Monthly Archives: February 2022

Review: Porchlight Music Theatre Presents Blues in the Night at Ruth Page Center for the Arts (Through March 20, 2022)

It’s 1938 and three women live in a hotel on the South Side of Chicago. They don’t have any dialog, but they tell their stories through the songs of Harold Arlen, Johnny Mercer, Billy Strayhorn, Alberta Hunter, Bessie Smith, and more. The singer in the hotel also has a few songs. Lastly, a dancer interacts with all the women as the subject of many of their songs.

Felicia P. Fields is so powerful and charming in her performance. Just like in Sophisticated Ladies, Donica Lynn’s singing is impressive. As Fields says during the show, Clare Kennedy proves the following saying is wrong, “White women can’t have the blues”. Evan Tyrone Martin (Dreamgirls) is superb and funny as the saloon singer. Lastly, Terrell Armstrong (A Chorus Line) is outstanding as the dancer conveying more with his movement at times than the lyrics to the song.

Blues in the Night is more of a concert performance than a musical. It was nominated for the Best Musical Tony in 1983.

(Photo by Anthony La Penna)

Cost of a ticket: $54 to $66

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price + (Note: Discounted tickets are available on the day of the show)

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

Get tickets now for Blues in the Night through March 20th!

(Photo by Anthony La Penna)

Quinn Delaney


Excellent! English National Ballet Presents Akram Khan’s Creature at the Harris Theater (Through February 26th, 2022)

Creature is brought to the High Arctic for a series of trails. They are testing his mental and physical abilities to withstand the extreme cold and isolation. This is to determine if he will be able to survive a journey to another planet. Creature is in love with his keeper, Marie. When he discovers the Major forcing himself on her, he erupts in rage.

The dancing is absolutely fantastic. The entire company is excellent. The highlight is Jeffrey Cirio as Creature. He is incredibly expressive on stage.

This performance is very intense. The music by Vincenzo Lamagna is constant and very haunting. It also perfectly matches the dancing. As he says in the video, sometimes the music comes first and sometimes the choreography comes first.

Cost of a ticket: $35 to $140

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It (for the $35 seats)

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

Get tickets now for Creature through February 26th.

Quinn Delaney

Exceptional Singer-Songwriter! Marielle Kraft with Skout at Schubas (February 21, 2022)

Marielle Kraft’s mother never approved of her ex. She never asked about him, for 2 years. She put this into the song “Everyone But Me”. “My mom stopped asking how we are. My friends don’t want you at the party.” Her lyrics perfectly explain the feeling of dating someone who your friends and family don’t like.

When things finally end with this ex, he asks if they can stay friends. She says no, because as her next song title clearly says, “We Were Never Friends”. It’s a great breakup song that lays it out so clearly.

Next, she sings “Toothbrush” about the next guy she dates. “I hid your toothbrush this morning… I think it’s too much too soon to be falling in love again.” She nails it again about getting into a new relationship too soon after a long one just ended.

On the day she is moving to Nashville, she runs into her ex at the coffee shop They don’t talk, but she notices he leaves with two coffees. It’s a gut punch that she perfectly captures in “Second Coffee”.  “Who’s that second coffee for? Will you leave it at her door?”

Before she introduces the next song, she says she has figured out why she has had such trouble with men. “I’m gay!” she declares. The audience erupts in supportive applause. She goes on to play her brand new song, “I kissed a boy” about her journey to discovering that she was gay. It would pair perfectly with Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl”.

These five songs paint such a clear picture of this time in her life. It’s such a great narrative that she could easily turn it into a musical. She is truly a great singer-songwriter.

Cost of a ticket: $13

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value +

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

Quinn Delaney

Exceptional! Cory Wong, Antwaun Stanley, and Sierra Hull at The Vic Theatre (February 19, 2022)

Cory and the Wongnotes open with the 20th Century Fox Theme and immediately the audience know they are in for quite a show. They launch into the first song and the party atmosphere begins. Cory dances all over the stage as he wails on his guitar with catchy melodies and sizzling solos. He’s constantly checking in on all the members of his band: the six piece horn section, keyboards, bass, and two drummers. At the end of his first set, he brings out the opening act, Sierra Hull. She fits right in and they proceed to rock out to a few songs together. This would have been a perfectly satisfactory end to the show, but Cory says to stick around for set two!

To begin the next set, Cory does an intro speech to introduce Antwaun Stanley who enters the stage to great applause. He grabs the mic and with his voice he starts the party back up right away. A highlight of this second set is the not yet released, “Where Are We Now”. It blows the audience away. They also do a great cover of “Isn’t She Lovely?” by Stevie Wonder.

Cory has created his own style of music that blends rock, funk, jazz, and dance. Being from Minneapolis, Minnesota, he isn’t afraid to tour during the winter. All the fans in Chicago are sure glad he came to play an amazing show at the sold out Vic Theatre!

See the setlist from the show two nights before here.

Cost of a ticket: $31

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value –

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

Quinn Delaney

Family Friendly – Queen of the Night at Victory Gardens (Through March 13, 2022)

A father and son have gone into the woods to go camping. It is right before the wedding of the son’s mother and the father’s ex-wife. The son came out as gay a long time ago and is currently exploring the dating the world. While they are camping, they hear bears nearby.

If you don’t want any minor spoilers, skip this paragraph. While this setup could lead to some strong conflict, there isn’t any in this play. The father is very supportive of his son and is openly asking questions about a potential boyfriend. He also supports his ex-wife getting remarried and finding happiness. Also, no bear ever causes any harm. It’s a very G-rated family friend performance.

Photos by Adrian O. Walke

Terry Guest plays the son, searching to figure out himself. Andre Teamer (Sweat) plays the father, looking for connection.

Cost of a ticket: $41 – $62

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Get tickets now for Queen of the Night through March 13th.

Quinn Delaney

World Premiere! Death, With Benefits at Theatre 40 (Through February 20, 2022)

This play is inspired by the true story of the “Killer Grannies of Santa Monica” aka the “Black Widows”. Two widows come up with a plan to make millions. They will take in men close to dying, get them to sign life insurance policies, and then collect the money when they pass. There is just one issue. The men keep living.

Susan Damante is excellent as one of the widows. She feels she deserves so much better than the life her husband provided for her. Cheryl David is great as the other widow. She very convincingly plays an immigrant from Yugoslavia, accent and all. Kevin Dulude is hilarious as the son-in-law living with them. Larry Eisenberg is hilarious as the drunken first man they take in. He hilariously stumbles all over the place. Phil Sokoloff is great as the second man they bring in. He captures an essence of crazy that keeps you guessing what he’ll do next.

Cost of a ticket: $38

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

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

Get tickets now for Death, With Benefits through February 20th.

Quinn Delaney

Incredible Lineup at Supernova Comedy featuring Jim Jefferies, Nick Kroll, Doug Benson, and Jessimae Peluso (February 9, 2022)

It’s 74 degrees tonight in Hollywood. It’s the perfect weather for an outdoor show at Supernova Comedy. This venue was started a year ago as a covid-friendly open air space. It’s a truly unique experience to see comedy outdoors and Supernova Comedy does it well.

One of the first comedians is Doug Benson. He immediately makes it clear that he is high. He goes on to read jokes he has written down on small pieces of paper. They are little ideas he is testing out in front of an audience. Some are good and some only make him laugh. One the funniest things he says is that stage he is standing on should rotate like a lazy susan. That way he doesn’t keep his back towards half the audience. The venue should probably move the stage the short distance to the side wall so they just have their back to the wall.

Next up is Jim Jefferies. He does a bit about how they didn’t put wheels on luggage until the 90s. But we went to the moon in the 60s! Later on he talks about long term relationships. Eventually, you narrow it down to just four positions: him on top, her on top, one for him to finish, and one for her to finish. The audience is cracking up the entire time as he breaks this down. Lastly, he introduces the next comedian, the creator of his favorite show, Big Mouth, Nick Kroll.

Nick tells a bunch of stories from his life. First he talks about how after sleeping with a girl he met through a dating app, she called her parents at 4am to tell them she slept with a Jew. He then goes further back and tells stories from when he was 12 and 6 years old. Perhaps he is working through material he plans to use for Big Mouth.

Jessimae Peluso has a really dirty set. Most of what she says is too just nasty to type out, and it is hilarious.

Jeff Ross and David Koechner did not appear. This is just the nature of comedy shows in LA. The lineups often change last minute.

Cost of a ticket: $25 plus two drink minimum

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value

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

Quinn Delaney

An Excellent Feel-Good Story! Center Theatre Group Presents Everybody’s Talking About Jamie at Ahmanson Theatre (Through February 20, 2022)

Everybody’s Talking About Jamie first premiered in 2017 in Sheffield, England. In 2021, it was released as a film. And now, in 2022, it is making it’s American premiere at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles.

Jamie is a 16 year old boy in high school. He wants to be a professional drag queen. Most people in his life are very supportive, but a few are not. Most notably, his father does not approve. He also has to deal with a bully at school and a teacher enforcing dress code rules. It’s a coming of age story as Jamie learns about himself and creates his drag queen identity.

This is a feel good story about a very progressive community. 20 years ago, the challenges Jamie faced would have been ever more daunting. It’s a joy to see how happy he becomes when he is allowed to fully express himself. Layton Williams is perfect for this role.

Bianca Del Rio / Roy Haylock is outstanding as the owner of the drag queen store. It’s a big moment when she first enters the stage as Loco Chanelle. It’s no surprise she won the 6th season of RuPaul’s Drag Race. Melissa Jacques is a powerful force as Jamie’s mother doing everything she can for him. Her solo song, “He’s My Boy”, is especially impressive. Shobna Gulati is excellent as the mother’s best friend. She also plays this role in the film version. Gillian Ford is great as the teacher trying to be supportive while also meeting the demands of the parents. Lastly, Hiba Elchikhe is fanstastic as Jamie’s best friend. By the end of the show, the whole audience wants to be her friend!

Get tickets now for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie through February 20th!

Cost of a ticket: $35 – $125

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value (for the $35 tickets)

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

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Knot Free Productions Presents Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music at Greenway Court Theatre (Through March 13, 2022)

A Little Night Music first opened on Broadway in 1973. The film adaption was released in 1977. It was revived on Broadway in 2009. And now, it opens at the Greenway Court Theatre in Los Angeles.

Two married men are having an affair with the same woman. This upsets one of the men greatly, as he would rather another man sleep with his wife than with his mistress! The other man is married to a much younger “trophy” wife. They have never had sex, despite being married 11 months. Also, his son is in love with his new wife. Suffice it to say, it gets a bit farcical from here.

This production is impressively big considering the small size of the theatre. In fact, it is Broadway worthy! There are so many great one liners that have the whole audience laughing. This musical still holds up very well.

Photos by Bryan Carpender

Peyton Crim is outstanding as one of the married men searching for happiness. He has a great baritone voice like Kelsey Grammer that is strong enough for opera. Alexa Rosengaus is excellently flirty as the son’s first crush. In fact, the entire cast is fantastic.

Cost of a ticket: $49.50

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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

Get tickets now for A Little Night Music through March 13th!

Quinn Delaney

Hilarious! North Coast Repertory Theatre Presents Desperate Measures (Through February 6, 2022)

Johnny Blood kills a man in self defense at a bar. With his only witness a prostitute, he is convicted. His sister goes to the governor to seek a pardon. To her shock, he offers clemency in exchange for her chastity. She is a week away from becoming a nun and could never go through with it. So, with the help of the sheriff, she hatches up a plan to have the prostitute impersonate her.

Photos by Aaron Rumley

This musical is absolutely hilarious like a Mel Brooks movie. The costumes are exceptional. The set is fantastic with prison bars on wheels and a roll out bed.

The acting is excellent. Michael Louis Cusimano is so funny as Johnny Blood, the fool that is wrongly sentenced to hang. Samatha Duval is superb as the flirty and fun prostitute. Rudy Martinez nails the role of the drunk priest in jail with Johnny. Elijah Rock is great as the “ah shucks” sheriff. Jo Garcia-Reger is perfect as the shy nun shocked at the governor’s advances. Lastly, Rusty Ferracane is spectacular as the devilish John Malkovich type governor. He plays the villain so comedically to the audience’s delight.

Cost of a ticket: $68

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Desperate Measures through February 6th!

Quinn Delaney