As 2012 draws to a close, let's take a look back at the year in Chicago theater. January started with a roar — Klea Blackhurst doing
Court Theatre honored the complexity and pain of Ralph Ellison's "Invisible Man."
Matt Damon showed up at Metro in February, the celebrity part of "The People Speak, Live!," celebrating the late Howard Zinn. Ex-porn stars turned us off in "Hesperia" at Writers' Theatre. But the Griffin Theatre's production of "Punk Rock" featured one of the best ensembles of the year. Chay Yew, whose 2012 would be filled with controversy and angry playwrights, made his first creative statement with "Ameriville," signaling this was no longer your father's
"Bring It On" raised a cheer in March, showcasing revisions that would take the screen-to-stage musical to Broadway. Many
The young television star
"The Iceman Cometh," hardly apt for May, proved to be one of the great experiences of the theatrical year, showcasing at the Goodman Theatre the best collection of actors in living memory. David Cromer camehometo direct an atmospheric "Rent" at American Theater Company but couldn't make the show sing. The Chicago Commercial Collective, a new enterprise of young, for-profit producers, opened for business.
Theo Ubique's aforementioned "Piazza" and Sean Graney's "Sophocles: Seven Sicknesses," dominated June's non-Equity Jeff Awards.
Also in June, the Just for Laughs festival brought us
July offerings were thin in the Loop. But Yew offered substance with "Oedipus El Rey." Rachel Rockwell's "Beauty and the Beast" at
Steep Theatre had an August hit with "Moment," a new play by the Irish scribe Deirdre Kinahan; the entire run sold out within 48 hours of opening.
Even as summer ended, the Tall Ship Windy hosted a stellar September "Pirates of Penzance," performed on Lake Michigan.
As the October leaves turned, Mary Zimmerman's "Metamorphoses" was resurrected at Lookingglass Theatre and made yet more wonderful. Chicago tried on the pre-Broadway musical "Kinky Boots" for size and had a blast. Director Gary Griffin's "Sunday in the Park With George" was rich with beauty, complexity and the melancholy of the turning days. Steppenwolf went back to Broadway with
On Thanksgiving weekend, the Paramount Theatre's "Annie" was better in Aurora than "Annie" was on Broadway. Two "Fifty Shades of Grey" parodies came to town; that was at least one too many. "Hellcab," an iconic Chicago play, ran its meter once again at Profiles Theatre and we couldn't wait to be picked up. The Mercury Theater, rising, announced plans to produce its own musicals. Kate Fry turned in a world-class performance for 50 people in the back of a Glencoe bookstore in "The Letters."
In December, a little show called
And the death of Elana Ernst Silverstein, a beloved 29-year-old actress, left a community of actors bereft but determined to continue her kind of honest, spontaneous, truthful work, far into the future.