Tag: Jeannie Affelder

Review: The Little Flower of East Orange (Eclipse Theatre)

John Henry Roberts, Jess Maynard,  Jeannie Affelder, Michael Stark and Ashey Hicks           

The Little Flower
     of East Orange

Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru Dec 18  |  tix: $20-$30  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 

November 15, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Domesticated (Steppenwolf Theatre)

Mary Beth Fisher and Tom Irwin star in Steppenwolf Theatre's "Domesticated," written and directed by Bruce Norris. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)          


Written & Directed by Bruce Norris
Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted (map)
thru Feb 7  |  tix: $20-$89  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

December 17, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Perfect Ganesh (Eclipse Theatre)

Phil Higgins, Elaine Carlson, Jeannie Affelder and Michael Allen Harris star in Eclipse Theatre's " Perfect Ganesh" by Terrence McNally, directed by Steven Fedoruk. (photo credit: Scott Dray)   


A Perfect Ganesh

Written by Terrence McNally  
Directed by Steven Fedoruk
Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru Aug 23   |  tickets: $20-$30   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets  
            Read review


August 7, 2015 | 1 Comment More

Review: To Master the Art (Broadway Playhouse)

Karen Janes Woditsch and Terry Hamilton in To Master the Art, Broadway Playhouse        
To Master the Art

Written by William Brown and Doug Frew
Directed by William Brown 
at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map)
thru Oct  20  |  tickets: $25-$75   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

September 21, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Woman in Mind (Eclipse Theatre)

Sally Eames, Ted Hoerl and Larry Baldacci star in Eclipse Theatre's "Woman in Mind" by Sir Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Steve Scott. (photo credit: Scott Cooper)        
Woman in Mind 

Written by Sir Alan Ayckbourn 
Directed by Steve Scott
at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru May 19  |  tickets: $28   |  more info 
Half-price tickets available here 
        Read entire review

April 15, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Joan’s Laughter (The Side Project Theatre)

joan's laughter, side project theatre chicago       
Joan’s Laughter 

Written by Jacob Juntunen  
Directed by Cecelie D. Keenan 
The Side Project Theatre, 1439 W. Jarvis (map)
thru June 17  |  tickets: $10-$20   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
           Read entire review

May 29, 2012 | 1 Comment More

Review: Unnecessary Farce (First Folio Theatre)

Joe Foust and Erin Noel Grennan - Unnecessary Farce, First Folio       
Unnecessary Farce 

Written by Paul Slade Smith
Directed by Alison C. Vesely  
Mayslake Peabody Estate, Oakbrook (map)
thru March 4  |  tickets: $30-$37   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

February 12, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Heartbreak House (Writers’ Theatre)


Writers’ Theatre unpacks Shaw’s layered comedy-drama


A scene from George Bernard Shaw's "Heartbreak House", now playing at Writers Theatre.

Writers’ Theatre presents
Heartbreak House
Written by George Bernard Shaw 
Directed by William Brown
at Writers’ Theatre, 325 Tudor Court (map)
through June 26  |  tickets: $65  |  more info 

Reviewed by Dan Jakes

Staging George Bernard Shaw’s 1919 satire with the expectation that it will carry relevance requires overcoming some steep hurdles. Without an encyclopedic understanding of period social structure, the play can lack gravity. It’s an uneven mix of broad hysterics and droll musings. It’s literary. It’s long.

Martin Yurek and Tiffany Scott in Writers' Theatre's "Heartbreak House" by George Bernard Shaw".Director William Brown clears or at least side-steps those obstacles through his focus on character accessibility and audience immersion, narrowing the gap between what resonates on the page and what functions in presentation. Great care is taken to ease the entrance to the world of the play–literally, at first. Keith Pitts’ scenic and Jesse Klug’s lighting design sprawls from the performance space to the house, stretching the Shotover manor garden as far they can cultivate it. It’s a hypnotic oasis featuring little touches like a delightfully audible pebble walkway, ethereal floating lanterns, and the general comforts of a privileged family. Think a 20th Century Midsummer garden.

But unlike the tightly-wound lovers who dwell in Shakespeare’s forest, Shaw’s well-to-do find no contentment under each others’ spell–only unrequited desires and disillusion. When young Ellie Dunn (Atra Asdou, romanticism embodied, well-cast as the wide-eyed guide) accepts an invitation to her friend’s (Karen Janes Woditsch) home, she discovers and is ultimately overcome by a web of self-consumed entitlements and entangled loves. If there’s any enchantment to be found, it’s in the thought of total liberation from the mythical heartbreak house and its emotionally-deteriorating inhabitants. Here, sleep is just paralysis.

Kevin Christopher Fox and Martin Yurek in Writers' Theatre's "Heartbreak House" by George Bernard Shaw". John Lister, Kareem Bandealy and Karen Janes Woditsch in Writers' Theatre's "Heartbreak House" by George Bernard Shaw".

Writers’ production speaks to what can be unearthed amidst the anguish of love gone awry and the catharsis of reckless abandon. As social commentary, not even a slight update–pushing the story up to WWII–makes the class predicaments entirely identifiable. Well-acted as the performances may be (John Reeger, Janes Woditsch and Tiffany Scott leading the strong ensemble), tedium undercuts several stretches within early scenes. Sex, too, is lacking. Improper seduction perpetuates some of the comedy, and jealousy and wanting perpetuate most of the story–both are dependent on clear sensuality. This Heartbreak could benefit from more. It’s a slow simmer, but by Act III, those shortcomings are easy to forget. Shaw’s skepticism on marriage and relationships progress from era-dependency to something more universal with each act. For all its long-windedness, Heartbreak’s takeaway is the final wordless tableau: a group unified by disappointment, knowing to move on, and looking to the sky for its own destruction.

Rating: ★★★

Karen Janes Woditsch, Martin Yurek and John Reeger in Writers' Theatre's "Heartbreak House" by George Bernard Shaw".

George Bernard Shaw’s Heartbreak House continues through June 26th, with performances Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 7:30pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8pm and Sundays at 4pm and 8pm. Tickets for all shows are $65, and can be purchased through Writers’ website. Running time: Two hours and 45 minutes, which includes two intermissions. 

May 7, 2011 | 0 Comments More