Monthly Archives: September 2017

Intimate and Emotional! Fun Home at Victory Gardens Theatre (September 28, 2017)

Fun Home isn’t your typical sing and dance musical. Instead, it’s more intimate, emotional, and styled like a Steppenwolf play. Specifically, it shares a lot in common with Mary Page Marlowe. Both shows have multiple actresses playing the same character at different times in her life. Both jump around in time, both forwards and backwards. And finally, both are extremely well written and executed.

In Fun Home, which is short for funeral home, the children perform an imaginary advertisement for the funeral home called Come to the Fun Home. The choreography is so fun and hilarious. It shows off the talents perfectly of the child actors in the show. Everyone had a smile on their face after this funky jam.

Another amazing song is Changing My Major which Allison sings about being excited and joyful after having sex with Joan. It’s such a fun song about teenage love and self-discovery. It showcases the singing and comedic talent of the actress playing college aged Allison.

For the best song of the show, the youngest Alison notices a butch delivery woman and feels an inexplicable kinship with her (Ring of Keys). The song sends shivers through the audience as she begins to discover herself in this woman. Also, the song sounds beautiful too as it just bursts with joy.


There are only two small changes this play could use. Firstly, Joe Lino, who plays many different characters, should have more distinct costumes so the audience isn’t confused about who he is playing. Secondly, the fact that Allison’s dad dies, which is revealed very early in the play, should not be stated. It would make for such a big climax to only discover this at the end. It would also make Rob Lindley’s performance, which is excellently nuanced, even more powerful.

Compared to the Broadway version that toured Chicago last year, this production is far more intimate and funny, which is perfect for this play. Also, the band is visible at the back of the stage, which makes the music more powerful.


Catch Fun Home, the winner of five 2015 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, now through November 12th!

Quinn Delaney

A Spectacle! Orphée et Eurydice featuring The Joffrey Ballet at The Lyric Opera (September 27, 2017)

Orphée is deeply in love with his wife, Eurydice. After a fight, she storms off and is killed in a traffic accident.  Orphée is inconsolable. He goes on a journey to the Underworld and Elysium to rescue her from death. There is just one rule: He must not look at her until they are back on Earth.


The production is quite a spectacle. Large 20ft tall set pieces glide onto the stage. The cast is enormous with 60 members of the Lyric Opera Chorus and 43 dancers of the The Joffrey Ballet. Also, 47 members of the Lyric Opera Orchestra plus 6 stageband musicians provide the music. The costumes are fantastic, especially the ones for Eurydice and the stonemen.


9/15/17 2:59:29 PM Lyric Opera of Chicago OrphÈe et Eurydice Piano run through © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

The dancing is exceptional. Everything from the joy of rehearsal, to the terror of Hades, to the bliss of Elysium is expressed fantastically through ballet. The singing is equally impressive by the title characters. Dmitry Korchak is powerful and emtional as Orphée, and Andriana Chuchman is beautiful and graceful as Eurydice.

Andriana Chuchman_Dmitry Korchak_The Joffrey Ballet_ORPHEE ET EURYDICE_LYR170915_0922_c.Todd Rosenberg

9/15/17 5:24:38 PM Lyric Opera of Chicago Orphée et Eurydice Piano run through © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

Get tickets now for Orphée et Eurydice through October 15th. It’s a two for one deal, opera and ballet!

Quinn Delaney

Thrilling! WildClaw Theatre Presents Night In Alachua County at The Den Theatre

Lily is 16 and living with her mother in middle of nowhere Florida. Her father died long ago and her sister, Violet, left right after she was born. Violet calls sometimes, but Lily doesn’t know if her sister really exists, or if she is just a voice in her phone. At night, she is haunted by a ghost with no eyes.  She describes feeling a chill in the room before encountering the ghost. It would be very cool if they could recreate this effect by turning on the AC in theatre before any ghost scenes.

The set design is fantastic. It looks like they pulled a home straight out of the swamp and placed it in the Den Theatre. The attention to detail is commendable. Also, the lighting design and sound design work together expertly to create a dark and eerie scene. They take horror seriously at WildClaw, which is important because if it isn’t done well, it comes off as silly. When done right, as in this case, it’s thrilling.

Get tickets now for Night In Alachua County through October 7th!

Quinn Delaney

Also see the review of WildClaw’s The Woman in Black here.

Resilient! Parade of Lights opening for Wild Cub at Schubas (September 25, 2017)

Parade of Lights had their trailer broken into and some equipment was stolen. So, they spent the day running around the city buying replacement gear. They were working on setting up the new equipment right until 10 minutes before showtime. Just enough time for shots!  Despite the bad news, the band was still in a great mood. “We still love Chicago”, said the lead singer, Ryan Daly. “I want to move here!” Many bands just pander to the crowd, but he is clearly sincere.  Also, their music has the ability to cheer anyone up. It’s an uplifting sound that is perfect for dancing and forgetting all troubles. Their new single, “Victorious”, fits right in to their catalogue.

Their energy is fantastic for the entire set. “Everybody get golden, and put your hands up to the sky!” sings everyone at Schubas to their hit, “Golden”. It’s a dance infused rock party that’s similar to the style of Walk the Moon. They definitely put on a live show great enough to allow them to make it just as big as Walk the Moon has. So, catch them now in small venues while it’s still possible!

Quinn Delaney

Indie Folk! Frances Luke Accord at Old Town School of Music (September 24, 2017)

Nicholas Gunty and Brian Powers have perfected their harmony. On “Over Your Roof”, their voices and their instruments blend so smoothly. The “Accord” in their name refers to the harmonies between Nicholas (“Luke” is his middle name) and Brian (“Frances” is the name of the street he lived on when the band formed). This harmony also comes across in their stage banter. Here are a few samples:

“Only one of us lives in Chicago now. It’s probably best for the band as we already spend so much time together.”

“Both of our Moms are here” says Powers as intro to “Stones I’ve Thrown”. The song starts, “Momma loves me, this I know.”

“It’s a band goal to own a boat!” Brian says before they play “The Great Zero”, an unreleased song.

“We are excited to start working on new music after this tour,” says Brian. “That’s Brian’s way of saying we didn’t write this one.” The crowd laughs and applauds. “You’re applauding that we didn’t write this one,” responds Brian.

It’s the fun stage banter like these that makes a Frances Luke Accord performance so great. It’s a conversation with the audience and it creates a very intimate atmosphere. To close out the night, they play “Sounds of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkle perfectly. It’s a beautiful way to end the night.

Quinn Delaney

Fantastic Return! Company of Thieves Featuring Genevieve Schatz, Marc Walloch, Sidewalk Chalk, and Sam Trump at House of Blues Chicago (September 22, 2017)

In 2013, Company of Thieves went on hiatus. During that time, Genevieve Schatz released a solo album, “Show Your Colors”. Also, Marc Walloch released a record titled “Through The Seasons” and played bass for AWOLNATION. It was never clear if the band would get back together. Thus, the crowd was very excited to see them tonight. It’s like seeing an old friend who just returned after going away to college for four years.

The band is greeted with a huge applause as they take the stage. Genevieve is already bubbly and looking happy. “Thank you all so much for coming” she says to a packed House of Blues. They start with “Old Letters”. That signature bass line hits and the excitement of their reunion fills the crowd. Later on, as they play “Won’t Go Quietly”, the crowd smiles and sings along. “I will not go quiet! I will not stay silent!” It’s such a beautiful song, it gives me goosebumps to hear it played live. Genevieve really showcases her vocals on this song. It’s a perfect song to close their set.

For the first song of their encore, they bring out their original bandmates to play drums and bass and they perform “Oscar Wilde”. “We are all our own devil, and we make this world our hell!” This one is a rocker and Marc shows his great guitar talent here. At last, it comes time for the final song. They bring out Sam Trump and other members of Sidewalk Chalk’s horn section to play the glorious “Tallulah”. This is a fantastically fun song and it gets everyone dancing and singing. “Ooh, girl. Be my girl! You knew there was death in Tallulah!” The band may now be based in LA, but their Chicago roots remain strong. “We are back!” says Genevieve. “See you soon!”


See our review of Genevieve solo here.

Stunning! A View From the Bridge at Goodman Theatre (September 18, 2017)

In 1955, A View From the Bridge was first staged at the Coronet Theatre on Broadway. In 2014, Ivo van Hove’s revival premiered at the Young Vic Theatre in London and later relocated to the West End and Broadway. In 2016, the production won Tony Awards for Best Revival and Best Director. And now, in 2017, it arrives in Chicago at the Goodman Theatre.


Eddie Carbone is raising his niece and the two of them develop a very close relationship.  Perhaps it is too close as Eddie struggles to let her go when she is ready to move out. At the same time, the family welcomes his cousins from Italy.  The cousins entered the United States illegally to work and send money back home home. When one of the cousins starts to date his niece, Eddie gets jealous and the tension starts to build as everyone’s emotions begin to boil. This tension and story line leads to several dramatic scenes that has the audience on the edge of their seat and a finale that is absolutely stunning.


The acting in this production is incredible. Ian Bedford is a force as Eddie. When he starts to lose control in his own house, his anger is palpable. It feels like he could lash out at any moment. To counter him is Andrus Nichols as Beatrice, his wife. Nichols plays the role strong and tough as she pleads with Eddie to let Catherine go. Catherine Combs as Catherine, his niece, is excellent playing the young innocent girl who begins to lose her innocence as the struggle unfolds.

The sound design by Tom Gibbons is exquisite. There is minimal music playing throughout the show that builds the atmosphere. At times, it is just a single drum beat that slowly repeats.  The subtle music gets loud and intense at exactly the right moments. The set design and lighting design by Jan Verswyvled is fantastic.  The slick, modern, and minimal set feels almost like a boxing ring, which is appropriate for the fights that take place.


Get tickets quickly for A View From the Bridge through October 15th!

Quinn Delaney

Hilarious! The Rembrandt at Steppenwolf (September 17, 2017)

“Art is practice for the real thing” – Jessica Dickey, playwright

A seasoned museum guard, a copyist, and a guard on his first day all reach out and touch Rembrandt’s Aristotle with a Bust of Homer. The audience is then transported back in time to when Rembrandt received the request to paint a philosopher. Then, it becomes 800 BC where Homer discusses how he wants The Iliad to be heard, not read. In the final act, the old museum guard is at the deathbed with his partner.


From the description alone, it would seem this play would seem deathly serious. However, this is not the case at all. It is often very funny as all these characters speak very frankly and often with very foul language. Francis Guinan is fantastic as Rembrandt. It’s hilarious watching him describe all the requests he receives and promptly denying most of them. Ty Olwin is great as the new museum guard. The entire audience cracks up when he says “Go ahead. Touch it! I won’t tell!”


Gabriel Ruiz is excellent as the security guard. To avoid any spoilers, let’s just say his reaction when everyone goes to touch the painting causes an uproar of laughter. Karen Rodriguez is solid as Rembrandt’s wife. Her best moment is when she tries to seduce Rembrandt. Finally, John Mahoney is incredible as Simon, the partner of the old museum guard. The character of the dying poet is reminiscent of his role as Frasier’s father. They are both very sharp and witty. Also, they are both integral roles that showcase Mahoney’s Tony Award winning talent.


Get tickets now for The Rembrandt at Steppenwolf through November 5th!

Quinn Delaney

Intense! AstonRep Theatre Company Presents 1984 at Raven Theatre (September 16, 2017)

A young couple falls in love and wants to get married. There’s just one problem, it’s illegal. In this dystopian world created by George Orwell, the totalitarian government controls everything and watches everyone in the party all the time. It’s even illegal to think bad thoughts against the government.


This production is very well done and it is quite intense at times. It’s probably a good idea to leave the kids at home for this one. Even adults were squirming in their seats as the government tortured a man in order to get him to obey Big Brother. The agony is clearly visible in his face. “How many fingers am I holding up?” “2+2 = 4?” “No! 5!” This is repeated many times to break him.

The sound design by Samantha Barr successfully brought you into the dark future of the story. The alarms from the telescreen and the squeals of the rats were quite startling.  Also, using a Muse song was a good choice as a transition between scenes. Finally, “Karma Police” by Radiohead was spot on as the closing number. “This is what you’ll get, when you mess with us.”


Quinn Delaney

Also, see our review of 1984 at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica here.

Food Review: Tommy Gun’s Garage (September 13, 2017)

The food at Tommy Gun’s Garage was delicious and the service was excellent. To start, the cream of chicken soup was very tasty. The Kingpin was an easy choice from their menu. It’s a 10 oz cut of roasted prime rib served with au juliene. It was very juicy and tender and tasted fantastic. Also great were the green beans on the side along with a baked potato, which is served with butter and sour cream on the side. Lastly, for dessert, cannoli was served. They were crunchy and sweet, the perfect combo to finish off a meal.


Get tickets now for Tommy Gun’s Garage.