Friday, March 16, 2012

RIVERDANCE at the Oriental Theatre

Back in 1994 when RIVERDANCE was first performed during the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest who would have ever thought that it would grow into such a world wide phenomem that along with a tour that doesn't ever seem to die includes recordings, and PBS specials.

The recent U.S. tour that opened March 13th at the Oriental Theatre and is playing for only eight performances here is being billed as the a goodbye to Chicago. Which makes one think will they never be allowed to perform here again? If anyone is caught Irish jig dancing or singing an Irish ditty if they would be arrested and thrown out of the city. Judging by the huge turnout and thunderous applause that simply will not do for the proud Irish Chicagoan's who flocked to see this production.

And flocked is the right word for a show that has played over 10, 000 performances, been seen love by over 22 million people in over 350 venues world wide, travelled 600, miles, played on television to over 2 billion people, sold over 3 million copies if a Grammy winning CD and sold over 10 million videos. Those are stats that even Rent and Wicked can't match.

The show makes a strong case for the amount of Irish influences in flamenco dancing as performed in
two sizzling solo's by Marita Martinez-Rey and with a show stopping tap routine from DeWitt Flemming Jr. and Michael E. Wood who besides stealing their scene from principle dancers James Greenan, Padraic Moyles, and Jason O'Neill had the audience eating out of the palm of their hands.

So much has been said about the dancing, the performers that attention must also be paid to the impressive 5 piece on stage band lead by Declan Masterson and a showstopping fiddle turn by Rose Duffy who is impressive enough in her solo pieces that any dancers would look like props to her.

The unfortunate aspect about this tour is that it is obviously a copy of a copy of a few other tours which most notable in the costume and set budget making the costumes look like they were borrowed from a high school production of “Brigadoon” and the projections at one point reminded me of a community theater production of The Wizard of Oz however those are small things for a show that seems to be beyond critic proof especially in a town that wears the pride of the Irish heavily on its sleave. This is a show that you leave your cares and worries along with your thoughts behind and just go and enjoy some amazing dancing.

Riverdance is playing at the Oriental Theatre for eight performances till Sunday March 18,. Individual tickets are currently on-sale now and ranger in price from $30-$85. Tickets are available at all Broadway in Chicago Box Offices (24 W. Randolph St., 18 W. Monroe St. and 75 E. Chestnut), the Broadway in Chicago Ticket Kiosk at Water Tower Place (845 N. Michigan Ave.), the Broadway In Chicago Ticket Line at (800) 775-2000, all Ticketmaster retail locations (including Hot Tix and select Carson Pirie Scott, Coconuts and fye stores), and online at Groups of 15 or more may receive a discount on most shows by calling (312) 977-1710. Gift certificates, which can be redeemed for any production or for season ticket packages, can be obtained at Broadway in Chicago box offices, or by calling Ticketmaster at (800) 775-2000.

For more information on RIVERDANCE visit

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