• Theo lights up a new Asian American musical with Baked!

    Happily ever after for an Asian American high school girl isn’t getting the captain of the football team to take you to prom—it’s getting into Harvard. So let’s get one thing straight from the jump: Jane Huang, a Chinese American girl from Minnesota Valley (a midwestern town that is not in the state of Minnesota), […]

  • Rapper and fashion mogul ​​Reese LaFlare is on his way to becoming a household name

    According to the man himself, Reese LaFlare doesn’t get the credit he deserves—but the way things are going, that could change any minute. The rapper and record producer also known as Maurice Williams has been a more influential force in the modern Atlanta trap scene than many have noticed. He was experimenting with cadence, harmony, […]

  • How do Delaney Bailey's intimate songs speak to you?

    The earliest Spotify track uploaded by Indiana-raised singer-songwriter Delaney Bailey is the gentle 2020 song “Loving & Losing,” whose delicate, cycling acoustic guitar melody sounds like wind chimes in the breeze. Before the official release of the song, Bailey uploaded a TikTok video where she performs part of it in a dim, cluttered room. Lyrics […]

  • Big songs, too much story

    When people talk about the glory years of Chicago theater they rarely mention Jim Cartwright’s The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. After opening in London’s West End in 1992, with Jane Horrocks in the title role, it was done at Steppenwolf in 1993 (with Hynden Walch as Little Voice) and was later transferred to […]

  • Never trust the tyrants

    Though it’s based loosely on a real story, John Webster’s Jacobean revenge tragedy The Duchess of Malfi plays like a cross between torture porn and Shakespeare, what with the piling up of butchered bodies, hints of incestuous longing, and even a touch of lycanthropy thrown in for good measure. The Duchess of MalfiThrough 10/21: Thu-Sat […]

  • The room where it happens, again

    At this point, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is beyond critic-proof. (Once you’ve had an entire episode of Drunk History dedicated to your recap of the events in your musical, what else is there to achieve?) But for the fanatics and newbies alike, I’m happy to report that the current Broadway in Chicago touring production of the […]

  • Lighting up the years

    Noah Haidle’s play got absolutely savaged in New York, with the critics’ main objection being that the story of a family over time had already been told in Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and The Long Christmas Dinner. Apparently they’d never heard that there are only seven plots in the world. In any case, I could […]

  • Harlem stories

    I don’t know who came up with the idea of a Pearl Cleage festival for Chicago theater, but based on Mikael Burke’s gorgeous production of the Atlanta poet laureate’s 1995 drama, Blues for an Alabama Sky, I’m glad they did. (Goodman Theatre’s staging of Cleage’s comedy The Nacirema Society is in previews now.) Blues for […]

  • Collective power

    From 1969 to 1973, a Chicago-based organization known by the code name “Jane” brought safe and accessible abortions to more than 10,000 women. Paula Kamen’s Jane: Abortion and the Underground gives voice to the women who ran the resistance collective, risking their freedom to champion the right to choose. Director Morgan Manasa and Idle Muse’s […]

  • Revolution offers small revelations

    Chicago playwright Brett Neveu is so good at writing about the darker side of life (as in his 2002 play Eric LaRue, now a film directed by Michael Shannon, his fellow ensemble member at A Red Orchid Theatre) that it’s hard to remember how flat-out hilarious he can be. If you need proof, look no […]

  • You won't be my neighbor

    “Well, look who’s come to dinner!” bellows Gerald (Ronald L. Conner) to the neighbors he and wife Patricia (Sydney Charles) have invited to their home in Inda Craig-Galván’s WELCOME TO MATTESON! But the neighbors here aren’t white or interracial, and nobody’s trying to marry anyone else’s daughter. That aside, the parallels to Guess Who’s Coming […]

  • Season of plenty

    Despite rumors of its demise, live performance is still happening in abundance on Chicago stages this season. Here are just a few suggestions in opera, dance, theater, and comedy to consider in the months ahead. And as always, be sure to check out our updated reviews and features every week for the latest comprehensive coverage. […]