Chicago theater reviews

Read the latest reviews of plays, musicals and other stage shows from Time Out's theater critics
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Photograph: Austin D. Oie
Theater

Plainclothes

icon-location-pin The Den Theatre, Wicker Park
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Energetic, funny and packed with emotion, the play features millennial characters who self-consciously wrestle with institutional racism in ways that feel genuine.

Time Out says
Cosmologies
Photograph: Claire Demos
Theater, Comedy

Cosmologies

icon-location-pin The Gift Theatre, Jefferson Park
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Some questions are best left unanswered, and David Rabe’s new metaphysical farce leaves you thinking that the meaning of life might one of them.

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Theater, Drama

In the Canyon

icon-location-pin Broadway Armory Park, Edgewater
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A full-throated, pro-choice, pro-women, anti-Trump war cry.

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Photograph: Lara Goetsch
Theater

A Shayna Maidel

icon-location-pin TimeLine Theatre Company, Lake View
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A Shayna Maidel begins with with birth of a child during a pogrom in 19th-century Poland. Someone observes that the baby, named Mordechai, already knows not to cry—a survival instinct that the rest of the play interrogates. Barbara Lebow’s 1984 drama, which deals with transgenerational conflict in the aftermath of the Holocaust, is keenly aware of how survival instincts beget survivors’ guilt, sometimes with reason. Set mostly in 1946, the play revolves around Mordechai’s daughters, Luisa (Emily Berman) and Rose (Bri Sudia). The hard-charging Mordechai (played by Charles Stransky) escaped Poland with Rose when she was very young, leaving Luisa behind with her mother (Carin Schapiro Silkaitis). After the war, the sisters are reunited by their father in New York City. When Luisa arrives early, she and Rose and are left to each other’s devices. They work to overcome the language barrier between them, as Rose fumbles to make her long-lost sister feel welcome and Luisa tries to cobble her life back together. Rose has no memories of life in Poland, but Luisa is haunted by them; she continually slips into vivid recollections—bordering on hallucinations— from her past, including memories of her mother, her friend Hanna (Sarah Wisterman) and the love of her life, Duvid (Alex Stein). It is these moments in the play, when Luisa’s mind is transported back through time, that best illustrate the limitations of Vanessa Stalling’s generally solid revival. They are accompanied by the soun

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Theater, Musicals

Hamilton

icon-location-pin CIBC Theatre, Loop
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Let’s not mince words, since we’ve already spilled so many of them: Hamilton is a sprawling, stunning, singular achievement. 

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