Stunning ‘Phantom’ perfect for the holidays

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Magnificent voices, dramatic set design and fabulous costumes match Andrew Lloyd Webber’s brilliant score of ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ in a new production now playing in Chicago.

The company of The 'Phantom of the Opera' in 'Masquerade' Photo by Alastair Muir
The company of The ‘Phantom of the Opera’ in ‘Masquerade’ Photo by Alastair Muir

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Creative staging combine with fine acting and musicianship to tell dark folktale

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As  PigPen Theatre Co.’s ‘The Hunter and The Bear’ plays out at Writers Theatre you think you are watching a ghost story take shape. That is until the end when it becomes a dark folk story.

Cast of 'The Hunter and The Bear' at Writers theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilow
Cast of ‘The Hunter and The Bear’ at Writers theatre. Photo by Michael Brosilowuntil the end when it becomes a dark, moralistic folktale.

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The magic is in the music and singing at Lyric’s ‘The Magic Flute’

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There are two ways to consider Lyric’s ‘Magic Flute’ production. On one hand it will likely appeal to youngsters though they will have to sit for three hours and 20 minutes (intermission comes about an hour and 15 minutes into the opera).

Kathryn Lewek as Queen of the Night and Andrew Staples as Prince Tamino in the Lyric Opera of chicago's 'The Magic Flute.' Lyric photo
Kathryn Lewek as Queen of the Night and Andrew Staples as Prince Tamino in the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s ‘The Magic Flute.’ Todd Rosenberg photo

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A new holiday treat that hopefully will return

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You don’t have to be a Jane Austen fan to enjoy ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley,’ a world premier now at Northlight Theatre.

You merely have to appreciate that Austen incorporated English society’s attitudes and expectations of women, marriage and social position of the late 18th century in such books as ‘Sense and Sensibility,’ published early 19th century in 1811 and ‘Pride and Prejudice,’  published in 1813.

Cast of 'Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley' Charles Osgood Photography
Cast of ‘Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley’
Charles Osgood Photography

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‘Finding Neverland’ seeks story behind Peter Pan

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Take the creative minds of children and a Scottish playwright who wants to change from churning out formula plays for the London stage to recapturing his youthful imagination in order to write an amazing play, and you will understand ‘Finding Neverland.’

Kevin Kern (J.M. B arrie) and Tom Hewitt (Capt. Hood) cast in 'Finding Neverland' Photo by Carol Rosegg
Kevin Kern (J.M. B arrie) and Tom Hewitt (Capt. Hook)  and cast in ‘Finding Neverland’ Photo by Carol Rosegg

A touring Broadway musical in Chicago now through Dec. 4, 2016, the production reveals how J.M. Barrie came up with his world-famous, beloved ‘Peter Pan’ stories.

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‘Les Troyens’ defines grand opera

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If lucky enough to still snag a ticket to the Lyric Opera’s ‘Les Troyens’ (The Trojans), Hector Berlioz’ grand opera tribute to Virgil’s Aeneid, don’t worry about its length.

Lucas Meacham and Christine Goerke in Les Troyens. Todd Rosenberg photography
Lucas Meachem and Christine Goerke in ‘Les Troyens.’ Todd Rosenberg photography

Berlioz’s music, grandly interpreted by Lyric Music Director Sir Andrew Davis, sweeps through the Lyric’s hall like a waterfall that fascinates and pulsates with danger.

Add to that, the incredible vocals by Christine Goerke as Trojan Princess Cassandra, Susan Graham as Carthage Queen Dido, Brandon Jovanovich as Trojan hero Aeneas (Énée) and Lucas Meachem as Cassandra’s lover, Chorebus, and the opera has transcended from a good experience to become a once-in-a-lifetime event.

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‘Don Quichotte’ reaches out to dreamers

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At a time when opposing philosophies are ridiculed, the Lyric Opera of Chicago steps in with a reminder there must be room in the world for idealists and dreamers.

Jules Massenet’s ‘Don Quichotte,’ based on Cervante’s ‘Don Quichotte’ (Don Quixote) and influenced by Jacques Le Lorrain’s play, ‘Le chevalier de la longue figure,’ is both love story and tale of a knight-errant who seeks chivalrous adventures to right the world’s wrongs.

'Don Quichotte' at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Todd Rosenberg photo
‘Don Quichotte’ at Lyric Opera of Chicago. Todd Rosenberg photo

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Marriott young audience ‘Nutcracker’ good for all ages

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A charming and fun adaptation of The Nutcracker’ is at Marriott Theatre now through Dec. 20, 2016. As part of Marriott’s Theatre for Young Audiences series, the Mouse King is comic rather than scary but with deft direction and choreography by Matt Raftery, the show will delight all ages.

Cast of 'The Nutcracker' Amy Boyle Photography
Cast of ‘The Nutcracker’
Amy Boyle Photography

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‘King Charles III’ is an amazing theatrical experience

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In ‘King Charles III,’ a comic-tragic “future history” play, author Mike Bartlett brilliantly tackles Britain’s succession to the throne when 90-year-old Elizabeth II dies. His “what if” takes place within the perfect background of Chicago Shakespeare’s Courtyard Theater, a Globe and Swan Theatre-like setting.

Robert Bathurst at Parliament Photo by Liz Lauren
Robert Bathurst as Charles at Parliament
Photo by Liz Lauren

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We’re “Crazy” about new Gershwin musical

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“Crazy For You” is a musical rom-com warmly embraced by the music and lyrics of George and Ira Gershwin.

Now running at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace, the song-and-dance extravaganza is loosely based on the 1930s Gershwin musical “Girl Crazy. The original production starred Ginger Rogers and marked the stage debut of Ethel Merman.

"Cast of Crazy for You" at Drury Lane Theatre
“Cast of Crazy for You” at Drury Lane Theatre Photo by Brett Beiner

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