• Masha's Seagull at Berkshire Theatre Group

    Stunning Solo by Virginia Scheuer Launches Season

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 23rd, 2015

    Launching the season on a chilly Memorial Day weekend Bekshire Theatre Group is presenting a variation on Chekhov with Masha's Seagull. In a transfer from Bentonville, Arkansas, directed by Eric Hill it proves to be a family affair. The play is written by Justin Scheuer, stars his wife, Virginia, with set and lighting by their son Nathan. Given the quality of the production it deserves a longer run.

  • Playwright Lillian Hellman

    Reflections on Two Chicago Productions

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 23rd, 2015

    Last week I saw two masterpieces of 20th century theater by Lillian Hellman, the great playwright and left wing political activist. (I‘m a fan on both counts.) The two shows were extremely different in production values but demonstrated the power of performance.

  • Ensemble Studio Theatre's Marathon of One Acts

    Series A Opens the 35th Year

    By: Susan Hall - May 22nd, 2015

    The Ensemble Studio Theatre is presenting its 35th anniversary Marathon of one act plays. Although proud of their production, Hand to God, which is now on Broadway with five Tony nominations, they are hardly sitting on their laurels.

  • Hand to God at the Booth on Broadway

    Stunning Performances in an Edgy Play

    By: Susan Hall - May 21st, 2015

    Robert Askins' play started at the Ensemble Studio Theatre and has not stopped since. It arrived on Broadway in time to receive five Tony nominations this year: three for actors, one for the play and the other for direction. Shows you what aa hand to God can do.

  • Butler by Richard Strand

    Civil War Comedy Launches Berkshire Season

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 21st, 2015

    With a striking resemblance to the Civil War General Benjamin Butler the hilarious performance by David Schramm in "Butler" launches the Berkshire season at Barrington Stage Company. Based on actual characters and events the playwright, Richard Strand, stretches the facts to create an evening of outrageous comedy.

  • The Last Two People On Earth Sings at A.R.T.

    An Apocalyptic Vaudeville Full of Fun and Despair

    By: Mark Favermann - May 20th, 2015

    Literally Apocalypse Wow, it’s the end of the world as we know it. A flood of biblical proportions leaves the earth with only two people. An always happy one and a mostly despairing one discover their common language is song and dance. Together they chronicle the rise and fall and hopeful rise again of humankind through music. Song and dance run the gamut from Rodgers and Hammerstein to Sondheim, and R.E.M. to Queen.

  • Inana by Michele Lowe

    Timeline Theatre's Chicago Premiere

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 19th, 2015

    Playwright Michele Lowe started out as a journalist with a degree from Northwestern's Medill School of Journalism. Her plays have been produced around the U.S. and in other countries. Both Inana and Victoria Musica were finalists for the American Theatre Critics Association/Steinberg New Play Award in 2010, the first time that a playwright was nominated for two plays in one season.

  • Light Up the Sky Beacons Us to Theatrical Laughs

    Comedic View of Putting On A Show

    By: Mark Favermann - May 19th, 2015

    Set in the Ritz-Carlton Boston in the late 1940s, Light Up the Sky is a backstage comedy about the eccentric, colorful artists and producers involved in breathing life into a Broadway-bound play. Here we witness that frightening moment of anticipation and terror just before an audience sees the opening performance. We view the grand, charismatic leading lady, the hopeful young playwright, the high-strung director, the boorish producer and his comical wife along with a monster mother in this affectionate, hilarious and even a bit corny look at what used to be referred to as the "legitimate" theatre. With a wonderful cast, it is an entertaining way to spend some time smiling in the dark.

  • Mandy Greenfield of Williamstown Theatre Festival

    Discusses First Season as Artistic Director

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 18th, 2015

    Meeting for Happy Hour we discussed the strong, star studded first season for Mandy Greenfield the artistic director of the Williamstown Theatre Festival. We explored an overview of the elements that must mesh under the pressure of a tight festival format to result in richly compelling theatre.

  • Thyphoid Mary by Tom Horan

    Phoenix Theatre in Indianapolis

    By: Melissa Hall - May 17th, 2015

    The play’s strength lies in Tom Horan’s ability to balance humor, historical fact, and moral dilemmas with aplomb. He threads together Mary’s religious beliefs, scientific understanding of that time, and a larger picture of the way disease in viewed in our culture. His whip-smart dialogue keeps the audience laughing despite the serious subject. The show also includes a description of the actual breakdown and effects of the disease. That inclusion was important and brought home the seriousness of the pain and fear that people were experiencing during the epidemic.

  • The Provincetown Theater

    Announces the 2015 Season

    By: P'Town - May 15th, 2015

    The Provincetown Theater announces its 2015 season. An eclectic blend of the old and new, this year's lineup reflects key moments in the history of theater on the Outer Cape and beyond. Eugene O'Neill to Ryan Landry, Lonely Planet to Oleanna will join Broadway veterans on the stage in Provincetown to help celebrate 100 years of exhilarating performances, inspired new American plays and powerful theatrical experiences in Provincetown..

  • The Little Foxes in Chicago

    Hellman's Play at Goodman Theatre

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 15th, 2015

    Goodman's excellent new production of The Little Foxes, directed with style by Henry Wishcamper, stars a galaxy of Chicago's finest actors and surely resonates with some of the current discussions about racism, sexism, domestic abuse and income inequality. If you have a drink with friends after the show, those topics probably will be part of your post-play discussion.

  • Capital Rep's Hamlet in Albany

    Bare-bones Take on a Shakespeare Classic

    By: Chris Buchanan - May 14th, 2015

    A troupe of solid actors takes the Albany stag at Capital Rep to provide a nail-biting and juicy performance. From the ghost's first walk to the final bloodbath, this fast paced modern and crisply spoken rendition illustrates the timelessness of all the plagues of humanity: murder, revenge, madness and love.

  • The Drowning Girls at Signal Ensemble Theatre

    By Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic,

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 13th, 2015

    Signal's production is the Chicago premiere of a script by playwrights Beth Graham, Charlie Tomlinson and Daniela Vlaskalic, Canadian theater artists, whose play was first performed in 2008 in Alberta. Their script is poetic prose and requires the actors to speak in lists, finish each others' sentences and read their own obituaries from the wet newspapers they bring out of their tubs.

  • Mothers & Sons Bond at SpeakEasy

    Brilliant Acting Underscores Touching Narrative

    By: Mark Favermann - May 11th, 2015

    A touching play exploring our evolving understanding of what it means to be a family. At times funny, provocative, and poignant, this drama follows Dallas matriarch Katharine Gerard on an unexpected visit to New York City to meet with her late son’s former partner, who is now married to another man and raising a young son. Forced to consider the life that her son might have led, Katharine must now come to terms with her own life choices. And certainly, society has changed around her. Wonderful acting underscores this quality production.

  • The Project(s) by American Theatre Company

    Dramatizes Chicago's Public Housing

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 11th, 2015

    Paparelli and his co-writer, Joshua Jaeger, conducted about 100 interviews over five years with current and former residents of public housing, plus scholars and city officials. His docudrama isn't a dreary recitation of blame and political failure. The problems are not ignored, but the resulting production is a lively and thoroughly engrossing story in words, rhythm and music.

  • Tony Winning Play Side Man

    Chicago's American Blues Theater's Warren Leight Jazz Riff

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - May 11th, 2015

    Warren Leight's Tony-award winning play, Side Man, tells the story of a few horn players who thrived in their own way in the 1940s and '50s jazz era. They worked their 20 weeks per year, then met at the unemployment office every Friday to collect their checks. Their motto was "keep your nut small" -- live as frugally as possible -- so you can live on a sideman's salary.

  • Two Gentlemen of Verona at Theatre for a New Audience

    Fiasco Production in the Polosky Shakespeare Center

    By: Susan Hall - May 05th, 2015

    What may well be Shakespeare's first play is produced as a wild and charming mashup of The Book of the Courtier, and luscious language. Fiasco Theater out of the Folger in Washington, DC has collaborated with Theatre for a New Audience in the past. Now they arrive in full blossom at the Polonsky Shakespeare Center in Brooklyn with Two Gentlemen of Verona.

  • Tony Simotes Part Three

    Act Two with Berkshire Theatre Group

    By: Charles Giuliano - May 02nd, 2015

    In the third and final installment of an interview with Tony Simotes he describes the epiphany and divine intervention that resulted with leaving Shakespeare & Company and beginning what he calls act two with Berkshire Theatre Group. Having overcome personal and family adversity he views each day as a gift and the opportunity to have a positive impact in theatre and the cultural community of the Berkshires.

  • Three Sisters at The Hypocrites

    Chekhov in Chicago

    By: Nancy S. Bishop - Apr 29th, 2015

    Director Geoff Button adapted Chekhov's script to use more modern language without trivializing it or breaking the mood of the story. Both his adaptation and direction are very strong. The eponymous Prosorov sisters lead the excellent 14-person cast in a story that progresses over several years in a provincial Russian town at the turn of the 20th century.

  • Helen Mirren in Queen Elizabeth II

    Tony Nomination for The Audience

    By: Edward Rubin - Apr 29th, 2015

    Helen Merrin is as close as it gets to British theatrical royalty. She easily elides into the role of Queen Elizabeth II in a Tony nominated performance for "The Audience." While she is regal as always the play presents generic watered down history.

  • Berkshires Represented in Tony Awards

    WTF and Barrington Stage Among Nominees

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 28th, 2015

    Three productions developed in the Berkshires are among the nominees for the 2015 Tony Awards. Williamstown Theatre Festival is represented by two production Elephant Man and The Visit which were presented on the watch of former artistic director Jenny Gersten. Barrington Stage Company is recognized for its musical On the Town,

  • Bragan Thomas Provincetown's Theatrical Polymath

    From Odets to Caligula

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 27th, 2015

    The legendary Provincetown Players was founded in 1915 and after a couple of seasons transferred to New York. We asked Bragan Thomas, the Co Chair of Programming, what is being planned for the centennial celebrations at Provincetown Theater. We also discussed a world premiere reading of his play "Caligula and the Three Daggers."

  • Uncanny Valley at San Diego Repertory Theatre

    New Play by Thomas Gibbons

    By: Jack Lyons - Apr 27th, 2015

    San Diego Repertory Theatre has mounted a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere of “Uncanny Valley,” written by award-wining playwright Thomas Gibbons; performed in their Lyceum Space theatre. The intellectual think-piece, seamlessly directed by Jessica Bird, stars Rosina Reynolds and Nick Cagle in a riveting pas de deux involving avatars and their human creators.

  • Hold These Truths at CV Rep

    Last of Series Focused on Immigration

    By: Charles Giuliano - Apr 27th, 2015

    “Hold These Truths”, is the last production in CV REP’s series of plays centered around the theme “America’s Melting Pot” – the plays and the stories of the American immigrant experience.This is one of CV REP’s most technically ambitious productions to date.

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