Lions, Penguins, and LaBelle, Oh My!

Sun. May 13, 2018 12:00 AM
by Jerry Nunn

The Greenhouse Theater Center keeps their newest production in a cage on the second floor with Birds of a Feather. It's the story about two gay dad penguins and two straight hawks all played by the same two actors.

This shows a nice range of emotions in both the players and they have a lot of fun with it. The cast is superb as the story hops back and forth between each setting. Some editing would help work out the slower parts, but overall this production is worth checking out. Playing now until June 10 at 2257 N. Lincoln Ave with tickets at 773-404-7336 or at

A different part of the animal kingdom flies into town at The Chicago Theatre now until May 20. The Wizard of Oz features the classic songs of the 1939 MGM movie plus added material. Kalie Kaimann as Dorothy lives the part that begins on a small farm. Aunt Em was a bit jarring played harshly by Ashleigh Thompson and she struggles with the dual role of Glinda.

The Ozians have a hilarious dance routine full of gay snaps and the Lion queens out at times and is labeled a sissy. Friends of Dorothy will enjoy the show and can look for lots of nostalgiac fun. It is long though and really needs to be chopped down to size.

The musical Wicked has really confused people on the tale and it may be difficult for some to try to fit the two very different author's stories together. Just hop in the air balloon and enjoy the ride!

Tickets are at ranging from $39-$129.

Speaking of "Over the Rainbow," the Black Ensemble Theater just debuted a new show featuring the history of the iconic Patti LaBelle at 4450 N. Clark Street. This one runs now through June 17 and is worth going to even if just for Dawn Bless.

A New Attitude: In Tribute to Patti LaBelle is another show that is entirely too long and tries to fit too much of a legendary life into the plot. The songs have some powerhouse punches along the way though and the band situated center stage, above the action, are top notch.

Why not have the songs shaved down or less of a plot to make the running time better? Her story has some interesting points but not a lot of conflicts and her accomplishments have been many and extremely hard to cram in here.

Cherise Thomas takes us to church with her chameleon like voice as a young LaBelle, so don't this chance to see her.

Purchase tickets now at or by calling 773-769-4451.