15 Favorite Dishes of 2015

I love good food almost as much as I love good theatre. Well, perhaps that’s a bit of hyperbole, but delicious food can certainly put a smile on my face. Luckily, Chicago is a terrific city for both food and theatre, which is a significant portion of the reason why I love living here.

In no particular order, these are my favorite 15 dishes of 2015:

Fried Chicken Sandwich – Frontier

Fried Chicken Sandwich - Fried Chicken Thigh, Hook's Maple Jack Cheese, Molasses Mustard, Pickled Banana Peppers, Brioche Bun ($13)

Fried Chicken Sandwich – Fried Chicken Thigh, Hook’s Maple Jack Cheese, Molasses Mustard, Pickled Banana Peppers, Brioche Bun, served with rosemary fries ($13)

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Broadway 2015

While I haven’t been able to see all of the new shows on Broadway this year (living in the Midwest makes that particularly hard), the shows I did see were enough to know that 2015 was a tremendous year for Broadway. Something Rotten! gave us one heck of an entertaining show with terrific performances. The King and I breathed new life into a classic. And then there were the groundbreaking musicals that, by their very existence, expanded the possibilities of the new Broadway normal: Fun HomeHamilton, and Spring Awakening. Continue reading

Nine Broadway Haiku for 2015

 

The curse of being a perfectionist is that, unless harsh deadlines are imposed, things are rarely finished. Therefore, my 2016 New Year’s resolution will to post reviews more frequently, starting with reviews for the nine shows I saw on Broadway in 2015. Until then, however, I will leave a few brief words on my initial reactions to each show, just for fun, in the order in which I saw them. Continue reading

REVIEW: Private Lives [ShawChicago]

Private Lives

ShawChicago continues their 2015-2016 season of readings with Private Lives, a play by Noel Coward about a divorced couple who, on honeymoon with their respective new spouses, reunite and fall in love again. While the play never goes very deep, the dialogue-heavy play is perfect for a reading, and the actors shine.

Mary Michell, Doug MacKechnie, Leslie Ann Handelman (photo credit: Janine Pixley)

Mary Michell, Doug MacKechnie, Leslie Ann Handelman (photography by Janine Pixley)

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REVIEW: The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide [The Hypocrites]

The 4th Graders Present an Unnamed Love-Suicide is a play written by All Our Tragic adaptor Sean Graney and produced by The Hypocrites in special collaboration with The Yard at Senn Arts Magnet High School. Between All Our Tragic and this, though wildly different at first glance (the former a 12-hour adaptation of Greek tragedies, the latter an original play about a group of children reenacting a play a fellow classmate left behind as a suicide note), Graney demonstrates an unmistakable talent for combining comedy and tragedy in a way that is both thoroughly entertaining and deeply moving.  Continue reading

REVIEW: Geneva [ShawChicago]

Geneva - ShawChicago

Photography by Dylan Stuckey

ShawChicago’s concert readings of mainly George Bernard Shaw plays remind me just how entertaining a reading can be in the hands of talented playwrights and actors. Their most recent production is Shaw’s Geneva, a satirical look at parodies of Hitler, Mussolini, and Franco (Battler, Bombardone, and General Flanco, respectively) being brought before the International Court of the League of Nations in order to be held accountable for their crimes against humanity.

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Non-Equity Jeff Awards 2015

Twice a year, the Joseph Jefferson Awards Committee honors theatrical productions and artists with “Jeff Awards” – one set of awards for Equity theatre and one set of awards for non-union theatre. The 2015 Non-Equity Jeff Awards ceremony was held at Park West last Monday night, June 8th. Unlike the major awards show the night before (the Tonys), there were no official “winners,” no “Best Musical” or “Best Play.” That is because, as the Jeff Awards website puts it, “The Committee does not endorse the use of the words best or winner. There are no losers in the Chicago theatre community, and Jeff recipients are cited for outstanding achievement rather than the more competitive notion of best.” I admire that attitude, one that was displayed whole-heartedly at the Non-Equity Jeff Awards ceremony, at which the various theatre companies cheered each other on. Continue reading