Theater Reviews Chicago Area 2017

Julie & Reno Lovison at Mercury Theatre Chicago

Julie & Reno Lovison at Mercury Theatre Chicago

It has been my pleasure to write as a theater reviewer for Chicago Theater and Arts operated by Jodie Jacobs.

We are both members of Midwest Writers Association which is a group of professional writers and nonfiction authors.

Jodie has been a professional travel and theater writer for many years.

Most of my professional writing has been related to business and marketing. Earlier this year, after talking a bit about my theatrical background, and knowing that I am a video producer she asked if I might be interested in reviewing some plays for her blog.

It’s been a lot of fun and I look forward to continuing it into the new year and hopefully beyond.


Here is a rundown of the plays I have reviewed in 2017.

Escape to Margaritaville

Dressed in a never been worn Hawaiian shirt and accompanied by one of the biggest Jimmy Buffett fans I know we were ready to “Escape to Margaritaville” and party. Unfortunately this ship barely left port. In fact it will be moored at the Oriental Theatre on State and Randolph Streets in Chicago through December 2, 2017.

Belle of Amherst

If what you remember of Emily Dickinson from high school literature is that she was a spinster recluse who wrote free verse poetry about death you will be happy to know that at the Court Theatre you will be spending time with a much different Dickinson. This one  imagined herself to be “The Belle of Amherst.”

Flanigan’s Wake

An irreverent priest, tale weaving drinking buddy, sex starved fiancé and infirm old mother make up some of those attending Flanagan’s Wake   at Chicago Theater Works.

Billy Elliot

What if you have a dream or passion that does not fit other people’s notion of you?

‘Billy Elliot the Musical,’ playing now at The Porchlight Music Theater through Nov., 26, 2017 is about managing change and redefining who others say you are and who you think you can be.

Five Guys Named Moe

… based on the names of five performers, Big Moe (Lorenzo Rush, Jr.), Little Moe (Darrin Ford), Eat Moe (James Earl Jones II), Four Eyed-Moe (Kelvin Rosten, Jr.) and No Moe (Eric A. Lewis). The doo-wop quintet are apparitions who emerge from inside a vintage radio to help young boozy, bluesy Nomax (Stephen ‘Blu’ Allen) get out of his funk… review

Our Town

… a slice-of-life drama that asks us to ponder our place in the universe while pausing to appreciate the seemingly mundane interactions and events that comprise the bulk of our days and which ultimately define our existence… review

Rock of Ages

… a fun 80’s inspired musical romp through the apparently now nostalgic Reagan / G.H.W. Bush era. The ankle-deep plot is reminiscent of the old Beach Party movies of the 1960’s.  Basically boy, Drew (Russell Mernaugh) meets girl, Sherrie (Cherry Torres). He aspires to be a rock star. She aspires to be a movie star. The couple’s love affair is interrupted by the intervention of superstar Stacee Jaxx (Adam Michaels) and hijinks ensue… review

Flanagan’s Wake

…Flanagan has sadly passed, and you, along with a small cast of characters and about 50 other mourners are invited to attend his wake…review

Bonnie and Clyde

… based on real outlaw lovers who found nationwide fame during the 1930’s depression for their crime spree across the southwestern U.S. and lower Midwest … review


… This new production is fresh and energetic with a set worthy of a full-fledged Broadway production. The costumes (or lack thereof) were tastefully sensuous with no hint of vulgarity.  Every performance was spot on and the choreography of Jane Lanier was an entertaining mix of classic Fosse with a hint of Busby Berkeley… review


… It might be easy to simply see this current production as riding a “permanent wave” of nostalgia. Or you might choose to see it as a “bald” faced celebration of 1960’s era youth, depicting the struggles a significant portion of the boomer generation experienced on the road to adulthood, which incidentally had a huge impact on modern culture… review

Little Fish

… a musical adventure of a young woman’s journey to get her life on track as she leaves a bad relationship, gives up smoking and ultimately finds a core group of friends who are willing and able to support each other through life’s challenges.. review


…A tight ensemble follows the adventures of three groups of individuals from various cultural and socio-economic strata at the turn of the 20th century by using the new music of the era – Ragtime. It has become the soundtrack of the age… review


…Two doctoral candidates are compelled to examine their morals, their friendship and their futures as they re-examine the data that has driven their scientific careers for the past six years. Priya Mohanty (Sanam Shah), a statistician, and Darci Nalepa (Ariel Spiegel), an apiologist, are on the verge of presenting scientific evidence proving that pesticides are responsible for colony collapse disorder, a worldwide epidemic causing honey bees to abandon their hives and disappear… review


Please continue following the blog to read more theater reviews for insight from Jodie and me as well some of the other reviewers.

As always if you are a regular theater goer please be sure to support your local community theaters.

If you are not a regular theater goer please check the blog periodically to consider what plays you might enjoy.

Chicago is a theater town and there are plenty of productions to choose from both amateur and professional in virtually every neighborhood throughout the city and every suburb.