Tag: Charles Newell

Review: An Iliad (Court Theatre, 2013)

Timothy Edward Kane stars as The Poet in Court Theatre's "An Iliad" by Lisa Peterson and Denis O'Hare, directed by Charles Newell. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
An Iliad

Written by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru Dec 15  |  tickets: $40-$60   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
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November 27, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Tartuffe (Court Theatre)

Elizabeth Ledo and AC Smith star in Court Theatre's "Tartuffe" by Molière, directed by Charles Newell. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)       
      
Tartuffe 

Written by Molière
Translated by Richard Wilbur
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru July 21  |  tickets: $45-$65   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

July 2, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Misanthrope (Court Theatre)

A.C. Smith, Grace Gealey and Erik Hellman star in Court Theatre's "The Misanthrope" by Molière, translated by Richard Wilbur and directed by Charles Newell. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
       
The Misanthrope 

By Molière, Translated by Richard Wilbur
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru June 9  |  tickets: $45-$65   |  more info
       
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        Read entire review
     

May 20, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Proof (Court Theatre)

Chaon Cross stars as Catherine in Court Theatre's "Proof" by David Auburn, directed by Charles Newell. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
       
Proof 

Written by David Auburn  
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru April 14  |  tickets: $40-$55   |  more info
       
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        Read entire review
     

April 6, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Top 10 Chicago Plays of 2012

Taking into account the nearly 700 productions that we reviewed in 2012, here are our picks for the best of the best. Bravo!!  (FYI: We’re honored to have the national website Huffington Post use our choices for their Top 10 Chicago productions here)

Mary Beth Fisher and Rob Lindley star in Court Theatre's "Angels in America" by Tony Kushner, directed by Charles Newell. Molly Regan, Lusia Strus and Mariann Mayberry star in Steppenwolf Theatre's "Good People" by David Lindsay-Abaire, directed by K. Todd Freman. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow) Rania Salem Manganaro stars in The Inconveniences' "Hit The Wall" by Ike Holter, directed by Eric Hoff. (photo credit: Ryan Borque) Brian Dennehy and Nathan Lane star in Goodman Theatre's "The Iceman Cometh" by Eugene O'Neill, directed by Robert Falls. (photo credit: Liz Lauren) Brandon Dahlquist, Shannon Cochran and Jonathan Weir star in Writers' Theatre's "A Little Night Music" by Stephen Sondheim, directed by William Brown. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)
Adam Poss and Madrid St. Angelo star in star in Victory Gardens' "Oedipus el Rey" by Luis Alfaro, directed by Chay Yew. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow) Chiara Mangiameli and Rick Bayless star in Lookingglass Theatre's "Rick Bayless in Cascabel" by Heidi Stillman and Tony Hernandez and Rick Bayless. (photo credit: Sean Williams) Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Show Boat", conducted by John DeMain, directed by Francesca Zambrello. (photo credit: Robert Kusel) Jason Danieley as George and Carmen Cusack as Dot, in Chicago Shakespeare's "Sunday in the Park with George" by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine, directed by Gary Griffin. (photo credit: Liz Lauren) Richard Cotovsky and Preston Tate Jr. star in Mary-Arrchie Theatre's "Superior Donuts" by Tracy Letts.  (photo credit: Greg Rothman)

 

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January 6, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: James Joyce’s “The Dead” (Court Theatre)

Rachel Klippel, Regina Leslie, Jim DeSelm and Suzanne Gillen star in Court Theatre's "James Joyce's The Dead" by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey, directed by Charles Newell. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
      
James Joyce’s “The Dead”

Adapted by Richard Nelson and Shaun Davey
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru Dec 9  |  tickets: $45-$65   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

November 24, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Angels in America – Part One: Millennium Approaches (Court Theatre)

Mary Beth Fisher, Rob Lindley - Angels in America Court Theatre       
      
Angels in America:  
       Millennium Approaches
 

Written by Tony Kushner  
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru June 3  |  tickets: $45-$65   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 19, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Angels in America – Part Two: Perestroika (Court Theatre)

Rob Lindley - Angels in America Perestroika, Court Theatre       
      
Angels in America:   
       Perestroika

Written by Tony Kushner  
Directed by Charles Newell
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru June 3  |  tickets: $45-$65   |  more info
       
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        Read entire review
     

April 19, 2012 | 0 Comments More

The best of Chicago theater in 2011

December’s end brings frantic resolutions, plans for heavy drinking and of course, a barrage of best/worst lists. Being the largest theater review site west of Broadway, Chicago Theater Beat covered over 600 shows in 2011, and the difficulty of choosing the top 25 speaks to the city’s vibrant cultural landscape. In alphabetical order, here are our choices for the year’s best:

Sadieh Rifai - American Theater Company - The Amish Project Mierka Girten, Susan Monts-Bologna - Becky Shaw, Red Orchid Theatre Mortensen, Leahy - The Big Meal, American Theater Company CST_BlackWatch_1 - Copy Jay Torrence, Dean Evans, Leah Urzendowski, Ryan Walters, Molly Plunk
Theatre Mir - Caucasian Chalk Circle - Production 1 Jennifer Lim and James Waterston - Chinglish Goodman Theatre Karen-Aldridge-Cliff-Chamberlain-Ste[3] East of Berlin, Russian Play - Signal Ensemble en-route---Chicago-Shakespeare-One-S[2]
Faust - TheMASSIVE - Chicago Festen_Lev_911 Chicago Shakespeare Theater's "Follies" About Face Theatre's "The Homosexuals" Timothy-Edward-Kane---Court-Theatre-[3]
CCTJackieMe_10 Frank, Fiffer, Bone Harry Groener, Ora Jones, by Peter Bosy Steve-Casillas-Jessie-David-Marvin-Q Andrea Prestinario and Nathan M. Hosner - My Fair Lady Paramount Theatre
Outgoing Tide - Northlight Theatre 011 004_Passing Strange by Bailiwick Chicago Plumpp-and-cast---H1 The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard - Writers Theatre 015 stef-tovar-and-projections-by-john-b[1]

 

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December 31, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Top 10 Chicago plays of 2011

After covering nearly 600 productions this year, here are our picks of the best of the best. Bravo!!  FYI: The national website Huffington Post has kindly posted our choices on their Chicago page, which you can see here.

Clybourne Park, Steppenwolf Theatre One Step At A Time, en route Festen - Steep Theatre Chicago Shakespeare Theatre's "Follies" The Homosexuals - About Face Theatre
Timothy Edward Kane - Court Theatre An Iliad 003 Jackie and Me - Chicago Children's Theatre Momma's Boyz - Teatro Vista Court Theatre's "Porgy and Bess" stef-tovar-and-projections-by-john-boesche

 

See entire list

     
December 26, 2011 | 0 Comments More

Review: An Iliad (Court Theatre)

Timothy Edward Kane - Court Theatre An Iliad 003       
      
An Iliad 

Adapted by Denis O’Hare and Lisa Peterson
Directed by Charlie Newell 
at Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
thru Dec 11  |  tickets: $40-$60   |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

November 21, 2011 | 3 Comments More

Review: Porgy and Bess (Court Theatre Chicago)

     
     

We loves you, Porgy and Bess!

     
     

Harriet Nzinga Plumpp

    
Court Theatre presents
   
   
Porgy and Bess
   
Written by George Gerwin, Ira Gershwin,
and Dorothy and
DuBose Heyward
Directed by Charles Newell
Music direction, new orchestrations by Doug Peck
at
Court Theatre, 5535 S. Ellis (map)
through July 3  |  tickets: $10-$55  |  more info 

Reviewed by Barry Eitel 

On first glance, Porgy and Bess looks like the tale of a perpetual sucker. The crippled beggar Porgy, living in an impoverished South Carolina hamlet, falls for Bess, the most shunned woman in town, a coquette who runs with a jealous meathead. Due to Porgy being the only person who’ll let her stay at his house, the mismatched pair gets together, yet the woman retains a wandering eye. But Porgy puts up with all, even when she runs to New York when he’s out of town. Instead of throwing up his hands, he takes up his crutch and starts the journey north.

Alexis J. Rogers and Todd M. KrygerHowever, as Charles Newell’s excellent production at Court makes clear, there’s something astoundingly human about this tale. George Gershwin’s magnum opus showcases love and forgiveness in its treatment of Porgy and Bess’ relationship. Titular characters aside, the opera also delves into how a community copes with hardship. Even when those hardships are as insidious and gigantic as racism, poverty, and natural disaster.

Out of the millions of debates spurred by this show, easily one of the stupidest is if it should be classified as an opera or musical. Newell and music director Doug Peck took the best of both genres. I’d say the show is about 90% singing, keeping many of Gershwin’s recitatives. But they aren’t afraid to throw in a few spoken lines when a character needs to drop a truth bomb without the flourish of music. Newell also chopped down the supporting townsfolk of Catfish Row, so the stage isn’t flooded with actors with one line roles. It also makes the whole strong ensemble memorable.

Newell’s envisioning of this controversial tale adds a vibrancy and immediacy to the octogenarian opera. John Culbert’s off-white set invokes a weathered Carolina beach house, which goes well with Jacqueline Firkins’ breezy white costumes. Stark as it may seem, the design has its fare share of breathtaking surprises. Peck also tweaks the arrangements to great effect, adding some great traditional Gullah drum breaks as well as haunting stripped down acapella numbers.

While initially shunned, Porgy and Bess has seen lots of love from opera houses around the world (including a production at the Lyric in 2008). These productions promise grandiose sets and superstar vocals, with the plot lagging behind as an afterthought. That’s not the case here, where the plot (based on DuBose Heyward’s 1926 novel) is the main selling point. With Newell’s minimalist take, nearly all of the storytelling responsibility falls to the cast. They deliver with aplomb, searching the story’s intricacies and themes alongside us in the audience. I already had chills when Harriet Nzinga Plumpp warbled the first few notes of “Summertime.”

 

Rogers and Jones - V Kryger - V Plumpp and Newland - V

Todd M. Kryger’s hulking performance as Porgy is just the right blend of majesty and vulnerability, and Alexis J. Rogers correctly portrays a Bess torn by love and lust. But the real jewel here is the supporting cast. Bethany Thomas as the pious Serena steals the show with her wickedly expressive singing style. She shreds right through the heart of “My Man’s Gone Now.” Sean Blake’s slick Sporting Life, the neighborhood dope dealer, is a similar delight. His rendition of “It Ain’t Necessarily So” drips with fun—it’s clear he’s having a great time up there.

Court boasts that this production is scrubbed clean of the racist smudges that have dogged Porgy and Bess from its opening night in 1935. I don’t know if I completely agree with that—much of the music still leans towards Europe instead of Africa. But Porgy and Bess is an American treasure, a spunky musical journey that combines stodgy Old World opera with the uniquely American creations of jazz, gospel, and blues. Newell’s production is a treasure in itself, grabbing this overly-familiar piece (“Summertime” is one of the most covered pop song in the world) and thrusting it into relevance.

  
  
Rating: ★★★★
  
  
Bethany Thomas and Brian Alwyn-Newland Joelle Lamarre, Bethany Thomas, Wydetta Carter, Todd Kryger, Alexis Rogers
   
   
May 23, 2011 | 3 Comments More