Monthly Archives: July 2022

Powerful! Haven Theatre Chicago Presents Nikki Lynette’s Get Out Alive at The Den Theatre (Through August 6, 2022)

Get Out Alive had a sold out run in Steppenwolf’s LookOut Series in early 2020. It was adapted into a film in 2021. And now, in July of 2022, it finally returns to the stage at the Den Theatre.

Nikki Lynette has created this autobiographical musical about her struggle with depression. It is a deeply personal story about her struggle involving abuse, grief, and suicidal thoughts It details her difficult relationships with her mother and her past boyfriends.

Photos by Michael Brosilow

It has a great balance of hip hop songs and dialog to piece the songs together. The dancers, Keeley B. Morris and Jacinda Ratcliffe, do a fantastic job expressing the emotions of the piece. DJ P1 is solid in his supporting roles as well. It also includes videos of interviews with people discussing their depression that are very powerful.

On the technical side, the room needs to be deadened. The walls have too much reverb which makes it hard to understand the lyrics. Adding foam panels to the walls could fix this issue. Also, the stage is set up as a walkway with the seats right next to it. This works for a fashion show, but for a musical it results in half the audience usually looking at her back and further struggling to hear. The piece runs over 105 minutes. It could really use an intermission, especially with such a heavy topic.

Even with these technical issues, it is still an impressive piece that will only get better in future iterations.

Cost of a ticket: $36

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Get Out Alive through August 6th!

Quinn Delaney


Review: Broadway in Chicago Presents Jesus Christ Superstar at Cadillac Palace Theatre (Through July 31, 2022)

This musical has no dialog. It’s all singing and dancing. This can be a bit exhausting. Even during a rock concert, the band usually talks to the audience a bit.

The action really picks up in the second half of the show when Jesus gets pelted with glitter 39 times and then crucified. It also contains the biggest song, “Superstar.

Photos by Matthew Murphy and Evan Zimmerman

The choreography is excellent in this production. The amount of dancers on stage all moving in sync is grand. Also, the makeup work on Jesus’s wounds are very impressive. It’s pretty graphic.

Cost of a ticket: $91.50 (Orchestra Seating)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Get tickets now for Jesus Christ Superstar at Cadillac Palace Theatre through July 31st!

Quinn Delaney

Review: Post Animal opening for 5 Seconds of Summer at Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island (July 16, 2022)

Post Animal are a solid rock band from Chicago. They are beyond excited to be opening for 5 Seconds of Summer at Northerly Island. This includes many excellent solos by every member of the band as they dance across the stage.

On “When I Get Home”, they sing

“When I get home
What if I just do not let you in
When I get home
Because I know that you won’t stay
When I get home
Maybe I’d prefer to be alone
When I get home
I know better than to say we can do it again
We can do it again”

The band includes Dalton Allison (bass/vocals), Jake Hirshland (guitar/keyboard/vocals), Javi Reyes (guitar/vocals), Wesley Toledo (drums/vocals), and Matt Williams (guitar/vocals).

Quinn Delaney

A Beautiful Evening! Norah Jones with Emily King and Mavis Staples at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island (July 15, 2022)

As it rained all day, you couldn’t help but wonder if it would stop in time for the show. Around 7pm, the rain did stop just in time for the show to go on to delight of all the fans.

Early on in the set, Norah plays “Sunrise” This is such a beautiful song and the audience quickly realizes they are in the presence of a truly talented artist.

In a special moment, Norah brings out the opener, Emily King, to join her for a song. Then, she brings out Mavis Staples to sing with her as well. The audience erupts into applause at this great surprise. They go on to sing “I’ll Be Gone”, which Norah and Mavis recorded together for the Deluxe Edition of here 2020 album, Pick Me Up Off The Floor. It was a truly magical moment to see these three great artists perform together.

This is the 20th Anniversary Come Away With Me Tour, thus it’s no surprise when she plays the title track, but everyone is still so happy when she does. It is such a beautiful song. “Come away with me in the night / Come away with me / And I will write you a song”. It’s an expertly written song with lyrics that match perfectly with the music.

To close out the set, she plays her biggest hit, “Don’t Know Why” which has over 344 million streams on Spotify. At this moment, the audience is so glad the show was not rained out and they are able to hear this song live. It was well worth the trek across the soaked city and sitting on “wet butts”, as Norah said.  

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

So Fun and Sexy! Kokandy Productions Presents Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical at Chopin Theatre (Through August 21, 2022)

The film version of Cruel Intentions was released in 1999 starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, Ryan Phillippe, and Reese Witherspoon. The musical was created in 2015 and made it’s Off-Broadway debut in 2017. In June of 2022, it opened at the Chopin Theatre in Chicago.

Two step-siblings place a bet on whether the brother can deflower the headmaster’s daughter. If the sister wins, she gets his car. If he wins, she will sleep with him.

The soundtrack is jam packed with 90s hits that are expertly interweaved into the plot. Also, the choreography matches with the lyrics perfectly. When each new song is recognized, the audience can’t help but to smile.  “Colorblind” and “Bittersweet Symphony” are both in the film and in the musical.  If you really enjoyed the Goo Goo Dolls song, “Iris”, you can see them August 4th at Northerly Island!

The cast is incredibly talented. They are all triple threats with their acting, singing, and dancing. Also, the band sounds so good it’s hard to believe it wasn’t prerecorded.

Get tickets now for Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical through August 21!

Photos by Evan Hanover

Cost of a ticket: $44

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value

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

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Choir Boy at Steppenwolf Theatre (Through July 24, 2022)

Pharus is a senior at an all boys school. He is very happy to be the head of the choir. One of the guys in the choir, the nephew of the headmaster, really doesn’t like his style and often calls him gay slurs. Pharus refuses to tattle on him, but he does call a vote that results in the removal of him from the choir, which is just the beginning of the story.  

Photos by Michael Brosilow

This play really draws you into life at this school. From the classroom to the bedroom, to the locker room, it draws a complete picture. It is very heartfelt. Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight) has written a piece that is very worth of the Tony Nomination for Best Play in 2019.

The singing of the a cappella gospel hymns is excellent along with the acting. It’s not a musical, but a play with music. Also, the set is very impressive. It includes five working showers in addition to five large portraits of black leaders.

Jos N. Banks is stellar as Pharus, who is on a journey to find himself. Gilbert Domally is great as the nephew who is dealing with some issues of his own. Sheldon D Brown (Magnolia Ballet) is superb as the very friendly and kind roommate of Pharus. Samuel B. Jackson’s baritone vocals are very impressive. Richard David is great as a fellow choir member focused on graduating. Le Shawn Banks steals many scenes as the energetic headmaster trying his best. Lastly, William Dick is solid as the teacher brought in to teach a special class about thinking.

Cost of a ticket: $74 (Back of the Main Floor)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Choir Boy through July 24th!

Quinn Delaney