Monthly Archives: September 2022

Be Invisible! Windy City Playhouse Presents Southern Gothic at Petterino’s (Open Run)

Have you ever wished that you could be invisible to attend a party and just listen to what everyone else is saying and not be seen? Southern Gothic provides this opportunity with its immersive theatre style.  The party takes place in a house created in the theatre where the action takes place simultaneously in the kitchen, dining room, living room, and the front porch. So, just like a real party, you won’t hear everything that is happening. However, unlike a regular party, you can just get up and leave any conversation immediately and jump into any other one without appearing rude. In fact, you are encouraged to do so. Also, enjoy the cocktails that are handed out and the snacks prepared for the guests. Don’t miss out on the Spam!

The party is celebrating Suzanne Wellington, who is turning 40. Four couples attend the festivities. However, that number isn’t quite accurate, as a few other couplings exist. In fact, one affair has resulted in an unplanned pregnancy. Another couple is interracial, which a few of the guests do not approve of.  Also, there is political scandal and business corruption that surfaces. Suffice it say, it will be a night to remember!

The experience is one of only a few immersive theatre experiences in the Chicago scene recently. One was the Hubbard Street Dance Fall Series which featured dancers all over the Harris Theatre. They were in the lobby, stairways, the seats, the dressing rooms, and backstage. Another past one was Tony N’ Tina’s Wedding in which you were a guest at a wedding for the ceremony and the reception (at two different locations). The third was Flanagan’s Wake, at Chicago Theatre Works, which was a wild Irish party. If you were a fan of any of these, you’ll definitely enjoy this Windy City Playhouse production.

Cost of a ticket: $69

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets for Southern Gothic now through November 30th!

Quinn Delaney


Review: Kokandy Productions Presents Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street at The Chopin Theatre (Through November 6, 2022)

The character of Sweeney Todd first appeared in a Victorian penny dreadful called The String of Pearls in 1846. The following year, it was adapted into a stage play with the same name. In 1928, the silent film version was released. In 1979, Stephen Sondheim’s musical version opened on Broadway. It won eight Tony Awards including Best Musical. In 2007, Tim Burton’s film version was released. And now, in September of 2022, Kokandy Productions opens the musical version at The Chopin Theatre.

Sweeney Todd is a barber who seeks vengeance against the judge who sent him away. He meets Mrs Lovett, the owner of a pie shop, who becomes his partner in seeking revenge.

This production is presented in the round. This creates a close intimacy to the stage, but it does result in the stage light being directly in the audience’s face. The center of the stage spins by being manually pushed giving the space a dynamic touch.

Photos by Evan Hanover

The cast includes Kevin Webb (Nightmares and Nightcaps) and Caitlin Jackson (Trash) as Sweeney Todd and Mrs. Lovett. They are joined by Quinn Rigg (Adolfo Pirell/Jonas Fogg), Isabel Cecilia García (Beggar Woman), Christopher Johnson (Judge Turpin), Josiah Haugen (Beadle Bamford), Chamaya Moody (Johanna), Patrick O’Keefe (Tobias Ragg) and Ryan Stajmiger (Anthony Hope). The Fleet Street ensemble includes Joel Arreola, Brittney Brown, Ethan Carlson, Stephanie Chiodras, Christopher Johnson, Nikki Krzebiot, Charlie Mann and Daniel Rausch. Swings include Tyler DeLoatch, Nathan Kabara and Angela Yu.

See the full program here.

Cost of a ticket: $44

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

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

Get tickets now for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street through November 6th!

Quinn Delaney

Impressive! Broadway in Chicago and Cabaret Zazou Present Luminaire (Open Run)

Luminaire is a cabaret style variety show. Here is a list of the top acts.

James Harkness and Liv Warfield

These singers are very talented. They really express well with their vocals. Their playlist is very well chosen and includes “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, “Smokin Out The Window” by Silk Sonic, and “What You Do” by James Gillespie.

Viktor Kee

This man can juggle. I mean, really juggle. So many balls fall from the ceiling and he seamlessly juggles them. He also randomly throws balls into the audience knocking silverware onto the floor. It’s not clear if this is intentional or not as the stage managers scurry to gather the balls.

Trio Vertex

This group is the highlight of the show. On about a 6-foot-wide circular platform, the performers spin up to 40 mph on roller skates. The man picks up the woman and spins her around just by her arms. Then, to increase the intensity, they use a figure-8 device that puts a loop over each of their heads. He then proceeds to spin her around without using his hand in a fantastic finale. The crowd gave them a standing ovation!

Later on, one man is hanging upside down from a trapeze hanging from the ceiling. The other man lifts up the lady to the other. The trapeze then rises about 10 feet to the ceiling. Suddenly, he drops her headfirst and the other man catches her after a moment of shock. The entire audience has their mouth open gaping in amazement.  

Cost of a ticket: $118

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +

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

Get tickets now for Luminaire!

Quinn Delaney

Hilarious and Inspiring! The Goodman Theatre and Center Theatre Group Present Clyde’s (Through October 9, 2022)

Clyde’s had it’s World Premiere at the Guthrie in 2019 when it was titled “Floyd’s. It then ran on Broadway from November 2021 to January 2022 which earned it a Tony Nomination. Now, in September of 2022, it makes its Chicago premiere at the Goodman Theatre. It will then play in the Mark Taper Forum in LA from November 15 to December 18th.

Photos by Liz Lauren

Four former convicts are working a sandwich shop named Clyde’s. The owner hires them because she is also an ex-convict. They work very hard because they know nobody else will hire them. After time, they come to enjoy the work and strive to make the perfect sandwich. They also bond with each other as they share their stories about where things went wrong and how they ended up in prison.

This play is hilarious. There are also some great pyrotechnics involved. Lynn Nottage (Sweat) has written a very humorous and inspiring story. By the end, you’ll want to be friends with all the workers.

Danielle Davis (Fun Home), the understudy, is superb as the fierce and relentless boss. Kevin Kenerly is so smooth as the artistic one. Reza Salazar (Clyde’s World-Premiere, Louis (FX)) is so emotional and expressive. Garrett Young is excellent as the newcomer who regrets his tattoos he did to survive in prison. Nedra Snipes is great as she struggles with her relationships.

Get tickets now for Clyde’s through October 9th!

Cost of a ticket: $70 (Middle of the Main Floor)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Quinn Delaney

Based on True History: Broadway in Chicago Presents Anastasia at the CIBC Theatre (Through September 25, 2022)

The film version of Anastasia was released in 1997. The musical version premiered on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre in April 2017. And now it opens at the CIBC Theatre as part of a national tour.

It is 1918, Bolshevik officials executed Czar Nicholas II and his family, but Anastasia escaped. She is suffering from amnesia and does remember who she is. Anastasia’s grandmother offers up a reward for anyone who can find her. Two men decide to audition women to find someone to be a good enough fit to fool her and collect the reward. They hire Anastasia, who is going by Anya. They teach her all about her family’s history and how to act. They then travel to Paris to meet the grandmother and claim the reward.

This story is based on the true history of the Romanovs. However, in 1994, scientists used DNA to prove that Anna Anderson was not the czar’s daughter, but a Polish woman named Franziska Schanzkowska (from

I’d recommend getting an obstructed view ticket near the front on the sides. Very little will be missed from these seats.

Cost of a ticket: $110 (Middle of the Mezzanine)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Get tickets now for Anastasia through September 25th.

Quinn Delaney

Funny and Dramatic! Shattered Globe Theatre Presents STEW at Theater Wit (Through October 22, 2022)

A family has gathered to make a big stew for a large church event The grandmother is joined by her two daughters and one grand-daughter. The story begins very light-hearted and funny. They all get very excited about the youngest auditioning for a Shakespeare play. They all want to run lines with her and show off their talents. As the story continues, the tension and drama rises as many secrets are slowly revealed. Where are all the men is a major secret to discover.

Photos by Michael Brosilow

Zora Howard has written a great slice of life play about the black experience. Being a Pulitzer Prize Finalist is well deserved It’s a great balance of humor and drama.

The cast is excellent. Velma Austin is fantastic as the grandmother who loves cooking for her family and others. Demetra Dee (Relentless, Be Here Now) is so charming as the grand-daughter who is very shy about her upcoming audition. Jazzma Pryor is stellar as the elder daughter who wants to run everything. Jasmine Cheri Nush is great as the younger daughter who is so happy to have found her man.

See the full program here.

Cost of a ticket: $45 ($25 if under 30)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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

Get tickets now for STEW though October 22nd!

Quinn Delaney

Avant-Garde: The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington at Steppenwolf Theatre (Through October 9, 2022)

Martha Washington, the widow of George Washington, American’s first president, is sick. All her slaves can’t wait until she passes away because according to George’s will, they will all be free after she dies. She meets with her lawyer who advises her to free them before they kill her. This is based on the real history.

From there it gets a bit psychedelic and bizarre. There is scene with a game show about American Revolutionaries. Then there is a courtroom scene in which George Washington is the star witness. Another scene features them bidding on Martha as if she is a slave. James Ijames has written a very avant-garde piece.

The cast includes Celeste M. Cooper (Familiar, The Doppelgänger (an international farce) , Sydney Charles (Shameless), Carl Clemons-Hopkins (Hacks), Nikki Crawford, Cindy Gold, Victor Musoni (How We Got On), and Donovan Session (Sugar in Our Wounds).

See the program here.

Get tickets now for The Most Spectacularly Lamentable Trial of Miz Martha Washington through October 9th.

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

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Quinn Delaney

Review: BoHo Theatre Presents National Merit at Theater Wit (Through September 25, 2022)

A group of students have signed up for a month long class to prepare for the PSAT. Their goal is to do well enough to become National Merit Scholars. While studying, the students question the merit of this test. Does it really prove who are the best students?

The entire cast is great. Juan Gonzalez Machain is the strict teacher who consistently gets his students to become National Merit Scholars. Magdalena Dalzell is the senior advisor for the class who is also a cheerleader. She wants to class to focus more on boosting morale than just lessons.

Maddie Powell is the rebellious punk girl who transferred schools, but is still coming back just for this class. She is the only one who doesn’t have to wear a student uniform, so she wears shirts that say Nirvana, The Doors, and Claud Monet. She also has a fantastic speech against standardized tests. Amber Washington is the overachiever who is determined to score well in order to put her on the path to attend Yale.

Alex Rocha is the student running for class president and trying hard to make his family proud. Tatiana Bustamante (Gypsy, Lizzie) is the best friend who thinks he is running for president for the wrong reasons. Justin Kuhn is the popular kid who loves to make jokes during class. Sripadh Pulligilla is his sidekick who wants to come out from under his shadow.

See the program here.

Cost of a ticket: $30

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Get tickets now for National Merit through September 25th.

Quinn Delaney

Powerful! Florence + The Machine at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island (September 7, 2022)

The posted start time for the show is 8 pm, so it is quite a surprise when the opener takes the stage at 7:30 pm. They wrap up at 8:10 pm. It is even more of a surprise when Florence + The Machine take the stage at 8:35pm while many people are still making their way into the venue.

Midway through “Dog Days Are Over”, Florence asks everyone to put away their phones and share a moment with everyone. “You are now free!” she declares. It is great to have a break from everyone holding up their phones to record the performance. This is their most popular song on Spotify with over 593 million streams.

During “What Kind Of Man”, when the electric guitar comes smashing in, Florence punches the air with all her might repeatedly to the beat. She belts out “What kind of man loves like this? What kind of man?” It’s a very powerful song and an incredible performance.

As they play the first few notes of “Shake It Out” in the encore, excitement fills the audience as they know this is one of the best songs of the night. “Shake it out, shake it out, ooh whoa. And it’s hard to dance with a devil on your back, so shake him off!” It’s a fantastic song to include in the encore and to send the audience out full of joy.

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

Full of Laughs! Great Altercations at Second City e.t.c. (Open Run)

Welcome to couples therapy camp! Today we have our best couple from the last session to help us out. “What is an issue you have?” He never picks up his things. She is always bugging you while you just want to do your favorite thing, which is what? Watching Breaking Bad, for the first time. The actors then sit down and one says “I’m so excited to watch this. I loved Malcolm in the Middle!” “Oh ya, me too!” What’s the secret she must reveal? “That she has seen all of the show!” “I must confess something. I know this isn’t like Malcolm in the Middle at all because I have seen the whole series, just like the rest of the world!” (It ended in 2013). This is a great example of a scene where the format was created beforehand, but all the content is improvised. It’s a great idea and totally delivered on this night.

Photos by Timothy M. Schmidt

During the 3rd set, which is completely improvised, they end up in a scene with a man talking to a bad beekeeper. A bee flies by and says “Bzzzz, she’s killing us!” He confronts her about this, saying that he can talk to bees. They don’t like the Mountain Dew Baja Blast she is giving to them. Also, he sees them having sex! Cut to a lady walking in who says she is here to… see the show. Cut to her getting caught by her partner with a ticket to “Beetastic!” She admits that she has loved bee sex since she was kid learning about nature in science class. Cut to that teacher talking about pollination while she gets visibly excited Cut to her going to meet up with a bee and then he turns out to be an undercover cop! Wow, what a roller coaster of a sketch that really shows off the cast’s improv chops.

Mark Campbell (The Best Decision You’ve Ever Made) is excellent in many roles especially as the man from the Western Suburbs. Jordan Savusa (Together at Last) is great as the man listening to a very unique podcast. Terrence Carey is great as the police officer giving a white person the experience of being racially profiled. Claudia Martinez is stellar as the Mexican father who can get out of paying for any driving accident. Alex Bellisle (The Best Decision You’ve Ever Made)  is solid as the daughter who is a terrible driver. Meghan Babbe (subbing in tonight for Laurel Krabacher) is superb as the bad beekeeper.

While this is not the funniest show they have ever done (there were two quite serious sketches), it is still full of laughs and worth the cost of admission.

Cost of a ticket: $55 (General Admission)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Great Altercations!

Quinn Delaney