Saturday, May 5, 2012
Friday, April 20, 2012
HAIRSPRAY is running at the Drury Lane Theatre, 100 Drury Lane through June 17, 2012. The performance schedule is as follows: Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. ($35), Thursdays at 1:30 p.m. ($35) and 8 p.m. ($40), Fridays at 8:30 p.m. ($45), Saturdays at 5 p.m. ($45) and 8:30 p.m. ($46) and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. ($45) and 6 p.m. ($40). Lunch and dinner theater packages range from $49.75 tp $68 depending on the day of the week. Group rates for Student tickets start as low as $20 and Senior Citizen tickets start as low as $30 for matinees and $44.75 for a matinee lucheon package. For reservations, call the Drury Lane Theatre box office at 630.530.0111. call TicketMaster at 800.745.3000. or visit www.drurylaneoakbrook.com.
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE is presented at The Marriott Theatre, 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire, IL opened August 13th and is running though June 10th. The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 p.m., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., and Sundays at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. Ticket Prices range from $41 to $49, plus tax and handling fees. Seniors and students recieve $5.00 off a full price theatre ticket on Wednesdays at 1:00 p.m.., Saturdays at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings a limited number of Dinner and Theatre tickets are available for $55.00 per person plus handling fees. Dinner is at Kings Wharf Restaurant or the Fairfield Inn (based on dining availability). Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets with a major credit card. call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or www.Ticketmaster.com. Visit www.MarriottTheatre.com for more information.
Friday, April 13, 2012
Friday, March 16, 2012
The show makes a strong case for the amount of Irish influences in flamenco dancing as performed in
Sunday, January 29, 2012
The performance schedule is Wednesdays at 1:00 pm and 8:00pm, Thursdays and Fridays at 8:00 pm, Saturday at 4:30 pm and 8:00 pm, and Sundays at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. Ticket prices range from $40 to $48, plus tax and handling fees. Seniors and students receive $5.00 off a full price theater ticket on Wednesday at 1:00 pm, Saturday at 4:30 pm and Sunday at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm. On Wednesday and Thursday evenings a limited number of Dinner and Theatre tickets are available for $55.00 per person plus handling fees. Dinner is at Kings Wharf Restaurant or the Fairfield Inn (based on dining availability). Free parking is available at all performances. To reserve tickets with a major credit card, call the Marriott Theater Box Office at 847.634.0200 or www.TicketMaster.com. Visit www.MarriottTheater.com for more information.
Saturday, January 14, 2012
The World Premiere of CLUTTER received rave reviews. The Los Angeles Times selected the play for the “Critic’s Choice” Award stating, “This examination of the Collyer brothers—the world’s most famous packrats—is shamelessly entertaining… richly comic… brilliant.”The Hollywood Reporter raved that “CLUTTER is charming [and] delightful… wise, generous and witty.”KABC enthused that CLUTTER is “a riveting play… As a study in bizarre behavior and obsession, the play is engaging and engrossing… hilarious… an intoxicatingly theatrical milieu… scores a clean dramatic sweep.”
CLUTTER is based on the compelling true story of the wealthy, reclusive Collyer brothers whobecame hoarders in their Fifth Avenue mansion in 1920s Harlem. After years of compulsive collecting, the brothers have become notorious shut-ins in their aristocratic New York neighborhood. Langley Collyer is missing and Homer Collyer is found dead amongst floor-to-ceiling piles of newspapers, books, and junk. The police investigating the case, two brothers with a strained relationship mirroring that of the Collyers, are simultaneously making discoveries about themselves. Narrated by the brothers and the police investigating the bizarre case, this darkly fascinating tale is a poignant and profound exploration of human behavior.
There will be a talkback session immediately following the performances every other Thursday evening beginning on January 19. Dr. Scott Kaplan, an Illinois licensed clinical psychologist, will facilitate talkbacks to address questions about hoarding and other themes addressed in the play.
CLUTTER stars Andrew J. Pond as “Langley Collyer” (Metropolis, Citadel, Piccolo, Redtwist, Blue Heron, and Circle Theatre); Northwestern and University of Chicago graduate Edward Kuffert as “Homer Collyer” (Center Stage, City Lit, Inconceivable, Halcyon, Hubris, GroundUp, Big Noise, Citadel, and Jeff nominated as “Danforth” inThe Crucible at Infamous Commonwealth); Joe Mack as “Sgt. Reilly Dolan”; and Michael Jay Bullaro as “Patrolman Keven Dolan” (Goodman, Citadel, and Harper Theatre Ensemble). The production also features Jeff Award winner Stephen M. Genovese (former Artistic Director of Bohemian Theatre Company and Tim Walsh.
The artistic team for CLUTTER is led by director Wayne Mell who has been Managing Director at Citadel since 2009, most recently directingSomething’s Afoot (which starred CLUTTER leads Andrew J. Pond and Edward Kuffert). Mell began his directing career in 1976, receiving the Talented Student Scholarship from Northern Illinois University, going on to continue his study of directing at Victory Gardens, as well as improvisation at The Second City. He continued to direct at Citadel, Attic Playhouse, and Bailiwick Repertory’s Director’s Festival.
Sound Design is by Bob Boxer, Lighting Design is by Matthew R. Godlewski, Properties Design is by Mary Odowd and Set Design is by Andrei Onegin.
Playwright Mark Saltzman, who began his career writing forThe Muppets with Jim Henson, is the winner of seven Emmy Awards for his work onSesame Street. He has also been nominated for the Writer’s Guild Award and five L.A. Ovation Awards, including Best Musical. Notable works includeA, My Name is Alice; The Tin Pan Alley Rag; Romeo and Bernadette; andMr. Shaw Goes to Hollywood. His work has been shown at Laguna Playhouse, The Ballroom, Soho Rep, 13th Street Theater, Village Gate, Pasedena Playhouse, Goodspeed, The Cleveland Playhouse, Florida’s Maltz Jupiter Theatre, New York’s Roundabout Theatre Company, Miami’s Coconut Grove Playhouse, and New Jersey’s Paper Mill Playhouse.Film credits include Disney, Showtime, SONY, and Universal, includingMrs. Santa Claus (starring Angela Lansbury), The Adventures of Milo and Otis,Three Ninjas Kick Back, and The Red Sneakers. Years after being scolded by his mother, who referred to him as a Collyer brother for having a messy room, Saltzman’s research on the famous hoarders inspired him to write CLUTTER.
Opening at the Lookingglass Theatre Company tonight and playing though February 19th 2012 located inside Chicago's historic Water Tower Water Works is the new play "Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting: written by Ed Schmidt and directed by ensemble member J. Nicole Brooks.
Baseball’s Opening Day is one week away, and Branch Rickey, General Manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, will call up Jackie Robinson to break the color-barrier and play as the Major League’s first black ballplayer. If he agrees, Robinson will face loud and heated opposition from virtually every owner, manager, and player in baseball – and it won’t be a cakewalk with the fans, either. Who will be his allies be if he makes the most daring and important play of his life?
Mr. Rickey Calls a Meeting features Artistic Associates Kevin Douglas (Clancy Hope) and Anthony Fleming III (Joe Louis), Javon Johnson (Jackie Robinson), James Vincent Meredith (Paul Robeson), Larry Neumann, Jr. (Branch Rickey) and Ernest Perry (Bill "Bojangles" Robinson).
Award-winning Ensemble Member J. Nicole Brooks (Black Diamond, Fedra: Queen of Haiti) directs this dazzling fast-ball script by Ed Schmidt. When 1947’s biggest African American personalities – baseball great-to-be Jackie Robinson, boxer Joe Louis, entertainer Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, actor and activist Paul Robeson – meet, ideas and ideals clash and sparks fly, and America’s national pastime will never be the same.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Friday, December 23, 2011
The one thing this national tour has going for it is a sensational full out top of the line Diva performance by Broadway veteran Christopher Sieber as Albin/Zaza. Mr. Sieber channels everything into his performance playing the laughs at full hilt, the drama with complete conviction, and the
Sadly the same can not be said by headliner George Hamilton who plays his role with a breezy attitude that almost comes across as sleep walking.
La Cage Aux Folles is playing at The Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe from December 23rd, though January 1st tickets can be purchased though the
website at www.broadwayinchicago.com
Thursday, October 27, 2011
I was at the store today and found it
extremely odd that right next to all the Halloween candy and costumes
there were Christmas decorations out. In this seasonal mash up it
made me forget that from Halloween to Christmas there is still an
entire month between them. In the Marriott's production of Irving
Berlin's “White Christmas” that opened last night the thought of
that time period looms over an otherwise enjoyable production.
The show which played in an opulent but
hollow production that played at Bank of America theater last year
seems to have found the heart at the expense of the physical
In the Marriott's production things Rod
Thomas and Andrew Lupp add warmth, charm, and robust singing voices
to their roles of Bob Wallace and Phil Davis. Mr. Thomas scores
particularly with the classic ballad “Count Your Blessings Instead
of Sheep” while Mr. Lupp leads a showstopping dance number to “I
Love a Piano.”
As the sisters Betty and Judy Haynes,
Stephanie Binetti and Tammy Mader sound beautilful together even if
their roles aren't as fleshed out as the men in the show.
In yet another scene stealing role
Alene Robertson proves that there is simply no one else who can
delivery a line with deadpan ferocity and still belt “Let Me Sing
and I am Happy”with power and her trademark gutso.
The rest of the cast handles the Babes
in Arms story of let's put on a show with comedic shots and great
dancing. The costumes done with the usual intelligence and style by
Nancy Missimi are excellent and the direction and choreography by
Marc Robin is nothing but first rate all the way.
Even though as the show ended and we
walked into the October night it still made you imagine that it was
winter time instead of fall.
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Thanks for the memories seem to be the theme running though “For the Boys,” a new musical based on 1991 film which starred Bette Midler and James Caan that opened at the Marriott Theatre this past Friday night. Marriott is presenting the World Premiere of this musical and there are many things in this production there are also several things that one might wish had been explored a little bit more to eally provide a satisfying show. For the Boys follows the story of 1940s big-band inger Dixie Leonard played here with comedic ease and a big powerhouse voice by Michele Ragusa who along with America's premier entertainer Eddie Sparks played with comedic flair in a thankless role by Timothy Gulan,who became America's ouple entertaining the troops in times of war and peace.
Though out the 30 year time span we see Dixie and Eddie fight, joke, and sing a lot of songs together, the script is well put together provide character depth for the most part
and an abundance of some great liners. The role of Eddie Sparks seems to suffer however from the creators not knowing how to sculpt his journey along with Dixie, he's either a jerk or a great guy and at times both. It's hard for the audience to get behind him with an outline instead of an actual character. The other issue I had with the show was with all the time and energy devoted this could have been a great show with an original score. So much of the show seemed like it was willing to soar and then the music would start and the show felt grounded. The creators are smart to provide us with a classic score but with a story this rich and interesting it could
have been so much better with a score that was original and appropriate to the time otherwise it gives off a why bother feeling to the proceedings. The cast is excellent particularly Anne Gunn as Loretta Brooks, who opens the 2nd act with a belty showstopper “That's Loyalty” and sparkles though out the show.
The direction and choregraphy by Marc Robin are top notch and the costume design by Nancy Missimi is at the usual top level. With all the time, energy, and talent put into this production its a shame that the same couldn't be done about creating an original score that could have made this production soar when at best it plays on
For the Boys is playing at the Marriott Theater in Lincolnshire though October 16th. Ticket prices
range from $41 to $49 plus tax and handling fees. Seniors and Students receive $5.00 off a full price theater ticket on Wednesday 1:00pm, Saturday at 4:30 p.m. And Sundays at 1:00 and 5:00pm. To purchase tickets with a major credit card, call the Marriott Theatre Box Office at 847.634.0200 or Ticketmaster.com. Visithttp://www.marriotttheatre.com/
for more information.
Monday, August 22, 2011
In “The Student Prince” young love blossoms in Old Heidelberg as the betrothed heir to the throne goes off to a university, only to fall for a beautiful waitress in the local beer garden.
No this is not a plot to the latest National Lapoon film but actually the story that the 1924 Sigmund Romberg and Dorothy Donnelly operetta is based on and minus that small detail the rest of the show is structured with a glittering production by Light Opera Works that opened Saturday night at Cahn Auditorium and runs until August 28th.
In the German kingdom of Kalsberg, the young prince Karl Franz sung in glorious voice by William Bennett takes a year off from his impending marriage and ascension to the throne. In his travels he brings his lifelong confidant and educator, the kindly Doctor Engel, played by Bill Stone, who is the type of mentor anyone would want, who also happens to posses some power house pipes. Along for the ride and to the benefit of the production is Karl Franz's valet Lutz and his footman Hubert. As Hubert Mark Anderson has some delightful moments and would normally have much more singled out but opposite a scene chewing criminal such as Dale Benson as Lutz all is lost to him. A Chicago stage legend that I grew up with at the old Candlelight/Forum Theatre's Mr. Benson's knows just the right performing style for this type of show, taking each line and making it memorable. In the second and third act he's joined by Jody Goldman another pro at milking the right tone for these scenes, their work here a lesson in comedy.
In every Operetta there is a fiery soprano and here she is played by Danielle M. Knox, looking very similar to Chicago actress Susan Moniz, she inhabits here role with warmth and charm and enough trills to impress the audience. One wishes she was just a little bit stronger of a fiery presence to see why everyone in the town in captivated by her but those are small potatoes compared to everything. The other female lead of Princess Margaret is played with grace and dignity by Stephanie Stockstill.
The rest of the principals and large chorus handle everything with precision and ease from the 26 member orchestra that's conducted with expertise by Roger L. Bingaman, who makes you feel like he has a strong handle on some difficult music.
The pacing and the sequences of the show felt like they could have been snapped up a bit but overall the direction by Rudy Hogenmiller is solid, he also manages to pull off the difficult task of making a show that could be stuffy and slightly out of place and is able to make it entertaining and relate able to a contemporary audience.
It's interesting to note that the show was the longest running show on Broadway in the 1920s, beating the far more popular and much more enduring musical Show Boat. It's a joy that Light Opera Works took this piece on and presented it as its not done around here anymore and I commend them for putting together a wonderful production with some of the best resources at their disposal.
LIGHT OPERA WORKS presents The Student Prince Opening Saturday August 20th and playing Sunday August 21st at 2pm, Wednesday the 24th at 2pm, Friday the 26 at 8pm, Saturday the 27th at 8pm and Sunday the 28th at 2pm. It's playing at the Cahn Auditorium at 600 Emerson Street, Evanston, Il with tickets on the Main Floor for $48, $68, $77, and $92, The Balcony for $32, $48, $68, $77 ages 21 and younger half price.
Tickets can be order by either calling (847) 869-6300 or though the website at http://www.lightoperaworks.com/
As a completely unrelated note I did keep thinking while watching “The Student Prince” how I would kill to see a production of Alan Jay Lerner and Kurt Weill's rarely done “Love Life” and possibly a revival of “Lady in the Dark” with Mary Ernster as Liza, other classic shows that bridge the gap from Musical Theater to Opera. I know Light Opera Works has tackled “Lady in the Dark” before but with America's obsession with exploring there dreams might off set the woman are only happy with the right man aspects. As “Love Life” a show that has been done only a few times spans the American Dream's 150 years, if they could at all pair that up with Leonard Bernstein's “1600 Pennsylvania Avenue,” another problematic show with stunning music, people from all around would come.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I will always have a special place in my heart for the following Idol women: Jennifer Hudson, Carrie Underwood, Katharine McPhee, Carly Smithson, Allison Iraheta, Crystal Bowersox, and Haley Reinhart but none of them will ever equal my love for The Lady Clarkson as I like to name her because she is simply fantastic. I even went as far as to join the Kelly Clarkson fan club to show my love for her, well that and they also offered premium seats for her concerts and I got to tell everyone I am a member of the Kelly Clarkson fan club. Which surprisingly doesn't get you the dates that you'd expect it too and allows many people to mock a thirty something just because he dares show his love for Ms. Kelly Clarkson.
Anyhoo, in the midst of my weekend depression, not to be confused with my weekday depression, they are in separate categories of course I found “unreleased” tracks that are supposedly going on Kelly's fifth studio disc. I have heard that in the past when her songs have leaked they are instantly removed from consideration from her album, however I hope that with some of these that thought is reconsidered as both the song and her delivery deserve a professional release. I'm not going to include links to these songs as you can find them with a little help from google but I will review them as they were leaked.
“Dumb + Dumb = You” - Yes that is the actual title of the song, and if there is anyone in music today that can sell a title like that it's Kelly Clarkson. If you don't believe me just look at “My Life Would Suck Without You” too understand. From the opening guitar riffs to the moment that Kelly's voice starts off seductively and then builds, you know this is not the type of song your expecting. Like most Clarkson songs she starts with a slow burn that builds into a catchy chorus that finds the listener singing along and getting to tell off an ex when they never had the actual chance too. No one tells off an ex like Ms. Clarkson can.
“I Forgive You” - The opening sounds almost have a kazoo sound to them with Kelly starting off “I forgive you, I forgive me, now when do I start feeling again” in a simple tone until the chorus bursts out with her pleading that the damage is done and they need to feel again. To describe this song is not enough, this is one where you not only have to listen to it once but several times to feel the hook, but once your hooked you can't get enough. This quiet simply could be single material from her.
“Let Me Down” - With the opening strains you think you're getting a song that has been played before and then with the opening lyrics of “I think I might be a fortune teller, I read your face just like a letter, the funny thing about forever, is that it comes with a side of never never” you think you're going to get a crappy B-side song, that is until Kelly lets loose on the chorus and proves that any of her songs could be a single based purely on vocal capability. She goes further in the song building and building until she unleashes a “I Know by Know” that ranks up there with the power of her “Behind These Hazel Eyes” or “Because of You” as sheer Clarkson bombast. This is the type of song only someone with the vocal power of Kelly Clarkson could make work and she makes it work.
“What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger” - Starting off with a sound that reminds you of Coldplay and then going into an intro that is strictly Kelly. It has one of those you think you got the best of me, you think you got the last laugh and then unleashes into the trademark I will survive deliveries that Kelly is famous for. Gloria Gaynor had to tell us that “I will Survive” while Kelly can do it with her voice and delivery alone. She makes this into an anthem on delivery alone, she builds from the soft passages to the full out powerbelting that she is known for. The magic about Ms. Clarkson that I think is missed is that she's able to bring emotion to her voice in a way that I think is missing with most of the current singers. This could be one of those kiss off anthem songs that everyone knows only if the music bigwigs decided to release it that way.
Those were the songs that have been leaked within the past few days I'm also going to include a few songs that I've found and hope are included in her fifth studio release.
“Empty Handed” – Starting off with the strains of an acoustic guitar followed by the da,da's you think you're going to get a simple song but with Ms. Clarkson any simple song starts out and then builds to a full out singalong chorus to the strains of “You took me for granted, I don't understand it, when looking for answers I came up empty handed, but don't worry about me I'm stronger then you think....” and there lays the magic of any Clarkson song. She will move on and get stronger no matter what her ex thinks and in reality isn't that we all want in life.
“Tell Me a Lie” - This is a tricking type of song. The first lines of the song make you think it's a song that's decent but not a great song, that is until you hear the lines “Your Words cut like a knife...then you get further into the song until the chorus where Kelly is pleading “tell me I'm a screwed up mess, that I never listen.... Until it blasts into full power chorus, which is the area that NO ONE will ever be able to beat Kelly vocally. This is one of those songs that comes to life during the choruses but once it's alive it won't die. She sells this song all the way.
It's unclear at this point which if any of these songs will make her fifth studio disc and if history is any indication the fact that these have now been made public will decrease their chances of making it. It is a shame because these are in the context of pop music pretty good songs that is anything so off the power of Kelly's vocals and her delivery and should be included on her next studio disc. If for nothing else then as bonus tracks so we can have even more unreleased tracks to go along with these leaked tracks.
As a side note I do have to mention Kelly's killer version of the White Stripes song “Seven Nation Army” that she performed at an event for Coca Cola earlier this summer. She starts off with simple jazz tones that makes the non-Clarkson fans think the song is too big for her, and that's where she unleashes the vocal beast that we love her for. She builds the song until she's belting up a storm and is simply is a vocal powerhouse that can't be bettered by anyone.
The days of summer are long, tedious, and draining but those are words that I could never use to describe anything about Marriott Lincolnshire blistering production of “Shout! The Mod Musical” that opened up earlier in July and would have been reviewed much sooner if I didn't have a birthday and computer hacker at the same time.
The last time “Shout!” was done it was more of a meek whimper then the Marriott's production which seems to be saying we're sorry for coming out with a whisper and to make up for it we're going to “Sell it Girls.” Which works as this show pays homage to the 60's a decade with some of the most irresistible girl singers and groups that ever existed in the first place. You give anyone today the music from this era and how can they not shine with these songs. From anything to Jessie Muller's perfectly modulated “How Can I Be Sure,” Tammy Mader's defiant “These Boots are Made for Walking,” to Raena Whites belted out take on the title tune these are fresh delivery’s on classic songs staged to perfection by Rachel Rockwell who is becoming the director of Chicago musical theater.
My only complaint about this entire production and it has nothing really to do with “Shout” I just wish Marriott would spend more time doing book musicals then revues but that is a small complaint especially on a show that fulfills in so many other ways. Their production of “Shout! The Mod Musical” is as loud and strong as any of their other revues and a great way to get over the Chicago heatwave.
Shout! continues through Aug 14 at the Marriott Lincolnshire Theatre, 10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire. Tickets are $41 – $49. For more info, go to www.marriotttheatre.com or call 847-634-0200.