In the fall of 1992, the relatively young, at six years, and far-from-institutional Lookingglass Theatre Company opened up a storefront production of “The Arabian Nights,” and the even younger publication Newcity sent one of its junior critics, Chris Jones, to see the play. He raved. The play became a breakaway hit that set the course in many ways for what Lookingglass has become. Newcity’s first senior editor Nate Lee penned a cover story that November, as the production moved from the confines of Chicago Filmmakers to the larger space inhabited by Remains Theatre. In the process of reporting, he insisted I see it and took me along. It was unforgettable, and probably had much to do with our growing and sustained commitment to theater coverage. (Though in fairness, Nate’s passion for Chicago theater, or theatre, as he insisted, from our very first issues set the pace from day one.)
In honor of the revisiting of “The Arabian Nights” currently underway at Lookingglass, we’ve posted both Chris’ original review and Nate’s cover story, for your contemplation. And, of course, here’s our review of the current production by Dennis Polkow. So how does it hold up, all these years later? I’ve yet to revisit it myself, but Chris Jones, now writing for the Tribune, says it’s even better. (Brian Hieggelke)
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