Tag: William Ivey Long

Review: Tootsie the Musical (Broadway in Chicago)

0 Santino Fontana with Drew King, Leslie Donna Flesner, Sissy Bell, and John Arthur Greene    

  

  

Tootsie
 
Music and lyrics by David Yazbek
Book by Robert Horn
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru Oct 14  |  tix: $35-$105  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

October 1, 2018 | 0 Comments More

Review: Bullets Over Broadway (Broadway in Chicago)

Kaylee Olson, Carissa Fiorillo and Elizabeth Dugas in Bullets Over Broadway, Broadway Chicago           
      

     
Bullets Over Broadway

Written by Woody Allen
Based on screenplay by Douglas McGrath
PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe (map)
thru May 1  |  tix: $19-$85   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

April 24, 2016 | 2 Comments More

Review: Cabaret (Broadway in Chicago)

Andrea Goss as Sally Bowles in Cabaret, Broadway Chicago          
      
   

Cabaret

By John Kander (music), Fred Ebb (lyrics)
    and Joe Masteroff (book)
PrivateBank Theatre, 18 W. Monroe (map)
thru Feb 21  |  tix: $25-$108  | more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   

February 15, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Merry Widow (Lyric Opera of Chicago)

Renée Fleming and Thomas Hampson star in Lyric Opera's "The Merry Widow," music by Franz Lehár, directed by Susan Stroman. (photo credit: Todd Rosenberg)          
      
The Merry Widow 

Music by Franz Lehár
Libretto by Viktor Léon and Leo Stein
Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker (map)
thru Dec 13  |  tix: $20-$249  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

November 19, 2015 | 0 Comments More

Review: Big Fish the Musical (Broadway in Chicago)

Norbert Leo Butz and Kate Baldwin star in Broadway in Chicago's "Big Fish" by Andrew Lippa and John August, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman. (photo credit: Paul Kolnik)       
      
Big Fish 

Music and Lyrics by Andrew Lippa
Book by John August
Directed and Choreographed by Susan Stroman
at Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph (map)
thru May 5  |  tickets: $33-$100   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 23, 2013 | 3 Comments More

Review: Catch Me If You Can (Broadway in Chicago)

Stephany Anthony stars as Frank Abagnale, Jr. in Broadway in Chicago's "Catch Me If You Can" by Terrence McNally, Scott Wittman and Marc Shaiman, directed by Jack O'Brien. (photo credit: Carol Rosegg)        
       
Catch Me If You Can 

By Terrence McNally (book), Scott Wittman (lyrics)
    and Marc Shaiman (music and co-lyrics)
Directed by Jack O’Brien
Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph (map)
thru April 14  |  tickets: $18-$85   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

April 4, 2013 | 2 Comments More

REVIEW: Dreamgirls (Broadway in Chicago)

Talented Cast Shimmers and Shines

 

dreamgirls3

Broadway in Chicago presents:

 

Dreamgirls

 

Book and Lyrics by Tom Eyen
Music by
Henry Krieger
Directed and Choreographed by
Robert Longbottom
thru January 31st (ticket info)

By Keith Ecker 

dreamgirls4 If there is one thing the stage production of Dreamgirls will always have over the film, it is the sequins. Video cannot convey the absolute beauty of the costumes that adorn the actresses, costumes that appear just as glittery as Bob Mackie’s most flamboyant creations. William Ivey Long gets a hat tip for costume design, which comes as no surprise considering the man is a veteran of Broadway. He’s won five of the 11 Tony nominations he’s received and is an inductee in the Theatre Hall of Fame, a hall that I am sure is just as glamorous as Long’s aesthetic sensibility.

Of course, Dreamgirls is more than just elegant gowns and flared pants—it’s about the singing. And this show, produced by Broadway in Chicago at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, definitely delivers. These actors can wail. From guttural growls that convey the rawest of emotions to controlled, sustained tones that capture the world-weariness of the characters, the Dreamgirls cast sports an impressive set of pipes.

The play is a fictional tale based on the true tribulations of such early R&B acts as the Supremes. At the opening, three female singers from Chicago, known as the Dreamettes, hope to get their big break at the legendary Apollo Theater in New York. Effie (Moya Angela) is the full-figured lead with an Aretha Franklin-like strength to her voice. Her friends Deena (Syesha Mercado) and Lorrell (Adrienne Warren) serve as her back up. Effie’s brother C.C. (Trevon Davis) writes all their music. The group doesn’t make the cut at the Apollo, but thanks to their newfound manager, Curtis (Chaz Lamar Shepherd), they get a 10-week touring gig backing up-and-comer Jimmy Early (Chester Gregory). Effie doesn’t take well to the idea of being second banana, but she goes along for the good of the group.

Curtis eventually spins the Dreamettes off into their own act, now known as the “Dreams”. Despite having a romantic relationship with Effie, he bumps her from lead for the more camera-friendly Deena, who Curtis then begins courting. Becoming increasingly agitated and unpredictable, Effie is replaced, leading to the musical’s famous torch song “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going.”

dreamgirls7 dreamgirls2
dreamgirls5 dreamgirls1

The Dreams wrestle with fame, Curtis continues his greed-induced destructive path and Effie must find herself after being forced to realize she is not the center of the universe. And did I mention the sequins?

Angela as Effie is brilliant. Her rendition of “And I’m Telling You I’m Not Going” is a showstopper. As she staggers, sways and belts out the tune during the complete and utter breakdown of Effie’s ego, your gut is as wrenched as your ears are pleasured.

Equally impressive is Gregory’s portrayal of Jimmy Early. The role is incredibly demanding, requiring superb vocal control, an impeccable sense of soul, physical endurance and strength and precise comedic timing. Gregory nails it, juggling all these attributes at once. A perfect example of this display of multi-talent takes place during the number “The Rap,” where Jimmy throws off all restraints and reclaims his sense of soul. For those unfamiliar with the play, I’d rather not spoil the scene, but I will say there’s ample dipping.

The set design is minimal, providing an open space for lots of jumping, jiving and sashaying. Most of the set is composed of five very tall video screens, which are used to full effect. At one point, a camera cleverly positioned above the stage displays a Busby Berkeley-style chorus number as if the performers were a cluster of synchronized swimmers.

There were a few sound issues. During the first act, mics were set too low and sometimes cut out. There was also a technical gaff during the reprise of “Cadillac Car.” But such issues aren’t likely to recur.

Beautiful both visually and aurally, Broadway in Chicago’s production of Dreamgirls is sure to please both the casual theatergoer and the diehard musical fanatic.

Rating: ★★★★

dreamgirls6

 

 

January 20, 2010 | 4 Comments More