Excellent Folk and Rock Blend! Smooth Hound Smith at The Point (June 3, 2021)

Live music has finally returned to indoor venues in Chicago. Tonight, Smooth Hound Smith is playing at the brand new venue in Wicker Park, The Point. It is in the space formerly known as The Flat Iron. Like it’s predecessor, The Point is a late night bar staying open till 4am most nights. The setup is a bar at the front by the window with another section in the back comprising of a bar and stage. A ticket is required for entry to the back area. Tickets are currently available as 2 or 4 person pods.

Smooth Hound Smith takes the stage at 7pm and the audience quiets down to pay full attention. For most, this is the first indoor concert they have seen since the pandemic began. The band is fronted by husband-and-wife duo Zack Smith and Caitlin Doyle-Smith. Their blend of folk and rock immediately wins over the audience who begin to stomp and clap along. Caitlin lets the crowd know that this is only their third show since the shutdown and that they are so happy to be back. This is very evident in their energy and enthusiasm on stage.

In a tribute to Curtis Mayfield, who was born on this day in 1942 in Chicago,  they play “People Get Ready”. It’s their first time playing it live, and it sounds great.

While they now live in Nashville, Zack and Caitlin are originally from California, Santa Monica and Fresno to be exact. “California Sway” is a tribute to their home state It has a beautiful grooving sound that captures the West Coast feel.

Throughout the show, the married couple have good banter and put on a great show. They will surely be back again!

Cost of a ticket: $20 (per person)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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


Live Theatre Returns! The Yellow Rose Theater Presents Gigi’s Party at Athenaeum Theatre (Through April 25th, 2021)

It’s 2058 and advances in technology allow humans to live to be 170 years old. But is life worth living this long? This is the question that Gigi asks herself. She is in an unhappy marriage. She is having an affair that doesn’t excite her. Her job bores her. With nothing to look forward to, she decides to throw a D-Party, which means one final party before she ends her life.

This play is an exploration of the effect of science creating a longer life span, while at the same time the fall of religion. Without religion, can people still find a purpose in life?

The entire cast is excellent. Joseph Zaki (Playwright) is great as the father with a much different perspective on the situation than the others. Katherine Wttermann is solid as Gigi, a woman lost in life. Thomas Tong is superb as Zak, who is proud of his accomplishments in medical technology and wishes to get everything he can out of life. Stephanie Sullivan is good as Zak’s wife, who barely tolerates his antics. Joe Bushell is excellent as Zak’s friend who has many opposing views but still maintains the friendship. Sam Sage is interesting as Gigi’s husband, who pleads with her not to end things. Lastly, Madeline Diego and Sophie Vitello are great as the friends whom Zak tries to pick up in the bar.

It is fantastic to be getting back to in person entertainment. The theatre on the second floor at Athenaeum Theatre is usually jam packed with seats, so the socially distanced seating creats a more comfortable environment. With temperature checks at the door and the cast being fully vaccinated, it was a very safe experience.

Cost of a ticket: $32

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Gigi’s Party!

Quinn Delaney

Fantastic! Queens of Rock at Mosaic On The Strip in Las Vegas (Open Run)

Elyzabeth Diaga is fantastic in this show. She does a great job transforming her voice to match the artist that she is imitating. Here are a few examples.

“You Oughta Know” – Alanis Morissette – 1995

This is not an easy song to cover. Diaga truly impresses with this one.

“The Best” – Tina Turner – 1991

This song was recently featured in Schitt’s Creek in a very romantic moment. This song absolutely still holds up.

“Zombie” – The Cranberries – 1994

Elyzabeth also has a few costume changes throughout the show and the one for Zombie is spot on. It’s also great when she enters the stage later on wearing rolling skates!

The Mosaic On The Strip is a medium sized theatre with plenty of room to space out the tables six feet apart from each other. Patrons are allowed to remove their masks while seated.  

Get tickets now for Queens of Rock!


A Fresh Experience! Orlando Ballet Presents Uncorked at Harriet’s Orlando Ballet Center (February 23, 2021)

Uncorked is a behind the scenes look at the creation of a ballet. Six dancers are divided into two groups of three. The first group of three is instructed how to enter the stage by the first choreographer. One of the dancers enters earlier than he wanted, so he tells him to get back. Instead of just erasing this mistake, he decides to keep the false entrance as part of the piece, giving it a comedic beginning. Continuing on, move by move, he instructs them how to do a dance he is making up on the spot. It’s very impressive how quickly the professional dancers pick it up and then are able to recreate it. After the first group completes about a minute’s worth of the piece, the second group of three takes the stage and does the exact same dance that they just watched. This is quite a feat to recreate it on spot like that.

Next, a second choreographer comes on stage and creates the second part of the piece. After creating the piece, they decide to switch from live piano playing to, “No More I Love You’s” by Annie Lennox. The dancers easily adapt and adjust to match the tempo of the song. It’s a fantastic display of their skill.

Finally, a third choreographer comes on to the create the last minute. During this entire process, everyone is wearing masks except the choreographer who removes theirs so they can be heard clearly. Unlike in theatre, or in an opera, when the performers wear masks, it doesn’t take much away from the performance. The focus is more on their body than on their like face.

Also being showcased tonight was the brand new Orlando Ballet Center, which opened in January of 2020. It’s modern, sleek, and the open style allowed for plenty of social distancing.

Overall, it was a very fresh experience that all fans of dance should experience. It adds an appreciation to the final work that is created.

Cost of a ticket: $30

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value

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

Get tickets now for The Robert Hill Collection taking place between March 18th and March 28th!

Quinn Delaney

Superb! Opera Orlando and Thompson Street Opera Company Present Death of Ivan Ilych at the Orlando Museum of Art (Through February 21, 2021)

Ivan Ilych is dead. His family is grieving at the funeral wondering what caused his death. Jump back in time and the family is eating dinner together. From there the relationships are explored and Ivan grapples with his impending end.

John Young composed the music as a response to his own near fatal battle with cancer. It’s a very timely piece now as we all are thinking about life and death during a pandemic.

Opera is a powerful medium, especially in the intimate setting of the Grand Gallery Hall at the Orlando Museum of Art. The forceful singing is much more emotional up close than from afar at the Lyric Opera.

The wearing of masks was varied in this production. The actors were allowed to remove their masks if they felt comfortable doing so. It definitely made it easier to hear them if they did so. Interestingly, the oboe player wore a face shield.

The cast is excellent. Sean Christopher Stork is moving as Ivan Ilych. Adriana V. Nieves is a powerful force as Praskovya, his wife. Jurrien Mejeur is very good as their child. Brent Doucette is solid as the friend and servant. Stephen Mumbert is an impressive presence as the doctor. Lastly, Jose-Manuel Lopez shines as the priest.

Catch Death of Ivan Ilych in Chicago, currently scheduled for September 2021.

Get tickets now for Opera Orlando’s Carmen on April 1st and 3rd.

Quinn Delaney

Soulful! Ella and the Bossa Beat at the Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts (February 20, 2021)

Ella & The Bossa Beat is a Brazilian jazz and pop band. Bossa nova is a style of samba music that was developed in Brazil in the late 1950s. Add that sound to jazz and you get the unique sound of this band. Ella’s soulful voice and smooth piano playing sound great accompanied by her father’s rhythmic drumming and the talented bass playing by Marco Boroquez.

Ella was born in Miami, raised in Brazil, and now resides in Orlando. She performs in both English and Portuguese.

This performance took place at The Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. It is a great independent performance venue with a distinctive art gallery in the lobby.

Cost of a ticket: $20
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Find their future tour dates here.

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Orlando Shakes Presents Josephine (Through March 21, 2021)

Josephine is a musical about the life of Josephine Baker, the first African American international superstar. The show covers her life from being born in St. Louis, to moving to Paris, to returning to the states. Along the way she stars in many films, has many interracial marriages and relationships, spies for the French Resistance, fights for civil rights, and adopts 12 children. She lived a very full life!

Tymisha Harris is fantastic as Josephine Baker. She beams with confidence and swagger as she glides from song to song while changing costumes, acting out the story, and dancing all over the stage. So much fits into the 75 minutes, but still the audience is left wanting more. She has been performing this musical for a while before this engagement at Orlando Shakes.

Get tickets now for Josephine through March 21st.

Cost of a ticket: $45 per person

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

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

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! CFC Arts Presents Songs for a New World (Through February 21, 2021 in person and through March 2, 2021 online)

Songs for a New World is a song cycle musical. This means that it doesn’t follow a narrative, but rather it is a series of songs with the same theme, which in this case is love, life, and a new world. Thus, it is more like a concert than a musical.

The cast are all wearing masks for the entire show. Clear face shields would be a better choice so that the audience can see the emotions on their faces as they sing.

Sarah Anne Mae

The entire cast (Aladdin “A.J.” Demps, Sarah Anne Mae, Jared Sierra, and Megan K. Hill) is very talented. They all have great powerful voices that make it feel like a big Broadway show. They sing with such passion. Also, the piano playing by Heather Langs is fantastic. It all goes together very well.

Jared Sierra

Get tickets now for Songs for a New World!

Aladdin “A.J.” Demps

Cost of a ticket: $20

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It +

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

Megan K. Hill

Quinn Delaney

Very Funny! The Sketch Show at Spitfire Comedy House in St. Petersberg, FL (Open Run)

A man sits down for some “me” time. He pulls out his phone to play a new game that he is very excited to play. Before he can start, he has to share his name. Then, he gets to start attacking his enemies with jab slaps! Soon, he is asked for his credit card. Next, he gets num-chuks and resumes fighting the enemies. Soon after, it asks to have access to all his contacts. This goes on and on with funnier weapons and more intrusive personal requests. It’s a hilarious sketch about freemium video games and how much we are willing to share. This is just one example of the many funny sketches in this show.

A running gag is that the show was purchased by a butter company. I can’t believe it’s not butter jokes pile on. Also, they often use video clips showing them meeting to make the show. It’s very meta and funny.

A clip from a different show, The Gym

The entire cast is solid. Everyone is hilarious and has clearly worked on their craft. Here is the cast list along with the crew.


Mike Shurtz
Mike McNeil
Hannah Noel
Jenn Ryan
Nick Rigs

Amadeus Dameron

Tech: Jesse Weinstein
Film: Warren Buchholz
Head Writer: Coleman O’Toole
Director: Nick Rigs

They change the show monthly and it runs for 40 minutes. Tickets are $20 for in person or $10 for streaming access.

Get tickets now for The Sketch Show.

Quinn Delaney

Challenging! Art Room Events Presents Halloween Six Rooms at Escape Artistry (October 30, 2020)

You are part of a team of doctors exploring the memories of a psychiatric patient. Your goal? Figure out the culprit of a gruesome murder! Many of the characters you meet in the memories have a motive for killing the victim. Some of them provide unreliable information as they are either drunk, or crazy. A few of memories take place before the murder has even taken place. It makes for a very challenging case.

The rooms are very well decorated to bring the story to life. Also, the actors’ costumes are spot on. Ashton Swinford and Whit Johnson are great as the lovers keeping their romance a secret. Rebecca Robert is intriguing as the suspicious chef.  Whitney Masters is excellent as the doctor leading the investigation. Jack Fogarty is solid as the drunken man full of regret. Lastly, Cat Hermes is mystifying as the psychiatric patient.  

Dare yourself to be immersed into the plotline, and you just may discover the murderer. A truly creative idea for an interactive experience!  

Get tickets now for future Art Room Events!

Quinn Delaney

Also, check out our review of their Speakeasy Murder Mystery Event.