1. Debates over how good Maestro is continue among the major media outlets, with votes all over the place. The Reader says that Hershey Felder "succeeds on every level". The Sun-Times says he's "a genius." But TimeOut qualifies that the show"doesn’t really reach a roof-blowing emotional intensity," though the Trib writes that it's "the best of [Felder's] self-composed entertainments to date."
2. The cast of Crowns at the Goodman has been announced, with E. Faye Butler and Felicia Fields taking the leading roles of Mabel and Mother Shaw, respectively. Jasondra Johnson (described as a "newcomer") will play Velma. It opens in June, so we've got a long season or two to wait.
3. Julianna Margulies, star of the excellent show The Good Wife, (which is all about Chicago though not actually filmed in Chicago) will be honored by Steppenwolf at their third annual Steppenwolf Salutes WOMEN IN THE ARTS luncheon in March. Margulies will be interviewed on stage by Martha Lavey; the award has previously gone to Joan Allen and Martha Plimpton, both of whom were ensemble members with the company. The event will raise money for the company's Professional Leadership Program, which trains "young professionals seeking hands-on experience in theater administration, production and technology" through Steppenwolf's internships and apprenticeships. I'll be real: This sounds like something Margulies' character Alicia Florrick would be forced to go to in her "good wifing."
4. Performing in the play of a book they've probably never read, students that are in Chicago-area choirs will be performing at the Goodman in their 34th annual A Christmas Carol. They'll be doing 30-minutes of singing holiday tunes before the show starts; it would be wise to avoid catching up on your holiday shopping downtown before the show, as that's a lot of the same stuff and I've read it can make you go crazy. It opens November 18; the participating schools are Barrington High, Benet Academy, Walter Payton, Lincoln Park,
5. Denis O'Hare won't be one of the crazies at The Homerathon, but he will be doing An Iliad at the Public Theatre in New York, after talks to come back to Chicago for a variety of plays, including Court's production of the show, fell through because of his TV schedule.
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