franlyHANK: 'Les Mis,' 'The Chi,' & 'Spielberg'

One of Broadway's best is back in Chicago and playing the Cadillac Palace Theatre thru October 29, 2017, "Les Miserables." This new production from Cameron Mackintosh of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg's Tony Award-winning musical is absolutely outstanding in every way. The darkness of the set and lighting set the tone. The sets are basic, but magnificent. The performances, especially by Nick Cartell who plays Jean Valjean and Josh Davis who plays Javert, are perfection. This was my first time seeing "Les Mis" and it met every expectation of what a true Broadway musical production can be. And it's a true musical, sung from beginning to end. Do yourself a favor and see "Les Mis," but hurry. Tickets are almost sold out. You can purchase at

Showtime has a new series debuting in January called "The Chi." It was created by Emmy Award winner and Chicagoan Lena Waithe and executive produced by academy award winner and Chicagoan Common. The show is shot completely on location here in Chicago and the trailer just out looks fantastic. Showtime describes the show as: "Kevin is the pre-teen who must step past shattered illusions and embrace the normal rites of childhood, while Brandon the dreamer makes his own nearly impossible leap of faith to succeed in life and love with girlfriend Jerrika. Emmett is the carefree teen is thrust into complex responsibility with guidance from his mother Jada, and Ronnie is the drifter whose struggle to love and be loved calls into question his every pursuit."
"The Chi" premieres on Showtime on Sunday, January 7, 2018.

Without a doubt, Steven Spielberg is considered one of the greatest film directors of all time. We learn so much about the man behind the films in the new HBO documentary, "Spielberg." Clocking in at a hefty two and a half hours, it's time well spent. From the creation of "Jaws" to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," to "Indiana Jones" to "Schindler's List" to "Lincoln" and "Saving Private Ryan." And those just scratch the surface. We learn about Spielberg's early years, his love of film and how he sneaked onto movie lots to learn how to be a filmmaker... and why he almost gave up after seeing "Lawrence of Arabia." This is a true look at the man and his work. "Spielberg" is on HBO, HBO On Demand, HBO Go and HBO Now.