “Richard III” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

You don’t come to “Richard III” for history—you come for spectacle and gore, and Chicago Shakespeare delivers.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Monday, February 12, 2024

Grace and Power: A Review of “Notes from the Field” at TimeLine Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

In presenting the words of real people talking about America’s troubled education and criminal justice system in her 2015 play “Notes from the Field,” writer and actress Anna Deavere S…

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Monday, February 5, 2024

Medium Cold: A Review of “Highway Patrol” at Goodman Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

The social media world is a "cool" place (in Marshall McLuhan's term)—you have to fill in the details. The story might work better in a cooler medium, like television.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2024

Soulful and Devastating: A Review of “Champion” at Lyric Opera by Mary Wisniewski

In its Chicago premiere, “Champion” has strong vocal performances, exuberant dancing and a creative, multi-level set by Allen Moyer, which uses projected images of real newspaper headlin…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Unanswered Questions: A Review of “In Quietness” at A Red Orchid Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

The actors are telling a story that never finds its way, and leaves too many unanswered questions.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, January 23, 2024

Feels Like Heaven: A Review of “Anything Goes” at Porchlight Music Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

It’s January in Chicago, and we must somehow survive it. You could go to Miami, but not everyone has the time. So here’s a closer source of heat—a dynamite production of “Anything Go…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, January 18, 2024

Coming of Age: Sufjan Stevens’ “Illinois” Album is Brought to Life at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

Both the poetry and the genre-defying nature of “Illinoise” made it a favorite of Tony Award-winning choreographer Justin Peck. Peck worked with longtime friend and collaborator Stevens …

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, December 7, 2023

Friendship and Whales: A Review of “Islander” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

It’s a sweet story, beautifully performed, about a friendship between two teenage girls. One of them is a mermaid or selkie who takes care of whales.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, November 30, 2023

A Joyous Mainstay: A Review of “A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

This story has remained popular for 180 years because Scrooge is all of us, hurt by the world, trying hard to be tougher than we really are. Sometimes, we need to lower our defenses and reme…

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Thursday, November 16, 2023

Something Special: A Review of “The Lion in Winter” at Court Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

The moment Rebecca Spence steps on the Court Theatre stage as Eleanor of Aquitaine, the atmosphere changes. Here’s something special.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Everything’s Gonna Be Alright: A Review of “Twelfth Night” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

This new production of “Twelfth Night,” directed by first-generation Jamaican American director Tyrone Phillips with a mostly Black cast and reggae music, captures the spirit, the langua…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, November 2, 2023

Fairytale Terror: A Review of “The Night of the Hunter” at City Lit by Mary Wisniewski

The monster in “The Night of the Hunter” is not a vampire, or a werewolf, or any kind of supernatural, European fiend. He is a true American type and scarier than any Halloween monster, …

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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Monster Mash: A Review of “Young Frankenstein” at Mercury Theater by Mary Wisniewski

The talented cast sells every song and bawdy joke for all they’re worth, and you’ll have a good, silly time.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Friday, September 29, 2023

An Odd Dream: A Review of “The Pragmatists” at Trap Door Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

Trap Door opens its thirtieth season with an early play by one of the twentieth century’s kings of strange—Polish surrealist writer, artist, photographer and drug-adventurer Stanislaw I.…

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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

This Could Be Anywhere: A Review of “The Consul” at Third Eye Theatre Ensemble by Mary Wisniewski

This could be anywhere and any time in the modern era, with people being turned into numbers, and their stories into “cases.”

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Friday, September 22, 2023

Let’s Get Weird: A Review of “Revolution” at A Red Orchid Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

There’s a danger of being caught in the folds of time—you need friends, celebration and human contact to pull you free. So grab a friend and go see “Revolution”—it’s time to get …

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Thursday, September 21, 2023

The Dinner Party: A Review of “Welcome to Matteson!” at Congo Square Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

A dinner party is a great device for theatrical conflict. There’s nothing like too much wine and miscommunication to draw all the poisons out of the mud.

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Wednesday, September 6, 2023

A Safe Space: How Martyna Majok Channeled Her Immigrant Struggle Into Playwriting Success by Mary Wisniewski

Majok is back in Chicago, getting ready for a production of her 2020 play “Sanctuary City,” at Steppenwolf Theatre, where it will run from September 14 through November 18. Majok says sh…

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Monday, August 7, 2023

A Saccharine Set: A Review of “Next to Normal” at Paramount Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

“Next to Normal,” with music by Tom Kitt and book and lyrics by Brian Yorkey, is not up to the challenge and complexity of its subject.

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Friday, July 21, 2023

Crossed Paths: In “Port of Entry” the Albany Park Theater Project Uses Immersive Theater to Explore the Immigrant Experience by Mary Wisniewski

In a Northwest Side warehouse, you can visit the apartment of a Mexican family, anxious because the father has been deported. Or a multi-generation Filipino family, about to cook supper. The…

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Thursday, July 20, 2023

Harmonious Heat: A Review of “Cymbeline” by Midsommer Flight by Mary Wisniewski

Midsommer’s new production, playing in Chicago parks through August 13, shows that in the right hands, “Cymbeline” is funny, compelling and surprisingly touching.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Monday, July 17, 2023

The Godmother of Rock: A Review of “Marie and Rosetta” at Northlight Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

George Brant’s “Marie and Rosetta” at Northlight Theatre offers both great music and a real story. Directed by E. Faye Butler, it’s about the friendship and musical collaboration bet…

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Changing the Stakes: At Twenty-Five Years, Congo Square Theatre Charts a Radically Expansive Future by Mary Wisniewski

A twenty-five-year-old anniversary is tough to achieve in a marriage, and maybe a bigger challenge in the art world. Now, Congo Square is not only continuing to produce new work, but is plan…

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Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Life Goes On: A Review of “Another Marriage” at Steppenwolf Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

“Another Marriage,” a play by Steppenwolf ensemble member Kate Arrington, takes on the reality of how both the birth of a child and unequal career success can affect a relationship.

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Thursday, June 8, 2023

Shaken and Stirred: A Review of “Agnes of God” at Redtwist Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

Written by John Pielmeier in 1979, the play is about a young nun named Agnes found bleeding and unconscious in her convent bedroom. The audience gets the full, hurricane blast of this perfor…

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Tuesday, June 6, 2023

Coming Up Roses: A Review of “Gypsy” at BrightSide Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

When a terrific singing actress is in the role of Rose, you can’t take your eyes from her, and you can’t help but sympathize.

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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Sleep Warrior: A Review of “The Dream King” from Teatro Vista by Mary Wisniewski

It is in sleep that everything happens, and an office drone becomes a hero and a warrior. His quest is figuring out how to bring his dream life into his real one.

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Monday, May 1, 2023

A Salute To Power: A Review of “Panther Women: An Army for the Liberation” by Mary Wisniewski

This is true, exciting storefront theater, set in a literal, narrow storefront on 79th Street in the South Shore neighborhood. It’s challenging, passionate, and beautifully in your face.

SOURCE: at 08:00AM
Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Changes and Endings: An Interview with Director Robert Falls on “The Cherry Orchard” by Mary Wisniewski

For the last play he programmed as Goodman’s artistic director, Falls chose a masterpiece about change and endings—Anton Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard.”

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Monday, March 20, 2023

Story After Story: A Review of “The Comedy of Errors” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater by Mary Wisniewski

One of William Shakespeare’s earliest plays, “The Comedy of Errors” is sublimely ridiculous.

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Friday, March 17, 2023

Lies, All Lies: A Review of “Describe the Night” at Steppenwolf Theatre by Mary Wisniewski

There are lies told for art and lies told for power. In art, a lie (known as a story), can show what’s true. In politics, lies oppress. This play reveals hard truths about fascism’s dest…

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All that Chat

May 30, 2023: Grey House - Lyceum Theatre
Jun 26, 2023: Just For Us - Hudson Theatre
Jul 24, 2023: The Cottage - Hayes Theater
Nov 16, 2023: Spamalot - St. James Theatre
Dec 18, 2023: Appropriate - Hayes Theater
Mar 07, 2024: Doubt - Todd Haimes Theatre
Apr 14, 2024: Lempicka - Longacre Theatre
Apr 17, 2024: The Wiz - Marquis Theatre
Apr 18, 2024: Suffs - Music Box Theatre
Apr 25, 2024: Mother Play - Hayes Theater
Jun 10, 2024: The Drama Desk Awards