Steppenwolf’s Tina Landau wins $50,000 fellowship

Congratulations are in order for Tina Landau, Steppenwolf ensemble member and star director.  She has been selected to be one of 53 nationwide artists awarded a coveted 2007 United States Artists fellowship.  Within the Theater Arts category, Ms. Landau is one of only six recipients.  As part of the award, this talented thespian and director will receive $50,000 for her accomplishments.

“Wicked” is “Popular”!!!

Wicked” marks its 1,000th-Performance!!

Tonight marks a momentous occasion in Chicago theater history – for the first time a big Broadway show has reached its 1000th performance (that’s a “1” followed by 3 zeros).  And the show is still selling well, having just made another 3 months of tickets available.   Wicked, with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz seems to have really hit a nerve especially with teenage girls, with themes of trying to fit in, and realizing that it’s better to be true to yourself rather than be popular. 

It’s official – “Meet Me in St. Louis” is a triumph!



The reviews are in for “Meet Me in St. Louis” at Drury Lane Oakbrook, and they are almost across-the-board exemplary.  Here’s just a few excerpts:

Tom Williams at

Meet Me in St. Louis is a family friendly musical that contains all the sweetness and charm of those early days in America in the 20th-Centruy before all the modern trauma hit.  Those innocent days are chrished.  Kudos for Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre for offering such a polished preoduction as Meet Me in St. Louis. This is a terrific show to get children and teens interested in musical theatre.  And the price is right.   Highly Recommended

And Hedy Weiss over at the Sun-Times relays:

With its altogether blissful revival of “Meet Me in St. Louis,” the Drury Lane Oakbrook Theatre has finally entered the top ranks of musical theater production in the Chicago area. Exquisitely cast, magnificently designed and ideally staged by Jim Corti (who has brought music director Margaret James and her band onstage, fully costumed, to become part of the story), this show is the very model of how to give fresh life to an old chestnut.

Fast, funny and engaging from first silhouetted tableau to last trolley ride, “St. Louis” has never looked better.   Highly Recommended   (read entire review here)

Check out some great excerpt videos from the show at

And you think Chicago theatre critics can be harsh????

Okay, there’s been a few times where – as I read a review in one of Chicago’s many publications – I’ve uttered a (possibly audible) wince at the harshness of the critique.  But after reading a review from online edition of the London Times, I have to say that our theatre critics are compassionate in comparison.  Here’s a section of aforementioned review, which is a diatribe for a British televised play called “The Dinner Party”:

But the play was the thing – a desperate, unbelievable, dramatically inert bit of third-degree embarrassment; secondhand agitprop cliché that would have shamed a drama-GCSE improv class. Not a single word or emotion or reaction was honest or believable or real. Again, I’m speechless with admiration for the Tristram who has been paid money, fed lunch and given a chair that goes up and down and has such insouciant confidence in the idiocy of his audience that he allowed this to be broadcast. And not just cast, but cast with good actors who had agents who suffered the same effortless belief and said: “Do it. Who cares? It’s cash.” Finally, and most awe-inspiringly, that someone sat down at a keyboard, tapped away and made The Dinner Party – a crippling, dribbling, mewling homunculus of plagiarism. And, having done it, they didn’t turn white and book themselves into an ashram. They said: “This is cool. I’ll show it to the grown-ups”, and pressed Send. The next time this writer sees his or her name in print, I abjectly pray it’s under “Employee of the month” at Burger King.

“Employee of the month” at Burger King???  Ouch!!  Now that is cruel!  (but at the same time, I have to admit, fun to read!).  You can read the entire review, if you dare…..

Last 2 weeks of “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom”

Easy Street Players’ “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom”, at the Athenauem, is now entering its final 2 weeks.

One of the longest running plays in Off-Broadway history, “Vampire Lesbians of Sodom” tells the saga of two fatally seductive vampiresses whose paths first collide in ancient Sodom. Their bitter rivalry as bloodsuckers but more importantly, as actresses, endures for two thousand years with stops along the way in 1920’s silent movie Hollywood and contemporary Las Vegas.

For their production, Easy Street Players has created a fun retro YouTube video.  Enjoy.

Great interview with Drury Lane managing director

I always love listening to the always-informative (and entertaining) interviews over at Talk Theatre In Chicago.  And their recent interview with Kyle DeSantis, the business-savvy managing director of both Drury Lane Oakbrook and Drury Lane Water Tower, does not disappoint. 

Check it out!   And if you like it (which I’m sure you will), don’t forget to subscribe to the theatre podcast over at iTunes.

The Uptown Theatre – a wondrous but heartbreaking slideshow

I would give anything to be able to have witnessed the 4,300-seat Uptown Theatre back in its glory days.  It really must have been amazing.  This slideshow is heartbreaking in the sense that it really brings to light the total neglect of this movie-palace treasure. 

A deep thank you to you could just include it was made by Ian Sklarsky, that for creating this beautiful video, and for keeping the memory of this beautiful building alive.