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It’s the usual cold and somber January weather in Chicago, and I am on a client project with ridiculously heinous hours and expectations, but those two things won’t stop me from going to the many wonderful new plays and performances that are opening in the city within the next two weeks. I already went to a preview performance of About Face Theater’s Little Dog Laughed, the Broadway hit about a closeted gay actor whose career is threatened by his romance with a male prostitute, which won a Tony for Julie White who played the actor’s over-the-top lesbian agent. I saw the play in New York, and I think Chicago actor Mary Beth Fisher, in a classier, slightly-toned down, less fag-haggish performance in the About Face version, is a match for Julie White’s brilliance. I also saw Titus Andronicus at the Court, and it’s a stunner. This is how I feel Shakespeare should be reinvented for the contemporary audience – boldly original, but not flashy, full of interesting, at times, startling, artistic choices but yet still clearly presenting and illuminating Shakespeare’s themes. And that cast – it’s full of Chicago’s sexiest and most talented young male actors, plus the fabulous Hollis Resnik as Goth queen Tamora, which I think is a pretty unique casting choice. Hollis is more known for musical theater here in the city, and I think she brings that grace, charm and joie de vivre to a role that has potential for more campiness and overbaked acting than the lovechild of Divine and Christopher Walken. The casting works! I’ll post my detailed impressions of both soon, once they have had their press openings.

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