You would be forgiven if you mistook the characters and wrestling in The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity for the “real” thing. The production does everything in its power to create an uncanny representation of a WWE match: a small scale wrestling ring, video / light shows, giant character entrances and audience participation cues are all used to get the crowd in the same head space as die-hard wrestling fans. It is incredibly easy to get swept up in the pure entertainment of what is on display. However, as soon as you are sold on the show’s setting, Chad Deity utilizes this immersion to deliver powerful messages on racial appropriation within the American dream.
“How does that make you feel?” has an identity problem. The story itself is promising; a narrative that approaches mature themes of mental health mixed with comedy gives the story a potential for impactful scenes punctuated by well-timed humor. This is stated in the program materials, which mention “dark subjects that often receive the most stigma surrounding them such as therapy, depression, and suicide… [and toes] the line between dark comedy filled with dramatic elements.” It is disappointing, then, to see the previously mentioned dark comedy morph quickly into shock humor which only serves to undermine any real impact of each character’s self-discovery for an ultimately fruitless show.
“‘It takes a long time to be a diva. I mean, you gotta work at it,’” Trevor explains to his friend, channeling his beloved idol Diana Ross, in a scene from Writers Theatre world-premiere Trevor the Musical. The quote is indicative of the events to come as we watch Trevor, a 13 year old boy grappling with his emerging sexuality in an intolerant environment - one which hasn’t quite recognized homosexuality, let alone found language for it that Trevor can use to better understand his feelings. And while Trevor’s feel-good story is one packed full of laughs, tears, and engaging musical numbers, the show itself still needs to do some soul-searching before it reaches diva status.
I have always hated the musical Hair. When I saw a production for the first time several years ago, my high expectations were crushed by the long-winded, richly-scored but sloppily written musical; an Across the Universe-esque collection of beautiful songs haphazardly strewn together by a messy, almost non-existant plot. I have since seen the play numerous times, ending each with the feeling of exhaustion and boredom by the show’s final number.
Pulse Theatre stages one of the most well-known works of all time, Edward Albee's Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. Directed by Chris Jackson, the production seeks to put a new spin on Albee's oft-told tale with its diverse casting, but it ultimately does little else to justify yet another revival of this spectacular but perhaps overly produced play.
There are certain plays and films with subject matter so intense that you may hesitate to claim that you “liked” them. When you walk out of a production of Killer Joe, for instance, with images of a saliva soaked chicken leg embedded in your brain, you don’t say that you “liked” the show--instead, you find other terms: you appreciated the play, you found it thought-provoking. But you did not, for problematic reasons, “enjoy it.”
The empty warehouse echoes as attendees find a seat in the bleacher seating that flanks the small kitchen stage. The ensemble cast members are already hard at work preparing the very real ingredients for the meals prepared during the show, all while polling the audience for food allergies. Despite the venue being an expansive, empty warehouse made entirely of exposed brick, the kitchen is prepped for an evening of intimate conversation, audience interaction, and poignant (if sometimes flawed) allegorical messages.
Definition Theatre returns with Branden Jacobs-Jenkins' An Octoroon, an in-your-face reworking of the 1859 melodrama by Dion Boucicault. In the play, a plantation owner falls in love with a girl who is one-eighth black. This hilarious and shocking production features one of the finest ensembles of the year.
My family loves to tell the story of my childhood obsession with barbecue ribs. It’s a short story, a silly one of stripping me down at the dinner table to spare my clothes from the massacre which can only happen as a two year old eats, but it’s one that stays with me to this day. But it’s, ultimately, a harmless story too.
Teatro Vista's LA HAVANA MADRID has enjoyed an especially exciting journey since debuting in May of this year. Following a sold-out run at Steppenwolf's 1700 Theatre, the production moved to The Miracle Center, where tickets went just as quickly. Finally, the talented ensemble has landed at The Goodman Theatre, and the production has never looked better.
The Hawk was a common name for the cold, winter wind in Chicago, possibly even predating "the Windy City." Additionally, a hawk can see up to eight times more clearly than the human eye.