Category: NightBlue Performing Arts

Rev‪iew: Bullets Over Broadway (NightBlue Performing Arts)

Amanda Farmer stars in Bullets Over Broadway, NightBlue Performing Arts            


Bullets Over Broadway
Adapted by Woody Allen
   from screenplay by Douglas McGrath
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Oct 8  |  tix: $27-$35  |  more info    
Check for half-price tickets   

September 25, 2017 | 0 Comments More

Review: Mary Poppins (Nightblue Performing Arts Company)

Kyrie Anderson, Sage Harper, Liam Dahlborn and Ryan Dooley in Mary Poppins, Nightblue          

Mary Poppins

By Richard M. and Robert B. Sherman
George Stiles, Anthony Drewe, Julian Fellowes 
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Mar 27  |  tix: $25-$37 |  more info 
Half-price tickets available  

March 6, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Clemente – The Legend of 21 (NightBlue Performing Arts and ArtoCarpus)

Modesto Lacén stars in NightBlue Performing Arts and ArtoCarpus' "Clemente: The Legend of 21," written and directed by Luis Caballero, music by Harold Gutierrez. (photo credit: Drew Peterson)        
   The Legend of 21

Written and Directed by Luis Caballero  
Music by Harold Gutierrez
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Sept 14  |  tickets: $35   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

August 24, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Songs for a New World (NightBlue Performing Arts)

Curtis Bannister stars as Man 1 in NightBlue Performing Arts' "Songs for a New World" by Jason Robert Brown, directed by David Walters. (photo credit: Drew Peterson)        
Songs for a New World

Written by Jason Robert Brown  
Directed by David Walters
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru March 30  |  tickets: $25-$35   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

March 15, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: Jacob Marley’s Christmas Carol (NightBlue Performing Arts, 2013)

Adrian Garcia and Elissa Newcorn star as Scrooge and Bogle in NightBlue Theater's "Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol" by Tom Mula, directed by Molly Burns.        
Jacob Marley’s
    Christmas Carol

Written by Tom Mula 
Directed by Molly Burns
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Dec 15  |  tickets: $22-$25   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
                   Read review

November 28, 2013 | 1 Comment More

Review: Monty Python’s Spamalot (NightBlue Performing Arts)

NightBlue Performing Arts Company presents "Monty Python's Spamalot" by Eric Idle and John Du Prez, directed by David E. Walters, playing through October 6th at Stage 773 Chicago.        

Written by Eric Idle and John Du Prez
Directed by David E. Walters
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Oct 6  |  tickets: $30-$35   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

September 8, 2013 | 0 Comments More

Review: Avenue Q (NightBlue Theater)

Adam Fane as Princeton, in NightBlue Performing Arts' "Avenue Q", directed by David E. Walters.        
Avenue Q 

Music/Lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx
Book by Jeff Whitty 
Directed by David E. Walters  
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
thru Oct 14   |  tickets: $27-$30   |  more info
Check for half-price tickets 
        Read entire review

September 25, 2012 | 1 Comment More

REVIEW: Little Women: the Musical (NightBlue Theater)


NightBlue struggles to mold staid story into musical drama



NightBlue Performing Arts Company presents
Little Women: the Musical
Created by Allan Knee (book),
Jason Howland (music) & Mindi Dickstein (lyrics)
Directed by
Paul Packer
Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
through Dec 19  |  tickets: $15-$30   |  more info

Reviewed by Keith Ecker

I will admit that I am no fan of the gamut of early to mid-19th century Western literature. I know it’s a sweeping generalization. But there’s something about the pre-Victorian and Victorian novelists that I just find grating. The novel was a novel concept at the time, sweeping the civilized world. Love stories mixed with polite social satire reigned supreme. But to me, it all seems like the imaginings of an overemotional teenager. There’s a reason why Jane Austen‘s “Emma” works so well in its “Clueless” incarnation.

Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women would easily serve as a parody of this type of literature if it didn’t take itself so seriously. It’s got all the conventions: A young woman with a big dream, strange love affairs, an expansive world that magically seems to be populated with only the work’s characters. Is it really believable that two people in Concord are going to meet up in Italy? Mind you this is without the luxury of cell phones and GPS tracking devices.

In any case, these are flaws with the story, which NightBlue Theater has no control over. Nor does the company have much say in the rather uninspiring songs in the novel’s staged musical version. Still, the decision to produce a play that’s as interesting as sandpaper does fall on NightBlue’s head.

Little Women really is a drama without much drama. Young girls grow into women, people fall in love and someone dies of scarlet fever. And the fact that it takes nearly two-and-a-half hours for NightBlue to tell this story only adds to the complete lack of dramatic tension.

The story of Little Women concerns the March sisters. The protagonist is Jo (Erin O’Shea), a precocious and peppy young woman with big New York dreams. She pens stories of swashbucklers and bloodshed in the hopes of attracting the attention of the popular magazines. Jo has three sisters: Beth (Julia Macholl), Meg (Karyn Dawidowicz) and Amy. The most notable of Jo’s sisters is Amy, played by Linda Rudy, who serves as Jo’s adversary. Jealous of Jo’s beauty and blossoming womanhood, Amy attempts to thwart Jo at every turn, particularly when she tosses one of Jo’s literary works into the fire.

The neighbor boy, Laurie (Shaun Nathan Baer), befriends the girls and quickly falls in love with Jo. When he collects the courage to propose, Jo rejects him. Although it breaks his heart, he eventually finds love elsewhere.

NightBlue is billing the production as a Christmas play. And although the holiday does serve as an occasional backdrop, it’s a bit of a stretch to say Little Women is up there with Miracle on 34th Street (which is coincidentally also up at Stage 773). I also think that their target audience of little girls (they were raffling off a chance to win an American Girl doll the night I went) is a bit of a misfire. Even with musical interludes to break up the monotony of the story, the play drags too long for a child’s attention span. Director Paul E. Packer could omit some scenes and no one would object.

All this said, accolades must be paid to two of the play’s standout performers. O’Shea is put through an endurance test, singing in nearly half of the play’s pieces. She displays her talent as both a superb vocalist and a convincing actress.

Rudy is exceptionally irritating as Amy, which I intend as a compliment given that Amy is supposed to be exceptionally irritating. Rudy adds genuineness to Amy’s huffy, pouty demeanor without crossing over into caricature. You know the antagonist does a good job when you find yourself wanting to reprimand her from your seat.

If you’re a huge Louisa May Alcott fan, you may enjoy this musical version of Little Women. Otherwise, the slow pacing and tame story may just lull you into hibernation.

Rating: ★★½



November 30, 2010 | 0 Comments More