The Winning Streak | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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The Winning Streak

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As a commercial commodity, Lee Blessing's play is pure Tuesdays With Morrie: a heart-tugging, easily tourable star vehicle about the bond between two men of different generations. As a work of art, however, it's the anti-Morrie. There's no impish Jewish Buddha here dispensing wisdom. Only Omar Carlyle, a retired MLB umpire whose quiet dissipations are interrupted by a visit from the full-grown result of a one-night stand. Omar's boozy white-trash proclivities wouldn't work for Morrie star Harold Gould, but they suit Robert Breuler fine. The unhealthiest-looking man in show business, Breuler turns his breathy, drawn-out pronunciation of "Milwaukee" into an occasion for comedy, deep sadness, and not a little medical concern. The ending is unadulterated wish fulfillment, but Breuler (performing opposite the unremarkable Matthew Brumlow) makes it matter. Through 7/16: Wed 7:30 PM, Fri 8 PM, Sat 5 and 8:30 PM, Sun 3 and 7 PM, Thu 6/29, 7:30 PM, Sun 7/2, 3 PM only, Apple Tree Theatre, 595 Elm, Highland Park, 847-432-4335, $35-$45.

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