Monday, May 23, 2011

Chicago News History

The Front Page
by Ben Hecht and 
Charles MacArthur

Yesterday I attended the latest production of TimeLine Theatre Company, The Front Page by Ben Hecht and Charles MacArthur.  This is not the sanitized film version of Hecht and MacArthur's famous comedy but the original stage version originally produced in 1928.  Even so,  with the current changes underway in the newspaper business and Chicago politics this play seemed just as timely as it was in the twenties.  It was directed by Nick Bowling with the same energy and imagination that he brought to The Farnsworth Invention last year and Frost/Nixon earlier this season.  The story was based in real events and the connection with the Chicago of the late 1920s is palpable.  The comedy was  non-stop  and action-packed with an ensemble that filled the stage with the excitement of a newspaper reporters' room.  The ensemble of actors was excellent with P. J. Powers and Terry Hamilton outstanding in the central roles of Hildy Johnson and Walter Burns.  I enjoyed the performance from the moment I sat down in the theater in the round setting till the last phone stopped ringing on stage.  This has been a great season at TimeLine, but I think they left the best for last.  The season is ending with a classic newspaper comedy that is simply a blast!

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