Tag: Lawrence Grimm

Review: 3C (A Red Orchid Theatre)

Sigrid Sutter, Christina Gorman, Jennifer Engstrom, Nick Mikula and Lawrence Grimm           


Written by David Adjmi
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells (map)
thru June 4  |  tix: $30-$35  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

May 1, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: King Charles III (Chicago Shakespeare Theater)

Robert Bathurst, King Charles III, Chicago Shakespeare Theater           

King Charles III

Written by Mike Bartlett
Chicago Shakespeare at Navy Pier (map)
thru Jan 15  |  tix: $48-$88  |  more info
Check for half-price tickets   

November 18, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Tempest (Chicago Shakespeare Theater)

Nate Dendy and Luigi Sottile in Chicago Shakespeare's "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare, adapted and directed by Aaron Posner and Teller. (photo credit: Liz Lauren)      

The Tempest 

Written by William Shakespeare
Chicago Shakespeare, Navy Pier (map)
thru Nov 8 | tix: $48-$88 | more info
Check for half-price tickets    

September 21, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: My Name Is Asher Lev (TimeLine Theatre)

Alex Weisman, Danica Monroe and Lawrence Grimm star in TimeLine Theatre's "My Name Is Asher Lev" by Aaron Posner, directed by Kimberly Senior. (photo credit: Lara Goetsch)        
My Name is Asher Lev

Written by Aaron Posner  
Directed by Kimberly Senior 
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont map)
thru Oct 18  |  tickets: $37-$50   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

August 31, 2014 | 1 Comment More

Review: Solstice (A Red Orchid Theatre)

Kirsten Fitzgerald and Meighan Gerachis star in A Red Orchid Theatre's "Solstice" by Zinnie Harris, directed by Karen Kessler. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        

Written by Zinnie Harris
Directed by Karen Kessler
A Red Orchid Theatre, 1531 N. Wells (map)
thru Date  |  tickets: $25-$30   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

January 19, 2014 | 2 Comments More

Review: Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter! (Next Theatre)

Lily Mojekwu as Jenny Sutter, in Next Theatre's "Welcome Home, Jenny Sutter!" by Julie Marie Myatt, directed by Jessica Thebus. (photo credit: Michael Brosilow)        
Welcome Home,
         Jenny Sutter!

Written by Julie Marie Myatt
Directed by Jessica Thebus
at Noyes Cultural Arts Center, Evanston (map)
thru Dec 23  |  tickets: $30-$40   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

November 26, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: In the Next Room….or the vibrator play (Victory Gardens)

In the Next Room, Vibrator Play - Sarah Ruhl - Victory Gardens
In the Next Room

Written by Sarah Ruhl  
Directed by Sandy Shinner 
at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater (map)
thru Oct 9  |  tickets: $20-$50  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets
      Read entire review

September 25, 2011 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Chicago Landmark Project (Theatre Seven)


Chicago: A city with a past


Joe Zarrow and Tracey Kaplan - Chicago Landmark Project

Theatre Seven of Chicago presents
The Chicago Landmark Project
at Greenhouse Theater Center, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. (map)
through July 10  |  tickets: $15-$30  |  more info 

Written by: Brooke Berman, J. Nicole Brooks, Aaron Carter, Lonnie Carter, Brian Golden, Laura Jacqmin, Jamil Khoury, Rob Koon, Brett Neveu, Yolanda Nieves, The Red Orchid Youth Ensemble and Marisa Wegrzyn.
Directed by
Jen Green, Lawrence Grimm, Jonathan Green, Brian Stojak, Ed Cisneros, Richard Perez, Rebekah Scallet, Eric Ziegenhagen, Jen Ellison, Megan Shuchman, Brian Golden, Vance Smith

Reviewed by K.D. Hopkins

I love my city. Chicago is a scrappy rough and tumble kind of town, and if the natives embrace you-you’re in like Flynn. Theatre Seven of Chicago presents the psyche and environs of Chicago with The Landmark Project. Through twelve vignettes written in collaboration with numerous artists and performers, Theatre Seven has successfully illuminated the diversity of Chicago’s history and people in a thoughtful and entertaining way.

The short plays go through a good representation of the diversity and quirks that are unique to Chicago. This is a neighborhood town. All of the glitz and hipster attitude is a recent occurrence. It used to be that when you met someone from another neighborhood, the first question was, "what parish do you belong to?" That sensibility still exists in spite of gentrification and all of the polishing that the investment class seems to think is needed for a ‘world class city.

"Lincoln & Webster: Oz Park," by The Red Orchid Youth Ensemble (l to r) Elenna Sindler, Elita Ernsteen, Alina Taber, Eden Strong, Jaiden Fallo Sauter. Part of the Chicago Landmark Project series. (Photo: Amanda Clifford)The cast is a big one, but the feeling of community glows from the stage. The Red Orchid Youth Ensemble were part of one of my favorite sections of the show. They represent a city kid’s eye view of "Lincoln and Webster" which is Oz Park. The ensemble hearkened back to the days of "Zoom" on PBS. I’m talking the 70’s version of the show with the secret language of Ubi Dubi and joy in being a kid. These kids were amazing. They were jubilant, wise, innocent, and quite funny.

“State & Madison: The Chicago Grid,” written by Marisa Wegrzyn, goes back to the origins of how Chicago got the grid street system. Tracy Kaplan and Joe Zarrow manage to convey the dirt street ruins from which arose this city as Irene and Edward Brennan in 1901.

The nod to the intelligentsia vibe of Hyde Park is given a sardonic and funny treatment in "63rd and Woodlawn: Robust Coffee Lounge", written by Brian Golden. It’s the land of University of Chicago and academic competitiveness. A man is faced with his past and a secret life that isn’t so secret. The dialogue is laced with the wry jostling of academia and an authentic bourgeois tilt that has always been Hyde Park.

Chicago has a complicated history with race and ethnicity. The story of "63rd and Kedzie: Arab American Community Center” turns the spotlight on a neighborhood that has been in flux for the last 40 plus years. It is known as the Marquette Park and Gage Park neighborhood. When I was in high school, it was the brewing ground for the neo-Nazi movement in Chicago; where Dr. King was hit in the head with a brick for protesting the virulent segregation policies. The story of "63rd and Kedzie" continues today with the Arab American community being the latest ethnic group under the microscope. This story is written by Jamil Khoury and the conflict is subtle yet powerful. The sense memory of that neighborhood back in 1975 comes to a fresh simmer. The dialogue is honest and there is no holding back on the confusion and anger of both sides. Peace and understanding can begin with one person. That is a lesson that still needs to be heard in some parts of Chicago.

"Division and California: Steel Flags" features a wonderful story of youthful awakening and the power of keeping secrets. A young Puerto Rican girl disappears and her sister keeps the secret that she ran away with a boy. The family is alarmed, putting up flyers, and agonizing over what could be a horrible fate. It is a finely paced story of the Puerto Rican community and the female bonds that are common in any ethnicity. This story features Marcel Asilis and Damariz Posadas as Cookie and Sonia whose bond is tested by a secret and defiance. There are some hilarious moments when the grandmother gets after Cookie with a shoe. She can sense that the truth is either a relief or the beginning of a long row to hoe.

Another favorite features two boys playing catch circa 1948 in "Devon and Kedzie: Thillens Stadium". This lovely story took me back to the days when baseball was not just the national pastime but the neighborhood pastime. The boys, played by Destin Teamer and Kevin Woodrow are tuned into the complexities of the game of baseball and barely notice that they are Black and White. They discuss which is the greatest Negro League player and who they pretend to be. The White boy says that the families are getting together for a picnic and it is only for a moment that the Black boy hesitates. This is his baseball buddy and not the enemy that they would be in some other part of the city. It should be noted that the Thillens Stadium is still going strong, proving the bonding power of sports.

"Logan & Milwaukee: Logan Square Farmer's Market," by Laura Jacqmin features (l to r) Greg Williams (Milton), Victoria Blade (Lizzie). Part of the Chicago Landmark Project series. Photo Credit: Amanda Clifford.

All of the stories in The Chicago Landmark Project are authentic renditions of the feel and history of the respective neighborhoods. For the most part, all of the places remain more or less as they are portrayed. However, the final story is called "Belmont and Western: Riverview Amusement Park". This is the story of a haunting where there now stands a police station, grocery store, and toy mega-mart. My grandpa would take me to Riverview, at the time the nation’s largest amusement park, almost every weekend. I remember the thrill of seeing the eyes of Aladdin’s Castle moving from side to side and knowing that it would soon be cotton candy and kiddie rides galore. Riverview closed in 1967 before I was tall enough to ride The Comet or the Bobs roller coasters. When we drove by after it closed without warning, it seemed haunted and lonely to me.

In the segment, three teenagers come to where Riverview once stood. Sam Bailey is brilliant in the role of Karen. She projects intelligence and maturity while in the company of two confused teenage boys. Andrew Raia plays Hunter and his character has a not so secret crush on Karen. Arthur Soria is hysterical as the hip hop spouting Alvaro who loves to razz on Hunter and then pull the ‘I’m a person of color and therefore hipper than thou’ card. Suddenly lights start to flash and amusement park noises are heard. A man appears from nowhere, holding a teddy bear which he gives to Karen. This is to the chagrin of both Hunter and Alvaro. Desmond Gray plays Elijah, a swain and apparent apparition. Elijah proceeds to school the trio on the darker history of Riverview – there was a dunking tank called ‘Dunk the Nigger’ at Riverview – and the full gamut of ethnic stereotypes. Yet everyone loved to go to Riverview. The amusement park is all about illusion and fantasy and the theory goes that there is something for everyone. (I recall hearing that in a Riverview commercial during the old ‘Family Classics’ show.)  Elijah asks Karen to accompany him and Hunter’s real feelings come out. Who will Karen choose? The fantasy man or the boy next door? Check out The Chicago Landmark Project to find out!

The Chicago Landmark Project is comprised of twelve short plays. They are divided in half as Part A and Part B. I recommend that you see both to get the full flavor of this wonderful project put together from the Chicago theater community. It is worth the time and the tickets to see the great young talent and the veterans portray Chicago. I came away feeling the grit of Chicago under my nails. Yes. it’s metaphorical but that is Chicago in a nutshell. It’s poetic, funny, solemn, hard working, and the city of big shoulders with just the right hint of danger.

Rating: ★★★

Chicago Landmark Project - Theatre Seven - poster"The Chicago Landmark Project" presented by Theatre Seven runs through July 10th at the Greenhouse Theater Center at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. Program A will run Thursdays -Saturdays at 7:30pm. Program B will run Fridays and Saturdays at 9:00pm and Sundays at 2:30pm. For more information call 773-404-7336 or visit www.theatreseven.com

Note: It’s great as a child’s first exposure to grown up theater but the children should be 10 and up. Someone brought a baby to the show. I love babies and feel that children should be exposed as early as possible to the theater. However, if they are still wearing diapers and prone to cute monosyllabic babbling-please find a sitter. You deserve to enjoy both parts and hear every great line.

Photos by Amanda Clifford.

June 12, 2011 | 0 Comments More