Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-12-07



Best of 2010
by Jonathan Abarbanel

This article shared 4170 times since Wed Dec 29, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

There are 200 or so theater companies in Chicago and 'burbs staging upwards of 800 shows a year and no one person can see more than one-third of them and remain sane. Best of 2010? Who the hell knows? I saw, maybe, 200 shows and here's what I though best of that relatively narrow sampling. In alphabetical order:

—Billy Elliot the Musical, Broadway In Chicago. A dynamic, hard-edged and faithful stage version of the hit film about a coal-miners boy who wants to dance, with a pounding score by Elton John who now has learned how to write music that's part of a show, not music applied to the show. Gorgeous staging and choreography, and four brilliant boys alternating in the demanding role of Billy.

—Boojum! Nonsense, Truth and Lewis Carroll, Caffeine Theatre and Chicago Opera Vanguard. Co-authored by Australian twin brothers, this chamber opera puts Charles Lutwidge Dodson in confrontation with his literary alter-ego, Lewis Carroll. Somewhat arcane to all but devoted Lewis Carroll fans, it nonetheless featured a brilliant pastiche score straddling the line between pop and opera, and wonderful (and handsome) 10-person cast. It was Chicago Off-Loop at its best.

—The Brother/Sister Plays, Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Theater began as communal story-telling through rituals of music, movement and language, and the sheer joy of this production was the connection it made between a contemporary story and the primitive and communal nature of theater itself. The wonderful, large ensemble cast was guided by playwright Terell Alvin McCraney and insightful director Tina Landau in a true creative partnership.

—K., The Hypocrites. Greg Allen—former artistic director of the Neo-Futurists—directed his own wonderful adaptation of Franz Kafka's The Trial with an abundance of meta-theatrical devices, especially the brilliant scenic design of 15 doors. Allen turned the story into an Absurdist comedy; in which Joseph K awakes to an arbitrary world in which there are no reasons or answers. Would Kafka approve? Who knows, who cares? He died before finishing this one.

—Master Harold ... and the Boys, TimeLine Theatre. Written in the 1980's but set in 1950, Athol Fugard's three-character play illuminates nothing less than the soul of South Africa on the brink of national tragedy. Seemingly simple, the play begins as comedy and then breaks your heart. Under director Jonathan Wilson, the TimeLine production was a profound event, exquisitely acted by Alfred H. Wilson, Daniel Bryant and Nate Burger.

—Mistakes Were Made, A Red Orchid Theatre. We watch a man and a producer totally melt down before our eyes in Craig Wright's darkly comic look at deal-making and life, equal parts valentine and stiletto hurled at showbiz. Essentially a monologue conducted between man and telephone, it requires a fucking brilliant actor. Ta-da! Michael Shannon is a fucking brilliant actor with weirdness and charisma to spare.

—Romeo and Juliet, Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Australian director Gale Edwards showed Chicago audiences that R&J can be driven forward by its text and not slowed down by treating the text as poetry. Her production successfully juxtaposed classic and modern visual devices, had slam-bang fight choreography and galloped along while cutting nary a word. Also, it was the most handsome production of the year (scenic and costume) and provided a clearly-gay Mercutio lusting after Romeo.

—A Streetcar Named Desire, Writers' Theatre. A claustrophobic and physically-brutal staging by MacArthur Fellow David Cromer, which allowed me to see this often-parodied Tennessee Williams classic with fresh eyes. What higher praise can one give any production of a familiar work? Cromer physicalized things Williams left to the imagination—such as two men discovered in bed—and I didn't agree with all his choices, but they were bold choices that certainly made the play a sweaty and sensual experience!

—Travels with My Aunt, Writers' Theatre. One of the best shows and comedies of the year. Grahame Green's richly comic novel—think Auntie Mame but her nephew is 55 instead of 12—has been wittily adapted for four adept actors all of whom dazzle and charm in multiple roles. The clever scenic design and the turn-on-dime staging make this a huge show in a most intimate venue. Best of all, it's still running (through March 27).

—Trust, Lookingglass Theatre Company. This bleeding-heart liberal play won me over by the integrity of its acting and directing, and the truth of the family relationships portrayed. Not a play about internet sex predators—as some made it out to be—Trust was about family relationships, especially that between father and daughter, who end in a state of hard-earned grace, although sadder and wiser. Co-authored and directed by David Schwimmer who did himself proud.

—The Year of Magical Thinking, Court Theatre. Joan Didion's one-woman adaptation of her own memoir about life and death was funny, touching, acerbic, heart-stopping, angry, philosophical, wise, profound, brave, clean and reverent ... and deeply moving. Performed to glory by Mary Beth Fisher, one of the best actors working today (and I don't mean only in Chicago, where we are damn lucky to keep her busy), and directed by Charles Newell.

This article shared 4170 times since Wed Dec 29, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Des Plaines Theater cancels anti-LGBTQ hate group event after outcry from citizens 2023-01-20
- DuPage County-based Awake Illinois was set to hold an event called "Out of the Echo Chamber: Coalition for Kids" at the city-owned, but not city-operated, Des Plaines Theatre Wednesday, Feb. 8. This event has now been ...

Gay News

Theater Review: tick, tick...BOOM! 2023-01-19
- One of the wonders of live theater is that old works can be revived and reinterpreted to respond to changes in culture and society. Often a new directorial approach can make tried-and-true material feel fresh and ...

Gay News

Theater Review: Princess Ivona is a dark but comic portrait of power 2023-01-19
- Playwright: Witold Gombrowicz. At: Trap Door Theatre, 1655 W. Cortland St. Tickets: 773-384-0494 or; $25 (two-for-one admission Thursdays) Runs through Feb. 18 Trap Door Theatre is now tackling the ...

Gay News

Jordan Vasquez treats Chicago to Fosse's Chicago 2023-01-12
- Actor and openly gay performer Jordan Vasquez, an Illinois native now living in New York City, is giving Chicago audiences "the old razzle dazzle" in the fabulous musical Chicago. This dynamically talented performer brings with him ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Diversity report, Dave Bautista, Leslie Jordan, greatest singers 2023-01-08
- The USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative's latest "Inclusion in the Director's Chair" report analyzes the gender and race/ethnicity of the directors behind last year's 100 highest-grossing movies in the country, while the San Diego State Center ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best in theater, TV, film and music; Obama's favorites; 'Glass Onion' 2022-12-31
- Deadline's Broadway critic revealed his picks for the best of 2022. Leopoldstadt topped his list, but other productions included Kimberly Akimbo, Some Like It Hot, Into the Woods, Hangmen, Ain't No Mo', A Strange Loop, Topdog/Underdog, ...

Gay News

PrideArts, Chicago drag artists co-produce story of a drag family's tribulations 2022-12-22
-- From a press release - CHICAGO — PrideArts will celebrate the arrival of the year 2023 by teaming up with the Chicago drag performers Tirrany Reigns and Ramona Mirage to stage Reigns' original Queer Family Dramedy, set just after New Year's ...

Gay News

Oak Park Festival Theatre makes history with new artistic director 2022-12-20
- The Oak Park Festival Theatre (OPFT)—the oldest professional classical theater in the Midwest—announced that Peter G. Andersen will be joining the company as its new artistic director in January 2023. It is the first time that a person ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Best and worst films, Broadway, Adam Lambert, 'Proud Family,' women's hockey 2022-12-18
- IndieWire revealed its list of the best LGBTQ+ films and TV series of 2022. Just some of the selections included Benediction, Bros, Do Revenge, Fire Island, Everything Everywhere All At Once, The Inspection, Los Espookys, P-Valley, ...

Gay News

Life is a Cabaret for James Harkness these days 2022-12-14
- Out performer James Harkness is one of the many performers in Cabaret ZaZou's Luminaire, the latest project from the creative team behind the successful show Teatro ZinZanni. Currently in an open run since Sept. 7, 2022, ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Jerrod Carmichael, 'Heartstopper,' Lena Waithe, Gyllenhaal, Cher 2022-12-11
- Out comedian Jerrod Carmichael will host the 80th Annual Golden Globe Awards, Deadline reported. After a yearlong hiatus, the three-hour telecast will air on Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023 from The Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on NBC and ...

Gay News

Theater Review: Mosque4Mosque 2022-12-09
- Author: Omer Abbas Salem. At: About Face Theatre at The Den Tickets:; $7.50-$41.25. Runs through: Dec. 17 Sara and her children are Syrian immigrants with a nice suburban house. Sara (Rula Gardenier) is an accountant, ...

Gay News

Michael Horvich: A caregiver remembers his talented husband 2022-12-07
- Michael Horvich has had many roles in his lifetime, among them teacher, photographer and author. However, one of his most important was being caregiver to Gregory Maire—Horvich's husband of 41 years, who died in 2015. Maire ...

Gay News

A stocking stuffed with holiday shows! 2022-12-03
- Christmas follows fast on Thanksgiving's leftovers, which means sugarplums-and-treacle time for Chicago theater, when many troupes offer holiday shows. There are at least 40 of 'em, from biggies such as the 45th annual A Christmas Carol ...

Gay News

Billy Porter receives star on Hollywood Walk of Fame 2022-12-02
- On Dec. 1, award-winning actor/director/singer/playwright Billy Porter received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. "I'm just so blessed and so grateful to be here," he said, according to KTLA. "James Baldwin said, 'It's an ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.




About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.