Monthly Archives: October 2021

Review: The Artistic Home presents Eurydice at The Den Theatre (Through November 21, 2021)

Eurydice and Orpheus are in love and they make plans to get married. At the wedding, Eurydice gets bored and goes to the home of the Nasty Interesting Man to retrieve a letter from her father. Once she is there, he refuses to let her leave. She attempts to escape and falls to her death. This leads to Orpheus being devastated and vowing to go to the Underworld to rescue her.

Photos by Joe Mazza, Brave Lux

This story is based on the Greek Myth about Orpheus and Eurydice. The Lyric Opera and the Joffrey Ballet also adapted this story in their large production of Orphée et Eurydice in 2017.  In addition, Something Marvelous presented another adaptation called Don’t Look. It also took place at The Den Theatre, back in 2016. While the opera used a more classic interpretation, The Artistic Home and Something Marvelous both used a more modern script

This version of the story, written by Sarah Ruhl, adds a lot of humor. Todd Wojcik is very creepy and strange as the Nasty Interesting Man and the Lord of the Underworld in a weird and funny way. The Chorus of Stones are quite funny and interesting as well with their many comments. They are played by Will Casey, Alexander McRae, and Ariana Lopez. Karla Corona as Eurydice and Steven Cooper as Orpheus play a couple that doesn’t seem all that close. Lastly, Javier Carmona is solid as Eurydice’s father, who just wants to reconnect with his daughter in extraordinary circumstances.    

Cost of a ticket: $35

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Get tickets now for Eurydice through November 21st.

Quinn Delaney

Also check out our review of another Sarah Ruhl play,  In The Next Room or The Vibrator Play.


Jay Davis Presents Creative Hustle at The Den Theatre (October 24, 2021)

Creative Hustle is a variety show with stand up comedians, musical artists, and filmed sketches. The entire show is being recorded with the intention to be released on a streaming platform in the future.

Jay Davis

The band for this show is MyPeepsBand directed by Mike Peoples. They are excellent and do a great job with walk up songs along with a few full songs throughout the night.

The host, Rodney Perry

Tonight’s Comedians:

Tanisha Rice
Leon Rogers
Correy Bell

Damon Williams
Marvin Phipps
Schmitty B
Clark Jones
Calvin Evans
Erica Clark

Musical acts:


Slique Jay Adams

This promo is a lot like the sketches shown tonight:

Quinn Delaney

Spectacular! Giordano Dance Chicago Presents Illuminate at Harris Theater for Music and Dance (October 22 – 23, 2021)

Opening (World Premier)

Choreography: Nan Giordano, Cesar G. Salinas, Dancers

Live Soloist and Original Score: Bongi Duma

Photo by Gorman Cook

Upon the stage appears Bongi Duma who begins to sing. This is rare to have a musician performing on stage and a cool feature of this act. As he sings, the dancers run on to the stage all dressed in white. Their movement is sensual and flowing as they wave around colorful scarves. It’s a joyful piece and a great start to the evening.

Flickers (2019)

Choreography: Marinda Davis

Music: Son Lux – Change Is Everything

“This moment changes everything” sings Son Lux. This piece is uplifting as they literally lift a dancer into the air. It conveys a sense of working through issues with social support and seeing the light at the end of the tunnel .

A Little Moonlight (2010)

Choreography: Autumn Eckman

Music: Emile-Claire Barlow

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

This is a great romantic duo piece. It is fun and flirty with great precision. Their great synchrony and harmony is on full display is this impressive dance.

Take A Gambol (2018)

Choreography: Joshua Blake Carter

Music: Yazz Ahmed, Maynard Ferguson, Perry Como, Mose Allison, Quincy Jones

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

The dancers are wearing black suits with jackets for this jazzy, fun, and seductive dance. You try not to blink so you won’t miss a moment of this spectacular piece.

It was a triumphant return to the stage after the long pandemic darkness. Indeed, they illuminated the audience once again!

Catch Giordano Dance Chicago next on April 1st and 2nd for their Spring Series.

Quinn Delaney

Beautiful! Joffrey Ballet Presents Home: A Celebration at Lyric Opera (Through October 24, 2021)

Sometimes words fall short while pictures and videos do a much better job of describing the beauty that is a performance by the Joffrey Ballet. Luckily, Joffrey is good at putting up videos on YouTube and great pictures by Cheryl Mann are available also.

Birthday Variations

Choreography by: Gerald Arpino

Music by: Giuseppe Verdi

Swing Low

Choreography by: Chanel Dasilva

Music by: Zoe Keating

Photos by Cheryl Mann

Under the Trees’ Voices

Choreography by: Nicolas Blanc

Music by: Ezio Bosso


Choreography by: Yoshihisa Arai

Music by: Maurice Ravel

Also check out our review of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre which discusses all the local dance companies that have used this song in their performances.

Catch The Joffrey Ballet next in The Nutcracker from December 4th to 26th.

Quinn Delaney

A Talented Cast! Together at Last at The Second City (Open Run)

“Let’s switch now. I want my body back!”

“No way, I like being an old lady!”

“I worked hard to get where I am! Let’s switch now!”

“Hey ladies, are you going to do the Freaky Friday switch here at JC Penny?”

This was the crazy start to a completely improvised scene in the third act of Together at Last. It only gets funnier from there when other actors join as Mr. JC Penny and another as a former sweater! This cast has very good improv chops.

Photo by Marisa KM

Everyone from the cast of the pandemic interrupted Do You Believe in Madness? returns in this show except for Andrew Knox, who is replaced by Evan Mills. The newcomer fits right in and shines in a scene playing the son explaining parts of his life to his out of touch father, played excellently by Adam Schreck. Asia Martin is very funny on the fly and had everyone laughing as she stalks her son. Jordan Savusa is a hilarious breakout talent that completely commanded the room when he took the mic for an improvised standup set about not being to find a banjo teacher in his home state of Hawaii. Mary Catherine Curran is great, especially as the old lady in the JC Penny scene. Lastly, Sarah Dell’Amico is hilarious and cracks everyone up in the joyful getting divorced song. The cast is so talented that at least one of them will surely be called up to be on TV soon. Catch them now while you still can in Old Town!

Photo by Marisa KM

Cost of a ticket: $34 – $84 (depending on the day)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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

Get tickets now for Together at Last!

Photo by Timothy M. Schmidt.

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Andrew McMahon at The Chicago Theatre (October 19, 2020)

Andrew McMahon loves to play live and he is so happy to be on stage again. He was last in Chicagoland for a drive-in show at Boomer’s Stadium in Schaumburg on October 2-4, 2020. He also played Chicago’s Riot Fest in 2015.

This is the Three Pianos tour where McMahon tells many of the stories behind the songs. The name of the tour is in reference to the three pianos he has toured with over his career. The one on stage tonight is the third one.

To introduce the second song, “Ohio”, he talks about how his family moved from Ohio to Southern California when he was a kid. “Everything’s going to be better on the west coast” he sings. This was a big event in his childhood.

He tells a few stories about an ex-girlfriend that he just refers to as a green-eyed girl. The songs about her are “She Paints Me Blue” and “The Mixed Tape”.

McMahon talks about connecting with his wife, Kelly, and his quest to date her. He wrote “Walking By” for her and played it for her younger sister first. Looking back, he says, this was a bit awkward. But after a few weeks, they became a couple, so it worked out.

Andrew talks about getting the amazing call from Disney and being asked to write a song for Pete’s Dragon. He collaborates with Lindsey Stirling and together they create “Something Wild”. She also played Chicago this year back in August. See our review here.

For the finale, he brings out the openers: Zac Clark, who was in Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness as the keyboard player for 10 years, and Annika Bennett, who had never toured before. Together, they all play “La La Lie” in a great happy conclusion to the night.

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $80

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Quinn Delaney

Review: Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre at The Auditorium Theatre (October 16, 2021)

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theatre is celebrating their 45th anniversary with this performance tonight. Also, this is the first show to take place at the Auditorium Theatre since the pandemic shutdown. The evening consisted of 2 acts, each consisting of multiple performances. The performances beautifully highlighted the various components of flamenco along with many other dance styles. They consisted of music, dance, and storytelling. The evening also included a special dedication to the late and beloved founder of Ensemble Español, Dame Libby Komaiko. Below you will find a sample of tonight’s performances.

Pasion Oculta (Hidden Passion)

Music: “Requiem for a Tower” and “Palladio” by Escala

This modern piece portrays the hidden passions of love and desire set to modern music. Film fans may recognize the first musical choice as the theme from Requiem From a Dream. It’s a hauntingly beautiful track that fits in well with the intense dancing here.

Photo by Dean Paul

Bolero (1993)

Music: Maurice Ravel’s Bolero (1928)

This song is a very popular choice for dance companies to use. It was used by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre on this same stage in March 2017. It was also used by Hubbard Street Chicago in June 2018. The song starts off playful and fun with a driving beat that lends itself well to dancing. From there, it slowly builds to a dramatic conclusion. The dancers tonight expertly match the song and transition along with it in their intensity.

Photo by Casey Mitchell

Catch them next on December 18th at their Holiday Concert at Northeastern Illinois University.

Quinn Delaney

Review: The Windy City Playhouse Presents A Recipe for Disaster at Petterino’s (Through December 31, 2021)

The Contumacious Pig is hosting a big influencer night. They have a special menu planned for the big event. But right from the get go, things start to go wrong. The pig they have does not have a USDA sticker and the health inspector has just shown up. The soup tastes very bland. The chef is acting very strangely. The problems just keep piling up.

Photos by Kyle Flubacker

The plot is a comical farce like The Doppelgänger (an international farce). However, in this case, the action just isn’t that funny. The jokes are just too easy. Also, part of the issue is multiple conversations happening at the same time. In their production of Southern Gothic, this wasn’t an issue because the conversations were taking place in different rooms. However, in this case there is only one room and it’s difficult to focus on any one conversation.

On the other hand, the food designed by Rick Bayless is excellent. It was even more food than expected. While their website says six bite-size tastings, in truth, four of them are much larger than bite size. I’d say have only half a meal or less before coming to the show. In addition, there are three wine and cocktail pairings designed by Lanie Bayless. All this is enough to justify half the price of the ticket.

Cost of a ticket: $110
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Get tickets now for A Recipe for Distaster through December 31st.

Quinn Delaney

Instrumental Rockin! Rodrigo y Gabriela at The Chicago Theatre (October 14, 2021)

Rodrigo y Gabriela are doing a “By Request” tour. Anyone can complete the poll on their website here: The result of this poll is a few songs from each album.

Early on they play Diablo Rojo and their talent is instantly on display. Their fingers are in a blur as they rapid fire the rocking notes of this song. This 2006 song still holds on to it’s power.

Gabriela says one song is a tribute to Santana and then the following one is a tribute to David Gilmor of Pink Floyd. These are just some of their influences that have helped them create their signature sound.

They truly make the most of their acoustic guitars. Often they play the body of the guitar like a drum. At times it seems like they are playing six instruments at once.

Gabriela describes the process of creating their song, “The Pirate That Should Not Be”, for the Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides soundtrack. She said Hans Zimmerman asked for something Irish and Metal. This is right in their wheelhouse as they started their career with eight years in Dublin, Ireland before moving to Mexico City.

Rodrigo says that since they have been playing Chicago for so many years, it now feels like home. He loves all the vegan restaurants. He recalls that they first played The Hideout and then many festivals (such as Lollapalooza in 2007). 

They also talked often about a new album that they created during the pandemic shutdown. They hope for it to be released in the spring.

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

So Fun! Carbon Leaf at City Winery (October 14, 2021)

Carbon Leaf are a very fun band to see live. Their songs are great sing to along with. Take “Life Less Ordinary”, which they play mid way through their set. “Live a life less ordinary, live a life extraordinary with me!” It’s a joyous tune that is so catchy.

Even though they have been playing as a band since 1992, they still enjoy making music together.  They have a very strong 90’s sound. The band is from Richmond, VA, the same city that Dave Matthews Band started in.

On this night, they use a lighting setup usually used in larger theatres like the Vic Theatre or the Aragon Ballroom. It gives the concert a bigger feel than the usually intimate vibe of the City Winery. Also, when the lights pointed directly at the audience, it is quite blinding.

Another great song that they play is “Let Your Troubles Roll By”. “When all of your tears dry, let your troubles roll by!” sings the entire audience joyfully. The lead singer uses a tin whistle, which looks like a large recorder. This adds an Irish sound to their music that suits them well. The lead guitarist also plays multiple instruments including the mandolin and the hurdy-gurdy, which is also known as the wheel fiddle.

Cost of a ticket: $40
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
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Quinn Delaney