Doug Deuchler has been reviewing local theater and delving into our history for Wednesday Journal for decades. He is alsoa retired teacher and school librarian who is also a stand-up comic, tour guide/docent and author of several books about Oak Park and surrounding communities. Here's your chance to tap into Doug's knowledge of local theater, film and history.
The family in Andrea Thorne's semi-autobiographical play Pinkolandia at 16th Street Theater in Berwyn can never go home again. They are Chilean exiles who fled the fascist military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet in 1973. It's now 1982 and the family of four struggles to build a new life in Wisconsin.
If you're looking for some old-school musical theater escapism in the boy-meets-girl, "feel good" fashion … keep on looking. Next to Normal is not for you. This is definitely not a flashy, upbeat Broadway musical. But if you're up for flawless performances, tight direction, and a fast-paced production that tackles a tough contemporary subject, this rock musical about mental illness is a remarkable achievement.
We don't usually review student productions in these pages but the current show running at Oak Park and River Forest High School, Fiddler on the Roof, is so well done I must bring it to your attention. And there's still a weekend left to see it.
The award-winning tour in which costumed interpreters portray assorted "residents" of the 140-year-old Forest Home Cemetery in Forest Park at their grave sites has been a very popular event for two decades.