Author

Amy Spungen

In Claudia Allen’s new drama Winter, about two elderly friends who find peace together in a drab nursing home, the venerable Julie Harris fairly glows with energy even as her character, Dotha, becomes increasingly feeble and ravaged with ringworm. She’s ably matched with Chicago theater veteran Mike Nussbaum as her old friend Mark, but the fine acting doesn’t completely transcend the thin story line, and Mark’s quick transition from a figure of abject despair to geezer cheerleader is jarring. B

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The Court Theatre continues its rotating repertory tradition with wildly divergent plays by David Hirson and Lillian Hellman, both directed by Charles Newell. Hirson’s La Bete — inspired by Moliere’s life and 17th century-masterpiece The Misanthrope, and which had a short run on Broadway in 1991 — is a rowdy, stylized probing of the metaphysical nature of art, a period French farce employing clever and sometimes bawdy rhymed couplets.

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The Court Theatre continues its rotating repertory tradition with wildly divergent plays by David Hirson and Lillian Hellman, both directed by Charles Newell. Hirson’s La Bete — inspired by Moliere’s life and 17th century-masterpiece The Misanthrope, and which had a short run on Broadway in 1991 — is a rowdy, stylized probing of the metaphysical nature of art, a period French farce employing clever and sometimes bawdy rhymed couplets.

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Nothing is as it seems in this Steppenwolf production of Richard Greenberg’s darkly funny dissection of a dysfunctional family. When two siblings meet with a family friend to go over the contents of their father’s will, the prodigal son’s bitterness toward his famous architect dad is revealed to be grounded in misperception. Anna D. Shapiro directs a strong trio including Ian Barford as the friend, Amy Morton as both mother and daughter, and Tracy Letts (writer of the Off Broadway hit Killer Joe), who gives a masterful performance as father and son. A

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