‘Fun Home’ tries to understand family truths and appearances

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‘Fun Home’ is an unforgettable show that just came to Chicago after winning five Tony Awards in 2015. Unfortunately, it is only at the Oriental Theatre now through Nov. 13, 2016.

"Fun Home" at Oriental Theatre with Kate Shindle (Adult Alison) l, Abby Corrigan (Middle Alison) and Alessandra Baldacchino (Small Alison) Photo by Joan Marcus
“Fun Home” at Oriental Theatre with Kate Shindle (Adult Alison) l, Abby Corrigan (Middle Alison) and Alessandra Baldacchino (Small Alison). Photo by Joan Marcus

An intimate, questioning look back at a father and family life from a daughter’s view during youth, college years and in mid-40s, the show probably deserves an intimate space.Read More

At Marriott, ‘Singing in the Rain’ has a glorious feeling

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

While the Cubs spectacularly reigned Wednesday at the Indians’ Progressive Field, audiences were treated to a spectacular ‘Dancing in the Rain’ production at Marriott Theatre Lincolnshire.

Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in 'Singing in the Rain' at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo
Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in ‘Singing in the Rain’ at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo

Mobile phones checked Cleveland during intermission while MGM’s 1953 hit musical that starred Gene Kelly was brought back to life in Lincolnshire.

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‘The Magic Play’ is about a lot more than illusion

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

“This is just a card,” magician extraordinaire /actor Brett Schneider tells the audience. And so starts a little over two hours of Goodman Theatre’s fascinating The Magic Play.

Smaller than the Albert Theatre, the Owen’s space is perfect for appreciating Schneider’s magic. But playwright Andrew Hinderaker has put a lot more up Schneider’s sleeve than astonishing tricks.

Magician/actor Brett Schneider in the world premiere of 'The Magic Play' by Andrew Hinderaker at Goodman Theatre Photo by Liz Lauren
Magician/actor Brett Schneider in the world premiere of ‘The Magic Play’ by Andrew Hinderaker at Goodman Theatre Photo by Liz Lauren

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Three things to blot out 2016 election static Nov. 3-6

Instead of subjecting oneself to all the election noise on TV and social media, try to feel good about the world, at least for a little while, by going to a fun event. An old fashioned musical opens this week.  See what creative folks are doing with functional art. Visit an outdoor destination that has an unusual indoor exhibit this weekend.

Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in 'Singing in the Rain' at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo
Danny Gardner as Don Lockwood in ‘Singing in the Rain’ at Marriott Theatre. Justin Barbin photo

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‘East Texas Hot Links’ looks back at the racial divide

RECOMMENDED

In East Texas Hot Links, Writers Theatre’s current show, the rhythmic speech of Adolph the “Professor,” the café setting, the discussions about work, life and death, and a sense of the economic futility of being black in a white man’s world, is somewhat reminiscent of playwright August Wilson’s Two Trains Running that ran at Goodman Theatre in 2015.

Cast of 'East Texas Hot Links' at Writers Theatre. Photo by Michael Broselow
Cast of ‘East Texas Hot Links’ at Writers Theatre. Photo by Michael Broselow

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You may never see the ‘Ring’ cycle the same way again

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

It’s likely you have heard of German composer Wilhelm Richard Wagner and some of his operas such as Lohengrin, Tristan und Isolde, Die Meistersinger von Numrnburg and of course, the four-opera cycle of Der Ring des Nibelungen. But if you want more insight into Wagner and the Ring as viewed through The  Second City’s magnifying glass, try to snag a ticket to “Longer, Louder Wagner – The Second City Wagner Companion,” playing only this weekend in a Lyric Opera rehearsal room.

Cast of "Longer Louder Wagner" Photo by Todd Rosenberg
Cast of “Longer Louder Wagner” Photo by Todd Rosenberg

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Hamilton cast at Private Bank Theatre today

Listen up anyone who wants to see the Hamilton cast and any resident of Cook County who still needs to register to vote. The Chicago cast and Cook County Clerk David Orr will be at the Private Bank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe St., Chicago, midday today to encourage Cook County residents to register on line.

Hamilton Company at Private Bank Theatre Photo by Joan Marcus
Hamilton Company at Private Bank Theatre Photo by Joan Marcus

Oct. 23, 2016 is the last day to register to vote online.Read More

“Hamilton” is worth the hype

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

At “Hamilton’s”  opening night in Chicago ( Oct. 19, 2016), its nearly three hours of rhythmic story-telling and exceptional choreography made it quite clear why lyricist, composer Lin-Manuel Miranda’s show about a Founding Father won several Tony Awards including Best Musical.

Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton) points up amid the cast of "Hamilton". Photo by Joan Marcus
Miguel Cervantes (Hamilton) points up amid the cast of “Hamilton”. Photo by Joan Marcus

Right, often overlooked, brilliant immigrant Alexander Hamilton was a Founding Father. So, there should also be an Educational Hook Award added to the list.

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“Smokey Joe’s Café” – a sweet and savory musical journey to yesterday

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

The longest-running musical revue in Broadway history, “Smokey Joe’s Café,” is making its Drury Lane debut in Oakbrook Terrace. It’s a high-energy song-and-dance production that looks nostalgically upon a bygone era and infuses it with soulful longing and a few belly laughs. The show opened on Broadway in 1995 and played more than 2,000 performances before closing in 2000.

Justin Keyes, Chris Sams, Will Skip and Tyrone L. Robinson in "Smokey Joe's Café" at Drury Lane. Photo by Brett Beiner
Justin Keyes, Chris Sams, Will Skrip and Tyrone L. Robinson in “Smokey Joe’s Café” at Drury Lane. Photo by Brett Beinera

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Mel Brooks’ hilarious take on Transylvania makes a perfect Halloween outing

RECOMMENDED

“Young Frankenstein,” now playing in Lake Forest through Oct. 30, fits a  seasonal demand for monsters and weird scientists that is tempered by Mel Brooks and Gene Wilder humor.

Parker Guidry (Igor) and Nick Miller (Dr. Frankenstein) in Lake Forest Theatre's "Young Frankenstein
Parker Guidry (Igor) and Nick Miller (Dr. Frankenstein) in Lake Forest Theatre’s “Young Frankenstein

Produced by the newly-formed Lake Forest Theatre, the show has terrific musical numbers performed by a talented cast of singers and hoofers. Its “Putting on the Ritz” interpretation of Irving Berlin’s great song and dance number is reason enough to drive to north-suburban Lake Forest.

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