Monthly Archives: May 2018

In Their Prime! Jukebox the Ghost at the House of Blues (May 10, 2018)

“We’ve just released an album about doing adult things” says the guitarist, Tommy Siegel. “Things besides concerts on weekday nights, that is.” They then launch into “Boring”, a fun love song about getting old. “So why don’t we get boring? Let’s get old and lame. Let’s get a house and kids and change your name.” It’s sentiment is reminiscent of the song “Grow Old With You” by Adam Sandler from the Wedding Singer. They’re both great tunes.

Their new album, Off To The Races, was only released on March 30, but the audience already knows all the words to the new songs. This isn’t a band coasting on their past albums, but instead they are a band in their prime time of making music and touring. For one song, they throw a rainbow colored stuffed horse into the crowd with the instructions to have him crowd surf! The crowd delightfully throws him around, and they even are able to get him up to the first balcony! At the end of the song, he is promptly returned to the stage.

“It was a great sunny today in Chicago, so we’d like to play a spring song.” They go on to play “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. Everyone is delighted! Soon afterwards, the drummer, Jesse Kristen, comes to the front of the stage, and is met with great applause. He sings the beginning of the song, “Hollywood”. He draws out the words in a funny lackadaisical manner. “If all the world’s a stage, then you’re my favorite actress. If all of life’s a game, I sure could use the practice.” He then runs back to his kit and the song picks up the beat. Ben Thornewill (Piano) sings “It’s the kind of love that doesn’t exist anymore. You want Hollywood, this is real life!” It’s great lyrics like this that really describe what it’s like to be in the relationship that audiences strongly connect with.

Later on, Thornewill brings out a spinning wheel with songs names written on it. He has an audience member spin the wheel to determine the next song. It lands on “At Last”. “We haven’t played this one in over a month! Let’s see what happens!” They play it perfectly, like true pros. “We probably don’t need to say this, but we hope to see you soon” says Ben before playing the final song of the night, “See You Soon”. It’s a beautiful song and a great closer. And the entire audience walks out with a smile on their face hoping they will see this great band again soon.


Quinn Delaney

Horror Done Right! WildClaw Theatre Presents the World Premier of Future Echoes at The Den Theatre (April 28, 2018)

A group of old friends gather for a dinner party in which they begin to see ghastly ghosts. It turns out the ghosts are actually future versions of themselves in a mutilated form. One of the friends has been messily experimenting with time travel. It’s a roller coaster ride of a story that has the audience paying close to attention to figure out just what is happening.

All of the pieces of the production fit together very well. The sound design excellently creates a dark an eerie feeling. This includes the music chosen such as “Everybody Rules To Rule The World” by Lorde and “Sucker For Pain” from the Suicide Squad soundtrack. The lighting design greatly complements this by often going completely dark. All of the actors are equally excellent in their roles. This is a true ensemble piece. WildClaw Theatre does horror right.

Buy tickets now for Future Echoes through May 27th!

Future Echoes Actors Promo

Quinn Delaney

Also see our review of their past production, Alachua County, here.

Powerful! Interrobang Theatre Project Presents Grace at Athenaeum Theatre (May 7, 2018)

A married couple moves to Florida from Minnesota for a new job opportunity. The husband’s plan to is buy hotels, remodel them, and reopen them as a chain of hotels for Christians. “Where would Jesus stay?” is his idea for a slogan. In their new apartment building, they meet their neighbor, a NASA engineer and non-believer, who is going through some tough times. He was recently in a car accident which badly injured his face and killed his wife.


This play explores some very deep issues. They have multiple heated discussions about the existence of God. It also explores the ideas of space and time. Events take place out of order and sometimes in reverse. Also, characters appear to be in the same room when they are actually in separate apartments. This all could make things confusing, but through careful design and direction, it works out beautifully.

The sound design by Erik Siegling does a fantastic job setting the atmosphere. These are a few of his original pieces for this production.


The cast is superb. Evan Linder (At the Table and Byhalia, Mississippi) plays the NASA engineer as the strong voice of logic and science. This is in direct contrast to Joe Lino (Fun Home and Chagrin Falls) as the husband, who expertly portrays a “Jesus Freak”. Laura Berner Taylor (Recent Tragic Events) plays the wife who has faith, but she isn’t evangelical. She is on the middle ground between them. Lastly is Walter Brody as the exterminator, who has quite a story to tell.

Get tickets now for Grace through June 3!

Quinn Delaney

Also see our review of Interrobang’s fall show, Foxfinder.

Excellent! American Blues Theatre Presents Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story at Stage 773 (May 5, 2018)

This is the story of Buddy Holly, an American music legend. Buddy was born on September 7, 1936 in Lubbock, Texas. Early in his career, the young musician was met with resistance as radio stations wanted to hear country and not this new sound, called rock and roll. This is just like the issues that the DJ in Memphis faces as he tries to play rock and roll on the radio in Tennessee. In order to perform and record his music, Buddy traveled to New Mexico to meet with Norman Petty to produce his music.  It is there that Buddy recorded most of his iconic songs.

The play foreshadows his upcoming death by his wife saying she dreamed of a fireball in the sky. They also talk about the crazy blizzard happening on that fateful night. It leads up to the radio DJ announcing his death on February 3, 1959. The show then immediately launches into a loud rocking song and the audience isn’t given time to process his death. The transition is too abrupt, just like in You Got Older. A slow sad song would have been a better choice. “American Pie” by Don McLean, which is about this tragic accident, would be perfect and would have allowed the audience a chance to grieve the loss of this talented musician.

The cast is fantastically talented. The acting and musical talent is exceptional.  Zachary Stevenson plays Buddy Holly perfectly. The actor nails his guitar playing and his vocal style. Shaun Whitley (Million Dollar Quartet) is solid as one of the Crickets. It’s a very exciting moment when he stands on his standup bass while playing it. Ian Paul Custer (The Columnist, Little Shop of Horrors) is a delight as the radio DJ.

The music is absolutely excellent. Performances include “That’ll Be the Day”, “Peggy Sue”, and “Everyday” by Buddy Holly. Also included are “La Bamba” by Ritchie Valens and “Chantilly Lace” by The Big Bopper, the two other musicians that died on that tragic flight.

Get tickets now for Buddy – The Buddy Holly Story through May 26th!


Quinn Delaney

Also, see our review American Blues Theatre’s past production, Six Corners, here.

Review: Jesus Christ Superstar at The Lyric Opera (May 4, 2018)

Perhaps the Lyric Opera is too big of a theatre for Jesus Christ Superstar. This is a very massive production with 48 cast members and a 43 piece band. When the chorus sings, it’s very difficult to understand what they are singing. This isn’t an issue when it comes to opera, since it is in a foreign language. Perhaps they should display surtitles for this production like they do for opera. However, when it is just one person singing, then the sound is good.

Thus, the second half of the show, when there are more solos, it is much better. Also, the action picks up with Jesus getting pelted with glitter 39 times and then crucified. It also contains the biggest song, “Superstar”. But still, the second half is probably not the same after not understanding what is happening the first half.

Get tickets now for Jesus Christ Superstar through May 20th.

Quinn Delaney

Amazing! The Joffrey Ballet Presents Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Auditorium Theatre (May 3, 2018)

Although it shares its name with one of Shakespeare’s plays, it has nothing to do with the bard. This is a full ballet choreographed by Alexander Ekman about Sweden’s ode to the summer solstice. The world premiere was on April 15, 2015, at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm. These performances are its North American premier.

To start, a man is sleeping on the far left of the stage in a small bed as the audience files in to their seats. When showtime arrives, an alarm goes off. After a few seconds, he reaches out and turns off the alarm. But he continues to lie there, not wanting to get up. This is a fun introduction that sets the scene for a fun show. Soon thereafter, he joins the festivities of the town. Everyone is celebrating the arrival of summer in a bunch of hay that covers the entire stage. They are throwing it around all in sync. It’s quite a spectacle to see. Later on, a huge group comes out all underneath a square canopy tent. Wherever the canopy goes, they all run to stay underneath it in a very joyful manner.

This whole scene is very reminiscent of the choreographer’s previous piece created for the Joffrey, “Joy”. It was part of Global Visionaries last May. In both pieces, Alexander Ekman mixes comedy and dancing expertly. He also is able to display happiness and delight so well on stage. Everyone has a smile on their face, from the audience to the stage.

Midsummer 5_Photo by Cheryl Mann

Photos by Cheryl Mann

The second half also begins with the man sleeping in the bed. However, this time, we explore his dreams. It’s a crazy and strange dream filled with headless dancers, giant fish, and floating tables. It’s wild, it’s bizarre, it’s modern ballet!

The singing by Anna von Hausswolff is fantastic. Her voice is so powerful and emotional. She is very well known in Sweden. Her album, Singing from the Grave was a top five hit on the Swedish albums chart. In addition, the dancers are phenomenal. Every single one of them is so graceful and talented and they all come together with style in this amazing production.

Get tickets now for Midsummer Night’s Dream through Sunday!

Quinn Delaney

Funny and Charming! Birds of a Feather at the Greenhouse Theatre Center (April 30, 2018)

Roy and Silo are a gay couple of penguins living in the Central Park Zoo in New York City. This play is based on the true story of these flightless birds that pair bonded and adopted an egg. It’s a great feel good story that is sweet and also very funny. The main difference between the show and what really happened? Birds don’t talk!


The cast in this production are fantastic. They all play multiple characters and they switch between roles with ease. Sometimes, the switch comes on stage with a very quick costume change. They really bring this story to life with their charm. The way they play animals is absolutely great as well. Especially when they pose for pictures!

Get tickets now for Birds of a Feather through June 17!

Quinn Delaney

Review: Noah Kahan opening for George Ezra at the Riviera Theatre (April 29, 2018)

“Thanks for listening to the opener!” says Noah Kahan. He’s opening for George Ezra tonight at the Riviera Theatre. However, unlike some concerts where most people ignore the opener, many of the fans are singing along and paying full attention. And this attention is deserved, as Kahan is putting on a great show. “This is the best tour I have been on and this is the biggest show!” he says. It’s a sell out crowd in this 2500 person capacity theatre. That’s more than twice the population of his hometown, Strafford, VT (1,045).

Check out his website here!

 Quinn Delaney