Tag: Brianna Borger

Review: Parade (Writers Theatre)

Patrick Andrews and Brianna Borger star as Leo and Lucille Frank in Parade at Writers Theatre           
         

Parade
 
By Jason Robert Brown (music, lyrics)
     and Alfred Uhry (book)
Writers Theatre, Glencoe (map)
thru July 9  |  tix: $35-$80  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

June 12, 2017 | 2 Comments More

Review: The Christmas Schooner (Mercury Theater Chicago, 2016)

The Christmas Schooner presented by Mercury Theater Chicago 2016           
          

The Christmas Schooner

Book by John Reeger
Music/Lyrics by Julie Shannon
Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport (map)
thru Dec 31  |  tix: $30-$69  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
     

December 20, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: Evita (Marriott Theatre, 2016)

Samantha Pauly as Eva Perón in Evita at Marriott Theatre          
   

        
Evita

Music by Andrew Lloyd Webber
Lyrics by Tim Rice 
Marriott Theatre, Lincolnshire, IL (map)
thru June 5  |  tix: $50-$55  |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

April 29, 2016 | 2 Comments More

Review: Bye Bye Birdie (Drury Lane Theatre)

Jason Michael Evans stars as Conrad Birdie in Drury Lane Theatre's "Bye Bye Birdie" by Charles Strouse and Lee Adams, directed by Tammy Mader. (photo credit: Brett Beiner)          
      
   

Bye Bye Birdie

By Charles Strouse (music), Lee Adams (lyrics)
  and Michael Stewart (book)
Drury Lane Theatre, Oakbrook Terrace (map)
thru March 13  |  tix: $45-$60   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets   
    

January 24, 2016 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Christmas Schooner (Mercury Theater, 2014)

Stef Tovar, Brianna Borger and James Wilson Sherman star in Mercury Theater's 2014 production of "The Christmas Schooner" by John Reeger and Julie Shannon, directed by L. Walter Stearns.        
      
   
The Christmas Schooner

Book by John Reeger  
Music and Lyrics by Julie Shannon
Directed by L. Walter Stearns  
at Mercury Theater, 3745 N. Southport (map)
thru Dec 28  |  tickets: $25-$65   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
                   Read review 
    

December 6, 2014 | 0 Comments More

Review: A Little Night Music (Writers’ Theatre)

Shannon Cochran as Desiree Arnfeldt, Little Night Music, Writers Theatre Glencoe       
      
A Little Night Music 

Written by Stephen Sondheim (music/lyrics) 
      and Hugh Wheeler (book)
Directed by William Brown 
at Writers’ Theatre, Glencoe  (map)
thru July 8 July 22  |  tickets: $35-$70   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

May 12, 2012 | 0 Comments More

Review: The Secret Garden (Light Opera Works)

Sophie Thatcher is Mary Lennox - Secret Garden       
      
The Secret Garden 

Book and lyrics by Marsha Norman
Music by Lucy Simon  
Directed by Stacey Flaster 
at Cahn Auditorium, Evanston (map)
thru Jan 1  |  tickets: $32-$94   |  more info
       
Check for half-price tickets 
    
        
        Read entire review
     

December 28, 2011 | 1 Comment More

Review: The King and I (Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago)

     
     

Getting to love you

     
     

Brianna-Borger and Wayne Hu

  
Porchlight Music Theatre Chicago presents
  
The King and I
  
Written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Directed by L. Walter Stearns
Music Directed by Eugene Dizon
at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont (map)
through June 5  |  tickets: $35  |  more info

Reviewed by Lawrence Bommer

L. Walter Stearns’ final staging for Porchlight Music Theatre (he’s moving on to manage the Mercury Theatre) is a splendid swan song. Efficient but never merely dutiful, this tender-loving revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1951 treasure lets the talent on this stage honor the brilliance on the page. Despite lacking the budgets of Marriott Theatre’s 2000 revival or the most recent one at Drury Lane Oakbrook in 2007, Porchlight never allows less to be lacking.

Erik Kaiko as Lun Tha and Jillian Jocson as Tuptim - King and IBesides, look at what they’re working with! It’s rewarding how much the R & H musicals amplify each other, yielding a whole much bigger than its parts. In The King and I we see a British schoolteacher who changes the children around her and shapes the future through her enlightened tutelage of the Crown Prince of Siam. Anna Leonowens anticipates Maria Von Trapp, an Austrian governess who changes the children and around and escapes the present to pursue the sound of music. Likewise, Flower Drum Song carefully chronicles the cultural changes in a community. Above all, like South Pacific, King and I delivers an action lesson in tolerance. Anna and the King learn from each pother, he forbearance and humility before the facts of life, love and death, she the discipline and tradition required to keep a nation together and, more importantly, unconquered.

The closest comparison outside the R & H canon is, interestingly, Fiddler on the Roof: Both musicals deal with central characters coping with change during convulsive historical periods, desperate to preserve tradition (and power) while wryly accepting the future, as much on their terms as possible.

The King’s transformation (and, by implication, that of Siam) is accomplished in stunning songs like “Getting to Know You” and “Shall We Dance?” that win us over from the first note. Well worth the succession from Gertrude Lawrence to Deborah Kerr to Donna Murphy, Brianna Borger’s warmly engaging Anna brings quicksilver resilience and five different kinds of love to her widow, mother, tutor, confidante and lover. Her patter songs, “Shall I Tell You What I Think of You?,” crackles with contagious indignation and hard-core spunk. The first Asian I’ve seen playing the King, burly Wayne Hu stamps the King with wizard timing, wry irascibility and bedrock dignity. The fact that he’s no infallible leader only makes his aspirations to authority more poignant and less threatening.

It’s impossible to overpraise Jillian Anne Jocson’s lovely and lyrical Tuptim, enchanting in “I Have Dreamed” and “We Kiss in Shadow” with ardent Erik Kaiko as her doomed beloved, or Kate Garassino’s elegant Lady Thiang, wisdom wrapped in reticence. The Siamese wives and children (here reduced to six) are marvels of grace in energy and as comely as a palace frieze. Likewise Bill Morey’s elaborate Eastern costumes, their shimmering and sumptuous fabrics lit by Mac Vaughey with what must be new colors, and Ian Zywica’s unit set with its Oriental throne room, filigreed archways, and burnished floor. (Flanking the king are dualistic symbols of East and West—a chess set and a statue of the Buddha.) Brenda Didier’s choreography, faithful to Jerome Robbins, turns “‘The Small House of Uncle Thomas’ Ballet” into a cascade of astonishment and artful reinvention.

For purists like me there’s one cavil: This revival’s two-piano accompaniment, however beautifully played by Eugene Dizon and Allison Hendrix, is nonetheless a letdown, robbing the songs of the rich orchestrations Rodgers intended. Less crucial, the delightful scene in which the ladies of the court try to maneuver inside European crinoline ballgowns and corsets is necessarily omitted. But new to me is the royal school’s anthem sung by Anna and her princely pupils, as well as a charming reprise of “A Puzzlement” sung by the sons of the principals that extends the cultural clash to the next generation. You win some, you lose some.

  
  
Rating: ★★★
  
  

Brianna Borger, Dylan Lainez, Tatum Pearlman, Lydia Hurrelbrink

April 30, 2011 | 0 Comments More