Tag: John Patrick Shanley

Chicago’s Best Theater of 2015

 

Carmen Molina, Claudia DiBiccari, Mykele Callicutt, Paula Ramirez, Preston Tate Jr., Deanna Reed-Foster and James McGuire in Cold Basement Dramatics' "Heat Wave".Scott Danielson, Garrett Lutz and George Toles star in Kokandy Productions' "The Full Monty".Laura Osnes as and Steven Pasquale star in Lyric Opera's "Carousel" by Rodgers and Hammerstein.John Mahoney and Audrey Francis in Steppenwolf Theatre's "The Herd".Sarah Lynn Robinson, Anthony Whitaker and Greg Zawada in Porchlight's "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Form" by Steven Sondheim. Monica West, Kasey Foster and Emma Cadd in Lookingglass Theatre's "Moby Dick".Mariann Mayberry and Brittany Uomoleale star in Steppenwolf Theatre's "Grand Concourse".Steve Haggard and Karen Janes Woditsch star in Writers Theatre's "Doubt: A Parable".Charli Williams , Anna Dauzvardis, Katrina D.  Richard, Brandon Greenhouse, and Kevin Patterson star in Raven Theatre's "Direct from Death Row: The Scottsboro Boys".Bernard White and Nisi Sturgis in Goodman Theatre's "Disgraced".Rafael Davila and Bradley Smoak star in Lyric Opera of Chicago's "Bel Canto".Drury Lane Oakbrook presents "Billy Elliot: The Musical," music by Elton John.  Becca Savoy, Michael McKeough and Sandy Elias star in Griffin Theatre's "Pocatello".Larry Yando and Eva Louise Balistreiri star in Chicago Shakespeare's "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare.Matthew Sherbach and Armand Fields star in Northlight Theatre's "Charm".Brendan Connelly, Chris Schroeder and Brenda Scott Wlazlo star in Red Theater and Oracle Productions' "R + J: The Vineyard".Melanie Brezill and Patrick Budde star in Chicago Children’s Theatre’s "The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane." Colte Julian as Curly and Allison Sill as Laurey in Paramount Theatre's "Oklahoma!". Mike Nussbaum stars in TimeLine Theatre's "The Price" by Arthur Miller. Eunice Woods stars in American Theater Company's "The Project(s)" by PJ Paparelli and Joshua Jaeger.Luce Metrius and Ashley Neil star in A Red Orchid Theatre's "Red Handed Otter." Kelsey Brennan and Greg Matthew Anderson star in Remy Bumppo's "Travesties" by Tom Stoppard.Johanna McKenzie Miller and Alex Goodrich star in Northlight Theatre's "Shining Lives," directed by Jessica Thebus.Brian Parry and Jacqueline Grandt star in Redtwist Theatre's "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" by Edward Albee.Eileen Niccolai and Daniela Colucci star in The Shattered Globe's "The Rose Tattoo" by Tennessee Williams. , Shattered Globe Theatre, Brosilow

In a theater community as diverse and talented as Chicago’s, every aspect and genre of stage productions can be found throughout the city on a given week.  2015 was no exception to this fact, as one can see from our reviewers’ picks of the year’s greatest and most memorable works.

See our picks below the fold

December 31, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Danny and the Deep Blue Sea (Kokandy Productions)

Brandon Galatz and Jodi Kingley star in Kokandy Production's "Danny and the Deep Blue Sea" by John Patrick Shanley, directed by K. Hannah Friedman. (photo credit: Joshua Albanese Photography)        
       
Danny and the
       Deep Blue Seas
 

Written by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by K. Hannah Friedman
at Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport (map)
thru April 28  |  tickets: $28   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 15, 2013 | 1 Comment More

Review: Catholic Rep – Doubt / Agnes of God (American Theater Company)

Lance Baker stars in American Theater Company's "Doubt" by John Patrick Shanley, directed by PJ Paparelli. (photo credit: Peter Coombs)
Sadieh Rifai stars in American Theater Company's "Agnes of God" by John Pielmeier, directed by PJ Paparelli. (photo credit: Peter Coombs)
       
       
   
Doubt
 

Written by John Patrick Shanley  
Directed by PJ Paparelli 
American Theater Co, 1909 W. Byron (map)
thru Nov 4   |   tickets: $38-$43  |  more info  

Check for half-price tickets
   
   
   
   
  
Agnes of God
 

Written by John Pielmeier  
Directed by PJ Paparelli   
thru Nov 4  |  tickets: $38-$43  |  more info 
  
Check for half-price tickets  
     
         
              Read reviews 

October 11, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: Doubt (AstonRep Theatre)

Julie Schroll as Sister James       
      
Doubt

Written by John Patrick Shanley
Directed by Derek Bertelsen  
at Heartland Studio, 7016 N. Glenwood (map)
thru May 5  |  tickets: $10-$15   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 9, 2012 | 1 Comment More

REVIEW: Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune (Hubris)

     
     

An Ordinary Love Story

     
     

Kitchen.FandJ copy

   
Hubris Productions presents
   
Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune
  
Written by Terrence McNally
Directed by
Jacob Christopher Green
at
Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln (map)
through December 31  |  tickets: $20-$25  |  more info

Reviewed by Barry Eitel

There’s something oddly sentimental about Terrence McNally’s 1987 anti-romance, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune. The titular lovers are not typical rom-com fare. For one, they are both pushing forty. They are famously plain in appearance. Neither has a glamorous occupation nor ambition—they work at a greasy spoon, Frankie as a waitress, Johnny as a short-order cook. Both are heavy with emotional baggage. Not sexy, lurid baggage, but run-of-the-mill, pathetic baggage—domestic abuse, divorce, and alcoholism. Yet, the couple discover, repudiate, and battle for a deep, life-or-death level of love. McNally’s thesis is that this sort of passion is not the exclusive privilege of movie star queens and high school quarterbacks. It can even bloom in a cheap apartment in a dingy New York neighborhood. Hubris Productions’ production, directed by Jacob Christopher Green, captures the essence of McNally’s quirky, utterly ordinary love story.

Window.FandJ copySMFrankie and Johnny has one set, two actors, and two acts. It takes place over one long, emotion-fueled night. Johnny (Dennis Frymire) is a lover of Shakespeare, and is convinced that he and Frankie (Patricia Savieo) are meant for each other. She’s not as sure. In fact, she hasn’t ruled out the possibility that Johnny is a lunatic. And she may be right. His overwhelming love of romance is unique, to say the least.

Frymire and Savieo, both Hubris ensemble members, seem completely comfortable with the material, even the extended nudity which starts the show with a bang (literally). The characters come naturally to the duo, whether they’re making love or post-coital meatloaf sandwiches. Most importantly, neither falls into melodrama nor overplays Frankie and Johnny’s quiet desperation.

Savieo is definitely the most fascinating to watch of the two. She lights up the stage. We see that her heart has been stomped on before, so she proceeds with caution and, occasionally, cynicism. Her slow warming-up to Johnny is what drives most of the action, and Savieo handles that arc with grace and strength. The powerful need to keep her heart guarded is evident.

Frymire, on the other hand, can be one-note at times. He gets across Johnny’s enthusiasm, but sometimes at the expense of his charm. He pushes the crazy too hard, an easy crevasse to fall into. He is obviously having fun up there, but it makes him come off as a creep more than he should. The audience starts to wonder why Frankie doesn’t get the police on the line. By the second act, however, he regains some composure and we eat up the delightful finale, which doesn’t feel forced at all.

McNally comes from a school of ‘80s playwrights, an academy that includes John Patrick Shanley and Lanford Wilson, which loves gritty, dynamic love stories. If we want to talk superficial genre specifics we would classify Frankie and Johnny as a comedy. But the play isn’t afraid to dwell on ruinous relationships or drop a bag of f-bombs. Green’s biggest problem is finding the humor. There are some mild chuckles here and there, but the comedy never truly pops in Hubris’ production. The probable cause is that Green’s pacing isn’t as tight as it should be. The actors’ energy falls through the cracks. Frymire, when trying to be weird in ill-fated attempts at laughs, is a good example. Fortunately, McNally’s text is also dramatically complex, so the production stays together.

Frankie and Johnny is about finding magic in a very un-fairy tale world. Green, Frymire, and Savieo all find it, and they present it to us on a platter. The last few moments, which feature Johnny and Frankie watching the sun rise on another day in the city, are pure joy. Out of incredibly everyday people and emotions, Hubris is able to whip up romance.

   
   
Rating: ★★★
   
   
November 26, 2010 | 2 Comments More

"Beggars" extended thru July 6th

Due to high demand, Mary Arrchie Theatre’s excellent production of Beggars in The House of Plenty has extended their run thru July 6th.  Beggars, by the Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning John Patrick Shanley, is a deeply autobiographical work – a surreal comedy, packed with the wit, insight, confusion, laughter and pain that only family can bring. At once vulgar, poetic and brutally honest, the play leads us on a journey through Shanley’s childhood in the Bronx of the mid-1950’s to the turbulent late 60’s and finally the perspective of adulthood.

Beggars-Press1

Nina Metz, of the Chicago Tribune, offered these praises:

“the performances here are worth seeing, particularly Daniel Behrendt as Joey, a swaggering, unpredictable force who is charming and dicey and ultimately crushed by forces that Shanley (Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, tender and rough around the edges) was better equipped to escape. Mary Jo Bolduc plays Ma, and she has just the right flat accent and abrasiveness.”

And ChicagoCritic.com added:

“…Carlo Lorenzo Garcia, Karl Potthoff and Daniel Behrendt anchor the excellent ensemble. This play will shake your world.”

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More information can be found at the Mary-Arrchie Theatre website.

Also, check out this week’s Talk! TheatreInChicago podcast for an interview regarding ‘Beggars’!

June 13, 2008 | 0 Comments More