American Blues Theater’s triumphant LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS will have Chicago audiences clamoring to head downtown to Skid Row. This intimately staged production has a full sound (with music director Austin Cook leading a four-piece band, you can feel the vibrations of the bass in the floor) and provides an all-encompassing, fully entertaining spectacle.
As the secretary and wannabe stage actor Ulla sings in THE PRODUCERS, when you got it, flaunt it. And Mercury Theater’s production definitely got it.
MARY PAGE MARLOWE is snippets from one woman’s life (played by six different actresses), a woman said to be ‘unremarkable’, a thrice-married CPA with two kids and a drinking problem. But I didn’t feel that I was watching a play about someone unremarkable, at all. I felt I was watching the story of a thousand women, of a hundred thousand women, maybe a million women — women who lost and found themselves a dozen times over, in their lifetimes. Women who can’t please their mothers, or become their mothers; who can’t please their children, or be their children; who can’t please themselves, or be themselves. Women capable of more, but lacking some essential element to make it so; like maybe equal footing, or a society that sees them as people.
In Donica Lynn, Porchlight’s DREAMGIRLS has certainly found its own star. Lynn sings the hell out of the famous Act One showstopper “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going.”
True theatrical immediacy can be hard to come by. Plays take time to write, produce, and rehearse – it can be a challenge to keep them fresh and resonant, especially when they tackle major social and political issues.