Chris Jones, longtime chief theater critic and Sunday culture columnist of the Chicago Tribune,, joins us for a conversation with Michael Halberstam, Artistic Director of Writers Theatre in Glencoe, for a discussion of Jones' new book, Rise Up!: Broadway and American Society from 'Angels in America' to 'Hamilton.' Penned by one of America's best-known daily theater critics and organized chronologically, Rise Up! tells the story of Broadway's renaissance from the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, via the disaster that was Spiderman: Turn off the Dark through the unparalleled financial, artistic and political success of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton.
It is the story of the embrace of risk and substance. Jones makes the point that theater thrived by finally figuring out how to embrace the bold statement and insert itself into the national conversation - only to find out in 2016 that a hefty sector of the American public had not been listening to what it had to say.
Chris Jones [writes] cogently and intelligently in a fashion that is easy to read and understand. In fact, this is a real page turner." --British Theatre Guide
"Some critics get it right, some critics get it wrong, but Chris Jones is one of the only critics who consistently reviews all shows trying to be helpful to its creators so they can put right what is wrong.
Chris brings his formidable analytical skills to examining the theatrical tissue and political discourse that has led to the spectacular rebirth of the American play and musical on Broadway. A hugely informative resume of the rise up over the last 25 years of the American theatre from "Angels in America" to "Hamilton." It puts you into the room as it happened." --Cameron Mackintosh, theatrical producer
Chris Jones is the longtime chief theater critic and Sunday culture columnist of the Chicago Tribune, where he has been on staff since 2002. Throughout the 1990s, he covered Broadway and its tours for Variety. He is author of Bigger, Brighter, Louder: 150 Years of Chicago Theater (2013) and his work has appeared often in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and many other publications. Jones read Drama at the University of Hull, UK, and has a PhD from The Ohio State University. In 2011, Jones was named by American Theater magazine as one of the most influential theater critics in America. In 2014, he became the director of the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center's National Critics Institute in Waterford, Connecticut. Jones is a winner of the George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism, the most prestigious honour for drama critics in the United States.
Michael Halberstam is the Founding Artistic Director of Writers Theatre. Through his vision and drive, he has turned a company performing in the ante-room of a Glencoe bookstore in 1992 into a major cultural destination with a national reputation for excellence and has raised Glencoe's national profile in the process. The Wall Street Journal called Writers Theatre the top regional theatre in the nation. In 2016 the company successfully opened a beautiful award winning new theatre designed by Jeanne Gang of Studio Gang architects on Tudor Court that stands as a testament to both great theatre and great architecture. Mr. Halberstam's many awards include citations from The Chicago Drama League, The Arts & Business Council of Chicago, Chicago Lawyers for the Creative Arts, and The Chicago Associates of the Stratford Festival. He was named the Chicago Tribune's 2013 "Chicagoan of the Year" for Theater, and received the 2010 Zelda Fichandler Award from SDC (the stage directors and choreographers union), the 2013 Artistic Achievement Award from the League of Chicago Theatres, the 2016 Award of Honor from the Illinois Theatre Association, and a 2016 award from the Joseph Jefferson Award Committee for outstanding accomplishments and contributions to Chicagoland theatre.
Penned by one of America's best-known daily theatre critics and organized chronologically, this lively and readable book tells the story of Broadway's renaissance from the darkest days of the AIDS crisis, via the disaster that was Spiderman: Turn off the Dark through the unparalleled financial, artistic and political success of Lin-Manuel Miranda's Hamilton.