Exceptional! A R I Z O N A at the House of Blues Chicago (June 12, 2019)

The House of Blues Chicago is packed to the brim tonight for a sold out show by A R I Z O N A. This band’s indie dance pop style gets everyone dancing and singing along on songs such as “I Was Wrong”.

It’s clear that A R I Z O N A is having a blast on stage. The lead singer, Zach, repeatedly says how happy he is to be on tour with his best friends. He croons how much he loves the crowds in Chicago and introduces the next song by saying “Even though we don’t know exactly when we will be back in Chicago, not a single day goes by when you don’t cross my mind!”

While the lead singer is talking to the audience, he is interrupted by a member of the crew with a shot of tequila. “This is the kind of thing that happens when you are on tour with your best friends! At least it isn’t Malort!”

Before the next song, Zach reminisces about the bands origins in New Jersey. They were planning to quit music when they decided to just record some songs for fun. The band planned to post it on Soundcloud, get a few likes, and then move on! Then he says, “If you aren’t having fun with the people you love, you are wasting your life!”

Cost of a ticket: $35

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Exceptional Value –

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

 

Quinn Delaney

 

Advertisements

Enjoyable! Brown Box Paper Company Presents Grace, or The Art of Climbing at Stage 773 (Through July 7, 2019)

Emerson learned to climb from her father. She lost interest for a while, but now she wants to get back into it. She gets a coach at her local gym and begins improving quickly. She has big dreams of joining the national climbing team. Along the way, she processes her feelings for her ex-boyfriend, her coach, and her father.

GrahamCarlsonAlexMolnar

The set is very well designed with wooden boards secured to the walls for climbing along with a large structure in the middle. They also use ropes to allow the actors to climb to the ceiling safely.

GRACEEnsemble

Alex Molnar does a great job as the lead, Emerson. She has the majority of the lines and she stays on stage for the entire 90 minutes without an intermission.

ElissaNewcornLynnetteLiAlexMolnar

Fans of climbing and fans of theatre will enjoy this performance! Get tickets now for Grace, or The Art of Climbing through July 7!

Cost of a ticket: $29
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

AlexMolnarJoshuaZambrano

Quinn Delaney

Chicago Immigrant Stories! Teatro Vista and Collaboraction Present La Havana Madrid at The Den Theatre (Through June 30, 2019)

La Havana Madrid is a collection of stories about immigrating to Chicago from Cuba, Puerto Rico and Colombia. The tales range from coming here as a child to moving here as an adult seeking work. They all formed community at a Chicago nightclub, La Havana Madrid, which featured music from salsa to cumbia.

This show has a great balance of dialog and music. The story always builds up to a climax that is the perfect place for a song. The live band playing throughout the show is Carpacho y Su Super Sombo.

Sandra Delgado radiates as the star of the show. She also wrote the play! In fact, everyone in the cast gets their chance to tell their story and each one is unique in its own way. Each performer does a great job of shining during their time in the spotlight.


Get tickets now for La Havana Madrid through June 30th!

Cost of a ticket: $40 and up
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

LaHavanaMadrid_2019_7718_by Joel Maisonet

Ilse Zacharias plays Myrna, with fellow cast member Mike Oquendo. Photo credit: Joel Maisonet

Quinn Delaney

A Beautiful Piece of Art! Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series at Harris Theatre (Through June 9, 2019)

Terrain aka The Loss of Place

Choreographer: Brian Brooks

Loss of Place

Terrain explores earthly landscapes through dance. It includes rolling hills, bumbling streams, and a tornado flying over them. It’s a very fluid performance with all the dancers wearing white and moving as one unit.

A Picture of You Falling

Choreographer: Crystal Pite

Crystal Pite's A Picture of you Falling

12/6/17 7:40:26 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s winter season tech of Crystal Pite’s “A Picture of you falling.” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

This piece features two dancers repeatedly falling. Over electronic music, a voice narrates the fall: knees, hip, elbow, shoulder, head. The narration is reminiscent of Stranger Than Fiction. In both cases, the spoken words describe the action exactly as it is happening in a calm female voice.

The excellent music composition for this work is by Owen Belton. It’s a very unique piece that is truly a work of art.

The Other You

Choreographer: Crystal Pite

A man interacts with his mirror image. At first his mirror just follows his every move, but then they struggle for control. It’s an internal struggle explored through dance.

Crystal Pite's The Other You

12/6/17 9:04:28 PM — Chicago, IL, USA Hubbard Street Dance Chicago’s winter season tech of Crystal Pite’s “The Other You.” © Todd Rosenberg Photography 2017

This piece also features music by Owen Belton along with “Moonlight Sonata”, aka Piano Sonata No. 14 in C Sharp Minor, Op. 27 No 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven.

 

Out of your Mind

Choreographer: Alejandro Cerrudo

A monologue by the philosopher, Alan Watts, is played while the dancers perform. Later on, the song “It Starts Now” by Blond:ish plays, which also contains Alan Watts speaking. The philosophical nature of the words matches quite nicely with the artistic movements of the dancers and the music to create a beautiful piece of art exploring dreams and consciousness.

Get tickets now for the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago Summer Series through Sunday!

Cost of a ticket: $70 and up
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Great Performances! Four Places at The Den Theatre (Through June 30, 2019)

A brother and sister take their mother out for lunch to have an important conversation. They believe it is time for their dad to move out, at least temporarily. The reason why will shock you! This leads to some very serious and interesting conversations.
The performances in this production are great. Especially impressive is Meg Thalken as the mother who reacts to the news very emotionally. She likes to have control and doesn’t appreciate her children stepping in.
FourPlaces-7
The show runs a very quick 80 minutes without an intermission.
After five years of focusing on improving the building, this is the Den Theatre’s return to producing.
FourPlaces-1
Get tickets now for Four Places through June 30th!
Cost of a ticket: $43
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating:  Half Price  +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother
Quinn Delaney

A Colorful Party! Ms. Blakk for President at Steppenwolf (Through July 14, 2019)

It’s 1992 and Ms. Joan Jett Black is running for president. She is the first Drag Queen to run and she is determined to get onto the floor of the Democratic National Convention at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Her purpose isn’t to win but rather to draw attention to queer issues such as AIDS and LGBT rights. On the first day of the convention, she is denied entry to the convention, despite the fact that she has valid passes. Thus, she must concoct an alternative plan to gain access.


This production is very fun and colorful party. It begins with a delightful drag show. It is also very clever. There are many nods to issues that were relevant in 1992 and are relevant now. A major one is that a supreme court nominee was accused of sexual misconduct and is now sitting on the court. Unlike other Steppenwolf productions like Pass Over, this one isn’t a deep dive into issues or challenging to watch.


Tarell Alvin McCraney is a commanding presence on stage as Joan Jett Black. He’s a fabulous performer who puts on an impressive performance. Also, Sawyer Smith is a standout as Q, matching the energy and enthusiasm of McCraney. And the rest of the cast does a great job in their supporting roles.

MS. BLAKK_2

Get tickets now for Ms. Blakk for President through July 14!

Cost of a ticket: $67
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It –
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

Quinn Delaney

Going over Niagara Falls in a Barrel: Firebrand Theatre Presents Queen of the Mist at The Den Theatre (Through July 6, 2019)

Things weren’t going so well for Anna Edson Taylor. She had been jumping from town to town trying to teach dance and music. Each time she failed to make enough to cover the rent. She is forced to move in with her sister, who throws her out shortly afterwards. So, she hatches up a big crazy plan. She’s going to custom build a barrel and use to it go over Niagara Falls! She hires a manager and begins to figure out how she can monetize this huge stunt.

It’s a truly unique story that is well developed. In addition, the singing is very good in this show. The entire cast has great voices. Also, the set is very impressive for this production. It looks like the stage is inside a giant barrel. Lastly, there is plenty of mist!

QueenoftheMist-4

Get tickets now for Queen of the Mist through July 6.

Cost of a ticket: $55
PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Half Price +
Rating Scale: Exceptional Value > Worth It > Half Price > Go for Free > Don’t Bother

QueenoftheMist-7

Quinn Delaney