Monthly Archives: August 2019

Excellent Career Spanning Set! John Waite at City Winery Chicago (August 22, 2019)

John Waite has been making music since 1976 when he formed the Babys in London. He starts his set with a song from that era, “Midnight Rendezvous”. They also play “Isn’t It Time”, which they released in 1977. He introduces it by saying they used a full orchestra and a group of backup singers for the recording, but they’ll give it a shot with just the band. Also, if they screw it up, it’s the guitarist’s fault!

In 1981, the group disbanded and he released the album Ignition as a solo artist the following year. For the second song of the night, he plays “Change” from that album.

His second solo album, No Brakes (1984), produced his most famous song, “Missing You”, of which he does an electric version tonight. It’s a giant sing-a-long and the entire audience is all smiles.

In 1989, he formed Bad English and they released “When I See You Smile”, which is also part of tonight’s set. It’s a real career retrospective that all goes together very smoothly.  In 2017, he released Wooden Heart, Volume 2, which features “Downtown”. He tells us this song is about walking around downtown Manhattan where he has lived for most of his adult life and going to a martini bar.

He plays two covers tonight. “All Along the Watchtower” by Bob Dylan and “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. While these are both great songs, they seem out of place in his set and he doesn’t give any context for them.

Throughout the night, he is very conversational with the audience. This includes a long story about the origin of the song, “Bluebird Café”. This stage banter makes the show feel more intimate and definitely adds to the fantastic performance.

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

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Chicago Dancers United Presents Dance for Life Featuring The Joffrey Ballet, Giordano Dance Chicago, and more at The Auditorium Theatre (August 17, 2019)

Dance for Life is a fantastic event that brings together the best Chicago dance companies and the best dance audience. The proceeds go to the Dancers’ Fund, which provides financial assistance to dance community professionals in their time of need due to a medical issue. It’s a celebration of the dance community and its ability to care for its own. Here is a selection of some of the best performances:

 

Giordano Dance Chicago

SOUL (2018)

Choreography by Ray Leeper (So You Think You Can Dance)

Music: Tina Turner – Proud Mary

SOUL 2

This piece is so fun, soulful and energetic, just like Ray Leeper’s work on So You Think You Can Dance. It has mass appeal and truly matches the spirit of this iconic song. The picture captures a moment of this joyful dance. Catch Giordano Dance Chicago next at the Harris Theatre on October 25th or 26th.

 

The Joffrey Ballet

Lorelei (2018)

Choreography: Nicolas Blanc

Bells (2011)

Choreography: Yuri Possokhov

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Both of these duets by the Joffrey are  very graceful and beautiful. They stand out on this night as the most elegant and stylish. The Joffrey Ballet are true masters of this art form.

Catch The Joffrey Ballet next from October 16-27 in their production of Jane Eyre.

 

Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater

Mar de Fuego / Sea of Fire (2018)

Choreography: Carlos Rodriguez

This dance is dedicated to Dame Libby Komaiko (1949-2019), the founder of Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater. It’s a beautiful piece of movement fusing flamenco, folkloric, classical, and contemporary styles.

Catch Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater next on October 4th back at the Auditorium Theatre with Cerqua Rivera.

 

Chicago Dance Crash

Leap of Faith (2018)

Choreography: Jessica Deahr in collaboration with the dancers

On multiple occasions, the dancers pull of impressive feats that are met with gasps from the crowd. It’s modern and it’s fresh and it fits in perfectly on this night.

Catch Chicago Dance Crash next from August 23rd to August 31st in their World Premiere of Lil Pine Nut.

 

Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Excerpt from Decadance / Chicago (2018)

Choreography: Ohad Naharin

Music: Chair Dance (Echad Mi Yodeah) by Ohad Naharin and Tractor’s Revenge

This piece features all the dancers dressed up in suits seated in a large semi circle. As the intense music plays, all the dancers remove their clothing one piece at a time while chanting along to the music. It’s very repetitive and feels like the dragging on of a long work week. One dancer repeatedly falls and struggles to keep up with the others. It feels like he doesn’t fit in and isn’t right for this job. It’s a very interesting piece open to interpretation.

Catch Hubbard Street Dance next at the Harris Theatre on November 7th, 9th, and 10th.

 

Cost of a ticket: $75

PlaylistHQ Economic Rating: Worth It

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

 

Quinn Delaney

Dance Party! Tuxedo at Thalia Hall (August 13, 2019)

Tuxedo is the new collaboration with Mayer Hawthorne and Jake One. Tonight, they are bringing the party to Thalia Hall. Early on in their set, Mayer comments on how the stage looks like a game show. “I’ll take an H.” Ding! An H appears in lights towards the back of the stage. Then Jake says “I’d like to buy a vowel. I.” Buzz! Incorrect! Mayer then asks the audience for a letter and they all should out “O!” Ho! He then goes on to explain that whenever the big red button at center stage is pressed, it will shout “Ho!” Also, small keychain versions of the button are available at the merch table! You can also get one at this site along with the free app version.

Later in the night, they play “Designer Drug”, which is a bonus track on the deluxe edition of Mayer Hawthorne’s Where Does This Door Go album. It perfectly matches the Tuxedo style and fits right into the setlist. “It’s like you’re made inside a laboratory, just for me. You, you are, My designer drug!”

They close their set with their biggest hit, “Do It”. It currently has over 21 million streams on Spotify. This song is a great party jam and the audience happily dances and sings along.

Quinn Delaney

Ridiculously Funny! Eclipse Theatre Company Presents Beyond Therapy at the Athenaeum Theatre (Through August 18, 2019)

Bruce places a personal ad in the paper looking for a date. Prudence replies and it leads to a very awkward date in a restaurant. Afterwards, they both talk about their date to their therapists. Bruce’s therapist is a free spirited hippie who suggests he makes his ad more exciting, less truthful, and try again. Meanwhile, Bruce’s boyfriend isn’t happy at all with the whole dating women thing! Prudence’s therapist wants her to stop looking for a man and just date him!

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The whole play is ridiculously funny just like the previous Christopher Durang play produced by Eclipse Theatre Company, Baby with the Bathwater.  Bruce and Prudence seem like crazy people in the first very awkward date. But then the other characters act even more insane making them look quite normal in comparison.

Nick Freed is hilariously awkward as Bruce, trying to win over Prudence, played by Devi Reisenfeld, who is aghast at his behavior. Joe McCauley is very funny as Prudence’s inappropriate therapist. Lynne Baker is great as Bruce’s new age therapist, especially when she is searching for the right word to say by spilling out words that all start with the same letter. Siddhartha Rajan is so good as Bob, who is dumbfounded by the whole situation. Lastly, Alex Rocha is great as the waiter who unexpectantly gets drawn into this madness.

Get tickets now for Beyond Therapy through August 18th!

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

A Feel Good Story – Broadway in Chicago Presents Come From Away at the Cadillac Palace Theatre (Through August 18, 2019)

Come From Away is the story of how the city of Gander, Newfoundland rose up to the occasion when 7,000 airline passengers were diverted to their small town on 9/11. The population of 9,000 friendly Canadians opened up their homes, schools, and community centers to provide shelter and food for the stranded travelers. It’s a true feel good story about people rising to the occasion in the face of tragedy.

It’s a very fast paced production propelled all the way by the Celtic style music. It does a great job of matching the frenzy happening in the city. All 12 of the actors play multiple characters who do a great job with the Canadian accent. The play goes an hour and 45 minutes without an intermission.

Get tickets now for Come From Away through August 18th!

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

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Quinn Delaney