2014 10-Word Summaries

  • Burning Bluebeard (The Ruffians) – A memory love-song brought to life by incredible performances.
  • The Nutcracker (The House Theatre) – Clara’s toy is Clara’s brother.  Her parents are scary rats.
  • Christmas on the Air (Provision Theater Company) – Old time radio station brings laughter and love to holidays.
  • Santaland Diaries (Theater Wit) – Torture, abuse, and insanity, all in the name of Santa.
  • Hell Cab (Profiles Theatre) – Chicago cabbie ferries all kinds one long Christmas Eve day.
  • Holmes and Watson (City Lit Theater) – Versatile acting shines in a nimble, fast-paced adaptation. Elementary!
  • A Bright Room Called Day (Spartan Theatre Company) – Biting commentary on pre-war Berlin is buried in there, somewhere.
  • Featherstone (Viable Theatre Company) – For better or worse, the doctor will see you now.
  • Women At War (Rivendell Theatre Ensemble) – Difficulties of war abound: seen here from female soldiers’ perspectives.
  • The Lieutenant of Inishmore (AstonRep Theatre Company) – A dark comedy is neither when played as camp.  Bummer.
  • The Velveteen Rabbit (Lifeline Theatre) – Wear and tear causes a stuffed rabbit to become real.
  • The Submission (Pride Films & Plays) – Who owns a story?  An author, a culture, or nobody?
  • Parade (BoHo Theatre Ensemble) – One hundred years later, we still struggle with these issues.
  • Titanic (Griffin Theatre Company) – The optimism of the early twentieth, tempered by class divides.
  • At the Center (The Agency Theatre Collective) – Exonerated convict and victim try to forgive, but can’t forget.
  • A Kurt Weill Cabaret (Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre) – Truly beautiful songs from Germany and Hollywood shine all night.
  • Dancing in the Storm (Adapt Theatre Productions) – Chaotic life of illness is kept tidy and color-coded.
  • Bethany (The Gift Theatre) – When life throws wrenches into your plans, will you persevere?
  • Danny Casolaro Died for You (TimeLine Theatre Company) – Get the story out before it kills you, Danny Casolaro.
  • Dancing in the Storm (Adapt Theatre Productions) – Chaotic life of illness is kept tidy and color-coded.
  • Owners (Interrobang Theatre Project) – Do you need what you want, or just want it?
  • Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Idle Muse Theatre Company) – Man reveals his evil side, also turns into Mr. Hyde.
  • Rest (Victory Gardens Theatre) – Endings are beginnings which end only to begin once more.
  • Outside Agitators (20% Theatre Company) – Rebel meets cause, but she doesn’t have much to contribute.
  • Jane Eyre (Lifeline Theatre) – Your past informs your present and you control your future.
  • The Birds (Hell in a Handbag Productions) – Seagulls attack, hilarity ensues! We need to talk about Tippi.
  • The Downpour (Route 66 Theatre Company) – Marriage and motherhood are endangered by repeat of ugly past.
  • Death Tax (Lookingglass Theatre Company) – Death is taxing on everyone, especially those who don’t die.
  • The Arsonists (Strawdog Theatre Company) – Ruthless fire starters can’t bring one man up to code.
  • The Last Cadillac (The American Demigods) –  African gods and biblical allusions can’t be united by vagueness.
  • Genesis (Definition Theatre Comany) – Prequel to Hansberry classic finds truth in hardships and relationships.
  • Witch Slap! (Babes With Blades Theatre Company) – Slow, clunky combat and slower, clunkier dialogue fail to bewitch.
  • Fairytales: Not Suitable for Children (A Horse of a Different Color) – Great performances, but a jumbled script. Show needs an editor.
  • The Jungle (Oracle Productions) – Another early 20th century tale.  Much suffering and butcher paper.
  • Catch the Fish (The Poor Theatre) – Young adult seduces older woman, doesn’t get laid.  Gets better.
  • Bible Bingo (The Royal George Theatre) – Just a good, fun night out.  Laughs,trivia, nostalgia.  Bingo!
  • Dead Man’s Cell Phone (The Enthusiasts Theatre Company) – Sometimes bad plays happen to good people.  Case in point.
  • Myths & Hymns (BoHo Theatre Ensemble) – Inherently flawed script can’t be fixed by further flawed concept.
  • Hello Failure (The Side Project) – Women deal with abandonment when their husbands are under water.
  • Jim & Dave (‘s Blood Meets Jupiter) (Project 891 Theatre) – Outer space musical with puppets shines due to committed cast.
  • Grounded (American Blues Theater) – Cocksure pilot gets reality check when she pulls trigger virtually. 
  • Monstrous Regiment (Lifeline Theatre) – Terry Pratchett’s feminist satire on war has bite … with fangs.
  • Henry V (Chicago Shakespeare Theater) – Epic battles and epic wit are overshadowed by impressive set.
  • Vieux Carré (Ravent Theatre) – Dilapidated N’awlins boarding house; nine degenerates enter, one playwright leaves.
  • Look Back in Anger (Redtwist Theatre) – Angry young man feels wronged by society’s demands upon him.
  • Exit Strategy (Jackalope Theatre Company) – Doomed to fail, unlikely allies fight against a school closure.
  • The White Snake (Goodman Theatre) – Throw some more money at effects!  That’ll be good, right?
  • Confederates in the Attic (City Lit Theater) – The Civil War still affects us.  We must confront this.
  • The Best Intentions of Selfish Men (The Rum & Coke Collective) – Marriage is more than dollars and sex. It’s also murder!
  • Emma (Dead Writers Theatre Collective) – Austen’s matchmaker somehow gets man far better than she deserves.
  • How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Porchlight Music Theatre) – Corporate climber makes quick work of success.  Watch your back!
  • Attack at Bikini Werewolf Beach: Part II (Robot Vs. Dinosaur) – Teens save beach from evil businessman and surf by moonlight.
  • Anton in Show Business (20% Theatre Company Chicago) – The relationship between women and theatre is messy. Accept yourself.
  • If There Is I Haven’t Found It Yet (Steep Theatre Co.) – Is there a reason we’re worth saving? Ponder the question.
  • Ruined (Eclipse Theatre Company) – Hard to watch, but important. Rape used as a weapon.
  • The President (Oracle Productions) – Hungarian playwright captures the nonsense of American big business perfectly.
  • The Way West (Steppenwolf Theatre Company) – Tech aspects overshadowed script.  What on Earth?  Heads up!  Tree!
  • Dorian (The House Theatre of Chicago) – Constantly moving: both show and audience.  Dancing, painting, murder, fun.
  • The Tempest (Suitcase Shakespeare Company) – Worship the Bard?  Not for you.  Shakespeare neophyte?  For you.
  • Our Class (Remy Bumppo) – People can do horrible things.  Polish classmates experience the worst.
  • The Jewels (TUTA Chicago) – Today’s moral?  Never refuse to attend theatre with your wife.
  • A Place in the Woods (The Fine Print Theatre Company) – Intense memories drive guilt-filled family conflict.  Parenting is hard.
  • Songs from an Unmade Bed (Pride Films and Plays) – Songs of sex and love hit all the right notes!
  • Ithaka (InFusion Theatre Co.) – Damaged war vet seeks healing forgiveness. Why is Odysseus here?
  • Ghost Bike (Buzz22 Chicago) – Bicycle trip through underworld winds towards forced sense of closure.
  • Of Dice and Men (Otherworld Theatre Company) – Group of gamers comes together in epic battle for friendship.