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The Hanslick Girls

"Three is company, safe and cheery" -Stephen Sondheim

Category / New Work

Saint Joan: Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s “Ms. Blakk For President”

As she walked over the confetti-coated floor of Steppenwolf Theatre Company’s upstairs theater, Dania felt caught between a rock and a hard place.

On one side of her –– rather, on either side of her, while they sat on a couch during the performance –– were Eleanor and Gwen, who were excitedly violating the “100 Yard Rule” to praise the performance before they had left the building. They had joined every whoop and holler that evening, each chant of “LICK BUSH IN ’92” and “MARSHA P,” each numb silence when the story’s parallels to 2019 were abundantly clear.

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Them’s Fighting Words: Macha Theatre Works’ “Sheathed”

“Where has this writer been all my life?” Dania asked, as they traced up the stairs and onto the bustling 7th Avenue. With conviction, Dania hopped the last two steps and planted her feet on the curb –– a tiny gesture to express the fighting spirit now instilled in her.

“She has an excellent voice,” Gwen agreed, as they walked. “It’s great conversational writing. Perhaps a touch heavy on the exposition at the start, but I’ll allow it for the fantastical setting.”

“Yeah, how else are you going to explain all the backstory with the armies, and Ren’s father?” Eleanor asked. “You gotta just state it, eventually.”

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The World On Fire: Haven Theatre’s “The Total Bent”

Compared to the raucous live performances throughout the evening, Dania couldn’t help but feel the slightest tinge of letdown when the pre-recorded 1960s hits came through the speakers as the house lights rose. She longed for a version of the songs with the same raw power as the songs in The Total Bent had possessed –– but admitted to herself that perhaps that was impossible to capture on record.

“What a gutpunch,” Dania said, glancing up to the illuminated cross at centerstage. Around the stage, musicians were just packing up their instruments, scattered around the stage. Only the two keyboard players –– Frederick Harris and Jermaine Hill –– were listed as members of the cast, but it has been difficult to divorce the remaining quartet of band members from the narrative.

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Book By Its Cover: Broken Nose Theatre’s “Plainclothes”

“What is this new trend of plays with projected title cards?” Dania asked, pointing at the projected footage of Chicago. Moments before the bows, the words “THE END” had flashed onto the screen –– complimenting the projected “PLAINCLOTHES” that had followed the first scene in the play.

“Is it a trend?” Gwen asked. “In The Canyon did that, but I can’t think of another.”

Indecent had a title projection. So did Hir last summer.”

“I believe Indecent‘s projections are in the script.”

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