Monthly Archives: March 2020

Blues Rock! Ana Popović at City Winery Chicago (March 10, 2020)

Ana Popović is on tour promoting her latest album, Like It On Top. It was released in 2018 and features Keb’ Mo’, Robben Ford, and Kenny Wayne Shepherd. Tonight she shows why those are her peers with her virtuosic guitar playing.

Early on she plays “Lasting Kind of Love”. “It’s not a lasting kind of love, it’s temporary.” “And baby, I don’t mind”. It’s a groovy track about casual relationships.

A highlight of her set is “Johnnie Ray”. It is a fantastic blues song that really showcases her vocal talent as well as her guitar skills.

Fans of the performance should definitely not miss Chicago Blues Fest in June!

See her past setlists here.

Cost of a ticket: $28

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Staged Reading – Middletown – The Ride of Your Life at Apollo Theatre (Through March 22, 2020)

The evening begins with all the actors coming out to greet the audience. They are shaking hands and walking up and down the aisles. It is more like a concert beginning than a play. This production is being presented as a staged reading. The four actors are positioned at stands with the script in front of them from which they will read. This technique is usually used a step in the development process to see how an audience responds early on. In this case, it is presented as the final product. The playwright wanted to keep it simple that way.

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Middletown is the story of two couple’s lives together. The couples are looking back of their lives together as friends. It starts with how they met, got married, and had kids. It continues through the kids growing older as they also age and face medical issues. There are great highs and tragic lows in their roller coaster lives.

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The actors have great chemistry with each other and convey the friendship well. The cast includes Sandy Duncan, Adrian Zmed, Kate Buddeke, and Danny Most. This play will appeal mostly an older audience.

Get tickets now for Middletown through March 22nd!

Cost of a ticket: $72

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price –

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Quinn Delaney

 

Review: Alvin Ailey at the Auditorium Theatre (Through March 8th)

A Case of You (2005)

Choreography by Judith Jamison

AAADT'S Jamar Roberts and Jacqueline Green in A Case of You from Judith Jamison's Reminiscin'. Photo by Paul Kolnik (3)

Jacqueline Green, Jamar Roberts in A Case of You Choreography: Judith Jamison Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater Credit Photo: Paul Kolnik studio@paulkolnik.com nyc 212-362-7778

Music by Joni Mitchell; Performed by Diana Krall

 This is a very romantic duo dance. The woman wears a fantastic red dress. At one point, she runs up the man and jumps up onto this thighs in an impressive move. It is full of emotion. The piece starts with about a minute of no music. This may work well in other venues, but in the large Auditorium Theatre in the middle of winter, the sound of coughing is the soundtrack.

 Fandango (1995)

Choreography by Lar Lubovitch

Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell and Richard Witter in Lar Lubovitchs Fandango circa 1995. Photo by Roy Volkmann

Music by Maurice Ravel

 Alvin Ailey has another piece that also uses Ravel’s Bolero, Walking Mad (2016). This other piece matched the playful sound of the music much better than this one. This dance was athletic and strong, a complete mismatch with the music that resulted in a mixed experience.

 

Revelations (1960)

Choreography by Alvin Ailey

 This is a full company piece that is met with a loud applause right when it starts. It’s gospel music that plays which gives the piece a religious feel. It’s happy, sad, and beautiful. Since its premiere, it has been performed continuously around the globe and it has become the most widely seen modern dance piece in the world.

This program will be repeated on Sunday at 3pm. The other performances will include different dances.

 

Get tickets now for Alvin Ailey through Sunday!

Cost of a ticket: $140 (Back Orchestra)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price –

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Quinn Delaney

Good Jazz – Cyrille Aimee at City Winery Chicago (March 3, 2020)

Cyrille Aimee is a very talented French jazz singer. She is joined by two other fantastic musicians. Ryan Hanseler is on piano and Alex Warshawsky plays the bass. They open with a Sondheim song from Follies. She sings a lot of Sondheim songs this evening which she recorded on her 2019 album, Move On: A Sonheim Adventure. Within each song, they always add a jazzy improv jam.

They also perform a few of her original songs. They blend right in with the covers showing her songwriting talents.

For the encore, she chooses a blues song, “Loud Talkin Woman” by Helen Humes. “Loud talkin woman, why don’t you keep your man at home.” “I live up five flights of stairs, and your man loves to climb.” It’s a scintillating song and a great closer.

Cost of a ticket: $36
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
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Quinn Delaney

 

 

Funny and Bizarre! First Floor Theater Presents Plano at Steppenwolf Theatre (Through March 28, 2020)

Three sisters are living in Dallas. One of this sisters (Elizabeth Birnkrant) is dating a man named Juan who she calls John (Christopher Acevedo). He is oddly always heading off to Plano. One of the sisters (Ashley Neal) is married to Steve (Andrew Cutler). It turns out there are multiple Steves. This leads to some really funny scenes where the actor leaves the stage in one spot and then reappears in another. The last sister (Amanda Fink) is seeing a man with no face (Andrew Lund). It is a very artistic piece that is open to the audience’s interpretation.

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A possible interpretation is that the characters are dealing with mental illness. For example, the multiple Steves could represent a multiple personality disorder. It’s also clear that none of the sister’s is having good luck with men

The entire cast does a great job with this fast paced and funny play. The dialog is quick and the time changes rapidly. A character will say “I’ll see you later. It is later.” In an instant, a few days has passed. It can be a bit disorientating but in a good way. The audience is fully engaged trying to figure out just exactly what is happening. It’s the kind of play you’ll want to see twice!

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Get tickets now for Plano through March 28th!

 

Cost of a ticket: $28

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

 

Quinn Delaney

Review: Shear Madness at Mercury Theatre (Through April 26, 2020)

A pair of hair stylists are working at a salon named Shear Madness. One of them is comically bad at his job. They often complain about the woman who lives upstairs. Two policemen arrive and announce that the woman upstairs was murdered. They have been casing the place and know that the killer must be either of one of the hair stylists or one of their customers. In the second half of the show, the audience must question the suspect to determine what happened.

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The Mercury Theatre is best known for doing big Broadway worth shows such as Avenue Q and Spamalot. So, this is a little bit out of their style and it shows. The Chicago references come off as corny and touristy. The jokes feel old fashioned. Perhaps it was because the audience was small, but the energy level was very low. It felt more like a small iO show than a big great production that Mercury Theatre is capable of making.

Get tickets now for Shear Madness through April 26th.

Cost of a ticket: $44 and up

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Go for Free

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While this show doesn’t rate high, I still look forward to their next production starting on March 20th, Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

Quinn Delaney