John Olson

John Olson is a critic with Talkin' Broadway. This account has been auto-generated, and does not indicate that this person is an active member of Show-Score.com. That said, if you "follow" this member, you will automatically be updated whenever s/he writes a new review.

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Reviews (8)
Talkin' Broadway

“Horn's adaptation works as stage farce...The new dialogue is mostly laugh out-loud funny...Grotelueschen...nearly steals the show from Fontana, who is an impressive singer who's a little unnuanced...but a fine drag performer...Ellis and his cast ensure the jokes all land, and Yazbek's jazzy, brassy songs boast some funny lyrics...None of the songs really move the action or develop the characters sufficiently to make the case that ‘Tootsie’ needed to be a musical.” Full Review

Airline Highway
Midtown W
Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "Airline Highway is strongly reminiscent of Lanford Wilson's The Hot l Baltimore and to his Balm in Gilead for its look at a community of losers. It's a good addition to the genre, though. New Orleans native D'Amour has a great sense for these people, and Joe Mantello has assembled a superb and mostly Chicago-based cast to bring them to life. " Full Review

Amazing Grace
Midtown W
Talkin' Broadway

for a previous production "The piece seems to have hopes of becoming an historical musical epic of the Les Misérables variety, but it lacks the latter's clarity of storytelling, compelling hero, or its rousing anthems or lovely ballads...The caliber of talent hired for the cast and creative team shows the producers have faith in the project. With some heavy rewriting of book and score, they might have a chance." Full Review

ELF The Musical
Midtown W
Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "Certainly you hope a family show like this one will deliver a transformative experience for young theater-goers. This touring production of the musicalization of the 2003 feature film tries hard to do that, with a colorful, large scale production and a very solid cast – but while it gets off the ground and flies, it never really soars. Not in the way a feel-good family holiday story ought to, and there are many, many role models out there to serve as a guide to accomplish just that." Full Review

Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "There’s a subtext to the script that gives it an unusual resonance beyond just a 'behind the music' story, though it’s quite entertaining on that level...Still photos and video designed by Andrew Wilder and Lawrence Siefert are seamlessly integrated into the storytelling to provide additional historical context...A marvelous history lesson as well as an entertaining and moving show. Like all good history lessons, it has resonance for the present." Full Review

Amazing Grace
Midtown W
Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "The producers of 'Amazing Grace' have hired some of the best in the business and these actors and designers give us their “A” game. But a musical’s gotta have music you want to hear again and again, and a character or two you pull for. Otherwise, you have a show like this – which is not wretched, but neither is it amazing." Full Review

A New Brain
Midtown W
Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "All fall a little short in giving their characters the quirkiness that Schwinn and Finn surely see in them, though. There are opportunities for each of those roles to be quite funny, which these actresses didn’t entirely find...At the end of the day, though, 'A New Brain' is all about the music, and this cast delivers it thrillingly" Full Review

Chicago Theater Beat

for a previous production "Under David Zak’s direction, Leeper moves quickly and smoothly between the characters. He’s most effective as the more flamboyant characters of the club kid and the drag queen, and he’s also quite convincing as the closeted, conflicted Richard of the ‘60s. His Mona and Rod are less interesting and need some more detail or rough edges in the writing to give him something to work with as an actor...'At the Flash' succeeds most as an accurate and heartfelt piece of gay history." Full Review