Articles by Justin LeClaire

Writer/Composer Kyle Jarrow Muses on LOVE KILLS Concert Reading Coming to Steppenwolf

Writer/Composer Kyle Jarrow Muses on LOVE KILLS Concert Reading Coming to Steppenwolf Kyle Jarrow discusses the themes, background, and relevance of his emo rock musical, LOVE KILLS, being presented for a concert reading at Steppenwolf July 1 - 3

Librettist Kyle Jarrow Discusses the Pre-Broadway Tryout of "The SpongeBob Musical"

Librettist Kyle Jarrow Discusses the Pre-Broadway Tryout of "The SpongeBob Musical" Book writer Kyle Jarrow discusses the pre-Broadway tryout of "The SpongeBob Musical", now playing for a limited engagement at the Ford Oriental Theatre through July 10th

CONSTELLATIONS at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Fantastic, Haunting, and Utterly Captivating Play

CONSTELLATIONS at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Fantastic, Haunting, and Utterly Captivating Play Captivating and clever, playful and intelligent, Nick Payne’s exceptionally raw and gorgeous play, Constellations, explores the idea of parallel universes in a mosaic of scenes centered around the budding romance of two people

THE COMPASS, a Steppenwolf for Young Adults Production, Review – Debating Decisions

THE COMPASS, a Steppenwolf for Young Adults Production, Review – Debating Decisions “The Compass”, a Steppenwolf for Young Adults Production, now playing until March 12, is an interactive production revolving around a bad decision and a decision-influencing app

IF/THEN, National Tour at the Oriental Theatre, Review – Exploring the Roads Not Taken

IF/THEN, National Tour at the Oriental Theatre, Review – Exploring the Roads Not Taken IF/THEN, now playing at the Oriental Theatre until March 6, is an intriguing show which follows a single woman as she takes two separate journeys in life to track the age old question of “what might have been” had we made a different choice.

DOMESTICATED at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Exploring an Endangered Marriage

DOMESTICATED at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Exploring an Endangered Marriage DOMESTICATED is a juicy, fiery, and engaging show about the fallout from a sex scandal on a power couple. Not only is the writing fantastic, but the incredible cast raises the stakes to unbelievable heights in this terrific must-see production

EXIT at ICU Ensemble, Theatre Review – A Work Still In Progress

EXIT at ICU Ensemble, Theatre Review  – A Work Still In Progress EXIT, a world premiere at the new theatre company, ICU Ensemble, is a play that tries to shed a light on bi-polar disorder, but like most new works this one is in desperate need of additional development

George Orwell's "1984" a Steppenwolf for Young Adults Production, Theatre Review – A Multi-Media Production of Classic Dystopian Novel

George Orwell's "1984" a Steppenwolf for Young Adults Production, Theatre Review – A Multi-Media Production of Classic Dystopian Novel George Orwell’s 1984, a frightening dystopia of a world-turned mad is given extra buoyancy in this multi-media production, now play at Steppenwolf through November 20

#DATEME: An OkCupid Experiment at UP Comedy Club, Review – Hilarious and Surprisingly Touching

#DATEME: An OkCupid Experiment at UP Comedy Club, Review – Hilarious and Surprisingly Touching #DateMe: An OkCupid Experiment, now playing at UP Comedy Club until November 15 is a comedic and heartfelt look at the wacky world of online dating

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER at the Bank of America Theatre, Review – A Sweet-Singing Serial Killer

A GENTLEMAN’S GUIDE TO LOVE & MURDER at the Bank of America Theatre, Review – A  Sweet-Singing Serial Killer A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, at the Bank of America Theatre through October 11, is a delightfully fun little musical-comedy about a serial killer looking to knock off his competition in-line for succession to his family’s fortune

EAST OF EDEN at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Terrific Adaptation

EAST OF EDEN at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Terrific Adaptation EAST OF EDEN, now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre until November 15, is a terrific world premiere adaptation of a classic Steinbeck epic novel

DISGRACED at the Goodman Theatre, Review – Shocking Dinner Conversations

DISGRACED at the Goodman Theatre, Review – Shocking Dinner Conversations DISGRACED, now playing at Goodman Theatre, explores identity through troubling and provocative conversations on religion, ideologies, and heritage. It’s stimulating and interesting, but the overall message is a little too disturbing to really enjoy

GLORY DAYS: A NEW AMERICAN MUSICAL with Refuge Theatre Project, Review – Who Cares? Who Cares? Who Cares?

GLORY DAYS: A NEW AMERICAN MUSICAL with Refuge Theatre Project, Review – Who Cares? Who Cares? Who Cares? GLORY DAYS, now playing at Refuge Theatre Project, is ironically anything except glorious. Though the cast is talented the material here is so bad that it overshadows everything else

PIPPIN at the Cadillac Palace, Review – More Spectacle than Story

PIPPIN at the Cadillac Palace, Review – More Spectacle than Story PIPPIN, now playing downtown at the Cadillac Palace, is about a young man in search of meaning and the players that lead him down a dangerous path. While this tour is visually stunning the spectacle takes away from the story rather than adding to it

GRAND CONCOURSE at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Matters of Faith and Forgiveness Come to a Boil

GRAND CONCOURSE at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Matters of Faith and Forgiveness Come to a Boil GRAND CONCOURSE examines matters of faith and forgiveness in a soup kitchen where the staff seems to be the ones most in need. This is one of the most fascinating plays this fantastic company has ever produced and definitely worth checking out

KINKY BOOTS at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Review – Back and Better Than Before

KINKY BOOTS at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, Review – Back and Better Than Before KINKY BOOTS, now playing at the Cadillac Theatre until July 26, is a fun and silly show about the beauty of embracing differences. It’s still a flawed show, but a greatly improved one from the shaky tryout it had in Chicago three years ago

ON YOUR FEET! at the Oriental Theatre, Review – A Promising Work-In-Progress

ON YOUR FEET! at the Oriental Theatre, Review – A Promising Work-In-Progress The pre-Broadway tryout of ON YOUR FEET! is a safe and predictable work-in-progress biographical jukebox musical, which, despite its flaws is showing some great potential in its first draft before it heads to New York

ONCE with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – A Beautiful and Unforgettable Experience

ONCE with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – A Beautiful and Unforgettable Experience ONCE, now playing at the Cadillac Palace until Sunday June 7, is an extraordinary must-see flawless musical about two people who have a chance encounter that change their lives forever

SCOTLAND ROAD at BoHo Theatre, Review – Exploring an Unsinkable Obsession

SCOTLAND ROAD at BoHo Theatre, Review – Exploring an Unsinkable Obsession Scotland Road now playing at BoHo Theatre until June 14th is an interesting play, worth checking out, that explores obsession and the nature of identity

THE HERD at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – An Enthralling, Touching, and Unforgettable Must-See Production

THE HERD at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – An Enthralling, Touching, and Unforgettable Must-See Production Rory Kinnear’s penetrating and extremely moving family drama, THE HERD, is the finest production Steppenwolf has ever done and is an absolutely gripping and beautiful production that is not to be missed

THE UPSTAIRS CONCIERGE at the Goodman Theatre, Review – A Fake and Phony Farce

THE UPSTAIRS CONCIERGE at the Goodman Theatre, Review – A Fake and Phony Farce The Upstairs Concierge, now playing at the Goodman Theatre until April 26, is a misguided farce that tries too hard to be funny and ends up being anything but humorous

TWO TRAINS RUNNING at the Goodman Theatre, Review – Serving Up Plenty Of Food For Thought

TWO TRAINS RUNNING at the Goodman Theatre, Review – Serving Up Plenty Of Food For Thought “Two Trains Running” now playing at the Goodman Theatre until April 19th, is an interesting play that simmers with a building rage of discontentment underneath its relatively stable surface

FIRST WIVES CLUB: THE MUSICAL with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – An Unfinished Rough Draft

FIRST WIVES CLUB: THE MUSICAL with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – An Unfinished Rough Draft The downtown tryout of FIRST WIVES CLUB: THE MUSICAL, now playing at the Oriental Theatre until March 29th, has much work to do before it’s ready to take the leap to Broadway

ORDINARY DAYS at BoHo Theatre, Review – Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary

ORDINARY DAYS at BoHo Theatre, Review – Finding the Extraordinary in the Ordinary ORDINARY DAYS, now playing at BoHo Theatre until March 15, is a powerful, moving, and wonderful intimate chamber musical about four young individuals finding beauty in the ordinary

MARIE ANOINETTE at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Vogue Take On Versailles

MARIE ANOINETTE at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Vogue Take On Versailles Steppenwolf Theatre’s production of David Adjmi’s “Marie Antoinette” is a visually beautiful contemporary play that explores the cult of celebrity

NEXT THING YOU KNOW with Refuge Theatre Project, Review – A Portrait of Twenty-Something Anxiety

NEXT THING YOU KNOW with Refuge Theatre Project, Review – A Portrait of Twenty-Something Anxiety “Next Thing You Know” now playing at the Den Theatre until March 8th is a splendid little musical about four twenty-something New Yorkers dealing with the pains of having to grow up

FIRST DATE: THE MUSICAL at the Royal George Theatre, Review – Leave No Cliché Unturned

FIRST DATE: THE MUSICAL at the Royal George Theatre, Review – Leave No Cliché Unturned First Date now playing at the Royal George Theatre is a thoroughly ill-conceived production of an already awful musical that is not worth seeing

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN at the Goodman Theatre, Review – Women Who Want It All

RAPTURE, BLISTER, BURN at the Goodman Theatre, Review – Women Who Want It All Rapture, Blister, Burn now playing at the Goodman Theatre until February 22nd is a smartly written and funny play that explores feminism and asks the universal question of what is really guiding our own happiness in life

KEVIN GRIFFIN at City Winery, Review – Flying Solo

KEVIN GRIFFIN at City Winery, Review – Flying Solo Kevin Griffin, the lead singer of the band Better Than Ezra, performed at City Winery on January 25th

PRINCESS MARY DEMANDS YOUR ATTENTION at Bailiwick Chicago, Theatre Review – It's A Drag

PRINCESS MARY DEMANDS YOUR ATTENTION at Bailiwick Chicago, Theatre Review – It's A Drag Princess Mary Demands Your Attention now playing at Bailiwick Chicago until February 21 is a story about a young man trying to grow up and come into his own

Howie Day at City Wintery – Brace Yourself

Howie Day at City Wintery – Brace Yourself Howie Day performed at City Winery on January 9 and 10 to promote the release of his upcoming album on April 14

AIRLINE HIGHWAY at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Mixed Messages

AIRLINE HIGHWAY at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Mixed Messages “Airline Highway” now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre is an interesting, yet confusing exploration at a group of misfits at a cheap motel on the outskirts of New Orleans who are throwing a party to say goodbye to their adopted mother

NEWSIES with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – A Quintessential “Gateway Musical”

NEWSIES with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – A Quintessential “Gateway Musical” The National Tour of NEWSIES, now playing at the Ford Oriental Theatre until January 4th, is a simple, spirited, and old-fashioned type of musical that is a great stage adaptation of the 1992 movie flop

THE SANTALAND DIARIES at Theatre Wit, Review – A Humorous Modern-day Holiday Classic

THE SANTALAND DIARIES at Theatre Wit, Review – A Humorous Modern-day Holiday Classic The Santaland Diaries now playing at Theatre Wit until December 28 is a humorous, sincere, and engrossing holiday story which is based on the famous short story by the comedic writer David Sedaris

LOOKINGGLASS ALICE at Lookingglass Theatre, Review: A Captivating, Dazzling, and Ultimately Breathtaking Experience

LOOKINGGLASS ALICE at Lookingglass Theatre, Review: A Captivating, Dazzling, and Ultimately Breathtaking Experience LOOKINGGLASS ALICE now playing at Lookingglass Theatre until February 15th 2015 is an amazing, stirring, comedic, and visually stunning magical experience that is truly unlike anything I have ever seen

TITANIC at Griffin Theatre Company, Review – Doing More With Less

TITANIC at Griffin Theatre Company, Review – Doing More With Less Griffin Theatre Company’s superb minimalistic presentation of Titanic, now playing at Theatre Wit until December 7th, is a remarkable achievement that should serve as a clear example of how powerful even a faulty show can be simply by doing less

AMAZING GRACE Review, Broadway In Chicago – A New Musical That Needs A Lot More Work

AMAZING GRACE Review, Broadway In Chicago – A New Musical That Needs A Lot More Work Amazing Grace now playing at the Bank of America Theatre until November 2nd is the newest show in Chicago to do an out-of-town tryout, and for good reason because this musical needs a lot of work before its ready for Broadway

Animal Farm at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Great Adaptation of a Classic Novel

Animal Farm at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Great Adaptation of a Classic Novel George Orwell’s classic novel Animal Farm comes alive on stage in this faithful adaptation now playing as part of Steppenwolf’s Theatre for Young Adults outreach program until November 14

The Wild Party at Bailiwick Chicago. Theatre Review – An Outstanding Party

The Wild Party at Bailiwick Chicago. Theatre Review – An Outstanding Party Bailiwick Chicago’s excellent production of Michael John LaChiusa’s The Wild Party is an overwhelming mixture of many themes and characters, but it’s a rewarding party and one you definitely won’t want to miss

The Night Alive at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Mesmerizing and Mysterious

The Night Alive at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Mesmerizing and Mysterious The Night Alive by Connor McPherson, now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre until November 16, is a story about five flawed individuals who are stumbling in the dark searching for light in their lives

EVIL DEAD, THE MUSICAL with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – A Bloody Awful Show

EVIL DEAD, THE MUSICAL with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – A Bloody Awful Show Evil Dead the Musical now playing until October 12 at the Broadway Playhouse is one of the worst things I’ve ever seen in Chicago and not worth the money.

MILES AWAY at Side Project Theatre Company, Review – Stuck In a Vicious Cycle

MILES AWAY at Side Project Theatre Company, Review – Stuck In a Vicious Cycle In Side Project Theatre's new play, Mile Away, two desperate pool hustlers are holed up in a cheap hotel where a brutal cycle of dependency, betrayal, and hope comes to a head

The Qualms at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Swingers Party That Never Really Gets Swinging

The Qualms at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Swingers Party That Never Really Gets Swinging The Qualms, a world premiere now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre until August 31st is a provocative, thought-provoking, and very funny dark comedy that revolves around complex issues involving monogamy, morals, fidelity, and sex.

THE LAST SHIP with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – Setting Sail for Broadway

THE LAST SHIP with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review – Setting Sail for Broadway The Last Ship, with music by the famous rock-star Sting, now playing until July 13, could use some additional work before it sails to Broadway this fall, but so far the show is off to a very encouraging start and it is well worth seeing

PARTNERS at Live Wire Chicago, Theatre Review – Money Changes Everything

PARTNERS at Live Wire Chicago, Theatre Review – Money Changes Everything LiveWire Chicago’s production of Partners provides a fascinating examination of two young couples who are trying to maneuver the uncertainties of financial stability in their different partnerships

ASSASSINS with Kokandy Productions, Theatre Review - Taking Aim at the American Dream

ASSASSINS with Kokandy Productions, Theatre Review - Taking Aim at the American Dream Kokandy Production's ASSASSINS now playing at Theatre Wit until July 20th does a wonderful job portraying the downfall of the American Dream as told by nine people who tried to, and in four cases actually did, kill the President of the United States

Carrie: The Musical at Bailiwick Chicago, Theatre Review – A Bloody Mess

Carrie: The Musical at Bailiwick Chicago, Theatre Review – A Bloody Mess Bailiwick Chicago’s production of Carrie: the Musical now playing until July 12, 2014 at Victory Gardens is a mess despite years of re-writes, but the show's magnificent leading lady shines above it all

'A View From the Bridge' at Teatro Vista Company, Theatre Review – Looking Down on the Docks of Brooklyn

'A View From the Bridge' at Teatro Vista Company, Theatre Review – Looking Down on the Docks of Brooklyn “A View from the Bridge” is arguably Arthur Miller’s best play and this production, though lacking in symbolism and details, still remains engaging and highly entertaining

THE WAY WEST at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – The Wayward West

THE WAY WEST at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – The Wayward West The Way West is a richly layered and thoroughly enjoyable new play about a family struggling to survive a financial disaster

'God's Work' by Albany Park Theatre Project, Review – An Unsettling Experience

'God's Work' by Albany Park Theatre Project, Review – An Unsettling Experience Albany Park Theatre Project presents an extremely disturbing show performed by local teenagers about resilience and overcoming abuse

'Dessa Rose' at Bailiwick Chicago, Theatre Review – Enslaved by Awful Writing

'Dessa Rose' at Bailiwick Chicago, Theatre Review – Enslaved by Awful Writing The cast does their best despite the bad material in “Dessa Rose” now playing at Bailiwick Chicago until April 5

LEVELING UP at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review - Avoiding Reality Through Games

LEVELING UP at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review - Avoiding Reality Through Games Leveling Up deals with four recently graduated college buddies who are escaping into a world of online games and social networking as a way of shielding themselves from the tough realities of becoming adults

RUSSIAN TRANSPORT at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Russian-American Family on Edge

RUSSIAN TRANSPORT at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – A Russian-American Family on Edge Russian Transport, now playing at Steppenwolf Theatre until May 11, offers a disturbing and provocative look at a modern Russian-American family who are making bad choices in order to assimilate themselves into modern American culture

ASSISTANCE by Live Wire Theatre, Review – Endless Workplace Madness

ASSISTANCE by Live Wire Theatre, Review – Endless Workplace Madness ‘Assistance’ now playing at LiveWire Theatre until March 16th is about a group of young professionals trying to make it in a high-stress work environment

TRIBES at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Finding a Beautiful Stillness Amongst Noise

TRIBES at Steppenwolf Theatre, Review – Finding a Beautiful Stillness Amongst Noise A beautifully written and superbly acted production about a young deaf man and a family deaf to the needs of others

APPROPRIATE at Victory Gardens, Theatre Review – Can We Really Move On From The Past?

APPROPRIATE at Victory Gardens, Theatre Review – Can We Really Move On From The Past? Victory Gardens production of Appropriate offers both a comedic and dramatic look at a dysfunctional family that is poisoned by the lasting effects of slavery and racism from earlier generations

THE MOUNTAINTOP at Court Theatre, Review – Dr. King’s Vision for the Future on his Last Night

THE MOUNTAINTOP at Court Theatre, Review – Dr. King’s Vision for the Future on his Last Night David Alan Anderson and Lisa Beasley ignite this provocative play about the last night of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

‘9 Circles’ at Sideshow Theatre, Review – A Dark Visceral Journey

‘9 Circles’ at Sideshow Theatre, Review – A Dark Visceral Journey Though the material in '9 Circles' doesn't make for a lighthearted night out, it will leave you thinking about the cost of US involvement in the Middle East

NEXT TO NORMAL at Drury Lane, Theatre Review – There Will Be Light

NEXT TO NORMAL at Drury Lane, Theatre Review – There Will Be Light Drury Lane's production of “Next to Normal” does an all-around wonderful job of shining a light on the darkness surrounding mental illness

'The Half-Brothers Mendelssohn' at Strange Tree Theatre, Review – Fun and Innovative Theatre at its Best

'The Half-Brothers Mendelssohn' at Strange Tree Theatre, Review – Fun and Innovative Theatre at its Best A beautiful blend of writing and acting make The Half-Brothers Mendelssohn one of best plays you'll see

WEST SIDE STORY with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review - A Truly Different Side

WEST SIDE STORY with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review - A Truly Different Side The youthful cast of 'West Side Story' does its best, but many of them are unable to give the story the focus it deserves

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY at Circle Theatre, Review - Death Has Never Sounded So Good

DEATH TAKES A HOLIDAY at Circle Theatre, Review - Death Has Never Sounded So Good The performers do their best despite the material in Circle Theatre's production of 'Death Takes a Holiday' at Stage 773

BIG FISH with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review - Why a Musical?

BIG FISH with Broadway In Chicago, Theatre Review - Why a Musical? Big Fish tells the story of a man, Will Bloom (played by Bobby Steggert), who comes to reconcile with his estranged dying father, Edward Bloom (played by Norbert Leo Butz)by realizing that his father's stories are rooted from reality

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