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Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)

By Chicagotheaterbeat @chitheaterbeat


Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)

Love, Loss and What I Wore

Written by Nora and Delia Ephron
Based on the book by llene Beckerman
Directed by Karen Carpenter 
at Broadway Playhouse, 175 E. Chestnut (map)
thru Oct 23  |  tickets: $68-$78  |  more info

Check for half-price tickets 

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Turning complex, multi-layered women into stereotypes


Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)

Broadway in Chicago presents


Love, Loss and What I Wore

Review by Catey Sullivan 

If you liked Menopause the Musical, you’ll probably love Love, Loss and What I Wore. The two have much in common, primarily their ability to reduce complex, multi-layered subjects into lowest-common-denominator sexist stereotypes. According to the wisdom shared in LL&WIW, women spend their lives preoccupied with their wardrobes, their primary concern bring the daily conviction that “I have nothing to wear”, obsessed with their weight and living in a narrow world of gender clichés.

Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)
For roughly 90 minutes, this “intimate collection of stories” written by Delia and Nora Ephron (based on the book by Ilene Beckerman) address the life-defining tyranny of dressing rooms, purses and the dismal plight of the larger woman (with all the fat jokes being delivered by the cast’s sole woman of size). What Love, Loss and What I Wore offers is a portrait of women as defined not by what they do but what they wear.

Directed by Karen Carpenter, the piece also seemed woefully under-rehearsed opening night, with the five-person cast frequently flubbing their lines, even though they were all seated with script in hand (or rather, on a music stand in front of them). As for that cast, it was a case of the material being shamefully beneath the women delivering it.

Tony nominee Felicia P. Fields, Nora Dunn and Barbara Robertson may be among the bedrock female talents in Chicago, but there’s just not a lot they can do with material that reduces women to the sum of their closets. Joined by Katie O’Brien (whose bio claims she has the “enviable ability to just make about anything funny.” Not this script, honey.) and the appealing Roni Geva, the group deliverers vignettes about prom dresses, Madonna, bra shopping, shoes and the trauma of clueless parents who made them wear “outfits” in the era of bellbottoms.

There are, perhaps, about 10 minutes worth of emotionally resonant text within this litany of superficialities. O’Brien has a poignant memory about giving a closet full of mini-skirts to the Good Will after being raped. An earlier piece about a bathrobe twined to the memory of a parent who died is also rich with depth and feeling.

Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)
Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)

Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)
Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)

But those two small pieces aren’t enough to sustain this minimalist production. The core problem is the assumption built into the text of Love, Loss and What I Wore. It’s an assumption that some women – those who don’t derive fulfillment from a day at the mall followed up a “chick flick” at the multiplex –will find baffling and/or annoying. What the text assumes is that clothes are The Cultural Touchstone in a woman’s life; that a woman measures her life according to her wardrobe.

The books she’s read, or the schools she’s attended or the careers she’s assayed – they’re all secondary to soul-defining powers of the powder blue prom dress or the peach A-line. No matter how you dress it up, it’s a ridiculous, diminishing assumption.


Rating: ★★


Review: Love, Loss and What I Wore (Broadway in Chicago)

Broadway in Chicago’s Love, Loss and What I Wore continues through October 23rd at the Broadway Playhouse, 175 W. Chestnut (map), with performances Tuesday-Fridays at 7:30pm, Saturdays at 2pm and 8pm, and Sundays at 2pm. Tickets are $68-$78, and can be purchased by phone (800-775-2000) or online at More information at (Running time: approximately 90-minutes)




Nora Dunn, Felicia P. Fields, Barbara Robertson, Katie O’Brien, Roni Geva

behind the scenes

Karen Carpenter (director); Jo Winiarski (scenic); Nicole V. Moody (costumes); Jeff Croiter (lighing); Walter Trarbach (sound); Lucia Lombardi (stage manager)

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