Monthly Archives: June 2019

Time Shifting! Remy Bumppo Presents Bloomsday at Theatre Wit

A young man meets a young woman in Dublin. She is giving a tour of James Joyce’s Dublin described in his book, Ulysses. They have a great day together. 35 years later, the man returns to Dublin to meet with the woman. In the play, this return 35 years later happens at the same time as the original meeting.

The time shifting in this play is very interesting. The older versions of the characters interact with the younger versions. It’s an exploration of the road not traveled.

The acting in the production is fantastic. Shawn Douglass is great as the older man looking back and wondering what could have been. Annabel Armour is excellent as the older woman appreciating the day that they did have together. Jack DeCesare plays the young man as so innocent and full of hope. Bryce Gangel matches his energy perfectly as the joyful young woman.

Cost of a ticket: $60
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
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Catch Remy Bumppo’s next production, Howards End, starting August 29th!

Quinn Delaney

Rocking! Sinkane featuring Mad Alchemy at Chop Shop (June 21, 2019)

Early on Sinkane plays “How We Be”, which starts off with a fantastic beat. Then, Ahmed Gallab, the lead singer and founder of the band, comes in with his fantastic vocals. “Oo-oo-ooh, we’ve got life right in the pocket.” It’s a great song to put in the set early, as it gets everyone dancing. Also, it has over 4.8 million plays on Spotify.  Soon after is “Favorite Song”, and it’s clear the dance party will continue all night. “Won’t you play my favorite song?” sings everyone in unison along to this very happy song.

Later on they play a tribute to Sudan, where Ahmed is originally from. Beforehand, he talks about the protests and political struggle currently happening in the country that his family fled back in 1989 when a dictator took control.

The close with “Telephone”. “You must be alone; why else you calling on the phone?” This song is great example of the unique blend of funk, rock, electronic, and psychedelic rock they have created. It’s a great finale to this fantastic night of music by this Brooklyn band that has a bright future ahead of them.

Also, Mad Alchemy provided an analog liquid light show that basked the stage in psychedelic colors and moved with the music. It looked superb.

Cost of a ticket: $18

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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Quinn Delaney

 

From Broadway to Chicago! If I Forget at Victory Gardens Theatre (Through July 7, 2019)

Lou Fischer is celebrating his 75th birthday at his home in Northwest Washington, DC. His three children are there for the party. First is Michael, a character based on Norman Finkelstein, who wrote The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering and was later denied tenure. Second is Holly, who wants to start a new business called Spaces and Places in her father’s store. Lastly, there is Sharon, who wants to date the current manager at the store. It’s a story about the relationships between the members of this Jewish family how they deal with the many conflicts that arise.

This play is extremely well written by Steven Levenson (Dear Evan Hansen and Fosse/Verdon). It’s very densely dramatic like Osage Orange County by Tracy Letts but also very funny. The set is also very impressive as they built a two story house onto the stage and furnished it as if it had been lived in for years.

The performances in this production are world class. Daniel Cantor is superb as the controversial Michael describing his book called Forgetting the Holocaust. It’s a very powerful moment. David Darlow (Indecent) is excellent as Lou, the father. Keith Kupferer (Support Group for Men) plays the husband of Holly as a friendly guy with some dark secrets. Elizabeth Ledo, Gail Shapiro, Heather Townsend, and Alec Boyd round out this stellar cast.

Get tickets now for If I Forget through July 7th!

Cost of a ticket: $36 to $62

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value

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Quinn Delaney

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Exceptional! A R I Z O N A at the House of Blues Chicago (June 12, 2019)

The House of Blues Chicago is packed to the brim tonight for a sold out show by A R I Z O N A. This band’s indie dance pop style gets everyone dancing and singing along on songs such as “I Was Wrong”.

It’s clear that A R I Z O N A is having a blast on stage. The lead singer, Zach, repeatedly says how happy he is to be on tour with his best friends. He croons how much he loves the crowds in Chicago and introduces the next song by saying “Even though we don’t know exactly when we will be back in Chicago, not a single day goes by when you don’t cross my mind!”

While the lead singer is talking to the audience, he is interrupted by a member of the crew with a shot of tequila. “This is the kind of thing that happens when you are on tour with your best friends! At least it isn’t Malort!”

Before the next song, Zach reminisces about the bands origins in New Jersey. They were planning to quit music when they decided to just record some songs for fun. The band planned to post it on Soundcloud, get a few likes, and then move on! Then he says, “If you aren’t having fun with the people you love, you are wasting your life!”

Cost of a ticket: $35

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value –

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Quinn Delaney

 

Enjoyable! Brown Box Paper Company Presents Grace, or The Art of Climbing at Stage 773 (Through July 7, 2019)

Emerson learned to climb from her father. She lost interest for a while, but now she wants to get back into it. She gets a coach at her local gym and begins improving quickly. She has big dreams of joining the national climbing team. Along the way, she processes her feelings for her ex-boyfriend, her coach, and her father.

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The set is very well designed with wooden boards secured to the walls for climbing along with a large structure in the middle. They also use ropes to allow the actors to climb to the ceiling safely.

GRACEEnsemble

Alex Molnar does a great job as the lead, Emerson. She has the majority of the lines and she stays on stage for the entire 90 minutes without an intermission.

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Fans of climbing and fans of theatre will enjoy this performance! Get tickets now for Grace, or The Art of Climbing through July 7!

Cost of a ticket: $29
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
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Quinn Delaney

Chicago Immigrant Stories! Teatro Vista and Collaboraction Present La Havana Madrid at The Den Theatre (Through June 30, 2019)

La Havana Madrid is a collection of stories about immigrating to Chicago from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Colombia. The tales range from coming here as a child to moving here as an adult seeking work. They all formed community at a Chicago nightclub, La Havana Madrid, which featured music from salsa to cumbia.

This show has a great balance of dialog and music. The story always builds up to a climax that is the perfect place for a song. The live band playing throughout the show is Carpacho y Su Super Sombo.

Sandra Delgado radiates as the star of the show. She also wrote the play! In fact, everyone in the cast gets their chance to tell their story and each one is unique in its own way. Each performer does a great job of shining during their time in the spotlight.


Get tickets now for La Havana Madrid through June 30th!

Cost of a ticket: $40 and up
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
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LaHavanaMadrid_2019_7718_by Joel Maisonet

Ilse Zacharias plays Myrna, with fellow cast member Mike Oquendo. Photo credit: Joel Maisonet

Quinn Delaney

A Beautiful Piece of Art! Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series at Harris Theatre (Through June 9, 2019)

Terrain aka The Loss of Place

Choreographer: Brian Brooks

Loss of Place

Terrain explores earthly landscapes through dance. It includes rolling hills, bumbling streams, and a tornado flying over them. It’s a very fluid performance with all the dancers wearing white and moving as one unit.

A Picture of You Falling

Choreographer: Crystal Pite

Crystal Pite's A Picture of you Falling

12/6/17 7:40:26 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s winter season tech of Crystal Pite’s “A Picture of you falling.” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

This piece features two dancers repeatedly falling. Over electronic music, a voice narrates the fall: knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, head. The narration is reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction. In both cases, the spoken words describe the action exactly as it is happening in a calm female voice.

The excellent music composition for this work is by Owen Belton. It’s a very unique piece that is truly a work of art.

The Other You

Choreographer: Crystal Pite

A man interacts with his mirror image. At first his mirror just follows his every move, but then they struggle for control. It’s an internal struggle explored through dance.

Crystal Pite's The Other You

12/6/17 9:04:28 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s winter season tech of Crystal Pite’s “The Other You.” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

This piece also features music by Owen Belton along with “Moonlight Sonata”, aka Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven.

 

Out of your Mind

Choreographer: Alejandro Cerrudo

A monologue by the philosopher, Alan Watts, is played while the dancers perform. Later on, the song “It Starts Now” by Blond:ish plays, which also contains Alan Watts speaking. The philosophical nature of the words matches quite nicely with the artistic movements of the dancers and the music to create a beautiful piece of art exploring dreams and consciousness.

Get tickets now for the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series through Sunday!

Cost of a ticket: $70 and up
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney