John Townsend Posts

Great Oglesby Radiates in the Uplifting “Last Stop on Market Street” at CTC

Acclaimed playwright Cheryl L. West has adapted Matt de la Pena’s Newberry Award-winning book, Last Stop on Market Street, into a life-affirming joy of a musical co-commissioned by the Children’s Theatre Company and Chicago Children’s […]

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” Directed by Steven LaVigne

If you’re familiar with the gay theater scene of the ’70s and ’80s, then you will likely remember Steven LaVigne as a director and critic who loves literature and who sees literature as an entry to […]

“Black ’47” – A Gripping Historical Action Thriller with a Conscience

The potato famine and the systemic brutality of the British occupation of 1840s Ireland is rendered with brutal realism in Black ’47. This riveting film directed with true grit by Lance Daly tracks the vengeance quest of […]

The Collective Scapegoats The Individual—Frank Theatre’s “The Visit” Examines Mob Mentality in Motion

The 1956 dark comedy from Switzerland, The Visit, is made to order for Frank Theatre. Artistic director Wendy Knox is a top-notch interpreter of 20th century European plays and her staging of Friedrich Durrenmatt’s indictment of […]

“Is God Is” at Mixed Blood – A Spellbinding Nightmare of Unfettered Vengeance

The wrath of God roars forth from a woman in Aleshea Harris’s magnificently bleak comedy, Is God Is. This grisly thriller now runs in a stupendous area premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre. Nataki Garrett has directed […]

“Hal” – The Quintessential ’70s Renegade Filmmaker Thoughtfully Examined & Celebrated

1970s Hollywood is etched in cultural history as a point of no return. The Sexual Revolution, the Civil Rights movement, divisions over the war in Vietnam, and heightened awareness of corruption in high and hidden […]

The Triumph of Tough Love – “The Miracle Worker” Shines in Osseo

If you’re looking for a “safe space” then you’d better steer clear of Osseo’s Yellow Tree Theatre. Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller are dynamically portrayed by Kiara Jackson and Catie Bair in a mighty production […]

The Film Noir Genre Splendidly Transfers to Stage – “West of Central” at Pillsbury House

Playwright Christina Ham has written a delightfully compelling new crime mystery, very different from two of her previous first-rate works, Crash Test Dummies and Nina Simone: Four Women. In the also first-rate West of Central she […]

The Guthrie Revives Barbara Field’s Wrenching Frankenstein-Inspired Adaptation

When I saw the first production of Frankenstein—Playing With Fire three decades ago at the old Guthrie Theatre site, it seemed flat. Ho hum. So what. However, when I caught the current revival on the new […]

A Gorgeous Documentary on a Dazzling Japanese Artist Who Celebrated Gay Marriage in the ’60s – “Kusama-Infinity” at Lagoon Cinema

The audacious 89-year-old Yayoi Kusama is the subject of Kusama-Infinity, a captivating documentary by Heather Lenz. Her oddly sensual soft sculpture and explosively colorful visual art permeate throughout, infusing the film with an intoxicating beauty […]

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