Category Archives: Chicago Theater

Marriott Theatre’s ‘Murder For Two’ Will Have You Dying With Laughter

Zany, funny, wacky, and quick. These are the words that emerge when I think about the new production of Murder For Two at the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. And tissues! I should mention tissues. You’ll need them to wipe away the laughing tears streaming down your face.

Marriott Theatre's 'Murder For Two' will have you dying with laughter!Murder For Two is a show about a murder. Well, it’s less about the actual murder (and the invisible body that gets suddenly noticed, tripped over or ignored altogether) and more about the twelve suspects. When a writer is shot while entering his surprise party, everyone in attendance becomes a person of interest. Enter Marcus Moscowicz, a small town policeman, who has arrived to try to solve the case. He is not a detective yet, but is determined that this case – and the solving of it – will launch him into the position. If he can just figure everything out before the real detective arrives…

Marriott Theatre's 'Murder For Two' will have you dying with laughter!The twelve suspects are each unique and hilarious in their own way. They run the gamut from a sophisticated and sexy ballet dancer to three boys from a children’s choir to a wheelchair-bound psychiatrist – and they are all played by the same actor.

For a full hour and a half (with no intermission), there are two actors on the stage who play every character in the show. Marcus Moscowicz (played with endearing kookiness by Noel Carey) is the (fairly) stable center and the twelve suspects (played by Jason Grimm, brilliant) provide all of the spokes of a wheel. This duo is also in charge of the music for the show. Both actors play the piano proficiently and frequently – so much so that it almost becomes a character of its own.

Marriott Theatre's 'Murder For Two' will have you dying with laughter!It is difficult to say much more about the plot of the show without ruining the fun, so forgive me for not doing so. I have your best interests at heart. That said, I don’t remember the last time I laughed at a performance the way I did at this one. And it wasn’t just me. There were cackles and pauses to allow for laughing throughout – which was gracious of the performers, because we the audience could not contain ourselves.

Marriott Theatre's 'Murder For Two' will have you dying with laughter!Murder For Two also provides another unique situation for the actors. It is just the two of them up there, surrounded by semi-gaudy chandeliers and décor that is the character’s house. When it is a two person cast, there is the potential for knowing each other very, very well on stage. And just like those skits on Saturday Night Live, we were privileged to be able to see two of those delicious moments when the actors were legitimately breaking character for a split second because they were having so much fun. Where they were looking at each other with a twinkle in their eyes, and we got to be witness to it. These moments made the night that much more fun.

Marriott Theatre's 'Murder For Two' will have you dying with laughter!Murder For Two is a nutty romp that is absolutely worth the hour and a half of your time. With two actors who are as talented as these gentleman, give the gift of taking yourself out of the world for a bit and laugh until you cry. This is one murder that you truly want to know more about.

Marriott Theatre: Murder For Two Chicago ReviewMurder For Two is playing at Marriott Theatre through 8/26/18. Tickets can be purchased by calling (847) 634-0200. Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire.

Goodman Theatre’s “Having Our Say” Invites You In

There is something special about spending some time with your great-aunt or grandma. Sitting around with a cup of tea, hearing her stories, you start to envision a different time. A time where there were no cell phones or computers and people sang in rocking chairs on the porch at night. A time where nobody was thinking about the keto diet and every meal was made from scratch. A time where our elders’ stories were the entertainment.

Goodman Theatre’s “Having Our Say” is an experience just like this. Having been invited into the Delany sisters’ home for the evening, you get the pleasure of hearing their stories – only their stories aren’t like those we experience today. That is because real-life women Sarah and Elizabeth Delany are 102 and 100 years old respectively, and this is their story.

Sarah “Sadie” Delany, born in 1889, was the first African-American woman to teach domestic science in the New York high-school system and Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany, born in 1891, was the second African-American female licensed dentist. Neither woman ever married, saying that this contributed to their old age since they “never had husbands to worry us to death.” They took daily spoonfuls of cod liver oil and cloves of garlic, did yoga, and lived together until Bessie passed away in 1995 (at 104 years old), with Sadie passed a few years later, in 1999 (at 109 years old).

It is important to understand that this lovely performance at Goodman is the story of two very real people. This is their story, brought to life by nuanced performers Ella Joyce (as Bessie) and Marie Thomas (as Sadie). Even in the 856-seat Albert Theatre, the audience is made to feel as if our leading ladies are speaking only to us and a few friends. As if we are all sitting together while they show us photos of their family (all of whom have passed) and prepare dinner in honor of their beloved father’s birthday.

While taking all of this into consideration, this two-hour production is both a literal and figurative commentary on their lives. The characters speak words that have been given in previous interviews and describe situations through which they lived. Having experienced significant racism that escalated overnight with the Jim Crow Laws and incredible prejudice while attempting to succeed in their respective careers both due to race and gender, the actresses on-stage paint a picture of lives that most of us only read about in the history books. The largest difference being, history books can’t tell it like it really was. These women are emotional, hurt, wistful, and grateful for the lives they have had, the successes they have seen, the family they have loved and the paths they have walked.

This Goodman production is very different from any you may have seen before. There is no advancement of a plot, set changes (although I’d be remiss not to mention the intricate turntable set that includes their living room, kitchen and picture frames) or costume changes. There is no major climax or action sequence and there is no physical antagonist. This performance is an intricately written, emotionally performed, celebration of the Delany sisters’ life. Take the two hours and settle in for a cup of tea.

Goodman Theatre: Having Our Say Chicago ReviewHaving Our Say is playing at The Goodman Theatre through 6/10/18. Tickets can be purchased at a discount through Goldstar or by calling (312) 443-3800. Goodman Theatre is located at 170 North Dearborn in Chicago.

Marriott Theatre’s ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Is Charming And Colorful

The Marriott Theatre’s children’s production of Sleeping Beauty is an engaging and charming performance for the little ones. While many kids will be familiar with the Disney production of Sleeping Beauty, this story is a bit different than what they will be expecting. That said, the characters are fun, bright, three dimensional, and a joy to watch.

The story begins with Topaz, and elf who speaks both Spanish and English, who lets us know that a baby is about to be born. We next meet the king, who is hilariously terrified for this new step, and then the three colorful fairy creatures, Marigold, Ruby and Periwinkle, who are there to bestow gifts on the little one. When the scorned Magenta comes in after the birth, she puts a spinning-wheel curse on the little one (you may be familiar with this part!), and Ruby attempts to change the curse by giving the gift of love. Should Princess Amber be kissed by her love when she is sixteen, she will awaken.

This show does an excellent job of elbowing out of the standard story and letting us know a bit more about each character. Teenage Amber wants to see the world and explore, and not be kept in a box or made to be prim and proper. Prince Hunter (her childhood friend) has a habit of sneezing whenever he is scared of something – which is always! The three fairies each have distinct personalities (sassy, emotional, and positive) that make their scenes particularly fun, and the fact that Topaz speaks two languages much of the time has a heart-warming inclusivity that I wish other performances would adapt.

Then, there is the dragon. Created in three parts that move as one, the dragon stalks on and off-stage in a bit of a jaw dropping manner. The entire audience was gawking at how incredibly cool it was that there was a dragon in this performance – including me! Nothing to be scared about with this dragon. The only special effects are a bit of smoke and a dragon voice.

All in all, this is lovable show for audiences of all ages – and I truly mean all ages. If your child has not been introduced to the theatre yet, this is the show to start with. You will see little ones as young as a year old, and all of these professional actors are used to the tiny comments from the audience. The children get excited, they talk to their parents, they have to go to the bathroom – this is normal and the cast is used to it. Bring them! They’re going to love it.

Marriott Theatre: Sleeping Beauty Chicago ReviewSleeping Beauty is playing at Marriott Theatre through 12/30/17. Tickets can be purchased by calling (847) 634-0200. Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire.

Marriott Theatre’s ‘Newsies’ Is Electric

When I first heard that Marriott Theatre was going to do Newsies, I’ll admit that I was a little nervous. This is one of my 12-year old son’s very favorite shows, so both he and I have watched and listened to it a lot. We know the music and lyrics by heart, are familiar with the Broadway choreography and have set ideas about what we love (or don’t love) about different pieces of the show. Better put, we are big fans. So entering into this performance, my son as my date, we were each unbelievably excited, but secretly nervous. Luckily, we quickly found that we had no reason to be.

Marriott Theatre’s production of Newsies is nothing short of electric. The voices, the staging, the choreography, the humor, the energy – all on par with our hopes and expectations. To be clear, this wasn’t an easy thing to achieve! A show that is a great fit for everyone, Newsies brings history to the stage and allows you a peek into what it may have been like for the newsboys in 1899. While the main characters and romantic storyline are fictional, many of the circumstances, oppression and newspapers are right out of the history books.

Newsies is the story of Jack Kelly, one of many newsboy orphans who live on the streets of Manhattan. These young men and women sell newspapers to survive, and count on an exciting headline each day in order to promote them. When Joseph Pulitzer, the publisher of the New York World, increases the price of papers, the newsboys learn that they will have to sell more just break even. With his best friend Crutchie, his fellow newsboys, new friends Davey, his little brother Les, and a reporter named Katherine at his side, Jack Kelly leads the New York newsboys in a strike.

The leads of this show are cast beautifully. Patrick Rooney as Jack Kelly is smart, street savvy, and flirtatious, while bringing forth a passion for everything he believes in. Eliza Palasz’s Katherine is a modern woman before her time who wants to be appreciated for her talent and seen for who she really is. Their chemistry is palpable and the characters challenge each other in such an charming way that you can’t help but smile.

This performance has a great number of showstoppers – a rare feat for most shows. “Carrying the Banner,” “The World Will Know,” “Seize the Day,” “King of New York,” and “Once and For All” each contain incredible group choreography, harmonies, and energy that can’t be matched. Ms. Palasz’s version of the vocally complicated “Watch What Happens” had both my son and I looking at each other with a mutual exclamation of, “She killed it!” Matthew Uzarraga’s Crutchie is so endearing that by the time you get to “Letter from the Refuge,” you are almost in tears.

In short, this performance is one that you need to see. Newsies is an excellent show for introducing anyone to musical theatre or just greatly enjoying a night out, so be sure to get tickets while you can! Between the acrobatics, incredible dance numbers and humor in the show, you’ll be sad that it’s over when the cast takes their final bow. Enjoy the ride!

Marriott Theatre: Newsies Chicago ReviewNewsies is playing at Marriott Theatre through 12/31/17. Tickets can be purchased by calling (847) 634-0200. Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire.

Goodman Theatre’s “Ah, Wilderness” Leaves You Thoughtful

While we are all born into a family of sorts, I think we are all looking for where we belong from the beginning. Who are we without our mother, father, siblings or guardian? Who are we when we meet someone and feel that pull towards them? Will they accept us for who we are? And who is that really? That is what young Richard Miller is trying to figure out in Goodman Theatre’s Ah, Wilderness.

Eugene O’Neill’s slice-of-life comedy takes place in the Miller family home throughout the day of July 4th, 1906. Set in New England, surrounded by sand and water, two generations of family members are doing their best to support each other for who they are. Uncle Sid, the classic funny drunk uncle, is hilarious to all, except for his love of many years, who can’t marry him because of this behavior. Little Tommy, Mildred, and Arthur Miller each want to be treated as older than they are and both Essie and Nat Miller just want to keep their family happy, courteous, and healthy. As for 16-year-old poet, Richard, all he wants is to show this world who he is – and marry his love, Muriel McComber.

The sets, props, and costumes of Ah, Wilderness are top notch. Complete with both wet and dry sand, boats, and seaside paraphernalia surrounding the house, the cast is dressed to the hilt in period garb. The ceiling of the home is open, leaving one to feel like the sky is something that can be seen at any time, from anywhere, and that the world is your oyster. Fourth of July fireworks crack in the background throughout poignant scenes and we watch the sky move from day to evening to night throughout the show. The feel of all of this together is spectacular.

The cast of Ah, Wilderness is full of talent, and a true ensemble. While Richard (an endearing Niall Cunningham) is the driving force of the show, there isn’t a character that doesn’t make their mark and express their personality. There are actually several characters that are on stage for a single scene, and even they make just as large an impression.

Which brings me to the one nagging feeling I had after watching the production. There are fifteen characters in Ah, Wilderness, seven of whom are in a single scene or two. All of the actors are talented and well cast, but when the show was over, I felt myself wondering why some of these roles weren’t combined. What were the actors doing during the entire first or second act while waiting for their single scene? This is surely not a pressing matter, but because I find myself still lingering on the question, you may as well. And while I truly don’t have a commentary in terms of talent about which roles should be combined, it still strikes me as odd that so many skilled actors spent so much of their time off stage.

Ah, Wilderness is well cast, well directed, and well produced. A rare comedic piece by Eugene O’Neill, you will find that there is no tragedy to be found. This coming-of-age story is one that so many of us have experienced in our own way that you may find yourself identifying with the naiveté, good intentions, and life surprises. We’ve all been there.

Goodman Theatre: Ah, Wilderness Chicago ReviewAh, Wilderness is playing at The Goodman Theatre through 7/23/17. Tickets can be purchased at a discount through Goldstar or by calling (312) 443-3800. Goodman Theatre is located at 170 North Dearborn in Chicago.

Goodman Theatre’s ‘Destiny Of Desire’ Is A Romp

Whether you have watched your share of telenovelas or have only been exposed to spoofs of them during episodes of Ugly Betty, Goodman Theatre’s Destiny of Desire is about to open your eyes to a whole new kind of production. Destiny of Desire is a telenovela that is set on stage, complete with touches that you may not have seen before. The triple-threat cast is lively and entertaining to watch, making this production a unique experience.

The show actually begins before the curtain, as the actors are on stage “warming up” while others mingle with the audience. The actors shake hands and chat with the patrons, making the audience feel more included in the upcoming experience. The actors on stage are doing everything from vocal exercises to stretches to having a chat with another member of the cast. As the beginning of the show approaches, and instead of the usual pre-recorded taping asking people to turn off their cell phones, one of the actors gives the instructions – complete with telling you that you can unwrap your candy anytime.

Destiny of Desire is about two couples (one wealthy and famous, the other very poor) who both give birth to babies at the same hospital and – for various reasons – the doctor switches the children so that they are raised by the opposite families. The only person aware of the switch – other than the doctor and a nun – is Fabiola Castillo (played by Ruth Livier, a standout), one of the new mothers and rich wife of a casino owner. Having a strong baby to present to her husband is all that matters to her and she will do whatever it takes to make that happen, even switch her baby with another at birth.

As the baby girls grow up, our poor mother, Hortencia, goes to work for the rich couple and mothers their child (neither of whom know that this is her biological child) while at work. Fabiola has come to despise her daughter and wants nothing more than for her to appreciate all that she has been given. Hortencia’s daughter, on the other hand, (who is the biological daughter of the rich couple) wants to be a doctor, but has no money with which to go to school. When Hortencia is put in jail for killing Dr. Mendoza (the doctor who secretly switched the babies and was also in love with Hortencia), her daughter goes to work for the Castillo household. The girls meet and – let’s just say that some secrets shouldn’t be kept!

Destiny of Desire has moments of hilarity and such utter goofiness that one can’t help but laugh throughout. As this is supposed to be a show on an empty Chicago stage, the cast members do all of the scene changes themselves, all the while flitting and dancing like pretend angels. Each scene is defined by a new title that is displayed on a hand-held blackboard and read by a cast member. Mid-scene, the action will often stop and a cast member (who had been in the wings) will speak a fact into a microphone (“About 28,000 babies get switched in hospitals every year, temporarily or permanently”) or a scene will “rewind” and you will watch the characters replay what you just watched. In short, silliness abounds.

The one major weakness in the show is that it felt uneven. While much of the show is silly, lighthearted, and fun, there are scenes and songs that are much more serious. And while I believe that these were well-intended plot points, it makes those moments in the show fall flat. After enjoying the outrageousness of a woman giving birth in a gold dress, dying on the table and being brought back only to switch her baby with another and have her hair done before her husband arrives (all in about 8 minutes), it is a tough transition to then be listening to a heartfelt song about a father wanting his now-adult child to live after fainting in the desert.

Destiny of Desire is a fun show with a very talented cast. There are a few hiccups in the play itself, but the singing, dancing and joyousness of the performances will have you laughing right up though the very last scene. This telenovela will take you on a journey like no other.

Goodman Theatre: Destiny of Desire Chicago ReviewDestiny of Desire is playing at The Goodman Theatre through 4/16/17. Tickets can be purchased at a discount through Goldstar or by calling (312) 443-3800. Goodman Theatre is located at 170 North Dearborn in Chicago.

Marriott Theatre’s ‘Mamma Mia!’ Is A Hit

As you walk into the Marriott Theatre’s in-the round venue for a performance of Mamma Mia!, you immediately know that you are going to experience something interesting. You are greeted with a stage encompassed by water, and about a dozen shuttered windows on the walls surrounding the audience. But when the show begins and the energy ignites, the sparks start flying.

Mamma Mia! is both a concert masquerading as a musical and a touching coming of age story – for most of the characters involved. We first meet Sophie, who is sending three letters to three men that she’s never met, inviting them to her wedding. We quickly learn that her mother, Donna, had a love-affair with each of these men over a short period of time twenty-one years ago. Without letting her mom in on the news that her three potential fathers are attending her wedding, hilarity and heartbreak ensues – in the best way.

Led by the fantastically talented Danni Smith and Tiffany Tatreau, this ensemble of Mamma Mia! is second to none. Exhibited during numbers like “Does Your Mother Know,” “Lay All Your Love On Me,” and “Voulez-Vous,” the intensity of their spirit is palpable. The actors are having a blast on stage and that positive energy washes over the audience for the duration of the show. The electric energy put forth by the Marriott Theatre cast makes the experience of the “up numbers” so much fun that no one can control their bobbing heads, lip syncing, and dancing in the seats, while the dramatic moments and songs are met with tears and shallow breaths. In short, this production is a wonder.

From the first moments of the Overture, as the house lights go down and the concert stage-lighting begins, a faint glow of color begins to increase at the walls around the gallery. The effect is to put the audience in silhouette – so as you’re looking around the room, you feel the excitement of the concert beginning. By the end of this show, you will find yourself happily exhausted from the wild ride.

Everything from the lighting to the costumes are spot on for this production. Taking place on a Greek island, most of the costumes – everything from puka shell necklaces to shirtless men to bikinis and beachwear – give you the feel of the warm weather. And then Donna, Tanya and Rosie appear in their 70’s disco garb and sing their hearts out, to the lively reaction of the cast and audience.

One warning that I will leave you with before you go off to buy tickets: you may lose your voice. You will be shouting and hooting and having a fabulous time, so it might be a shock that next day when your voice is hoarse. It is 100% worth it, believe me! And as the lovely patron sitting in front of me exclaimed after the encore (which you MUST stay for!!), “That was great!! Woo hoo!!” I couldn’t agree more.

Marriott Theatre: Mamma Mia! Chicago ReviewMamma Mia! is playing at Marriott Theatre through 4/16/17. Tickets can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling (847) 634-0200. Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire.

Goodman Theatre’s ‘Wonderful Town’ Will Put A Swing In Your Step

wonderful-town2Fun, vibrant and full of life, Goodman Theatre opens it’s brand new show Wonderful Town with lots of personality. This musical – composed by Leonard Bernstein and based on the play My Sister Eileen – is about two starry-eyed sisters who move from small-town Ohio to the big city of New York. Ruth is shy, straight-forward and has always dreamed of being a writer and Eileen – an aspiring actress – can’t walk down the block without attracting the attention of men and women alike. Pair these ladies with the reality of city life and a great score and you have and winning experience.

As always, Goodman’s spectacular sets immediately catch your eye. Made up of people-sized buildings that roll as needed, the audience is met with a bright and miniature Greenwich Village. This city is alive with people, airplanes, clouds and more (cockroaches anyone?) and you feel the vibe pulsing throughout the town. Cleverly, once Ruth and Eileen are escorted into their apartment, the stage rises as they walk down the stairs to show the (not so) exquisite apartment. Simply fantastic.
wonderful-townAll of the characters that we meet are quirky and interesting, including both Ruth and Eileen. Bri Sudia’s wry delivery as Ruth makes you relate to her, feel for her and laugh with her. Lauren Molina’s Eileen is feisty, fun and a bit frivolous, but also warm and enjoyable. Karl Hamilton’s Robert Baker is someone you spend the first few scenes sizing up, but his concern and authenticity towards the women and about Ruth’s talent make way for a very likeable man. The supporting players (including Jordan Brown as the daft Wreck and his adorable bride Helen, played by Kristin Villanueva) are all entertaining and help to propel the story forward.

Some of the choices that director Mary Zimmerman made with this show are priceless. I won’t share too much so as not to ruin your experience, but let’s just say that when Leonard Bernstein was composing this score and Joseph A. Fields and Jerome Chodorov were writing the book, these aren’t things that had ever occurred to them. My favorite instance was a scene change that involved a crate full of items for the next scene which was lowered down to above the middle of the floor – and the crash of all of it’s contents onto the stage. The cast proceeded to set up the stage accordingly and continue on with the show. Hilarious, unusual and absolutely entertaining.


The score of Wonderful Town is extremely witty. The writing is top notch and the acting choices push the words even farther. When the sisters sing the famous “Ohio” and then the reprise, you can’t help but laugh at their pain. Ms. Sudia’s delivery of “One Hundred Easy Ways” is hilariously on point and “Swing!” loosens our main character in the perfect way.

Wonderful Town is energetic, extremely bright and a really good time. The characters are entertaining and the actors are engaging. The sets are beyond amazing and there is always something new to look at. This is a great show that you should make the time to see.

Goodman Theatre: Wonderful Town Chicago ReviewWonderful Town is playing at The Goodman Theatre through 10/23/16. Tickets can be purchased at a discount through Goldstar or by calling (312) 443-3800. Goodman Theatre is located at 170 North Dearborn in Chicago.

Marriott Theatre’s ‘Man Of La Mancha’ Achieves The Impossible Dream

Man Of Lamancha Review ChicagoIf you only have time to see one show this summer, make it Marriott Theatre’s Man of La Mancha. This modern retelling of the classic story will reach into your heart and have you leaping to your feet by the last note. The ensemble cast (led by Nathaniel Stampley as Cervantes/Don Quixote) performs brilliantly and at the same time fractures between scenes. It is a very deliberate choice that takes the audience on an emotional, uplifting and gut wrenching ride.

Man of La Mancha is the story of Cervantes and his companion Sancho who have been throw into prison during the Inquisition for foreclosing on a monastery. In this rendition, the prison is a modern day hell hole filled with dirty, seemingly dangerous prisoners – all attempting to steal the small number of possessions with which the men enter. Put on trial within the prison (by the prisoners – before that of the actual Inquisition), Cervantes begins a defense for keeping his belongings by performing his most prized piece – a manuscript of Don Quixote. He slowly casts different inhabitants of the prison as characters and the play within a play unfolds before us.

Man Of Lamancha Lincolnshire MarriottNathaniel Stampley’s Don Quixote is a man who creates magic where there was none before. The performance is pure and truthful to the point where you feel it radiating from the stage. His eyes display a commitment and intention that carries the authenticity of the character, whether he be the soul of Don Quixote or that of Cervantes himself. Richard Ruiz’s Sancho is loyal, funny and kind, always there for this Don Quixote. Why? Because he really likes him. Danni Smith’s Aldonza (and Don Quixote’s Dulcinea) is tough as nails from the first moment. This woman who has been raised to believe she is worth nothing and is horribly victimized in front of our eyes, begins to crack just a bit to let in the belief of something more.

Man Of Lamancha Chicago ReviewA show that is just as relevant in this day and age, Marriott Theatre’s Man of La Mancha is different from those you may have seen. There is nothing pretty or glamorous about this production. The one light in this pit of dejection is that of Don Quixote and his impossible dream. By the end of the show though, it won’t seem so impossible anymore.

Marriott Theatre: Man Of La Mancha Chicago ReviewMan Of La Mancha is playing at Marriott Theatre through 8/14/16. Tickets can be purchased at a discount through Goldstar or by calling (847) 634-0200. Marriott Theatre is located at 10 Marriott Drive in Lincolnshire.

Lake Forest Theatre’s ‘The Secret Garden’ Is In Bloom

Secret Garden Chicago ReviewThe Lake Forest Theatre’s new show The Secret Garden is the inaugural production for both this company as well as their newly renovated space (in the Nancy Hughes Theater in downtown Lake Forest.) With a new company and a new space comes a huge responsibility of starting off on the right foot and choosing the right show. In my opinion, they did just that.

The Secret Garden (a classic by Frances Hodgson Burnett turned into a musical by Marsha Norman and Lucy Simon) is the story of Mary Lennox, a young and spoiled girl who is sent to live with her uncle after her parents die from a cholera outbreak in India. Uncle Archibald Craven is a shut-in who is stricken with both a hunchback as well as a grieving heart and has no room left within to offer any love. With the help of a secret garden and some enchanting other characters, they each find their way to a happier ending.

While this cast is full of talent, there are a few standout performances that are noteworthy. Edward Fraim’s Archibald Craven is full of passion and loss with every note he sings, every bit of eye contact on the stage. Dustin Rothbart’s Dickon embodies the heart of the Moors of Yorkshire and the central connection to nature, all with a knowing smile. Kailey Albus, Zachary Fewkes, Michelle Jasso, Elizabeth Mazur and Edward MacLennan each had moments where they enchanted the audience and the ensemble gave several goosebump-inducing turns.

All in all, The Secret Garden is an entertaining musical for adults and kids alike. Rediscover the magic with this classic of a show.

Lake Forest Theatre: The Secret Garden Chicago ReviewThe Secret Garden is playing at Lake Forest Theatre through 7/2/16. Tickets can be purchased by calling (847) 604-4975. Lake Forest Theatre is located at 400 E. Illinois Road in Lake Forest.