One of the best things about being in Chicago is that everyone has access to good theatre. Whether it be in a larger theater downtown, a black box on the North Side or a small space in the suburbs, it’s just a matter of finding it!
Tucked away in a Skokie theater, the Emergent Theatre Company recently opened their production of Neil Simon’s “The Last of the Red Hot Lovers.” Directed by Robert Costanzo (“City Slickers,” “Friends”), this is a classic show about a long-time married man who is contemplating having an affair with three different women. It is performed in three related vignettes, each focusing on the relationship between our leading man and one of the women. The concern that I think any audience has in these situations is “will the next vignette be as strong as the last one?” Quite enthusiastically I can tell you, each time a new actress entered the stage, I was engaged by the different energy, but the consistent strength of performance.
As the lights go down at the top of the show, the Jimmy Buffet song “Escape (The Pina Colada Song)” begins to play. This fun nod to what you are about to experience tapers off and we are greeted by our leading man Jim Saltouros as Barney Cashman – a gentle and unfulfilled restaurant owner. Mr. Saltouros’ Barney is a man whose curiosity and anticipation leaves you remembering just how it felt to go on a first date.
The show’s talented leading ladies (Kelly Levander as Elaine Navazio, Rachel Rosen as Bobbi Michelle and Lisa Stran as Jeanette Fisher) each capture an energy unique unto themselves and propel their individual scenes forward. Ms. Levander is sassy and brash as the experienced other women, Ms. Rosen is boisterous and wacky as the actress who can spin stories and Ms. Stran is hilariously sorrowful. With Mr. Saltouros’ Barney trying to figure his way through each debacle, the show is energetic, full of laughs and may remind you that the grass isn’t always greener.
Emergent Theatre: Last of the Red Hot Lovers Review – Last Of The Red Hot Lovers is playing at the Mayer Kaplan JCC Theatre, 5050 Church St. in Skokie through 4/19/15. Tickets can be purchased through Goldstar at a discount.
If you’re looking for some new theatre, be sure to check out this new show by Jen Bosworth, Why Not Me…Love, Cancer and Jack White. Playing at the Heartland Studio, this is a one-woman-show both written and performed by Ms. Bosworth.
“Why Not Me…Love, Cancer and Jack White” is one woman’s hilarious and hopeful romp through life’s heartaches, headaches and hysterics. In her critically acclaimed one woman show, Jen Bosworth’s irreverent and hilarious “Why Not Me” details her adventures as a failed actress in Los Angeles; her stint as Academy Award Winner Nicolas Cage’s Office Manager; and her journey as the caretaker for her feisty and determined Colombian mother as she bravely fought, but eventually succumbed to metastasized breast cancer. When Jen’s mother, Ines’s cancer returned they asked “Why us? Why is this happening to us?” And then one day Ines turned to Jen and asked, “Why not us? We are not so special. Why shouldn’t tragedy touch us?” “Why Not Me” is the inspiring tale of what it takes to accept ourselves, love others, and go bravely in the direction of our dreams. It is the story of accidentally finding spirituality. Ultimately, “Why Not Me” is about turning our hardships and tragedies into gold. Banged and battered gold, but gold nonetheless.
Heartland Studio Theatre is located at 7016 North Glenwood in Chicago and performances run Thursday-Sunday between now and August 17, 2014. Purchase tickets here prior to performances.
When I go to see live theatre, I want to know nothing about it before I enter. I don’t read reviews, I don’t read casting information and I don’t read leaked excitement. I want to know nothing. When the lights go down and the curtain goes up, I want to enter a brand new world and have a unique experience all my own. Granted, that experience is in a large room with hundreds of other people, but going to the theatre is truly a distinctive experience. You bring your history, your tastes and your unique perspective. You are going to see a show that will affect you differently from anyone else purely because you are you.
At the end of most productions, the cast comes out on stage and the audience claps. In typical fashion, the more fun or more principal a role, the louder the clapping gets for that actor – and that is fitting. If you love a performance, you should cheer for it! Somehow though, in the last 20 years it has become commonplace to give a standing ovation for every single show performed. It is so much so that a cast can tell that an audience didn’t particularly like a performance purely because they didn’t stand up. My question is – what happened to the “in between?” What happened to watching a show that you enjoyed, clapping loudly, hooting a bit and then exiting the theatre in smiles? Why must audiences always give a standing ovation to let everyone know that they enjoyed the show? It kind of leaves you wondering what you’re now supposed to do for those productions that truly knocked your socks off. At least, it leaves me wondering…
So I implore you – consider the shows that you are standing for! In the same way that chocolate loses it’s excitement when you eat it every day (bad example?), consider that you are removing the meaning of the standing ovation when you give one for each and every show. Save your ovation for those productions that change your world. The ones that give you goosebumps. The ones that touch your soul. And whether your fellow audience members are aware of it or not, you will know that when you are moved to get up on your feet at the end of a production, you truly couldn’t stay seated.
If you read my review of The Last Ship by Sting, you know that I am a huge fan of this new musical. If you’ve been wanting to get tickets between now and the end of the Chicago run, Goldstar is currently offering discount tickets to see The Last Ship! You can get tickets for as low as $49, but shows are selling out quickly. I would highly suggest choosing a date and booking your show now!
Premiering in Chicago before heading to Broadway, new musical The Last Ship is not only inspired by Sting’s childhood, but it also has an original score by the British pop star. Set in the English seaport village of Wallsend, The Last Ship follows a young man who ventures off to find a future beyond the shipyard. Years later, he returns to discover that his lost love is engaged to someone else, and his proud community is struggling to preserve its way of life. Big, bold and beautiful, The Last Ship has a powerful list of talent behind it: 16-time Grammy-winner Sting, Tony-winning director Joe Mantello (Wicked), Tony-winning playwright John Logan (Red) and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Brian Yorkey (Next to Normal).
Goodman Theatre: Ask Aunt Susan Review
Goodman Theatre: Ask Aunt Susan Review – The truth is that you never know who you are speaking to on the Internet. We all have avatars that may or may not be real images of ourselves – and we have the ability to be whoever we want to be while sitting behind the computer screen. This is the premise of Ask Aunt Susan, directed by Henry Wishcamper and currently playing at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago through June 22, 2014. Led by Alex Stage as the narrator (very solid and present), Ask Aunt Susan takes the audience on a humorous and intense ride through modern day technology and relationships and how they intermix to create an alternate reality.
Upon walking into the theater, the audience is met by a somewhat chaotic M. C. Escher-esque set that is decorated with television screens. Having seen a number of newer shows that utilized screens, I was a bit concerned that these would take away from the performance. This is completely the opposite. The televisions serve as a constant reminder that we are a “plugged in” society and propel the story forward as an assistant to the narrator.
Built on a very strong script by Seth Bockley, the play itself is funny and thought provoking. The supporting actors (including Jennie Moreau, Marc Grapey and Robyn Scott) each steal the spotlight in their own way, but you find yourself always grounded by the narrator. Ask Aunt Susan is an enjoyable production that will leave you thinking through the last second of the show and well after the bow.
Goodman Theatre: Ask Aunt Susan Review – Ask Aunt Susan is playing at the Goodman Theatre between 5/24-6/22. Tickets can be purchased through the Goodman Theatre box office online or by calling (312) 443-3800. Goodman Theatre is located at 170 North Dearborn in Chicago.
Les Miserables Drury Lane Discount!
There is a new production of Les Miserables being performed at The Drury Lane Theatre, an establishment just outside of Chicago in Oakbrook Terrace (100 Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181.) This show runs through June 8, 2014 and there are currently tickets available. Even better, there is the option of a Les Miserables Drury Lane discount!
Les Miserables Drury Lane Discount: Goldstar is currently offering tickets to see Les Miserables for as low as $22.50 per ticket. Standard show prices for this production range from $45-$60, so this is a significant discount. Ticket prices and availability will change between now and the end of the run.
Here is the description provided on Goldstar:
Grand and uplifting, Les Miserables is a powerful affirmation of the human spirit and one of the most popular musicals of all time. This tale of passion and revolution in 19th-century France won seven Tony Awards on Broadway and was adapted into an Oscar-winning film. Drury Lane kicks off its 30th anniversary season with this sweeping tale of romance, passion, suspense and redemption set against the stormy backdrop of the French Revolution. You’ll be immersed in the tale of ex-convict Jean Valjean’s struggle for redemption while trying to outrun the determined police inspector Javert, and the innocent love of his adopted daughter Cosette for the revolutionary and student, Marius. It’s a celebration of the human struggle for justice and happiness in the face of hardship, carried forward on a gorgeous score, including the beloved songs “I Dreamed a Dream,” “Do You Hear the People Sing?” and more.
You’ve likely seen the movie and you may have seen Les Miserables performed on the stage as well, but like many theatergoers will tell you (including myself), you can never really get enough!
Interested in more? Read other Chicago Deals here.
The Joffrey Ballet: Romeo & Juliet Discount:
The Joffrey Ballet is launching a new production of Romeo & Juliet at the Auditorium Theatre (located at 50 E. Congress Parkway in Chicago) that will run for two weeks only: April 30th-May 11th 2014. This performance is a contemporary take on the classic story that we are all familiar with.
Here is the description according to Goldstar:
The world famous Joffrey Ballet stages a bold contemporary version of one of Shakespeare’s most beloved tragedies, Romeo and Juliet. The Chicago Philharmonic will be on hand to perform Sergei Prokofiev’s powerfully dramatic score, which includes the famous “Dance of the Knights” (aka “Montagues and Capulets”). This timeless story of two young lovers caught between their warring families unfolds against a striking multimedia backdrop, which depicts three different political eras of the 20th century. Choreographed by Krzysztof Pastor, director of the Polish National Ballet, this vibrant new telling of Romeo and Juliet is “stunning … truly magnificent” (London’s The Telegraph).
The Joffrey Ballet: Romeo & Juliet Discount: Currently you can get tickets to see The Joffrey Ballet perform Romeo & Juliet for almost half off the current box office price through Goldstar. There are a variety of dates available in May and they range in price from $48.60 – $91.20 (down from a regular box office price of $81.00 – $152.00). This is a great way to see a fantastic Chicago company perform one of the classics.
Interested in more? Read other Chicago Deals and about other Chicago Theater information.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater Tickets
The Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier wants everyone to be able to enjoy the theater, no matter what their budget looks like. That is why the established the CST for $20 program! This program enables anyone age 35 or younger to be able to purchase Chicago Shakespeare Theater tickets for only $20 each! You can receive up to two tickets at this price and the guest of your choice can be any age (younger or older than 35). This is an amazing opportunity for anyone to be able to experience the phenomenal productions the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, so be sure to take a look at this opportunity! Here are the details according to CST:
- All tickets are $20 and are available through this exclusive online program.
- Anyone under 35 can buy up to two $20 tickets per production. If you’re feeling generous you can even bring someone over 35 as your guest—your boss, your Mom, it’s up to you!
- We’ll send you email alerts to keep you up to date on our current and upcoming productions.
- No membership fees, no clubs to join—just great plays at a great price.
To get involved with buying tickets at this price, enter your name, birthday and email address through their form and you’ll be able to move on to the next steps toward excellent Chicago theater!
Interested in more? Read more Chicago Deals or about Chicago performances.
The Sound Of Music Chicago Discount
If you are a fan of the classic The Sound Of Music, you are going to be very excited! The Sound Of Music opens at the Civic Opera House (20 North Wacker Drive Chicago, IL 60606) April 25th and runs through the currently announced end date of May 25th. This show stars Billy Zane (one of the stars of the movie Titanic), as well as opera stars Christine Brewer and Elizabeth Futral, Jenn Gambatese of Broadway’s Wicked and All Shook Up, and Edward Hibbert of Frasier. Even better is that you can currently get a The Sound Of Music Chicago Discount!
The Sound Of Music Chicago Discount: Goldstar is currently offering tickets to The Sound of Music for as low as $35 for dates throughout the entire run. The full ticket price ranges between $47-$179, so this is a nice discount on a show that you likely know all of the music to, but have never seen performed live. Dates and prices will begin to sell out, so don’t wait too long if you intend to take advantage of this price reduction.
The stage production of The Sound Of Music is a little bit different than the movie starring Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer. The basic story is the same, but there will be additional songs and scenes that you didn’t see in the movie. Just like books are typically better than movies, you may find that you enjoy the play more!
Interested in more? Read other Chicago Deals here.
Marriott Theatre: Schoolhouse Rock Live!
Finding live theater to take your children to can be a bit of a challenge. Here in Chicago, we are lucky to have as many options as we do, but we don’t always know where to look. One great option is the Marriott Theatre: Schoolhouse Rock Live!, located in Lincolnshire, Il. I have seen several productions there with my children and we thoroughly enjoyed them. They run for about an hour, they are bright, lively and colorful and best of all, the actors are used to hearing the chirping of small voices.
Marriott Theatre: Schoolhouse Rock Live!: The Marriott Theatre is currently putting on a production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! through May 4, 2014. The show runs for an hour and all productions take place at 10AM Thursday-Sundays. You can purchase tickets online or by calling 847-634-0200. There are group sales options available. Here is more about the show:
“Meet Tom, a nervous school teacher who learns how to win his students over with imagination and music, through such songs as “Just A Bill,” “Lolly, Lolly, Lolly,” and “Conjunction Junction.” The Emmy Award-winning 1970’s Saturday morning cartoon series that taught history, grammar, math, and more through clever, tuneful songs will light up the Marriott Theatre for Young Audiences stage!”
You can be comfortable taking a child of any age to the Marriott Theatre: Schoolhouse Rock Live! production. My son was five and my daughter was two when we first visited a Marriott Theatre production and I saw many children who were younger than mine. This is an excellent way to get your children involved in live theater and start their appreciation young!
Looking for more? Find additional Chicago Kids Activities and Chicago Theater information here!