Excellent! Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park (August 15, 2022)

The Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park is packed with Broadway fans tonight. It wasn’t as crowded as it was in past years, but there was still a long security line that took about 15 minutes to get through. The audience was excited for every single performance, but a few stood out. One was “The Best” from TINA. The singer was strutting across the stage the whole time and belting her heart out Another one was “Forgiven” from Jagged Little Pill. It’s such a raw rocking song that was performed fantastically. It’s going to be a great year of Broadway in Chicago performances!

Here is the list of all the shows that were featured:

Wicked – September 28 – December 4, 2022

The Lion King – November 17, 2022 – January 14, 2023

Dear Evan Hansen  – December 6 – December 31, 2022

Chicago – January 17 – 29, 2023

Les Misérables – February 15 – March 5, 2023

1776 – February 28 – March 12, 2023

TINA – The Tina Turner Musical – March 14 – April 2, 2023

Jagged Little Pill – April 11 – April 23, 2023

Disney’s Aladdin – May 17 – 28, 2023

MJ – August 1 – September 2, 2023

For special offers, visit this summer concert page.

Cost of a ticket: $0

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value

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

Quinn Delaney

Excellent! Sharon Van Etten and Angel Olsen at The Salt Shed (August 10, 2022)

It’s a perfect 78 degrees at the brand new Salt Shed for the Chicago stop of The Wild Hearts Tour. Marty Lennartz from WXRT takes the stage to introduce Sharon Van Etten. He recalls being blown away by her performance at Schubas and sticking around afterwards to meet her. He also mentions that Angel Olsen used to live in Chicago and that in his book, she’ll always be a Chicagoan.

Soon after the introduction, Van Etten takes the stage in a reflective shirt that looks like it is made of mirrors. Midway in the set, she plays “Every Time the Sun Comes Up”. Everyone sings along to the chorus “Every time the sun comes up, I’m in trouble.” It’s a beautifully simple song that sounds excellent live.

To close out the set, they play “Seventeen”. “I used to feel free / Was it just a dream? / Now you’re half shy / Think you’re so carefree / But you’re just seventeen.” It’s a fantastic song about remembering the freedom of being a teenager. It’s the perfect song to close out her performance.

Sharon returns in Angel Olsen’s encore set to play the song they released together, “Like I Used To”. They also play a cover of Harry Nilsson’s “Without You”. “I can’t live if living is without you!”  It’s a fantastic collaborative end to a great night of music.

See the full setlist of the previous night’s show here.

Cost of a ticket: $78

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

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Quinn Delaney

So Fun! Broadway in Chicago Presents The Devil Wears Prada at the James M. Nederlander Theatre (Through August 21, 2022)

The book version of The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger was released in 2003 and became a New York Times Bestseller. The film version was released in 2006 starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. The first preview performance took place on July 19, 2022. After the Chicago run, it is planned to head to Broadway.

Andy is a new college graduate who has been looking for a job for six months. At the last minute, she gets an interview at Runway magazine with the Chief Editor, Miranda. She doesn’t know much about fashion, but she still surprisingly gets the job. She struggles with the work at first, but with the help of Nigel she gets a makeover and begins to fit in. While she is laser focused on her career, her friends and boyfriend feel neglected. Will she find a balance between her work and personal life?

A handful of the songs by Elton John are great. However, another handful could use some work. There is a good balance between the amount of dialog and the songs.

Taylor Iman Jones is excellent as Andy. She truly transforms from the beginning of the show to the end. Beth Leavel is fierce as Miranda. She is a strong and powerful boss. Javier Muñoz (Hamilton and In The Heights on Broadway) is great as Nigel, who has an excellent song in the second half.

Photos By Joan Marcus

The outfits in the show are stunning in appearance and in number. The set is also impressive as it spins around and as it tranforms from New York to Paris. It is definitely Broadway quality.

Cost of a ticket: $153 (Back Orchestra)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price –

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Get tickets now for The Devil Wears Prada through August 21st!

Quinn Delaney

Top 7 Moments of Howie Day at City Winery Chicago (August 4, 2022)

1. Early on he introduces a song saying he barely remembers how to play it. The song is “Secret” from the Australia album. It turns out that intro was an early example of his sense of humor.

2. Later, he starts a song saying it is by a small Irish band. It is “One” by U2. His version sounds amazing. It’s very impressive.

3. Next up is a “deep cut”, according to Howie. It is his biggest hit, “Collide”, which has over 376 million streams if you count both the regular and acoustic version together. In the middle of the song, he jokes that he doesn’t get paid if he doesn’t play this one.

4. Another song is introduced as a once in a decade song. One that he feels is one of his best. It is “Treetops”. He says that a few couples used it as their wedding song. And rightly so, as it is a very romantic song.

5. At one point, he talks about his DIY merch. It is some art that he created during the pandemic shutdown. Some of it includes handwritten lyrics to “Collide” and other songs.

6. The next song is “Be There”, he says. The audience doesn’t react much. “I guess not”, he jokes. Afterwards, he says how the song could be transformed into a country tune called “Beer There”. With some encouragement from the crowd, he goes on to play a minute of this version. He sings in a spot on low country voice and alters the lyrics hilariously to be in the country style. He says he could do a whole set that way.

7. Throughout the whole night, he uses a loop pedal that allows him to layer up his sound and make it sound much bigger than just one person on stage.

See the full setlist here.

Quinn Delaney

Soaring Melodies! Fleet Foxes with Uwade at The Salt Shed (August 3, 2022)

It’s opening week at The Salt Shed located on the Chicago River directly west of Goose Island. While the indoor venue is still under construction, they have begun a two month season of outdoor concerts. It has a street festival vibe with many food options, bars, and other types of vendors. With a GA ticket, it is standing room only and there is nowhere to sit. There is an ADA section far back with seats. There is also a premium section on the river side with a limited amount of seating. It’s a great addition to the Chicago summer music scene.

Fleet Foxes take the stage at exactly 8pm. They open with “Wading in Waist‐high Water” from their latest album, Shore. They are joined by the opener, Uwade, who just played a great solo set.

Midway though the show, an audience member requests “Student Debt”. This was a song created by the lead singer in a 20-minute workshop. He does recall the song and goes on to play about a minute of it. Afterwards, he jokingly invites the audience member to play his 20-minute song. But then he says, “No, let’s not play any more bad songs.”

Soon afterwards, they play “Mykonos”, which is their biggest hit to date. It has almost 200 million streams on Spotify. It features a soaring melody along with some of their best vocal harmonies to which everyone sings along.

Later on, an audience member requests “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. The lead singer, Robin Pecknold, says he has never heard the song. But, he thinks he knows what it sounds like. He makes up a song on the spot in a country blues style. It is quite impressive and the audience eats it up.

To close out the night, they play “Helplessness Blues”.  “I was raised up believing I was somehow unique / Like a snowflake distinct among snowflakes, unique in each way you can see / And now after some thinking, I’d say I’d rather be / A functioning cog in some great machinery serving something beyond me.” It’s such a beautiful song and it sends everyone out with a big smile on their face.

See the full setlist here.

Also check out our review of their Pitchfork Music Festival appearance in 2018 here.

Cost of a ticket: $64

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

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Quinn Delaney

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

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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