Monthly Archives: April 2016

Blown Away! RavenEye opening for The Darkness at House of Blues Chicago (April 27, 2016)

RaveneEye is the real thing! This three piece band blew away a huge crowd at the House of Blues. Oli Brown led the way with rocking riffs and guitar solos along with rocking vocals. He literally rocked on the shoulders of Aaron Spiers on bass. Aaron carried him around stage as these both continued to play. Everyone brought out their cameras for a picture. Kev Hickman fills out the roster on drums. He was a blur of arms and drum sticks all night. They were definitely a good match with the headliner for the night, The Darkness. Both bands put on one hell of live rock show that made for a memorable night at the House of Blues.

Quinn Delaney

World Class! Mary Page Marlowe at Steppenwolf Theatre (April 26, 2016)

The character of Mary Page Marlowe is played by six different actresses, portraying her all the way from her crib to her deathbed. The play jumps around in time between key pivotal moments in her life and more subtle scenes. However, the scenes are only mundane to her, as the audience learns a great deal about her in these revealing scenes. During a conversation with a nurse in Mary’s old age, she casually mentions she only has one child. But, in the opening scene, she has two children. What happened to the other child? The story is filled with questions like this about her life. Some of them are directly answered, some of the answers are hinted at, and others are left completely unknown. It’s a big sign of a well-developed story that the audience is eager for answers.

Mary Page Marlowe_7

The production of this show is incredible. Segments of the floor slide out with the characters on them, usually in a thoughtful state. New floors slide in with all new characters. It’s very slick and goes extremely well with the story, sliding into the different parts of her life. The acting is also world class. Carrie Coon’s performance playing Mary in middle age is incredible. In both this show and on HBO’s The Leftovers, she expresses emotions expertly making her character fully realized.

This play is truly thought-provoking. Having different actresses play the same character exemplifies the idea of how different we can be at different stages in our life. Major events change our outlook on life and affect our personalities greatly. During the talk back after the performance, a senior audience member commented that she wished she could have seen this play at different points throughout her own life.  See Mary Page Marlowe now at Steppenwolf Theatre through May 29th! You never know what life changing insight you might walk away with.

Quinn Delaney

Review: New American Folk Theatre Presents Trash at The Den Theatre (April 25, 2016)

Trash is the story of Jinx Malibu, a former movie star in the Rocket Pussy franchise. In this performance, the actors do a great job portraying these very unlikable characters. Kirk Jackson is completely comfortable performing without pants while playing Loogie. Carrie Campana is entertaining as she plays spunky Othermomma.  Caitlin Jackson plays Smudge as likable as possible given the script. Jamal Howard as Mr. Hollywood perfectly exemplifies the Perez Hilton style celebrity blogger. And lastly, Anthony Whitaker portrays Jinx so well that you quickly forget it’s a man portraying a woman.

However, these great actors are working with an inept script. Events take place that come out of nowhere and seem very peculiar. Within the context of the proposed Rocket Pussy comeback movie, this would be acceptable. Unfortunately, it is true of the whole play. The audience never really cares about the characters. That being said, I look forward to seeing what The New American Folk Theatre does next. With a great script, they have the talent to put on a great show.

Quinn Delaney

Fantastic! Magic Man and The Griswolds at Metro (April 23, 2016)

The crowd lined up early for tonight’s all ages show. The youngsters piled in close to the stage which left if it unusually comfortable further back for a sold out show. The Griswolds took the stage and quickly got the crowd riled up with “16 years”. “Chicago sure knows how to party”, said the lead singer. With his bright red hair and exuberant style, he resembled Animal of The Muppets! “I’m already exhausted after four songs!” Thankfully, he had an extra reserve of energy and he continued to rock the stage. Each song had the audience dancing and singing along. All of their songs are expertly crafted. The entire album, Be Impressive, doesn’t have a lull. Thus, the same can be said for their splendid set.


Magic Man had a lot to live up to following the Griswolds, and they succeeded. They received an early local boost as the news that the Blackhawks had won and forced a Game 7 spread through the crowd. Their cover of “Dancing in the Dark” by Bruce Springsteen was excellent. All it needed was Courtney Cox dancing of the stage to be perfect.  They closed the set with Paris, which was clearly a favorite of the crowd. Everyone happily sang along “Paris! You know I held on too much!” They quickly returned for the encore, since they had to be finished by 11pm because of Chicago’s curfew laws. The Griswolds and Panama Wedding joined them on stage for Ignition (Remix) by R. Kelly, a Chicago native. It was a fantastic close to a great night of music.

Catch the Hotline Spring tour through May 26th in a city near you. Also, check out  all of Metro’s upcoming shows!

Quinn Delaney

PlaylistHQ Concert Page

Must-See! The Producers at Mercury Theatre (April 21, 2016)

Before there was the Book of Mormon, there was The Producers. It won a record twelve Tony Awards including “Best Musical”. It was also made into a movie starring Matthew Broderick, Nathan Lane, Will Ferrell, and Uma Thurman.  This Mel Brooks comedy has a fantastic history!

Mercury Theatre’s production is worthy of this remarkable play. The sets are incredibly well done considering the medium size of the theatre. The set manages to feel like a huge Broadway show while also maintaining the intimacy of a smaller stage.

The cast is is all around fantastic!  Especially Allison Sill, who steals every scene she appears in as Ulla.  Her portrayal of a Swedish actress/secretary is delightful and her accent is spot on.  Harter Clingman as Franz Liebkind was also a complete joy to watch. Again, he nailed the accent. Sawyer Smith was fantastic as Carmen Ghia. With the simplest of gestures, Sawyer had the crowd laughing with delight. Leah Morrow cracked everyone up as Hold-me, Touch-me, each and every time she came on stage.

This show is what musical comedies are all about. Even after two and half hours, the audience was left wanting more. This is a must see show in Chicago this spring. Catch The Producers now before it closes on June 26th!

Quinn Delaney

Politcal Intrigue! Hillary and Clinton at Victory Gardens Theatre (April 20, 2016)

At the start of the play, the audience is asked to imagine the scene is taking place on a planet much like Earth, but slightly different.  It’s January 2008, two days before the New Hampshire primary. Hillary is talking with her adviser, Mark, who recommends that she separate herself as much as possible from Bill. He evens goes as far to suggest she should divorce him. Instead of listening to him, she goes ahead and invites Bill to New Hampshire. When he arrives, she tells him about an offer from the leader in the polls. She is offered the Vice President position if she bows out. Hillary considers taking the deal since she is losing. Bill thinks the deal means she still has a chance and that she should continue to campaign to win.

For those familiar with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008, the play starts off slowly as the campaign details are explained. However, once the background is laid, things begin to get interesting. Will Hillary take Bill’s money? Will she have him make public appearances on her behalf? Will Bill be an asset to the campaign or a burden? Should they stay married for political purposes? Will she take the VP deal? Should she make the same decisions in this alternate universe as she did in this one?

Find out now in Hillary and Clinton at Victory Gardens Theatre through May 1st.

Quinn Delaney

Enthusiastic! UNC Pauper Players Presents Spring Awakening at ArtsCenter (April 18, 2016)

This was a real rock musical experience. The University of North Carolina Pauper Players filled the crowd with their friends and musical theatre fans for their final performance of Spring Awakening. After each song, the crowd erupted with applause. During the large ensemble performances, people were hooting and hollering the whole time like they would at a rock concert.  The whole place was a riot as the entire cast ran around the stage during “Totally Fucked”. If the audience wasn’t in seats, a mosh pit would have started. The performers were truly feeding off the infectious energy of the crowd and put on an enthusiastic performance. This was college musical theatre at its best.

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! The Nether at Manbites Dog Theatre (April 17, 2016)

Is it acceptable to do whatever you please in a virtual world? That is the question posed by The Nether, a play by Jennifer Haley. In the Manbites Dog Theatre production, interrogations take place on the left of the stage in the real world. On the right side is The Hideaway, a virtual world created by Mr. Sims (which alludes to the popular computer game, The Sims). The scenes alternate between these two realities.

The detective insists that what is happening in The Hideaway is wrong and immoral. Mr. Sims agrees it would be horrible in real life but that The Hideaway is a safe virtual role playing environment to explore these dark desires. Without The Hideaway, his clients would commit these crimes in real life. Should places like The Hideaway be shut down? The tension builds and shocking revelations occur that will challenge your thoughts on the subject.

See the expertly crafted production of The Nether at Manbites Dog Theatre and decide for yourself!

Quinn Delaney

Ballet Plus Break Dancing Equals Jookin’! Lil’ Buck at Carolina Performing Arts (April 16, 2016)

What is jookin’? It’s an innovative style of dance that mixes ballet with break dancing. Lil’ Buck is an expert at this style as he glides smoothly across the stage in a modified version of a moonwalk. His body seems to move like jelly as he dances to the music played on a bagpipe, violin, sheng, piano, and tablas. After each number, the crowd at Memorial Hall erupts with joy! He is joined on stage by a fellow dancer that specializes in a similar style called Choppin’. It involves more arm movement similar to a karate chop.

Towards the end of the night, Lil’ Buck shows his flexibility as he contorts his body in an unusual way with his legs wrapping around his head. It’s quite a spectacle to see.

Emil J. Kang, director of the Carolina Performing Arts, enlightened the audience about the fact that the Carolina Peforming Arts are able to bring world class artists to Chapel Hill that would usually only perform in the largest cities such as New York, DC, and Chicago. Tonight is no exception as Lil Buck proved he is an exceptional talent.

See the rest of Carolina Performing Art’s calendar here.

Quinn Delaney

Blinding Lights! Atlas Genius at Bottom Lounge (April 12, 2016)

Atlas Genius has a large lighting system that is fit for a large outdoor stage. It would be right in place at Lollapalooza. However, at small venue like the Bottom Lounge, it is way too much light. It completely blinds the audience. After a few songs, people move to the sides of the stage to avoid the onslaught of lights.  However, even on the sides, the lights occasionally shine directly into their faces. It’s impossible to relax and enjoy the music. The lights should be pointed away from the audience, stop being used all together, or give everyone sunglasses!

On the music side of things, the highlights of the set were from their 2013 album, When It Was Now: “If So”, “Back Seat”, “Symptoms”, and “Trojans”. The new album isn’t quite as catchy and fun as these songs. They also included a few R&B covers: The Hills by The Weeknd and Hotline Bling by Drake. They do a great job transforming these songs to a rock style. Catch them in Chicago again at The Taste of Randolph where the lights surely won’t be an issue!

See the full setlist here.

See the PlaylistHQ page here.

Quinn Delaney