By Barry Reszel A diary by its very definition—author and audience one and the same—should be the most authentic piece of writing possible. It’s not surprising, then, when Chicago-based pianist and songwriter Peter Saltzman’s autobiographical, one-man Piano Diaries is at its best is when Saltzman is being Saltzman. And it’s at its most stellar when the
The musical theatre reviews featured here are written by reviewers, not critics. These impressions and opinions are from individuals passionate about musical theatre and represent, in most cases, one observation of one performance. The primary purpose in publishing reviews is to help patrons decide whether a production is a good use of their time and entertainment budget. Our reviewers are also encouraged to creatively shine a light on particularly good work done onstage and backstage, understanding that successful productions happen because of the work of many. Finally, ChicagolandMusicalTheatre's reviewers are asked to walk into a show expecting enjoyable entertainment—because that's the mindset of patrons who buy tickets to professional theatre.
By Barry Reszel Today is the operative word in Writers Theatre’s world premiere of the modern relationship musical, Days Like Today. Based on the plays of Charles L. Mee, Laura Eason’s book, punctuated by Alan Schmuckler’s poignant lyrics and memorable song, could well be called, Today’s Normal. Which is to say, if this generation’s claim
By Barry Reszel Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Jr., 84, obviously knows he’s kind of a big deal. If others didn’t realize this before May 8, when his autobiographical Motown the Musical opened its national tour in Chicago, those in attendance do now. Because when Gordy and entourage sauntered into the Oriental Theatre at 6:48
By Barry Reszel A profane, anachronistic musical theater grudge match on Chicago’s North Side has 1967’s Hair and 2003’s Avenue Q doing battle less than a mile apart for patrons’ entertainment dollars. Smart money is on Gary Coleman, and he’s been dead four years. Yes, somehow a living, adult version of diminutive Arnold Jackson from
By Barry Reszel To focus on a single sense in Lyric Opera of Chicago’s second annual Broadway dalliance is a gross injustice to its breathtaking production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s, The Sound of Music. It’s akin to crediting Michael Jordan’s basketball accomplishments to just the shoes. This not-to-be missed staging of arguably the most well-known