Category Archives: Uncategorized

Hilarious! Second City Presents What the Elf? at Up Comedy Club (Through January 1, 2023)

A pair of gift masters (GMs) take the stage. They explain that they will figure out the perfect gift for anyone. An audience member sitting on the rail raises her hand and is selected. She says she is looking to buy a gift for her sister’s boyfriend. The GMs make a funny face and then say that she should not get him a gift, but to tell them more about him anyways. She says he is a balding accountant who used to play hockey. The GMs literally put their heads together and come up with the idea. Get him a new life, including a new girlfriend who is not related to you!

Another audience member on the rail is selected to receive gift advice. He is looking for a gift for his fiancée. He says that she likes yoga, beaches, and talking with her friends. The GMs put their heads together and again come up with a great idea. Get her a girls trip to the beach with her friends!

Lastly, an audience member says she wants to get a gift for her father. He is stubborn, likes buying gifts for himself, and enjoys using tools. The GMs suggest getting him DVDs of the show “Escape to the Chateau” about renovating an old French Chateau. (Or getting him a subscription to Peacock, so he can stream it).

All of these ideas are really good and this is a fantastic improvised sketch to include in this show.

The entire cast is excellent. Tim Metzler is hilarious as the coworker who when he does mind reading, his body takes a big toll to do so. Javid Iqbal is so funny as the Holiday Cher and in the song about the Muslim holiday, Eid. Bill Letz is superb as the guy who just can’t get foreplay quite right. Yazmin Ramos cracks everyone up as the love interest in the Hallmark Channel movie and as she flies across the stage in the office chair dance. Maureen Boughey is so good as the star of the Hallmark movie, a high powered consultant from Boston sent to Holly, Iowa. Lastly, Jenelle Cheyne is fantastic as the deeply dark elf of death.

Cost of a ticket: $64 (GA)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for What the Elf? through January 1st!

Quinn Delaney

Advertisement

Joyful! The Buttcracker: A Nutcracker Burlesque at Greenhouse Theater Center (Through December 31, 2022)

The posted showtime is when the cocktail hour begins. Do arrive at this time and check out the Jepson table. Here you can sample many of their products including their bourbon, vodka, espresso martini, Dogma Amargo de Chile, and Malort. Their representative will also give you a lot of information about the spirits including their history. Also during the cocktail hour, a tableside magicians is performing at the VIP tables.

Photos by Matthew Gregory Hollis

After an hour, the show begins. It’s a burlesque Nutcracker in a very fun and friendly atmosphere with the audience cheering on the performers. It’s a celebration of the return to live performance since it was forced online in 2020 and then went on hiatus in 2021. The joy is evident in the smiles from all the dancers.

Cost of a ticket: $46 (GA)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Get tickets now for The Buttcracker through December 31st!

Quinn Delaney

Powerful! Trouble in Mind at Timeline Theatre (Through December 18, 2022)

Trouble in Mind was written by Alice Childress in 1955. White producers planned to put it on Broadway if she changed the ending and the title to So Early Monday Morning. She refused and thus it never appeared on Broadway during her lifetime. She does have the honor of being the first Black woman to have a play professionally produced in NYC, but not the first on Broadway due to this dispute. It did finally open there in 2021, which garnered it a Tony nomination for Best Revival of a Play.

In the play, it is 1957 at a Broadway theatre in New York City.  The cast and the director have gathered to rehearse a new play called Chaos in Belleille, a Southern drama about lynching. The white director and the lead black actress disagree strongly about the interpretation of the script and they argue about it frequently. It’s a powerful play that expertly explores the racial struggles in the 50’s.

Ron OJ Parson (Relentless, To Catch a Fish) did an excellent job directing this play. It must have been confusing at times directing the actor playing the director Tim Decker (Million Dollar Quartet) is intense and often angry as the director. Shariba Rivers (School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play) is outstanding as the lead actress fighting to act truthfully instead of in black stereotypes. Vincent Jordan is great as the newcomer taking advice to be a yes man when working with a white director from the lead actress. Charles Stransky is solid as the doorman who used to work the lights at the theatre. is solid as the white male lead. Kenneth D Johnson is superb as he tells a truly horrifying story about witnessing a lynching as a child.  Guy Van Swearingen ,Tarina J. Bradshaw, Jordan Ashley Grier (Relentless), and Adam Shalzi are all solid in their roles.

Photos by Liz Lauren

Cost of a ticket: $47

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Trouble in Mind through December 18th!

Quinn Delaney

Two One Woman Shows, Intermixed – Artemisia Theatre Presents Title X at Theater Wit (Through December 18, 2022)

Title X consists of nine scenes related to women’s fight for abortion rights. This is a very serious play which focuses on key issues that have been fought for throughout history, and continue to be at the forefront in our present. It is definitely not suitable for children.

The odd numbered scenes feature Melanie McNulty. The even numbered scenes feature Kaitlyn Cheng. They never interact with each other. Thus, this play feels like two one woman shows, intermixed.

Photos by Willow James

Kaitlyn Cheng is a newcomer who just recently earned her MFA in Acting from NIU. Her novice status showed as she fumbled a few lines and didn’t create deep characters. As the congresswomen giving a speech, it feels more like a lecture, rather than theatre. This was only the second performance after one preview. Hopefully her performance improves further into the run.

Melanie McNulty is excellent in her many roles. For one character, she is describing being assaulted by her boss followed by the long process of seeking justice. Her impersonation of the police officers who first interview her is both funny and emotionally provoking. She also plays a former drama student who was pressured by her professor to have a sexual relationship. It’s a very strong and powerful monologue.

Here is a breakdown of the scenes:

1) 1978. Rachel, 17, at a Planned Parenthood Clinic, New York City.

2)   2019. Jill, 35, addresses Congress on Capitol Hill.

3)   1988. Norma, 32, protests at an abortion clinic for Operation Rescue.

4)   2018. Kaya, an asylum officer, conducts a credible fear interview at the Texas-Mexico border.

5)   1979. Annie, late 20’s, visits her former college campus.

6)   1989. Paula, 40, speaks at a Right-to-Life Rally in Lincoln, Nebraska.

7)   2017. Kimi, 33, celebrates in her apartment.

8)   2004. Lill, late 30’s, Central Park.

9)   2020. Rachel, a mature woman, revisits her choice.

See the full program here.

Check out the Title X Spotify Playlist:

Get tickets now for Title X through December 18th!

Cost of a ticket: $44 ($30 on Sundays)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price

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

Quinn Delaney

Intense! Remy Bumppo Presents Routes at Theater Wit (Through November 20, 2022)

Bashir is an refugee from Somalia in the UK. He is assigned to live with Kola in a halfway house. When he turns 18, he is detained and is being threatened with deportation because he didn’t legally become a citizen. He knows being deported to Somalia is vey dangerous. Somalia is currently on the US Department of State Do Not Travel List due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health issues, kidnapping, and piracy.

Olufemi is a father who is doing everything he can to get back into the UK after being deported. This happened to him because he was in a bar fight. He decides to impersonate someone else to get back in.

Rachel De-Lahay has written an intense play exploring the difficulties involved with immigration. The audience is at the edge of their seats watching to see if the characters can win against the huge bureaucracy. This piece originally debuted at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2013. It remains very relevant today after Brexit and the Trump Administration immigration policy changes.

Terry Bell (The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime at Steppenwolf) is great as Bashir struggling to stay in the only country where he knows anyone and to avoid deportation to a violent country. Yao Dogbe is excellent as Olufemi, fighting to get back to his family. TJ Thomas (Deck the Hallmark) is great as Kola, who becomes a great friend to Bashir. Kristin E. Ellis, Evelyn Lockley, and Kevin Tre’Von Patterson (The Recommendation) are all solid in their roles.

Cost of a ticket: $33

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Get tickets now for Routes through November 20th!

Also, catch Remy Bumppo’s next production, Anna in the Tropics, starting February 8th!

Quinn Delaney

From New Zealand – Yumi Zouma opening for Turnover at Brooklyn Bowl Nashville (November 15, 2022)

Yumi Zouma are from Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. The band’s name is a combination of the names of the friends that encouraged the group to start writing together. This is their first time in Nashville. On stage, they tell the crowd that before arriving, they used Wikipedia to find out what musicians are from Nashville. In their search, they found Ed Sheeran and Elton John. Clearly, something was off. Perhaps they just found a list of people who had performed in Nashville.

The band tonight consists of Christie Simpson (vocals, keyboards), Josh Burgess (guitar, bass guitar, vocals, keyboards), and Olivia Campion (drums). Their alternative pop sound blends many musical styles from “Astral Projection” whose intro sounds like a Coldplay soft rock song to “Crush”, an upbeat dance pop song similar in style to Chromeo.

They close with their biggest hit, “In Camera”, which has over 23 million streams on Spotify. “I think about every hurt bit / I wouldn’t lie if I’m missing it / I think I might if I give in / Everything has changed, alright”. This was a great choice to close the set.

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $33

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –

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

Quinn Delaney

Tropical Rock! St. Lucia at Brooklyn Bowl – Nashville (November 11, 2022)

St Lucia may be from New York, but they create a vibrant Caribbean style sound that appropriately reflects their name. The tropics are displayed on stage with plants, neon lights, and Grobler’s island style shirt. The fan blowing his shirt and hair adds to the beachy atmosphere.

Early in the set, they play “Closer Than This”. It starts slowly with three chords on the synthesizer. Then, the vocals come in smoothly. Next, the drums and bass. Finally the chorus comes and everyone in the building is dancing and singing: “I’ve got a feeling we will never closer than this! I can’t image there’s a way to get closer than this!” This slow build to a very catchy chorus is the perfect recipe for a dance party. 

Later on, the same formula applies to “September” which whips the crowd into a frenzy. “I just want you to remember, before you get carried away. What happened just this September, if you know you want it, baby.” It’s an excellently crafted song.

The show started at 8:30pm, three hours ago and the crowd is exhausted. However, when they start to play their biggest song to date, “Elevate”, to close out the night, everyone uses their last bit of energy to dance out one more time. “And no one elevates you, elevates you now!  And no one’s gonna take you, gonna take you there!” Everyone leaves with a giant smile on their face. St Lucia has a bright future ahead of them. Catch them on tour now across the US!

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $39

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Quinn Delaney

Enthusiastic! Dayglow at Ryman Auditorium (November 8, 2022)

Dayglow is Sloan Struble’s musical identity. This project began when he created his first album, Fuzzybrain, in his bedroom at age 17. Now, at just 23, he is on a big headliner tour where he played at The Riviera in Chicago and now at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. The Ryman has absolutely fantastic acoustics and it sounds great from every seat in the house.

Early in the set, he plays “Something” from his second album, Harmony House. It’s a great example of his upbeat and happy style.

His cover of the 80’s disco hit “Funkytown” by Lipps Inc. was excellent and fit in perfectly into his dance pop setlist.

Another very fun moment was his cover of “You Can Call Me Al”. He danced all over the stage in pure joy. Everyone sang along: “If you’ll be my bodyguard / I can be your long lost pal / I can call you Betty /And Betty, when you call me, you can call me Al”!

For the third to last song, they play “Can I Call You Tonight?”, which is his biggest hit so far with over 419 million streams on Spotify.

He plays “Close To You” to end the set. It’s such a enthusiastic dance song that is very similar to the style of The Naked And Famous and Passion Pit. Everyone is up and dancing along.

See the full setlist here.

Cost of a ticket: $43

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

Quinn Delaney

Hilarious! Saint Sebastian Players Present Boeing-Boeing at St Bonaventure (Through November 20, 2022)

It is the 1960s in Paris, France. Bernard is engaged to three air hostesses. This is possible because they all work on international routes and they are only in town for two days per week. He also employs a maid who helps him greatly to pull this off. Robert, a good old friend of Bernard’s, drops in unexpectly on an exciting day when all three of them are expected at the house at different times. Things don’t quite go as planned and Robert becomes essential in keeping them all from meeting each other.

Photos by Robert-Eric West

Marc Camoletti has written a fantastic farcical play. It absolutely hilarious as the situation gets more and more ridiculous in what they must do to avoid the fiancés from meeting.

The entire cast is excellent. Garrett Wiegel is so charming as Bernard. Joshua Paul Wright (Born Yesterday, The Shady Lady) is very funny and Midwestern nice as Robert. Claire Rutkowski (The Shady Lady, The Real Inspector Hound) is so cocky and confident as the American. Valerie Gerlock (The Shady Lady, The Real Inspector Hound) is great as the strict German. Allison Zanolli nails the accent as the Italian. Lauren Miller is so snarky and comical as the maid.

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 Boeing Boeing through November 20th!

Quinn Delaney

Review: Porchlight Music Theatre Presents Rent at The Ruth Page Center (Through November 27, 2022)

In 1996, Rent first opened on Broadway. It ran for 12 straight years. In 2005, the film version was released featuring most of the original cast members. A touring production has played in Chicago many times, including in May of 2017. And now, in November of 2022, the Porchlight Music Theatre versions opens at the Ruth Page Center.

Rent is an ensemble musical about a group of young artists struggling to survive in New York City. This production feels very toned down compared to others. The music is not very loud. The songs are very clean and not gritty or very sexual. It matches the feeling of the videos Porchlight put up on YouTube, which sound like an official guide at an old museum.

Still, there were some highlights including the fantastic “Seasons of Love” to open the second act and “Take Me or Leave Me”.

Pronoun Key: + (he/him/his); * (she/her/hers); ^ (they, them, theirs);  = (any with respect)

The cast for RENT includes Bridget Adams-King* (If/Then); Wesly Anthony Clergé+; Naphtali Curry+;  Leah Davis* (In The Heights, Lizzie); Caitlin Dobbins* (Notes and Letters); Lucy Godínez* (In The Heights); Nick Johnson+; Chris Khoshaba+; Nik Kmiecik+; Teressa LaGamba*; Eric Lewis+ (Dreamgirls); David Moreland+ (Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical); Ziare Paul-Emile*, Alix Rhode* (La Havana Madrid); Abraham Shaw+; Josh Pablo Szabo+/^ (Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical); TJ Tapp* (Cruel Intentions: The 90’s Musical); Brennan Urbi^/+ (Hundred Days) and Shraga D. Wasserman^.

Photos by Liz Lauren

Cost of a ticket: $58 (Main Floor)

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price –

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

Get tickets now for Rent through November 27!

Quinn