Monthly Archives: April 2022

Exceptional! TimeLine Theatre Company Presents Relentless at The Goodman Theatre (Through May 8, 2022)

Two sisters, Annelle and Janet, are cleaning out their mother’s house shortly after her death. Annelle, in her third marriage, is insisting that Janet meet Franklin, a mixed race man.  Janet doesn’t want to go and insists on staying home and reading the diaries of her mother that they just discovered. Annelle is appalled that Janet would read these. They are private and are not meant for anyone to read.

In the diaries, their mother wrote about her life growing up as a slave. The relationship with her mistress is at the heart of the diaries. The sisters had never heard these stories before.

The first half of the play is so funny and interesting as we learn about these characters and their desires. In the second half, it dives deep in a fascinating manner as it explores the darker sides of everyone’s past. Tyla Abercrumbie has written a real masterpiece. Even after 3 hours and 15 minutes, there was still more story to tell.

Ayanna Bria Bakari is excellent as Annelle, who loves matchmaking and truly wants the best for her sister. But, she is also hiding some dark secrets. On this evening, the understudy, Saran Bakari, Ayanna’s younger sister is playing Janet. These real life sisters have great chemistry together and make the play come even more to life. Travis Delgado is great and powerful as Annelle’s husband. Xavier Edward King is so charming and likeable as Franklin. Rebecca Hurd is hauntingly good as the mistress. It’s a challenging role to play, and she nails it. Lastly, Demetra Dee is perfectly innocent as the young version of the sister’s mother.

Cost of a ticket: $53

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value –

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

Get tickets now for Relentless through May 8!   

Quinn Delaney


Euphonious! Trevor Hall at The Vic Theatre (April 22, 2022)

Trevor Hall has been coming to Chicago for many years. When he first started playing Chicago, he was playing at Schubas which only has a capacity of 250. Eventually he moved on to Park West with a capacity of 1000. During tonight’s performance, Trevor took a moment to express his gratitude and reflected on the band’s earlier days. He was overwhelmed with emotion as he reminisced on the time when they opened up at the Vic Theatre and recalled thinking that one day it would be amazing to headline at this exact stage. And tonight, they did just that in a packed venue with a capacity of 1,400 and very excited fans.

Early in the set, Trevor Hall plays a cover of the Foo Fighter’s “Everlong”. The band just lets loose and really rocks this one out. The audience joins them in this celebration of this great rock song.

Everyone smiles when he plays the intro to “Green Mountain State”. “ There’s a way, there’s a way, there’s a way, there’s a way, there’s a way. It has always, always.” It’s such a peaceful and mellow song for everyone to sway along to.

When he plays the first three chords of “Lime Tree”, the crowd cheers. It’s one of his oldest songs which he has been playing since he used to play at Schubas. It’s so beautiful to listen to everyone sing along “It took a while for you to find me, but I was hiding in the lime tree. Above the city in the rain cloud, I poked a hole and watched it drain out”. It’s so well written.

For the second song of the encore, they play “A Reminder”. The audience knew this song was coming because behind them is a giant backdrop that reads: “My love is just a reminder. Find your center.” It’s a beautiful song from The Fruitful Darkness album that is a great choice to include in the encore. Tonight’s performance yet again showcased his undeniable talent and euphonious voice which continues to reach audiences across the country.

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $47

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Quinn Delaney

Spectacular! Broadway in Chicago Presents Moulin Rouge! The Musical at The James M. Nederlander Theatre (Through May 12, 2022)

In 2001, the film version of Moulin Rouge was released starring Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. In July of 2019, the musical first opened on Broadway. In September of 2021, it won 10 Tony Awards including Best Musical. And now, in April 2022, it opens at The James M. Nederlander Theatre in Chicago.

Christian is a broke songwriter from America who has just arrived in Paris. He quickly falls in love with Satine, the star of the Moulin Rouge. She sees him in secret while she is publicly dating The Duke of Monroth, who is financing the new show. She has to date him because the Moulin Rouge is broke and would shut down without his financial support.

This is a true jukebox musical spectacle. It contains 70 songs credited to 160 songwriters from 30 publishers. In addition to many of the songs from the movie, the musical adds many more by artists such as Adele, Katy Perry, Gnarls Barkley, Katy Perry, Sia, Rihanna, Beyonce, Walk the Moon, Britney Speaks, and more. It’s amazing how many songs they can include in a single piece like a Girl Talk track. Also, they make all the songs fit into the story which make you see the songs in a new way.

This playlist contains most of the songs :

The cast is fantastic. Courtney Reed (Satine), Conor Ryan (Christian), Astin Durant (Harold Zidler), Andre Ward (Toulouse-Lautrec), David Harris (The Duke of Monroth), Libby Loyd (Nini), and Gabe Martinez (Santiago) are all exceptional in this production. Together along with the ensemble, they build the plot to a very dramatic climax that will have you on the edge of your seat.

Cost of a ticket: $52.50 – $219 plus fees

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Moulin Rouge! The Musical through May 14th!

Photos by Matthew Murphy

Quinn Delaney

Joyous and Hilarious! Broadway in Chicago Presents The Prom at The Cadillac Palace Theatre (Through April 24, 2022)

The Prom premiered on Broadway in October 2018. A film adaptation was released on Netflix on December 11, 2020 starring Meryl Streep, James Cordon, Nicole Kidman, and Kerry Washington. And now, in April of 2022, it opens at the Cadillac Palace.

A pair of Broadway Stars have just received some awful reviews and their career is in a slump. They decide they need some positive PR. So, they travel to Edgewater, Indiana to fight for a lesbian’s right to attend prom with her partner.

This musical is absolutely hilarious. It’s also a very sweet love story that will likely have you crying with happiness. It’s everything that you want from a Broadway musical comedy.

The entire cast is excellent. They can all sing the uplifting songs and dance the great choreography. Courtney Balan is fantastic as the self entitled Broadway Star looking to regain her fame. Patrick Wetzel (Films: The Prom and The Producers) matches her energy as the other hilarious Broadway Star. Emily Borromeo (Sneaky Pete, The Jim Gaffigan Show) and Bud Weber (The Book of Mormon and Aladdin on Broadway) are also so funny as the other Broadway actors on the trip. Kaden Kearney is solid as the lesbian who just wants to attend prom like every other student.

The Prom, Music by Matthew Sklar, Book by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, Lyrics by Chad Beguelin, Directed and Choreographed by Casey Nicholaw – Photos by Deen van Meer

Cost of a ticket: $31 – $172

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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

Get tickets now for The Prom through April 24!

Quinn Delaney

Electronic Dance Pop! Great Good Fine Ok with Tedious & Brief at Lincoln Hall (April 17, 2022)

Tonight, Great Good Fine Ok bring their style of electronic dance pop from New York City to the Lincoln Hall. Right when they take the stage, they throw out small flashing lights and glow sticks into the crowd. The dancing starts early with “Not Going Home”. The melody is infectious.

At the perfect moment in the set, the keyboard player brings out a keytar and plays a solo that has the crowd jumping for joy.  It’s a pure rock and roll moment. The visuals at the show are outstanding. The lead singer is wearing a sparkling white jacket and he throws out glow sticks. This band really brings the party with a beat that gets everyone moving. .

For the encore, they play “Take It or Leave It”. From the moment they play first few notes, the audience starts moving with big smiles on their faces. “Oohh ooh oh. Will you take it or leave it? Will you run away when I need it?”

If you are looking for a fun and energetic band to dance the night away, Great Good Fine Ok is the band for you.

See the setlist for their 4/11 show here.

The opener, Tedious & Brief were great as well. Check out “Middle Class”.

Quinn Delaney

Superb! Irish Theatre of Chicago Presents Molly Sweeney at The Chopin Theatre (Through May 8, 2022)

Molly Sweeney was first performed in 1994 in Dublin. Its American Premiere was in 1996 at the Roundabout Theatre in New York City. It was scheduled to be produced at The Goodman in April of 2020, but was canceled by the pandemic.  And now, in April 2022, it premiers at The Chopin Theatre.

Molly Sweeney became blind when she was just 10 months old. She is now 40 and living happily without being able to see. She recently married Frank, who is very interested in restoring her sight. He is more fascinated by the idea than she is. Her ambitious doctor is also strongly recommending surgery, especially as a chance to resurrect his career. She isn’t much interested in going through the process, but she is feeling the pressure from around her. Will she go forward with the surgery? Will the results be positive or could the cure be worse than the disease?

Photos by Michael Brosilow

The style of this play has each character speaking their own monologue. We go back and forth as they tell their side of the story and they never interact with each other. This is a great play to produce during a pandemic, as the actors are always socially distanced. There is a intermission, which gives a much needed breather to the audience.

Carolyn Kruse (Spinning, My Way Residential) is excellent as Molly. She is the heart of the show and she creates a very likeable character. Mickey Jordan (the understudy) is great as Frank. He vividly portrays him a person who gets very fascinated by new ideas for a while, and then moves on. Robert Kauzlaric is solid as the doctor. He creates a very complex man conflicted by his past and unsure of his future.

As a whole, this production is superb. The story really draws you in as more details are revealed. There are many surprises and you’ll be on the edge of your seating to see what happens next.

Cost of a ticket: $40

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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

Get tickets now for Molly Sweeney through May 8th!

Quinn Delaney

Excellence! The Airborne Toxic Event with Mondo Cozmo at The Vic Theatre (April 14, 2022)

The Airborne Toxic Event hadn’t played in Chicago since Riot Fest in 2015. Suffice it to say, the audience was very excited for them to return The lead singer, Mikel Jollett, is also very excited to be back on tour and out of the room he stayed in for two years.

The first song of the night is the title track from their latest album, Hollywood Park. Mikel Jollett also released a memoir about his life with the same title. It details his growing up in the Church of Synanon, a violent religious cult, and his eventual escape. This New York Times Bestseller is available on Libby for those with a Chicago Library Card.

In the middle of the set, they play “Changing”. Jollet sings “You were just always talking about changing, changing. Guess what I am the same man, same man.” It’s an infectiously catchy song with great lyrics that showcase his writing talent.

When the violin starts on “Sometime Around Midnight”, the audience cheers. With over 35 million streams on Spotify, this is their biggest hit. This heart-breaking song about running into an ex at a bar is absolutely beautiful. It captures the emotions of that moment so perfectly and it builds expertly to the climactic moment. After they finish, the audience responds with a deafening loud standing ovation.

Song after song are filled with great lyrics and are played enthusiastically. See the full setlist here.

The opener Mondo Cozmo was also excellent. Check out “Shine”.

Cost of a ticket: $27.50 plus fees

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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

Quinn Delaney

A Historical Pop Concert! Broadway in Chicago Presents SIX The Musical at The CIBC Theatre (Through July 3, 2022)

In 2019, SIX won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical. In the same year, The Chicago Shakespeare Theater produced the North American premiere and it won the Joseph Jefferson award in Chicago for Outstanding Production-Musical (Large).

The idea of the show is a historical pop concert between the six wives of Henry VIII. Whoever can prove they suffered the most will win the honor of being the lead singer. Each Queen has their own song which was inspired by different pop stars.

Catherine of Aragaon – Beyoncé and Shakira

Anne Bolen – Lily Allen and Avril Lavigne

Jane Seymour – Adele and Sia

Anna of Cleves – Nicki Minaj and Rihanna

Katherine Howard – Ariana Grande and Britney Spears

Catherine Parr – Alicia Keys and Emeli Sandé

At 80 minutes, this is very short for a Broadway production. They should add an intermission to give the audience a break in the middle and make it just a little longer.

They did truly capture the feeling of a pop concert. The lights, beats, choreography, and costumes are excellent.

Photos by Joan Marcus

Cost of a ticket: $39 to $119 plus fees

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +

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

Get tickets now for SIX through July 3rd!

Quinn Delaney

Pa’lante! Hurray For The Riff Raff at Thalia Hall (April 9, 2022)

Hurray For The Riff Raff is Alynda Segarra. They were born and raised in the Bronx. At 17, they began hitchhiking across the country. This also included hopping on freight trains. They fondly remember the people they met in Chicago at this time. In 2007, they settled in New Orleans and formed Hurray For The Riff Raff. In 2015, they moved to Nashville and then to New York.

Tonight, they are touring in support of their latest album, LIFE ON EARTH. Many of the songs share this lyric: “Life on earth is long”. While this line is usually used in a negative manner, they use it in a positive way.

To close out the night, they play “Pa’lante”. The title is a Spanish slang word loosely translated as “go ahead” or “go for it”. “I just wanna fall in love, not fuck it up, and feel something!” The crowd cheers. The song expertly builds to its climax and it a perfect choice to close out the night.

Cost of a ticket: $25

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

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


Cello Rock! The Happy Fits at The House of Blues Chicago (April 8, 2022)

The Happy Fits is a band from New Jersey consisting of three high school friends, Calvin Langman who plays the cello (yes – the cello!), Ross Monteith as the guitarist, and Luke Davis as the band’s drummer. While most graduating high school seniors spend their summer at the beach or traveling with their family, this trio embraced their passion for music and embarked on a productive summer by recording their debut EP, Awfully Apeelin’. As their freshmen counterparts pondered which career path to take, The Happy Fits solidified music as their major in their first semester and left college upon seeing their summer album flourish on Spotify.

Since then, the band released two albums and are presently touring with The Maine. As they entered the stage, the crowd cheered and one audience member was heard saying, “Is that a cello?” They opened the show with “Go Dumb,” a song from their 2020 album, What Could Be Better and fans sang along. After the song, Calvin took the microphone to greet their fans and address the elephant in the room – his cello! As the night unfolded and the band played songs from their 2018 album, Concentrate, including “Grow Back,” “Mary,” and “Heart of a Dancer,” it was evident that the inclusion of Langman’s cello is what sets this band apart and makes them a stand out band with continued growing success.

Their lyrics are fun, rebellious, and full of self-exploration as the band continues to grow both personally and professionally as artists. Their love and talent for music is matched with great synergy amongst each other. This was evident especially during “Mary” as Calvin and Ross jammed together in full force. In addition, the band’s fun and carefree vibe as they play transcends into the audience which creates a relaxing vibe and makes you feel that you do not have a single worry in the world at that moment. At one point in the show, Calvin shared that this was their largest audience in their career to date, and after this performance, it will only continue to grow!

Buy tickets for The XOXO Tour here:

Cost of a ticket: $29
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother