Tony-Winning Once Makes Music in Illinois

Playbill, May 2018 — Done on a tiny budget of $150,000, the independent Irish film Once barely made it into theaters. And it easily could have disappeared without a trace, but audiences were captivated by its simple story about two musicians writing songs together and falling in love. After it screened at the Sundance Film Festival in January 2007, Chicago Tribune critic Michael Phillips became one of its earliest and most enthusiastic champions, calling it “the best music film of any stripe” anyone had made in decades.

But was director John Carney’s film a musical? Not exactly. It certainly wasn’t one of those spectacles where characters suddenly burst into song while fantasy dance numbers break out around them. In fact, it felt more like a documentary, with cameras capturing intimate moments from the real lives of people struggling to make a living with their music. Read the rest of my story about Once at the Paramount Aurora.

Photo by  Liz Lauren

Lorin Latarro’s A Taste of Things to Come Captures the Inception of Feminism

Playbill, March 2018 — Cooking contests are an American pastime. After a long history of local bake-offs at county fairs and churches around the country, competitions hit the big time in 1949, when Pillsbury held its first national recipe contest. During that prosperous post-World War II era, Americans were watching television for the first time and buying new gadgets for their kitchens. And hundreds of thousands of people were hoping to strike it rich by concocting a tasty dish no one had ever sampled before.

Most of those contestants were women. This was the 1950s, after all, a time when the kitchen was still seen as the traditional domain of housewives. The lives of those women—and their kitchen conversations—are captured in the new musical, A Taste of Things to Come, which runs March 20 to April 29 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.
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Photo by Carol Rosegg