I'm fascinated by people who wear a variety of hats. Do you know Oak Park native, lawyer and actor Kevin Bry? He has appeared in numerous local productions over the past decade. Bry has also written several original dramatic works, including Our Village, a historical epic which recreates the exhilarating story of Oak Park, beginning in the earliest pioneer days.
Lately musicals seem determined to never appear too smart or too eloquent. Not willing to alienate the lucrative tourist trade, Broadway has recently recycled a seemingly endless slew of old movies, TV shows and even comic books in musical form. That's why it's a special joy to experience Circle Theatre's new production of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music.
I've watched way too many movies, so I couldn't help noting the similarity between Oak Park Festival Theatre's dynamic new production of Brian Friel's Faith Healer and Rashomon, a Japanese classic directed by Akira Kurosawa. In the 1950 film, widely different accounts of a crime are reported by four witnesses.
Circle Theatre's new production, The Man Who Came To Dinner, is hardly a new play. It opened on Broadway 72 years ago in 1939. Written by the team of George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, this zany old comedy is still full of laughs. It's also delightfully dated — in a good way. The play is an enduring, cohesive period piece, a charming glimpse into a time just before World War II.
We seldom review "out-of-town" productions in these pages, but there's an eloquent, gentle new show that just opened on the Near West Side that's been launched by lots of our fellow community members, and it's definitely worth checking out.
In the local theater scene we're used to Circle Theatre resurrecting forgotten Broadway flops and mounting them with flash and dazzle. But Circle's current production of Cole Porter's "Kiss Me, Kate" is certainly not one of those neglected failures.
Oak Park Festival Theatre has launched a year-round season. Their new production of Nobel prize-winner Harold Pinter's "Betrayal" opened on the late British playwright's 80th birthday Sunday evening in the store-front performance space at 1010 Madison St. The acting is especially superb.
There isn't a lot of meat and bone in The Wedding Singer. But who cares? This lightweight, fizzy confection, which opens Circle Theatre's new season in its new space, is great fun. The musical is a lively boy-meets-girl spoof of the 1980s with lots of big hair and big shoulders, but no big issues. Nothing is ever very deep but that's not a criticism. The very lively production, directed with great warmth and vigor by Kevin Bellie, is a delightful evening of high-energy escapism.The Wedding Singer